Friday, June 29, 2012

‘As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme’

I know this is a difficult poem, please give it a chance.....

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:         
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, 
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came. 
Í say móre: the just man justices; 
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;         
Acts in God's eye what in God’s eye he is— 
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his 
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Minibus Travel - The Guide Part 1

I saw a minibus with the slogan in English stuck on the back 'Dancing with the Wolves'. I assumed this was a reference to the movie of many years ago with a 'the' put in for good measure. 

For the unitiated, minibus drivers in Istanbul are, putting it politely, the wolves of the road. Apparently they own the roads, no really, they do! If there is a traffic queue at lights or anyway for that matter they have permission, granted by themselves, to completely ignore it and push to the front using their horn as if they have a critically ill patient on board whom they are taking to the emergency room. They carry an arrogant impatience with anyone else who happens to enter their world (i.e. use a road they are on) and take great pleasure in pushing as many people on board as is possible despite the weather, heat, lack of ventilation or lack of seats. 

I quite like minibus drivers when I'm on a minibus, it's like being on the side of the pirates in a Black Beard movie, you know that they are not bound by regulations of the road and will get you where you want to go without taking prisoners. If I'm in a car I avoid them and patiently come to terms with the fact that they are the bosses despite minor issues like traffic lights, right of way etc...

As Turkey is rapidly modernising, for anyone coming from Asia Istanbul presents itself as a modern European city. The traffic however, is filled with modern cars which are being driven in a manner that would be more appropriate on the streets of Mumbai.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with the picture above - Üsküdar Hooks, a watercolour.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ten Most Painted Scenes of Istanbul

Sultan Ahmet

The city is finally bathing in heat after an unusually wet spring. The schools have closed for the summer and the traffic should start to calm down soon. The tourists are swarming around the usual sights and sounds whilst the rest of the city plods on. 

Ramadam will start on the 20th of July this year and will be harder than last as the month of fasting year by year starts ten days earlier. The following few years will be even harder as the the fast falls in the mid summer months with long hours of sunlight.

I could try and paint the tram this summer, it has to be done at some time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lots of Painting

Well it's been a busy few weeks and I'm realising that with one thing and another the end of May to the beginning of June is the busiest time of the year for me. Two birthdays, a wedding anniversary, exhibitions etc... So painting has been pushed to the margins for a week or two, not for long though.

There are many inspirations that have been bombarding me and as usual old Ottoman tiles are one of them. 

Having said that I oversaw the painting of a couple of huge walls last week with about 30-40 children (not all at once). It was a really inspiring event, we took a child's design, we chalked it on the walls and the kids covered the walls with colours. A colleague and I touched up a few parts here and there, but the result was a work of art designed by children and executed by children.

A work in progress....
Life will calm down in a week or so....

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