Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Highlights of Istanbul

To say Istanbul is a city of history is a giant understatement. Layers upon layers of three different empires is what really makes this modern city alive in my opinion. I love hearing stories about how Vlad the Impaler's head is somewhere under the pavement of Bank Street, or that this spot in the Hippodrome is where the Jannisaries were executed in the thousands for trying to revolt against the sultan. Recently, a new found friend told me the birds flying around the mosques are thought to be the souls of drowned concubines. Personally I'd like to think the concubines were set free with their death and not confined to flying for eternity around the mosques of Sultanahmet, but I do appreciate a romantic tale. (And if you are going to be a seagull why not be one in Sultanahmet?)

Night Birds flying over Hagia Sophia 24x32 cm

You may have noticed this painting is similar to one that appeared a few blogs back. That was a sketch executed for this one. There was a great deal of interest in the sketch, so hopefully there will be just as much interest in the new and improved version! Hagia Sophia (also Aya Sofya) is an extremely difficult building to get a grasp of- It's huge, and the pinkish paint is peeling, revealing cream or even stone walls, making some walls dark and some light, with no rhyme or reason to receding light and the like. I just decided to throw caution to the wind with this one and paint it as I liked. I think it worked!

A Day on Galata Bridge 24x32 cm

People watching on Galata Bridge is one of my favourite pastimes. On top with the tram and traffic there are scores of fishermen keeping each other company as they fish off the bridge. Below are the numerous fish restaurants that do a mean business selling grilled fish baked in rock salt. You've never tasted such delicious fish! What a great place for a restaurant, right there under the Bosphorus. If you were any closer, you'd be swimming! It's also a nice place to walk and avoid the traffic and the hooks from fishermen that occasional fly back as they cast out in search for more fish.

Picking Tulips at Galata Tower

Alright, I admit it, If you go to Galata Tower, there aren't any Tulip fields. But who knows what was there five hundred years ago? Okay, I admit a little artistic license here. This is one of the first paintings I did here in Istanbul when I arrived.
Cirkece Train Station.

Both Rene and I love this little train station, almost forgotten in Cirkece. (Pronounced Sirk-e-jee) The Orient Express Train still pulls in here once a year! It is one of my favourite buildings in Istanbul because of the little details and the notion that beginnings of romantic train travel novels started in places like this. Apparently whirling dervishes perform inside sometimes. I'd love to see that.

The Mosque of Whimsy

One afternoon I had no idea what to paint. so I just began, and this was the result. Sometimes I can get caught up in the little details so this is a nice little painting where I let it all go and allowed it to be perfect in it's imperfections. It's not based on any mosque in particular, but it's got all the solid information of what makes a good mosque in my humble opinion!

We are less than two weeks away from the show at the Pizza Pie Place in Sultanahmet!
Hope to see you there!

xx Melanie


  1. I find your paintings/prints to be an incredible delight! Your use of color and perspective evoke an unexpected vibrancy from which, I can't look away. I hail from Los Angeles and hope the "Creative Caravan" finds its way to a gallery in proximity. How do I purchase some of your works? Where do you send your devotees? Keep up the good work.



  2. Your eye for Istanbul is exquisite! I look forward to attending your gallery and obtaining a few more works for my home.

    Any plans for future tours of your work outside of Turkey? I know many aficionados who would relish the opportunity to see some of your prints in person.

    Thank you.


  3. FABULOUS !!! We love your pictures of Istanbul and so fortunate to have one! many thanks for our wonderful visit and intro to istanbul. We will return.

    Love Ralph and Jan

  4. Nice new take on the Hagia Sophia. I feel you could make 10 of them and every time a different mood would emanate. This time there is something in how you drew the church, as if it where alive and wide awake