The Simit Bakers, 10.5 x 7" March 2011
I did this little sketch when I lived in Istanbul. it probably would have been my last painting done in Turkey but I ran out of time. I am not sure where the original sketch is now, but I happened to take a photo of it for some reason, and came across it one day when I was rooting through pictures.
My little Simit Bakers sketch done sometime in 2009.
Turkish simit is similar to a bagel, but crispier and not so dense. a staple of Turkey, it's available every ten feet throughout the country. Simit bakers are up in the middle of the night preparing simit to be sold all over Turkey in the morning. Simit is best straight out of the oven. By afternoon the bread cools and starts to become chewy.
Mmmm nothing better than fresh simit!
Before I moved to Istanbul, I would pop up from the Emirates to visit my sister who happened to live above a simit bakery. The upside of this was that her apartment was kept warm by the simit ovens blasting below. The down side was that it was a bit noisy for those wee early morning hours. But all was forgiven when in the morning we got fresh simit free of charge- The old guys were good fun and invited me in one day to take photos. I wish now I hadn't been so shy and papparazied them at the time. But that's the great thing about Turkey, if I walked down there tomorrow they'd invite me in, give me some simit and pose for pictures, like we were old friends ad hadn't skipped a day of visiting.
Early morning simit baking.
This guy threw a simit at me like he was trying to play horseshoes with my head. Okay, okay, they aren't wearing aprons and their little jackets are much more Turkish, but I thought it would be odd to paint them in jackets.
Just writing this makes me wish I had a nice hot simit slathered in sesame seeds and a glass of strong Turkish tea!
SImit vendor loading his cart for the early morning breakfast rush- out of my sister's bedroom window.
Anyway, I tried to be a little more adventurous with perspective in this painting. As you know I am a big fan of Rie Munoz and I like how she works with wonky perspective. It brings a whole new playfulness to the work that I think would work in my own paintings too.
Sultanahmet simit vendor.
Diyarbakir simit and tea.
These simit look bigger and thinner than the Istanbul variety.
Mardin: Rene and I woke early to catch the sun rising over Mardin, and I caught this little simit exchange in the cobblestone street- This is what you call fast food. This guy didn't even get off the horse to buy simit from the donkey guy.
Simit simit simit simit simiiIIIIT!