Artsy Coffee Morning

Wanna dance?

Wanna dance?

TGIF and Happy Friday!

Normally I get requests for pics of the boys; however, recently I received one for a close-up of Zoya, so that is the first order of business today.

(Dede, the one above is just to put any fears aside that Zoya may have shrunk or is not being fed and watered enough …and we love that you love her as much as we do! ; ) ).

(BTW, have you ever tried to photograph a black dog, especially one who is more curious to check out what’s going on behind the camera vs. in front of it? Not easy.)

IMG_1435 IMG_1480 IMG_2459

Yeah, she’s pretty cute, but she’s not the topic of today’s blog. Today’s blog is about an artist’s studio I went to last Wednesday.

Every month, there is a neighborhood – Tarabya in our case – coffee morning. It’s just one of the myriad activities sponsored by the International Woman’s organization in Istanbul. The venue changes every month, depending on who is hosting. This month’s coffee was hosted by a Dutch artist/expat at her studio in Büyükdere, just to the north of Tarabya.

The studio sits to the side of my Saturday morning, Bosporus running route. Not that I knew that. First of all, I am pretty oblivious of everything and everyone when I run (or drive or watch TV or read a book, to the utter annoyance to anyone – generally my husband or kids – when they want to get my attention; the dog doesn’t suffer from lack of attention due to this because licking will break any reverie, no matter how deep). Second of all, even though the location is quite obvious to me NOW, it is not that easy to find on one’s first attempt.

I knew that the studio was close, however, when I left our house I still armed myself with my car’s GPS and my iPhone Map app. Which was both bad and good. Good because it got me in the general direction. Bad because carrying around GPS and iPhone and walking in circles made my ignorant-foreigner status all that more evident.

Luckily, I ran into my neighbor, and together we walked in circles like ignorant foreigners together. Until, that is, a lovely, Turkish woman took pity on us. Lost in the maze of small streets and indistinguishable buildings that lined it, we met a group of ladies, children and men standing in the little street, chatting. They immediately clued into the reason for our wanderings (lost, ignorant foreigners) and sent a woman to guide us. (Her little son accompanied us, too, thinking it was great fun to lead these strange people around when he obviously knew the place like the back of his hand…what was so difficult in any case?).

Of course, the kind woman not only had to lead us up to our destination’s entrance gate, but she also had to open it for us (the latch was inside). We weren’t the most impressive ambassadors for our countries, I’ll have to admit. On the other hand, we were the only women who showed up. I think the others are still wandering about the maze of streets, lost.

Our host, Diana, greeted us and ushered us into the building, one she shares with other creative folk. Coffee cups in hand, she showed us to her studio upstairs, a bright space due to the combination of white-washed walls, natural light, and paintings propped up in colorful display. We chit-chatted and caught up before Diana led us in a little color exercise using colorful yet slightly transparent sticky notes. The goal was to teach us about colors and complementary combinations. It just proved that my sense of colors is as bad as my sense of direction.

After the exercise, my neighbor and I took advantage of our limited numbers and begged Diana for a private showing. Art is such a personal thing, but when you find an image you like, it never stops speaking to you. So, there was a cacophony of chatter going on inside my head because I connected with so many of Diana’s paintings. In particular the ones of the Bosporus and surrounding life drew me in, as did the loosely realistic technique and feel-good colors. Plus – and I know you are not supposed to buy art by the foot, but I want an image to envelop me, not me it –  her canvases were LARGE.

I managed to not succumb to my desire to BUY NOW!! However, when we leave Istanbul, I would love to have one of her pictures on the moving truck. I can’t imagine a more fitting depiction of the experience that is Istanbul and life on the Bosporus.

If you want to check out her work, go here and enjoy:
Unfortunately, the pictures do not do the paintings justice, but you’ll get a taste of her work.

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