O What a Happy Time / Summer-Fall 2011-Winter 2012 / The only made-up faces in this book—–Looking at this book & the commissions done at the same time, I’m amazed at how much work I was able to do. It was a happy time, full of friends. I found someone to help me avoid illegal eviction: didn’t have to move just as I was getting into a new project. I had a residence permit and a washing machine, things I took for granted until I did without them for years. I was so happy from drawing all the time that work just flooded in, wonderful commissions, pure joy to draw, and a grant to publish the next book. Thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of these patrons, I was free of financial horrors. I started the historical posts on this site. I drew for the new book. A glorious time.
OBELISK CHARIOT RACES-lost
One face of the marble pedestal of the Egyptian Obelisk in Istanbul’s Hippodrome, erected in 390 by Theodosius I. The Obelisk is granite, 3500 years old, looks like it was carved yesterday. This marble pedestal, a mere 16 centuries old, looks like melted candle wax. Found this scan while building this book upload. I don’t know where the original is- probably on the back of something sold or given away. But I love this take, my first, so it’s our frontspiece.
NOEL BABA NEW
-Noel Baba* Father Christmas in Myra, Southern Turkey – Haddon Sundblom Santa Claus c1930 – A Russian icon St Nicholas – Tintoretto’s St Nicholas c 1585 – The Bishop of Myra, a 3rd century saint known for his generosity – He gave all he had to those who needed it. – His chalky pale Byzantine church – St Nick! – A radiance of brickwork – Byzantine artisans created windows to celebrate light from within – Pale stone embroidered with mosaic – this church built in the 6th century to honor him—– Art for a poster for the International Women of Istanbul’s Christmas Fair. There was a Woke flap among the expat group about depicting a Christian saint at Christmastime for a Christmas fair. I never met a Turk who wasn’t proud of Santa Claus being born in Turkey, where he’s known as Noel Baba. Russians stampede to his church in Myra every year to honor him. In the Istanbul Spice Bazaar there are back-to-back Christmas stores. He’s very much a part of Turkish culture.
A first take on the entire Obelisk Pedestal, featuring portraits of Theodosius I and his court. The Egyptian Obelisk was erected in 390, the Pedestal carved shortly afterwards. Centuries of wind and weather have made it look like melted candle wax, while the granite obelisk above, almost 2000 years older, looks new. At left, notice the dark trough for drainage, which water has worn through to the surface. The far obelisk was set up in the 11th century.
NICHOLAS IN THE ARENA
– For Nicholas Constantinou & His Parents – Nicholas in the Arena 2011. – There’s no time limit on a passion for sports.- Egyptian Obelisk Base 390 AD – Far Obelisk 11th Century Nicholas 2011- Hippodrome. Istanbul—–All this kid wanted to talk abut was sports, just like his ancient Greek ancestors. Back in the day, the chariot races here in Constantinople split the city into rioting factions. Fortunes were made and lives lost here in the Hippodrome, with young men looking like Nicholas here yelling themselves hoarse.
JAYDA AT WORK
She sold Essential Oils. She looked like a little piece of New York. To teach her discipline when she was a child, her family sent her to a school in the Alps, where she had to climb mountains in storms. She thought about eagles while she did it.
A professional psychic from San Francisco. I traded this drawing for a reading. I would have drawn him well even if he hadn’t told me I was a reincarnation of Empress Theodora.
PIDA NOT PIZZA
The pizza place over by Buyuk Valide Han-—-In Turkey it’s pida, not pizza. I don’t care what they call it, it’s fabulous. This place is on the hill going down from the back door of Buyuk Valide Han.
ILYAS &THE SHOEMAKER
-Ilyas Gozbul—– Ilyas helping me with bureaucratic paperwork, two women sauntering down the street, the shoemaker at the Grand Bazaar, and a tentative first take of the figures on the Obelisk Pedestal in the Hippodrome.
-Loved her portrait -Caught me drawing him on the tram, lit up and posed. -Man on the tram who should have been good-looking but wasn’t. -Annoying Orange: “The prophet said all artists are going to hell.” -The beard was fire-red. -Annoying Orange: I don’t know what sect these guys belong to, but they dye their beards orange & wear black shalvar & hang out around Tophane—–This was the only time I ever heard anybody disrespect my art in the name of Allah. “Annoying Orange” was a meme on the Internet at the time, an orange with exactly the expression of this supercilious character on the street.