May 2014-July 2015 A lion in Didim. When I have time in an ancient city to draw only one thing, that thing is usually a lion. Political upset in Turkey and the Middle East in general causes many people to leave, among them cherished friends. So we visit ancient cities together and realize that nothing is forever, but stone lions come close.
PEACE IN THE RUINS: StandAlone
Drawn in two blissful weeks in April 2014, this is the Hospital of Sampson ruin, built by Justinian, following the Nika Rebellion in the sixth century, next to his reconstruction of Hagia Eirene Basilica. It’s in what’s now the Topkapi Palace Complex. There’s a whole post in the Stories section about it. I’ve included it here because it bridges two sketchbooks, just as it once bridged two mosques: Hagia Eirene and Hagia Sophia.
SAMPSON COURTYARD WALK
A silent ruined courtyard and someone who may have walked there. Hospital of Sampson Sultanahmet April-May 2014. A persistent vision of a pink-slippered foot treading lightly in the courtyard of the Hospital of Sampson, Since Justinian did nothing without his Empress, Theodora, I choose to see this as her slipper, her silken silence, her maids standing in the shadows as she took a moment amid the mismatched pillars, the carved lion on the fountain here in the bottom of the Hospital’s light well. Even the poor deserved a lion.
EMPRESS ON THE METRO
Ravishing girl on the Metro- she looked like Empress Theodora- right down to the quirk of her mouth. Perfect teeth- she had never heard of Theodora… She has now! She was the one on the right. All the girls were in black, but her hijab was brilliant emerald green. I drew them from memory when I got off the tram.
FROM THE HOSPITAL
From my room at German Hospital- Bridge in the distance- All lit up at night – My pen’s run out. Damn—– A bout of pancreatitis scared hell out of me. A friend put me in the German Hospital, which was just up the hill from where I lived. Had a fine view from my room but could barely draw. I recovered, the hospital closed, and is now part of a university. I hope someone is enjoying this beautiful room.