Plein air drawing of a village near A Suphan
A Süphan on Lake Van Framed Print
A Suphan for Celal -©2016 TriciVenola— Project patron Celal Ögmen grew up in this village a few decades ago. He came to Istanbul as a teenager. He stood outside a prosperous fish restaurant in Kumkapi: Kalamar, saying in to the tourists in all their languages, “Come here and eat fish.” Now he owns the restaurant and the one next door, educates his daughter in New York, is a cornerstone of local industry and a patron of the arts. One brother is a judge, the other a barrister in New York. You can do anything with brains and moxie.
A Suphan for Celal -©2016 TriciVenola— Project patron Celal Ögmen grew up in this village a few decades ago. He came to Istanbul as a teenager. He...
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Plein air drawing of ancient carving of Adam and Eve at Aghtamar
Adam and Eve at Aghtamar Framed Print
2016 Adam & Eve at Holy Cross Aghtamar Island Lake Van 915-921 CE -©2016 TriciVenola — This last date refers to when they were carved. Note that Adam and Eve were carved sans genitalia. Despite damage by vandals, both still have curiously benign expressions. Down in the lower right corner is a an eviscerated female figure. The vandals left the snake alone, perhaps for professional courtesy.
2016 Adam & Eve at Holy Cross Aghtamar Island Lake Van 915-921 CE -©2016 TriciVenola — This last date refers to when they were carved. Note tha...
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Plein air drawing of Artos Mountain with trees
Artos Mountain and Kavak Trees Framed Print
Artos Mountain -Kavak Trees -Waiting for the ferry to Akdamar -Snow-streaked mountains behind thrilling sheaves of poplar trees  -And then the pale sheet of the sea... a common sight around here. 3 May -©2016 TriciVenola — All over Van are these stands of white poplars with the white-streaked mountains behind. The lake is so vast it looks like a sea. As I drew this, the man in the picture walked up and down the rows, planting his field. I was waiting for the only boat to Aghtamar. Since there was no tourism, there were no boats, but I lucked out: a large Turkish family had booked one, and they invited me to come along.
Artos Mountain -Kavak Trees -Waiting for the ferry to Akdamar -Snow-streaked mountains behind thrilling sheaves of poplar trees  -And t...
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Plein air drawing of ancient carving of bible stories at Aghtamar
Bible Stories in Stone Framed Print

Bible Stories in Stone ©TriciVenola 2016

Few could read, so these figures proclaimed the Holy Word to all who looked on them. Absolute delight carved in red tufa, these figures are about 3/4 life-size and protrude about 4 inches from the stone blocks from which they are carved. One pictures the cartoons on paper or canvas fixed to the surface of blocks that stick out farther than those above and below. They would have covered the back of the canvas with pigment and traced the drawings from the front. And then up on ladders, hacking and then tapping away, finalizing with passion and skill, patiently creating the vivid images in the tedious medium. Armenian art is all based on circles. Its testimony to the expertise of the artists that these figures carved on stone blocks are all so curvilinear. And those borders!

Bible Stories in Stone ©TriciVenola 2016 Few could read, so these figures proclaimed the Holy Word to all who looked on them. Absolute delight carv...
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Plein air drawing of the Big Boukoleon Arch
Big Boukoleon Arch Framed Print
BIG BOUKOLEON ARCH ©2011 by Trici Venola. This fabulous old arch looks about ready to collapse, which is why we preserved it here. Every brick is accurate, just as they were fitted together in the ninth century when this palace was built. Once rising grandly out of the sea, it now fronts on a highway. Burned by Crusaders in 1204 and truncated by the Sultan in 1871 to make room for the Orient Express Railroad, this grizzled survivor is still beautiful. Up top, weather has desiccated the remains of a window into the shape of a lion, an echo of the ones that used to stand on its vanished balconies. Those are in the nearby Archeological Museum. This one is now more appropriate. Drawn in full searing sunlight with ants crawling on me, cats slumbrous in the afternoons, during 30 hours in July, and well worth it. During the long sessions, the whoosh of cars on the highway behind me took on the sound of the waves. 35 x 70 cm, drafting pens on rag paper, this drawing was commissioned by Donna Perkins of the Boreal Forest in Alberta.
BIG BOUKOLEON ARCH ©2011 by Trici Venola. This fabulous old arch looks about ready to collapse, which is why we preserved it here. Every brick is acc...
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Plein air drawing of portals at the Boukoleon Palace
Boukoleon Portals Framed Print
BOUKOLEON PORTALS © 2011 by Trici Venola. This magnificent 9th-century Byzantine Palace once rose out of the Marmara Sea, part of the city walls of Istanbul when it was Constantinople. It was faced with brilliantly colored marble and embellished with statues. Burned by Crusaders in 1204, the Palace structure was occupied anyway by the local populace, until it was dynamited in 1871 to build the Orient Express Railway. Later, around 1962, the city filled in the harbor and built the highway. This scrim, The Big Arch, a pillar colonnade and some piles of brickwork are all that remain. They still have an awesome presence. This drawing took 40 hours. It’s 35 x 70 cm, done with drafting pens on rag paper, commissioned by Donna Perkins of the Boreal Forest in Alberta, a lady as interested as I am in documenting these vanishing foundations of Western culture.
BOUKOLEON PORTALS © 2011 by Trici Venola. This magnificent 9th-century Byzantine Palace once rose out of the Marmara Sea, part of the city walls of I...
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Plein air drawing of ancient carving of bunnies griffins and bears at Aghtamar
BUNNIES & GRIFFINS & BEARS OH MY! Framed Print
-©2016 TriciVenola A shot-up saint over a zoological stack of fabulous creatures, with two happy bunnies in the centre. The rabbits are indigenous to Aghtamar Island, and to many other islands nearby. Most of them are black, a hallucinatory hippity-hop among the rocks and seagulls. Torn-up celery and lettuce for the bunnies line the tourist walkways. Centuries of monks must have dined on these rabbits, worn their fur and probably made pets of them as well. They are accompanied by white goats and gulls.
-©2016 TriciVenola A shot-up saint over a zoological stack of fabulous creatures, with two happy bunnies in the centre. The rabbits are indigenous...
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Plein air drawing of ancient carving of David and Goliath at Aghtamar
David and Goliath for Phoebe Framed Print
From a photo: drawn while grieving over the loss of Phoebe. I'm not good for much else. Taken from right next to the wall. I always wished I could have taken my friend there. She would have loved the irony of such humour and light carved in stone. And God knows she wielded her slingshot all her life with grace and skill, slaying many giants.
From a photo: drawn while grieving over the loss of Phoebe. I'm not good for much else. Taken from right next to the wall. I always wished I could ...
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Plein air drawing of Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia Agape Framed Print
HAGIA SOPHIA AGAPE ©2011 by Trici Venola. Drawn during 25 hours in June from the terrace at Seven Hills Restaurant, Sultanahmet. This shows the East Face of this grand old Empress, weathered by 1500 years of storm, siege, fire, sunglare, the Crusades, and the Conquest of Constantinople. 500 years ago Mimar Sinan, the great Renaissance architect, fortified the dome with stone buttresses, anchored with minarets. The domes at lower left cover Ottoman tombs. We forget how huge this building is but are reminded by a glance at the tour buses and crowds at lower right. Commissioned by the Michael Constantinou Family. “Just draw it straight,,” he said, “no arty seagulls, no slanted composition.” It’s now hanging on a wall in Greece.
HAGIA SOPHIA AGAPE ©2011 by Trici Venola. Drawn during 25 hours in June from the terrace at Seven Hills Restaurant, Sultanahmet. This shows the East ...
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Plein air drawing of a remote village in Eastern Turkey
Harmantepe Framed Print
Harmantepe- very wet cold day -1May -©2016 TriciVenola — Another cousin of Celal’s, Ridvan, showed up at the hotel to take me at last to the village I’d come to draw, up in the mountains above Adilcevaz. We drove through misty rain under lowering clouds, with these four mountains brooding in front of us all the way: dark and implacable. On the way, we stopped for a flock of sheep, and I got out and took a photograph of this village. I was able to get this drawing later. It took hours, and the rain would have made it impossible in any case.
Harmantepe- very wet cold day -1May -©2016 TriciVenola — Another cousin of Celal’s, Ridvan, showed up at the hotel to take me at last t...
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Plein air drawing of old Turkish mosque
Old Mosque on the Water Framed Print
AdilcevazBitlis – Lake Van Ertugrul Bey Camii- 42 years today -April 22 -©2016 TriciVenola — I don’t know how old this mosque is, but it pre-dates the highway by a couple of centuries, judging by the depth of its entrance. In the background is Lake Van, ringed by snow-whitened mountains. Abdullah and I sneaked back after the crowd left, and I got this drawing in a couple of hours. The date is a private anniversary.
Adilcevaz – Bitlis – Lake Van Ertugrul Bey Camii- 42 years today -April 22 -©2016 TriciVenola — I don’t know how old this mosque is, ...
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Plein air drawing of a shrine at Ahlat
Shrine at Alat Framed Print
Four at the shrine in Ahlat-30 April -©2016 TriciVenola A great Muslim saint is buried here in this shrine. All day while I drew, groups of fundamentalist Muslim men came and knelt, praying at the shrine. While all the while a woman in traditional dress sat at right and tended to things on her phone.
Four at the shrine in Ahlat-30 April -©2016 TriciVenola A great Muslim saint is buried here in this shrine. All day while I drew, groups of fundamen...
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