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Book 14 RETURN TO ISTANBUL – Trici Venola – 14 March-22April 2004—–Those were the days! A whole book filled in a little over a month. After the death of a much-loved partner, I settled the estate, cleaned the apartment, gave his recording equipment and his silk shirts to his friends, threw him the best funeral I’ve ever seen, and left LA forever. I moved to Istanbul on March 14, 2004, and hit the ground drawing. It was the only way I could deal with the recent huge changes in my life- divorce, catastrophic illness, financial ruin- not to mention the grief. I was drawing every single thing I saw, constantly, wandering around with the sketchbook open, drawing furiously just like I always knew I should. I was living in the Kybele Hotel with only a faint idea of how I would manage, as all my money was gone. But I was so happy to be here!


The Varangian Guard was the Emperors personal honor guard, made up of Vikings invited to Istanbul in Byzantine times. Drawn in the Imperial Gallery, on the center section of the balustrade across from the Deesus Mosaic. The famous Viking runes, shown at the bottom of this drawing, are no longer visible to the public. They’re 9thCentury, the only ones legible, and they say “Halvdor Was Here.” I picture a huge guy with yellow mustaches down to his shoulders, in full armor and bored out of his mind, with a very sharp knife.


Engin Ansay – Turkish Consul-General and his granddaughter – Los Angeles – March 2004——A Turkish friend living in LA introduced us. Engin Bey brought out a photo of his granddaughter and asked that it be included. I don’t remember how the Victrola came into the picture, but I suspect it was added later, at the Kybele Hotel.


-25 March ’04 – Mike in the Kybele garden – Hittite Kybele c4000 years old – How many hands have held her? What did they look like?—— Kybele is the goddess of the hearth, the home, & all good things thereof. Mike and his brothers named their hotel after her. I lived there when I first came to Istanbul.


Alpaslan with no mustache – whatta kisser! -26 March 04——-This caused some consternation as nobody knew that kisser means face in American Slang. Alp, posing at Kybele while his brother Mike continues the endless backgammon tournament, now has a fabulous restaurant in Kaş.


I love, love, love this drawing. Drawn in chill early Spring as the moon came up, when Hagia Sophia was still fronted with magnificent Turkish Chestnut trees. They were just coming into bloom. 

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