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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Jesus Rocks Framed Fine Art Print

JESUS ROCKS

Imperial Gallery, Hagia Sophia: Isanbul

This most-famous mosaic Jesus is upstairs in the Imperial Gallery, and was created in 1261 after the expulsion of the Latins. We don’t know the name of the great master who created it, but it’s probably where the tradition began of the face that always seems to see you, no matter where you stand. I learned why in the drawing: one eye is straight, and one is to the side. HIs face is actually as wide as it is long. His lips are not pursed but full, and it took three tries to get him right, with that look of compassion, sorrow and acceptance of us humans gazing up at him. From missing bits of mosaic, I discovered that the artists painted the color first on the sticky compound, and then matched the stone bits to the colors. Jesus’s robe is lapis lazuli.

The mosaic is barely preserved, the bottom chewed up to just below this area. Not shown is the Virgin Mary, to the left, and John the Baptist at right. It was discovered under plaster in the 1940s, after Hagia Sophia became a museum under the Turkish Republic.

JESUS ROCKS Imperial Gallery, Hagia Sophia: Isanbul This most-famous mosaic Jesus is upstairs in the Imperial Gallery, and was created in 1261 after...
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Plein air drawing of poplar trees in Van
KAVAK TREES IN VAN
Grand Deniz Turizm Restaurant last stop before Akdamar -3 May  ©2016 TriciVenola —Who knew I was allergic to poplar trees? I love them— but sometime since they chopped down every single one in Istanbul, I developed an allergy. Once I went into a pharmacy and described the symptoms, they fixed me right up with a syrup and some pills. These are planted in rows just at the pier for the boats to Aghtamar Island in Lake Van, where I wanted to go.
Grand Deniz Turizm Restaurant last stop before Akdamar -3 May  ©2016 TriciVenola —Who knew I was allergic to poplar trees? I love them— but so...
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KEF KALESI ADILCEVAZ 

Kef Kalesi, Adilcevaz, Van c1500 BCE Ulu Camii c1300 CE-©2016 TriciVenola— This majestic ruin of an ancient city permits an entire mountain rising at the edge of Lake Van. Archeologists have removed ancient artifacts to the museum in Van. Each terrace held houses, and the rooftops of one level were the balconies of the next. At right, you can see fragments of old stonework, traces of huge arches and passages. At centre is Ulu Camii, a 700 year old mosque with a modern glass minaret. Sheep graze below what must have been the fortress an entire village.

Kef Kalesi, Adilcevaz, Van c1500 BCE Ulu Camii c1300 CE-©2016 TriciVenola— This majestic ruin of an ancient city permits an entire mountain rising ...
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KEF KALESI DOORS

Doors Kef Kales - Adilcevaz -A c3000-year-old doorway. Fascinated by the way this rock ages. It looks like the ancient Urartians scored the living rock and created a castle out of the very mountain. There is a legend of treasure hidden here, but no one knows where. I think we’re looking at it.  -©2016 TriciVenola — These doors lead to tunnels going throughout the mountain. In addition to the usual rumours of treasure, Abdullah told me that they are well-explored by archeologists. Things found there are in the Archeological Museum in Van.

Doors Kef Kales - Adilcevaz -A c3000-year-old doorway. Fascinated by the way this rock ages. It looks like the ancient Urartians scored the living roc...
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Plein air drawing of traditional Turkish family
KELEŞ FAMILY

Keles Family Adilcevaz Derya Turan Bey Nürgül Karen Abdullah Omer -The best meatballs I ever ate. -©2016 TriciVenola — Abdullah is a cousin of my patron, Celal. He and his family picked me up at the airport bus in Van and took me home to dinner. His mother, smiling here right of centre, made from a secret family recipe: meatballs like malt balls, with liquid soft centers. Highly addictive! Abdullah’s wife Derya is in the university at Van. HIs brother Omer is principal at a village school that serves three towns.

Keles Family Adilcevaz Derya Turan Bey Nürgül Karen Abdullah Omer -The best meatballs I ever ate. -©2016 TriciVenola — Abdullah is a cousin of...
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Plein air drawing of Lake Van
LAKE VAN

The ancients gazed at these mountains from this forever sacred place 22 April 2016 Lake Van in front of Ulu Camii- Adilcevaz  -©2016 TriciVenola — Mere pen and ink does not begin to do justice to the symphony of white mountains floating above the pale lake. But the attempt — if you’re lucky— is art.

The ancients gazed at these mountains from this forever sacred place 22 April 2016 Lake Van in front of Ulu Camii- Adilcevaz  -©2016 TriciVenola...
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Plein air drawing of old Armenian tombstone with little girls
LITTLE GIRLS WITH TOMBSTONE
A Süphan , Adilcevaz, Van. These little girls are out in their front yard, and so is this Armenian tombstone. -©2016 TriciVenola — “For centuries we lived in peace ... — a Turkish acquaintance in Van.  The Urartians left artifacts all over Van province, mute testimony to a vanished culture.  I met many people who said, “Oh my grandmother was Armenian...” etc. The little girls were standing in their own front yard over an exquisitely carved tombstone that was obviously half-buried, probably under their cinderblock house in the sheep pasture.
A Süphan , Adilcevaz, Van. These little girls are out in their front yard, and so is this Armenian tombstone. -©2016 TriciVenola — “For cent...
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Plein air of portrait well dressed Turkish man
MAN OF SUBSTANCE
A man of substance! 1 May -©2016 TriciVenola— Semsattin owns a hat import business and occupies the house opposite the hotel, which looks out at Kef Kalesi and the lake. He’s a friend of the hotel owner, and showed up well dressed and asked for a portrait. Normally I field such requests, but one look at that moustache, hat and demeanor made me change my mind. He gave me a hat!
A man of substance! 1 May -©2016 TriciVenola— Semsattin owns a hat import business and occupies the house opposite the hotel, which looks out at ...
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Plein air drawing of a matriarch at Aghtamar
MATRIARCH AT AGHTAMAR
Magnificent matriarch of the Eskitasçioglu Family at Holy Cross on Aghtamar -©2016 TriciVenola — This lady and I had some conversation on the boat coming over. She was unable to navigate the steep path up to the church, so I drew her inside it. Al her children and grandchildren are doctors and dentists. She has a beautiful smile!
Magnificent matriarch of the Eskitasçioglu Family at Holy Cross on Aghtamar -©2016 TriciVenola — This lady and I had some conversation on the b...
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Medusa on the Side Framed Print
Everybody photographs the other Medusa, the one standing on its head. This one has things the other one doesn’t- nostrils and irises. These heads were probably from some abandoned project, used to prop up short columns in the very darkest back corner of an underground cistern.
Everybody photographs the other Medusa, the one standing on its head. This one has things the other one doesn’t- nostrils and irises. These heads we...
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Medusa One Framed Print
Second day: the shadows make it. I’d intended this for the book, but went in another direction. God, it was hot. I spent as much time as possible drawing down in the Cistern. Water dripping in the dim echoes, antique columns, few alike, marching off into the shadows.
Second day: the shadows make it. I’d intended this for the book, but went in another direction. God, it was hot. I spent as much time a...
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