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-Kopek Var Dog-Happy snowing Sunday all day-TriciVenola ©2008

A blissful day sitting up on my bed drawing out the window. I’m from Los Angeles; snow for an Angeleno is an exotic delight. The old Orient Express line runs below the drawing. That’s the Marmara Sea out beyond the Boukoleon Palace ruin, with a ship barely visible. People were still living in the wooden house at left; that’s their dog in the Palace. 


-God protect the visual antiquity of this wall -Boukoleon Palace wall – Every stone tells a story – March 08-2008—–The window is huge! In the top photo above, notice the portal at lower right, sticking up out of the grass. What’s under the park? This took a few days as I drew every single stone exactly. This window in in the wall of the 9th century Boukoleon Palace. Nicophorus Phocas was murdered here; the beautiful Theofano who betrayed him was in turn betrayed here; Zoe lived here with her husbands and her detested sister. 400 years of Byzantine rulers paced through its colonnades, dined, danced, argued and loved in its many rooms.

This 10-foot window once commanded a view high above the Marmara Sea. We can see the remains of a balcony below the sill. There was a colonnade above it; one column is still visible at to left, and the edge of its floor extends across the drawing above the arch of the window. A hole at center indicates an attached ornament. The walls on either side would have been clad in polished colored marble. Ships sailed up below this window, and someone stood in it, waving a scarf silvered in the sun. After 4th Crusaders burned the Palace in 1204, people continued to live in it clear up until Sultan Abdulhamid let the British dynamite it in 1871, to build the Orient Express. All during the centuries, the wall was fortified in layers as the waves lashed fifteen meters below. By the early 20th century, the harbor had silted up, and in 1962 the Turkish Government filled the area outside the wall and built the highway. As I drew this, the whoosh of cars behind me recalled the sigh of the waves. At this writing, the window is still there.

The Book refers to, an excellent source!

Boukoleon Ruin resident Ahmet Dal was my companion while I was drawing the Boukoleon Window. He made store runs, loved the book on Byzantium and kept the creeps away. “I may be poor,” he said, “but I live in a palace.”

Out Back in Winter


-Burak in his “Tony Montana” guise—–Burak was running the family restaurant when I met him, one of my first friends in Sultanahmet. He and his buddy Gurhan helped me in countless ways in 2004 before I had any idea how to do anything. The night my first show opened, in Sultanahmet in 2009, there was a terrific storm. Nonetheless the place was packed. And into the melee burst Burak, waving an enormous sheaf of white roses in one arm and brandishing a roll of lira in the other, shouting, “This stuff is great!! I want to BUY something!!” And he did. We  should all have such friends.


-My beautiful boys in the morning—– Despite constant gnawing financial anxiety, this was a blissful time. The ruins and the sea just outside, my young and happy pussycats, and a wonderful roommate. Tourism was picking up, and there was a lot of optimism. Ygor (tuxedo) and Pinkie look downright gleeful. I guess they were because they lived so long. Pinkie is still with me 13 years later.


Omrahan – Öykü—–These kids and I had a lot of fun with art lessons. Oykü is holding a picture of herself at three., taken by their mother Fulya. They’re all grown up now!


-“Human Rights” at Istanbul Modern. A fabulous performance art piece, the best show of contemporary art I’ve seen here. A vast warehouse loft filled with metal tables covered w/paper. And at each one a dancer is painfully and with difficulty trying to write. With teeth in contortions, by jumping & twisting, blind, by direction… but as each tried something more impossible, people would come from the guests to help. It read on so many levels. Around the walls, charcoal smeared & splattered slogans. At one end, a statement of human rights in English & Turkish as set out by world conference. The dancers were every race & nationality – 2008

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