Monday, August 31, 2009

Yellows of Summer...

"Black eyed Susan's" fill the yard

Just a quick blog note today....
Our garden has been wild with black eyed Susan's this year! They are beginning to take over. I am hoping to get out into the garden this afternoon and take photos to share. It's just such a happy time in our jolly jungle.

See you tomorrow... with garden highlights.

Friday, August 28, 2009

This weeks workout!

Sharing this week's workout....more to do

This week, I got new glasses.... so I am adjusting to them and working at the same time. That is never a good idea, but I need to get this completed for a client, so I just 'dove in" and got going on it. There is much fine tuning to be done, but the essence of that painting is there (it's actually a combination of watercolor with some colored pencil).

Okay, have a great weekend and I will be back next week!!

Hiking in Rocky Mtn. National Park

Yesterday was a perfect day for a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was about 80 degrees, sunny, breezy and the animals were out showing their stuff. You can already notice small changes in the scenery - Fall is definitely coming to the mountains. For those of you not familiar with the Rocky Mountains..... the rusty looking trees are diseased... pine beetle. It is taking over and killing a large percentage of specific pine trees (Ponderosa & Lodge poles). Yet, overall, the beauty of the mountains captures my heart...... every single time!!

This is 'cub lake' trail....
a 2.3 mile hike up (4.6 round trip) to 9,ooo feet.
It is within the National Park
(so, if you go, don't forget your park pass!!)

The Elk were playful and hungry.
Can you see his buddies in the back?
They were playing around and came very close to us,
before they turned and took off at high speed.
This particular trail is great for seeing Elk, especially
in the coming months (late Sept./Oct) when they are "bugling"

At the top, you are rewarded with this beautiful view
of Cub Lake (filled with lily pads).
We used to call this "Kermie's Pond"
when our kids were very young.
(Cars in the parking lot were from:
AK, FL, MN, GA, CA, NE, CO....
lots of friendly hikers !)

A closeup of the lilies

We were practically accosted by the chipmunks,
trying to steel our sandwiches,
and the ducks weren't far behind.....
coming right up out of the water for a bite to eat!!

No.... we did NOT feed them!

So, if you get a chance to get out for a hike this weekend, and the weather is good.... I hope that you will take advantage of this beautiful weather before winter sets in

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pink persuasion

Sweet Pea (mixed media)

I always put my work away for awhile and then come back to it. Upon returning from our trip, I pulled out several pieces that I had been working on before I left. I realized that this piece need a bit of tweaking, so I went at it with the colored pencils. I think it helped the painting.

I also have realized that I spent the summer working in pinks.... from the thistle, to the Japanese Anemone.... all pink. However, I am now working in a wonderful yellow, and I just bought some Sunflowers to begin sketching. So, late August and September will be filled with all shades of yellow.

I hope that your day is 'in the pink" or 'Sunshine yellow'.... even if it's gray and rainy out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to Reality.... and work!

"Japanese Anemone"

Well, it certainly has been a lot of fun to visit Greece and Turkey for the past three weeks.... it extended my journey, and I did enjoy sharing. But, in the meantime, I was also doing some work.

Several weeks ago, one of the members of my art group brought me a Japanese Anemone, from her garden. I had worked on one several years ago and then put it away. I pulled out the painting and I added the blooms that she brought over to the previous work.

Voila.... here it is - the final drawing, which I feel is a fuller painting. So, that is what I have been up to.... and of course, I added touches to several that I have been working on. I consider them completed, now.

Now.... off to the framer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

last but not least.... the Bosporus

Passing big ships, coming into port
There was a lot of boat traffic !!

A summer home (castle) of a Sultan

A city view from the boat....

The Summer Palace.....along the sea

A boat trip on the Bosporus

Before we packed up and got ready to leave, we took a late afternoon sightseeing boat trip. We went down the Bosporus with Europe on one side and Asia on the other. It was a beautiful way to close out a hectic day of sightseeing, and a fun way to look at the city without fighting lots of crowds. I will also throw in some extra photos of the city with comments.

Again, I am so grateful that we could have this experience. My hope is that we can go back, but if we don't, then I am filled with beautiful memories of a lively culture, wonderful people, and friends made on the trip. Thanks for your patience with view this.... as there has been very little botanical art for you to see. I do hope that you have enjoyed sharing this journey with me, and I hope that you come back to see the work that usually fills my days.

A castle stands behind a traditional seaside villa

The very wealthy can enjoy a private
sea side villa within the city of
Istanbul (the best of both worlds)

Mosques along the river, make 'call to prayer'
easy for many residents

A beautiful Mosque surrounded by Crape Myrtle trees.

I forgot to show the Turkish Flag

I will just keep adding photos.....

Grand Bazaar

One of the great traditions of Istanbul, is bargaining in the Grand Bazaar. First of all, I must tell you that unlike the Spice Bazaar, which was somewhat small and manageable, the Grand Bazaar is a labyrinth of around 4000 shops of everything imaginable. It's easy to get lost and confused within the space, but if you have the time and the inclination to shop (and do some bargaining), this is the place for you. It is beautiful, and immaculate, but very crowded. So, hold on to your pocket book, open up your eyes, and smile.... you are in for some fun.

The entrance of the Grand Bazaar
Can you read the date when it was first built??
It's a long standing tradition, for sure.

Inside, on the main mall, it is fun to see all
of the very best of the shops

Outside, a Minstrel pleases the passerby with his music

Another view of the Main Mall.
If you turn any corner,
you will begin a journey
along a labyrinth of shops and experiences.

Having packed so much in to our day, we were quite tired by the time we visited the Grand Bazaar. I would have enjoyed it more, if I had been rested and could explore it at leisure. As with any tour, some things get a bit less time than others.... but of course, you know what you want to come back and visit.

The Blue Mosque

One of the things that the Blue Mosque is famous for is it's six slender minarets... but of course, I was so excited to get inside to see the Iznik tiles..... in blue & white, that I did not take a photo of the exterior. As in any Mosque, it is respectful to take off your shoes, but when there are thousands of tourists all trying to take there shoes off and get inside, it gets a bit chaotic. We managed it smoothly, as everyone is handed a bag to put their shoes in.... thus, you carry them with you and do not have to go looking for them when you leave. This Mosque is also undergoing restoration, so there was scaffolding all about. But the beauty of the tiles and the Mosque is worth the stop.
Traditionally, there are no humans or animals depicted with in the Mosques.
Rather, there is beautiful calligraphy and ornaments
of intricate patterns that adorn the walls and ceiling.
The amount of workmanship with in these walls, was extraordinary.

hopefully, if you enlarge this photo (double click on it),
you can see the intricacy of the patternes
and the incredible beauty on the ceiling dome.

Even the stained glass windows are made up of patterns.

As in any tourist venue during
high season, the Mosque was packed with people.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Topkapi Palace

Because of some distractions at this point in the tour, I did not take too many photos. Also, the treasury and 'Apartments" were not allowed to be photographed, so that also accounted for lack of photos. Just trust me when I say, that the Palace was quite elaborate, originally built as an Imperial residence by Fatih Mehmet in 1462, which he called the "House of Felicity". It was used until 1853, and then was more or less abandoned until 1924, when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk inaugurated it as a museum.

One of the buildings within the compound

The exterior walls and ceilings were also elaborately painted

Another area of the compound (believe the harem lived here)

Haghia Sophia Basilica

The Basilica is the third church to stand on this ground, and was completed in 537 A.D. It was a Greek Orthodox Cathedral through out the Byzantine era...but after the Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople in 1453, it became a Mosque. It continued to serve as a Mosque until 1932, when it was closed and converted into a museum, which opened two years later. The architecture is truly a masterpiece.
The Exterior of the Haghia Sophia

Restoration is ever present and on going
through out the city. The crowds continued
to increase as we visited the highlight tourist
attractions of Istanbul

Looking up at the domes which are mosaics.
Calligraphy (Golden Arabic Script)
plaques hang through out
the Museum/Basilica/Mosque.

Eventually the mosaics and
iconic painting of Jesus Christ
was uncovered for viewing.

Last stop.....Istanbul, Turkey

Since we spent a very short time in Istanbul, but packed a lot in to that short period of time, I am going to try to load all the photos today, and go through the entire city, all at once. After Greece, Istanbul was a shock to our system. There are so many people in the city, which, in contrast to Greece, proved to be more lush and green..... lots of lawns, gardens... a different kind of beauty. However, there were also a lot of people selling goods on the street, crowding the palaces, Mosques, and other tourists spots. To me, with all the traffic, and noise of the city, it felt a bit overwhelming.

We started in the Spice Bazaar, which I did love. Since it was early in the morning, the shops were just opening, and the crowds were small. This small Bazaar (we also went to the Grand the afternoon) was filled with spices of every variety...... candies that are Greek & Turkish treats...... coffee..... and beautiful goods of every variety. I fell in love with the scents in the I took in the 'goodies', which were beautifully shown in front of each booth.

Put into perspective..... the Spice trade has been
a part of Turkish culture for centuries.
Think: America in 1597?

Saffron, Curry of every type, nuts, dates.....
i\It was endless... and the smells were delicious!

Turkish Delight of every variety,
along with dates, pistachios,
and more..... again.... endless delights

And a sense of humor, regarding the
genuine - fake "Rolex"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Down the road from Ephesus

After we saw Ephesus, we made a stop down the road at the tomb of St. John. It was, again, amazingly, preserved. There was also a baptistery there that I wanted to share. Then we climbed aboard the bus for a lovely ride to the Turkish rug factory. There, we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the meadow, under the trees. It was the first 'grass' that we had seen on our trip, and the breeze, wonderful food, and friendly atmosphere were a treat for all. After lunch, we toured the rug factory, watched the famous Turkish rugs, being woven by artisans and learned about the process. In the late afternoon we drove to the airport and hopped a jet to Istanbul. It proved to be a dramatic difference between the relative quiet of ruins to a city of 11 million!!

Part of the ruins of the tomb of St. John

The Baptistery of the ruins

Lunch at long tables on green grass and a lovely breeze.
The food was delicious.... as we took a long break.

Artisans weaving the Turkish rugs on the patio.

Tomorrow.... the spice Bazaar (another highlight of the trip)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another commercial.....

Sharing this so client can see what I am up to......
Thanks for the interruption....

Back to Turkey.....

Onward to Turkey.....Ephesus

Because of high winds (a common occurrence in the summer months on the Aegean Sea) we had to makes some last minute changes and stops. I will not highlight them, but just move on to Turkey. where we disembarked the ship at the port in Kusadasi. The ship provided a great way to see the islands and the small ship allowed us to get into ports that large ships could not manage. We loved the crew and the ease of leaving our belongings in one place for a week.... along with 'cruise dining' an experience that allowed us to never lose an ounce.... as we climbed over towns and ruins along the way. But, alas, it was time to depart.... so we headed into port in Turkey (Kusadasi) and headed to Ephesus on a bus.

Ephesus is considered to be the best-preserved and most extensive classical Greco-Roman city in the entire world. Aside from the extreme heat and terrible crowds, it is quite a marvel. The sophistication of the infrastructure is a bit 'mind boggling".... a sort of "How did they do that?" experience..... Or... How is this still standing???

Pipes provided water flow through out the city.
Remember, this is around 200 B.C.

The "main drag" is called the Harbour (Arcadian) street.
It initially lead down to a harbor, as Ephesus was born on a Bay

Greco-Roman tiles remain today!
I guess that the reality of this is that America is very young.
You realize that our history is but a hiccup
when you visit these historic ruins.

Would you believe..... the Library (of Celsus)??
Yes (though the brothel was across the street)
Literature and studies were at the core of Ephesus
(built in 195 A.D.)

The Theatre
It is difficult, from this photo, to realize the size of this stadium,
down the street from the library. It once held
25,000 spectators (22 flights of stairs!!)

About 10 kms from Ephesus, we visited the tomb of the evangelist, St. John and the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. We managed all this before lunch..... tomorrow....a delightful afternoon, before heading to Istanbul.

Thanks for your patience with this 'tour' of Greece. Again, I know that this is a botanical blog, but family and friends want to see these photos and get a quick re-cap. I do need to put some photos on that relate to business, so there may be a quick blip, before I finish up my tour.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Patmos & St. John

There is so much history, mythology and religion in the Greek islands. Patmos brings religion to the forefront on this tiny island. Don't get me wrong, it is a top tourist destination and the summers provide lots of opportunities to party. However, the history behind the island is said to be from 95 A.D., when St. John the Divine was banished to Patmos from Ephesus (our next visit). While residing in a cave on the island (which we visited) St. John wrote the "Book of Revelations". There is now a Monastery to honor St. John on the island, which sits high atop the town, and is quite beautiful.

A traditional cafe with it's bright yellow & blue chairs,
reveals that the island is more than an island of religious pilgrimage.

To our great surprise, who should dock right next to us....
Eric Clapton and family on a summer jaunt.
All of us on the boat were giddy & thrilled to have a
rock star "next door". By the morning, he had moved on
to another island, and we made our pilgrimage to the Monastery

Here is a view of the beautiful Patmos from our boat.

After visiting the Cave of St. John,
we drove up the mountain to the Monastery;
It had a beautiful overlook of the Aegean,
and with some cooler temperatures,
it proved to be a lovely morning.

Many local citizens volunteer many hours
in the service of the church.
Quite often, the Priest is available to the citizens as well.
The day we visited was a Saints Day';
one of the many religious Days in the Greek Orthodox faith.
Many Priests are also married.