Valentine’s Day Open Studio

little wc books 3 f

So, a friend of mine mentioned an artist she read about who was trying to survive on donations she was soliciting as a means of support for her art-making. I’m guessing that if she’s doing this through a crowdfunding web site, she’s “giving away” pieces of artwork as “gifts” to the folks making these donations. I suppose that was what I was doing when I put the Ottoman Princess fundraising campaing on Indiegogo. It allowed me basically to pay the costs of making an installation piece that is not “saleable” by getting support from people who were ostensibly “buying in” to the concept/aim of the Princess Piece.

For Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d just go the route of crash commercialism – in the spirit of the holiday – and open up my studio for people who might want to browse… and shop.
And maybe get a glass of pink wine as well. (In Marxian terms, I suppose a glass of pink wine and a little notebook could be considered equal in exchange value.

little wc books 1 f

Or is it use value? I never was a very good Marxist.

On the other hand, I’m pretty good at telling fortunes, which I found to be a very good way to get people to look carefully at art.


And so I’ll be doing that at the Open Studio this Saturday as well. No charge.

I suppose I could take a line from one of those fake gypsys in their below-the-sidewalk lairs and announce, “I see a beautiful work of art entering your house to make you very happy…”

And then invite someone to look at this marvelous wardrobe, handpainted with an image from one of our favorite beach retreats, and announce that I do commissioned furniture pieces as well…


But mainly, the Valentine’s Day Open Studio is just a way to catch up with old friends

Deborah 2a

and get better acquainted with some new ones

Water Pastel 090216

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(For directions to the studio, just leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.)

A Rambling Post After a Long Winter…

Is there a word that means what happens after hibernation?

If there is, that is what’s happening here, in Bodrum, in my house.

Built as a ‘summer paradise’, it can be a winter hell. Not because there is nothing to do – as many a lady, tired of endless handicraft courses, may opine – but because the infrastructure sucks. That means your house is cold, because there’s no insulation. Which leaves you susceptible to very tiny creatures crawling around your insides and wreaking havoc – creatures that are probably crawling around inside your tap water…

That’s where I’ve been this winter.

After putting together an exhibition for International Women’s Day on March 8, I thought I would take a few days off to go up to Foça and plants some artichokes and some trees, and when I came back to Turgutreis, the bugs got me. (Insert frowny-face.) Slowly-slowly, though, things are starting to turn green on the outside (of my house), and a rosy-pink on the inside (of me), so it may be time to start gearing up for springtime: Better late than never, isn’t it?

A friend – I forget who – was expressing a slight bit of jealousy in that I could always ‘just post pictures’ on my blog, and that I did not actually have to write anything. In fact, because of ‘the medium in which I realize my practice’ – to quote some grad student somewhere – I don’t necessarily have pictures to post, even though I most certainly have started working again.

I suppose I could do a drawing of the inside of my brain, but that might not be pretty. So, rather, a list:

1. Thinking about ‘spatiality’ – how not every place is the ‘right’ place for every work of art.
2. Thinking about ‘collaboration’ – how not everyone appears to be ‘into it’.
3. Thinking about ‘drawing’ – how, in spite of the fact that it is probably of more benefit to the draw-er (artist) than to the draw-ee (audience), it could have potential as an enjoyable source of income.

As they say in Turkish, ‘cemre düştü’* – so I guess it’s time to translate 1, 2 and 3 into a., b. and c.

a. Write that paper for the conference on Spatiality at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, and fill out that application for the 2nd Bodrum Biennial  so that I can exhibit the installation ‘Have Your Photo Taken as an Ottoman Princess’ at the Bodrum Castle – ‘nazar değmesin’** – a ‘right’ place for it.
b. A couple of projects to be written, or implemented, or both…
c. Have already cut lots of paper to size to continue with the ‘water paintings’ series as soon as this latest cold-snap ends – ought to start investigating exhibition opportunities… all suggestions are welcome (Insert winkyface.)

As a reward for having gotten this far, here are some pictures:


what comes up in our water-logged ‘garden’,


‘Giant Fennel’ (‘körek otu) taking over the lot next door, and

Good Govt on country detail 2

A little detail of springtime in the countryside of 13th-century Sienna,

all of these providing inspiration for ‘1, 2, 3, a.b.c.’

(For more pics, just scroll down or click on a tab or two…)

*’ the heat has fallen’, ie, ‘spring has arrived’

** ‘don’t let the evil eye touch it’, i.e. ‘protect my luck’)

Women in Art

The following  pictures are from the installation titled ‘2000 Women’ from 2000 that featured 2000 drawings of naked women. The drawings were all copies of about 7 classic nude images from artists ranging from Reubens to Degas.

After the exhibit, I thought that a better title might be ‘Backfired’.

2000 women installation shot
(unfortunately, best resolution I’ve got – sorry…)

That’s because the original intent of this piece – together with ‘Nü-Nar’ (‘Nude-Pomegranate’), another installation in the British Council’s gallery in Ankara – was to raise the issue of the commodification of women through art.

With 2000 women, I thought that the entire piece would turn into a giant abstract work that would in some sense supersede the individual drawings (200 per month over a 10-month period, 50/week, Mon-Friday, 10/day). In a sense it did, but in a sense, it did not. Horny men still expressed the most interest in the big-busted blondes, whereas they had less appreciation for well-drawn feet and faces.

I thought I would post these today, 4 days after a young woman in the southern Turkish city of Mersin was murdered by a would-be rapist.

The first photo below is another exhibition shot, but the next 2 are pictures of some tea trays I decorated using parts of some drawings that had been in the exhibition. Over the weekend, I had a box of about 200 of the drawings on sale at an open-air Bazaar in Turgutreis that hoped to breathe some life into the dead downtown of a tourist trap in winter and earn some money for some women trying to improve their economic circumstances.

Money – Sex – Violence – Power.

These are the things that ‘art’ messes with.

In the meantime, my husband and I happily celebrated Valentine’s Day with a dinner out on the town:
I’d rather celebrate love than excoriate hate.

Let’s see how to ‘tag’ this one, folks.


2000 women detayi fuzzy


Tray- Caryatids

tray - angel w winged bowl



A Couple of Old Columns…

So, in my last post I was discussing strange shapes, or, more specifically, how I like to work in formats that are not in the usual Golden Mean of proportions – namely, squares, or columns.

Lately, I have been working on a lot of vertical collages (just browse some of the earlier posts here), but this format is nothing new. Way back when (in graduate school in Baltimore), I got infatuated with columns – part of a general interest in architectural decoration. After a couple of long, tall paintings on wood, I got the opportunity to install some ‘real’ columns in a church in Baltimore. The occasion was a small exhibition of installations I was organizing at the back of a space that was being used for theater performances; the church had had a fire that had done some serious damage to the main hall, so until they got the funds together to replace all the pews, they were holding services in a smaller room on the other side of the church and using the pewless hall for art – bless them!

The pictures below are the only images I have of the 2 columns (had old slides turned into JPEGs last year 🙂 ). The columns were made out of sonotubes, i.e.concrete formwork, which I sliced in half vertically so that I could work on them and then put them back together around the existing church columns. Once I managed to get the tubes to fit in the elevator to my studio, things were pretty straight forward – except for a little difficulty that I might refer to as the ‘pop’n’fresh effect’ (picture a giant toilet paper tool trying to uncurl itself). I covered the surfaces of the columns in a layer of plaster mixed with plastic, another layer of acrylic paint, and then metal leaf, and then drilled holes for Christmas lights – as, luck would have it, the existing church columns each had an electric outlet at the base: plugged in, I had some pretty flashy columns…

With the theme of religion as inspiration (!), the 2 columns were a Goddess Column and what I refer to as my Crusader Column – or, from a more modern perspective, “Black Man, Blue Man”.

Column - brown man Column - blue man

This has been fun, this “Blast from the Past” – makes me want to do some more big sculptures. (I believe one side of the lower half of the Goddess Column went to a friend of mine in California, but the other parts are long gone to the landfill…)

Me and Frederic Church

So, I had to start putting together a slide presentation for the workshop at Olana this Saturday, right? I thought I’d try to start out with a little bit of what Church might have seen as his ship passed through the South Aegean.

Well, this is what we see (almost) outside our bedroom window in Turgutreis:

Catal sunset


And this is what we see when we head about an hour to the east (Kargacık).


And this is what we see when we head about an hour to the north (Didyma).



And if you take your spectacular sky, combine it with a bit of craggy landscape, and add a column or two, you get…


The Aegean Sea – by Frederic Church.

At my workshop at Olana this Saturday (October 11), we’ll be looking at the architecture/architectural decoration of Anatolian Civilizations, taking examples from along the route Church traveled between the Holy Land and the Black Sea – through the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas up to Istanbul. We’ll also go over some design fundamentals, and I’ll pass on some simple techniques that will help you “create life” in your living space. All this at Olana, Church’s very own ‘Oriental Fantasy’.

You can find out more about the workshop and how to sign up by going to the Olana Partnership web site (just click here).



Reminder: Olana Workshop – October 11 (Let’s Get Decorating!)

Reminder: Olana Workshop – October 11 (Let’s Get Decorating!)

If you are looking for something to do over Columbus Day Weekend in New York, how about a visit to Olana in Hudson, NY? Maybe you know it, maybe you don’t – Olana is a marvelous place, an Orientalist Fantasy with views of the Hudson River designed by 19th C. landscape painter Frederic Church.


I will be giving a workshop there on October 11, talking about architectural decoration, with examples from Anatolia, following the route Church traveled from Cyprus along the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas up to Istanbul.

We’ll look at examples from Roman, Greek/Hellenistic, Selcuk, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture – and we’ll  tour Church’s house as inspiration – and then participants will get down to business designing something to bring color and joy into their own homes.

I’m full of ideas to share – and tips for simple techniques that “you don’t need to be an artist” to accomplish!

For information and to sign up for the workshop, contact the Olana Partnership (just click here).

Rustem Pasa sütün

Above: Ceramic Tiles from the Ruştem Paşa Mosque in Istanbul.

Below: An installation I created “under the influence” of Iznik tiles…

kuthaya 1


It’s from Kos, it’s Italian, it’s in New York

It’s from Kos, it’s Italian, it’s in New York

I just love this sketch!

Sketch - Ironwork

It is a drawing for a detail of an iron gate from the 1920s for (if I remember correctly) the entrance gate of a government building on Kos (Cos), the island that I see out my window. At the time, Kos belonged to Italy, having been occupied by the Italians in 1912 and then formally ceded by the Ottoman Empire with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 – as punishment for the Turks’ being on the wrong side in World War I. Today Kos belongs to Greece, which means to visit, I need to get my passport stamped on the way in, after a  30-minute ferry from Turgutreis. (Total time from my house to Kos: 45 minutes.)

In fact, on the occasion that I took this photo – at an exhibition highlighting the island’s Italian architectural heritage – I took the long way ’round (bus to Fethiye, ferry  to Rhodes, ferry back up to Kos; Total time: 2 days!), as I had been invited to write about how “Turkish Tourists Help Greek Islands out of Crisis”… but that’s another story.

This image will be one of a number of examples from Kos that I will share in my talk/workshop on architectural decoration at Olana on October 11th.

October on the Hudson

It’s official – I’ll be in NY from October 8-25!
For anyone around Hudson NY (north of NYC, south of Albany),
I’ll be at Olana on October 11 for a lecture/workshop on architectural decoration.
You can find the details of the program on the web site of the Olana State Historic Site (click here).

If you’ve never been to Olana, it is really a trip! It was the home of the artist Frederic Chuch, who had the house designed “in a Persian Style” – his Oriental Fantasy on the Hudson River.

I am looking forward to being up there in the fall to take photographs and do some drawing. In the meantime, I am going through all my “slides” (I wish – instead, I’m going through my JPEGs!) Here are just a few…


Rhodes-Mosque (1)