I’m still suffering so here’s another kind of pepper. There seems to be about 20 varieties on Fethiye market in the summer. Let’s hope I can get out and about pretty soon or I might end up painting all of them, God forbid!
We had 5cms of rain last night! A spectacular storm with continuous thunder, lightning and strong winds causing the first major power cuts of the season. The all enveloping dust has been covering the landscape for 5 months but overnight the colours have magically reappeared . Now bricks are red, leaves are green, soil is brown, roof tiles are orange, the mountains are purple and the sky is clear and blue. And it’s goodbye to shades of grey, black and white are back !
I am a member of an art class who meet on Thursday mornings at the Nayla restaurant on the beautiful Fethiye kordon or promenade, you would call it. Our teacher, Leslie is quite ill and receiving treatment back in the UK. While we wait and look forward to her recovery we continue to meet as a group and I really enjoy our get togethers. The members are nearly all women and as a side benefit I now know quite a lot about gynaecology and diets. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the creative side has become a bit cute and fluffy without Leslie’s direction. For example, last week the subject matter included kittens, puppies, donkeys, babies and fairies. When the lovely Linda asked me if I thought her painting of an eagle looked more like a dove I sat down and did this in response.
Although I enjoy our regular art group meetings in Fethiye, I decided to join the daily painting movement as a way to discipline myself to paint regularly and improve my technique. I’m not lazy but I’m easily distracted so I needed to find a way to develop my own style and keep pushing myself. That’s when I read about the Daily Painting movement. It’s so simple, all I had to do was sit down and produce a small painting every day. Well no, because a small painting might take an hour but it could take me days or even weeks to finish.
In addition, Turkey is not Provence and as I’d like to develop an impressionist landscape ouvre, I have the problem of finding new subjects every day without resorting to Still Life. And I didn’t want to copy other artist’s paintings. Imitate their style, yes! Develop their ideas, certainly! Learn from their progress, definitely!
I found myself fretting over this dilemma until I came to a workable solution. I now think of “daily painting” as an activity, not a product. It’s the daily painting, not the painting a day that counts.
The mountains that surround us here in Fethiye are covered in pine forests and Spontaneous Combustion is a good description of the speed in which fires develop in this tinder dry environment. Unfortunately there is nothing mystical about them and they are mostly caused by carelessness with cigarettes. However, barbecue fires, Chinese lanterns and fireworks contribute and an article in our local news reporting the temporary banning of these activities was in mind as I watched our local firefighting helicopter dumping huge buckets of water on the latest outbreak. They begin with a wisp of smoke but just seconds later flames shoot up and trees almost explode in the heat. Our daily breezes are onshore and away from the town but I’d hate to see one of these fires develop with an offshore breeze. Our fire fighting service are doing a fantastic job and I dedicate this painting to them.
The container of choice around here is a recycled olive oil can. Everywhere you look you will see them along the edges of garden paths or perched atop stone walls leading their second lives as garden plant pots. The filling of choice is the geranium followed closely by chillies and tomatoes. Depending on the standard of the owner’s green fingers they range in quality from straggly, underwatered and underfed, sad cases to splendid, bushy specimens in the peak of condition. It’s the cans themselves that fascinate me as in their original, pristine state they are normally highly decorated examples of mediterranean product advertising featuring bucolic landscapes, portraits, poultry, ornate patterns and obviously olives in all their forms. After time, rust takes over and the beauty of the design slowly fades, replaced by a different kind of beauty. A bit like their owners, come to think of it.
It pains me to admit it but the return flight was excellent in every way and the outgoing flight only became a nightmare when the mother of the two year old sat next to me gave him a can of a well known Energy drink. Credit where it’s due, a big Thank You to Thomas Cook.
So I’m back in Turkey after a month working in Barmouth, the beautiful Welsh town where we still have a business. The Snowdonia countryside was stunning as always and it was great to meet up with friends but I prefer it here in almost every way.
I’m starting with an impression of a corner of our seaside garden in Wales while it’s still fresh in my mind. It certainly left an impression on my back tidying up after a gap of nearly a year.
We have owned a house and business in the coastal town of Barmouth in Wales for 23 years. Nowadays, it’s a factory outlet store selling the Regatta outdoor clothing range. If you are ever nearby, pop in and say hello to the wonderful Teresa and Louıse. Barmouth is a truly beautiful location, sandwiched between the Irish sea and the mountains of Snowdonia and, although we prefer the climate here, we love it there. Actually, by now I’m looking forward to a bit of rain! Anyway, as Barmouth is a tourist town I must go over to work in the summer. I’m leaving tonight but I’ll be back in a month and meanwhile I’ll try to do some watercolour painting in the hills, but that’s not really relevant to this blog. So sadly, I have to leave you temporarily with this sunset painting of Kaş.
Cadianda, an early Byzantine settlement, located 25 kilometres from Fethiye on a hilltop outside Uzumlu, has suffered in numerous ways through the centuries but there is still plenty to see. Nowadays, the ruins lie hidden among the trees, but this was once a sizeable city complete with an ampitheatre, an agora, a necropolis, many tombs in a variety of styles, a Hellenistic theatre and a stadium and racetrack. Most of the ruins are from the Roman period although the earlier name suggests the original settlement, Kadawanti, dates to 3000 B.C. I prefer to wander the circular path clockwise when the site unfolds with a succession of surprises and spectacular views of Fethiye during the climb to the top. There is an element of danger here as the summit area is pocketed with the remains of 4 interconnecting deep cisterns into which the careless could fall. Water shortages and earthquakes were a problem up here and Cadianda was ultimately abandoned by the 7th Century.
This is not my usual oeuvre but inspiration comes from many sources. My neice married in Australia and, as we missed the occasion, I painted this portrait as a surprise wedding present. The shipping quote from Fethiye to Melbourne was outrageous so I’ve had to wait until it was finally delivered by hand (oversize baggage foc with Etihad, by the way) before I could post this image. I’ve heard from her mum that they like it so I’m happy!