Istanbul Adventures

July 17, 2013 § Leave a comment



It’s Wednesday.  And this is not a watercolor.

Today I trade my paintbrush for pictures to share with you my most recent escapade in Turkey!

I spent three weeks hopping around the country of Turkish Delight, Turkish Baths and 7 churches from Revelation.  My first week was spent in Istanbul, second in Kayseri and the finale in the surreal land of Cappadocia.

We spent our days helping teach English, meeting new Turkish friends and exploring the historical city.

When a family I know announced they were spending the summer in Istanbul for work, I thought why not join?  The city was unlike any other I had visited last year.

First, the city is huge…some estimates say 14 million, others 18…either way, its huge! People everywhere at all hours.

Second, the city is the only one in the world to straddle two continents.  The Bosphorus Straight runs between the city, dividing the city between the continent of Europe and Asia.  First time in Asia…whoopee!

Third, this place is old!  While living in Europe last year, I became accustomed to visiting cathedrals 600 years old but Turkey is home to monuments and places that pre-date the time of Christ.

And lastly, this was my first experience in a Muslim culture.  In 1493, Constantinople was conquered by Muslims, changing the name to Istanbul and continuing the Muslim rule today.  I quickly became accustomed to daily calls to prayer and minarets poking through the cityscape.

blue mosque_small

Exploring the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, aka the Blue Mosque, built in 1616 and still used as a mosque.

haggia int_small

Across the street is the Hagia Sophia, one of the most famous places in the world.  Originally a church built the 6th century, then converted into a mosque in 1493 after the city was conquered by Muslims and has been a museum since the 1930s.


Hand painted ceramics in the Grand Bazar.  I bargained my way to snag a few of these to bring home.


Exploring the Grand Bazar and some Turkish handmade goodies.


Some of the group at Taksim Square, the site of many of the current protests…looking pretty calm right now.


Enjoying cards with some of our new Turkish friends.


Snapshots from Kadıköy, the neighborhood on the Asia side where we stayed.  It was a colorful neighborhood full of cozy coffee shops, antique stores and bustling restaurants.


While there I taught a few watercolor lessons…from the coast of Kadıköy to a Vacation Bible School with Turkish and gypsy kids.  They were all excellent artists!

Check back soon for more posts from Turkey.



January 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

Open Air Museum


Velkommen til Frilandsmuseet!

Today we flashback to my year in Copenhagen, Denmark to the Open Air Museum (Frilandsmuseet).  The Museum is one of the oldest outdoor museums in Europe and is home to over 100 buildings dating from 1650-1950.  The buildings have been reconstructed, brick by brick, to Lyngby, a suburb outside Copenhagen for the public to experience Scandinavia’s rich building history.  The home above is a traditional Danish farmhouse, complete with a thatched roof and white wash exterior.


August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Greetings from Dollar Point, Lake Tahoe!

Sorry for the lack of postings…the Olympics have been a bit of distraction to my painting hobby.  After having the opportunity to travel so much of the world, the Olympics are so fun to cheer for all those countries I visited in the last year.  Ahh I can’t wait another 4 years for the next Summer Games!

So back to Dollar Point.  My sisters and I took a break from the TV and took a sunset walk down to the Lake.  The closer we got the beach, the brighter and more intense the sunset got.  The water looked on fire!

Dollar Point is a large residential area outside Tahoe City along the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.  Many mansions sprinkle the Lake’s coast all with majestic views of the 22 mile long Lake.  The Point was originally part of the Washoe Native American’s territory.  Similar to much of the Golden State, settlers took over and the land was sold many times throughout the 19th century.  In 1927 Mrs. Laura Moore Knight of St. Louis sold the land to San Franciscan Stanley Dollar Sr (hence the name Dollar Point) in order purchase a portion of land and the island at the southwest end of Emerald Bay where she built the famous Scandinavian-inspired mansion, “Vikingsholm.”



May 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

Speaking of sunlight, I had to capture the light while visiting Bagsværd Kirke last week.  Bagsværd Kirke is a church in the suburbs of Copenhagen designed by Jørn Utzon.

Ever heard of Utzon?

Well you should have!

He is the mastermind behind the iconic Sydney Opera House and one of Denmark’s most famous architects.

Completed in 1976, the church is a unique example of Scandinavian architecture at its finest.  Using concrete, unfinished wood and tile the church is far from traditional, yet still evokes the ethereal and spiritual with its play of light and form.  The overarching form is in the sanctuary ceiling.  The Nordic light enters from the high ribbon window and swims along a series of folded concrete curves, creating beautiful contrasts and forms.  Here I try to capture the intense contrasts within the space.

Temple Bar.

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

Green Converse lace-ups float upon the cobble stones.

She can’t help but dance.

The tune of the fiddle, the beats of the drum box, and the chords of the guitar blend together to produce a nostalgic harmony.

Five young lads sporting grungy clothes, unwashed long hair and taped together instruments beat along the traditional Irish folk tunes.

…two people stop…ten people stop…fifty people…one hundred people gather forming a crescent-shaped stage crowd around the band.

Her courage builds.

Her feet begin to tap and suddenly she finds herself in the middle stage jumping along the beats of her heritage.  The dance steps from her childhood effortlessly flow from her feet.

Cameras come out, smiles grow upon faces, a chorus of clapping hands begin and the clink of the coins thrown into the open guitar case adds to the merriment.

Two young girls admire the dancer’s confidence and join the lone dancer in the middle of the stage. Pair-by-pair more join the stage until the whole street explodes into a dancing parade.

Welcome to Temple Bar.

(if link does not work go to

On a recent merry Friday night, I found myself exploring the medieval cobblestone streets of Temple Bar in downtown Dublin, Ireland.

Ever been to an Irish pub in the States? Multiple that by 1000, add some fun accents, a lot of Guinness and there you have the magic of Temple Bar.  The young, the old, the conservative, the liberal, the fun, the boring, the sober, the smashed, the beer belly, the beer keg…the pubs are filled with a diverse crowd of Dubliners and tourists.

Dublin, you make me smile.


April 11, 2012 § 4 Comments

Let’s hop over to Finland for the day and take a look at Alvar Aalto’s Aalto Vase. Exhibited at the 1937 Paris Expo, the vase was an instant classic with its Aalto-organic shape and fine glass sculpting.

I have professed my love for Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto a handful of times before but let me repeat, “I LOVE Alvar Aalto!” For all you non-architecture folk, Alvar Aalto is one of (if not THE) the Nordic’s most influential architects in the 20th century and one of my personal favorites.

I stumbled upon this interesting video describing the design and glass blown process of the Aalto vase that I thought I would share.

kærlighed til min lejlighed

April 8, 2012 § 4 Comments

I will forever remember the squeaks from the door handle, the glass rattling in the bathroom, the upstairs sink bubbling, footsteps trudging up the stairs and the neighbor’s children’s squeals as they get ready for bed.

This place is home.

This is the apartment I love.

At the start of this semester I moved from the suburbs of Copenhagen into the big city and I am soaking up the city life experience.  Runs around the Lakes, coffee in the park and people watching from my balcony (not in a creepy way) are just some of the perks of my new city lifestyle.  Last semester I had the joy of living in the suburbs with a great host family but this semester I decided to switch things up and try life in the capital city.

My new home is a typical beautiful Copenhagen apartment in Østerbro.  Østerbro (translated as ‘east bridge’)  is one of Copenhagen’s five neighborhoods and is considered as the posh (some say boring, I say classy) quarter of Copenhagen.  As my Danish teacher likes to remind me, Østerbro is the only ‘-bro’ that was never once a slum (she lives in Østerbro, if you couldn’t tell).  I share the apartment with my two roommates who are studying at the medical and business schools in Copenhagen.

So I figured before I return to the States (in just a few months– ahh!) I should show you around!  Here are some sneaks of the place that has quickly become my home.

Love for my apartment.

Kærlighed til min lejlighed.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the History category at Watercolor Wednesday.