Istanbul Adventures

July 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Yes.

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.

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

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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.

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

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Exploring the Grand Bazar and some Turkish handmade goodies.

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

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Enjoying cards with some of our new Turkish friends.

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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.

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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.

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watercolorWEDNESDAY XXXXVI

December 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

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Flashback to the summer!

I snapped this refreshing photo of the Truckee River while on a bike ride this summer.  I finally had time to paint this memory of the relaxing warm summer days while enjoying these crisp winter days!

Brrrrrrrrr

watercolorWENDESDAY XXXXII

August 29, 2012 § 3 Comments

After returning from Copenhagen, I jumped from one adventure to the next.

My next adventure awaited me in the mountains, 6,000ft above sea level in the small mountain town Truckee, California.  This summer I had the awesome opportunity to work for MWA Architects and Engineers, a firm specializing in mountain-inspired design.  I never thought I would find myself in a small town, but after living the city for the last year, the peaceful Sierra mountains were quite a treat.

And as summer begins to fade (why is it getting dark so early!?!)…so does my internship.  To thank MWA, I painted them our office (which was actually designed my boss) clad in rustic wood, recycled corrugated metal and rusted corten steel (mmm…my favorites! Can you see why I loved working with them?).

Its been an educational and relaxing summer, yet I am excited to head back to SLO for my final year!

Thank Truckee for a beautiful summer.

So yet again I find myself saying goodbye to another home…

Vi ses Truckee! Hej San Luis Obispo!

watercolorWEDNESDAY XXXX

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.”

Skål!

watercolorWEDNESDAY-sierraSTYLE

July 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

Its back!

Well folks, I couldn’t stay away from watercolorWEDNESDAY.  Yes, my year-long Europe excursion may have come to a close (sigh) but this adventure of life still continues (and boy is it grand!).

And in this wonderful adventure, I continue to paint and would love to share with you (because come on, who doesn’t like a weekly painting?!?)

I have traded the rolling hills (cough…bunny slopes) of Denmark for the majestic peaks of the Sierra Nevada.  A month ago I moved for an exciting internship in Lake Tahoe and by golly, this landscape is too beautiful to not paint!

I can’t promise to post something every Wednesday but I will try my best and we shall see where the summer leads.

So for now let me share with you my first painting from Truckee, California.

Welcome to Kirsten in the Mountains!

Welcome to Truckee, California.  Truckee is a good ‘ol Western town  located half an hour outside of Lake Tahoe, the most majestic and beautiful lake in all the world (personal opinion? NO! fact!).

The town was established as a railroad town in the post-Gold Rush era and was home to the weary survivors of the infamous Donner Party (whose story still gives me shivers).  Today Truckee functions as the threshold to the Western Shores of Lake Tahoe.

Pictured here is the Truckee rail yard.  The tracks are no longer used for passengers, just cargo, but its part of the historic Transcontinental Railroad of the Wild West.  In fact, Truckee’s original name was Colburn Station.

I live close to the tracks so the constant hum and horn of the train follows me around the clock.  I don’t mind though.  I think of it as a good reminder for me to look around, take a pine-scented breath of fresh air and appreciate God’s work that surrounds me.

So next time you take a trip up to the mountains, don’t just ooo and ahh when you pass through Truckee.  Get out, stretch your legs, take a walk around the historic downtown and explore all this quaint place has to offer.

For those of you greeting card lovers, I am thinking of doing a ‘Mountain-set” at the end of the summer.  Stay tuned!

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