Sunday, November 16, 2014

Outside the Grand Bazaar at Night - Istanbul, Turkey

12" x 16"
Oil on Board

Stepping into the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, the largest indoor market in the world, is like stepping into a smoky,  dimly lit roundabout, whirling and reverberating with the taunts of aggressive traders, the glint and clank of ancient brass, and steamed in black tea, tobacco and wood smoke.  There is no way to gauge how far you've ventured into it or where it will spit you out.  And if the bazaar itself is a maze, the blocks surrounding it are a labyrinth of ancillary markets, formed into districts such as rugs, scarves, men's clothing, wallets, guns, weapons, or wedding dresses, the district featured in this painting.

You don't really get the sense from the painting, but the bazaar and surrounding markets close promptly at 7pm.  At that time, the storefront lights turn off and the market empties of people.  You're walled in on all sides by buildings.  The streets are narrow, the sky is a blue slit above you, and there are no street signs.  How we found our way back to familiar streets is still a mystery to me.  I never felt unsafe in Istanbul during the day, but I have to admit that I was a little sketched out walking through the weapons district at closing time, stumbling across smaller and smaller markets, many operating in darkened parking lots, selling outdated, secondhand electronics like Walkmans and Blackberries.

I know the price is a little high on this one, but I feel like this painting is representative of the intense studying I have done lately;  my focus on value, color, and a thick, painterly style came together in this painting. Although I'm not where I want to be yet, this painting represents the best of my ability at the moment.

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