It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

2019 Arts and Archives: Turkish Calligraphy

Our teacher 
 We spent an afternoon with a master calligrapher and had a workshop to learn about the Turkish calligraphy which was used by the Ottomas and derived from the Qur'an. Our teacher was a professional calligrapher since 2010, and guided us through the very basic of this script. We used a traditional bamboo reed pen, kalem. We also learned about the history of the Islamic calligraphy and its traditional use.
This was a very refreshing afternoon with lots of fun.       

Ink was mixed with silk fiber in the bottle to  protect the pen and preserve the ink better
Student wok -

To see few more pictured from our workshop, please click here

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

2019 Arts and Archives - NGBB and The Quick visit to Asia!




We spend the whole day at the Nezahat Gokyigit BotanicGarden located in the Asian part of Istanbul. The botanic garden was established in the memory of Ali Nihat Gokyigit’s wife in 1995 in the junction of two newly completed highways. At that time the area of 50 ha  (123 acres) was construction zone and completely without any kind of vegetation. Soil analyses were done, soil was improved and in the first stage around 52000 saplings were planted. The drainage tunnels were used to link the eight large and four small parcels that was formed by the motorways and their entrance and exit ramps at the junction. The garden was opened in 2002. Today the garden has a herbarium (11000 specimens and growing), research department, library and a building for botanical illustration; the living collection today is more than 2000 species. We visited the different departments and toured the beautiful garden. 
Prof. Dr. Adil Guner on the right, Isik Guner, the artistic director for the Flora Turkey Project and Burcin Cingay, the Curator of Herbarium and Research

We met with the Garden Director Prof. Dr. Adil Guner and Isik Guner gave us an informative presentation of the Flora Turkey Project. The Project has published at the moment 2 volumes of the 28 volumes. Around 11000 plants are planned to be included of which 3000 are endemic. The project is expected to be completed in 2023 with 2000 watercolor paintings and 9000 line drawings. At the moment around 40 illustrators are involved with the project. 
We saw an exhibit consisting plates from the second volume that was recently published. This too was a very informative and inspiring day - To see more pictures form our day at the Botanic Garden, please click here

Numphea lutea by Emel Kangal

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

2019 Arts and Archives - Turkish rugs, spices and Bosporus

 Paintings on the 47 meter high cupola in the Suleymaniye Mosque

Our crash course in the Turkish history, and crafts continues... The main destination for this morning was the Suleymaniye Mosque which was built by the famous architect Mimar Sinan . The Mosque was completed in 1557 to tribute Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The central dome reaches to the height of 47 meters. The mosque is considered to be the architects masterpiece. The complex includes a hospital, primary school, hamam, medical college, public kitchen, library. This mosque is built on the third of the seven hills of Istanbul. This is still a working mosque.

Suleymaniye Mosque

On the way we visited a Hamam museum belonging to the Istanbul University. This is a beautifully restored 16th century hamam  displaying bath accessories and explaining the rituals that go along with them. Unfortunately we couldn’t take any pictures inside. We also dropped in to the Mosque library, now operated by the University of Istanbul. This library have many important scripts  and manuscripts in its collections .
Next to the Hamam museum we spotted this intricate birdhouse

We got an excellent presentation of Turkish rugs and the weaving technique. The Turks use double loom and double knot. The material is wool, cotton or silk. Typically the silk rugs have 400 knots per inch, for wool and cotton this number is the half. A 7’ x 10’ rug takes some 4 years to weave for four weavers. Some business was done…

The Spice Bazaar, also called for Egyptian Spice bazaar, built in 1664 was our next stop. It consists of several streets and some 100 shops, two restaurants and a mosque. Majority of the shops are selling herbs and spices. When the Spice Bazaar was established Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire got goods from Far East and India with the Egyptian Caravan. 


In the afternoon we also had a 90 minutes boat ride on the Bosporus. The weather has been outstanding, sunny and warm.
For more pictures from our day, please click here

Monday, May 27, 2019

2019 Arts and Archives - Tiles, Columns and good food

The courtyard of the Blue Mosque


We started our day by looking more closely the obelisks which are at the Hippodron, the rectangular park alongside Sultanahmed Park. The Hippodrome was the center of Bysantium’s life for 1000 years and of Ottomans life another 400 years. In its heyday it was decorated by obelisks, some of them remain in place today. 
Some of the tile work inside the Sultanahmed Mosque

We visited the Sultanahmed Mosque, also Called Blue Mosque which has six minarets and still is a working mosque. It was built between 1609 and 1616, the name Blue Mosque refers to the color of the majority of its tiles. Opposite from this mosque is the Ayasofya Museum which originally was a Geek Orthodox Church built 360-415.  The current building was constructed by Emperor Justinian. It only took five years to complete it ( 532-537) by the 11000 people who were working with it. It was opened as Hagia Sophia Museum in 1935. The dome is 180 ft high and 100 ft wide. It is filled with gilded mosaics , the oldest dates back to the 9th century AD.
Ayasofya Museum - Hagia Sopfia


Emperor Justinian also commissioned the construction of the subterranean Basilica Cistern constructed with 336 columns, most of them salvaged from ruined temples. It was able to store up to 80000 cubic meters of water. It was rediscovered in 1545, finally in 1985 it was cleaned and renovated and opened to public in 1987. Some of the most remarkable columns are the two depicting the medusa head.
Inside the Basilica Cistern

Finally after lunch we visited the Sultan Ahmed Palace Museum, the Topcapi Palace , the Harem, which contains more than 300 rooms, nine bathhouses, two mosques, hospital etc.
Some of the tile work inside the Topcapi Palace Museum

The day was finished with a dinner at Asiate restaurant which serves specialties according the recipes from the Ottoman palace Cuisine and offers more than 200 historical recipes from 16th-17th century.

The day was packed with interesting history, Odur, our excellent guide was with us the whole day and we learned and experienced from the early morning to late night –


Intricate Columns in the Hagia Sophia Museum, on the right of the column the hand imprint is said to be from Holy Maria's hand

To see more pictures from our second day, please click here (part of the coming later - Internet is currently acting) 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

2019 Arts and Archives is starting

The sun was setting when we arrived into Istanbul, the city of  more than 15 million people, to start our 9th Arts and Archives tour to Turkey and Uzbekistan. You can see the Suleymaniye Mosque in the background. 


On the way to dinner. We are in the middle of Ramadan, and the view was amazing - it was a big party and happy people everywhere. Here the 16th century Ottoman style hammam (Turkish bath), Ayasofya Hurem Sultan Hamam which is next to the Hagia Sophia.
From our dinner restaurant, Seven Hills Fish and meat restaurant.
To see more pictures from the few first hours in Istanbul, please click here

Friday, May 24, 2019

Color for the Holiday Weekend

Lilac Breasted Roller - Coracias caudatus by Laura Matthews, colored pencils

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all our readers. Here are some works, mostly in process yet, from our recent classes including some excellent graphite works from the entry level graphite. For more images, please click here.
Remember that the registration for Summer and Fall classes opens on June 11th, 9 a.m. (M.D.T.). You can access the catalog by clicking here.
Tomatoes by Mark Weiland

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Inspired by Mackintosh

(by Lynn Williamson)

 In our series Drawing in Tradition this spring we studied the works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh  (1868-1928) who was best known for his architectural renderings and designs. In addition to that he also focused on floral subjects using simple contours and thin watercolor washes. The students were working mostly with live cut specimens and practiced the art of sketching and design.
To see more works from this class, inspired by the life and artistic approach of Mackintosh please click here.
(by Jane Smith)

Friday, May 10, 2019

True to Form - Call for Entries

(Cynthia Zyzda, Colored Pencil)


November 15 – 16, 2019
Mitchell Hall

The theme of this art salon is the complex visual language of the natural world, showcasing its incredible variety of shapes, colors and textures. From the subtle contours of flower petals to the vibrant hues of a butterfly’s wings, this exhibit explores the visual feast offered by flora and fauna. 
True to Form features 6 specific thematic categories: Hairy, Spiky, Shiny, Striped, Spotted, and Multicolored
True to Form will be a two-day, salon-style exhibition installed in Denver Botanic Gardens’ Mitchell Hall.  Artists will hang their own matted work on freestanding panel walls, provide and hang the accompanying label, and remove their work at the closing of the exhibition on Saturday the 16th. Artists must be available to hang and remove their own artworks at the opening and closing of the salon. Each artist may submit up to three artworks for consideration. Entries must be submitted digitally via Google Documents (Google account required) located at this link. 
Read the complete call for entries by clicking here.



Constance Sayas, watercolor

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Charcoal - as Old as Humankind


Bearded Iris by Kathleen Seeley

From Paleolithic cave paintings to Durer, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Henri Matisse – most painters and illustrators through the ages have illustrated with charcoal which is as old as humankind for a painting medium. 
We introduced charcoal to our course offerings this spring and the result were convincing. The students were working at standing easels and mostly outside.  Please see here images from that class.
Joan Tidwell  giving finishing touches for her oriental lily

Inspired by Patrick Dougherty’s One Fell Swoop we are arranging another charcoal drawing class scheduled to start on May 13th, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. please see the previous posting about that.
For registration and more information please click here.

From our current sculpture exhibit: Kendra Fleichman's Trust by Michelle Miller

Friday, May 3, 2019

Inspired by One Fell Swoop -

 If you visit our Chatfield location you can see Patrick Douherty's site specific installation "One Fell Swoop."

Inspired by the opportunity we have added  two new drawing classes into the selection of our May-June course offerings:

1. One Fell Swoop with Charcoal  May 13 and 20, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. , Chatfield Farms
During this course you will have the opportunity to interpret Patrick Dougherty's installation "One Fell Swoop" in willow charcoal, which is made from the same species as the site-specific sculpture. Learn how to use this expressive medium to create form through loose gestural drawings and intensive studies. Working alongside (or in) Dougherty's installation will provide many compositional opportunities: focus on its position in the landscape, the details of the entwined willow, or its monumental abstract forms. Willow charcoal's ease and flexibility might surprise you as you work at standing easels onsite.
Open to All, Preregistration is required as the class size is limited.
For more information and to register, please click here

2. Zoom In and Out, June 3, 10, 17, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Chatfield Farms 
Study the form and light on Patrick Dougherty’s larger-than-life installation “One Fell Swoop”. Work either at the macro or micro scale and learn about techniques for seeing and depicting perspective accurately. You draw either inside the sculpture or alongside it and refine your skills to show light and volume in simple or complex shapes. You learn to see the shadows correctly and bring your drawing to life. You work with graphite and/or color media of your choice and create a lasting documentation of this site specific art installation.
Open to All, Preregistration is required as the class size is limited.
For more information and to register, please click here
(Zooming in, Graphite by Randy Raak)

(Photo L. Eldred)