Monday, August 25, 2014

Rooftop Sketching

One of my favorite places to sketch in Istanbul, is from the top of an old han, tucked away between the Grande Bazaar and Eminönü.   The view is unparalleled, and no matter how many times I visit, I always seem to find a new composition or point of interest.  The building is also full of fantastic workshops, where men are constantly at work creating metal springs, shaping hats into place or dying buttons gold.  

I have been drawing in this building for 3 years, and have started to feel completely at home when I find myself on its archaic rooftop, gasping at the 360 degree view of this beautiful city.

"Rooftop Sketch" Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Aktopraklık archaeopark

I spent a couple of days last week in and around Bursa with my wife and son.  We visited a friend of ours from Istanbul University: Dr. Necmi Karul who has been excavating a neolithic/calcholitic site at Akçalar, Bursa.  Dr. Karul is also creating a wonderful Archaeopark in the region not only to tell youngsters how prehistoric man lived 8.000 years ago but also to give impressions of rural ethnographical life.  This aquarelle depicts a "çatma ev" built by Yoruks of the region 150 to 200 years ago.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Between Gerede and Kizilcahamam

Today when going from Istanbul to Ankara, instead of the motorway, I took the old road which is also very good and not crowded. Especially the forests between Gerede and Kizilcahamam are very nice and invites for making sketches. It was so relaxing; different type of trees with all the varieties of green, a Thermos of tea and the sound of the brook and birds.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Yeni Cami

Last week I tried out some new watercolor pencils in the courtyard of Yeni Cami.  I love the softness that comes with this material, especially on a humid summer day.  Though the softness was working, I felt as though the drawing was lacking intensity, and needed something to pull it all together.  In the end I used a black brush pen to push the darks in the foreground pillars, and a light blue wash for the sky.  

When I am at a loss of where to draw, I know I can always be satisfied in Yeni Cami.  Perhaps it is the female influence, the multi domed structure, or the stunning calligraphy tiles lining the is peace amidst the immense chaos of Eminonu.

"Yeni Cami" Gabrielle Reeves 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Harem Hotel

I go every Monday morning very early (05:30) to Ankara from Istanbul departing usually from the Harem Bus Station. As the duration of the days prolonged at this time of the year, the view of the Harem Hotel and the view behind became much more visible and pleasant with the early light of the day. Behind the hotel there is one of the towers of the Selimiye Barrack and minaret of the Defterdar Efendi Mosque.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Rytons are animal shaped antique wine cups.  This particular ox-shaped ryton was found in Enez/Ainos excavations conducted by Istanbul University during the summer of 2009.
This sketch of Narmanli Yurdu is 5 years old already.  I have found it today as I was browsing through my drawing notebooks.  I remember myself climbing the stairs of what used to be the Four Seasons Restaurant of my college years, sitting at the balcony and drawing this sketch...  The studios of many turkish artists, novelists and poets such as Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar and Aliye Berger used to be within this building.

Monday, May 5, 2014


On 1st of May, I found the chance of visisting the capital of Hittites. Hittites were one of the ancient civilizations in Anatolia and Northern Syria between 2nd and 1st millenia BC. The remains (temples - only the foundations - gates at the walls and inscriptions) were so fascinating and the areas to visit was scattered to an area of 72 hectares so it was no possible to scetch everything in limited time. Up to now, 32 temples have been founded, each dedicated to a different god. Once upon a time this area was named as "Nation of Thousand Gods". One stretch of the city walls has been reconstructed by German Archelogical Institute with the sponsorship of JTI. Clay model of the towers founded during excavations has been used as a basis. The same technic of the Hittites has been used (mud bricks supported by wood and stone foundation). The below sketch is showing this reconstructed stretch on a cloudy day.

After Hattusha, I have visited Alacahoyuk which is much smaller compared to Hattusa and is not impressing as much as previous. On the other hand next to the site there is a small but very well organized museum. However the most precious parts founded in these areas are exhibited in Anatolian Civilizations Museum which is in Ankara. In this archelogical site it is possible to see the reconstructed cemetery for the kings adressed to 2500 BC. The graves are each about 25m2 and the skeletons of the king is in one corner. They were burried with precious material and the skulls and bones of cattles.In the reconstruction they have put the replicas of these items in the grave and a quick sketch of how they look like is below.

On the way back, I have made a sketch of the middle Anatolia outskirt.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sketching in Karaköy

Tucked in amidst the paint stores and fishing equipment shops of Karaköy is Rüstem Pasha Caravanserai.  After discovering this place I made at least 4 trips to the location to work on a sustained sketch.  Rüstem Pasha is now a working han, although it used to house travelers on the silk road.  

I love finding spaces like this in Istanbul...spaces that would be closed to the public or marked as "private property" in any other city.  But in Istanbul, I can always seem to wander in, sit on some box or abandoned chair and begin drawing.  No one tells me to leave or that I am not allowed, but instead I become part of the environment... along with the han workers, cats, stacked up boxes...the sound of clinking metal and drills from the workshops below, and seagulls in the sky. 

Gabrielle Reeves "Rustem Pasha Han" Mixed Media on Paper, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014


The sketches are from Amasra which is a Black Sea town at the North West Cost of Turkey. The name is coming from Amatris who was a Persian princess. The above view is the lefthand side of the old harbour.

The panaromic view of the right hand side of the old harbour.