Hagia Sophia and Back to Balat
Coming down the Galata hill, the Hagia Sophia looks like it is swimming in clouds- a red tanker ship on a whipped cream ocean, Venus ushered into the world on a bed of sea foam. Its rosy facade shines like a promise. I rush down the cobble stoned hill, teetering on the edge of speed and balance, while dodging the masses that aggregate like blood clots on the street. I am on my way to meet Gabby to sketch at the Hagia Sophia again. Although it is spring and sunny, there's still a chill in the air, as if the weather can't quite decide which earrings to wear. Once through the gate, we sit and have a coffee in the sun before heading inside to draw.
The inside of the Hagia Sophia is bright today, in contrast to its more sullen mood on our last rainy day visit. We sit in a quiet spot away from the crowds and sketch a tiny portion of its momentous architecture, catching up, but mostly absorbed in concentration at capturing the richness of the details, the proportions, and perspective. Although I am slowly improving in my depiction of architectural spaces, they continue to be challenging and engaging to draw. A few people stop by and offer us encouraging words. One young artist from Saudi Arabia with a smart, eager face comes to show me his sketchbook. He is too shy to speak, so his mom tells me how passionate he is about drawing and how excited he was to see people drawing at the site. This interaction warms my heart. After a few hours, the cold of the pavement gets the best of me and I pack up my things to find a place to warm up.
|Sketch of a column in Hagia Sophia. Still working on getting the proportions right.|
I continue on my walk, taking in the neighborhood's sights. The atmosphere is tranquil and many kids are playing outside: riding bikes, jumping rope, playing ball... There seems to be a football game on every street. The smell of freshly baked bread wafting in the air is like beckoning fingers, luring your to the neighborhood's many bakeries. The small artisan shops wear their goods like medals- clocks, keys, shoes. Through one winding turn and another, I finally make it to Fethiye Camii. It is beautiful in the same jewelry box type of way that Chora Church is beautiful. Unfortunately, it is closed. I walk around it and stop to watch three boys playing football. Their enthusiasm mimicking the drama of World Cup upsets. After spending a few more minutes taking in the view and the evening's golden light, I head down the hill to go back home.
|Gul Camii, interior|
|Leo Lunatic mural in Balat|
|Traveling ride waiting for customers|
|Pink jacket and streamers to match|
|Football stars in the making in front of Fethiye Camii|