Turkey and Spain Group Show
May 18 – 26, 2013
Opening Reception: May 18, 2013,
3:00 – 7:00

Alexander Rug Gallery
412 North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California

Scott Burdick
Saim Caglayan
Sandra Jones Campbell
Diane Feissel
Craig Freeman
Laurie Hendricks
Kyoko Ishigami
Susan Lyon
Sarah Watts
Lea Colie Wight
Caroline Zimmerman

A Group Artistic Adventure, September 2012 

Scott Burdick 

St. Hagia Sophia 8"x10"

Saim Caglayan 

Statue of Joaquin Sorolla 10"x8"

Turkish Village 8"x10"

I had one of the best painting trips during the Fall of 2012 with best of artist friends. We traveled and painted in Turkey from Istanbul, Turquoise Coast, Cappadocia, to Ankara and in Spain from Barcelona, Sevilla to Madrid.
I love these ancient lands where many civilizations left their mark with their amazing arts and architecture that makes for great painting subjects. For those of us who painted the portrait and figure it was delightful as well.
I feel so fortunate to have made this trip with dedicated artists some of whom are world renown, yet so humble.
It was a joy to experience and paint these marvelous places together. 

The highlight of this trip for me was my 96 year old dad posing for Scott Burdick to paint his portrait. He posed about two hours refusing a break fearing that Scott may loose his concentration.
Spain was just as extraordinary in many aspects, especially befriending lovely Fabiola, great granddaughter of Joaquin Sorolla at his museum.
This exhibit of our plein air works reveal a tiny measure of the places and people we painted during our extraordinary journey.

Sandra Jones Campbell

We Rode in Boats Like Little Goats 18"x36" Acrylic on canvas

My opportunity to return to Turkey after 45 years was a gift to myself, and it was a bonus to join Saim and the other artists on the trip. To arrive in Istanbul was heartwarming. Just the ride from the airport into the old city through expansive park settings was a vision of old world and new growth! Sitting atop our hotel and hearing the calls to prayer took me into my past days in Yalova, 26 miles across the Sea of Marmara by ferry, where I spent one year.

I felt nostalgia along with exuberance of again experiencing the Turkish cultural history, so ancient yet so vibrant.
The Turkish people could not have been more gracious, fun loving, and ready to share their city.

The week spent cruising first class around the Turquoise Coast was pure heaven. The Aegean was a color that made
you exclaim "gorgeous" many times a day...including one Island after another that gave way to visions of the “Cradle of Civilizations.” Painting was not my primary intent, but rather to fill my mind with the realized dream of my return. As I departed out of Izmir, tears came to my eyes as I thought how I would miss my “Very Old Friend,” Turkey.

Craig Freeman

Paradise Voyage 11"x14"

Young Turkish Girl 16"x12"

This was my first trip to Turkey, visiting Istanbul, sailing the magical turquoise coast and the interior of Cappadocia and Ankara. I found the Turkish people to be very kind and gracious. The food was amazing, and the rich textures and home-cooked style was so comforting you just wanted more. Istanbul was grand in all respects. It’s a beautiful city with dreamlike architecture, deep-rooted history, and the famous Grand Bazaar, a true visual delight of handcrafted items, all with the stamp of Turkish history and culture. Everyday items like a simple glass teacup had a romantic feel and design that spoke of refined Turkish style. Tea is an art and a way of life here, as the natives often have tea five or six times a day. 

The highlight for me was the week on board a sailing vessel. We had eight private cabins with 10 artists on board, a captain, chef, and staff. Three times a day at a large table at the back of the vessel we all shared delicious family-style meals with wine, tea, coffee, and lots of talking and laughing about our painting adventures. I cannot accurately describe in words how incredible the rich, jewel-like colors of the turquoise coast are. Imagine the most beautiful, perfect turquoise stone you have ever seen expanding as far as your eye can see. The water is very warm, and the high concentration of salt gives the water its dreamlike colors of emerald greens, soft cobalt blues, and an endless range of turquoise. We painted two paintings a day: one after breakfast and one after lunch. Spending a week with these very talented artists that Saim had so graciously organized, and not just painting but living in close quarters, was a transforming experience I shall not forget.

Cappadocia was amazing, but I enjoyed Ankara more. We stayed in the old town area in a hotel that was a restored building from the 1600s. I felt as though we had just stepped into the past two or three thousand years. A simple life with street crafts, cafes, and interesting people—weathered faces that had honest stories to tell. This is when I longed most to know the Turkish language. Not just so I could speak with them but so I could learn the stories behind the faces. I will be eternally grateful to Saim for putting this trip together and to all the artists who created an indelible imprint in my memory of joy and fellowship.

Laurie Hendricks

Turkish Village 8"x10"

Turkish Seaside Cafe 10"x8"

Last September I had the great fortune to join Saim and a group of wonderful artists from across the country on a painting adventure along the Turquoise coast of Turkey. Each day began with the sunrise over the water, a swim in the clear Mediterranean waters, named aptly for its color, and a sumptuous breakfast on deck. After, we would set out either on land via our dinghy or set up easels on board and paint the scenes that surrounded us. The colors of the water, sky, and red earth are the subjects of my plein air paintings. Among the highlights were painting the residents of a tiny remote village with more goats than people, arranged by our Captain Saim and the village Imam. The Imam’s wife weaving her rugs and the older woman (sometimes on her cell phone!) made fascinating models.

The routine of painting, eating, and swimming continued each day until we fell asleep under the stars, the water gently rocking us to sleep. It was a trip I will always remember, the gorgeous scenery, perfect for painting everywhere one looked, and most of all the feeling of camaraderie that developed among this group of artists and friends. I hope you will enjoy the results: the paintings, on display here.

Kyoko Ishigami

Plaza at Sevilla 10"x8"

Turquoise Tranquility 10"x8"

Sorolla's Garden 11"x14"

It was an unbelievable painting trip for me to travel with great artists in Turkey and Spain. Two years ago, I took Scott Burdick’s workshop, and I was very impressed with him as a painter and person. So I feel so lucky to have been included in this trip.

I could meet many great artists and paint with them, so my world became richer.
In Madrid, we became friends with a great granddaughter of the famous Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla at Sorolla’s museum, even though the museum was closed.
I painted in the garden two days in a row. That was a special moment for me.

Susan Lyon

Narrow Street in Barcelona 8"x8"

Having Tea in Cappadocia 6"x8"

Sarah Watts

The Scholar 16"x12"

Hagia Sophia 8"x10"

Visiting Turkey for the first time, I enjoyed getting to know its warm people, inviting cities, luscious Mediterranean coast, and endless historical treasures. Painting alongside fellow artists, Istanbul's wondrous Mosques, and the Hagia Sophia museum, completed in 360 B.C., was a meaningful experience. Place matters, and so do the artist friends you travel and paint with. Our group coalesced around Saim Caglayan's Zen presence, and we painted for almost three weeks in total joy, boating on the coast, visiting islands and ancient shore fortifications, Cleopatra's baths, a sunken Roman City, Ankara's old Citadel, and the tomb of the 13th-century Sufi mystic, Rumi, gave us daily inspiration to paint, talk, and read history. It's been almost a year now that I've been reading the history of the people of the Levant, from pre-history, to the Greeks, the Eastern Roman Empire, then the Ottomans, and modern Turkey, which emerged after WWI. A rich history and a clear delight. A good time was had by all.

Caroline Zimmermann

Turquoise Reflections 31.5"x16"

Turquoise Rooster 10"x10"

Turquoise Blues II 40"x40"