Out and About on the peninsula

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After a hard morning of finishing up our oil paintings onsite, we rolled out in three vehicles in the direction of Ortakent for a visit to Dibeklihan in Yakakoy. This place is a modern building constructed in the form of an old Ottoman Palace – it is much like the Bodrum Castle except on a smaller scale, with towers, turrets, and terraces overlooking the valley.

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On its premises are contained two contemporary art galleries, a small Ottoman Museum with artifacts from the sultan era, three café-bars, and several shops, including some very nice silver jewellery. We saw a very interesting exhibition of paintings by a local artist named Fatih Urunc, an alcoholic who died of booze poisoning at the age of 46.

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Hikmet knew him and told us that he used to wander through Bodrum, paintings under his arm, and sell them for a few lire whenever he needed another drink. The work reminded me a bit of Basquiat, very colourful and full of crazy characters, including a smoking grey cat with blue eyes who resurfaces in several visual narratives.

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In the other gallery an exhibition of work inspired by the Gezi Park demonstrations of last year and the Soma mine disaster was installed. Carnation images were used to memorialise the dead. After viewing the art, several of us had some lovely white wine in the Film Bar upstairs, seated in chairs inscribed with the names of various movie directors – I was John Ford.

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Today the entire group took the dolmus down to Yalikavak Market where we wandered through the various stalls and sampled some of the local cuisine. I tried to bargain unsuccessfully for a few jewellery items and ended up with a small scarf instead. After a cup of tea at a ringside seat we hustled back to the otogar for the minibus home; unfortunately a couple of members of our group were kicked off the bus because the driver would not take any standing passengers, likely because the police were there and he was afraid of getting a ticket.

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The afternoon’s life drawing exercise by the pool was a great success. We drew several 5 minute poses by Hikmet and Eljay, then a couple of ten minute ones using charcoal sticks. The improvement in everyone’s drawings from first to last was quite substantial.

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Finally, to complete the day the ten of us were driven down to a seaside restaurant, where a beach table had been reserved for us for dinner. Unfortunately, the weather had changed and it was looking a bit dark so we opted for a table inside instead. Cold mezes, coban salata, and a main course of sea bass and shrimp was consumed along with copious quantities of red and white wine. Being the only people in the restaurant, we got quite raucous and gave the staff quite an interesting time, I’m sure. Janet played Mary Poppins on the beach with Maggie’s five lire Istanbul umbrella which blew inside out and broke after about ten seconds. After cavorting on the beach in the rain, we were escorted into two taxis for the ride back to the ranch.

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While we were gone, Eljay had a terrible fall while running on the wet pavement to put our art work inside so it would not be damaged by the rain. Luckily, she was only bruised rather than broken, but it will take a few days for her to heal.

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