Monday, December 29, 2014

A pastel sketch from dunes

The weather was great today, so we took advantage of it and we visited a seaside town close to our place. Just out of the town there is a protected area covered by dunes where I chose to set my portable chair and started to paint. Oil pastel is a wonderful material (cray-pas Expressionist) for outdoor painting. All you need is a hard cardboard to back up the paper and a small box to put your pastels along on your lap. 

Painting with oil pastels

Tufia shore

Thanks for supporting by reading and sharing my blog. I wish you a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. 

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pastel Painting for Pastel de Atun

Pastel de Atun, oil pastel, 20 x 16 cm

 Pastel de Atun (Tuna fish terrine)

Cooking mixture ingredients:
  • 1 can of tuna fish 150 gr (- drain the oil well)
  • 3/4 bottle of cooked bchick peas (400 gr.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3-4 table spoon of Spanish tomato frito (or plain tomato sauce for spaghetti or pizza, not the concentrated paste)
  • 3 table spoon of cooking cream
  • 1 tiny tea spoon of cumin
  • 1/2 tiny tea spoon of salt or more/less to your taste
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • A little butter to wipe on the mold

Sauce ingredients:
  • 3-4 Tbs of mayonnaise 
  • 1 tbs ketchup mixture

Put all the ingredients in a deep bowl and mix them well with hand mixer until it is smooth. Pour the mixture 2/3 high to individually buttered cupcake molds (picture below) or into coffe mugs layed with oven paper so it doesn't stick. Do not fill the mold with the mixture till top, it grows when it cooks (leave 2 cm. space) I cooked them in my vapor machine for 30 min. If you don1t have one you can  cook in the oven as well, place all the molds in a big tray filled with hot water covering the top of the molds with aluminum foil (this style called "al baño Maria" in Spanish) and cook about an hour in medium heat 160. If you want to know if it is cooked, stick a knife, if it comes out clean that means it is cooked. 

Remove the terrine from the mold and put sauce on top and decorate with ketchup.  Steamed potatoe and veggies goes well as side dish. 

The recipe is for 6 individial servings

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

* Join to my weekly newsletter mailing list.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Free Mosaic Grouting Tutorial

Day 1: Glued mosaic tiles has to be set for at least 24 hours to ready for grouting (pic 1). Gently removing the mosaic (pic 2). Taking out the plastic wrap and the paper sketch. (pic 3). Sealing the wood with PVC base glue. I used 4 parts of water 1 part of Weldbond glue, I repeated the process twice (pic2) sealing all around the wood, back front, sides and let it totally dry for a day. (pic 4)

Day 2: Moving to open air area with work bench. Preparing the grouting materials first. Laying newspaper on the floor. Mixing the gout with water, the mixture should like a soft potato puree texture. (pic 1) Spread with the metal tool like comb shape. Not much ticker than 3 mm. Because you don't want to fill between tiles. The purpose is fixing the mosaic with grout to the selected surface.(pic 2) Once the grout firm thickness on the surface place the mosaic slowly starting from the edges. (pic 3) Place it well and check the sides, push gently the surface with your palms. (pic 4) Let it set for at least 24- 48 hours. Clean all the tools and grout inside the big bucket and save it in the 5 let plastic bottle. If you have left over grout put it in a newspaper and trash it. It is very important DO NOT THROW THE GROUT WATER IN THE SINK. It blocks the tubes. Bring your mosaic indoors, just in case if it rains you will ruin the process.

 Grouting materials + you will need a spoon, strong gloves, a cup of water, small plastic tray, bigger plastic bucket, an empty 5 Lt. plastic bottle. 

 Day 3: Moving to open air area with work bench. Preparing the grouting materials first. Laying newspaper on the floor. Mixing the gout with water, I  added black acrylic paint to make  a grey color grout. The mixture this time it should be a little firm, like a soft dough texture. Mixing well is very important, make sure until you have the right color. And remember, grout gets lighten when it dries. (pics 1, 2, 3) Spread the grout with your hand pushing in gaps of the tile but gently. Don't worry about the excess grout now and keep covering the whole area. Use a soft rubber piece to spread and push the grout in all the surface.( pic 4) 

Get the big bucket and put water, about 4 cm high. Wet your sponge and squeeze it very well. Start cleaning the mosaic, taking the excess grout. Repeat the process cleaning the sponge and rubbing gently on the surface. Do not rub too much, the gap should be filled with grout. (pic 1) Let the mosaic rest for 15 min. In the mean time start cleaning your grout and tools, remember to put all the water in the 5 lt. plastic bottle. (pic 3) Get a lint free clothing and start rubbing the mosaic gently. (pic 2) After cleaning all the surface bring the mosaic indoors again. At this point the grout color is slightly darker, once it dried it will look lighter. (pic 4) Now it is the time to put cream to your hands and rest...

The mosaic is completed. Tomorrow the grout color will be much lighter.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate asking me.

Over the clouds, 62 x 60 cm, vitreous glass mosaic

Day 4: I added this photo today so you can compare the diffrence of grout color. It is much lighter. 

This piece is for sale in Canary Islands, if you are interested in to purchase or commission a mosaic project, please contact me by clicking on contact 

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Carrots are devine...You get a dozen for a dime, It's maaaa-gic! - Bugs Bunny

Today, We were at El Burrero, on top of the hill overlooking to the beautiful beach view . I sketched the coastal composition to my small sketch book, enjoying the wonderful afternoon... 

Overlooking to El Burrero

Drawing sketch, Playa del Burrero

My mosaic project is almost ready for grouting. I will let it wait for 24 hours to set the glue completely and later on, the wood surface has to be painted with a sealant. This will protect the wood base from water damage during and after the grouting the mosaic. I use the same adhesive for  sealing process but the proportion is 20% weldbond to 80% water. The best way to seal is to use a product that will soak into the fibers of the wood, sealing these, rather than creating a skin on top of the surface. 

Over the clouds, mosaic (before grouting)

In the mean time, I am working on an oil painting commissioned portrait project. It takes many working hours. I can only share with you a detail of the painting from work in progress. This is the 3rd layer only in the skin area. But I have much work done on the faces and on the background.

Work in progress

For the food diary paintings and sketches, I will share a delicious carrot salad recipe. Here is the sketch I had made earlier this yummy carrots.

Delicious carrots

Sketch, carrots

Carrot Salad

2 big carrots (skinned and shredded)
250 gr yogurt natural 
1-2 spoon olive oil 
1 garlic dent
1/4 tiny tea spoon of salt 
pinch of dry mint

Heat a pan with the oil, sauté the shredded carrot in low heat about 10-15 min. Until it is cooked. Put in the salad plate and let it cool about 5-7 min. Mince the garlic very well and mix with yogurt and salt. Pour it over the carrot and mix them together with a spoon. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle dry mint over the salad. (Optionally you can decorate with parsley)

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Salema, a rare fish from Atlantic...

PDF e-book "Early Works" is published.To read the e-book best way; I suggest to view it on a desktop, laptop or a big screen tablet, downloading the file first and open it from the file folder instead of viewing on your web browser. The e-book has Interactive links, feel free to click on them to listen my voice on  Enjoy it! Click on the link.

Cover image of "Early Works" by Birsen Ozbilge 

Last week I advanced a lot on the mosaic artwork, hoping to finish it by next weekend. Sealing the wood and grouting will be the next steps. I will share with you the process. 

 "Over the Clouds" mosaic art work in progress

I carry my little sketch book with me all the time.When I find a little spare time to disconnect from all the world, my pencil and sketch book. Here I am drawing and trying to leave precious moments from my life in Gran Canaria...

Playa del Burrero, Gran Canaria

Last week we had "Salema", a rare fish caught from Mogan area. I made a little research on it and found out that If the fish had eaten a special seaweed can cause hallucinations when eaten., chances are very little I mean... I don't remember having any hallucination experiences, though :) Anyways, I decided to paint this beautiful creature before us to eat it...

Salema (Salema Porgy - see at wikipedia

 I like marble surface to mix oil paintings

 Salema work on progress

We like to steam our fish and vegetables. It is tasty, healthy and easy to clean. This steamer has two levels, so we put on the first level potatoes and carrots for 35 min programme. After 15 min. We add to the second level an oven bag with marinated fish (with onion, parsley, lemon, salt, black pepper). And last 4 min. We add the broccoli on the top level. We serve it with simple green salad and open a cold white wine. Voilá! It's so easy isn't it? Tip: Give a small whole  to the oven bag.

Steaming the fish and the vegetables

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Have some Tortilla! A Spanish Potatoe Omelette

This week I was working on the mosaic artwork. It was a quite challenge to put these tiny vitreous glass pieces together in some areas. But I enjoy creating difficult artworks... 

Last week started to work on a commission portrait project; "A mother and son", in the background the Marina of Las Palmas will be shown. As usual, I created the composition from the scratch with the collaboration of the client. I took hundreds of photos and selected the best ones for sketching and painting. This project is slowing down my cookbook paintings project. Preparing the canvas and materials for the project which takes lots of time. But it will pay my bills, now is the time to get dirty with paints...

Molino del viento (windmill) at Arinaga

This is a quick sketch from yesterdays small break. The new windmill in Arinaga, a coastal town very close to us. This 90 m. tall windmill is the tallest one in Spain. When it functions it creates energy for 20 thousand houses.

Tortilla, oil on canvas 29 cm x 21 cm

Here is my recipe of  the typical Spanish tapa "Tortilla" (small appetizer can be eaten hot or room temperature) which is our breakfast speciality...

Tortilla (Spanish Potatoe Omelette) 

3 potatoes peeled, cut in 1 cm cubes
1 onion, chopped in small pieces
1 garlic dent, chopped in tiny pieces
4 eggs
1 glass olive oil or sunflower oil
25 ml milk
1/4 dessert spoon salt
Pinch of black pepper

In a big bowl mix the eggs with milk, salt and pepper. In the mean time first fry the onion until they are soft and golden color. Take them out and add to the egg mixture. With same oil fry the potatoes until they are soft but not over cooked. Before taking out the potatoes add the garlic for a minute than add them to the bowl, mix it well. In a 20 cm non stick pan put a spoon of  oil and heat a minute. Add the mixture, cover with a lid and lower the heat to medium temperature. Cook about 5 min until the bottom part is firm. Get a flat plate bigger size than the pan, turn the tortilla upside down on the plate carefully. Put the pan back on the fire and slide the tortilla in to the pan again. Cook another 5-6 min until the both sides are golden color. Buenprovecha!

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Canarian Tomatoes Still Life Painting

"Tomate Canario" is a tiny, tasty beautiful fruit. We consume a lot all year around and keep them on the kitchen counter in a traditional handwoven basket till they get very ripe to eat. I am painting these Canarian tomatoes (the picture below) with oil colors on a canvas sheet. 

 Work in progress

"Canarian Tomatoes", oil on canvas sheet, 7" x 5"

Last week I did several still life sketches for the cookbook project. They are mostly vegetables and fruits and some kitchen utensils. The best light is coming from the kitchen window in the afternoons. Watch the short clip and see the finished drawings below.

Drawing mango and manga fruit

Sketch of Mango (the big one) and Manga

Sketch of Garlic and a dent

Another painting is about to finish. It is our pressure cooker, "The Magic Pot" with Canarian tomatoes reflected on it. I just used it to cook for a delicious leek recipe. I am sharing my recipe below, if you try to make it please leave a comment to let me know how did it come out... 

"Magic Pot", work in progress

Zetinyagli Pirasa (a Turkish recipe; Leeks with olive oil)

3 leeks (cleaned and diced in 2 cm.)
2 carrots (skinned and diced thinly)
half an onion (chopped tiny)
1 table spoon rice
50 ml olive oil (little less than a quater of a glass)
1 piece of concentated vegetable stock
half of dessert spoon of salt
1 dessert spoon sugar
2 table spoon lemon juice
1 glass of cold water

Put all the ingredients in the pressure pot in once. Close the cover and start cooking in high temperature. When the vapor comes out switch it to close position  and lower the heat to minimum. Cook for 5 min. Turn the fire off and keep it on the same spot about half an hour. Than move the pressure pot on the marble counter top for another 10 min. to cool down the temperature and open safely. This dish can be eaten at room temparature with a few drops of lemon juice. Enjoy it!

Have a great week!

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gazpacho, a Spanish favourite for hot summer

After taking a reference picture of the mixer with gazpacho (cold tomate soup). I decided to work with oil painting for my upcoming "Kitchen Stories" project. I tried to stick with the reference picture except the backgroung color, instead of using the original color on the picture I chose the blue tone. I thunk it looks more interesting like this.  Enjoy it! Have a great week.

"Gazpacho", Oil on canvas, 8" x 10", 2014, 
Available, click on SHOP

Gazpacho (Spanish cold tomato soup)

4-5 ripe tomatoes
200 gr cucumber
100 gr sweet red bell pepper
A quarter of sweet onion 
2 pieces of garlic
A stem of celery stalk
1 slice of sandwich bread (the first or the last piece of the bag)
50 gr pickled beet with its juice
1 or 2 table spoons of wine vinegar (put 1 spoon at first, mix it and taste it, add more vinegar if necessary) 
A quarter of a glass olive oil 
A quarter of dessert spoon sea salt 
A pinch of sugar
2 ice cubes

Gazpacho is a very typical cold (chilled) soup for summer meals. Keep the vegetables in the fridge for few hours before starting to prepare the dish. Otherwise, chill the mixture for an hour or so for better taste. This soup can be eaten next day as well. Cut the tomatoes in four pieces with their skin, put it in the blender. Add skinned cucumber, garlic, onion in small pieces. Add red bell pepper, celery stalk, pieces of the slice bread and pickled beet with its juice. Add oil olive, pinch of sugar, 2 ice cubes, salt and a spoon of vinegar. Mix it for 5 minutes until it is smooth. Taste it for vinegar or salt if necessary. 

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Art is everywhere you look...

Street Art from La Garita, Telde, Gran Canaria, August 2014

This year, the summer is treating us very good. The average temperature is changing between 26- 29 Celsius degrees during the day time in Gran Canaria Island. Most people take their vacation time in the month of August. So, it is kind of dead month for many businesses. Many art galleries are closed for the month as well. Last week, taking this factor as an advantage, we did a few family and friend meetings, beach time and walked by the promenades in near by coastal towns. This week, I finished the face and started to form the mountain area on the mosaic project. 

"Over the clouds" mosaic, work on progress

In the mean time I was working on my "Early Works" e-book project. Even though it has been ready to share in PDF format for a while, I am holding it for a good reason. The pdf document of the e-book came out perfectly but there is a problem when I share it through any web browser on the web. The links of the pdf e-book are not opening on the new browser window. That means, once you click on any link to go to that linked webpage you are using the same window on your browser and by clicking on "back" button you are going all the way at beginning of the e-book again. I know, It shouldn't be that way but Adobe Indesign has no option to fix this huge problem. Many people had the same problem and some of them found out the solution for buying an extension plug in to fix it (which costs more than $100). Of course, there is no question about if I could do the same thing, simply, I cannot afford it... But on the other hand you can enjoy the e-book, if you open it with Adobe acrobat reader, downloading to your device first, instead of viewing it on your web browser.

"Early Works" e-book is coming soon on PDF format
updated blog post click to read the e-book at

Yesterday I sketched the first painting of the cookbook project on the canvas sheet. The composition is our pressure pot with a few tomatoes reflecting their images on it. We love this pot, because, we save lots of time and energy with this pot. Definitely, it makes our lives much easier. As a child, I used to watch how my mother using hers in the kitchen. When the vapour came out from the pot with the whistle, my mother used to give me the task of putting the vent weight piece on the lid. And it was really magical! Now we have the modern version of it which comes with the safe switch button. This pot was a gift from my brother to us when we moved to our new apartment a few years ago. But it is not the first one we had. We used to have another one in New York for many years...  

"Magical Pot", sketched on canvas for oil painting, work in progress.

If you enjoyed reading this blog post, please contribute something... For example, you can leave a comment what you are thinking about my artwork. 

Life is beautiful for me, What about for you?

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Catch a Falling Star and Put It In Your Pocket, Save It For a Rainy Day...

Last week, I finished the recycled computer screen and oil painting project. It is looking very cool, isn't it?  

"Immortal Wallpaper", by Birsen Ozbilge, oil painting on canvas, mounted on flat computer screen, 2014

I worked on the face of the figure on the mosaic artwork. It is very hard to deal with limited colors of vitreous tiles when it comes to flesh colors but I do my best as always.

"Over the clouds" mosaic artwork piece work on progress

This week, I am going to start on a clunary painting project called "Kitchen Stories". I love cooking in a relaxed atmosphere for friends and family. My mother gave me my first cook book (see pic below) when I was taking cooking classes at age 12. From that time till today I have learned and created new recipes and collected cook books (see pic below) in English, Spanish and Turkish languages. 

My first cook book, in the Turkish language

Kitchen Library, 2014

Cooking duck breast with fois gras and chips, Buenavista, 2006

The inspiration of this project is coming from a cook book called “Painters & Food Renaissance Recipes"(written by Gillian Riley, Pomegranate Art books, 1993, ISBN 1-56640-577-7) which was a gift of a good  friend from New York in 1997. In this book there are food related paintings of Renaissance painters and the ancient recipes, it's a total gem. I will share more than 30 years of cooking experience with my artwork, I hope you'll enjoy it...  

Alright, here is the music part, I prepared for you now. During the week, I listened almost every day one of the best guitar players of our times, Mr. "Tommy Emmanuel". I started to practice acoustic guitar again a few months ago after watching his full live concert in YouTube. He was telling to the audience “Bring your guitar down from on top of that closet and start to practice…”. How did he know I had one up there?  Well, now I am watching his video tutorials along with other guitar masters to learn finger style guitar playing. Well, I can tell you thumb picking is pretty difficult, it's gonna take a long time to learn, if I ever make it.. The song called "Mona Lisa" Tommy Emmanuel performs,  (live) the original by Nat King Cole. Enjoy it! Have a good week.

(All copyrights acknowledged and respected and support the music artists by buying their music.)

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

This week the mosaic piece advanced a lot. The clouds and the Atlantic Ocean are covered with vitreous tiles. I am going to work on the face next and the famous rock form of the island; "Roque Nublo". I guess next week the figure will build more...

"Over the clouds" work on progress

This week I applied another layer to the oil painting. It needs lots of work still. I think with patience it will come out nicely. Yesterday I was close to the beach; I looked at the details of the rock forms with my naked eye. Working only with the photo might easily fool you in many occasions, the best reference is your own eyes always.

"The immortal Wallpaper (Burrero beach) work on progress

I started to drawing sessions with the sketching the composition first on The Stonehange drawing paper. It is hard to see the drawing clearly at this stage. I am going to surprise you with a surreal and symbolist composition this time. Even though the idea of combining human faces with animals has been done so many times since medieval times perhaps... I think Canarian artists didn't use this idea with their own animals and landscapes. What makes you a unique artist is "if you could bring out something new from your own territory." This phrase is mine by the way. Look at Picasso's paintings and you will understand what I mean…

"Lagarta Gigante en la Cumbre" work on progress

First time I saw the original of this painting in 1991, I was travelling with Interrail in Europe by myself. I came to Madrid and visited Prado Museum. This huge painting was protected with a glass screen and so you couldn't get closer a meter or two to see it. A year later they moved it to Reina Sofia Modern Art Museum where you can see it very closely today.

Guernica at Prado Museum (til 1992) Madrid, Spain

Guernica in Reina Sofia Modern Art Museum , Madrid, Spain

A little bit Spanish art history for you. Here is the brief info about "Guernica" the world famous painting of Pablo Picasso. It was Guernica is a town in Basque Country in Spain. During the Spanish Civil War, it was regarded as the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement and the epicenter of Basque culture, adding to its significance as a target.

At about 16:30 on Monday, 26 April 1937, warplanes of the German Condor Legion, commanded by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed Guernica for about two hours. Germany, at this time led by Hitler, had lent material support to the Nationalists and was using the war as an opportunity to test out new weapons and tactics. Later, intense aerial bombardment became a crucial preliminary step in the Blitzkrieg tactic.

After the bombing, Picasso was made aware of what had gone on in his country of origin. At the time, he was working on a mural for the Paris Exhibition to be held in the summer of 1937, commissioned by the Spanish Republican government. He deserted his original idea and on 1 May 1937, began on Guernica. This captivated his imagination unlike his previous idea, on which he had been working somewhat dispassionately, for a couple of months. It is interesting to note, however, that at its unveiling at the Paris Exhibition that summer, it garnered little attention. It would later attain its power as such a potent symbol of the destruction of war on innocent lives.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso, big size image click on to see

This week's muse is an old time favourite of mine, Marc Ribot. He used play with The Lounge Lizards. I used to have a video recording one of his solo concerts in Knitting Factory, New York from the late 90's. I did an exchange with my Lounge Lizards concert record with a fan. Unfortunately, this recorded video tape got lost during our moving process to Spain by US Postal Service along with few important recordings. But thanks god that I did back up of some of them to DVD's... The song is called "For Malena" from the album "Party Intellectuals" by Marc Ribot. Enjoy it!  Please don't forget to put your comments below and please share this post with your fb, Twitter friends, tnx in advance... 

Have a great week!

"For Malena" from the album "Party Intellectuals" by Marc Ribot

(All copyrights acknowledged and respected and support the music artists by buying their music.)

* Click on the images to see them larger.

* Click on comments to leave your opinion, thanks.