Monday, April 27, 2015

I didn't forget the Children's Day, it was just another busy week...

Children is celebrating 23rd of April in Turkey.

Last week, 23rd of April was the Children's Day in Turkey. I was quite busy that day, I didn't have time to share anything. So, today I went through my archives and found out an oil panting of a young girl that I had made a while ago. I really enjoy the innocence of a little girl in this age, about 4-5 so. I have many nieces, in fact few of them are in these ages now and they are adorable to spend time together. 

"The girl with pink baloon" by Birsen Ozbilge
oil on canvas, 11 x 15 cm, 2013

I started to work on another oil painting for the "Kitchen Stories" painting series. Our balcony flower started to bloom last week, so I combined this geranium with two green apples and a hand painted silk scarf which was made by my mother. I will share the advanced stages later on, so stay tuned.

Work in progress

Few days ago, I was drawing on my sketch book by the beach. I tried to capture as much as possible from the nature and surroundings, such as the waves, the light and two fishermen whom they were moving constantly. Later on I added the fast boat and a sail boat as well. Lastly the big fish net at far close to horizon.

from the sketch book, pencil and eraser.

Last week, I made a YouTube clip for basic soft pastel tips. I will start to make Time lapse tutorials as well, so if you are interested in sign up on my channel at

Have a great week!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

My Soft Pastel Adventure; a Cityscape Painting from the Rooftop

Vegueta rooftops

Last weekend, I took cityscape photos from the rooftop of my sister-in-law's new apartment in Vegueta which located at the historical part of Las Palmas. I haven't been painting with soft pastels lately, especially for a landscape painting, so I decided to make one. I have the basic colors of Derwent, Marie's and a nice sketch tones of Saguine brand pastels. For the paper, I chose a light brown toned Talens brand pastel paper, taped with mask tape all around to the masonite board and than I put the guide marks. Ready to paint now... I started to sketch the composition with a dark brown soft pastel first. Starting to paint from top to bottom, I layed the blue on sky leaving the cloud areas blank. After, I mixed the blue color with white using my fingertips to soften the blue. I painted the clouds with white adding a few touches of yellow and dark brown at the bottom edges. Again, using my fingertips, I gave the soft transition and the volume to the colors. Afterwards, I worked on the buildings, laying medium tones and white areas first and darks on top of it. Finished with white, yellow additions to give the light areas.

Soft pastels

Work in progress

"Vegueta from the rooftop" by Birsen Ozbilge
Soft pastels on pastel paper, 30 x 22,5 cm, 2015
Available click on SHOP

Last week, I started to a new oil painting still-life composition for my upcoming "Kitchen Stories" book. I chose the cabbage as the main subject, because I have a great recipe from my mother and I cook this recipe for many years. To complement for the composition, I used a nice olive oil bottle and a handmade coconut shell spoon that I bought in New York many years ago. I set them on top of a silk scarf with drawings of "Alice in wonderland", also bought it in NYC from the gift shop of Metropolitan Museum of Art while I was working at the Frick Museum. It brings back good memories. See pic below.

Working on the studio for still-life

I gave a dark blue undertone to the canvas with acrylic paintings which is OK to start to an oil painting. Sketched it with brown paint defining dark areas. Started to work on the scarf and the objects using mid tones first and giving their rough look. In the next stage, I will work on the lights and shadow areas. Like the last two still-life painting this one has a small portion of my self portrait in it. I haven't added the details but it will be shown underneath of the table. And of course all the details of the Alice illustrations will be added at the last stage.

Lastly, I am sharing my cabbage soup recipe. Enjoy it! Let me know about your Kapuska soup.

Have a great week!

Work in progress (not finished yet)

(Turkish style cabbage soup)


1 medium size cabbage (cut in thin stripes 3 cm)
1 onion chopped tiny
4 table spoon ground meat (beef preferably)
3 table spoon olive oil
1 table spoon concentrated tomato paste
6 glasses of cold water
1 dessert spoon sugar 
black pepper
pinch of spicy red cayenne pepper

Put the chopped onions with olive oil in a pot and sautéed about 5 min. Than add the ground meat mixing for another 5 more minutes until the meat is separated totally and changes its color to brown. Cut the cabbage while they are cooking. Add the cabbage to the pot with water and the rest of the ingredients. I cook the cabbage with pressure pot putting an alarm about 10 min after the vapor comes and once alarm sounds I turn it off without moving the pot another 10-15 min. So it continues to cook. Of course to open the lid I move it on top of a cool marble and wait about 10 more minutes. If you are going to cook in a regular pot I would suggest high to low heat after 10 min and cook for 35-40 more minutes. The texture of the cabbage comes out very smooth. Serve it hot with toasted bread. Bon appétit!

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Monday, April 13, 2015

New Oil Painting for "Kitchen Stories"! So, Why not Sponsor me to Receive Originals, Discounts and more...

Detailed photo from composition

Last week I was mostly working for "Kitchen Stories" series. I started to a new oil painting on panel with few objects from our place with the potatoes which will be the ingredient of a recipe I will put in the book. My mother in law sent us some potatoes the other day, Canarians call them "papas", they are really delicious. I put them inside a beautiful handmade Italian ceramic bowl that I bought many years ago from a small kitchenware store in Upper EastSide New York City. On the left side of the bowl, I displayed an iron shaped ceramic box which was bought from "El Rasto" flee market in Madrid at least ten years ago. We used to keep candy inside, nowadays I am using it for keeping my recycled can rings. Last object is a mechanical kitchen timer, a little funny chef figure which never worked properly. It was in my studio shelf for a long time waiting for to be painted. Most probably I will throw it away once I'm done with this painting. The green silk shawl was a gift from a dear high school friend given to me when she came to visit Gran Canaria in 2007. And again a little part of my self-portrait is going to be shown in the composition. See work in progress below.

Work in progress for "Kitchen Stories" series

On the weekend, I was drawing with oil pastels en plein air in the city of Las Palmas. It was about 7:30 pm, there was nobody on the beach. The light was very dramatic with clouds in this sunset time. I tried to capture as much as possible the reflections on the sea and the sky. I worked about 35 minutes and than I had to stop for the day. I took some reference photos at the beginning of the drawing session in order to add the last touches at the studio. See the finished piece below.

Work in progress en plein air in Las Canteras

"Las Canteras" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
oil pastel, 32 x 24 cm, April 2015

The other day I was with my 6 years old niece having some fun time together. I let her using my oil pastels and she posed for me while I was drawing her portrait. I spent quite some time drawing her and surroundings while she was enjoying herself with the colorful pastels. When her mother saw the finished piece, she really liked it and told me "¡Que bueno (How nice) Birsen!  I want this one to be framed." I replied her politely "Lo siento (sorry) Lourdes, but I don't gift my drawings, it's for my archives but I can share the digital image on my blog if you wish". Well, she felt a little bit disappointed and told me "but it didn't take you nothing to make." I couldn't help it and told her smiling "Yes, It took me for 25 years..." Than she understood my point very well and said "Oh, por favor (please) do it so...".

"Amaya and Bob Esponja" by Birsen Ozbilge
chalk on textured paper, April 2015 (Artist Collection)

If painting was my hobby, I would give it to her with no problem. But it is not a hobby for me. In reality, I am making a living with this profession for about more than 2 decades. During these years in rare occasions, I only gifted my artwork to show my appreciation to someone else's gesture and support.

In fact, I have a good news for people who really like my artworks. Recently, I started on a KickStarter kind of project which helps people to be able to own my artwork with a single subscription button. By Sponsoring me for subscribing to my blog for monthly €25 fee, you will receive every three months two of my original handmade linocut artwork, See details at BE SPONSOR .

Have a great week! 

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter Monday! Painting from El Muelle Gran Canaria

Semana Santa in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2015
Foto by El Colleccionista de Instantes

Semana Santa (Holy week) started with "Proceción de la Burrita Domingo de Ramos" in the city of Las Palmas on 29th of March. Close to 5000 people attended to this religious ceremonial walk. As you can see, Jesus figure riding with donkey which looked like to me framed by the famous Canarian artist Martin Chirino's sculpture in Triana Street. The island has many of his sculptures but this particular one illustrates us such special visual moments that I really enjoy.

Last week many people left the city for vacation of "la puente" (the bridge= a long weekend vacation). Taking advantage of this quite moments. I painted with my watercolors en plein air from Centro Comercial de El Muelle (the shopping center of the port). It was a beautiful day, I really disconnected from real world, more than an hour by myself just painting. Only few tourists came by and watched me for a short time which made me a little bit nerveous but it was ok. 

Working with watercolors

"View from El Muelle" by Birsen Ozbilge
watercolor, 11" x 8,6" (28 cm. x 22,9 cm.)

In the studio, the latest still-life oil painting is almost done, few details left. Because, I had to finish a few freelance job during last week, I was able to work only two sessions. The next project is waiting for me to start, I am going to share the stages soon. Have a great week!

Work in progress

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