Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Do you want to try something new for the potluck party?

Drawing studio with new set up

Last week I redesigned the drawing room. By moving the table close to daylight area, I gained a lot of space for my big size paper projects (see pic above). I also worked for "Kitchen Stories" series. It's strawberry season here now, so I took advantage of it and started to a new color pencil composition (see pic below). I am using Prismacolor pencils and Stonhange drawing paper for this project. After I finished my sketch, I took several reference photos and worked from the digital image. As I said before, working from life composition has advantages, especially laying the composition process stage. On the other hand, I can see the details of the digital image on my computer screen as much as bigger and take my time. Color pencil drawing  is very time consuming technique. I did several hours of work and I have at least few more hours to finish it. (see work in progress pic below)

Work in progress

Work in progress

Last week I finished another oil painting for the "Kitchen Stories" series. On wednesday, I will publish a time lapse videoclip on my YouTube channel. So you can see how I approached to the finished painting. (see pics below) I am sharing one of my recipe below. It is a Turkish starter dish called "mucver". It's a great idea for potluck parties, you don't have to serve it hot, room temperature is fine. Also, If you have left over you can make great sandwiches for lunch picnics. Enjoy them and let me know how they came out. Have a great week!

Work in progress with 5 pm light in the studio

"Zucchini with eggs" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
oil on canvas sheet, 29,5 x 42 cm, May, 2015
Available, contact me for purchase details

(Zucchini fritters)
(comes out 8-9 pieces)


1 medium zucchini (shredded)
3 eggs
1 table spoon flour
50 gr feta cheese (optional)
2 scallions (chopped tiny with green parts)
Fresh dill (chopped tiny)
1 tea spoon dry mint
pinch of red pepper
black pepper
24 cm frying non stick pan
1/4 glass olive oil to fry
big salad spoon
big spatula 

Mix all the ingredients well, heat the oil and using the salad spoon as the measurement place four spoons of mixture into the pan without touching each other. Cook them until they colored golden. Using a big spatula turn the other side and cook 2 more minutes. Place them on top of a kitchen roll napkin. Serve it if you wish hot, warm or room temperature. 

Here is my mucver

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Highlight of the week; "Dutch Master Rubens exhibition"

Last week I went to see the three Rubens pieces loaned to Casa de Colon from Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. I was allowed to take photos with no flash so I thought if I put them here, you might enjoy these masterpieces too. It was amazing to see so many details on the small judgement drawing. (click on image to see it bigger). Anyway, each one of them looked beautiful and perfect. This exhibition is open till 21st of May if you have chance to see don't miss it!

Saint Augustine Between Christ and the Virgin
by Peter Paul Rubens, oil painting, 241 x 183 cm, 1615

Small Last Judgement by Peter Paul Rubens, 
drawing, 143 x 96 cm, 1619

Tarquinius (study) by Peter Paul Rubens, 1610-11

After I visited the exhibition I wanted to draw the parrots of Casa de Colon. These are the same ones I painted for my self-portrait social media avatar picture in 2008. (see pic below) Chicha the red male parrot was so wise, he was mostly posing for me which was unbelievable. Anyways, they did a lot walking and wondering about me but they ended up on top of a bar which is their home. I should tell you that it was not easy to draw these moving animals, so I was quite patient over two hours.

"Self-Portrait with parrots", 3.5" x 2.5" (8.8 cm x 6.3 cm)
Acrylic on paper, 2008 (Artist Collection)

Work in progress

"Yaiza" by Birsen Ozbilge,
pastel on black pastel paper, 30 x 24 cm, May 2015

"Chicha" by Birsen Ozbilge,
pastel on earth toned pastel paper, 24 x 30 cm, May 2015

Last week we visited a close friend that she doesn't mind if I would do my drawings while she cooks. She had two cute little mandarins and an empty blue bottle which was a great trio with her new fuchsia color place mat for the table. In addition to these objects I added Ikea's artificial flower pot with pink tulips. Well, I think it came out a curious composition. I used a dark green toned pastel paper and my Cray-Pass Expressionist 50 pieces oil pastel set. (see at detail pic)

Work in progress

"Mandarins at Gemma's kitchen" by Birsen Ozbilge, 
oil pastel on pastel paper, 24 x 30 cm, May 2015
Available, click on SHOP to purchase


After I finished the "Geranium with green apples" oil painting (see pic below), I decided to make my apple and walnut pastries. If you like sweet and very light pastry you can give it a try. I usually make them just before Xmas and gift them to my family, friends and clients.  

"Geranium with green apples" by Birsen Ozbilge,
 oil on canvas sheet, 29,5 x 42 cm, May, 2015
Available, click on SHOP 

(20-25 pieces)


For the pastry dough:

2 glasses of flour
1/2 glass of cornstarch
1/2 glass of confectioner's sugar
1 egg
4 table spoon natural yogurt
75 butter softened
1/4 glass of olive oil
1 tiny tea spoon of  baking powder

For the filling:

2 apples shredded
50 gr crushed walnuts
3 table spoon of sugar
1 tea spoon of cinnamon

Final touch:
1 table spoon of confectioner's sugar

In a non-stick pan put the shredded apple, sugar and cook it until it simmers its water. Move it from the fire let it cool. Add cinnamon and the walnuts, mix it well.

In a big bowl put the cornstarch and make a hole. Add the rest of the ingredients and at last add little by little the flour to the mixture make the dough until it doesn’t stick it to the hand and spear it for 4 pieces. On top of a marble surface using the kitchen roller open the dough until it riches ½ cm thickness. (Sprinkle the marble with a bit of flour each time so it doesn’t stick)  Cut the open dough into round shapes, using the round cookie cutter or 8 cm. diameters of any glass. Spare the leftover pieces and use them at last to make another piece of ball. Turn the oven on 160 degree. Sprinkle the oven tray with some flour and place the round pieces leaving 2 cm space to each other. Put 1 dessert spoon of filling and fold it into half close the edges by squeezing it with fingers. (see pic below)

Cook them in the oven 180 degree approx. 20 min. until the top of the pasties changes to pinkish color. Take them out from the oven and rest them for 5 min. without covering. In a deep dish put one spoon of confectioner’s sugar and dip the baked pastries in it. Place them in a box and do not cover till they get totally cold. Later on always keep the box closed. Enjoy it!

My apple pastries

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Someone asked me about where my creative mind comes from


Where my creative mind comes from? Truly from wherever I look now and then. From the nature of all natures and the unbearable lightness of a visual poem with endless colors and textures...  Only I paint If it feels right to me. Hopefully this clears up a bit.

Last week the French ship L'Hermione was in Las Palmas port. On that beautiful tuesday afternoon, I took my pastel sticks to draw this boat. Sitting in a bench by the harbour drawing nearly 2 hours. While I was concentrated on my artwork, people were visiting the ship and passing in front of me. Some artlovers stopped by to watch work in progress quietly and gentile, trying not to disturb me. Even a little boy asked me if he could take the photo of my drawing with his camera. It was a lot of fun to be out there working and sharing my artwork with them.

Work in progress

"L'Hermione in Las Palmas" by Birsen Ozbilge
Sakura Cray-Pas Expressionist oil pastels 
on Rembrandt cream pastel paper, 30 x 24 cm, 2015
(Available, click on SHOP to purchase)

Last week I started to another still-life oil painting for "Kitchen Stories" series. Zucchini is the main subject along with three eggs in a bowl which I will share my special zucchini fritter recipe in my book. To create a classical triangle composition, I needed something tall so I used a wooden African figure sculpture that we bought it in a flee market in NYC about 15 years ago. I laid these objects on a pink silk scarf which was a gift from my mother-in-law. Once I set the composition, I prepared my new recycled wooden palette, using the palette vertical direction is very handy and practical. I toned my canvas sheet with raw sienna color and directly drew the outlines, than blocked the mid tones and darks first and added the light colors afterwards. This first layer needs to dry now. I have several unfinished oil paintings which I am painting them back and forth at the moment. 

"Zucchini with eggs" work in progress

Today, I worked on a new oil pastel drawing with green flowers and carrots along with "La menina" figurine. If you remember the famous Spanish painter Diego Velázquez's "Las meninas". I used Sakura Cray Pas Expressionist 50 color set on a black toned paper. Using dark tone papers gives a very nice texture effect on finished work. The trick is not to cover the surface totally and use it as contrast with pastels. Objects can be painted with several layers in order to stand out more.

 Work in progress

 "La menina with carrots" by Birsen Ozbilge
Sakura Cray-Pas Expressionist oil pastels 
on Rembrandt black pastel paper, 24 x 30 cm, 2015
Available, contact me for purchase details

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Self-portrait Sketch

The other day I was searching images for my next self-portrait project and I came across with a photo I recently took. As I like to get ideas from early sketches, I did this quick one on my diary notebook (see below). Next step will be choosing the materials; a wood panel perhaps, right size and shape brushes and of course oil paints... I will share the work in progress pictures soon.

A quick sketch self-portrait from photo

Advancing on the Geranium and the apples still-life painting. The afternoon studio light is very rewarding when you work from real life objects. You learn a lot this way and get experienced by relying on your eyes instead of a camera objective which is ok to use in some other occasions.

Work in progress

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