Thursday, November 15, 2007

In the Heat of the Afternoon Sun

Just south of Larnaka's town centre lies the Scala, a district sandwiched between Makenzi and the airport. Thankfully Larnaka airports flight path goes out over the sea and not over the town. The Makenzi and Scala districts are the old Turkish-Cypriot quarter. Since the Turkish invasion of North Cyprus in 1974 there are not so many Turkish living here but they are gradually returning. The streets have retained their Turkish names such as Mehmet Ali, Mendes Pasha, Okkular and so on but the signs are in Greek. Thus you see written, ΜΕΞΜΕΤ ΑΛΗ, ΜΕΝΔΗΣ ΠΑΣΑ and ΟΚΥΛΛΑ respectively. In the the Greek area where names like Athinon, Theopylus, etc. dominate then it looks natural but that is Cyprus.

The Turkish area is made up of old buildings that look as though they grew out of the ground and are now slowly crumbling back into it in a natural cycle. The occassional car parked round the back is likewise in slow decline, the tyres get flatter, the dust settles thicker. Elderly people sit out on the pavements always greeting passers-by with a friendly "Kalimera". They grow older in total harmony with their surroundings seeming to await an end that never quite arrives.

It is a hot Sunday afternoon. I'm wearing a broad brimmed hat to protect me from a sun that is so intense it burns through my tee shirt. I don't linger too long while doing sketches. The above is Bog Daz Street in the Makenzi. All colour is bleached out. This is a pencil drawing with added watercolour wash. One advantage of the hot sun is you don't have to wait for the painting to dry!

This next is of a house on Ali Pasha Street. You can probably make out the Greek note in the bottom left of the picture telling you where it is. Many of these houses look run down from the outside but often the interiors belie this as do often the gardens beyond. Everyone seems to have a lemon tree and a pomegranate tree. This painting is a watercolour and like the other was done in a small A5 sketchbook.

These single storey houses are usually single room affairs. Multi-storey houses tend to have the entire downstairs as a reception hall and the living quarters upstairs. It seems to be a tradition in most Eastern Mediterranean countries.

1 comment:

Swearing Mother said...

Lovely paintings Norman, I can feel the warmth from here!