Just after I was back to Istanbul from Canaries and planning going home, I received a call from my father who was planning a field trip to the south east of Turkey in two days!! He told me some Irises are in flowers and one of them possibly new subspecies and he needs to collect some data for the upcoming volume of ‘Illustrated Flora of Turkey’ and needs an artist! That was gonna be me. I was death tired but with such excitement for a field trip, I generally forget about all my tired body. So instead of going home, I change my direction immediately and little adventure with my dad has started. I was already packed anyway, but I had a little problem that is my painting materials was not with me! As a lovely artist of the Flora of Turkey and helpful friend, Deniz, who offered me to use her painting materials, and prepare me a lovely kit with everything in, from paper to cutting material if I needed to dissect! Lucky me.
So I flew to Kahramanmaraş and meet with my dad and another botanist, Fatma Güneş, at the hotel. Day after, early in the morning, we were already on the way to find Iris reticulata, the one possibly a subspecies. Another botanist, Tolga Ok showed us the way. Meeting with the plant was fantastic of course. Everyone scattered around the field, started to do their work, and when we have finished, I had some very good samples to start to work.
After this moment, they dropped me at the hotel, so that I could start to work before the plants die. And they have left to another location to find Iris histrio. Unfortunately my samples couldn’t wait any longer, so I had no chance but to miss this second specimen in the field! They brought me some samples though. Well, rest of the day was about preserving plants as long as possible, and keep preparing sketches.
In our second day, we headed to Adana, and on our way, we tried to find another species, Iris stenophylla subsp. margaretiae, that was slightly more challenging. Because when we went to the location of the plant, we couldn’t find it. There were simply nothing. Little walking up and down hoping to see some, at least some traces, there were no luck, until we have met a lovely villager lives in a house very close. He said, he knows the plant, and he loves the flowers so much, that is why he put some fence in his garden to protect the flowers from the wild animals!! How lovely is that! He gently took us to his garden, and here they were! Beautiful Iris stenophylla flowers! He let us collect our samples, but we only collect a few because there were not many around like I. reticulata. Again, some work has been done, like dissection the flowers, making herbarium specimens and after a quick lunch, we headed to our hotel in Adana.
It is the resting time for our botanists, but for me the work starts after arriving to hotel! Pencil, brushes, paper, let’s go! I keep drawing and sketching but it was very unlikely that I could complete all three specimen within 2-3 working days. So I have decided stay another day. My father and, Fatma has leaved the day after and I stay at the hotel all alone and keep painting. Meanwhile I have posted some updates to instagram and after this point I was not that alone anymore, because a lovely follower, Bilge, as soon as she heard that I am in Adana, invited me to a dinner, and she and her husband, Toprak, take me to a dinner where I ate such a delicious food! How lovely it was.
This was a sweet and successful trip in the end. Being in the wild, chasing after plants is simply awesome, but can be very challenging for an artist! During this trip, it went easy for me, and managed to collect enough data for able to complete these 3 illustrations afterwards. And also I have prepared little pocket notes for being in the field as an artist.
Next day back to Istanbul. And yes after this I finally managed to go home (only had to stop another city, Ankara to visit my sweet grandmother, then yes I have really arrived home!)
This happens rarely, but I actually managed the work on these 3 illustrations as soon as I am back, and here they are – all the fruits of a 4 days field work, and about a month of work afterwards!
Click on the names if you want to see these completed illustrations in the gallery.