Excursions, walks in the mountains and plein air
The summer tourist season in Kyrgyzstan has already ended, and I can say in Kipling's words that "It was a good hunt." Hunting for impressions!
I have been dreaming of organizing a "Scenic Tour", and thus combine excursions, mountain walks and plein airs in a trip. Many people said that painting in oils while traveling is almost impossible. Oil takes a long time to dry. Requires a lot of material and so on. But I still wanted to.
In June, during one of my painting classes, I shared this idea with Zhanna, my art mentor. And instead of doubt, I saw a spark in her eyes.
– Let's do it! – said Zhanna.
Well, we made the program! Announced! On August 27, our girl group arrived in Tamchy. We took advantage of the fact that Aeroflot opened flights to the small but very unusual Issyk-Kul airport, which is located at the foot of the Kungei-Ala-Too mountain range on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul. This makes it possible not to make a long trip from Bishkek to the lake (270 km). The second advantage, perhaps the main one, is a beautiful landing and an air mini tour over the lake.
View of Issyk-Kul Lake
Do you know what our girls saw first when they landed and left the airport? Rainbow over the mountains! This is how our beautiful Kyrgyzstan met the art travelers in such a picturesque way.
We settled on the very shore of the lake. In the evening, over a cup of tea, Zhanna held an introductory lecture for us, introduced us to the materials. We talked about art. In the morning we started our creative plein-airs.
The first day of our plein air trip was so eventful. At 10 am we settled on the hotel pier overlooking the bay and the mountains in the background. After a short briefing on oil painting by Zhanna, we began our creative journey. Several girls from our group held brushes in their hands for the first time. But, as soon as the first strokes appeared on their canvases, we could no longer believe in their debut. It was very cool and atmospheric. People around periodically approached us, took pictures, were interested. Men even offered themselves as sitters. The colors of the lake changed every second, but we still managed to catch the mood.
Plein air on the lake Issyk-Kul
After lunch, we went to the oldest art gallery in Kyrgyzstan, to the petroglyphs of Cholpon-Ata. The local guide Maksat gave us a wonderful tour, showed us all the rock paintings and balbals (stones), told us a lot of interesting things. After the tour, we also decided to feel like ancient artists and started sketching.
Petroglyphs in Cholpon-Ata
But even this was not enough for us. In the evening we decided to arrange a viewing of scientific films about Issyk-Kul, about flooded cities, about the search for the relics of the Apostle Matthew, and simply about the beauty of this region. We were impressed and got new knowledge.
The next day we went on our journey. We reached the Jyrgalan mountain gorge, autumn had already visited this valley and painted the slopes of the mountains with yellow spots. The evening was rainy, but we were not bored. With girlish conversations and hot fragrant tea, we did not even notice how midnight had come.
On the way
We woke up to the lowing of cows. The morning of the mountain village of Jergalan was filled with real village life. The bright sun almost impudently burst into the room with clucking, chirping, neighing, and I no longer wanted to stay in bed. And outside the window the landscape was clean and bright after the night rain. I quickly dressed and went up the river to look for a place for our plein air. In my opinion, the point that I found turned out to be successful. And at 10 in the morning we were already setting up our easels and uncovering our brushes.
To be honest, it was difficult. Painting mountains, and even when the light is constantly changing and the shadows on one side or the other, is very difficult. But in four hours we all coped with the task, and everyone managed to paint a mountain landscape, and even with a mountain river.
After each plein air, we pack the paintings so that they can be transported and dry at the same time. It turned out not to be difficult at all.
Then we went to Karakol. And on the way we stopped at the Old Mill Museum of Russian life. And most importantly, it has a functioning old mill and oil mill. Everything works and functions. And all this was restored, assembled and made by the hands of one family - the descendants of those very first settlers from the Russian Empire to these lands at the end of the nineteenth century. We spent over two hours in the museum. As a professional organizer of tours, I am pleased that such places appear in our country and how cool it is that such a memory will remain for the next generations.
Museum of Russian Life "Old Mill"
In Karakol, we checked into my favorite Green Yard hotel, where in the morning we were given delicious coffee and a chic breakfast table.
The fifth day of our trip was on August 31 - Independence Day of Kyrgyzstan. And while the whole country was celebrating, we continued along our creative route. In order to draw inspiration, we need emotions and impressions. For impressions, we first decided to go to the Przewalski Museum. How many new and surprising things our guests from Russia learned about their compatriot! About the complex way in which knowledge was given in the century before last and how this knowledge developed society. In general, I really like groups in which the participants have an interest in history, discoveries and respect for past explorers. And for the beauty, we went to the Jety-Oguz gorge.
In the Jeti-Oguz gorge (7 bulls)
We were very lucky with the weather, and the gorge met us with all its bright colors. And personally I liked that, despite the holiday, there was no one in the mountains, this happens extremely rarely. We had lunch in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt. And then we walked a little along a completely deserted, but very beautiful gorge.
Lunch in a yurt
On the South Shore of the lake, we settled in a very unusual hotel - the Al-Khayat art base. How many plein-airs this hotel has seen, how many real and famous artists have come here to capture the beauty of the South Coast and create their masterpieces. So we decided to partially join the energy of the place and paint our “best” picture. The place chosen is really very picturesque. We decided that on the first day of autumn, the color should be appropriate. So we choosed the red color!
There was a fabulous place next to the hotel. This, of course, is not the well-known Skazka gorge, but the landscape is amazing. Around the red-yellow-orange mountains, similar to castles. Bushes of white jasmine and purple lavender, and in the background bright blue Issyk-Kul and soaring snowy mountains. It was a very difficult plein air, we wrote without rest under the scorching sun for six hours in a row, but no one wanted to finish.
Picturesque gorge Skazka
Well, we ended our creative program with an excursion to the Burana tower and a vernissage at the Asia Mountains hotel. Yes Yes! In our most beloved hotel, we arranged a small exhibition of our works, thereby delighting the guests and ourselves. And in parting, they handed over to all participants of the tour a unique book “Unknown Kyrgyzstan” (author Dudashvili S.D.).
Oh, and a little sorry that the journey is over. But the girls decided that we should continue and on October 30 of this year we are going to Uzbekistan, to travel and paint the two most beautiful cities of the East - Samarkand and Bukhara. Join now!
Watch the video about our trip to Kyrgyzstan and let's go on a new adventure together!