From Europe to Africa, and Iceland, Gulay Berryman has had quite the globetrotting life. Gulay and her husband have lived in seven foreign countries for over 20 years, finally landing in Williamsburg where they have remained stationary for the past 14 years.
Gulay was born and raised in Turkey and studied fine art in France and Italy. Upon reflection, she credits her travels, and exposure to new landscapes and cultures, as a direct influence on her art. “My painting style changed depending on my environment. Each of the moves was the beginning of a new experience and I found great pleasure painting in each of these countries.” Though not without challenges, Gulay recalls transitioning between countries could be quite difficult at times. “It took time to adjust both artistically and physically with changes.” Gulay has since exhibited in multiple countries, won several international awards, and was even commissioned by royalty for a portrait series.
Upon first glance it’s easy to see that Gulay prefers realism, most evident in her painstaking details. “For me, painting is about preserving memories and telling a story. It’s what I am passionate about and what I love.” This is manifested in her piece View from Eze, a scene from southern France, close to Monaco. Gulay and her husband have been to Monaco frequently and love this particular village for its stunning views. “I think my true personality and emotions show through in these paintings. Maybe that’s why I often choose complicated and challenging sceneries for my paintings.”
With intricate subject matter, comes a complicated creative process. Gulay often begins with a concept, which turns into a pencil or charcoal sketch to establish values. Each painting can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months to complete, depending on size and complexity. “I primarily use oil paint and try to limit my palette to 8 colors maximum, that way there is added harmony between the colors.”
Though globetrotting may be on hold for now, Gulay’s paintings offer a window into other cultures – a realistic escape at any time.