Missy H. Dunaway

Welcome! I'm an American painter currently working in Istanbul, Turkey. I paint many things, but this blog largely features my "Book of Paintings."

Getting started on a new painting of Taksim Square on a wet, rainy day. 
This ripped centerfold occurred accidentally when the book was closed  with wet paint and opened again after it dried completely. Wet paint occasionally seeps through the binding and dapples other pages, including earlier pages with finished paintings. Sometimes it is a little heartbreaking, and other times it adds something beautiful.
Either way, accidents such as these come with the territory of painting in a book, and I’ve learned to accept the results, good or bad.


I joined Instagram today! If you’d like a better look into my daily life as a traveling artist, find me at missydunaway, or by clicking the “Instagram” link in the header above. Thanks!

This is my start from yesterday, which I’m resuming tonight. I really don’t know if I like where it’s going. I’ll keep at it for a little while longer, but there’s a good chance it will end up underneath something new. 

Ana Meryem’s Wishing Wall in Selcuk, Turkey. Wishes and prayers are cleared every three months, then filled again. 

"Staring out my window again. At night you can’t see stars. Twitter is gone, and so is YouTube. Istanbul gets darker by the day."Twitter is thankfully back again, so I am posting this a little late. But this is how it felt two weeks ago.

This week I visited Selcuk, Sirince and Ephesus. In Selcuk, I visited a weaving school where I observed silk spinning, wool spinning, and knotted pile carpet weaving. Pile carpets are made by tying colored strands of wool or silk in knots (the “warp”) around vertical strands (the “weft”) fixed to a wooden loom.

I had lucky timing for this visit, because hundreds of swallows had just arrived from South Africa and were darting around the workshop. Above are two small swallows sitting atop raw silk. Raw silk looks and feels just like horse hair.

I have only one month and one week left in this studio before moving to Cappadocia. I’m enjoying it while it lasts by painting tonight’s sunset view.

As always, I start the painting simply with only three or four color statements. Colors are influenced by their relationships to nearby colors, so it’s important for me to see them all together from the very beginning. Then I reevaluate the colors, seek out subtler notes, and slowly introduce compositional elements and refine the drawing.

*Real time updating! Might post a fourth photo before the light’s gone.

**There you have it, a fourth process photo updated in real time. I only photograph my artwork in natural light, which is almost gone now, so this will be the last. Tomorrow morning I jet-set to Ephesus for two days, so I won’t be able to photograph and post the finished painting until Wednesday or Thursday. In the interim, I’ll share a good travel photo. Visiting a gladiator graveyard is on my agenda for Tuesday…

Flashback from 2012

Anonymous asked: HI honey! I was wondering, do you ever paint faces? If you do would you post those paintings/drawings?

Hello! You might not have expected it, but this is a very complicated question. You see, I only painted portraits for years. Between college semesters, I was a student in a small group of Impressionist portrait painters in Provincetown, Massachusetts. We’d spend seven hours a day painting a live model on the beach, and occasionally I’d stay late to draw the skull. Winters were spent in drawing and sculpture workshops that focused on classical study of anatomy.

After college I decided to pursue my individual style, and leave portraits behind for a while. After all those years as a student of Impressionism and portraiture, a love of Impressionist color theory is what remained, and my work continues to focus on light and color. I don’t draw faces or figures nearly enough anymore, and I should. The figure exhibits form, color, value, balance, weight, mass, volume, movement and expression. If you can draw people, you can draw anything. 

Portrait of a Sioux chief for a college assignment, circa 2008:


Portrait of a live model on the beach in Provincetown, from 2008 as well.


My weaving work place.

Exhibition in Istanbul right now!

Hi all,

At the last minute I was included in an art exhibition at Bonart Sanat Galerisi in Teşvikiye, Istanbul. The opening reception was earlier this evening, but the exhibition will be on display from April 1st - April 12th. If you’re in the area, I encourage you to check it out. 

Bonart Sanat Galerisi
Teşvikiye Mahallesi 
Ahmet Fetgari Sokak
No: 20 Daire: 2 Teşvikiye - İstanbul

Anonymous asked: What sort of paints do you use for your paintings? They are amazing!

Thank you! Allow me to redirect you to this informative post. Enjoy!

"Eyes always on me."

zazu1luv2 asked: Hello there! your books are very inspiring, do you have any advice for the amateur traveling artists out there? :) Any way to get started and get inspired, any way to look at things differently? Thank you for your time!

Hi there! Travel advice, let’s see. My biggest piece of advice, especially for artists, would be to take your time. Let your curiosity guide you when picking destinations, but when you arrive stay for a while and let the environment sink in. I usually set aside at least a week or two for a single location. If I have a year in a new country, like I do now, I’ll travel domestically and cross the border only once or twice.

Of course, most people don’t have the luxury of traveling for long stretches of time. In this case, go ahead and let yourself be a tourist. Whenever I get to a new destination, I book a bus tour and nerd out with a map, camera, and Rick Steves’ guide book. It’s cheesy, I know, but tours include a broad history lesson, the opportunity to meet other travelers, and they’re time-saving. After all, tourist attractions are often popular for good reason. 

As for looking at things differently, I arrange home stays when possible, where I stay with a local family in their house. Home stays are ideal for peeking into the culture, and they’re often inexpensive or free. 

For inspiration, I usually pick a neighborhood that interests me and simply wander around (with a map and while exercising proper safety, obviously). I carry a camera, but for the most part I keep the lens in my backpack. I always feel insensitive and uncomfortable when I take photos of people, and I never feel fully present when I’m looking at things from behind a lens. What can I say, I’m a painter, not a photographer.

Thank you for your question, and for the nice things you have to say about my art.

Safe travels!