Ebru Nurse dreams of opening an exhibition with paintings reflecting her own color

16 mins read

On our Fikrikadim website, we last wrote the story of Tuba Nurse, who was interested in mountaineering. Later, I had the opportunity to meet Ebru Nurse, the heroine of this interview. She was also distinguished by her talent for painting. We all entered 2023 with these brand new plans. But on February 6, an earthquake struck our country with deep sorrow. According to the latest news, 47975 lives were lost. 47975 stories… 47975 dreams…

We bow in respect to the memories of these people we know and those we don’t know.

When we decided to interview Ebru, I asked her to write an article so that I could get to know her and prepare questions for her. She expressed her feelings and thoughts so beautifully that we are publishing that part in her own words. Then comes our questions.

Ebru Nurse dreams of opening an exhibition with paintings reflecting her own color 1
Nurse Ebru Arlı

“I am Ebru Arlı, the middle of three siblings, with a brother three years older and a sister nine years younger. I am originally from Samsun. I was born there but my family moved to Izmir when I was 5 months old. I grew up and went to school in Izmir and went to university at Trakya University in Edirne.

In general, including my university life, I was always within limits. My family, my environment, financial opportunities… Dreams were shaped within these limits.

I guess it is the fate of the middle sisters… They are responsible for everything… The older sister does whatever she wants. The youngest brother does whatever he wants. The middle sister is given whatever responsibility, whatever work needs to be done. If someone has to be pushed, it’s always the middle one. Even the cover is ready. “He’s your brother. You are younger, do what he says…” “Your brother is young, he doesn’t understand. You are older, act accordingly…” That’s why it became a habit to always involuntarily put others ahead of myself and myself in the background. That’s why my dreams and aspirations only entered my agenda at university and came to life when I started working.

I remember… . When I was a child, I saw someone on TV who was doing beautiful pencil drawings. “How beautiful!” I said, but I never thought, “Can I do it too?” I told you about the limits, we saw beautiful things, but there was never an awareness that we could do it too, that we could go to a course and improve ourselves. Even if something was mentioned, “Oh, what are you going to do, forget it. Don’t you have anything else to do?”. As I said, boundaries…

When I was a child, I had no peers in the neighborhood. Accordingly, I am more mature now and can look at things from different perspectives. I can have pleasant conversations with older people. The negative aspect is that when I get together with my peers, their conversations bore me. According to them, I am boring. I am also quiet in terms of temperament. Accordingly, I am a good observer. This aspect nurtured my painting talent.

I remember watching a movie on TV when I was a child that told the story of painting. It helped me develop my interest in painting. I used to spend time at home and draw pictures. I used to do the assignments given by the art teacher and blend them with different things. I liked to color my surroundings.

In school life and in my environment, the field of health was an important profession and I was guided towards it. Nursing was actually an ideal profession for me as I always grew up taking responsibility and always put those around me before myself. In my seven years of professional life, I have never regretted choosing this profession. On the contrary, I started to enjoy it more and more as time passed. It makes me happy to be able to help patients, share their problems and support them. It is enough to hear their thanks at the end of the day. No matter how difficult our working conditions are, I, as the younger brother of his older brother, do everything I am told because the patient is the priority. I, as the older sister of his younger sister, protect them, take care of them, meet their needs. I do whatever is best for them and love them without expecting anything in return. I even started graduate school to improve myself more and be more useful to patients.

When I graduated from university, my brother told me that he thought I would be an architect because of my drawing skills. That made me feel very strange. So they were aware of me…

Painting is a talent that comes from my father’s side. My uncles’ daughters also have it, but only girls… When I was a freshman at university, I saw a poster on the bulletin board that there was a free charcoal and oil painting course for university students at the public education center. It excited me. It made me say, “I wonder?” Moreover, it was free, so I could go. When I told my parents, they gave me permission. Since it was free, there was no problem to force my family. For two years, during my second and third years at the university, I studied at the public education center. I learned new techniques and improved myself even more.

Painting was the only area where I could be alone with myself and express my dreams, but even that was within limits. I was still no different from a frog looking at the sky through a well. The sky I could see was only as far as the mouth of the well.

There is a blackboard in the intensive care unit where I work now. One day, I drew a picture there by chance and everyone learned that I was a painter and the doctors, especially the doctors, encouraged me to draw all the time. I also heard Dr. Yeşim and Dr. Barış say, “Your paintings are very good… The atmosphere of the intensive care unit has changed. When we walk in, our heads turn directly there and we wonder what he has drawn this time. It makes you happy.” One day Associate Professor Dr. Ersin Kadiroğulları asked, “Can you draw a heart?” and gave me an anatomy atlas. He showed me a sample picture and I drew it. Since that day, I have been making drawings for our doctors’ articles. All of my drawings have been published in various journals, including abroad. I enrolled in a course to improve myself in this field and I am still continuing. Medical drawing is really very interesting…

Ebru Nurse dreams of opening an exhibition with paintings reflecting her own color 2

I work in the Cardio Vascular Surgery Intensive Care Unit at Mehmet Akif Ersoy Chest Heart and Vascular Surgery EAH. By the way, I would like to thank Associate Professor Dr. Ersin Kadiroğulları, who enabled me to step into medical painting, and all my colleagues who encouraged me in this regard.

-Your story shows that although you were interested in painting from childhood, you were only seriously interested in it after you became a professional. What would have changed in your life if you had channeled it at an earlier age?

I would probably have been in a professional group where painting was the leading role.

-What are the difficulties of working as a nurse and painting at the same time?

I can say that I don’t have enough time for painting. When I try to allocate time, sleep irregularities occur. Because I have a busy working schedule. The nursing profession is both mentally and physically exhausting and has shift working hours. At times, you cannot even spare time for your family, which is the most precious thing. It is not enough to have time for oneself. We spend more time in the hospital than at home. As a nurse, we always compromise ourselves. It is an extremely challenging profession if you don’t really love it.

-How do you allocate time for painting outside of nursing? Can you tell us about your working practices in this field?

I try to spare 2-4 hours a day because painting requires constant practice. The main thing here is to find a balance between painting and the people around me, daily work, other hobbies and my professional working hours. Time is the only thing in this life that cannot be compensated for, so watching TV all evening or spending hours on social media seems pointless to me. I take a break for 1 or 2 days from painting, which I sacrifice sleep for, and rest. This rest includes getting together with friends, reading my books, doing research for the next drawings.

Ebru Nurse dreams of opening an exhibition with paintings reflecting her own color 3

-What does medical painting bring to your life?

It’s like breathing in water. This way, you can spend as much time as you want in your environment without any limitations. Your perspective on the world changes. Some things gain meaning while others lose their meaning. Each patient is like a new canvas. A new painting, different colors, different stories. It is exciting…

-What are you doing to advance in medical painting? Do you attend any trainings and courses? What are your goals in this field?

My only education about painting was the oil painting course I attended at the public education center during my university years. When I graduated and started working, I started a painting course to improve myself on this path that I started with guidance. I like to draw by hand, but in the future I want to learn computer programs for drawing.

-Who are the pens you follow in our country and in the world in medical painting and what are the publications?

I generally use photographs taken during surgery and atlases. Apart from that, I follow the Turkish Medical Illustrators Group, which was established about three years ago.

-Which anatomical drawing do you enjoy doing the most?

As a cardiovascular surgery intensive care nurse, of course the heart… The only organ that affects us both physically and emotionally…

Ebru Nurse dreams of opening an exhibition with paintings reflecting her own color 4

-Where do you envision your future in medical drawing? Where would you like your drawings to be featured?

My drawings have been published in many local and foreign articles over the last few years, and I have an exciting project in the pipeline. I would love to publish an atlas of my own drawings.

-What are the differences between medical drawing and other fields of art?

The aim of medical drawing is to visualize every information in the field of medicine. Here, it is more about explaining a subject than making art.

-What kind of drawings do you do besides medical drawing? How do you feel at those moments?

I also do different things such as oil painting, charcoal, stone painting. Especially oil painting is indispensable for me. In general, I love working with the human figure. When I sit at the painting, it makes me feel pleasantly indifferent as the hours fly by without even realizing it. I am in a completely different frequency. All worries and tides seem to disappear at that moment. Just me and the painting… A colorful world, a silence, a state of stillness.

-Are you interested in painting as art? Do you study world famous painters and paintings? Which painting impresses you and why?

I cannot say that I am very interested in painting as art. However, I have reviewed a few books about famous painters and their works. I am a very detail-oriented person. In general, I think that everything gains meaning with detail and creates its own color. For this reason, my favorite work is Jan Van Eyck’s The Marriage of Arnolfi. The details are absolutely breathtaking. Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring has a special place in my heart.

-Do you have any dreams about painting?

I would like to open an exhibition of my own works in the future. I want to introduce people to my dreams that sail to freedom with paintings that reflect my own color.

Esen Güney

Esen Güney Married She has a son and was born in Giresun. She lives in Istanbul. Since 2014, she has been working as a writer and publication editor at fikrikadim.com. She has published essays, stories and interviews. He still continues to write and conduct interviews.