Farewell and the Big Sleep


Just took my 3rd morphine of the evening and I’m pretty high, I suppose. Never did that until today when, after eating a few tablespoons of magic bullet liquified “food” I was so sick that I thought I’ll die. Later on I thought I will have my second operation of hernia… Anyway, I was panicking for nothing: it was just my little, plain appendix cancer in its terminal phase…Hence, the 3rd morphine…

But not about my little bodily miseries I wanted to write. Those are not interesting. And I wonder if anything else is. When one’s approaching death, things tend to loose interest, even those you thought were your life, your bread and butter, your flesh and blood…

I remember my first close encounter with the desmise of someone close, that I loved a lot: my maternal grandfather, “Moshu”/ Romanian colloquial for an old, nice relative, as I called him. A very interesting, really, character: immigrating to Germany and then to USA (since in Germany he got in a brawl and had to take off as far as possible) at 17 years old, unemployed and champion of billiard for money, then worker in Philadelphia and Chicago steel factories, then, after saving some $$$, coming back to Transylvania to buy some good land and become a farmer and the father of a large (13 children) family. My mother was the 11 th and one of his personal favorites. Become a “jandarm” (country policeman) and then a “cantor” (professional church singer) at the Sibiu Mitropoly. HAd to give that up at the regretful order of the Mitropolit (who liked him and his superb bass voice) because he was mixing business  with holy singing, being one of the first to import a Ford T model truck and other contraptions to make money for his large family. Become a modest entrepreneur before the WW2. A Russian prisoner at 52, communists confiscated his trucks and business after he returned from Siberia. And so I knew him, also as a favorite grandson, a big man, wise and not embittered too much by the turns of his fate, liking to chat, to tell stories and to drink some. Died when I was 18, in the hot summer of 1975, from cirrhosis, at 84. And, my point, not seeming to care any more for me or anyone else he loved so much before…He had a detachment, an aloofness that was hurtful and confusing and oh, so intriguing when he approached death…I did not understood it then. I start to understand it now…

That’s why, one reason, I write this. What remains, finally, after us? And I’m referring especially at “us”, artists, painters, writers and so on? Do our paintings, drawings etc. carry a meaning? a real, important meaning? Something that was worth our work, our sufferings (even if, the joy of creation kind of compensate already the “sufferings”)?

I must think they do. I must believe a very wise and interesting writer, W. H. Auden (from the Aldoux Huxley exceptional generation), who said it the best:

“Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.”

Soon enough, very probably, I’ll be dead. I certainly wish that my drawings, paintings and a few essays here and there, will find some living humans who will be willing to “break the bread” with me, through my art. My wish is for my children and grandchildren to be tempted by that first, but one never knows…

Danu, 21 June 2015

By the way, W.H. Auden is also the one that said : “A man is a form of life that dreams in order to act and acts in order to dream.” 

And, even more important and interesting and probably the best answer to my questioning:

“What answer to the meaning of existence should one require beyond the right to exercise one’s gifts?” (W.h. Auden)

I had the chance to do just that in the last 18 years or so. I can consider myself a pretty lucky bastard, can I?

The illustration is my last, yet unfinished, painting: it will be called, if I succed to finish it, “The Path” or something like that and I still have to paint a climbing silhouette of a man…

DSCN6691

Vincent and Daumier


Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

Vincent van Gogh was a generous man. He admired a lot of artists, all kind of artists (Meissonier, “le pompier” was, surprisingly for us, today, one of his preferred artists…) and was very generous with his praises for younger artists like Émile Bernard. But there are some names which are mentionned over and over in his letters. Honoré Daumier is one of them. Délacroix is another. Le vieux Millet another yet…

He was an unconditional admirer of  those and he did, especially in his last years, copies, “interpretations” of paintings by Daumier and Millet, especially. Of course, if the design is clearly Daumier or Millet, the color and the brush technique was very much “Vincent”.

Here are two samples, one after Daumier, one after Millet:

I think that if we are to count, the “interpretation” after Millet (Vincent affectionately called him “père Millet” ) are more numerous than those after…

View original 223 more words

The look of a child


Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

Indian summer in Magog

Sometimes, in some rare and privileged moments, I can look at the world as a child. Sometimes, for a few minutes or hours (if I’m lucky) I can BE a child again. Receiving all the outside impression without any filter, without any judgement, without prejudice. The true, authentic naivity is a precious, rare thing, a thing to be preserved and cherished. Eventually, through a drawing or a painting…

Very few artists could preserve this ingenuity all their life… even the best of them, like Chagall , Utrillo or Paul Klee had their “adult” moments (Paul Klee was a rare case of a fine theoretician AND a very original, somotimes “naive” artist, having the curiosity of an infant for experimentation). Anyway, the true naivity is a rare item and quite difficult to prove. Their authenticity, the originality of an Ivan Generalic, for instance, is manifest. As it is, of course, that…

View original 31 more words

The Bucket List


I’ve took the name from the movie, ok. But it is not about it.

Swell to be billionaire or a billionaire’s buddy (like in the movie) and be able to bucketlist whatever you want. (my creativity is amazing: I create a new verb in English: to bucketlist! :))

Imagine instead you are churchmouse poor and have, theoretically, a couple of months to live (or so the doctor says)… Less funny than in the movies, isn’t it? Still, you have a couple of months or more to live, you are still autonomous, not in great pain and you’ll like to do something meaningful with what you got.

Exactly my situation.

While binge watching tv series is a possibility (just got through a phase like that, finished the 4th season of Six Feet Under – a very suitable and sometimes morbidly funny series) it’s not meaningful enough, not when your oncologist says to get ready and put your affairs (which affairs?!) in order…

Since drawing and painting, creating art, was my most meaningful activity – pleasant too – in the last 2 decades I suppose continuing doing that is a definite YES. Now the question would be how to do the most of that. Painting commercially it’s a possibility – and could leave something relatively valuable to my family – since I have no savings, no bonds and stocks (just a few credit card debts; my enormous – 30.000 $ ! – study debt – enormous no doubt for a lousy visual arts Certificate anyway)- was erased by a merciful Ministry of Education since I couldn’t have paid that anyway). But then it will lack significative originality and impact. It will be pleasant though to paint some more flowers (Luchian did it and did a wonderful job with it) or some nostalgic Transylvanian or Quebec landscapes.

I could also draw and paint a lot of self-portraits, documenting my days before my final agony… A bit too egotistical and too much looking toward his own belly button. Maybe a significative human experience? If I were famous already maybe it could even have some commercial value… But I’m not and probably never will be… It’s amazing how quickly we forgot even the indecently famous people, once they are dead and buried.

I could also let loose of myself/ let myself loose and draw and paint the most bizarre and scary nightmares of mine (don’t have many but still got some…), the most outrageous and morbid and crazy things my imagination could concoct. That would be fun. For me. Not for my children, wife and grandchildren…

Writing a book – a short one, evidently – also a thought that crossed my mind. I have one I began a few years – many years, in fact: must have been 2003-2004? and wrote about 39-40 pages… I could begin a new one, not a work of fiction but a kind of equivalent of Ibraileanu’s aphorisms, “Witnessing Life” (Privind viata). Am I wise enough? Am I skillful enough? Only one way to know it: by trying to do it…

Of course, painting, drawing, writing is to be done in my “spare time” since my mission in life, right now and in the foreseeable future, is to assist as much as I can, my daughter and my grandsons (and occasionally my other boys and my wife and father).

Not much of a bucket list, I suppose? no spectacular voyages, no extreme feats, no exotic living. And I wonder if I had money (checked today the lottery tickets – no luck for me; I’m lucky in my love life, as usual :)) I would do something different. Maybe visiting my father in Romania (with his grand-grandsons and grandsons maybe), maybe some museum visiting (Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Brussels, Munich…) Nothing very fancy.

But then, I’m neither Jack Nicholson…nor Van Gogh…

Maybe some ear cutting would be more interesting? no, no, I’ll stick with the boring stuff…

And this is some work in progress, so that the post wouldn’t be imageless. It’s bad enough it’s not fancy…

Old OLt riverbed, Transylvania, near Saca

Old OLt riverbed, Transylvania, near Saca

Madness and painting… Renoir about Van Gogh, Cézanne and Jules II


Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

Jean Renoir, the famous film director, son of the not less famous impressionist painter Renoir (Pierre-Auguste) reported a conversation he had with his father about Van Gogh, mainly… I’ll try to translate it (you cannot trust Babelfish, these days!) for you:

…” my father suggested that the death of Van Gogh was “not a very flattering event. Not even père Durand (*Ruel, the art dealer) could understand a thing!” This indifference toward such a brilliant genius was, in my father’s opinion, the condamnation of “this century of garrulous people”. I ask him what did he make of Van Gogh’s madness. His answer was that in order to paint you have to be a bit crazy. “If Van Gogh was crazy, I am too… As for Cézanne, well, he’s raving mad!…” And he added: “The Pope Jules II must have been also mad. That’s why he…

View original 264 more words

Ecce Homo


ivdanu:

Even more significative / true now than when I’ve wrote it…I still have to actualize my self – portrait, if I will be able to muster the energy for it…

Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

I know, it sounds a bit (or, ok, a lot) corny and pretentious… But Nietzsche did it. He wrote a book entitled just like that: Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. The year was 1888, the year Vincent arrived in Arles, a decisive step in his life and work. For Nietzsche too, it was an important work (more important still since it was the last of his works composed as a (relatively) sane man – after that there were the insanity years…)

Well, Nietzsche, before he got insane, had his Ecce Homo (for those not enclined to know Latin artsy-fartsy stuff, it doesnt’t mean “Here is the homosexual” but simply “Here is the man” – words supposedly pronounced by Pilates when presenting Jesus to the crowd; a lot of religious paintings of all ages have the same title…) I had mine one early morning, the 12th of September 2005, when I…

View original 234 more words

All kind of plans…


ivdanu:

From the time I still had plans…

Originally posted on Van Gogh and I:

For instance, since human clients for portraits seems to be rare these days, I plan to do some superb dog portraits (knowing how much people love their pets, a good portrait should bring me tons of cash…) Here are some models I plan to paint the next days… waiting for humans (Godot included)…

I also plan to start a project with teenagers (12 to 17) teaching them to draw portraits of themselves, if the project will be approved…

But mainly, I plan to draw portraits at the Marche de la Gare, a picturesque spot in Sherbrooke with plenty of interesting people walking by (mostly on rolling skates, jogging, on bykes and parading their pure breed dogs… no cats to be seen, yet…) Plenty of couples and beautiful young girls, children and grandparents… A lot of clients of the Orford Express Train, too… Not a moment of boredom… I even took…

View original 48 more words