Category Archives: Sibiu & Romania

The Jester DAnu…


Still true, that one, I’m still somewhat of a jester…a clown…

Van Gogh and I

Summer is a wonderful time here,  in Quebec (in other parts of the world I suppose is the same but given the long, long winter, when the summer comes, man! are we “Quebecois”  glad!)
Everybody is wearing shorts and sandals – even if sometimes the temperatures are not that warm – and if you work as a portrayer-jester (as I do, in the summertime – Remember? Janis Joplin’s “Summertime”? and Ella Fitzgerald’s?) you’ll see a lot of people jogging, walking, skating, bycicling around the Lac of Nations…
Yesterday I was trying to make a portrait or two (you can see what I did right here) and my friend Raymond and his Zoo en Folies (4 parrots) came along… and then also Stephane, the accordionist (the one who’s playing amelie poulin’s musical theme and other «Paris-Montmartre» tunes … Some tourists and some pickpockets and a hill or two (maybe a cathedral…

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The Advantages of Living in a Very Old City


Already more than a year since I left Sibiu! and Iohannis – or Johannis? is now the President of Romania! let’s hope that he will be better than Obama for the Americans and will not disappoint those who vote for him and even those woho didn’t…It will be a nice surprise!

Van Gogh and I

One of the main advantages, the one I’ll illustrate for you: there are a lot of festivals, events, exhibition and you can imagine yourself living in more than one epoch…

These are photos I took the last 4-5 days at the Medieval Festival. Very easy to imagine oneself living in that epoch in a city like Sibiu (Hermannstdt). Downtown, everywhere you turn old houses and chrches and fortifications reminds you of the time of Draculya, Vlad the Impaler…

An ancient flame lighting system An ancient flame lighting system

…and some very old and particular skills: hawk and owl tamming…

A Hawk landing for its reward - raw meat... A Hawk landing for its reward – raw meat…

Landing Hawk fltrdAnd you meet old friends…

Nelu, sometimes a guitar player and an old friend Nelu, sometimes a guitar player and an old friend

or beautiful young women… dressed in the Renaissance fashion…

Dulcinee from Basarabia Dulcinee from Basarabia

The Beauty and the little and cute beast The Beauty and the little and cute beast

Eventually, if you are lucky, you can catch some pretty funny characters, like…

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Art Therapy, here I come!


Until I got the time to write my new post about Vlaminck & Van Gogh…

Van Gogh and I

It seems that doctors die, statistically, at around 57-60 years old, a lot sooner than the “coach patatoes” (statistically), so why trust them entirely and blindly when it comes to our lives? (the statistics are for the US of A)  

Well, most of us are conditioned a lifetime to do just that…

So, it was not easy for me to say NO to the surgery they in a hurry programmed me for (even if I feel quite ok and my cancer seems to be stabilized…I’ve started to paint and draw again…)

But I did, even if most of my friends said I was crazy… Well, now, artists are a bit crazy, aren’t they? (at least a little bit…) So, instead of lying “gutted like a trout” on an operation table and then for 2 months (if everything went ok and they wouldn’t forget a scalpel or some gauze in…

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Art Therapy, here I come!


It seems that doctors die, statistically, at around 57-60 years old, a lot sooner than the “coach patatoes” (statistically), so why trust them entirely and blindly when it comes to our lives? (the statistics are for the US of A)  

Well, most of us are conditioned a lifetime to do just that…

So, it was not easy for me to say NO to the surgery they in a hurry programmed me for (even if I feel quite ok and my cancer seems to be stabilized…I’ve started to paint and draw again…)

But I did, even if most of my friends said I was crazy… Well, now, artists are a bit crazy, aren’t they? (at least a little bit…) So, instead of lying “gutted like a trout” on an operation table and then for 2 months (if everything went ok and they wouldn’t forget a scalpel or some gauze in your belly…) lying in bed with a caca-bag (yes, those details got me disgusted and taken aback too…sorry for that…)

I’ve prefered to take my chances with God and to trust my body to recover with diet, meditation, prayer and exercise… And if not, at least, I’ve decided for myself and wasn’t just a sheep or cow (well, bull) hearded to the slaughter-house… Painting, drawing will help me enormously too, I know it. I have a purpose and a meaning in my life: to paint, to draw, to photograph the beauty all around us (my grandsons included, whom I hope to see going to school, at least…) for as long as I possibly can… not that bad as a purpose and meaning in life…

Here there are some of the latest paintings and drawings I’ve “committed”:

Self-portrait, the 19 th of April 2014

Self-portrait, the 19 th of April 2014

I look here a lot more severe and somber than I really feel… Refusing the surgery  – at the time I was considering the options – gave me peace of mind and I’m now a lot more serene…

Madona With Owl

Madona With Owl

To paint this I’ve used one of the photos I’ve took at a Medieval Festival, when I was still in Sibiu, Transylvania, in the summer of 2013…

Model and artist

Model and artist

I even started to draw nudes again… here it is another one…

marie-claude

marie-claude

A Stalin's fan with Big, Big Ear...

A Stalin’s fan with Big, Big Ear…

Sometimes, when I still have color on my palette, in order not to waste it (since I’m still poor as a church mouse…) I do indulge myself in fantesies like this one… The ones who lived or heard about Stalin and communism (I did), know why the guy has such a large ear…

Finally, here I am with my grandsons Gabriel and Thomas and my daughter at about the time when I was about 90 % sure and decided NOT to take the surgery, taking instead my fate in my own hands… If they are not very skilled with a scalpel (don’t trust me to remove your appendix!) they still can hold a brush and a pencil and do some, supposedly, not that bad paintings and drawings…

my daughter, grandsons and me, the 25th of April

my daughter, grandsons and me, the 25th of April

So, beware Art Therapy, here I come!

P.S. If I do not kick the bucket right away or even, it’s possible if not probable, get  cured, it will be a reason to hope for all those who have (or will get; it seems it’s about one in three, right now…) “cancer”…and this WORD (for it’s JUST a word) will not scare the living shit out of people, who will croak just as the Australian Aborigenis do, when being “pointed the bone”…I’ve read about this in the book “You Can Conquer Cancer” by Ian Gawler, a real “Crocodile Dundee” of the fight with cancer, who survived for more than 30 years and is still kicking (well, at least with one leg; the doctors amputated the other one at the beginning of his cancer…bad joke, pardon me, Ian…)

 

 

Still kicking…


…and not yet the bucket…

I was lucky. I’ve found at an art supply store a Windsor and Newton easel, a solid one, a real easel for serious artists (one can paint a 2 x 3 m canvases, if so enclined…) at half price. Somehow, I managed to borrow the necessary $ from a friend and bought it.

Somehow, it was like a “sign”. And the blockage which, until I had that easel, mysteriously prevent me to paint, disappeared… At least, to me, having the easel seemed to be the moment when my creativity came again to life. Curious and mysterious ways our mind has…

Since then, about 1 month ago, I’ve painted 5 canvases of 16 x 20 inches and some nude drawings too. Here there are, in an approximative chronological order;

Laboured Fields Under Moon Light

Laboured Fields Under Moon Light

I started with this re-interpretation of an older landscape I made a few years ago probably because that one was the first painting I’ve sold for a decent sum (750$). It was a full of hope period and a good painting then. This one is probably ok.

The Night in May when it snowed em

The Night in May When it Snowed 

This one was inspired by the photo of a tomato flower and by a unusual intense snowfall.

Lake and Clouds Reflexions

Lake and Clouds Reflexions

With this landscape (inspired by a B&W photo) I’ve tried to remember the happy times I had  at the Village Museum in the Dumbrava forest, near Sibiu, my native town.

Errant Greek-Orthodox Monk

Errant Greek-Orthodox Monk

Also a rememberance: I’ve met this monk, one that they called sometimes, Crazy After Jesus monk, because of their simili-franciscan faith and demenor (begging for their monastery and only then for themselves, a leaf of bread…) in a proud Transylvanian village near Sibiu, called Saliste. I took a photo of him in the church and was impressed by his sincerity and humbleness.

North of Quebec "Taiga"

North of Quebec “Taiga”

Some years back I’ve travelled 1750 km to go fishing, with a compatriote, Stephan and a quebequer friend, Clément. So, it’s also a remeberance of beauty and wilderness (I didn’t catch a fish but did some nice watercolors and took lots of pictures…), painted after a B&W photo (again! I like to do that because it gives me more color freedom…). I’m not unsatisfied with it. It ressembles the XIX century Russian realist paintings. No wonder since the Quebec Taiga is very similar to the Siberian Taiga. Minus the tigers, fortunatelly…

In conclusion, still kicking and happy to paint and draw, a bit. As long as I can do this, no matter what, things will be ok.

 

 

 

Premonitions in Painting: my Premonition


Yesterday morning, the 01 01 2014, I woke up with my face to a painting of mine on the wall close to my bed. This is the one I’m talking about:

Trieste

Trieste

Until yesterday, this painting, one of my favorite (and subjectively, one of my best works until now) was not “personal”, so to speak… It did not have a personal, visceral connection with me. But yesterday, sliding from my dreams (whatever they were – usually I do not remember them…) to reality, I saw that slender, kind of skinny naked man (maybe that’s why it wasn’t personal… I wasn’t skinny until recently…) was lying there, encircled by a dark, black green shadow. I had a minor epiphany: that was me, shadowed by my cancer, menaced but still calm… All of a sudden, this painting (one that I’ve started painting years ago and then repainted in the present form in 2009, I think) become very, very personal. A premonition.

A bit like the famous Self Portrait with an eye pulled off, by my compatriot Victor Brauner, one of the most famous PREMONITION paintings int the history of art.

Self-Portret with one Eye

Self-Portret with one Eye

Seven years after he painted this self-portrait, playing a bit with Fate, Brauner lost an eye in a bar fight (he was only a by-stander)… He become famous not only in the Surrealist circles (which he was an important member) but also in larger even if occult circles… By the way, his father was a spiritist or something like that…A Facebook friend, Adrian Onicescu, tells me Brauner’s story was told by Ernesto Sabato in Abbadon, the Exterminator (thanks!)

An this is not the only puzzling premonition in painting we know… There are stories like that in literature, too. I remember a gruesome story (by Pierre McOrlan, if not mistaken…) about a German painter who didn’t want to paint anymore because in each new landscape he painted some horrible crime had taken place… That will be an interesting subject, premonition stories and paintings…

Anyway… Back to my own little premonition: identifying myself, as a cancer bearer, surrounded by the menacing shadow of death, lying there in the sun (I hope in the sun; the original photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson, called “Trieste”, if I’m not mistaken, was taken in the 30 ties in that supposedly nice and warm place in between Slovenia and Italy, near the Adriatic) I also almost immediately looked at the yellow-green tree. Here is the original photo:

Trieste, 1933 by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Trieste, 1933 by Henri Cartier-Bresson

There is hope for me, I told myself. That green-yellow tree is a revival symbol, a Spring symbol, a renaissance sign. In all of that shadow and bleakness surrounding “myself” (?), among the saturated orange and yellow-ocher orange and the dark shadows (didn’t get yet what symbol was the tower… a phalic one?  and the fence? )

Of course, it could be only wishful thinking… Somehow, I feel I will survive (at least a few more years) to the cancer challenge. I did not finished my business here, on Earth. I still have a family to care of. Grandsons to see growing. Drawings and paintings to be created… Not done yet, I think. I hope.

We are what we think. We are what we hope. We are what we fear. And God is giving us whatever we think, we hope, we fear. “He” is impartial and neuter, like a mirror of ourselves.

And, as I created a motto, a “slogan” for myself a few years ago, to get me through times of great depression and poverty  – and some hope, too – (inspired by Nikos Kazanzakis’ famous cretan epithaph) I think this has become now even more important and significant, meaningful for me (I was also thinking of Viktor E. Frankl‘s superb book : Man’s Search For Meaning). Here it is:

No regrets. No expectations. No fears. Be free!

——————-

Copyright 2014, Dan Iordache/Ion Vincent Danu

Paul Alin Would Have Been 27 Years Old…


This is a bit too personal for an art blog post and has little to do with art…

But art, as at least two big art historians put it, art doesn’t exist… just artists and their stories…their paintings…their drawings…and well, their photos…

24 years ago there where some weird, confusing times in my home town of Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania. The “revolution”, as they called later on these events, was about to start… And Sibiu (because the son of the Dictator, Nicu, was the first man in the county and because of the numerous military units there) was a very hot spot on the map, even if, later on, it wasn’t kind of past on and the big stars were Timisoara and Bucharest…

Still, 99 persons lost their lives in the 5-6 days of “civil war” there (and some big cheese voices were recorded saying it wasn’t yet enough… not enough dead people, not enough blood…) and 262 (if I remember well the numbers…for more precise numbers, see the excellent documentary “Sibiu – December 1989” by my friend Octavian Repede at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgkyNjxJEZE ) were injured

I was there, on the streets, taking pictures, since the afternoon of 21 of December. Which was quite a stupid thing to do, in retrospective, since I could have been killed and my 3 children orphaned… But still, I was there.

21 Dec 1989, near the Securitate and Militia headquarters, about 16 h.

21 Dec 1989, near the Securitate and Militia headquarters, about 16 h.

It was an intoxicated feeling of solidarity and hope, floating in the air. Solidarity, hope and flying bullets…bout 2.000.000 of them (yes, 2 millions! the Army accountants books are proving it) of 7,62 caliber bullets, flying around and hitting people. Very few “terrorists” visible (maybe they existed but I didn’t see but 2 of them, allegedly “terrorist”… One was a poor fat witless Ceausescu’s fan who picked a very bad moment to yell that “Ceusescu nu e mort! Traiasca Ceausescu!” (he’s the one muzzled and bloodied on the tank… General Milea, the Big Boss of the Army, was just got “suicided” by Ceausescu and the army was not in the mood… )

The "terrorist"

The “terrorist”

The other one was a grinning bastard, shown to the mob (from which I was a part, with some ohter photo reporters; the one in black cap is Kester Eddy, a free lance Guardian and The Economist colaborator that I knew a bit better later on…but that’s another story…)

The second "terrorist"...poor grinning bastard, pull out from the TAB by his hair...

The second “terrorist”…poor grinning bastard, pull out from the TAB by his hair…

There were many buildings partially or totally destroyed during those 5-6 days of “civil war” (by the Army: they used helicopters, tanks, bazookas, heavy machine guns etc in the downtown of a 150.000 people city). Here are some:

Totally destryed building, 5 min from the Militia and Securitate buildings (also burned - it happens when you shoot in the windows with bazookas...)

Totally destryed building, 5 min from the Militia and Securitate buildings (also burned – it happens when you shoot in the windows with bazookas…)

The badly burned one is Popa's family house, two retired people, the man killed when he was trying to put out the fire near the window, the woman burnt alive... They were as terrorist as the next retied person...An unpunished crime among many...

The badly burned one is Popa’s family house, two retired people, the man killed when he was trying to put out the fire near the window, the woman burnt alive… They were as terrorist as the next retied person… An unpunished crime among many…

I know their story because they were the parents of a colleague professor (and headmaster) of the Marsa Industrial High School where I was a teacher at the time…

But the most tragic of all these “civil war” stories (true stories) is the one of the youngest and most innocent of all the victims of the Sibiu “revolution” (I was forever disgusted and appalled by any kind of “civil war” and especially “revolution” after that…): Paul Alin, 3 and 1/2 years old. The sheer absurdity and stupidity of all this…

HE was in the car with his pregnant mother, Maria, and his father (I don’t know his name and never even tried to find out; he was an unspeakable coward; if I was him I will no doubt hanged myself in the next hour, like Judas…) trying to get out of the “war zone” to their grandmother’s place (I think). For a reason which will stay a mistery, the father tried to force (or accidentally stepped on the acceleration instead of the brakes; the mixed”revolutionary” and army patrol opened fire (everybody with a Kalashnikov – and they were many! –  was trigger happy and jumpy those days…);

Paul Alin was shot dead, twice, in the gut and head. His pregnant mother was wounded in the hip (I think). And the father, seeing his child shot dead and pregnant wife wounded, run away,  like a chicken with his head cut, abandoning them then and there, to save his dirty skin… The poor kid was taken to the city morgue (and some cleaning lady there had the decency to put him on a white sheet, inside, apart and far away from the other “terrorist” bodies, exposed to the excited low life, climbing on the fence like monkeys, spitting and cursing the bodies…some, but not all, were “corturary” (a gipsy tribe)… I got them on film, somewhere, but I never wanted to see them again… Needless to say I was growing a very Antigonian soul since then… Dead corpses, even of “terrorists” are dead people and need to be treated with a minimum of respect. ( By the way, I got the privilege to photograph in the city morgue, otherwise forbidden to locals like myself, only because I was following in Kester Eddy’s and his Hungarian colleague Peter foot steps; they had real press badges and the Romanian cleaning lady which was the only “boss” of the city morgue – the real “bosses” were probably hiding under their bed – thought I was myself a foreign correspondent…)

This photos are quite painful to watch and graphic (I cropped it a bit). One can  only TRY to imagine the pain of the mother and I hope Maria – Mary (a significant name, isn’t it?) will understand that if I do publish them on my blog only to pay my tribute to Paul Alin and to expose his killers, even if I don’t know them. One of these pictures and a text – kind of pathetic and censured by the local ex-communist Tribuna paper – was my first article as a “journalist” in the aftermath of the 1989 events… a career which I will pursue for some years after 1989…

Paul Alin, 3 and 1/2 years old, the absolute martyr of the bloody Sibiu "revolution". As always, the innocent are those paying the price for the ambition and stupidity of the grown ups...

Paul Alin, 3 and 1/2 years old, the absolute martyr of the bloody Sibiu “revolution”. As always, the innocent are those paying the price for the ambition and stupidity of the grown upsMaria…

As if killing him was not enough, he was labeled as “a terrorist’s child” and, if I was told the truth later on, his grandmother could claim the little body only a week later, fearful to be arrested herself. Maria was in the hospital at the time, pregnant and wounded. All this has the resonance of a Greek Tragedy and even now, with the risk of being considered a “pussy” by some tough ones, I cry my eyes out, looking at this image…

There were bizarre, weird times, those few days before Christmas 1989 (hell of a Christmas for Maria – Mary, the mother of Paul Alin)… An evil one could have done anything and everything… Some did…

Then Ceausescu and his dreadful wife got summarily executed and everything simmered down… It was Christmas and New Year time, a time for hope and feasting and most of us forgot about the dead martyrs, as human do to survive… They even transmited, for the first time, a video clip with Lambada, with almost naked beautiful tropical women, with strings as their only clothes…

A new era was beginning…

But I did not and will not forget Paul Alin (especially now that I am the grandfather of Gabi, 3 years old and Thomas, almost 2). Cursed be forever and ever his killers and may they all burn in hell, together with most of the politicians and “revolutionaries”, at least partly responsible for his tragic death. Not a very “christmassy” feeling, I know…