Category Archives: Transylvania

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

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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.

 

 

 

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…

There Is a Time For Everything – Update


Well, I have to back up a little and recognize I was wrong: Mecenas still exists.

Sometimes, they have name of flowers (Lilly, Florin) sometimes of emperors (Traian, Valentin, Adrian) or simply poetic names like my own (Dan)  or Mariana or Sandra or Rafi… And I hope I did not forgot anybody… If I did, blame the bloody illness (even if my artist “head in the clouds” could be the real problem…)

Anyway, I just came, a few hours ago, from my second chemotherapy (it didn’t went as bad as I thought – So far, so good…) and after the holidays, in January, I will have my chance to see dr. Vanounou at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. If he sees me fit to be operate then I will probably have the HIPEC procedure and a fair chance to be healed or at least to get some more time… My state is far too advanced for me to despise the “marvels” of Modern Medicine… If not I will have to try exclusively Alternative, Natural Medicine… But you cannot cut a gangrened leg with a banana, unfortunately…

Otherwise, good news, because of the Mecenas (some more giving, even buying me some originals, some just sending me money by Paypal or ordering some reproductions , but both equally generous, proportionally to their meanings…) I have now my Santevia Alkaline Water Filtration System, my Kempo Hippocrates slow juicer – really slow that one, but good… and even a chlorine filter for my shower (my wife used it too; I would like my children and grandsons use it but that’s not, unfortunately, practical…)

But, hey! says Danu the Cynic, even they still exists (and God bless them!) they are not that numerous and there is still place for some more… I have now my gizmos and devices (my Alternate way of fighting cancer, with the vegetarian diet and prayer) but now, that I bought those, I am still broke and got not much left, if any, to buy vegetables and fruits and so on. True, I bought a lottery ticket today and, eventually, the Welfare will come through at the end of the month…

That’s Danu, the never satisfied, the ungrateful bastard that thinks world (or other people) owe him soething just for being such a “splendid” artist…They don’t…

But if you are feeling invadad by the Christmas spirit and willing to do some charity, my Paypal email is diordache01@gmail.com and/or you can order some “masterpieces” reproductions from my Fine Art America site or Redbubble… That’s also, Danu the Cynic, Danu the opportunist, Danu the Begger… More things could happen now (Danu the Cynic again…):

1. Nothing moves, nothing changes…

2. Some new Mecenas will generously manifest themselves… (YES!)

3. Last, but not least, some effing spamer will take my email and use it to flood me with rich African kings offers (they need only a couple thousand $ to inherit – and are ready to make me part of it, to making me ultra-rich); or some “beautiful” ladies which fancy me as their future lover and wish to make me orgasmiclly happy (by phone, I suppose) if I send them a couple of hundred $ and so on… and lets hope Paypal security is really really tight (I think so; never had a problem yet) so that hackers cannot also syphon my meager account by only knowing your email…

Whatever…

To all the possibilities (and I really mean ALL, not only $ and emails and Mecenas…) I will say: Thy Will Be Done. (I will do my part, though…)

Be it Fate/Nature/God.

I discovered some more unknown or hardly remembered things I’ve done : here they are so that I do now spoil my “Grand finale” with some more words…

Marine Gems 2006 ?

Marine Gems 2006 ?

Some of MArs Imagined Population VGI

You can see what the HIPEC procedure is, here:

http://www.hipectreatment.com/about-the-hipec-procedure/

P.S.  Almost started to draw and make watercolors again… one of the Mecenas gave me a order for a horse painting… My half of the kitchen table is ready: paper, photos, watercolors… All stay there like soldiers on a battlefield. Waiting for the General to gain some forces and really DO it… He will, he will…