Tag Archives: death

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…

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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…)

 

 

There is a Time for Everything


…Ecclesiastes dixit. A time for living and a time for dying. A time for health and a time for sickness.

For me, it seems, it’s the time for sickness. I’ve got diagnosed with a rare (they say only about 6000 Americans got it in a year which is 0,00189 %) form of cancer, quite advanced since I was told initially I have indigestion and treated myself for a month for that…I have a knack for rare sicknesses since my only other time when I was life treathening ill was when I got, in Romania, botulism…(no wrinkles cured, by the way, just gotten sick, sick sick…but I was still young and got away with it…)

In 2006 I draw this “masterpiece” (ha,ha) in which the “artist” paints a pregnant model. I was kind of puzzled when I found it in my portfolio (I didn’t even remembered to have it painted…).

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Anyway, I will fight back with my will to live (I’m only 57, almost 58, which, they tell me, it’s quite “young” for Canada and US) and the help of my family, grandsons included. Not much else to fight back with. I lost about everything in 10 months in Romania: my economies, my credit, my car… I’m sorry I had to leave my 85 years old father alone back there in Romania. But what use would he have had from a very sick and unassured son?

I still hope to have some little time to paint some more.

And I play every week – well, I will when the welfare check will come through…- the lottery, hoping to win at least the price of a slow juicer from Jalinis to give me a supplementary fighting chance with fruit and vegetable juices…Since Mecenas seems to be an extinct species…

Maybe, at least now and then, I will even write a post here.  Maybe even interesting posts since the ones close to kicking the bucket have nothing to loose and they, usually, tell the truth, even the unpleasant and embarrassing truth…

Thank you to all my friends who red or comment on my blog. I made some very good friends here and it was interesting. Hope to be able to write them personally in a while, since my maximum energy is about a blog post long…

Gabriel, Thomas, me and nero, our new

Gabriel, Thomas, me and nero, our new tomcat

Bye for now.

123 years since Vincent Van Gogh died


Just a reminder and a moment of silence to mark the passing of Vincent, this tortured soul who distiled such beauty from his torment…

Vincent as a Zen Buddhist Monk. One of my favorite self-portraits of Vincent.

Vincent as a Zen Buddhist Monk. One of my favorite self-portraits of Vincent.

Special thanks to authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith for their splendid biography of Vincent, one of the most comprehensive, well written and probably true of all books ever written on Vincent’s life (and there are plenty!)

Personally, they made me understood better all I knew about Vincent (especially from the less known periods of his life, the early years as a painter and the “suicide/ death” of the painter. We doubt now very much that Vincent commited suicide himself (not that it matters much…he was prone to suicide, sooner of later) and their  version of his demise, as an accident Vincent accepted as fate, is a lot more believable that all the corny bullshit we usually read or hear concerning his bitter end.

Starting Again from Scrap


I’m living now in Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania, taking care of my old father (85 in September) after the death of my mother, 87.

Facing old age and death (my folks, eventually mine) it’s  a challange, no doubt. Opposing art and creation (even modest) could be – IS – an alternative and I’m using it right now. More than that, taking care of my father – weak and kind of confused after losing my mother, his wife for the last 60 years – being a full time job, I can use only scraps of time, here and there, after cooking, cleaning and etc. to take pictures, to draw, to paint. Already a month, now. Did some. Here they are (a selection, because I did photograph much more). And the paintings are old stuff, both connected to my mother: I used to give her one painting each anniversary. The one with the moon is for her 80 eth and the young woman is her, in her prime:

Entrance to another time

Entrance to another time

Maybe another St. Francisc?

Maybe another St. Francisc?

An Italian Landscape, a very old anniversary landscape for my mother...

An Italian Landscape, a very old anniversary landscape for my mother…

Pompeian Death Mask in a Marble Fragment in the Pavement

My Mother in her Prime

My Mother in her Prime

Old style Door Handle

Old style Door Handle

I try to make my way in micro stock photo even if the rejection are quite depressing, especially when they say, “poor lenses quality. chromatic aberation” and Interpolations, blah-blah… It seems my modest Nikon P500 is not enough and I should invest now 2000-3000 $ (which, of course, I don’t have) to buy a good DSRL camera in order to earn, in a couple of years, maybe…a couple of hundreds of $…Doesn’t make economic sense… But microstock and Fine Art Amercia and similar sites are my chance to earn something from home…No other way for me, 57 years old artist that nobody would hire in a 9-17 job that I cannot afford to take anyway… But there is always hope. Little sparrows get what they need, aren’t they?

Anyway. I learn a lot, between a cooking and a cleaning. I try to learn Inkscape (a Adobe Illustrator vectorial software but free) to make illustration (ar at least to transpose mine to eps files), I learn a lot about digital photography and know exactly what camera to buy if I will win the lotery (at least a Nikon D5200!) and recently (today) “sold” a reproduction on Fine Art America (it won’t be an effective one, it seems, my uploaded image being too low resolution; as almost all my old portfolio images… I still remember the time, not so many years ago, when an 1 MB image was considered HUGE! ) And I’ve learned the difference between Mega Pixels and Mega Bites… That’s something…

So, a new start for an old fart (I know, it’s gross but I couldn’t resist the rhyme!)… A lot of biterness and depressing thoughts but also a bit of hope and the chance, for me, to do, AGAIN, some creative work. Who knows? I will, maybe, even earn a modest living as an artist. At least enough to complete the meager pension of my father… Bloody hell! it sound pretty corny! (but I’m taking the things as they come).

Another Montreal Landscape


This one is a landscape I do not have anymore. I’ve painted it in acrylics, in 2001 or 2002, at the height of my mid-life depression, when everything was going down the drain… my family, my credit, my everything… Even my only friend I thought I have, Florin M. He was good to me, he helped me, as long as he thought I had a hope of going up again… I cannot condamn him… At the time, I really was hopeless… Very, very close to that edge… you know, THAT edge… I gave my friend Florin this painting and I only can hope he still have it and still thinks, here and there, to our friendship and to life in general. Because life isn’t really choosy… it gets to everybody, sooner or later. Sooner of later you look IT in the eyes and, if you are lucky, you get back and start again. You write, you draw, you paint or compose music, whatever “to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation”Graham Greene said it, in his autobiography “Ways of Escape”... Since I’m writing (and drawing and painting) I must be one of the lucky ones….

Montreal bay at night