Tag Archives: W.H. Auden

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

Money & Fame


It seems that’s almost all the people are after… Money & fame… maybe as a favorable condition to be loved?

I don’t really know. What I DO know (from my own experience and to the degree someone can KNOW anything) is that one CAN be happy, really happy, without much money and no fame at all… Did Vincent have money? Not really. Did he have fame? not really either… An excessively pathetic article of a young and obscure critic, the appreciation of some artists friends of his and the constant support of his brother…I wouldn’t call that fame…

But then, against all odds, he was happy...Ok, not deliriously and not continuously happy… but happy as one can be in this perfect ? imperfect? world. Rajneesh (or, if you prefer, Osho) said it very well, in simple but poignant words:

“Vincent van Gogh did not sell a single painting all his life * but this didn’t matter; he was happy. If one’s paintings sell,  it’s swell. If they don’t, well, it’s the same thing. Their true value aren’t to be sold, praised, but to be created. Creating them, the artist touch to his goal. When he creates, he is divine, he is God (…) When you create something, in your own style, you become a little god. Since God is the creator, one way to touch it is to be creative.”

Rajneesh (Osho)

A non-conformist guru himself, Osho knew something about hapiness… and if, some day, money or fame (or both) occur to me, well then, it will be swell! I’ll do some travels and the good I’m able to do… But if not, I’ll be happy all the same. Creative I am. Some talent I got. Time on my hands, also…
As W.H. Auden put it: “What answer to the meaning of existence should one require beyond the right to exercise one gifts?”

And here it is, my most recent painting (that I still touch some more, probably)…

nuhab cemetery 2

* the thing with the only (or none) painting sold by Van Gogh it’s a no consequences question… He did sold more than one but, for our purpose, one, more than one or none it<s the same thing… he sold almost nothing in his life…and that’s that…

2006:some more statistics…and Joana


I finished my last post with a statistic… 471 works (drawings and paintings) realized during the year 2005… Well, there are artists out there whom are producing more than that… I do not know if (considering I’m not too lax with quality) this is a lot, ok, or very little… I just know, looking at numbers that my productivity decrease year after year:

2006: 394 drawings & paintings; 2007: a full 100… 2008: about 70 until now… We are getting older, aren’t we?

I won’t compare myself with Van Gogh, for instance. I know he let about 800-900 paintings and a few thousand drawings… but I’s not for me to do such comparisons… first, I’m just an ordinary artist, who couldn’t (wouldn’t?) get the attention of any medias. I did not (yet) cut my ear or get into an asylum and nowdays you have to have a lot more going for you than some originality (but not enough to found a new art current) and some native qualities as a draughtman or colorist...

You have to live in New York or Paris or London, you have to have – probably – a ferocious desire to succed and to be famous and, most of all, you have to have a lot of luck, to know the right people… I have none of those… so, very probably, I will remain an obscure, almost unknown artist. No big deal! I did and do what I like most, I took my right “to exercise my gift” (W.H. Auden) and my modest existence found its meaning… It’s not a thing a lot of people can bragg about…

I would have wished I could do more for my children… I would have wished they knew more (or be more interested) in what I do… But, that’s life, isn’t it? Children grow up and get their own life. Parents experience and advice is usually wasted and very probable, their children too will grow up and have their own life…and their own, personal, errors…

To start 2006 I will show you (you, my few friends and you, those who browse the Internet, searching for a meaning…) 2 watercolors of my daughter, Joana. She’s almost the only one of my children I draw and paint a few times… I do not know why not the others. In fact, neither of them were willing to pose for me (and I did not insisted) and even these 2 are made after fleeting photographs… Maybe I’ll dig some more in my photo archive, one day… But, mind you, I did some progress in the watercolor technique…