Monday, July 30, 2012
New York Palace is a luxurius 5-star hotel in Budpest, on the ground floor is the New York Cafe, popular with writers and artists in a previous time, now mostly popular with tourists. Marble floors and columns, crystal chandeliers, a piano player at a baby grand piano, lure us inside for a cappuchino, or an ice-cream cake. Built between 1891-1895, this beautiful building still delights its customers today.
I know it doesn't look like a cafe, but it is. It is also an English book-store, they have free wireless internet, and this lovely garden, where you can sit with a drink, read books forever or write your next book. There is another Massolit Cafe in Poland, so I had to identify this one, where I have been going often since I discovered it, near downtown Budapest, and my residence.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
From Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer: " Art is that thing having to do only with itself --the product of a successful attempt to make a work of art. Unfortunately, there are no examples of art, nor good reasons to think that it will ever exist. (Everything that has been made has been made with a purpose: I want to sell this, or I want this to make me famous and loved, or I want this to make me whole, or worse, I want this to make others whole.) And yet, we continue to write, paint, sculpt, and compose. Is this foolish of us?"
I recently finished reading: Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer. He's a master of words, and meaning. One example: "They renovated their house for the wedding, installing a porcelain toilet in the outhouse..." How often do we do foolish things in this venue, without seeing the forest for the tree? A beautiful phrase I'm still delighting in..."Tomorrow was over the horizon and would take an entire day to reach."
Saturday, July 28, 2012
These beautiful baths date from the 16th C. The main part of the baths has an octogonal plunge pool and four small corner pools with water at different temperatures. The baths have been totally modernized in recent years, and now include a swimming pool for mixed bathing. The baths run certain days for women only and most days for men only.
Friday, July 27, 2012
These are ancient baths, with very hot water (burning) if you'd take it naturally, so they cool the waters to different temperatures, you can choose your pool, or go a few minutes to each. Tuesdays is for women only, most other days is for men, and I think there is one day for mixed. So the exclusive one-sex days people have the option of wearing a bathing suit or not. I made several watercolors, and I had to work very fast, because the humidity in the air was such, that spontaneous droplets formed on my glasses, and on the paper!
Good to keep in mind: A shape must be countered by another shape in a reflexive manner. A good painting is not "symmetric" as in a mirror image, but balanced, whether a representative or abstract painting, should be balanced. A shape answers to another shape. A "symmetry" that is never ecstatic, but that it gives the painting rhytm, as in a private dance with each other, and evocates movement and flow...
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I was at the National Gallery in Budapest when I painted this view, from a table in the cafeteria.
Something to think about: "Take your practiced powers and stretch them out until they spam the chasm between two contradictions."--- Reine Maria Rilke.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Asa Bostrom is the artist with whom I am sharing this Residency in Budapest. She is from Sweden, she is a profoundly serious artist, writer, poet. She modeled for me to do this pastel portrait. I did not have proper materials, so I painted Arches watercolor paper with a layer of raw sienna watercolor, then used some old pastels, and colored pencils from the corner store. Not the right material, but definitely the right model. Asa is a wonderful artist and a beautiful person. You can see her work at her website: www.asabostrom.se
I was sitting on the Parliament side, waiting for the #2 Tramway, when I saw this small park, with beautiful trees, around some kind of bridge with a statue of a person standing on it. It looked quite appealing from the distance, so I made this watercolor sketch in my sketchbook without knowing what or who it was. Later I found out, this is a statue of Imre Nagy, ex- Prime Minister of Hungary, much loved by his country, who gave his life to support the people of Hungary, literally, he was assassinated. He now stands on the bridge, looking at Parliament.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
The other night, I went for a walk in the most touristic downtown area of Budapest. I had a cup of coffee at a bar across the street from the Hard-Rock Cafe, so I painted this watercolor from there.
Carl Jung has said: "The Soul Speaks in Images."
I recently read: THE CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR, by Lisa Sonora Beam. A wonderful book with many ideas for creativity and entrepreneurship about our art. She must have read my mind when she says: "If you have professional -quality art supplies you've been saving to make something IMPORTANT with, then use them. There is satisfaction about using really good art supplies. It also sends a message to the subconscious mind that you are serious about the work you are doing." This is so wonderful! I immediately opened a new watercolor sketchbook I had been saving, and started using it, now that I have her permission!
Monday, July 23, 2012
You can see the Elizabeth Bridge, in Budapest, from this view point. Elizabeth is still a most adored queen in Hungary's past. You remember the story: "Sissi Emperatriz" was the movie I saw in Argentina as a young girl, and everybody knows "Sissy", as a most adorable young woman, playful, falling in love with her cousin, the next King of Hungary. Unfortunately, her life was not all roses after the first few years of marriage, she survived her husband's infidelities, the killing of her son, and was herself killed. The people of Hungary will always remember her as a lover of the common people. This is the beautiful white bridge with her name.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Same afternoon a few days ago, seating in the same place, just looking to the right, to the left, or in front of me, I managed to paint several ink-washes in a few minutes each. I am using the pens "Tombow", which are thin on one end, and brush-like at the other end. The ink bleeds quite well, so the minute you touch the design with a brush with water, it bleeds producing very nice effects.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Budapest, Hungary: Walking along the Danube, on a long and beautiful walk on the Pest side, at sunset, the tourists go out to dinner, and the independent sellers of tourist articles appear. This lady was offering beautifully embroidered tablecloths and napkins. Behind her, the Danube, and farther away, on the other side, you could see a couple of tunnels under the big hill that is Buda.
I had the opportunity of visiting the studio of Barabas Marton, a famous Hungarian artist whose work is in several museums here in Budapest. He works with piano pieces. Born in 1952 in Budapest, he creates dimensional work and painted illusions. He realizes unique, organic, constructive, intertwined or solitary geometric shapes, regular or irregular. Very interesting work! His next exhibition will be in Marseille, France, at the Book-Art Festival in October 2012.
Friday, July 20, 2012
This big square with impressive monuments related to Hungary's glorious past, marks the entrance to the City Park. I painted this watercolor sitting on the steps of the Museum of Fine Arts, after visiting the permanent collection, (largest group of Spanish paintings outside Spain!) and a wonderful temporary exhibit of drawings : The Age of Pieter Bruegel. I had a guided tour in English, visited the gift shop, of course! and painted a couple of watercolor sketches like this one.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Watercolor presented at the Hungarian Multicultural Center talk at the Pen Club, Budapest, on July 17th, 2012.
B stands for Beata, HMC director, who made this residency possible, and Beauty, what we are searching for.
U stands for Utca=street, road, path, we take that leads us where we want to go.
D stands for Duna=Danube, the river that remembers everything...
A stands for Art, statues everywhere in this city, gardens, museums, art is important here.
P stands for People of Hungary, their language, their culture
E stands for Europe, Hungary is at the crossroads, it's the heart of Europe, and for
Embroidery, a traditional personal art form.
S for scribe, writer, from Anonymous, the first writer of the history of Hungary, to Asa, my Sweedish room-mate writer.
S also for Spiritualy, the spiritual influences I am receiving and absorbing here
T for Transportation, from the seven bridges crossing the Danube uniting Buda and Pest, to all the different ways to traverse the city in comfort and conveniently.
T , finally, for Transformation, which I am already feeling in my stay in Budapest. The artist's process is one of Transformation.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This museum opened in 1906. Eclectic style. Their biggest treasure, according to the lovely Eva, my tour guide, are their Dutch and Italian works, approximately 900 pieces of each. Also, it has the biggest collection of Spanish art after Spain! One of their temporary exhibits was a Photography in the 20th Century exhibition, including a photograph of Gloria Swanson's face behind lace, done by Edward Steichen (1879-1973), sketched here, in my art-notebook.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Embroidery is one of the traditional art forms in Hungary. Women have been embroidering for centuries. Today in Budapest, you see women standing by the areas frequented by tourists, selling embroidered blouses, tablecloths of all sizes, handkerchiefs, and other small items. Most of the embroidery sold at those places is machine made, of course. In the better stores you find the pricier hand-embroidered items.
This museum of folk art, in downtown Budapest, is set in an extraordinary building, an old palace rich in marbles, crystals, vitraux, heavy and beautifully carved wood furniture. The setting is as interesting as the folk art exhibited. This quick watercolor sketch doesn't do it justice, but it is the best way for me to remember the spiritual feeling of women's work, calm and beauty I received in this place.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Hungary's Parliament, the country's largest building, has become a symbol of Budapest. It has 691 rooms, and the best artists of the country were asked to contribute to its decoration. The building is over 200 meters long (880 ft) and 96 meters high (315 ft). It is on the Pest side. All illuminated at night, when you are on the Buda side of the Danube, it glitters like a box of jewels.
Budapest is like a giant oyster containing many precious pearls...walking around you start finding them everywhere! The City Park, with its beautiful lake, is one of them. Restaurant Robinson, with its orange umbrellas, overlooking the lake and the castle on the other side is one of them. Residents sunbathe along the shore, children play, ducks do their duck business, and I...paint them all!
I was tired from walking all over Budapest, stopped at Szentikraly, on Andrassy Street, and had a pink lemonade. There it is, on the table, cold and delicious!
Hungarian Folk Art has evolved distinctive traits in different regions of Hungary. The designs are mainly floral, with roses the most common, then tulips and carnations. Bird is the most common animal portrayed. The most common folk art colors are red, and the avoidance of yellow and purple.
Friday, July 13, 2012
This park is walking distance from my residency. There is a big lake in the park, where you can rent rowing boats, restaurants and a castle on the lake. In the park, there is also the city zoo, a permanent circus, and the Szecheny Thermal Baths, beautiful buildings in Art Nouveau style, with pools with different water temperature. My guess is that between 200 and 300 people can comfortably enjoy the baths at any given time, in the different pools, or sauna, hammas, different massages, etc. At sunset, when the sky is blue/pink, the buildings are yellow/orange, and the water is blue. Some people play chess in the water, some people play chess on the balconies overlooking the pools from the cafeteria. The ticket is for all day.
Vaci is the most expensive street in downtown Budapest, Hungary. Similar to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Vaci is the name of the street. Utca means street. I keep doing small watercolor sketches wherever I go, learning about Budapest, its people, its culture and its art. Certainly not on Vaci Utca, with all the brand names and marks that you find anywhere in the world of the rich and famous, but I am walking the city, and taking regular buses, trams, trolleys and metro, going to the market, and just plain living and surviving in a city where I do not speak the language. Most people, particularly younger, speak English with some level of proficiency.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
One and a half days in Munich, I flew in from Toulouse last Thursday. Munich is fun! King Ludwig II had many castles, but this one is special because he was born here: Nymphemburg Palace, one of his favorite places. It was a lovely visit, after spending the morning in Dachau. I did not paint in Dachau, a very sad place.
Wallking along the canal, about a block from Gare Matabiau, on the other side of the canal, you find this "paniche", painted violet and light green. They have just opened a refreshments bar upstairs, and inside downstairs is the store with all things made of violets. From beauty products to sugared violet petals to float on your champagne, violet honey, violet everything!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
From the hotel Le Bristol, across the street from Gare Matabiau (Toulouse train station), I walked to Place du Capitol, about 10 blocks, on a lovely afternoon. There is always something happening at the Place du Capitol, this time there was an open air market. Suddenly, it started to rain, so I sat at a bar under a big umbrella, and painted this watercolor. Toulouse is called "la ville rose", due to all the buildings in red brick.
I've just read that the invention of the hand-held Kodak camera in 1888 opened the practice of photography to everybody, including artists! The Indianapolis Museum of Art is holding an exhibition of artists photographs with the masterpiece alongside, by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Dennis, Felix Valloton, Eduard Vuillard, and other members of the Nabis Group, till September 2.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
I painted this in bed, in my little apartment of La Tourette, in Cauterets. looking at my African masks on the wall, they were looking back at me. The next day I left Cauterets, France, for Toulouse. On my way to more painting adventures...in Toulouse, France, and beyond! Stay tuned!
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Puente Bujaruelo, Espana, watercolor, 4x6", not available. Last Sunday, my friends Marie Christine and Mireille, and I went driving from Cauterets, in the French Pyrénées, to Spain, through some extremely beautiful mountains, rocks, valleys, forests, rivers, waterfalls, and this little ancient bridge. I painted two little watercolors from the car, the wind was very strong! This is one of them.