Never give up

The world is in turmoil. From the pandemic threat that engulfs most of the countries on earth to the rioting of BLM. From financial instability, with scarcity principle that is coming to an end with possibility of losing sources of livelihood to possibility of war and dictatorial regimes taking over whatever is left from the democratic process in many places.
In the beginning of spring, we have started working on our little garden without any previous experience just experimenting with planting few veggies , cleaning the paths and solving little problems related to watering .
We’ve got a water cistern that was left here from the previous owner and were happy to water the plants with a watering pot.
The problem is that we have got quite few beds to water so filling by hand the watering pot and carrying it around to all the beds of green peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, corn, potatoes, tomatoes , radishes etc, became quite tiring so we tried to use the pump I have bought a year ago when first arrive at this place. Without much understanding in pumps and without any previous experience the one I bought was built for a much more heavy duty work then pumping from a shallow cistern like we have.
After two weeks of trying to fix and tweak the connecting point of the hose to the pump I gave up in despair as nothing worked and we continued carrying the heavy pots to the plants for watering.
One day I went to look for something in the storage shed that was left by the previous owner and as I was looking suddenly I spotted a small pump that seemed to be intact. Upon the first trial the pump worked beautifully and we were relieved from the menial task of carrying the pots.
All I want to say with all these little details about the watering of the plants is sometimes the solution to a problem comes as if from nowhere.
It was a pure gift from heaven reminding me that many times the usual linear way of solving problems are not the only way to go.
Just when we think that everything  is lost and God is not concerned with out little problems there comes an answer we were totally unprepared for and giving up.

NEVER GIVE UP. This has become a platitude that is tossed around by people who succeeded in solving a serious problem and as tempting it is to dismiss this because it was only a small problem I believe it applies to any problem of any size.

 

Our garden by Gellai Judit

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It happened so

that Josef wanted a garden

I did not . Very much not.

Terribly totally and surely not.

Irritatingly, viscerally disgustingly thinking about digging planting and raking

Generally everything that starts with words to do with gardening

Great quarrels and rowing followed

Since few weeks our life is about gardening

What has happened?

Us.

Our marriage, our love that can withstand so much, improving and making peace.

Many times, feels like I am healing but I am cautious with big words because we could  be also very callous

This needed to heal in me I admit

It was hard to get to this point

I resisted, blaming him of forcing me

We are too old for this shit

Especially him , I hinted accusingly whenever the pressure was too much to bear  

I was afraid he wants to force on me the kind of life in which there is no place for me , ever

The orange tree which I killed that was expensive by the way, symbolized in my eyes the whole thing

Later, as my inadequacy in nurturing trees turned into a lifeless sculpture I hated to look at

Feeling hurt by what I’ve done to it

We continued to argue and quarrel again which in our case meant shouting.

Loudly so.

Furiously passionately but always within love

That’s is our luck

Shouting and hurling rage until everything came out.

Nothing left inside.

Only us.

somehow I started to guess what is a garden for Josef

It is his magical place

Yearning to learn the secrets of creation and creativity

preparing for planting and creative magic himself

Nurturing life, nursing and talk to trees

I cannot express it as nice as him

Just guessing what is he talking about, inspired by it very much

In the beginning I did it for him

For some time now I know I will follow him everywhere

possibly resist at first, blasting him with questions, looking for the weak spots in his plans

and after opening to believe in his dreams I join him.

Always.

This the ancient law between women and men

I love it

now here we spend our days

we are totally amateur in this , this you must know

Compared to him I know a bit of an ant dick more about gardening but it doesn’t matter.

Befriending the living locals

Looking at them, trying to guess their name

Those we recognize which happens from time to time, we try to ease their life.

Weeding and watering

In any case we’re glad for their presence

Slowly feeling at home we tame the garden

certainly no thanks to us

We are still beginners

the garden is not bothered by this

Patiently teaching us

I repeat, with caution

don’t take us too seriously here

but still, perhaps you should

We live in paradise

Looking out to the mountains from the terrace as we sip our coffee

Josef smoking his pipe

Waiting for sunset with the glass of wine in the evening

We love it here

I hope.

Our fear is living here with and among us

We are old, really

My knee is  hurting

The chair has caved in under Josef

He almost fell into the water cistern

No joke ,

Still, we laughed like mad

So here we are

Living in the Garden

Cluelessly, stupid many times

Enthusiastically with great curiosity

with great plans and dreams

In the evening when we go home

happy with the clean house ,waiting to come back

wondering where do we really feel at home

Josef says

In each other

In this there is no quarrel between us

Another year passed by

Daniel the gardener

Exactly a year ago I have written my last post on my blog here.
I am not sure if I sm supposed to be ashamed but I have many excuses as to why I was not available more.
Recently, I have experimented quite extensively with making this place more alive and realized that one of the reasons I am not posting regularly is that apparently I want to chew more then I can swallow.
What I mean by this is the fear of leaving some part of my activity out.
There are the course of creative, visual thinking trough the art of drawing and painting. This course is supposed to be delivered by video classes that require working out the specific curriculum and the adjust it to the attention span of some 20 minutes per module.
There are the portrait commissions that I would like to build a page for.
I want to have a web shop where I can sell my art in general and my cafe sketches in particular.
Creative visual thinking trough art has a particular niche for non artistic audience like business people, medical practitioners, teachers, academic researchers and everyone who has any interest in developing and expanding their creative skills.
these are some of the ideas that I am currently working on but Since I am working on them in a circular manner, non of those are yet fully ready for exposure.
Still, beginning this year, I will try to concentrate on one idea at the time and hopefully it will yield better results then before.
So, these are some of my excuses, aside from plain laziness and desire to just play around experimenting with a newly discovered interest in gardening and off grid living.
Thanks for visiting and you are welcome to leave a comment if you feel like it.

A return to Nature

Sleeping beauty

A year has passed since my last post. It is not that I didn’t have what to say. Some of what I had to say or show about my art I did on my Facebook page. Other part is the need just to experience life without the need to project outward for everyone to see. There is something trying and even a bit superficial for an artist to communicate all the time with audience and it is very beneficial, I find to hold back from time to time and concentrate inside.

Also in the past year there was some very intense period with moving outside from the city into the country with all that this entails.

It was always my dream to be connected more to Nature and leave behind the patterns of pseudo bohemian lifestyle with the cafe as the main focus of the artistic endeavor. Part of me longs for a simple life in Nature with more of a daoistic outlook looking for deeper connection to the spirituality of Earth .

There is still much adjusting to do until the new balance will be found in which Mother Nature has a much more prominent role to play both in my life and in my art.

The weather is still relatively cold but come spring I hope to start painting outdoors and get connected to the rhythms of the landscape.

Here is a photo of our new place that was chosen because of its inspiring view.

Sleeping beauty
Sleeping beauty

 

Red wine as the passion of spring

 

Wine and coffee
Wine and coffee

 

Spring.

Time of renewal. New energies coming in. New ideas. Future plans are brewing.

It’s been long time since i have posted but i do not feel apologetic about it. It is all a question of timing.

Then of course, there is this Facebook thing. Having considerable presence on facebook takes away the desire to write for your own blog.

Especially when your own blog has no audience. Of course there are the seo experts that will offer you all sorts of advise on how to increase your blog’s audience but  I have this feeling that it should come naturaly. Maybe I am naive but hey, I am an artist. What is an artist if not a naive who belives the world is a magical place?

Anyways, i feel like writing an update, so here it is.

Winter was quite cold this year and it made everything kind of retreat inside. Cold itself is not a problem of course but since my studio is still not functional, I had to rely on the sketching in cafe.  Working in cafes has become my second nature by now. It is my daily exercise.
Like every obsession or devotion, after a while it becomes a habit that is hard to give up.
In this case, I believe it is a good habit so there is no need to give it up.
Over the years, what started as a simple observation has slowly mutated into something that goes beyond the appearance with the subconscious getting to play a larger part in the final outcome.  Some of those ideas have already manifested in some of the oil paintings i did earlier but
once the studio will be more functional I hope to be able to devote more time in my studio.

With the approach of the summer, there are plans for traveling to do some landscape painting in the beautiful Carpathian mountains of Transylvania ,Romania.

Carpathian mountains
Carpathian mountains

 

I will of course keep you posted as the plans will become reality

Jasmin with friends

Jasmin
Jasmin with friends

 

Part of my daily sketching practice involves interaction with people around me.
Sometimes the people involved notice they are being drawn , curious about the outcome they come up timidly asking permission to have a peek.

Other times people just curious about the creative process as it happens live and ask permission to watch over the shoulder.
As a n art teacher for many years, it is usually not a problem for me and in fact, I am actually enjoying the showmanship and the performance.

This is something that every cityscaping, street or pleinair artist is well familiar with and in fact, the ability to tolerate and even like the interaction with audience is part of being a successful outdoor artist.
I have some colleagues, friends who would never be caught dead doing something so intencely exposure intensive as painting outdoors or having to interact with live audience. For them the creative process is a deeply internal and personal work and being alone in the privacy of the studio is a must. I guess it is a question of where on the scale of the extrovert-introvert continuum you find yourself.
Personally I find myself leaning towards the extrovert,a bit exhibitionistic side.

This specific digital drawing I was drawing yesterday, attracted a very nice tourist couple from the beautiful medieval city of Bruges.

Bruges
Bruges

 

We had a lovely conversation during which the table which I was drawing has left, so another inevitable consequence of communicating with people while you creating outdoors is allwing yourself to be interrupted once in while. Since it doesn’t happen very useful often I am quite open for this kind of interruption where I believe that having great conversations with complete strangers and perhaps making some new friends is as much important as the creative process.

Amazing Grace

amazingrace 

Sometimes, as I gaze into the space around me I can see the infinite correlations between the different objects floating in that space with all their trajectories, connecting the invisible  lines  going back in time, revealing the history of those objects, transforming them into events that created the present, extending into the future with all the karmic implications.

This delicate balance between objects, events and patterns, creates the cobweb we call the NOW, pulsating with life in suspended animation allowing us to see how we created those connections with our thoughts, feelings and actions.

It shows us the inescapable truth of us being the creators of our own destiny without any judgement , making apparent how every move we make in either direction will always create the ripples in the pond of life, generating the future waves that we can either learn to ride or let them roll over us until we learn to surf.

It’s four in the morning , three days after my sixty fifth birthday and there is a painful lucidity to this vision right now in my life as the ripples I made long time ago came back as crushing waves , sweeping over me in this very moment of the Blessed Now, leaving me the decision to reject it or gracefully accept it as a birthday present.

With tears rolling down my cheeks, I humbly accept in Gratitude.

Observations- sketching in Maimano cafe

maimano from josef on Vimeo.

 

Sketching in cafes is my passion of many years. It provides me with an excellent opportunity for

men-watching as well as a daily exercise in observation and improving my technique of water

color painting.

Upon arriving to Budapest few years ago, I have explored many wonderful cafes with really nice

atmosphere, beautiful and impressive architecture and interesting history dating to pre WW2

time. Places full of history when artists, intellectuals and prominent people of the time were

gathering regularly, dreaming, arguing and discussing the events of the day.

Sadly, many of those places have lost their old charm and became tourists traps devoid of the

soul of those days when the magic was still in the air.

This is why I feel especially lucky to have discovered MaiMano café, a small unassuming place in

the middle of Budapest that in spite of being relatively new, has all the characteristics of those

old establishments where interesting and creative people of all disciplines are still gathering

and share their visions and dreams in a very casual atmosphere provided by the friendly owners

and stuff who are real friends and not just service providers, which is always exceptional,

heartfelt and punctual.

The regulars of MaiMano café are a wonderful bunch from all walks of life, of different ages,

with an impressive backgrounds and interesting creative occupations that makes the

interaction an uplifting experience.

In this small display of selected watercolors in this show, I am trying to catch both, the casual

atmosphere of the place as well as some of the gestures of the people who are part of

MaiMano’s café daily routine.

I hope you will enjoy looking at my work at least as much I enjoyed creating it.

Thank you

Josef

Good form doesn’t show

It seems like my subconsciousness  is busy I lately with relationship between form and essence and this morning I woke up with this message;

“Good art is the relationship between the exact amount of information and details that are relevant in a given form. Too much or too little make the form incomprehensible.
This is also the essence of good design.
According to Rudolph Arnheim ” good form doesn’t show” . One of the examples he has given is when a woman wears too much perfume it acts contrary to the idea of enhancing the essence of the personality . My own example is the superb design of iPhone where the feeling is that it felt totally natural as if it has always been like this. Touch screen felt totally right from the very beginning as if was obvious that this is how mobile phones should have always supposed to be designed. Many great ideas when they first appear have this feeling about them as if they always existed and always been around. Great art has the same pleasant feeling of the balance between content and form in which the constructed image gives the impression it has always existed. Think of the Last Supper

Last supper by Leonardo de Vinci
Last supper by Leonardo de Vinci

or the Night Watch.

Night watch by Rembrandt
Night watch by Rembrandt

 

Much of the greatness of these images connected to the fact that their design feels completely ” natural ” going to the essence of the message without attracting much attention to their construction and the overall design.
This is why Art is so important especially at this time. It gives a sense of meaningful order in the world of information overload.

 

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