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.

Inspiration, role it plays in re-enchantment of the Arts

Inspiration plays an important role in re- enchatment of the Arts.

 

In writing this post, I am using few presupposed and self evident truths about the current state of the Arts.

One, is the need for re-enchantment of the Art.

I have taken this term from Suzi Gablik’s book by the same name where she criticises some of the basic tenets of the Modernist movement that led directly to much of the confusion left by the Postmodernism. Part of this confusion left the artist without a philosophical background needed to establish a basis for relevant correspondences between the personal and the universal principles of creation. At the same time this lack of philosophical support opened a gap in communication between the artist and his audience.

Second, is the need for Inspiration as vital source of revitalization of the current confused condition of the Art. The extreme relativism of the late Post-modernism has left a scorched field where the traditional values of excellence have been replaced by purely personal, anecdotal and many times accidental views that left the Art without it’s Muse .

Inspiration according to full definition of Merriam- Webster dictionary is: “a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation “In other words, an inspired person is one who is touched by his Spirit. That sacred part of his being that communicated the feeling of the Devine.This kind of definition tends toward somewhat religious interpretation which I believe tend to distort the real meaning of Inspiration as a direct heart felt feeling that is totally natural to all of humankind and not only to artists.

I have many sources of Inspiration. 

Some come from my daily observations of life around me. Be it an interesting form of simple objects that can turn into a still-life drawing,like this Moroccan tea pot done with silverpoint technique.

Moroccan tea pot
silverpoint drawing of Moroccan tea pot

 

Someone’s face that draws me to paint a portrait,

 

Daniel the gardener
Daniel the devoted gardener

 

a corner of a street that becomes a cityscape,

city scape
Cityscape, Work in progress

 

landscapes

 

landscape of rhythm
rhythmic landscape

 

 

Then of course there are the great masters of Art from all periods in Art history.
When I was still a student in the Avni Institute of Art in Tel Aviv, I did a small scale study of The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus by Peter Paul Rubens.

after rubens
after Rubens

 

In the beginning of my artistic development I was enchanted by the magic of Jan Vermeer’s intimate interiors with their delicate balance of composition and the luminosity of his colors.
Here is a composition that was influenced by the Vermeer’s Young Woman with a Water Pitcher

vermeer in middle east
Vermeer in Middle East

 

Another great influence on my development as an artist is a more contemporary American Andrew Wyeth who’s hunting and mystical connection with landscapes of rural Maine and Pennsylvania resonates strongly with my own view of Nature. Wyeth’s choice of the tempera medium which requires contemplation and slow visual meditation on the subject matter, invites from the viewer equally slow contemplative viewing. In today’s hasty world it is in itself a huge accomplishment.

church in ruins
Church in ruins

 

With time, my themes have varied and mutated according to context, time and places I have found myself.

At certain point I have found that many of my themes tend to converge into one recurring theme that has accompanied my creative work and that is the theme of the cafe.

 

I have found that besides a great opportunity to exercise my powers of observation, this theme of the cafe, allows me to combine all other themes in a very simple, elegant way where the spontaneous interaction of all the forms untie to create a unified and sometimes totally unexpected message.

The theme of the cafe is enough in itself and need no other justifications for painting it but as it happens, it has the power to combine a wide variety of objects and themes that seamlessly fuse into each other allowing the mundane everyday objects to interact and create a whole new possibilities for flowing in different artistic directions.

Let’s say, a couple sitting around a table, with a dog playing at their feet, with some messy still-life on the table, with cups of coffee and perhaps some food, in the background. I can paste any landscape or cityscape that doesn’t even have to be in the original composition. This way I can eliminate accidental architecture or replace any other object that feels more meaningful and more appropriate for the final purpose .

In this age of photoshop aid with the cut and paste ability, I can substitute any and all of the components to create a more meaningful and more interesting composition then the original conception.

All these themes and objects, appearing in the context of a cycle of creativity that is inspired by a wheel of The Five Elements taken from the Chinese Wu Xing theory.
On this wheel of creativity taken from the Chinese philosophy of Dao i will write later in a different post

 

Finding true place and balance between Divine Providence and Luck

Tomorrow night is a New Year evening and it is a great time for some retrospective general account of what happened in 2015.

I think that without exaggerating much, it was an amazing year marking a very dramatic turning point in my life and I believe in my art as well.

The summer of 2014 was a culminating point for my decision to sell my apartment in Tel Aviv and move to live in Budapest. Since it is a general bird view account, I will not enter into the specific details of all the reasons for making such a drastic decision.

Perhaps mentioning just a few will be enough to give some background and perspective.

Feeling fed up with living in a region with constant high level of violence and wars was one.
The idea of having to put up with an endless cycles of aggression coming from one side with a following retribution from another side has reached it’s limit in innermost being.Standing in front of my easel in my studio in Tel Aviv , trying to concentrate on making art while the sirens warning of a missile attack coming from the south, leaving only few minutes to run for shelter, broke trough my denials related to the need for the constant sacrifice demanded by living in such a place.
Once the denials have come up to the surface it become clearer that along with the constant violence there comes a heavy price tag based on constant reliance on the fight and flight mechanism of the reptilian brain. The constant concern about the need for security in the region ridden with violence, do not leave much place for activating the more humane portion of the  limbic brain that is needed for cultivating imagination, inspiration and all other requirements for making art that comes from inner peace of mind.

Moving away from Middle East, I have embarked on a few months of exploration of an alternative place, finding myself in the beautiful region of lake Como in northern Italy, sketching outdoors , soaking my eyes in the majestic beauty of the mountains with all the little lovely villages spread around the lake like little gems, with endless vistas for great compositions.

 

departing from Bellagio to Varenna on Lake Como.

on the ferry to Varenna
Bellagio

After spending some time in the beautiful village of Varenna, I have realised that it was too touristic for me as place to spend the rest of my life and decided to move on with my search for that place that  is sitting on a historic power point, allowing convergence of natural beauty with rich cultural life . With all due respect for picturesque little villages such as Varenna, they usually luck the depth of a bustling centre with rich cultural life with enough chaos to allow for fermentation of art that is more then depicting natural beauty.
The fact that I have found such convergence in Budapest was due to combination of pure luck with a dash of Divine Providence.
I make a distinction between the two even though they might seem to be the same .
In my opinion, we encounter luck when we able to cultivate an attitude of courtship towards Divine Providence.
As an artist I believe that it is not much different from an attitude of a constant openness for the appearance of the Muse.

Inspiration comes when we keep ourselves on alert for the magic in everyday life.
When life is a flow of little moments of wonder and gratitude for the what seems to be the obvious but with a deeper introspection are filled with grandeur and awe.
My meeting with Eva was a moment of magic that has determined the direction of the flow to the region of my birth place and early childhood.
In spite of the fact that I was born on the border of Hungary in the Carpathian region of west Ukraine and the fact that my childhood years were influenced very much by the Hungarian culture, Budapest was not an obvious choice from the beginning if my journey.
It was only after I met Eva that it became clear that everything what I was looking for in a place to live could be found in a place like Budapest. Amazing natural beauty, rich cultural life, deep historical roots and people with natural warmth who’s language I could understand because of my own heritage and childhood roots.
With Eva’s appearance in my life, the obviousness of the choice of Budapest has become very clear in spite of the fact that no place on Earth today can offer everything and no place is a complete paradise as we live in times of great turmoil and constant strife that comes with the transitioning from the dying World order with obsolete ideas of control into a New Era of dynamic equilibrium required to balance the new principles of sustainability with an opening towards a new vision of Earth as a living Gaia full of magic and love.
With the excitement of finding my true mate, my true place came some personal health issues that required my opening to the fragility of life and the need to balance the great changes and find a pace of living that is much calmer and restful .
At the same time the exciting journey of exploration focusing on the new patterns of life have opened new possibilities that have started to appear in my art with a better flow of creativity that comes when inspiration meets right time with right place.

I am still in a process of transition and there are many old patterns that are still hard to get rid of, especially those that are connected to the deep seated fears connected to the flight and fight reptilian brain patterns,  but it is becoming clearer that the new year that starts tomorrow night will be a year of many new beginnings that will deepen and stabilise the transition into the new life.
Happy New Year .

Laci bacsi flirting as usual

Laci bacsi
Laci bacsi

 

Back at Mai Mano cafe. After two weeks of absence, it feels good to come back.
Laci bassi is a very prominent regular figure in the cafe and is loved by all. He is ninety years old and commands respect in the way he is still preserving his joviality especially when he meets one of his many female admirers.
His face is full of expression and once in a while I try to catch him still enough for a quick sketch.
It’s almost an impossible mission cause he is full of motion and the face changes expressions rapidly.
Rather then being annoyed, I flow with what is given and sometimes I even succeed to catch a part of his likeness.

 

Sketching as an anchoring in space time

After three months in Budapest I am starting to feel a bit more settled specially after receiving my residency permit, valid for one year.

Coming to Budapest after spending few months in Europe, is closing a circle in many respects.

One circle is related to the fact of my birth in the region of the Carpathian basin. It was interesting to find out in this  article on the origins of the Hungarian nation that which is actually regarded as the birthplace of the Hungarian nation.

http://www.hunmagyar.org/tor/controve.htm

The other circle which is more recent is the one that has started fifteen years ago when I lived here for a year and a half.

It is then when the whole idea of the cafe project has started.

One day, absorbed in sketching in one of the many lovely cafes of Budapest, I have suddenly experienced a sense of dislocation, forgetting for a moment where I am. This kind of disorientation is actually quite common in almost any intensely creative work and I think I am not alone in experience this kind of rapture, sometimes accompanied with  a sense of awe and inspiration. This moment was followed by a sudden rush of realisation that the act of observing and sketching, serves as an anchor point in space and time, providing me with a new sense of orientation and feeling of home.

I have red somewhere that something similar is happening when a Bedouin is setting up his tent in the vast desert with a fire serving as a reference point, giving him a sense of temporary home.

The atmosphere of many cafes around the world is quite similar and the actual experience of sketching painting, observing the movements of people and flowing with the rhythm of the lines is almost the same everywhere, regardless of the actual location of the cafe and is therefore easy to lose orientation. Thus, the act of sketching in the cafe has been transformed for me into much more then making art. It has suddenly become an act of stitching together our disjointed fragmented reality where forms of one place can be cut and pasted into completely another context creating new meanings where old ones have been lost.

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