So it's been a while since I wrote on this because I really haven't completed any work (I try really hard to only post when I have something to show). I spent the month of November constantly working or traveling and just last week got back from a 10 day trip to Romania.
Predictably Romania was beautiful and strange. Wallachia was sort of a bummer (very industrial) but Transylvania and Maramureş were amazing. The Carpathian mountains are beautiful and spooky, and it was incredible to be in little medieval fortified cities like Sighişoara and Brașov and see them looming in the distance. The orthodox churches were filled with some of the most amazing art, floor to ceiling with elaborate iconstasis and bright frescos and patterns and gold leaf on every conceivable surface. We saw insane wooden architecture (similar to stuff you'd see in Russia or Norway) and carved wooden gates in Barsana, the ruins of Vlad Țepeș' fortress, Poienari, 1,480 steps up into the mountains, an ancient oak forest in Sighişoara, and best of all the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta. I'll just describe it briefly here since I'm aiming to write a longer entry at the blog Mike and I started for our creepy travel stories (corpsealtar), but it's basically a cemetery in a small town where all of the markers were hand-carved and hand painted by an amazing local artist and included images of the people as they were in life, or the way they died along with inscriptions that ranged from whimsical to grim and curse-laden. Here are a few pictures:
The mind-blowing home of Stan Ioan Pătraş the artist behind the Merry Cemetery
Full moon in BrasovBreite plateau ancient oak forest
Barsana MonastaryCurtes de Arges
There was so much going on here visually, I felt pretty inspired the whole time, and tried to take pictures of absolutely everything. Luckily I found a great book of the collection from the Museum of Romanian Art which was FULL of incredible icon paintings, embroideries and medieval metal pieces.
Sadly, I've felt less than inspired in the week since I got back since I immediately worked a 7 day week of 10 hour days at my mind numbing job. Right about now is when I should be working on one of two things; my upcoming show with Mike in March, or the "Year Long Project". The year long project was conceived with some friends during a conversation about my inability to make anything really physically large with the level of detail I like to use because of the fact that I work so much. I said something to the effect of "it would take me a whole year to make a painting that big" and we all realized it might be fun to organize a group show of pieces that were made slowly over the course of a year. Eventually we'll be starting a group blog to mark our progress, and basically I just added a consistent undercurrent of additional stress and pressure to my next year. However I'm pretty excited to try to do something really intricate. I bought a "frame" at the thrift store down the street which is actually a huge mirror with an ornate frame. It's about4 ft by 3 ft.
Annnnyway rather than work on either of those things I've been obsessing over pagan winter festivals that have been held over and adapted to Christianity and decided to make a card for some friends. I'll post the line drawing for the La Befana (more on that later) one but the Krampus one I'm working on really isn't coming out right so I'll probably scrap it and start over in a few weeks. Can you tell how much I love the The Old Witch from The Haunt of Fear?
I would also like to take this moment to say that I'm pretty much done with Micron pens. They completely blow and I've wasted so much money on them the past two years when the quality abruptly dropped off. Just inking this one small thing was such a struggle despite the fact that it was a brand new pen. Maybe I'll go back to Rapidographs, but they were always so much work to maintain and I'm such a slob. The really important line work comes at the end and is done with a brush so maybe I'd be just as happy with some crappy Pilot pen or something.
Anyway, sorry this entry was light on the art and big on the chatter. Romania was so awesome and relevant to the kind of art I like to look at at make though so...deal with it!