Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stonehedge on a hazy day

"Stonehedge on a hazy day" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas panel, 11" x 16" 2014
Painting of the day: "Stonehedge on a hazy day" This was done en plein air this afternoon, in such a humid haze, the air was actually chewy! It's never much fun painting in such humidity, but with lots of iced tea and water, it was actually not too bad. The old fountain was long dry, and the garden was overgrown and lush, reminding me of "The Secret Garden." I was the only one there, and that made it more mysterious and enchanting.

I haven't been to Stonehedge in a few months, and it was really nice to be back there.  Every time I go, I wonder why I waited so long, to go back haha.  It's such a lovely and relaxing place, and it's so close to me, yet somehow, I get sidetracked and wind up going elsewhere, so I will make a mental note to go there more often, and hopefully, I will keep that promise to myself.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Adjustment!

 
"Farmer at sunset" by Hilary J. England, 16" x 20" oil on canvas, 2014



"Farmer at sunset" I did this painting yesterday kind of spur of the moment, completely fabricated par coeur ("by heart" or from memory). I didn't use any references, just had this kind of dream of Romania at sunset, so I just went to work and this is what popped out from my imagination and my experiences there....subconscious! I enjoyed painting this because I did what I wanted, since there was no "direct observation" involved, just my own memories....

I have been trying to photo this, and it is caused me a great deal of trouble, as usual LOL.  I can't use my big camera because my d-link to my desktop is down, and I don't have a camera card slot on my laptop, and I lost my external card reader (along with a few other items) while I was traveling, so everything is kind of precariously rigged right now, until I get everything replaced, repaired and up and running....so, when life gives you lemons, well, you know the drill!

I have been trying to adjust day by day, as the jet lag is slowly abating.  I had so much BS that went on during the first days, including the passing of my beloved Fat Cat, that I didn't know whether I was coming or going...it was like being a sleepwalker, my mind refused to click into gear...and so, I produced something that was kind of in the frame of mind I was experiencing.  To be honest, I very rarely, if ever anymore, produce completely "fantasy" paintings without working out a design, an observation, a "plan of attack," etc., but this was a therapeutic painting to help me adjust to being home, so I am happy I did it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Settling in and reflecting...

Yesterday was my first day home.  I came back to find alot of changes in a month, and it felt strange to be home.  First and foremost, I wanted to unpack and not even think about jet lag, but I came home to find my cat literally dying.  She became ill while I was gone, and when I arrived home on Tuesday night, she was very ill, but by yesterday morning, she was actively dying, and we had to rush her off to the emergency clinic.  Her temperature was 5 degrees lower than it should be, her heart rate barely detectable, and the vet could only tell she was still living by her gag reflex, but they saw our distress, and went to work quickly to try to stabilize her.


The doctor says she was in end stage renal failure cause unknown, since she is an indoor cat, not exposed to poisons, etc., and only 6 years old.  He says that this is unfortunately common with cats, and it could have been something congenital that "caught up" with her finally, etc., and there would not have been active symptoms until the end.  He said we should try to stabilize and recover her for 24 hours, but if she doesn't show improvement, we will need to make some "hard choices."  So, it was a somber day yesterday, although we had a little "homecoming" party for me, we were all a little quiet for it, since our kitty is in dire straits. 


So, now I'm just cleaning up the house a little, waiting for the Vet to call, making up the "to do" list for the day and week, having my coffee, and reflecting on Romania.  I have made a list of things I learned about Romania (as I usually like to do when I travel) and here are some of the things that I learned, both strange and not so unusual!


25 Things I learned about Romania


1. Romania stays light out until almost 10:30 PM in the Summer, and the sun comes up a little after 5:30 AM.  If you are one for long days and short nights, this is the place for you.  If you are like me that kind of likes the reverse, getting hit in the face with sunlight after 5 AM is disconcerting!!!


2. "Chee-nch" or "cinc" (I can't make the accents with my keyboard). "Cinc" is the number five, pronounced "chee-nch" and they seem to like this number.  Alot.  And it's derivative.  I seemed to hear it everywhere!


3. Accents over the letters change the sound of the letter.  Even though they are on the same alphabet system as us, they have many accents both over and under their letters which change the sound of that letter.  For instance, and accent under the letter s changes the sound to "shhhh"  etc.


4.  If you have allergies Stateside, you BETTER pack meds for your trip or suffer severely.  The land is sumptuous with flowers, flowering trees, etc., and even those who never had allergies had them for a week or two after we arrived.


5. Romanian bars don't close until the last patron leaves, and yes, smoking is not only allowed, it seems to be encouraged by the cigarette girls that sell (like back in the old Hollywood movies).


6. Palinka, a local drink, will knock you on your ass.  Literally.


7. There are many wild or feral dogs both in the cities and the countryside, but they are tagged and given their shots (but otherwise fend for themselves) but they are very docile for the most part, and have their own "rights" (they aren't subject to euthanasia but for a "crime").


8. Romanians seem to love American music and TV, movies, etc.  Our music and other international music plays on their radiostations very frequently, and all TV and movies are played in their native language with Romanian subtitles.  Cool.


9. Romanians love Jean Claude Van Damme and Hilary Duff.  So *that's* where they disappeared to!


10. Romanians are devoutly religious as a whole country with Orthodox as the most common religion, followed by Roman Catholicism.  There are literally icons, chaplets, and chapels all over the countryside.


11. Romanian women are very stylish!  Romanian men have roving eyes ;-)


12. Romanians drive on the right side of the road like Americans, and some drive very fast.  They also have a system of driving that makes it legal to pass anyone slow at anytime, yet despite that I only saw one accident in the 1+ month.


13. Romanians must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, and they DO!  It's disconcerting to hear brakes screeching sometimes, especially knowing in America you would just get run down.


14. Romanians value personal freedom and were in disbelief listening to "rules" Americans have regarding smoking, schools, public conduct, cameras in the streets, animals, and just about everything we have ridiculous rules regarding...


15. Romanians consider themselves apart and different from the gyspies, as do most Europeans.


16. Romanians are very proud of their Roman and German ancestries, and are still are very proud and militant people.


17. Romanians love to give and receive flowers, and their are flower stands everywhere.


18. Romanians eat a nice diet of lots of whole foods, and fresh fruits, etc.  They do like sausage (must be the German in them) and their national sausage, "mici" is not a traditional sausage in that it is pork, lamb and beef with spices that is "rolled" fresh and broiled and not encased in skin, so it is also not a preserved meat.


19. Most Romanians have (2) cell phones, one for each of the two major carriers in the country, to avoid paying the high prices of calling the wrong carrier.  Or, as we theorized, one for the wife and one for the mistress?? LOL.


20. Nearly every female name in Romania ends in the vowel "a."


21. There are tons of second hand stores throughout the country, and all of the clothes in there are in pristing condition, so you can get really great deals for little to nothing.


22. The Black Sea is certainly not black.  Just a pretty blue/green color.


23. Bran Castle ("Dracula's Castle") is really cozy and romantic versus spooky.


24. Romanian men and women are still very traditional, even the young ones, and although there are some "outward" signs of "Westernization," they still adhere to traditional roles, etc.


25. There are still orphanages and mental asylums in Romania.




Well that was just some of the things I learned, and I thought I would share just as an FYI and you ever want to travel into the country.  It was more than worthwhile, and I would certainly return given the chance.


Now, I have to go.  The Vet just called and delivered us the sad news that our kitty passed away early this morning....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Arrived

It was a torturous trip home from Moscow to PA, but I have finally arrived.  After boarding the plane for JFK, I found myself seated between two very large and disabled Russian people, who were a couple.  I switched seats into the window to let them sit together, thereby effectively trapping myself (the woman wasn't allowed into the window seat for whatever reason), and tried to settle in for the 10 hour flight. 

It went rather uneventfully (albeit uncomfortably) until we started our approach into JFK.  Then, all hell started breaking loose as we were forced to circle the airport for over an hour, as there were severe storms over the area.  I can't tell you what a tense time this turned into on this airplane, with a baby screaming, and a lot of the passengers get upset because of the turbulence, the dizzying motion of the plane in a constant arc, and the fact that they were becoming aware (due to the Geomaps up on the screen) that we were not landing despite the black clouds and lightning we were embroiled in.  Not fun.

Personally, I was so tired at this point, my mind refused to even register anxiety.  The cabin stunk to holy hell (I'll let your imagination go there), kids screaming so loud that even my earbuds wouldn't drown it out, and the turbulence, I felt like I was trapped in an insane asylum.  I just wanted to get on the friggin' ground to get the hell out of there.  I thought, "God, give me the strength to not go psychotic at this point and just parachute out!"  LOL...what a horror.

So, finally we land, and then we get trapped on the runway for an additional 1/2 before disembarking.  On the plane, people are so anxious to disembark it turns into total chaos of arguing and yelling in Russian, pushing, shoving, etc. Sheesh!

Then, we get to the security checkpoints and it's just complete madness.  JFK has new security measures and it looks like complete pandemonium.  There are new "self check" passport servers, and half of them are down, people don't know how to use them, etc., then there is another checkpoint to SHOW your passport to an agent, then another point, and another point to give agents your declaration receipt (I believe there were four in all) and I'm thinking, "Why do we have to go through all this bullshit??  I could just land down at the Southern border and walk across completely unmolested!!!"  Seriously?  Is everyone in the US Government completely insane?

Now, we finally make it to through all that garbage to get our luggage, and it's over an hour and forty-five minutes, and the luggage STILL isn't on the carousel.  While we are waiting for our baggage (this was so incredulous, it's actually funny) a surly looking woman security agent with an old beagle dog wearing mantle stating "Homeland Security" comes walking up to the group standing around, and starts the dog to start randomly sniffing everyone's bags for "contraband."  She walks up to a thin, well-dressed middle-aged man standing a few feet from me, who just happened to put his laptop bag down on the ground to answer a phone call.  She begins to question him very aggressively as to why he put his bag on the ground, etc., then directs the dog to "sniff" the bag.  The dog sniffs and sniffs, and she then states the dog has smelled something suspicious, and he must go with her.  I am watching this in complete amazement, as she takes him away.

About 15 minutes later, the luggage is STILL not there, and that detained fellow comes stomping back up to the carousel, looking very indignant.  I met his eyes, and he blurts out, "That animal smelled the cookie I had wrapped up in my luggage pocket!"  I suppressed my giggles and nodded sympathetically, as he stood there looking humiliated.  Yes people, just remember, in JFK airport, if you smuggle a cookie in and don't pay off the dog, you are subject to a cavity search by Brunhilda and her goon squad!  Welcome to America, Land of the Free!!

Now, the luggage begins to arrive, and I'm feeling a knot in my stomach as mine is still not on the carousel, and in our residency group, several artists unfortunately had their luggage lost, but, as usual, mine was one of the LAST off the plane, but, last or not, it was there, and I grabbed it and took off running to the last checkpoint, and then out.

I was greeted by my baby gal Noelle, and I was very happy to see her!!  She helped me with my luggage, and then we were able to locate my Dad, and begin the long journey home.  It rained Monsoon-like gales for nearly the entire trip back, slowing us down considerably.  I was so exhausted by that time I felt like I was in a dream, but I couldn't sleep...finally arriving home around midnight.

It felt and still feels so odd to be home, my mind didn't register it at first.  What a strange feeling....still suffering from sleep deprivation (I was able to sleep about 6 hours but it wasn't "normal" sleep, very fitful, kept waking, etc.)...but I know I am in the throes of jetlag, and will be OK in the next few nights.

So, the journey to Romania is complete...I have a lot to write about regarding it, but that is for tomorrow.  Today is for recovery!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Homeward Bound-Leg 2

Sitting in the airport now, after a tasty vanilla cappuccino from the vending machine, and just relaxing.

I found an enclave of other homeless traveler's, it was kind of empty, but a woman or two around, and feeling comfortable with that, set up on the floor (carpeted, but kind of nasty still, oh well), pulled out my traveler's pillow, put my hoodie over my face to block out the sun, and presto! I slept for 7 hours on that damn floor, and miraculously, am not crippled. When I woke up, the group of us three women had become about 40 women of all ages and a sprinkling of young men (of course).  It was pretty interesting, as we were all sleeping literally side by side, and yet, there was no discomfort, and strangely, no snoring.  I marveled at that for a few minutes, then got up, stretched, but my shoes and socks back on  (yes, most people had removed there shoes, and with my nose being a little stuffed I'm glad I didn't smell anything being so close to one another LOL), and went to the bathroom to "wash up" fix my hair, and put my bra on (yes, that had been removed prior to the sleep attempt as well haha).

Then, out and about to wake up and find a cup of coffee. I was pretty budgeted with only 500 rubles in my pocket (the equivalent of 20 bucks) but I was able to get two bottles of water, an emergency Snickers bar, a vanilla cappucino, and still have 300 rubles left.I guess it proves I could be a bum if necessary LOL...I guess you are not truly a world explorer until you have this type of experience. I feel proud now.

Now, flight takes off at 3:20 PM and it is 7:41 AM  I think this part will be the most boring since I packed my adapter into my checked luggage and all my tech is going down without the ability to recharge so this will be my last entry until I get home probably in the next 24 hours.  I am looking forward to getting home, getting cleaned up, unpacked, and getting to work, but also missing the travel already.  My next trip will be a multi-destinational trip, or possibly to South America, so I am starting to plot it already! So, I'm out until I catch everyone Stateside.  God bless!

Homeward Bound

"Ilie on his 40th birthday" by Hilary J. England, 16" x 20" oil on canvas, 2014
Homeward bound, sitting in Sheremeteyevo airport in Moscow, just reflecting.  These last few days have literally been a whirlwind, and I'm trying to collect my thoughts into a cohesive pattern.  We started our round of "good-byes" and good-bye parties a few days ago, as each of us was leaving on a different day, so it turned into a long good-bye, with lots of partying, LOL.

The last few days and weeks have been just wonderful, with the previous weekend going to visit Dracula's birthplace, and exploring Sighisoara with Chris, Nataliya, Lisa, and Ilie at the helm (he was our official Formula One driver LOL).  After a wonderful time there, we spent the better part of the week just doing some paintings, doing some fishing, and other fun stuff, and then everyone began to get prepped to leave.

Thursday night we spent out the "White Rabbit" bar that we all enjoy close to "The Orphanage," having one last night as a group. On Friday night, we had our reception for our show in Sibiu, and that was great fun....after our "vernissage" we ended up in a wild and crazy nightclub doing wild and crazy things till the early morning hours (there is no "closing" time in Romania, it's only when the last person leaves).  Then Saturday, we had a "farewell but not goodbye" party at Elody, David, and Dominique's place near the piata, with lots of homemade delectables and nitrite-free local wines, and then, from there, at 11 pm, I went with Nataliya, Michael and Ilie for a ride to Bucharest, as Michael and Nataliya were leaving that night, and I wanted to see them off. Plus, Ilie kept saying if I took the ride with him, he had a "surprise" for me.  I can only speculate what kind of surprises were in store, as me and Chris giggled about this like two school chums, but knowing Ilie is our Romanian "bear," I decided he wouldn't play any nasty tricks on me, or make me upset LOL.

It is a 4 hour ride from Sibiu to Bucharest, and Nataliya had to be there for 4 a.m., so we sped through the Transylvanian countryside, with still time to spare when we dropped her off at OTP. Michael had about two hours to kill so Ilie took us on a tour of Bucharest by car as the sun was coming up, which was really cool.  Then, since none of us had any fastfood in Romania, and the only place that was open was the McDonald's drive-thru, we did the American dirty deed of getting some nasty "Celebrity" burgers (a twist on the Quarter Pounder with a strange kind of bbq sauce on it) and fries at 6 a.m., and said our farewell to Michael.  Now, at 7 a.m., Ilie and I began the 4 hour trek back to Bucharest, but we were so exhausted, we pulled off to catch a quick catnap on the side of the road in the car.  He got up way before me, as I slept for maybe 2 or 3 hours versus his 1/2 (too much late nights that week) and when I woke up from the blazing sun, I sat up and looked around, not recognizing any of the landscape or landmarks....I kept thinking, "Is he lost?"

So, finally we came into a town called Constanza, and we were greeted by a dry-docked ship.  I thought that was bizarre that an inland town should have a dry-docked ship, so I just laughed, but Ilie didn't comment, just kept his poker face behind his sunglasses.  Then, quite suddenly, I saw a huge body of glittering water...a lake???  A gigantic, enormous lake?  What lake was this, it wasn't any of the maps...so I asked him, "Ilie, what is that?  Is that a lake??"  He started laughing and said, "No.  That's the Black Sea!"  The Black Sea???  After I recovered my equanimity,  I looked at him and said, "We drove all the way to the Black Sea?  I thought that was like a ten hour drive!"  He just smiled and said, "It is 9 hours...from Sibiu, but only 5 hours from Bucharest!"  I was completely floored.  This was the surprise, because I had been lamenting how I wanted to see the Black Sea, and that was my only regret in this residency was we never made it to the coast...so he was rectifying it, as he had promised he would if he could.  What a cool guy!

So, we went down the entire coast into Bulgaria, and the water was wonderful!!!  It was blazing hot, but the water was nice and refreshing, and after some time there, a nice seaside lunch, we headed back to Sibiu, as the trip back was going to enormous, and I was leaving this morning and hadn't even STARTED packing....he took the scenic route which included a river ferry across the Danube, then back over the Carpathians, stopping for a mici (Romanian favorite dish) and World Cup break (Yay Germany!), and got back to the Orphanage around midnight, where the remaining "orphans" were whooping it up Bohemian style with lots of wine and lots of laughs.  I sat with them for a few moments, but was so exhausted from the 1,000 kilometer trip and being up for so long, I was nearly punch drunk, so I excused myself, went up, started packing (actually got it done in less than an hour) and fell into my bed at nearly 2 a.m., to wake up for 7...and then, travel BACK to Bucharest with Ilie, Chris, and Archer to catch our flights....I am BEAT!

But, the fun doesn't stop now, since I am trapped in this airport for 17 hours LOL, as my Visa fell through due to the increased rates incurred by the Ukrainian situation, and after sitting in this sweaty airport until tomorrow afternoon, I have my 10 hour flight back to JFK, and my additional travel to PA.  I can tell you....I will be so HAPPY to see my bed--and I'm not even worried about jet-lag! We figure we've been staying up so late this past week, we are almost back on New York/East Coast time anyway!

So, here is the portrait I painted of Ilie on his 40th birthday (July 8th).  He was a typical fidgety guy who couldn't sit still, playing with his cell phone(s) (all Romanians have two, long story), and finally, I couldn't take it anymore, so I let him get up and walk around, and promised him I would work par coeur, and from a few photos I took and do this on my own, without his modeling.  I HATE doing a portrait this way, but I promised this as his birthday present, and I always keep my word about stuff like that.  So, after a few annoying sessions alone in my room working on this thing in terrible lighting, inadequate supplies, sweaty conditions, and very limited uninterrupted time, I did finish it, and I must say, we were all pleased with the results.

So, when I get back, I will elaborate a little more about what I learned about Romania....but for now, time to go.  I have to preserve my batteries for the next 16 hours :-(.   I don't know how I will sleep in this crusty airport...it's 10:30 at night here, and still light.....sigh.....

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day....hmmm...lost track!

"Study of flowers in a blue vase" by Hilary J. England, 12" x 18" oil on canvas panel, 2014
Sorry I haven't posted, but we have been incredibly busy, and we took the weekend off for Fourth of July.  The weather has turned intensely hot, with magnificent, fast moving storms that come across the region, so it makes working tricky.

After, Arpasu, we spent Fourth of July here at our "Orphanage" trying to work on things for our upcoming show, after a night of very fun and very festive karaoke at a local Romanian bar. 'Nuff said about that!!! Ilie has been very kind, and has taken me on a few excursions to most beautiful, out-of-the way areas that tourists would not go to or know much about, and these areas have been breathtaking.  He even showed me his usual fishing spot, which after we fished there with some other locals, he left in defeat...having only caught a minnow ("Moby Dick!") and an old hat.  He laughed that it was better than last year, when he caught a TV set!  He has become a friend, and so, with his birthday (today) I had promised to paint a portrait of him. 

We started out earlier this morning, and he brought me to a most amazing mountain top after going through a series of lovely villages.  It was so nice to ride through these areas, windows down, music playing, wind in your face....like a safari!  When we got to the top, the wind was pretty fierce, and I asked him, "Do you really want me to paint you up HERE?"  He laughed and said no, just wanted me to see it, knowing I would appreciate it.  That was the truth, as it was incredibly beautiful...the vistas and air and wildflowers.  Just amazing. 

So, we headed to a park very close to my apartment, and that's where I FINALLY started the painting, LOL.  But, being a guy, he couldn't stop moving around, answering his phone, telling jokes, and (this is the best) nearly falling over backwards in his chair since the earth was soft...gotta love it.  That last turn of events made me bust out laughing, and I realized we needed to just call it a day...the heat was brutal, and after all, it is the poor guy's birthday.  He needs to go out and party with his friends...it is the obligation of anyone who reaches a milestone birthday (the big 4-0).  So, we decided we will meet up with a few others as a small group tomorrow, and continue then.

So, until then, I will leave you with this painting of flowers I did yesterday in class.... boy, this painting nearly drove me bananas...and I hated it, but when I put it away, I haven't seen it since!  Maybe it found a home?  Who knows....if so, I'm good with that as well.

So, I am back in my apartment, just enjoying this cool shade with a slight breeze.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Day 20-21

"View of fountain from behind the tree" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas panel, 8" x 10", 2014
What a day yesterday was, haha.  The festivities, or shall we say, shenanigans from our day in Arpasu de Jos was very apparent, as there were several of us that were completely unable to get out of bed, and the rest of us, well, we were rather comatose and grumpy, yet we slogged our way to the local park, humping our equipment, and somewhat accepting the blinding sunlight that greeted us all the way there.  But, that capricious Romanian weather had it's own trick up its sleeve, and as soon as we got set-up, the clouds started rolling in, and within a half hour or so, the rain began.  Initially, we ducked under some trees, threw some plastic over our paints and canvases, believing (mostly hoping) the weather would pass, but as the rain picked up steam and darker and more ominous clouds began appearing, we knew we had to throw in the towel.  So, back to the apartment we went.

Initially, our optimistic hope was to take an hour or so of rest, and if it stopped raining, to maybe head out again, but LOL....nearly all of us wound up sleeping the afternoon away, as the violent thunderstorms rolled in one after the other, but, that's the best weather to sleep in!!!

Around four-ish, Nataliya, who is the grown-up of the bunch haha, began knocking on everyone's doors to get them up and to get themselves together for the night's business meeting with Lee.  Artists filtered out here and there....sleepy and quiet, some still looking a little green, and just kind of plopped on the couches, and we did have a very informative meeting with Lee...to the tune of 3 hours long LMAO.  It was our punishment for the collective sins of the previous evening.  Gotta love Lee....he can talk for three hours, but still make it interesting.

After finishing the meeting, everyone was a little more perked up, some went out, but most of us headed back to our rooms to work or rest.  I managed to fight that little painting long into the night, rearranging my room, rigging the lighting, and just having a one on one with it...in the morning, I was mostly pleased, although there was some changes that I decided to make due to the differences of incandescent and natural sunlight, but in the end, the weather or hangover did NOT win.  So, it's all good.

Today, we kind of had the day off to get ourselves together because it is an American holiday, and the residents are predominantly American.  We are doing a barbeque, and later, karaoke, so it should be a fun and interesting night...haha!!!  Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow Americans and God bless America!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 19

"Countryside, Arpasu de Jos" by Hilary J. England, 11" x 16" oil on primed cardboard panel
Yesterday's work: "Countryside, Arpasu de Jos"  This was painted on a most relaxing day, in a beautiful field of wildflowers, by a river.  I sat under a tree for the shade, and listened to the bubbling river, and it was almost like a dream, the air was so still and bright. There were butterflies flitting everywhere, and it was as if time didn't exist.  What a lovely afternoon....Nataliya was down by the river painting, but I knew I couldn't take the direct sun.  I burn so badly, even now, I got sun from the reflected light of sitting under the tree, and I have a burnt nose LOL.

Still laying under that twisted old tree after I finished my painting, and watching the birds and butterflies was my idea of what Heaven will be like...I set my painting out into the light to dry, and watched as the butterflies floated around it, as if they were trying to enter the painting.  It was fascinating.  After a while, I broke from my reveries, and Ilie returned from the village, and since Nataliya was still working away, he grabbed his fishing gear and we lumbered off along the river, which was lovely.  I waded out into that cool, mountain river as we bantered back and forth about the different fish and Romanian pastimes, and then he brought me along to a most amazing waterfall, with tons of shale, which I know was a real hotbed for fossils.  So, as he fished some more, I explored the shale, looking for a fossil or two, but had no luck there.

After a while, we headed back to see if Nataliya was done, and as the sun was now scorching hot and bright, headed back into the village.  We hung at Ilie's bar for a while, ducking the heat and loudly discussing politics as more and more artists filtered in to avoid the heat, and from there walked a few feet to the village restaurant, where they had prepared us all a Romanian feast!  Lots of meats, their signature mici (Romanian sausage), pickled cucumber salad with tomatoes and dill, and plenty of local wine and some kinds of local fruit liquors that are apparently VERY strong (strong enough to knockout punch a few of the artists later on...LOL) and so we had a very long, very leisurely, very filling dinner punctuated by more loud and rowdy political discussions, and of course, art and culture.  I took a few of the sausages I couldn't finish outside to a local stray dog, she looked so thin and sad, and she was very happy to have them.  She rewarded me with some licks and a tail wag, and I knew she must have some pups by looking at her, so I was happy to help her.

We took the train back to Sibiu, arriving back at our apartments by 11 pm, at which point I was so exhausted, I just kind of crawled into bed and instantly knocked out....but, as always, I woke up about five hours later, and here I lay, haha...it's OK.  I'm used to it.  Sleep is like a capricious little sprite for me...sometimes I catch it, but most times, it just leads me on a merry chase.  Maybe tonight!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Day 18

"Zoe (eyes closed)" by Hilary J. England, 12" x 16" charcoal pencil on paper
We are just moving on through this residency, it seems at lightning speed, much to my regret.  It is really such an enjoyable experience, and the drawing and painting is happily challenging.  This drawing was one of several we did today of our classmates.  Zoe was a very good model, being very young, lovely, and sat very still.  She also happens to be a very talented young artist as well.

Tomorrow, we will head into the country for some plein air painting, and shenanigans too LOL....we are looking forward to a Romanian feast, and exploring the village, which happens to be Lee's hometown.  It should be a great time, and we are all hoping the weather is accommodating for the day and beyond.  As for tonight, time to relax, and get ready for tomorrow's adventure!

Study of eyes

"Study of eyes" by Hilary J. England, Conte on paper I have been studying certain body parts that I find fascinating, and you can ...