Art and creativity

Paint your journals and simply relax


I usually paint my journal covers .... late at night. My muse is really happy to join me in the evening ... over a cup of tea and the occasional biscuit of little bit of chocolate.  In the little movie below you will see my cover no 9 and cover no 10 .... journals painted in the last 3 weeks. I approach journal covers as small canvases ... it is a great practice ground for any artist ... beginner or not. Have a go ... 




Painting Buddha a journey


Painting Buddha is a state of mind. Painting Buddha is a journey ... Painting Buddha is each time a different experience. I know this ... as I am walking this talk .... probably the first Buddha I've painted was 3 years ago .... it was enough to get me hooked and I am sure it is the same for many artists who try their hand at a particular subject and feel a deep connection to it. It is a never-ending source of inspiration and a never-ending way of painting it .... colour wise, expression wise, energy wise .... 

It is even more interesting when you decide to paint on top of an older painting ... in my case, before I had a painting I called ... the dreamcatcher ... you can see it below .... 


I did this painting last year when I was experimenting with stencils ... I enjoyed painting it but I know a couple of weeks ago ... that I want to paint something else on top ... this is how it happens sometimes ... one feels that it is time for ... transformation ... and boy of boy this painting loved changing plenty of times. 

Once finished, the title came pretty fast ... it is ... The Dreamcatcher Buddha ... have a look at the video below ... and see the phases it went through ... 



The night blooming cereus or the queen of the night



2 years ago we ve been gifted 2 branches of a night blooming cereus ....a beautiful and interesting plant (the mother plant of the one we've been gifted) is coming from Grenada island ....little did we know that the plant will grow into a tree ...with such unusual, silky leaves ..and that have the first flower bud .....soooo exciting for us ...the flower is extraordinarily beautiful and it opens only during the night ....can t wait to witness its development!


Of course I will be taking photos regularly and post it's journey! I've read quite a few bits of articles ab out this plant and apparently it only flowers during one night  ... so one needs to almost guard :) the plant during the night to catch the moment of flowering or it will be missed alltogether .... or ... one needs to install a camera ... and film the process ... 


Creative routines


A brisk walk in the harbour just before the rain started ... so many gorgeous plants ... a few minutes of creativity unleashed and ... 15 minutes with my “Self explorations” workbook .. and a special journey down the memory lane ....fascinating how many memories came back to me connected to my very few trips to Russia ... memories deeply buried in my mind.....reclaiming bits of my life 🙂 ... I need an extra page as memories keep coming back to me 🙂 ... and now, Pilates!


The beginning of a new day


It's been a sequence of days, weeks and months lockdown .... days seems to be the same ... but are they? Of course not ... how about documenting your morning activities for the next 10 days .... 

This is how my morning started today .... with a cup of tea, a bit of reading and a bit of tai chi with my sober. I've devoured the last 20 pages of a book I love .... an autobiography again ... a talented Romanian illustrator and designer who at a similar age with me, was the witness of a monumental change in Romania ... in her case ... the change from a Monarchy with all of the political networks assigned to a democratic society, to a Communist Romania ... and in my case from a Communist Romania ... to a Wild West type of capitalism ..... 

A shame books like this one are not translated into English ... 

Musings from the garden


Musings from the garden ..... little did I know 4 years ago when I started my first class of wu dang tai chi that I will enjoy it and stick with it. Little did I know that once I graduated to the sabre form that I will enjoy it so much and that each time I come out in the garden the sabre will accompany me, next to my journal, book, pen and coffee ... but it does.


And also little did I know that my ambition to remember by heart the 5 forms I ve been taught will come so handy these days when I can and do practice on my own, in the garden or in the house. Ambition and determination always pays of ... this is what my father used to say. And it does! And as I am thinking about my parents, my mother used to say that ... I am like a crow ... oh well maybe this is why these lovely black creatures keep coming to me each time they see me


About Albania ... the beginning of a story



About Albania ......Memories ....are amazing .....they are collected somewhere in our mind and many times only a sound, a word, a smell, a person can bring them back to life .....this was the case yesterday when I was buying my takeaway coffee in the harbour ....Lola, the lovely waiter was Albanian (yes, when I “feel” a foreign accent, I want to find out where is it from). When I told her I went to Albania years ago on business and mentioned a bit of my adventures and love for her country, she had tears in her eyes. I know how it is. I am also a foreigner. What happened after that is even more interesting ....during the day I had an avalanche of flashbacks ...bits I completely forgot about ....vivid memories of my time in Saranda where I went for a “human trafficking prevention conference”, of the people I met and their dramatic experiences, the superb town/ resort was an absolute jewel of authenticity and peace (it reminded me of Balcic in the 1920’s when it was popular with artists, musicians, writers), of the hundreds of years old olive trees (this is where I fall in love with this tree), Tirana with the abundance of colourful terasa and young people being so fluent in many languages, the road from Tirana to Saranda which took hours and revealed a country of incredible beauty ....mountains, sea, hills ...peppered with the thousands of little military buildings, testimony of the paranoia of their communist leader, being stopped at point gun .....seeing military helicopters surveilling areas ....shortly the Kosovo conflict was going to start, delicious dinners with some of the other country managers of various American charities and so much more .....I cannot believe i was so lucky to have these experiences. Definitely it is time to write down properly my Albanian experiences will be in the book I am writing now .....the painting .....the tree ....could very well be.....memories of Albania

Paintings take time



Back in my studio .... painting again and thinking about a line I read earlier today ..... “the universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” - Muriel Rukeyser of course I agree ... I do ... stories need to be told .... my painting goes through a light phase now ... probably in an hour it will be a dark one and then light again until I hear ... that s it for now ... time to move to another painting....

Let's make some elderberry syrup today


As you know, one of my favourite happy, peaceful ways of putting a nice wall between myself and uncertainty is by engaging with creativity. So I have been regularly picking up my journal and I have been allowing my hand to release my tensions through intuitive drawing.. and I am writing in my daily gratitude journal and filling in a few more pages from my creativity workbook...........But I have other ways as well of sealing myself off from the world for a time - yum yum, glug glug!


By eclectic cooking, trying my hand, mouth and taste buds at making all sorts of exciting foody things .......including trying my hand at things my distant family used to conjure up from nature's larder - berries, mushrooms, fruits that I would gaze at on the kitchen table with amazement before they were subjected to the magic hands of my grandmother or aunt or cousin - and even more so after the first mouth full of whatever came out of their cooking pot! 



So, what did I decide to make this time that would be exciting and evocative in so many ways - a batch of ... elderberry syrup. I discovered this years ago while visiting my Russian relatives. It always used to amuse me when opening my aunt's and cousin's fridges to see them full of jars of forest fruits prepared in all sorts of ways ... fresh ones with sugar on top, juices, syrups, amazing. And I remember that on my two day journey through Russia, Ukraine, Moldavia and Romania... by train ... back to Bucharest I had a sort of "can't wait to get home feeling" because some of those jars were in my luggage! Sweet memories (literally and metaphorically).... I wish I had more memories of those times ... I wish .... 

But, back to the elderberries .... my relatives, like many other Russians had, and still have I am sure,.. a deep connection with wild life, the forests and the gifts one has from the forests at different times of the year. They could tell which plant heals what, which berry is safe to eat and which one it wasn't, which mushroom is good to eat, pickle, cook and which one isn't!  That knowledge was transferred from generation to generation. 

So here I am, years later, preparing one of those syrups ... remembering with a warm feeling my Russian roots. 

What do you need to make it? Here it is:

3 1/2 cups water

2/3 cup dried elderberries 

2 tbsp grated ginger

1-2 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp ground cloves 

1 cup raw honey (or a bit less .... it's up to you) 

First, pour the water into a saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, cloves. Bring to boil, cover, reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, let it cool, mash the berries carefully using a spoon. Pour through a strainer in a jar or bowl, discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool a bit. You are almost there ... add the honey, stir nicely and pour the liquid into a jar or glass bottle. When it is cold, store it in the fridge. Take 1 tbsp every day, add it to the top of your porridge, or pancakes, or a biscuit. It is really lovely I can tell you that. It is said that it also helps strengthen the immune system so why not prepare some? .....  Glug glug! oooooh.