Wednesday, February 2, 2011
paintings and books - what else?
An early and cold trip across Sofia to Central Forum Hotel - first by tram to the centre, then by foot to catch a 5 tram down Makedonia Bvd. A coffee warms me as I explain to Violetta what I want to say in my few introductory remarks to the 6 finance officials who will be spending the next three days learning how to present material and to engage their fellow officials in the 20 odd courses they will be leading this and next year. The aim is to help the Bulgarian municipalities make better use of the EU Structural Funds. Basically I just want to elaborate on the nice saying by Ernst Schumacher which is one of opening quotes on this blogsite („Four sorts of worthwhile learning”). That done, I listen with interest as each of the 6 (women!) explain what they want to get out of their three days. Job done, I wrap up against the bitter cold and catch the tram up to the centre – with the aim of visiting the nice little art shop in the National Gallery building. On the way I pop into the Booktrading shop and emerge with Umberto Eco’s Turning the clock back – hot wars and media populism and a lovely Taschen edition about the Belgian painter James Ensor. This is another nice feature for nomads – visiting new bookshops with different collections. Of course, the second-hand bookshops are the best for sheer serendipidy. Last week I found in the boxes of a pavement bouquiniste a couple of books about Russian painters – a 1966 Moscow edition with aquarelles and drawings of the Tretyakov Art Gallery; and a superb 1971 Leningrad edition with full page colour pictures of paintings by Levitan. And a Moscow edition of Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow thrown in for free!
Zhechka joins me for a coffe and takes me to her office – but another small gallery catches my attention. Lily (the name of both the owner and the gallery) is a friend of Vihra at Astry Gallery and has 2 Mitko Kostadinovs at very reasonable prices which I quickly snap up. And I’m not done yet – I had spotted another gallery at the top end of the Vladimir Zaimov Park not far from my flat. It turns out to focus on handicapped painters and I buy a Nadejda Beleva sea-cliff view and a nicely executed painting of a couple of boats bobbing in the sea (slightly cliched I know but the water is well done and I do miss my Ocean!). Then to the shops to pick up some food and wine for the meal my friends have opted to take at my place rather than in a restaurant – the ultimate compliment!
I’ve enjoyed these last few months of leisure – not particularly interested in getting new projects. But some project possibilities are now beginning to swirl around. A friend and I are waiting for word of a Serbian project – that would be 18 months and me not in a Team Leader role. I don’t like the paperwork it now entails. And I’ve also been asked to go forward in a bid for a framework project – which are short (eg 60 day) assignments which are contracted very quickly – in Macedonia. A group of us are also talking about going for major project here in Bulgaria. Now that would really interest me!
The painting is a nice exaple of a Russi Ganchev - one of whose landsacpes I bought this week.