Friday, February 27, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

View of corner store, Bucuresti

At the foot of this beautiful architectural piece, a little pet shop just opened up..... Febe's new favorite place because of the treats. Whenever the lottery is high, Sunday morning can suddenly find a mob of people at the lottery shop on the corner.

View of corner stores, Bucuresti

Hidden at the foot of this enormous bloc is, according to a source, the best cake shop in Bucharest. Walking along the grey street in the shadow of a concrete behemoth, suddenly through the window are lighted shelves of hundreds of colored cakes and chocolates, fruit, pastries, coffee. Their signature is the mini rumcake. Bucuresti is a city of Cofetarii (confectionaries).

View of corner store, Bucuresti

What's in stock: Tuborg, newspaper, fresh tomatoes......

View of corner store, Bucuresti

Piata Iancului, neighborhood stores in the blocs

Neighborhood market, Bucuresti

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Neighborhood street, Bucuresti

The corner stores, Bucuresti

The corner stores, Bucuresti

One of the things that makes places "livable" is the corner store.
All cities have such places, from London to the village, from New York to Boston to nowheresville. Selling everything from clothes to cookie cutters to candy to cakes, glass angels, cosmetics, cakes, and coffee. Things for weddings, kitchen gadgets, plates, soaps, and healthfood.

Cities that are easy to live in tend to be made up of neighborhoods with the corner store, the corner pub, the corner bookshop, the corner pharmacy, the corner grocery, the corner newstand....... everybody has their favorite neighborhood and their favorite corner store. The place is alittle higher priced than the big suburban hypermarkets, but it's in walking distance, they generally have what's needed, and on the way are a few other corner stores with the ice cream, cakes, coffee, and beer.

In neighborhoods with a significant elderly population, corner stores are essential lifelines for social gathering, catching up, getting out of the house, and getting the essentials for life without spending an entire day traveling to and from the Hypermarket. In many cases for the elderly, a trip to the Hypermarket would be unthinkable, whereas the corner store provides not only the basic necessities but essential social interaction and activity, and a connection with the goings-on and changes in the neighborhood.

View of Bucuresti, 1868 - streetlife

Bucuresti is a city filled with such neighborhoods, and with an abundance of corner stores of all varieties, usually tucked into the lower floor of an old building, simple or grand...... usually whatever is going on down below unrelated to the ornament or lack thereof going on above. Sometimes, the bank/pharmacy/corner grocery might be tucked into a 19th century gem in the waiting, or may be tucked into a corner of a huge communist-style bloc-of-flats. Most of the passers-by dont notice the harmony or disharmony in the architecture...... they're too busy looking for the ice cream or beer, or looking at the hats in the window, or wondering where they can find the notary public, or just taking their dogs for a walk...... who by the way always tend to know where is the corner pet store.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Working at home, Bucuresti

View in front of the bloc of flats, Bucuresti

Winter suddenly came again this morning. It was sunny and not too cold for the last few weeks, but typical for February, can be spring one day, winter the next. The green space in front of the bloc becomes a white space, with blowing snow, and about 2-3 cm of snow on the ground. When Febe isnt playing in the grass or jumping into the water, her other preference is to run and roll in the snow. Amazingly, I've found a dog's feet dont really get cold! It's true. Take a dog out in the snow, let it run around alittle, and feel it's feet.......they'll be warm...or even hot. Dont know how this works, except that they have really good circulation.

Sketch Experiment A: Sketching in blowing snow. A cartridge pen will work for approximately 50 seconds at 0 degrees celsius. This can be extended to approximately 2-3 minutes by putting the pen next to skin for 30 seconds. Closing and holding the pen in hand will extend use for 15 seconds. Note: at 0 degrees, with a wind speed of 30 km/h, the sensible temperature will be -7. Fingers too cold to draw after 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, snow blowing in the eye will make it difficult to concentrate. Snow starts to collect noticeably on the paper after 2 minutes. Result: Effective time to sketch in blowing snow at 0 degrees celsius: 2 minutes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Near Piata Revolutiei, in Bucharest. an area in the center of town..... the area of the Palace/Museum of Art, the Atheneum (concert hall), near the University, not far from the park, along Calea Victoriei, a place of culture and history and interesting history. A beautiful place for sketching buildings with histories.

The Atheneum was originally built by public subscription, sort of a public university, for lectures, concerts, and art exhibits. On sunny days, this is a good place for sketching with a little sketchbook, on the grass next to the tree...... and also because just around the corner is a good coffee shop...... and Fornetti.

Atheneum, Bucuresti

A True Friend of the Atheneum, Bucuresti

Athenee Palace Hilton, Bucuresti

Now, it's the Bucharest Hilton, but in World War II, the Athenee Palace Hotel (just down from the Atheneum) was renowned as a den of spies.... a place where the gestapo resided together with british spies, where every room and phone was monitored, and where all of the employees and housecleaning worked for the secretest secret police..... underneath the gold chandeliers and decorated ceilings, was a world of intrigue, deceit, and suspicion....... now it's a place for wedding parties and middle-age rock stars.

It's kind of a difficult place for making a drawing though, because the whole area in front is a huge parking lot, with traffic on Calea Victoriei.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Parcul Izvor, Bucuresti
(view toward Podul Izvor / Teatrul Bulandra)

This sketch was made sitting on the People's Palace side of park and looking across the vast greenspace toward the city. It's a nice place for sitting and reading or sketching on sunny days.

This is an iconic view in Bucharest looking toward the center of the city and the river. This same building is shown on an old image of bucharest.

source: (

Dog Park - A: Parcul Izvor. With views of the city and a big open area with lots of trees and grass and other people with dogs.

BTW: Depeche Mode will play at Izvor Park on May 16th for their Tour of the Universe 2009. I guess it'll be a long tour.

Piata Universitatii / Teatrul National, Bucuresti,_Bucharest

This sketch was made from the sidewalk on the university side.....there are about a million people that walk along that make it a challenging place to try to concentrate, and the traffic going by at 50 kph is also a challenge for breathing.

Piata Universitatii is the place to get the most interesting martisor, by the art students who congregate here at the University a few days before Martisor. The next best place is at Muzeul Taranului around the same time.ărţişor
if you're a guy in Romania, then you have to remember the three biggest days of the year, Valentines, Dragobete, and Martisor.

Parcul Cismigiu, Bucuresti

Cismigiu Park is sort of the Boston Public Garden or the Central Park of Bucharest....same general timeline, same general idea, sort of the greenspace in the city, a botanical garden and central lake. In the summer, there are festivals for music and folk art. This sketch was made sitting in the entry court just in front of the Primaria.

Cretulescu Palace, Bucuresti

This sketch was made while sitting having a cup of coffee at the Planters across the street. The palace is now the site of Unesco, and sits overlooking Cismigiu Park. From the street side, the palace has an imposing broad front along the street. From the Cismigiu side, it has more of a picturesque, assymetrical front to follow with the naturalness of the garden.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Biblioteca Centrala Universitara, Bucuresti

Calea Victoriei, Bucuresti

Calea Victoriei...the "fancy" street in Bucharest, sort of the historical 5th Avenue.
originally paved with logs, was called the "Bridge to Mogosaia".

View with blocks-of-flats in distance

Running route A: only a few stoplights, around the Parliament building and around Izvor Park.....approximately 4 miles total, and can be extended to about 6-7 miles by running down the big boulevard to Unirii Square, and again to about 10-20 miles by running along the path along the river (Dambovita)......

View of the Parliament Building in the evening (source: Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

The Italian Church, Bucharest

Parcul Cismigiu, Bucharest

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Antim Monastery, Bucharest

Biserica Mihai Voda, Bucharest

Biserica Mihai Voda, Bucharest

Biserica Stavropoleos, Bucharest

Archeological dig in the Lipscani area

Remains of a tavern from the 14th-15th century

Webcams in Bucharest,6,20,webcam.html