9/29/2012

Feast and Famine

September has almost slipped by with hardly any time to catch my breath. Like a very incompetent juggler, I have been trying to balance a heavy workload with friends and family whilst attempting to keeping up with my little shop and I am afraid my poor blog has suffered from my inattention yet again. As many of you will testify, being a self-employed artist is very much a matter of feast and famine. Some weeks go by in the doldrums and then suddenly the workload is overwhelming and deadlines seem impossible. Not that I am complaining, I would much rather have too much than too little. I have been busy updating my portfolio and working on some packaging and greeting card commissions and extending my Gardener’s Scrapbook Calendar to include cards, magnets, note pads etc. The idea being that we will have a whole stand of related products for The Spring Fair in Birmingham next year. I was also delighted that the first of my Owl prints sold out, hopefully I will have some more in stock soon.
Earlier this month we visited beautiful Budapest. It was my first time to travel to Hungary and Budapest did not disappoint. It was so lovely to be able to walk under clear blue skies and to hop on and off buses, trams, river boats and trains; an entire week of travel for the cost of one day in London. The food was delicious, much of it spiced with paprika, which added, not only flavour but colour to the dishes we sampled. We sailed up and down the Danube and criss-crossed between Buda and Pest with visits to Margaret Island where we saw red squirrels! Budapest by night looks like a scene from Disneyland, the bridges and buildings along the Danube are illuminated and reflected in the river and there is a joyous, friendly atmosphere in the bustling streets and gardens along the banks. By the end of the week we had grown muscles on our muscles, after climbing what seemed like a million steps!
The contrast between rich and poor was very apparent; so many homeless people try to survive in this amazing city. The vast market groaned with fresh produce whilst others searched through bins for scraps of bread. I know this problem is not exclusive to Budapest but it seemed more obvious and made me wonder how people arrive at such destitution. Unemployment, family break down, war, all these things can happen to any of us and it made me very grateful that I have a roof over my head and food in my larder. “There but for the grace of God go I”.
The book in the photograph was a stark reminder of Budapest’s troubled past. It is housed in the Zwack Museum where we sampled Unicom, (I don’t have the words to adequately describe this extraordinarily bitter drink!)

14 comments:

  1. You sound amazingly busy which is wonderful--though probably tiring! What a fascinating glimpse of Budapest. You make me want to visit there.
    All best wishes from New York.

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  2. A lot of those old cities seem to encourage muscles on muscles! Lovely that you had a chance to visit Budapest, definitely a place I want to visit someday. Happy Autumn to you.

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  3. whenever you post it is truly a pleasure, i don't often comment but i always enjoy, especially your BEAUTIFUL art. how interesting your week to budapest sounds, it looks like you had lovely weather too. i wonder what is in that drink to make it so bitter? thank you for sharing, lori x

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  4. How lovely to have you back! I am jolly glad you are so busy; it makes for hectic days but for a joyful heart. Maybe you will share some of your current work with us? I hope so.

    I have never been to Budapest but have always been fascinated by countries such as Hungary especially after my two year stint in Greece which in a sort of warped way has some similarites.

    I enjoy the way you write; it makes for compelling reading.

    Stephanie

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  5. Hungary is most definitely on my list of places to go! Glad you're busy and look froward to seeing new work.

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  6. Budapest seems like a beautiful city and is rich with history. Definitely a place for the bucket list.

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  7. I love the picture of that vegetable stand with all those peppers or chilli peppers whatever they are.
    I have always really wanted to go to the Spring fair in Birmingham. Do you have to be a retailer to get a ticket?

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  8. You may not blog very often Valerie but you always lift my spirits when I see any of your work.
    I have often wondered about Budapest as a holiday destination - your description is very inviting.

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  9. I love your September illustration. Your holiday in Budapest sounds wonderful with such lovely things to see and do:)

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  10. Valerie, you've certainly been well occupied recently. Work and play!

    It's great that you've had so many painting projects on the go...I can imagine the hours and hope you are able to give your eyes a bit of a rest as required. I am sure the results will be as lovely as usual, and look forward to having a peek.

    Meanwhile, I also thank you for the views of Budapest. I think it must be a very fascinating place, with its layering of many historic developments.

    xo

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  11. Feast or famine,for the artist , indeed. Also, it seems, more literally, for the people of Budapest. But what a beautiful city it is, despite everything.

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  12. it sounds as though you had a lovely time, so happy for you. congrats also on your work projects. I hope you don't feel too overwhelmed by it all.

    lovely to stop in for a visit.

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  13. I have always wanted to visit Budapest and reading your post I want to do that even more! If I remember correctly the Hungarian Parliament Building has been designed based on the Houses of Parliament in London? Well, it certainly is spectacular. I'll definitely have to go and grow some muscles. Journey is the best way to exercise body and soul.

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  14. We visited Budapest for the first time this summer also.
    Fell in love with the beautiful city with its amazing architecture and friendly people but sensed an underlying sadness remaining from its tragic history.

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