3-27 February 2010
The idea of painting in Budapest was really to continue some of themes and techniques I had developed in Istanbul. I remember being very impressed by the parliament buildings when I visited 15 years ago so I booked into a hotel on the banks of the Danube opposite the parliament. I found a room with a balcony just big enough for my easel, paintings and palette, and set up.
The main difference between this view and the view I painted in Istanbul is that the sun was setting behind the mosques in Istanbul so the work became about hazy silhouetted forms and glaring sunlight on water. Here in Budapest the sun set behind me and so the paintings are about looking with the light not against it.
This difference in the direction of the sun was interesting because the brilliant white stone of the parliament building reflected and refracted perfectly the colour of the sun as it travelled across the sky and down to sunset. In a way the parliament buildings were just a vehicle for the depiction of the changing light.
Because of the buildings gothic architecture and the white stone they have many enclaves and recesses in which were trapped not just shadow, but light within shadow. I also found that as the sun moved down behind the hill directly behind me its shadow would travel across the Danube and up the side of the building, layering the paintings with deeper tones and knocking a sense of time into them, almost like the shadow on a sundial.
I don’t want to warble on too much as art is after all a visual thing, I would just like to say I met some warm and helpful people while staying in Budapest, particularly Emi and her family who made me feel so at home and took me to many interesting sites around the city on my return to paint in March. Thanks you also to Tao and András and to all the other dudes.
Andrew Gifford, 2010