Eli Halpin ~ BLOG

Gold Water Colors

On a recent business trip/dream vacation to Austria and Hungary I shopped for paint brushes. I was there to see Gustav Klimt paintings and soak in thermal baths.

One of my favorite things to do when I visit a new city is to drop into the local art supply store. When Michael suggested this a few years ago I thought, how boring!! Why would I want to see the same things I do at home while I'm away trying to see new things? But as usual, he was super right. It was a great idea because I ALWAYS find a new art supply that I have never seen before. And ever since then its been one of my favorite things to do. 
I had to take my shoes off a lot.... so much walking!
I'm not completely sure what these paints are. The staff at the art supply store did not speak English and attempted to explain that it is possible it might be gold water colors. At least that is what I understood. The pretty flakes appear to be gold and black mystery chips. These should fit right in back home at the painting studio. 
Gustav Klimt is the artist who painted "The Kiss", that painting that is on so many coffee mugs, calendars and nightlights sold all over the world. I saw "The Kiss" at the Belvedere Palace although no photos were allowed. They had a fake one titled "Selfie Station" for us to use. Thanks!
 Here's the Secession building that I just accidentally stumbled upon while walking down the street. I did not do a ton of planning before I left the country. I figured the trip would have to just unravel naturally because I was too busy painting right up until I left. Plus I had in iphone this time. A total game changer for international adventure!
The Secession Museum was for sure one of the biggest highlights of this trip. The Secession is a group of artists, a movement and a building all rolled into one. The group, the idea and the building all formed at the same time in 1897 lead by Gustav Klimt as the founder and president.

There was a jaw dropping mural inside of the pretty building.

The goals of the Secession artists were to (according to Wikipedia) "explore the possibilities of art outside the confines of academic tradition. They hoped to create a new style that owed nothing to historical influence." (Got it. Basically to make badass paintings that didn't look like the same ol' naked white people pieces you see over and over again in cathedrals and museums. A support group and a belief system that artists can and are encouraged to feel safe not making the same stuff over and over again!) Not that Klimt couldn't do that technical stuff. His painting skills were as good or better than the best of them when it came to painting traditional European looking figurative work. He actually became famous for that stuff first I think,, then maybe he got sick of it and went nuts with all his color and circles and gold leaf. And people were like WOAH even more. This is what was inside the building painted directly onto the wall in 1902, a mural celebrating a song by his buddy the composer Beethoven.

This gorilla's eyes appeared to by made of real pearls or maybe abalone shells. It was 7 feet tall.

 No photos allowed on this Beethoven mural so I had to snatch these photos off klimt.com.

These photos are just segments of the mural. The whole thing wrapped around a few walls and was 112 ft wide. Yah.. 
I bought these super special oil sticks and water color pencils in the gift shop of the Secession Museum. 

the pencil box reads: "To every age its art. To every art its freedom."                                                        ...the same quote is on the front of the building!
I was able to visit 7 other big museums so I managed to see many many more Klimt paintings, some of which were much smaller or bigger than I had imagined them to be. 
"Water Serpents I" was only 8 inches wide! So tiny!
The Leopold Museum did allow us take photos with Klimt's "Death and Life". I really appreciated that.

We saw so many more Klimt pieces and a ton of other great artists. We almost broke our feet walking so much in between bicycles, subways and very cute trolleys.
So much gold everywhere!
Another mission was to see some of Hundertwasser's buildings. Check!

We snacked, coffeed, gelatoed, chocolated and ate so many delicious traditional meals. I ordered beer by just asking for beer. There was no choice of what kind of beer, just beer. And it was delicious! 
Every time I have gone to Europe in the past I have backpacked for weeks or months with barely any money. This means no restaurants and eating your groceries on the park bench with your feet in a fountain. Backpacking and sleeping in Hostels is fun but you spend a lot of time looking in windows of stores and restaurants drooling instead of walking inside and enjoying. I vowed the next time I went back to Europe I would use a proper suit case, have an actual reservation at nice place to stay (thanks Air BnB!) and I would bring enough money to eat in restaurants and shop in stores, even if that meant only staying one week. It took me a dozen years to accomplish this life long wish and I felt so LUCKY the whole time this trip. We were FED!! The food Gods were feeding us, it was beautiful. Now my pants don't fit me.

  The waiter who brought us this goulash, dumplings and sausage with potatoes and saurkraut was wearing lederhosen.
At first we had no idea what we were ordering because we don't speak much German. But we eventually got the hang of it. Apfelstrudel I understand you.

Chocolate is very serious here!
The last night in Vienna a woman that collects my paintings contacted me, it turns out she and her husband live in Vienna and they wanted to take us out for dinner!!!!!! It was Croatian Tapas at a beautiful restaurant next to the Spanish Riding School. It was so good to see some familiar faces and to laugh for hours. A very special evening for sure with many courses of every kind of seafood and cocktail. Yum!! Thank you Kerry!
We also found this very strange and wonderful amusement park with a ferris wheel that had little barns we stood inside of. 
After Vienna we were off to Budapest. Our train tickets were cancelled when the trains could not arrive at the stations so we took the bus. The Syrian refugees that sadly lost their homes and were trying to get through Hungary were being stopped at the Budapest train station and not let through. On our way out of town we saw 1000s of these people walking and sleeping on the side of the road to get to Austria and Germany since the train wouldn't take them!!! So sad!! 
This banner was hanging near the bus station in Vienna. 
Budapest was so over the top pretty, the whole city looked like one big castle. We were there for the cabbage rolls and thermal bath houses. Hot springs rich in minerals are pumped into this:

There were many rooms with lots of mineral baths, saunas, steam rooms and cold dip baths.
I had to take these photos from travelguidehungary.com because I was so out of it after our soak that I did not take my own photos. Same place though. Heaven!
We ended our trip with some hot Hungarian food then spent what felt like the next few days traveling home. My new future goal: lay flat airplane seat beds. They are a thing that exists. Anyone want to trade airline miles for paintings?

My cute Hungarian Boyfriend-Husband eating his stuffed cabbage and goulash. I ate delicious fluffy meat filled pancake crepe thingies. So good!!!

Paprika and fur are a big deal here.

Dohany Street Synagogue Selfie.
The gelato was served as flower sculptures and the waters were tiny outside St. Stephan's Cathedral. 
Once back in Austin I slept for 20 hours straight. The end.

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