Architectural inspiration for painting

I have always been impressed with old building, first as a historian and then as an artist. I have painted several cityscapes, streets, corners and architectural details, mostly from my home region of Transylvania, but also elements seen during trips abroad.
See my previous posts on works inspired by the cities of Transylvania HERE
I would like to share today a small series of paintings (acrylic on cardboard) I have created in 2006 after a trip to Italy, in the area around Ravenna. One of the houses, small and simple though very artistic, has caught my fancy. Here is the model and the results. none of these paintings is in my studio, as customers seem to have liked them as well.

Italian house, photo by Ana-Maria Gruia, 2006

Original painting, acrylic on cardboard, by Ana-Maria Gruia

Original painting, acrylic on cardboard, by Ana-Maria Gruia


Street front in an imaginary green city

I have just renewed on Etsy a large-size linocut I made a couple of years ago, entitled "Street front in an imaginary green city". This large-size linocut work is part of a series imagining street fronts through the combination of my favored independent lino plates depicting architectural elements. The separate houses, towers, and synagogue are inspired by actual places in east-central Europe, from the cities of Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, and Dej (Transylvania, Romania) but also Torun (Poland). The unifying elements are color - in this case the green paper, and graphic interventions in silver for the contours.
I find it difficult to work directly on large formats, so my larger works are created through combinations (different linocut plates, like in this case, or collage, like in several others works you can see on my website www.anamariagruia.ro).
It is an appealing sofa-size artwork that will bring color and joy.
Dimensions: 26 x 68.5 cm (10.2 x 26.9 inches).

Street front in an imaginary green city, greenery 2017, emerald green, large-size linocut, architecture, original artwork by Goddess Gruia

Detail of linocut by Ana-Maria Gruia

Detail of linocut by Ana-Maria Gruia
Do not miss the sales coupon available on my shop, the Goddess Gruia on Etsy until the end of March 2017. 20% off on all prices using the code SPRING.
This season opportunity is about to expire - just 3 more days! 

Goddess Gruia is the patron of modesty, asymmetry, self-love and self-irony, peace, women museographers, hypochondriacs, slave reenactors, women artists, fat ballerinas, small business owners and many others! Buy these pieces of original art that are contact relics (have been touched by the goddess) and you will immediately feel the benefices!
Read the monograph here: https://issuu.com/anamariagruia/docs/gg_carte_tot_mic/3?e=3801591/39284262


LAURUS NOBILIS apothecary uses

Bay laurel is an evergreen plant from the Mediterranean area and it has a long history among the classical civilizations. For the Greeks and the Romans it was mostly an ornamental plant used in gardens, for garlands and offered to the winners in sports or poetic competitions but also to heroic soldiers. The laurel wreath became a symbol of victory.

Both its leaves and berries were used for medicinal purposes as they contain an essential oil with a high concentration of eucalyptol. The plant has narcotic and carminative properties, calming abdominal pain and favoring the evacuation of intestinal gas. In apothecary works from Transylvania bay laurel was also recommended as a stimulant.

Ripe laurel berries
Dried laurel berries
The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca includes five jars for pharmaceutical products obtained from the leaves and especially the berries of bay laurel. Three of the items are included in he monthly FOCUS display for April 2017, presenting the history of various apothecary ingredients.  One glass jar with the painted signature “Pulv. (alchemical symbol) Bacc. Lauri” (laurel berry powder) was used during the 19th century in the Molnar pharmacy from Oradea and there are also two jars made of wood. The one with the signature “Pul. Lauri a Bacc” (laurel berry powder) dates from the 18th century and was acquired through an older donation, while the one marked “Fruct Lauri” (bay laurel fruits) inside a cartouche with decorative ribbon and has been used in the Unicorn Pharmacy in Cluj.
19th-century glass jar for laurel berry powder, using the alchemical symbol for powder.
19th-cenury wooden apothecary jar with decorated cartouche
18th-century wooden apothecary jar inscribed Pulv. Lauri a Bacc (bay laurel berry powder)


New "Flowers" paintings by Marin Gruia

I have already presented my father, Marin Gruia, and his classical-looking contemporary paintings. For a presentation of his artistic activity, see my previous post HERE. For a separate series of flowers see this post HERE. For his watercolors, see HERE. For some of his winter landscapes from Transylvania, see HERE.
Now I would like to show you his latest work, a large-format square canvas (70 x 70 cm, 27.5 x 27.5 inches) depicting a rich flower bouquet in a vase. The colors are very sensitive, rendered in an impressionist manner in tones of white, red, pink and light green. The technique is his favorite, aka oil on canvas.

Flowers by Marin Gruia
Here is another, older painting on the same topic, just to get an idea of the style and how he would like them framed for the best effect. This artwork is still oil on canvas.
Flowers, oil on canvas, framed, by Marin Gruia
Two of his flowers miniatures (still oil on canvas, but glued on cardboard for safer shipping, size ca.
12 x 15 cm (4.7 x 5.9 inches), unframed) are also available in my Etsy shop, the Goddess Gruia, benefiting from a 20% reduction with coupon code SPRING active until the very end of the last of March 2017. You can find them HERE in "Dad's paintings" section.

Romanian artist Marin Gruia


Goddess Gruia painting Transylvania

Goddess Gruia, aka painter Ana-Maria Gruia on Etsy, is inspired by the cities of  Transylvania, especially by their details of medieval architecture. Using only natural colors and hearth-tones, she depicts such cityscapes using various techniques: linocut, collage (linocut, acrylic on canvas), mixed techniques (gold leaf, pencil). See more on her website - www.anamariagruia.ro, such as the 2010 exhibition "Medieval Cluj".
For the works available on her Etsy Shop, the Goddess Gruia, see them below, inspired by anonymous corners (such as the rooftops scene) and certain cities such as Cluj, Sibiu, Brasov and the Saxon fortified church in Calnic. These original artworks promote the heritage of the historical province of Transylvania and its aesthetic beauties.

Medieval scene from Transylvania, fortified church in Calnic, Virgin with child and St. Catherine of Alexandria, original collage, linocut

The small town of Calnic is built around a Saxon fortified church, dominated by a central keep. This latter elements and part of the curtain wall is depicted as background for an imaginary religious scenes with Mary and Christ child and St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Acrylic painting "Ode to Cluj", unique work of art, green and orange, ready to hang collage, Goddess Gruia, Transylvania, Romania

This original work is inspired by my home town, Cluj-Napoca, in the heart of Transylvania. The main square of the city is dominated by the Gothic church dedicated to St. Michael and I have chosen this landmark as focus of my miniature painting. 

Linocut work depicting the old apothecary shop in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, "The Hintz House" - original linocut print, historical monument

The Hintz House is one of the landmarks of the city of Cluj-Napoca, currently the History of Pharmacy Museum where I work and the site of the late medieval pharmacy. During the twentieth century it was owned by the Hintz family, hence the name of the monument- The Hintz House.

Tiny acrylic painting, The Guild House in Brasov, Transylvania, miniature art, small format contemporary painting, original from Romania

This small painting depicts one of the preserved medieval street corners of Brasov/Kronstadt, one of the leading Saxon cities in southern Transylvania, Romania. The building in question is the medieval Guild House of the city, a representative building of the trade that made the inhabitants rich. Brasov was an important mediator in the commerce between Transylvania, on the one hand and Walachia and the Ottoman Empire on the other.

Original acrylic painting, contemporary miniature, gold leaf, "Golden network" medieval architecture from Transylvania

The imagine scene is placed in the medieval town on Sibiu/Hermanstadt, in Transylvania, easily recognizable through the eye-shaped opening at roof level and the unmistakable shape of the medieval tower separating the large and small town squares.


Small acrylic painting, Roofs in Transylvania, miniature art, small format contemporary painting, original from Romania, unique original art



Special leather earrings on Etsy

I have continued another of my favorite projects, designing and crafting leather earrings. Having leather and tools around is a prerequisite, but then only imagination and a bit of endurance is needed! I have also discovered the things I like about such pieces of handmade jewelry: the pairs should be slightly (or even outright!) asymmetrical, less boring and framing the face. Another nice effect is rendered by the perforations that allow for a play of light and shadow, nicely visible against the skin. Another type of 3D effect is created by the combination of leather textures, elasticity and cutting, such as in the octopus earrings illustrated here last.
All of these items, available in multiple color variations, can be acquired on Etsy in my shop the Transylvanian Trove. See all the types of available earrings HERE.

Monstera leaf leather earrings, tropical leaf earrings, natural leather, handmade jewelry, floral pattern, designed in Transylvania, Romania

Feather earrings made of natural leather, metal silver earrings, entirely handmade in Transylvania, Romania, light jewelry, original design


Visiting hours and discounts at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj

Spring has arrived in Cluj-Napoca, thus the flow of visitors shall increase at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca. We shall remind you that we welcome English-speakers as well, with free printed collection presentations, bilingual explanations in the showcases and several discounts: holders of ISIC student cards enjoy free entrance, while seniors visit the museum for free every Thursday, when the hours are from 12 to 18. All other days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and the last Saturday of each month) visiting hours are from 10 to 16 - last entrance half an hour before closing time. Other students with valid cards and seniors on other days except Thursday enjoy reduced tickets - just 3 lei each. Full price tickets are 6 lei while the photo tax is 25 lei.
Visit the History of Pharmacy Collection in the very centre of Cluj, ion Unirii Square no. 28.

Cat brooches

The Transylvanian Trove on Etsy features two items targeted for cat lovers, more specifically to those who like black cats. Two of the original handmade brooches in the shop are painted with thematic depictions - one features a cluster of black cats under a cat-shaped moon, while the other shows a cat's hear eating a fish bone. Both are vintage accessories created in Transylvania, Romania, made of metal, with safety pins on the back. They are easy to wear and shall certainly attract everyone's eye!
See all the brooches in the shop HERE.

Cat brooch, hand painted metal dress accessory, vintage brooch, moon cat, black and white, original design, Romania, safety pin on the back

Cat brooch, cat and fish bone, original handmade brooch, black cat, vintage brooch, metal accessories, designed in Transylvania, Romania


New handmade shaman necklaces

I have continued the shaman jewelry project discussed here before twice, HERE and HERE. The new necklaces continue the idea of handmade assemblages, combining items of various colors, materials, and textures, but there is a new freedom in combining them. They include a wide array of elements, made of bone, coral, semi-precious stones, glass, glazed pottery, raku, natural leather, bronze, silver, and shells.
I also found new ways of hanging them on the leather cord that closes in a toggle system. All items are available on my online store - Atelierul de istorie.

Shaman necklace - http://atelieruldeistorie.ro/colier-shaman/

Shaman necklace - http://atelieruldeistorie.ro/colier-shaman/

Shaman necklace - http://atelieruldeistorie.ro/colier-shaman/

Shaman necklace - http://atelieruldeistorie.ro/colier-shaman/

Shaman necklace - http://atelieruldeistorie.ro/colier-shaman/


Smiling tortoises - jewelry from the Transylvanian Trove

A new jewelry set - consisting of earrings and pendant/medallion on textile thread - is now available on Etsy from the Transylvanian Trove. The handmade pieces of jewelry are fun to wear, depicting smiling tortoises. Hand painted polymer clay pendant and dangle and drop earrings in black and green. Each round item has the diameter of 2.5 cm (1 inch).
These are unique, vintage items designed and made in Transylvania, Romania.

Tortoise pendant, smiling tortoise fun medallion, vintage jewelry from Transylvania, handmade jewelry, painted polymer clay, original design

Animal earrings, tortoise earrings, handmade jewelry, polymer clay, smiling tortoise, vintage earrings, design from Transylvania, Romania



Ancient Roman gardens and agricultural tools

I spoke before of the Labyrinth through time antique reenactment project planned for 2017 at Camp Virtus near Cluj-Napoca. Though a bit delayed by the Romanian authorities who take their time actually signing the contract and delivering the funds, the first research activities are fully under way. The members of the Virtus Antiqua NGO are doing their homework by documenting several types of ancient artifacts and features, preparing for the reenactment activities with volunteers.
The first topics are the Roman garden and Roman agricultural tools - read about them in Romanian on the project's website HERE and HERE and see the Pinterest albums on these topics:
Stay tuned for more news on the project!
Pinterest album Roman tools


Imaginary street front from Cluj, Transylvania - linocut project

This large-size linocut work is part of a series imagining street fronts through the combination of my favored independent lino plates depicting architectural elements of my home town Cluj-Napoca (Transylvania, Romania): the Hintz House (The History of Pharmacy Collection, where I work as museographer), the Silversmith's House, the Dominican Church (in Museum Square), and the Tailors' Bastion, all in the center of the city. The separate plates are imprinted on black paper and the contours of the buildings are subsequently stressed in silver.
This is a unique, original work, signed and dated by the author, Ana-Maria Gruia. It is available online in my Goddess Gruia Etsy shop HERE. A 20% discount is also available until the end of March 2017, using the coupon code SPRING.
Due to the work's size, the best way to send it is in a cardboard tube, and you will be able to frame it according to your taste and budget :) As all graphic works, it is best framed in a simple, square section frame, but it can also be turned into a sofa-size painting by adding a generous passepartout and a flamboyant golden or silver frame.
Dimensions: 24 x 67.5 cm (9.4 x 26.5 inches)

Detail with the Silversmith's House from Cluj-Napoca, linocut by Ana-Maria Gruia

Detail with the Dominican Church in Cluj-Napoca, linocut by Ana-Maria Gruia

Detail of the Hintz House in Cluj-Napoca, linocut by Ana-Maria Gruia


Price cuts for handmade items inspired by ancient history

New category of reduced items

Atelierul de istorie, my online shop of handmade items inspired by the ancient civilizations (mainly Roman and Dacian) has just launched a new section, dedicated to reduced items. It reunites stock liquidation items and others that shall no longer be produced for various reasons. The first consist of an average-size puzzle, rather difficult (for adults), the image of which renders a gladiator helmet against an ivy background, namely the typical  helmet of a Thracian. The new price for this original puzzle is 15 Romanian lei, i.e. around 4$.

Gladiator puzzle
The second reduced item consists of a lot of handmade necklaces with exotic elements such as semi-precious stones, amber, fossils and other such details. Each necklace is unique and costs now 20 lei, ca. 5 $.
Exotic jewelry
 Though the website is exclusively in Romanian, we communicate in English as well and ship orders abroad, payed through PayPal. Feel free to write us at contact[@]atelieruldeistorie.ro.


Painting inspired by the fortified church in Calnic, Transylvania

Another original artwork has been added o my online Etsy Shop - the Goddess Gruia. It is a another average-size mixed technique work (linocut, collage, acrylic on canvas), this time inspired by one of my favorite historical monuments in Transylvania, the fortified church in Calnic. Read more about the site HERE.
This original painting is inspired by a historical landmark that I like in my home region of Transylvania: the fortified medieval Saxon church in Calnic, Alba County. There is a central keep, depicted here in the background, surrounded by a courtain wall, and I have added out of my imagination but also inspired by medieval altar paintings, a vision of the Virgin with Child and Saint Catherine of Alexandria with her iconographic attribute, the wheel.
Dimensions: 20 x 20 cm, 2 cm in thickness
Technique: collage, linocut, acrylic on canvas
Unframed but ready to hang, with painted edges and provided with a saw tooth hanger (allowing perfect balance and balance corrections if needed) and canvas stretchers already in place, on the back (if, due to display or storage conditions the canvas should need stretching in the future, the pegs are just pushed in a bit). 

Medieval scene from Transylvania, fortified church in Calnic, Virgin with child and St. Catherine of Alexandria, original collage, linocut

Detail of the above - original painting by Ana-Maria Gruia
Detail of the signature Ana-Maria Gruia 2015


IZI travel tours for the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj

The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, Romania, shall soon join the IZI travel free audio tours application. Now part of a growing community of cultural and tourist sites, the small museum, part of the National History Museum of Transylvania, shall soon provide for its visitors free explanations, in both Romanian and English, about the building, the old pharmacy, the medical equipment and several of its most significant exhibits on display. Stay tuned for when we go public!

About the museum and audio tours under construction for the History of Pharmacy Collection

Some of the exhibits to be included in the above-mentioned tours