Art Exhibition in Svidnik, Slovakia

Art Exhibition in Svidnik, Slovakia

Yesterday was the opening party of my art exhibition in Svidnik. While I’ve had paintings exhibited more recently because of winning various competitions, this is the first solo exhibition I’ve held for 3 years.

I included a few of my older works (mostly nudes) but the main focus this year was my new abstract collection.

There was quite a good turn out and I was pleased that my brother and his girlfriend attended. Svidnik is a small town and doesn’t really have a large art community, so it’s nice when people make the effort to go out an turn up.


Mousecapades – Yellow-necked mouse infra red

Another denizen of my attic, the yellow necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis). This little critter is caught on infrared trailcam as he darts to and fro.

While he may be cute, the yellow-necked mouse carries tick borne encephalitis and, worse yet, the Dobrava virus, which is the Eurasian Hanta virus. It has a 12% mortality rate. As the main cause of viral infection is from aerosolized yellow-necked mouse faeces, I’m glad I wear a gas mask to go into my attic. Shame the Beech Marten couldn’t get rid of the lot of them.


Creepy Carpathian Unknown Animal Trailcam

This is in response to a comment by Josh Gross – The Jaguar about game cam use.

This is some strange trail cam footage I got a few months back. The creature is both large and partially transparent. No idea what it is but I guess it could be a wild boar. The photos creeped me out when I found them.
Photos taken in the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Slovakia. There really are some weird and creepy things out in the bush.

Goat photo bomb

Goat photo bomb

One thing I’ve discovered from using a trail cam is that there are periods when nothing shows up, despite the camera being on a clearly marked game trail, or that the camera produces lots of File Errors, black photos or fails to take film footage. Another annoying aspect of using a game camera is getting excited because it shows that it’s taken 103 photos and they in fact turn out to be pictures of cows or goats which some local has been grazing in the vicinity.

Weather also heavily effects the camera. Dawn is one of the best times to capture the various denizens of the bush but now there’s a freezing ground mist which blurs the lens making most of the photos useless. The other day I discovered a layer of ice on both the lens and the IR flash from where the dew had frozen. I wonder how it will fare when real winter and massively sub zero temperatures hit.

Beech Marten infrared conundrum

Beech Marten infrared conundrum

I’m still having major problems getting a full-bodied picture or film of our resident Beech Marten (Stone Marten). When the camera’s there he can see the IR light and thus backs away – he can even see the range of it. When I remove the camera from the attic he’s back to his usual noisy stomping tricks.

Any suggestions?

Hallowe’en and first frost

Hallowe’en and first frost

The days are shorter, the nights are longer and the first frost has arrived.

Yesterday was Hallowe’en and it was an odd day. In the morning, one of the pinned postcards on the cork board in the kitchen fell down and my wife decided to throw it in the bin. I told her it was an old one from my mother when she was on holiday in the former Yugoslavia. My wife pinned it up again. A few minutes later, the pin popped out and the postcard again fell on the floor. Perhaps my deceased mother decided to show her presence for Hallowe’en?

An hour or so later a car pulled up outside. It was an old couple (she was a former resident of the house, from the family from whom we’d bought it) and their middle aged son. They hadn’t seen the house in well over a decade and were surprised by how much we’d changed it. They then told us a bit more of the history of the place, which is always interesting. The house was occupied by the Germans in WW2 and the back garden (and field, hill and forest) were the front line between the Russians and the Germans in both WW1 and WW2. I gave up metal detecting here because of the sheer amount of ordinance buried in the surroundings. The old woman told us about the house before this one – an old wooden cabin with yard, high fence and compound, as was traditional here (only one building remains from that, dating back 150 years). Apparently, years back an American moved to my house and married a local woman. He later ‘disappeared’ and she was always suspected of having murdered him – perfect fodder for Hallowe’en! My region back then would have been utterly remote forested wilderness with only a dirt track leading to it and a handful of wooden compound homesteads. Why an American would have been here I’ve no idea. But synchronicity plays a hand again… Last year, at the Wilderness Gathering, I spoke with an old American man who was also lecturing, and he informed me that his father used to visit my area in the 1920s to go hunting, and used teams of local peasant men still in traditional clothing for ‘grand hunts’. If only i could get in contact with him, perhaps he knew the allegedly murdered American?

The house is haunted by a plethora of ghosts from different periods (as is the neighbour’s house, which is why no one will live there now). Just this morning while talking with another set of aged villagers, my wife’s family visiting for All Saints’ Day, about who was who back when, a large box came tumbling down in the dining room. We just ignore these little signs – we don’t bother them so they don’t bother us.

Last night was cold, dark and spooky. We made a pumpkin, watched a horror film and my younger boy made his own short horror film for the event (we usually tell each other ghost stories). Good fun was had by all. Just wish it wasn’t so cold…