Aušra Barzdukaitė-Vaitkūnienė , 2008 06 27 

A plan how to travel in Samogitia drawn by Arūnas

Fate is strange. It foresees time for meetings and separations of people. We passed by with Arūnas in time. When he returned to Kaunas after studies in 1980, I went to study in Vilnius.

When I returned to the native city in 1986, Arūnas used to walk along the same streets in Kaunas or wandered in the entire Lithuania in summer. I only knew about his creative works.

We got acquainted in a strange way, on one day (in summer of 1991) when he came to my home and stated that he lived very near.

When we were married already and when we spoke about motifs in paintings, Arūnas told: “You know, when I walked in the city, a poster announcing about the exhibition of an unknown painter at Kaunas Artists' Home caught my eyes. I thought it was good that young artists arrived in Kaunas and visited the exhibition.

I found a painting with a motif of a blooming chestnut tree. I dreamed of painting blooming chestnut trees for a long time. It was very hard to render it. There were also some paintings about Samogitia and one of them was called “A Trip to Samogitia”. I became curious who painted my motifs and traveled in Samogitia. Most importantly, the blooming chestnut trees were painted not so bad.”

It was my first one-man exhibition in 1987.

I did not dream about my workshop at that time, I painted in my own room. When he visited me that summer day, Arūnas told that he was the chairman of the Painters’ Section of the Lithuanian Artists’ Union and that it was his duty to check how young artists worked.

He added at the end of a short visit that I had to accompany him to the Nemunas, near Marvelė to choose some painting motifs which were obligatory for young artists so that they would not lose their way. He seemed very serious and even stern then.

I was not surprised about it after the Soviet regime and mandatory themes at the Lithuanian Art Institute. I only regretted the fact that some supervision would continue. I believed him naively and prepared for the search for motifs carefully on the following Sunday.

We met in the confluence. We walked along the riversides, in the surroundings of Marvelė. We observed giant grasslands of human size, the play of light and shadows on the sand. I was trusting, I cared only about painting, I could not believe that such a painter could be interested in me personally.

When he did not show up for several weeks, I used to think that all motifs were most probably discussed with me as a young painter.

I was surprised and rejoiced when Arūnas called me by the phone unexpectedly and spoke to me merrily: “I was painting blooming balsams.”

Once when he came to my workshop after a long break, he desponded when he found out that I was going for a holiday at the Plateliai lake for several weeks. He sat and drew a careful plan where I should travel in Samogitia then.

He marked places to be visited, where a confessional was painted, where an interesting cross was present, in which church a wooden clock could be found. He asked me to visit Julytė Gadeikytė in Beržoras and to pick some strange berries in the forest behind her home.

He gave me a small selection of G.Traklys poetry when bidding farewell.

I implemented all indications of Arūnas that summer. I visited towns of Samogitia on foot according to his plan. I gave regards to Julytė – I only did not find the strange berries. I read the poetry of R.Traklys delightedly, and some kind of unease crept into my heart.

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