[1]1972
March 27th–VI–72
Clear sky in the morning, good weather for landscape painting—two paintings on cardboard: Pietrosul and Haystacks—Tede is here—I peeled some potatoes for a dish of mashed potatoes, cut some wood—A light rain is falling; the surrounding hills are fading in the mist—It’s wet and chilly—cold.
Pietrosul—continued my attempt at a study—followed the local colours.
The atmosphere induces a “non-pictorial” mood.

Wednesday 28th–VI
Horrible—Nothing—Wind, cold—Pietrosul wiped away.

Thursday 29th–VI
I’ve slept for twelve hours—Wind, rain, fog.
In the shed I’ve been working on Burdock Flowers—good—Sitting on a bench, looking at the clouds—The House with the Black Back—good.
Took a walk towards Pietrosul—a green puddle with hundreds of little frogs—black tadpoles.
Had some bulz and pancakes at Uncle Ion’s.
A good day.[2]

Poiana Mărului. Black and white photograph, 10×15 cm, 1981–1983. Ion Dumitriu Collection

Saturday 1st–VII
A good day—Shed—cardboard
the black house—cardboard
small haystacks—canvas
I have rediscovered the pleasure of painting—the mood for it. I have cut three windrows of hay at Uncle Ion’s. Lying on the fallen hay, I am closely watching the elegant motion of the scythe—Hardy dark red cherries, two baskets—had some milk on the meadow with Bojor’s son, Costel—and doughnuts—Odobești wine—Costel cried over the killed partridge.[3]

Saturday 15th–VII
On Pietrosu Hill. Field of Saint John’s Wort.
Bad luck—Gruimar—Haystacks—Sleeping under the four-poster bed little Gabi made of hazelnut branches—Lunch.
In the evening—on the ridge of the hill—the clouds—the sky.[4]

Brow of Breezes. Oil on canvas, 93×72 cm, 1971. Ion Dumitriu Collection

1973
Saw Poiana again
Friday 29th–VI
The blazing heat of the hay field, smothered in the scent of the wild flowers
– the little rabbit in the shirt pocket
– the baby-like whimpers – the little frogs
– jelly-like spheres (aquariums) in which the tadpoles are moving
Blueberries and sugar—Saint Peter’s Day

Saturday 30th–VI–73
The Black House—study
To know when to bring something to an end—Horia
To forget everything and to start afresh with each work—A “subject” known only too well, and still how novel it appears to be, how different, I’ve never “seen” it the way I’m seeing it today—I would like to make a few more studies—It has started to rain.
A double rainbow
An immaterial arc of colour. A semicircle leaning on the hills, perfection of line and colour.
A rainbow above my soul.

Hill. Oil on canvas, 50×60 cm, 1973. Ion Dumitriu Collection

Monday 2nd–VII–73
Ana Ceapă Shed—very good—study
Desire to render the truth, and not the “beauty” of a subject—well supported chromatically.
Apple tree—study of a tree—it’s got out of control.[5]

1981
31 July
The morning fire—the fir wood is crackling in the stove—Radu is getting up.
– Sergiu—milk, cigarettes, biscuits, cocoa
– Mia—curdled cheese
I am resuming the Sunday motif—in a different format—the roundish tree in the Padina.
To work from sunrise ‘til sunset, as any peasant in Poiana Mărului does.
The pleasure of working, maintained for as long as possible.
Time to cease existing; only painting to exist.
To marvel every day at the sky, the grass, the trees, the sounds (the wind, the cowbells, the crickets, the skylarks, the rain falling down on the shingles); and, especially, at the colours of the fields of rye, wheat, potatoes; and above all, at the hay.
The space between the old houses (and sheds) instructs so as to grasp the relationship between space and usefulness (human–animal).
The stream, down in the woods, its water clear and cold.
The undulation of the fields, of the blades of grass, of the people hay-making (sharpening their scythes)…[6]

Poiana Mărului. ORWO Chrom UT Slide 18–35 mm, 1981. Ion Dumitriu Collection

1986
31 July
Poiana Mărului
Two trips—luggage
Exhausting day. On the first trip I carried my rucksack on my back, the paintings and the easel box in my hands—five stops on Bărdașului ridge—the trip uphill, like that of Sisyphus—once up there, there is the reward.
We rest for a few hours, then make the journey down the mountain and then uphill again, with less luggage this time.
A pleasant surprise: a clean room had been prepared for us. I lie down on the bed, Radu on the wooden bench, in Țuțu’s sleeping bag.

4 August
In the morning, a painting depicting the wall of the shed to which wooden grids are attached.
I have a Nescafe and smoke a lot, but only in my room with the door open, lying in my bed, through the door frame—the grass, a vast space, a downward vacuum, a sensation of flying far, far away, to the distant mountains; the wind sends waves over the grass; down in the plateau, haystacks are made; the peasants’ voices, clear.
Radu has done his share of work for the day, two drawings: a chair and a still life, and has quickly gone off to help Găbiță with the hay.
Under a blazing sun—Șerbănucă’ House, which I shall also give him as a gift, later in the evening—two dry bunches hung on the wooden (gate) shed.

7 August
The hay tedder  is creating problems for Radu, who is eager to finish his drawing so that he may go off rambling with George on Pietrosul mountain.
– I am working on some beam ends.
– The wind in the grass, how it undulates. The watch stopped on day one. I haven’t wound it since. All my time has been given to painting.
– A short break, a walk through the grass in the courtyard, and then back in the room: the smell of turpentine; paintings on the walls, on the wardrobe, on the bed panel – a genuine studio.
– Măruța has given me a sheaf of spearmint; I broke the leaves into small pieces and spread them out on a sheet of paper in my room – in the wintertime, in my studio…
– Taking a smoking break… Could painting be a drug?
– I am painting relentlessly, the same way I did yesterday, evening is setting in and I have completed… Three beam ends!
– Unstoppable, painted all night the fourth beam end, by the light of a 40W bulb.
– I had a new idea about how to continue the series.

8 August
Woken by thunder and lightning, torrential rain; shortly afterwards, the sky cleared and it got warm; I put on shorts.
– The Chair in the Grass (the penultimate canvas).
– Very tired and feeling a pain on the left side of my back—one more canvas to complete.
Seven days, 19 works!
– Lying on my back on the wooden bench, I am watching the ceiling with hungry eyes: three solid beams, overlapped by planks of various widths—the patina, the cracks, the knots; a sheen that’s golden in the light, matte-sienna in the shade. It’s the most beautiful “object” in the room. I want to take it to Bucharest with me when I leave.
Landscape with orange chair.
Chair in the grass.
– Feeling feverish and exhausted in the evening.
– Washed my brushes. I feel so relieved! Empty too.
– At night small moths are knocking into the sheet of drawing paper that’s hanging from the electrical cable. There are quite a lot of them. They become quiet after they hit the lightbulb and burn their wings.[7]

1988
17 January
“The idea of looking at the absent thing”

29 January
She has no
luck in January
running on the threshing floor
– The shadow cast by living creatures on grass and on the walls—in contrast—a real object in the foreground: a chair, clothes, tools, a mirror, etc.[8]

1991
9 July
Poiana Mărului:
Possible inventory of sounds, tastes and scents, the sense of touch and everything that “can be seen.”[9]

Poiana Mărului. ORWO Chrom UT Slide 18–35 mm, 1981. Ion Dumitriu Collection

Ion Dumitriu (1943, Galați–1998, Bucharest) was an active representative of the Romanian neo-avant-garde art. His work is intimately connected with the natural, as well as the visual and spiritual landscape he encountered at Poiana Mărului, a village located a few kilometers away from Zărnești town. Ion Dumitriu was first introduced to the special ambience of the place by artist Horia Bernea. Since 1971, he began to regularly attend the meetings of the Poiana Mărului, alongside Teodor Rusu, Șerban Epure and Letiția Bucur, Mircea Milcovici, Teodor Moraru, being part of what is known as School of Poiana Mărului, and came back every year, until 1991. His pictorial approach to the image is analytical, focusing on the detail and fragment cut out of reality and resumed obsessively over several years, in individual cycles and series. His painting is underpinned by a different conceptualisation of the pictorial motif (beam ends, the peasant house, Pietrosul Ridge, the shed, the haystack) and of its relationship with the rural space. In his work, the material and spiritual order of the traditional village engender self-discipline and the reduction of the motif, which is restated in the form of an archetype. His painting needs to be read in direct relationship with his recourse to black and white or colour photography, playing not only the role of witness, but also that of forma mentis, snapshots of the dialogue between an artist and a living place.