Monday, December 31, 2007

Fresh Figs in Baskets
Once figs were the plebeian fruit. The grow easily, without much water. Even more important, the fruits ripen over a long period. One tree can give fresh fruit over a long period - exactly what makes them so problematic today. You have to send your Thai worker to comb each tree every few days for months.
And you can dry them for the off season. And tie them in rings for desert caravan. (I'm filling space about plebeians again.) Then Haute Cuisine discovered figs.
Anyway, I love them.
Anyway, thanks to Haute Cuisine - or to my talent, this painting was one of the most talked about at my showing at the URJ Convention in San Diego in December.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Morning Light

This is the first of a series of sleepers, the largest, and one of the more introspective.
Once again, I contrasted black and white, with color. Contrasted 2 patterns of two cooler complementary colors, with a large area of one warm, contrasted delicate lines, with bold. Contrasted round geometrics, with razor straight. Contrasted happy sunshine, with lonely melancholia. Contrasted flat symplification and abstraction of the human figure - with one small, expressive, detailed and multidimensional area: the sole of the foot.

I like it.
And was afraid of reactions.
And have waited several weeks till I posted it.
I mean - I'm a JUDAICA artist. Will this surprise my clientèle?

Still working on it.
I grayed out some areas, and made the image more comprehensible and coherent. Never underestimate the POWER of grey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Still Unnamed

I experimented with the pallet knife. I always use a long narrow one, but I found that the wide ones, both big and tiny, gave me the desire effect.
It it done?
I'm debating whether to add some sort of visual arrow, pointing in from the bottom right corner, cutting across the 3 parallel leaves.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, it doesn't have a name yet.

(Why does it need a name? Kinda presumptuous. I guess it's to keep the gallery owners from getting confused. So the price list makes sense.)

Anyway, this is my HUGE Black and White Pomegranates Painting.

And just to proove how much I've been working at it - or to view the way my Devious Design Mind works, I'm posting a progress report.

It ain't done yet.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Black and White and Red All Over
Final Version.
While the colors in this post, are perhaps a bit too blue, they are more accurate than the golden cast made by the halogen lighting in the previous post.
Photoshop for both of them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Power of Black and White
הכח של שחור לבן

I played with opposites. Black and white patterns are by nature, quite colorful. By multiplying textures, inverting positive and negative spaces and playing with the moods that shapes suggest - the artist can suggest color to the brain.

Not content with this challenge, I then played with the contrast between gentle colored patterns and objects, and the starkness of the black and white ceramics. Which is stronger? I had to work hard to balance them.

Then I added another trick question for the viewer's brain. We tend to seek out light. But what is the most brilliant - the dirty white, or the reflective silvers and golds?

Ha! Confused you! Now go find your way in the picture, with the arrows and tangents pointing in all different ways.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pomegranates - Unnamed

I sold this painting - one of my favorites, when still unnamed. I described it as being influenced by the Wiener Werkstätte. So at the risk of sending my very Israeli pomegranates into Exile, I might name it "Vienna Pomegranates".

Painting it (a great learning experience) was tremendous fun. I schlepped the canvas home each evening under my arm (If I was one cm shorter, it wouldn't fit) and painted like a Whirling Dervish until 2 or 3 am.

Unfortunately, my broken camera, and my lack of experience, do not allow a better view of the layers of color, textures and reflections. As I type this, I am kicking myself for not getting it professionally photographed. But as usual, my best works are made under pressure. I finished this beauty the night before my flight to exhibitions in the US, framed it in the morning, and schlepped it on the plane.

Sold, to a private collector US

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And Your Children Shall Return to Their Borders

ושבו בנים לגבולם

The original was painted in goache, and has been printed by giclée.
The painting contains a mixture of significant historical and schematic buildings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tzuf Devash
צו"ף דב"ש

The Tzuf Devash synagogue, belonging to the Moroccan community within the Old City of Jerusalem, survived the Jordanian occupation as a hollow shell. As it is hidded away inside a courtyard, the gem is not well known or visited.

I began the painting, both inspired by the beauty of building itself, the pioneering spirit of its builders, and with an ambition to make the acrylic paint do 3D pyrotechnics. I chose a very rigid symmetrical composition, to counterbalance the finger painting. The plants at the base were added much later, to provide a restful break from the symmetry.

Afula Synagogue
בית הכנסת הגדול - עפולה

The road to Afula plows straight though the Jezrael Valley. Very unusual in this hilly country. Hence, it is called the "Ruler Road" and Afula - "The hole at the end of the ruler".
At the very center of the hole, lies one of the most charming main streets in the country, with a wide avenue of huge palm trees and benches running down the center. So much love was given in Afula's building!
At the head of the avenue, stands the Great Synagogue, Bet Shalom. It was built in 1928, and hasn't lost a bit of it's beauty.
This small painting as one of my first on canvas, and I'm keeping it as a souvenir. I battled with the paint medium, as I had only worked with goache and aquarelle for many years.

The Halutz

Once again, dared to use a human figure.
The pioneer is no longer young - but as the Bible said about Moses, Lo nas lekho "His vigor was unabated". The literal meaning is stronger; "his moisture had not fled" i.e. like the inversion of the English expression, "a dried up old hag".
Anyway - back to my vigorous Halutz. His look is a bit ironic, a bit affectionate, and certainly taking joy in the fruits of his labor. The Land of Israel is blooming. He looks at the cynics and "Post-Zionists" with a smile, like a good natured grandpa, chuckling at the little ones' childish antics.

As usual when I draw men, the pioneer looked a bit like me at first. I get stuck in the self portrait mode. Then I gave him a personality of his own. Under the skin tones, I painted a base coat of gold and bronze. The result is luminous - "bronzed by the sun" and a bit heroic.

Curtain Call

Every so often, I just have to get away from anything didactic. This cabaret singer/dancer/actress is my most recent escapade. I enjoyed her grotesque, yet expressive and feminine posture. And her bittersweet stare.
I used a rather limited palette, but flittered silver, pearl and gold generously. The colors were deliberately muddied, but on the jet black gesso, even mud becomes luminous.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Israeli Story
סיפור ישראלי

I've always loved architecture, and I've always loved history. Like for the classic small child, who always draws face-like houses with two window/eyes and one door, houses embody for me, the souls of their residents. And they have souls of their own as well.

This painting tells the biography of Israeli architecture, during the romantic period of the first Aliyot. It begins with the local Arab vernacular, nouveau Shtetl elegance, and the red tile roof of Provence. The black basalt comes from the Kinneret. The pink stucco from the coast.

Sold, Private Collection, USA

I don't know what I was feeling when I created this character. He's a sort of Jewish Midnight Cowboy. Part Hippie, part "Pushtak" (the 1970's Israeli "greaser") part Pilgrim Seeking Truth, and part clown. For certain, he is infused with the Israeli Wanderlust. Having just barely established roots, he is out hitch hiking, by the palm trees leading to the old terminal at Ben Gurion Airport.
Is he my alter-ego?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

ושבו בנים לגבולם

Zionism and the Land of Israel are of course major themes in my artwork.

As always, I have an interior battle between painting what I, as an artist, am interested in painting, or have something innovative to say - and painting what I feel customers and collectors want to buy.

Often the two pulls, pull in the same direction. Integrity and Income unite. Sometimes they don't. I paint what I think will sell. And I'm usually wrong. If I don't find it interesting, neither do others.

My "Zionist" artwork is often inspired by an idealistic fervor. In todays "post-Zionist" bon ton, it is almost embarrassing. And sometimes... I just wanna paint! And experiment with a brush. And Israel is such a lovely subject for just painting.

Above Painting: Homecoming

Jeremiah portrays Rachel the Matriarch as crying for her children, as they are led to exile. He then comforts her,
“And there is hope for thy future, saith the LORD; And thy children shall return to their own border.”
I painted Rachel׳s Tomb and an ancient olive tree - a symbol of tenacity, as they witness the Ingathering of the Exiles. They are surrounded by new homes and villages growing in the Land of Israel

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I would like to invite anyone close by, to two showings of my artwork in the USA this summer.

Torah and Tradition
Originals and prints, acrylic, goache and giclée

July 1 - 26
JCC on the Palisades
4 E. Clinton Ave
Tenafly NJ

Opening (and opportunity to meet me)
Sunday, July 8, 1 - 3 pm

People of the Book
Giclée prints

June 24 - August 14
JCC of Northern Virginia
8900 Little River Turnpike
Fairfax VA

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I have been painting like a whirlwind since returning from my art shows in America this spring. Did I write "whirlwind"? Well, if breaking my own rules is included in the meaning of that phrase, then I've been working like a tornado.
Rule #1 is start with a good composition. Make several thumbnail sketches, with variations on the theme(and usually use the first, freshest).
My older serious works were created after painstaking, detailed and researched compositions and iconography.
Rule #2: Don't make too detailed plans. Some spontaneity and the unexpected corrections of small mistakes, makes more interesting art.


Pomegranate Carpet - first image
First I threw a few pomegranates down on the canvas. No Pencil sketch. Just Random.
Then I started filling in the blank spaces. With more and more and more pomegranate like shapes. Circles have no direction> The are notoriously troublemakers in compositions. The delicate and not so delicate crowns didn't always help, because I positioned some of them wrong.

NOW THE HARD WORK BEGAN: Making it a coherent and pleasing piece, after such a difficult start!

I knew that I wanted this painting to be rich, tactile, riotous. I wanted to flaunt the rules of genteel decor, just as I flaunted my own old rules. And make Jewish art fun.


For the past two months, I kept planning to move on to other subject matter - perhaps architectural, Israeli history, or even making the bold step to re-include human figures in my professional paintings.But the Pomegranate Games kept calling me back. I've learned so much while at it.With each painting, I set for myself a new goal, or creative restriction, or experiment in technique. The sizes vary greatly. The color palette less - that is, the raw colours, as they come out of the tube.
About paint tubes: who needs a brush all the time? Tubes can sometimes do a brave job, all on their own. So can fingers - but wait a minute - this stuff can be carcinogenic.

The Month of Tishrei - second image
... Experimenting with a new long, narrow and soft watercolor brush. Using it for scroll work like drawing, contrasting heavy solid painting with graceful light lines. Role reversal: fiery summer red retreating into the background, calm gentle green leaves forward. Tension/calm. Tension/calm

Bell and Pomegranate - third image
The largest canvas in this batch.
Again, I used the anti planning strategy. I just threw some stale pomegranate stencils on the canvas. But rotated them. Topsy Turvy. I even rotated the canvas constantly while painting it, and couldn't decide which way it should hang. We had a vote at home. The results were split along gender lines.
I told the framer to put two wires on the back - so whoever purchases it, can turn it around, have two paintings for the price of one.
However - the final result was anything but dizzying. Somehow, with some help from color and transparent glazes. this is the most tranquil painting of the lot.

My Love's Pomegranate
- the newest pomegranate, sixth acrylic in the series
I kept the basic composition simple and banal - to see just how exciting layering and tactile textures and transparencies can be. Standing ground on their own.