Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Out in the City of Haifa

Summertime. Leaves are dark green and grey. The light too cruel and direct, and I rise early to get before everybody else does to the nearby Binyamin Garden, a local green lung slowly turning into a charming spot. The people there, mainly Russian and Arabic speakers, hard working or unemployed, find their way into my paintings without ever noticing it. They go about their happy business with daily contentment. I am a temporary intruder.

These trees make a wonderful shade, may they live long and prosper. The rest of the garden is olives - not big enough yet.
Here is an oil painting I just finished. It's based on photos I took in winter. The color of the path is plain grey in reality.
Plywood 49x65 cm

Below is a small marker sketch of two cats. Following an idea I picked up on the web, I used watercolor paper prepared with gel medium. Strange results. The paint stays on the surface and doesn't sink in, so it can be moved around, like Winsor Newton promised their Pigment Markers would do if I used their own paper.

Another time same place, markers:

The card players, markers

At the end of the journey I go down to the market. This is Haifa, up or down. Down many stairs that lead me to the main street of our busy neighborhood Hadar.
And right before the market I notice these two beauties, so colorful I just have to draw them.

... and then you go down here.

Ah yes the market. Same street, two views.

Lower still. Downtown, Harbor street (Hanamal), on July 14th they had a cheerful French Revolution party.

A favorite spot downtown, not as colorful in reality but nice enough...

Monday, May 29, 2017

Portrait Made Easy

After the third "Yefe Nof" fair is over, I am happy to say that for the first time, I had some success, because I didn't participate this time. Why bother with framing and hanging when you can draw portraits for fun and even get some bucks for it?...
Discovery: people love to sit for a portrait. They love it better if it's a double portrait with their loved one. Too bad there are not so many people in Haifa - I could get rich.
Discovery #2: I'm rather good at it.
I am posting just a couple of pictures here due to privacy issues and the poor quality of the photos I took on the spot. Eyal is an exception because, of course, he is a friend, so he let me scan the image at home.

Except for Eyal I never got to paint less than two people in one painting, so I was really happy that I brought a few larger sheets with me. There were couples, small children and a breastfeeding mom! She said it would be the only way to keep him from bouncing about.

I already knew markers were "my medium" but I was still amazed at how easy it was.
Between "real" sessions we the artists were drawing one another. And lately I have been painting and drawing quite a lot of people, -  cafe sitters or people on the train, or standing in line at the post office, with or without details (sometimes you have to work fast and even then they go away faster). 

One of my friends, Michal, artist at work (drawing me while I draw her):

Yvonne Helmrich is a gifted friend who lives nearby and makes delightful paintings. At work too, here:

Another Yvonne, not much of a likeness, but a nice drawing:

Another artist friend, Sari Doveh. From photos, - a very different approach and to be honest I would really prefer to work from life. It gives you so much more information, such as color and character. Sari has a fascinating face and I made a few more drawings and paintings of her.

And then there's these guys, which I believe started it all.  I have worked over a month because it was from photos and not very good ones, and I know these people too well. ...
Oil 26x36 cm.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Life Underground

On a cold day in January I stayed for hours in the Subway tunnels, changing trains 5 or 6 times and making sketches of the Subway People. I think this time in New York more than ever I have taken a real interest in drawing people, an art I have drifted away from since 2010 or about.
A man in the train, three people seated at a table in a bookstore cafe, people strolling down a busy street, a friend in his living room, a woman sitting alone in the park, a group in the airport waiting for the flight, each with their unique features, attire, air and stance, color, background, not knowing they are subject to scrutiny, or if they become aware, smile broadly or turn away, they all fascinate me now, so different, all part of the Big Apple without discrimination. Or so I would like to believe.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Central Attraction

A man’s voice warning that doors are closing, a woman’s voice cheerfully singing next station names. Ladies and gentlemen we are being held because of. We are being held in New York City subway, but we are still very much in love.
I came to New York, after a long break, in 2006. I keep coming back and it's as if I never left. My first visit was for half a day when I was eight; my longest visit lasted a whole year. I have witnessed all seasons in the city (fall is my favorite, and then came Sandy). I have some friends. It's my home as much as I have any, because home is where the heart is. 
In the park I watch people under the sun rays running to and fro. I want to hold them firmly, tighten their legs to the ground but they fly away too fast, only stopping for a selfie. Any real lovers of the park here? Someone who just wants to linger, absorb it in slow motion? Not today: It’s sunny and warm and the bees have so little to do and so much time. Stop. Reverse that.
I should live here, I think. But I did live here. Why didn’t I stay? I do live here once a year for a month, sometimes more. The man I met today in the park said I looked like a local, like someone who goes there frequently and knows why. I know I belong. Places that you belong to are kind to you. But I believe this place is generous to everybody. It just opens up a bit more to those who wish to explore deeper.

It is a winter day of unbelievable 50 degrees F in January. Snow will come in due time, but not today.

The park in 2006 -- pencil, color pencil

And in 2014 - watercolor

2015 - a few marker drawings

And this is winter 2016/2017

Yes, I have been to more places (in my next blog entry, soon). And behold the people of New York beautiful and bizarre, scruffy and sexy,  found their way onto my paper. Get ready.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

An Orchard Rising

From one show to another, I almost played three games at once (but two is more than enough).
Two months ago, two exhibitions opened in Haifa: my little solo show at Hapina Cafe, titled "The Gateway to Lower Paradise", and the grand-grand-over-anticipated-exciting-event-of-the-year "Bustan Khayat" (Khayat Orchard), in two parts - one  at Haifa City Museum,  and one that showed more of the arty stuff, at Bet Hagefen Gallery.

I didn't take any pictures from Hapina Cafe opening because I was too busy drowning in the sea of people that just kept on coming - but it was a very happy occasion. Literally the whole neighborhood swarmed in.
I managed to hang 30  works, most of them small marker drawings; I was really surprised when the Haifa Museum, in a Facebook post, recommended my exhibition, most of which was indeed about Khayat Orchard.

The opening at Bet Hagefen was something else entirely. 35 artists, a huge crowd numbering hundreds of people, according to some. Eyal Friedlander, a kind of host and one of the curators, was glowing all over. It was his big time. Hopefully something good may come out of all this. Eyal is a wonder, he started working there on his own and later with volunteers and still keeps the place together, deeply involved with it. If the city had any sense, he would have been commissioned there as warden/gardener. Here in a painting by Hila Sali.

The tigers were represented by some paintings and drawings, some shown in previous posts, and this oil 60x90 cm that was completed only two days before the curators came to my studio. It is part of the graffiti series.

My large wooden circle raised some attention, shown by most publications and TV shows who talked about us at all. Below, Pnina Beagetz, a painter friend,  and myself under the image. Photo taken by Efrat Peleg - another gifted artist.

Beautiful places are sometimes man-made and sometimes just places of great natural beauty. Because we lack breathtaking natural vistas within a walking distance, we settle for more humble places. Anyway one sees beauty not through the eyes of the flesh, but with the heart.