Saturday, April 28, 2018

No Fool on The Hill

New watercolor,  a back yard that no longer exists 32x51

The world is busy with its foolish business, but since my return from New York, six months ago, I no longer turn on the radio or read the papers. This leaves me with a great many gaps in my knowledge and a whole new world of firsthand experiences, untainted by the rage and regrets of the bigger scene.
I am watching winter turn into spring  in my homeland doing my own. For days I am indoors and suddenly the urge or necessity overcome me and I am amazed to see yet another season in the flow. I was preparing, sketching and so on with one major project, then a few smaller works, but in winter I tend to hibernate more - days are short - so I didn't really get much work done.

Three versions (markers, markes, & below - oil 60x40 cm) for "The Fool on the Hill"

Some New York scenes in watercolor or markers - all done after I returned home:

Some Tel Aviv (marker) scenes:

This fascinates me recently, what you can do with a sharp tool scratching oil-painted surface. The round panels I found on the street, where I always find things, pick them up and then spend years wondering why the house is crammed with things until - suddenly - the idea comes from nowhere. There is a time (and place) for everything. It is a small series of engraving on painted panel, all between 38-40 . Two of them below.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Time of the Season

Budapest - Asian restaurant

Summer lingered on hot and humid and I was still in Israel. After my previous last-minute trip to New York, I thought I will be traveling again this summer, but there were various setbacks, and on top of this it was the most horrid summer in history, I shit you not. 


But at the end of August I did hit the road. And what a glorious road this time, stretching between three continents and checking out many new destinations, starting in East Europe - Hungary and Serbia - and ending in the fantastic Grand Canyon and a village in Pennsylvania.
I took gear for all seasons almost. In Europe summer was still on when I left late mid-Sept, and here in New York (where I am writing this) winter sends a cold and wet hello every now and then. It is time to go back, soon in a few days, to one of the world's most weather-friendly places (though its people are used  to complain about the climate, let me assure you, they have nothing to complain about).
In Budapest I have been visiting my good friend the artist Josef Ralt, a remarkably skillful painter who likes to sit at cafe's and draw the people with his pen and watercolor. He left Israel recently to move there and has already formed a new circle of friends, similar to the one he had in Tel Aviv.


No need to explain

I went to Pennsylvania following an invitation of yet another artist friend, Shirley Kanyon, whose words (here in her Hebrew blog) are almost as enchanting as her lyrical images. I stayed for a week after a week of Grand Canyon solo adventure, and it was quite different there in a countryside village. I felt like in an art residency, having deep discussions with Shirley about art, painting, structure and subject matter. I exerted myself and tried to learn new methods of adding line and color to form. 

Home at Shirley's

Botanical garden

And this is New York.

A man I met in the park wanted his portrait in markers, and then his daughter's, from a photo. It was a great experience to actually talk to someone who was really interested in what I was doing. Real contact is rare. This is a call to my fellow brethren to please make conversation with an artist at work, as long as the work seems finished enough you wouldn't be intruding. We love your comments when they are genuine and coming from the heart. Artmaking is a solitary business, done in private and not performed before a crowd; and we may miss that human connection sometimes. 

As the leaves are falling, done by now with their spectacular multimedia show, so shall I wrap myself to be back to my old hometown and see what's new. I know I have been missing a few.

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.