Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Under Glass

Recently I have been framing my own artwork, and following advice from someone I bought the wood from, I decided to cut my own glass - which would save me money in the long run. I had in mind about 40 small to medium frames.
Cutting glass works like magic once you get the right tools. It is incredibly easy and I have a small obsession with the whole issue now.
You probably haven't heard, :) but I sold a painting earlier this year in an exhibition in Gate 3 - this painting:

It's oil on acrylic glass 45x110 cm. I made 3 in the series, this is the second of 3 panorama paintings of my back yard.
This one is the first (and favorite).

Most people liked it because of the transparency, I am sure. A lot of people came to tell me they liked it; eventually when someone bought it I wasn't there, and they just called me from the gallery to let me know.
I too like transparent, and the new glass madness is overwhelming. First of all, the feeling of having conquered a certain fear; the sound of the cutter scratching; the fragile, subtle and yet cruel properties, the weight and feel of the material; and I can tell glass likes me, because I keep finding it everywhere now. Sometimes it is too thick to frame with and then I use it as paperweight, or to cut paper on. (This is my first cut glass - a crooked shot, but a straight piece)

Last week I took a break from framing and went to the Khayat Orchard to unwind and sketch a little. A friend who went with me made a wonderful watercolor I wish I had taken a photo of. And I made these three marker drawings.
 And then went home and framed them one by one.


After the curator for the Cafe Hapina exhibition picked the works, I felt free to resume my work in oil, which I have been neglecting for a while in favor of framing. Lately I have been experimenting a bit, taking for instance my marker drawings as basis for larger works in oil, sometimes using 3-4 drawings for one oil painting.
This is the first experiment, oil on wood 21x88 cm. I love these unusual proportions, just like the acrylic glass earlier. I just found the wood and it gave me an idea.

You'll get to see my frames when I report from the exhibition in a month or so.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

What Does Your Garden Grow

Our Secret Garden is coming to the center of attention in September, when two exhibitions (at least) will open in the city - one in the Haifa City Museum and another one in Bet Hageffen Gallery, showing the work of volunteers in the Orchard, plus some artwork created through the decades.
And all the while mysterious things continue to happen around the Khayat place. Tigers have been spotted again, and graffiti of tigers appeared in the pools area. 

But since it was drawn with charcoal, it is already starting to fade. 

The tigers in this image came from this painting:

oil on plywood, 64x48 cm

I worked on it for almost a year, give or take, and with a few months break in the middle (visiting Europe and USA in 2015). But the best works are not the ones I work at the most. Sometimes it's just a small sketch in markers, and sometimes something different entirely, like this plywood round panel of  110 cm.

oil on plywood

In a Facebook post I named this painting "Off Fence". The fences are a new arrival. It used to be as it is, abandoned and beautiful in its neglect. But the city wanted to cover its a** and one morning there were those ugly green railings everywhere. I thought about making a comment, but in a very subtle way. I think the work does not appear to be political in any way. For this oil painting I used a sketch in markers:

As well as this one

And last, I tend to make more drawings of the same spot over and over again, and this is one of my favorites:

pen, 35x50 cm
So, another one.

markers,  21x28 cm

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Backyard Garden

This painting done about two years ago made me think of water flooding the place, and then the desire arose in me to paint this image. Eventually I came up with only a hint of water - the painting below can be interpreted in many ways.

Wadi Siyah and the Khayat Orchard, at the foot of the Carmel, are some of my favorite spots in the city. Once a thriving beautiful  residence getaway for the wealthy Khayat family, it  passed hands until it became city property, but since then (the 70's) it has long been abandoned,  and the city does little to maintain this heritage site or make it accessible for the public (tax-paying, a-lot-of-tax paying public etc.).
The wadi or dry creek runs from the Carmeliya neighborhood on the Carmel range in Haifa, down to the cemetery. This drawing I made on a daytrip up the dry creek in summer. (In winter it can carry occasionally some actual rain water).

I made a few oil sketches there, but recently I take the markers or make a pen drawing.

After spending a few years painting and drawing in the Orchard, I started to see tigers in the deep shadow of shrubs and trees. The tigers are an ancient subject I dealt with some 5 years ago.

Some people live in the lower entrance to the wadi, across from the cemetery. There is a dispute going on with the municipality who wants them out. This is one of the houses, with a magnificent tree in front of it.

Some of the magic of the place is in its many staircases, leading from one level to another, sometimes made for leading the water down.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Long Hot Summer

The good thing about a residency at the end of the world (for all practical purposes, not *really) is that I can concentrate on my work: there are no temptations: city's too far and train's too expensive and I feel time will run out on me before I get to where I want to be: which is - what?...
No, I didn't know in the beginning, I only knew I wanted a Big change.
Very much thanks to the heat wave of about 3 weeks, we had a sunny day every day. Much better than rain every other day, which is the usual practice of Swiss summers, they tell me.
At first I went out a lot, but the heat was too heavy to bear sometimes. And then I opened my eyes to the beauty of the studio itself. Not that I didn't see it before: but the view from the window of majestic mountains and trees and rooftops distracted me just a little bit.
The studio is a loft space complete with wooden beams supporting the roof high above - maybe 8 meters high? - and slowly I got the idea I should paint it, rather than *from* it. And I did - first with pencils, just to get the structure right, then with watercolor and markers.

With the first drawings I figured it all out, with the markers I let go of the  idea of ever getting it right.

Then I pushed reality even further away

But staying in Trelex was a great blessing. I was aiming for that which draws people to such a refuge in the first place - an insight, a few new ideas, the beginning of something that may have long lasting influence on the way I look at things and draw them.
So I wish to thank Nina Rodin again for her great idea which she brilliantly put into practice: artists helping artists in any way they can. It was an unforgettable summer, and as the pictures below (all made in Haifa in October) show - the story is just beginning.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

True Colors of America

It's getting stronger with the markers every day.

Now back in Haifa with some 60 new products, I feel that my path leads to a new direction, and I am excited to find out more about myself and the possibilities in artmaking. Recently I prefer to go out with a small sketchpad postcard-size, about 20 various colors in markers, and sketch away - everything looks different to me now.
This is how I found America, from New York to Florida and back. I liked the marshes in Florida best but they did not render themselves easily to sketch; buildings and well-defined forms do better.

Markers 14x21 unless otherwise indicated.

This next painting in watercolors I did after the markers sketch of the same subject, below.
25x35 cm.

And this threesome is from Florida. (Keys and  Miami Beach).

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Trelex Times

A Residency made in Heaven

It all started in late 2014. My friend Ora Ruven recommended I contact artist Nina Rodin for a free residency she's been offering in Trelex, Switzerland, saying "I know you like these things". And surely I do (Free residency! Switzerland!), so I wrote immediately and got to stay 6 weeks in the summer.
If you looked  at the website and read some you may think - oh, how nice. Well you have no idea how. It's my third week here,  and
I am still finding out more about the possibilities of using my time here - everything, just everything, overflows or grows on trees. You just tune in and bathe yourself in calm delicious waters, ideas, beauty, serenity and inspiration.

I wasn't sure how much I would like Switzerland. Italy was still on my mind from my previous trip. Its northern neighbor looked much less colorful,  the architecture of old villages here mimics the mountain ranges with their pointed slopey tops. Often cloudy and rainy, much fewer people in the  streets, pricey of course. That was my first impression. But then I arrived into the micro-country of Trelex and things changed. In short, we (there usually are two artists or more at the same time) can use the residency in any way we like, there are no restrictions. There's ample materials to use in the studio itself and a zillion appetizers in the nature outside, even looking through the windows. What really started me up, strangely enough, was an innocent set of color markers left by one or more of the previous artists. The other thing was the heat wave - a long week of ever increasing temperatures, which forced me to wander away from the house into the woods, where I would sit under the heavy shade and look around me. The following works all from the same window show my progress with markers.

Trelex Residency garden

Trelex Residency garden

Another view of the same corner of the garden

Then I went to look out the other window...

Again started in pastel, then (below) pen and watercolor

And the outdoors, just  a few minutes away from the house.

Same view in markers (below) and pen and ink (above)

Finally, wandering about to the forest and some nearby places that look like it...

Watercolor, postcard size

Pen and ink, postcard size