I’m currently working on these two small relief sculptures in clay. Shown here before firing and before colouring, they will eventually be terracotta red clay, with colour and gold leaf applied. Approximately 15cm wide, they are intended to be wall-hung.
This recently completed horse sculpture depicts an ancient Egyptian royal horse adorned with blue and hold ceremonial crest and tail. Ceramic, with blue underglaze and gold leaf. An art prize I won at school was a modest and beautiful bronze of a horse by Elizabeth Frink, which I was entitled to keep for a year. I have loved drawing horses ever since. This, however, is the first time I’ve made a horse sculpture, and I found it tremendously satisfying. The pose of this horse is similar to the Frink horse, but this is a royal warrior horse, and is much more bulky, and obviously the style is more naive….
I’ve just opened a new art class. The aim is to give you the tools by which you are able, quite quickly, to make spontaneous and free art which is wide open, expressive, and unique to you. It is a process of learning about yourself, and about the nature of creativity which arises spontaneously from within. My vision is that the making of spontaneous art can be an excellent mindfulness practice, wherein we are completely and vitally present – in the act of creation.
The beginning of the course will be about getting to know, through structured exercises, the basic elements: materials, technique, colour and form. Gradually, as you grow in confidence, we will develop ways of working which are broader and more free, leading to a truly spontaneous outflow of art.
Judy Joel, owner of the delightful Little Picture Gallery in Mousehole, Cornwall, sent me these pictures of my Shepherdess painting in her gallery’s Christmas window display. I never thought of this painting as relating to Christmas in any way – but it does fit rather well!
Prayer Clouds (I) – Acrylic on canvas with gold leaf – 43 x 50cm
As an exercise in freedom from form, I approached a blank canvas with no preconceptions, and let the painting emerge in its own way. I love the peace and depth of losing myself in what is emerging on the canvas. This kind of intuitive painting truly belongs to the present moment.
The subject is an undefined Biblical scene, in the Land of Israel. Since it is made up of different layers which have accumulated over a few years of painting and re-painting, the canvas itself has started to take on something of an archaeological character.
It’s an unresolved picture. I’m aiming to bring it alive now and finish it. It’s oil on canvas-board, with gold leaf, on a massively thick and heavy plywood board – 61 x 77cm. My aim was originally to create something akin to an icon painting, evoking the ancient Holy Land, but using a style that evoked the idealized zionist graphic depictions of Palestine in the 1930’s. The figures outlined in white in the first photo above are all new – added just now. Their colours are emerging brighter than I’ve used before in oils – definitely influenced by my children’s Torah series.
What’s the point of my art?
I’m concerned with touching on a spiritual quality that is perhaps missing from the concerns of many artists today. I think I’m trying to produce something with a real meaning – if not an explicit message, then an inferred one. Who are we? Where are we? Where are we going? (These questions remind me of Paul Gauguin’s allegorical painting of 1898 “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” These questions came from his schooldays in a Church school).
When I was beginning my own spiritual search, shortly after coming to Israel. I came across a book by Reshad Feild which touched me deeply (The Invisible Way, Element Books, 1979). It talked about humankind’s connection with the One Source of all, which is a connection of love, as expressed in Sufi poetry and lore. Through that opening of a door into the world of the soul, I discovered the Jewish mystical tradition. At its essence is the same thing: The Unity of all, and our connection to it, which is through love, and divine service (in the Jewish tradition, through the mitzvot).
Maybe my art can express something of this Unity – somehow?
Recently I rediscovered this, rolled up and covered in dust, in my store-room: A painting of a High Priest. Based on an etching of a turbaned gentleman in Egypt, by the wonderful Mexican artist Francisco Zuniga (1912 – 1998), I abandoned it several years ago – possibly because I didn’t know how to deal with its directness. Zuniga’s etching is so striking and geometrically designed. I hope my version captures some of the dignity and strength in it. In any case I’m now reworking it, and aiming to finish it soon….(Oil on canvas, 46 x 38cm).
Oil painting on canvas, 35 1/2 ” x 55 ” (90cm x 140cm), sealed with damar varnish.
Price: $1475 + shipping
In tribute to author, musician and spiritual teacher Reshad Feild, I am now offering this painting for sale.
I first came upon Reshad Feild’s book The Invisible Way (Element Books, 1979) in Tel Aviv in 1994, and it deeply captivated me. With hindsight, this book represented the beginning of my own spiritual search. The Invisible Way featured on its cover a beautiful painting by Russian symbolist artist Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947). This image also resonated with me. Its intimations of a quest, a journey, of leaving home, of longing, and of beckoning mountain peaks beyond, were all familiar elements of my life, both inner and outer, at that time.
This large mountain landscape painting (above) is an approximate copy I made of this picture.
The original Roerich painting is entitled “Remember” and was painted in tempera on canvas. It can be seen in the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York. My own painting is an approximate copy, in oils, with slightly stronger colours (I think), and is a bit larger.
This original piece of Jewish art would make a beautiful and very special Rosh Hashana gift, celebrating the seven species described in Parshat Ekev. Prominent among them, in my picture, is the pomegranate. The midrash describes this fruit as having 613 seeds, corresponding to the number of mitzvot in the Torah. This is a decorative art piece painted with acrylic paint on canvas, and measures 40cm x 30cm (16″ x 12″). It is an original work and is the illustration used for Parshat Ekev in the Child’s Bible by Ariella Books.
The price of this Jewish art piece is $475 plus shipping. For further details, you are welcome to send me an e-mail (click on the contact button at top) and I will get back to you as soon as possible..