A video showing the painting process for this newly commissioned work. Filmed by me and son!
Pilgrimage to the Valley of Gold, Acrylic with applied gold leaf on canvas, 65cm x 120cm.
Pilgrimage to the Valley of Gold
Once a year, the pilgrims visit this most sacred valley of the desert, where veins of gold run through the rock, symbolizing eternal wisdom and the divine (אלוקות). Each of the Twelve Tribes is represented, wearing variations of their tribal colours and, between the many and complex religious devotions, families may relax among the boulders, and partake of food and drink. This painting depicts the day after the majority of the celebrants have left, and a few families are relaxing, enjoying the peace of dawn in the valley, before starting their journey home.
This is an imaginary place, and an imaginary festival, but it is based on real boulder-strewn wadis in the Sinai desert, on real traditions of reverence and devotion, and on the mystical thread of gold which ties each of us together – our individual and collective divine soul.
In the Torah, water is a symbol of the wisdom of the Torah itself, and therefore a channel of flowing water runs through the centre of this scene, (a rare event in the real desert). Since the Torah was made for man, whose time comes and goes with the years, so the water flows constantly. The gold also flows, but infinitely slowly, in geological time, and that is why, apart from its lustre, I’ve chosen gold to represent the divine presence which runs through and underlies everything.