Napkin Series | סדרת מפיות (“Serviettes” for you Brits)

Gouache and various point media, 20 x 20 cm on paper (8″ x 8″ for you Yanks)
Experiments in color and gouache techniques, perhaps studies for bigger works on canvas.

The mundane story behind the Napkin series:

My wife Adina has a healthy sense of humor. Thus, she declared the earliest of these scribbles to be Mapiot/Napkins, due to their being the exact size of fancy paper napkins. To be honest, the birth of the series was equally domestic: A great sale on small square watercolor paper pads. (Us ex-New Yorkers can’t resist a bargain.)

After 25 years designing and publishing greeting cards, and painting on a tiny scale, a few years ago I felt a need to work LARGE, with BIG arm movements. I jumped to 40 x 60 cm formats, and by last year, I had moved on to wall sized canvases. It was exhilarating, and released an explosion of creative adventure. But the down side of my afore mentioned thriftiness, is my fear of wasting a perfectly good $40 canvas on a loony or ugly experiment. Even worse, is my fear of wasting 2 weeks of hard work, compounded by the headache of storing dozens of monster canvases of questionable quality.

Working small:

Abruptly changing the size of my formats, was once again liberating. In this new reduced size, I can quickly try an idea over and over again, with different approaches. I dare to be “ugly” while free from thinking, “But who will buy this?” I’ve been burning through those pads in  a creative frenzy!

The REAL story behind the Napkins:

As I have written often before, I am attracted to both the ornament and the kind of conventional “prettiness” which is accessible to most viewers —  and to expressive work with deep, dark secrets. For the past 3 years, I have been working on ways to engage the two together. Often, the outward subject is simple and easy to live with, like a bowl of fruit. But none of us are really that simple and live easily with ourselves… And heck! Painting my wild undertones, is a lot cheeper than psychotherapy! Anyway – I just enjoy painting these spontaneous squares.

A second goal has evolved during the process; exploring the border zone between drawing and painting. So far, I have used point medias to create a delightful chaos on the page, and  more serene, brush applied gouache in ornamental patterns. Layer upon layer. I plan to pursue this further.

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