Trente Triangles, 2017

Trente Triangles 2017, ©2017 Chanan Mazal, Jerusalem

Thirty Triangles. Gouache, 46 x 61 cm. (18″ x 24″)
שלושים משולשים, 2017. גואש 46 * 61
Inspired by the “Crazy Quilts” traditionally made by African American women.
The composition, with its two, not quite balanced halves and with arrows pointing all over, defies all logic. But it works.

Lost My Marbles

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Still Life with Marbles, 2017. Gouache on paper, 46 x 61 cm.

Once again, I revisited an old old theme, with new knowledge about colors.

What? More Cypresses?

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The Tempest #2, 2017. Gouache on Claybord. 46 x 91.5 cm.

Cypresses 2017. gouache on Claybord Like the work posted last week, I painted this many months ago, but wasn’t sure if I was satisfied. I reworked both paintings last week.

Something about the relative emptiness of the center, and stronger contrasts to the far left and right, spoke to me. I am not sure of what my point was… something about not looking for significance where it is “supposed to be”?

Or that there can be competing ideas of significance? With neither winning the arm wrestle?

Natural Forest

Natural Forest #1, by Chanan Mazal, Jerusalem

Natural Forest #1, 2016
Gouache on paper, 46 x 61 cm. Sold

חורש טבעי #1, 2016
גואש על נייר, 46 * 61. נמכר

Israel’s natural forest is low, small trees, with small hard leaves. We have none of the towering straight lines of the wet north. Like everything else here, our trees like complex multiple trunks. That is, other than the planted forests of the JNF, with their imported pines standing in even spaced rows.

When we were still engaged, hiked in the mountains of the Western Galilee. The path climbed down a steep ravine with one of the healthiest natural woodlands in the country. I was enthralled by the deep damp shade and barely passable maze of the oak trunks. There, near the ground, I found coolness on that oven hot day.

Sloshing through the Bezet stream, we crossed paths with an older gentleman, wearing a suit and tie, feathered fedora and wet rolled up trousers.

“Did you see that “Yekke” hiking a suit? I asked.”
“Ah, he is a relative.”

I often paint trees. If all paintings are actually self portraits, than one of trees is even more so. In this series, I am not investigating the solitary tree trunk, but rather trees as a part of an ecology. I am investigating man as defined and enriched by the surrounding landscape of his life choices.

Painted from memory of that hike.

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Natural Forest #2, 2016
Gouache on paper, 46 x 61 cm.

חורש טבעי #2
גואש על נייר, 46 * 61

Bab el Wad, 2015 באב אל וואד

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Gouache and multimedia on panels, 46 x 96.5 cm

Bab el Wad in Arabic, Shaar Hagai in Hebrew, the Gate of the Ravine was a battle site during the siege of Jerusalem in 1948.
The sole road connecting the Jewish majority in Jerusalem was cut off here, as it winded up the mountains. The water supply was cut as well, both at the Yarkon springs, and at pumping station within the ravine.

My in-laws met at ages 5 and 8, while waiting on line for their water ration, during on of the pauses in shelling. She was living in her home. He was staying with relatives across the street.

His apartment building was bombed, and the Jordanian army had reached their courtyard. His first grade teacher was on the roof, with a sten gun, and pinned the Jordanians down, to allow the residents to flee in their pajamas, across a rocky field.

The one and half lane road from 1948, is now being widened again, to 6 lanes. So once again we are under siege, from the construction crews.

Horror Vacui

Horror Vacui @2015 Chanan Mazal, Jerusalem

Horror Vacui – פחד מן הריק
In visual art, horror vacui (/ˈhɔrər ˈvɑːkjuːaɪ/; from Latin “fear of empty space”), also kenophobia, from Greek “fear of the empty”), is the filling of the entire surface of a space or an artwork with detail.

Gouache, 46 x 61, Dec 2015

A River Went Out of Eden

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ונהר יוצא מעדן, להשקות את-הגן; ומשם, ייפרד, והיה, לארבעה ראשים

A river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided and became four heads. Genesis 2:10

2015, Triptych, oil on canvas 240 x 115 cm.

I had the pleasure of creating this large commission for a young creative family.

The unusual stepped format was chosen to fit the architecture of their home; under a soaring slanted roof, in the dining alcove of an L shaped room.

It is always a challenge to create a composition works well as 3 individual panels and as a unified painting. My greater challenge was to find a way to utilize the stepped heights and abrupt angles.

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Another creative challenge – and opportunity, was working with collectors, who are themselves artists in other media. Their input was wonderful!

Even if it sometimes required me to “kill my darlings”.

They introduced me to that accurate term used in cinema editing. It means sometimes cutting out a perfect, beloved scene, if it does not effectively move the plot along.

And so I cut. And I cried. And then usually came up with a far better idea.
Some artists refuse to do commissions. They are reluctant to relinquish any artistic autonomy. I sometimes resist any “interference” as well.

But…
If collectors have good enough taste to chose my art from all of the good stuff out there, then they have good judgement. (If I may say so myself)

To be honest, no artist can make consistently best work. People can see the difference. The good works sell. Works that I am not so sure about, even if they are “pretty”, never sell. My collectors, even those with no theoretical knowledge, can sense the difference.
Some artists refuse to do commissions. They are reluctant to relinquish any artistic autonomy. I sometimes resist any “interference” as well.

But…
If collectors have good enough taste to chose my art from all of the good stuff out there, then they have good judgement. (If I may say so myself)

To be honest, no artist can make consistently best work. People can see the difference. The good works sell. Works that I am not so sure about, even if they are “pretty”, never sell. My collectors, even those with no theoretical knowledge, can sense the difference.

Bottom line:

Four heads joined together to create a new river: Their two heads; my third, and the painting’s fourth, independent mind of its own. All worked to create a happy painting. And the initial requests were mere that it be

“Funky, and with lots of red.”

And cypress trees. The collectors also like cypresses.