Bronx Oranges

Bronx Oranges by Chanan Mazal

Bronx Oranges 2011, Gouache
SOLD and in its new home… back in the Bronx!

Why “Bronx”? Something about the patterns and colors reminded me of Art Deco textiles and housecoats.

Before every Passover, my grandfather sewed housecoats for the young ladies of his household. I once found a bag of rags in the attic, along with other shmattes from my grandmother’s apartment. I asked if I should throw it out. But my matter-of-fact mother rediscovered them with joy, as the patterns and colors of the 1920s, 30s and 40s brought back sweet memories.

I shared with my collector an observation about my work: I always sell works that were a watershed, enabling a big discovery and change in style. So I complemented her sharp eye. As she narrowed down her selection, every single piece fit into that category.


Who Let the Genie Out of the Bottle? Dec 2015

image Gouache over watercolor and gold acrylic, painted on a board coated wth white clay.45 X 90 cm.

These paintings inspired by flasks from the Islamic Art museum started out much less optimistically. This one expresses the celestial wonder that I once felt when discovering the Persian art tradition, before the chaos began.


Getting Back into Pencil

Changing media is aways a refreshing way to rediscover creativity.

My goal was to investigate ways to use plain old graphite to make color, and especially how to use the white of the paper as a primary subject matter. Therefor, I stuck with my familiar old images, trees and bottles. (I also did many abstracts, but the figurative works were more inventive.)

I often tell my students that the “topic” of an artwork can be trivial. The true art is in the story telling. A phenomenal plot can be killed by a trivial or boring writer. A great play can be killed by a monotonous reader, with no sense of timing. An overdone fairytale, can have all of its drama and suspense returned by a natural storyteller.

So paper, tell your story!








On Trees and Frugality


Trees, 2015. Gouache on paper, 46 x 61 cm.
עצים, גואש 46 * 61

I have been lazy about scanning my work recently and I have a big backlog. I skipped fast forward to this one, and will post a large commission later.

Once again, the palette was determined by my being frugal: I sliced open a bunch of dried out paint tubes, and used the crumbs. If I exhibit this, should I write that in the catalog?

I just allowed myself to get lost in the richness.

Curious Yellow


Cypress Trees in Late Summer Fields 2015

Gouache over mixed media, on a koalin coated panel. 41 x 66 cm.

ברושים בשדות סוף הקיץ 2015

גואש מעל מדיות מעורבות, על לוחות המצופות בחימר לבן. 46 5* 66 ס”מ

Yellow is a tricky color. It is easy to paint monochromatic works in all greens, blues or reds. One simply mixes in small amounts of other colors to gain a wide pallet, of varying depths and intensities and pureness. There are also many and so very different pigments in those families to start from. Yet, after all of that messing and punching and kneading, these colors easily remain what we consider to be the families of greens, blues and reds.

Yellows are so much more sensitive! How do we create a “dark yellow”? After adding what miniscule amount of another color, does the “yellow” stop being yellow? Very little!

So, how much must I stray away from that Crayola crayon definition of Yellow, to create a vibrant painting, with sufficient contrasts?

Those of us living with our bone dry summers are familiar with this pallet. The wild grass turns to dusty yellow. The red roofs  and dark cypresses are coated with fine yellow gray loess soil, carried in from the Sahara and Syrian Desert.

Yet our summer is not merely sun burnt. Delicacy can be found in the dried thistles. The rhythmic curvatures of the rolling hills and terraces reveal themselves. The sun casts yellow, and shadows in the hills reveal a lavender hue.

Night or Day?

From the Cypress series by Chanan Mazal

Gouache over mixed media, Completed July 1, 2015. 46 x 61 cm.

I keep on thinking that I have taken this Cypress series, as far as it will go. But then in surprises me. Day or night? Fields or sky? Israel or… Provence?