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!

IMG_1651

IMG_1653

IMG_1649

IMG_1650

IMG_1654

IMG_1652

IMG_1655

On Trees and Frugality

TreesDec2015-800

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

DSC_2780-650

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?

Diptychs, Triptychs, Quadriptychs & More Greek Tongue Twisters

ShaarHagaiQuadriptych-right

Creating a single painting composed of several small panels, is an ancient tradition. Sometimes the multiple panels answered supply constraints, and sometimes they eased transport. (Both true with me.) If desired, the panels can be opened and closed as a book or screen. (I never tried that, but maybe I shall?)

The artistic challenge is to create a single cohesive composition, in which each panel also works a an independent painting.

I enjoy that challenge.

DSC_2688

Shaar Hagai, Right Panel 2015. Gouache, 46 x 61 cm
שער הגיא, לוח ראשון 2015, גואש  46 * 61

I first visited Israel when I was 15. Back then in my pre-history, much of the highway to Jerusalem was a winding, 2 lane affair. The road progressed gently upwards. Then, without warning, it hits a wall of steep mountains. From there, it crawls along the bottom of a deep, winding ravine: Bab El Wad in Arabic, Shaar Hagai in Hebrew – the “Gate of the Ravine”.

A perfect place for an ambush.

Shaar_HaGai Left Panel

Shaar HaGai, Second Panel 2015, Gouache, 46 x 61 cm
שער הגיא, לוח ימין 2015, גואש 46 * 61

I was eager for that climb. In 1971, the roadside was still littered with burnt out, trucks with home made armor, attacked while carrying food during the Siege of Jerusalem in 1948. Cypress and pine trees had since been planted on the hill terraces dating form the Second Temple era, 2000 years ago.

Every few meters the road twisted, and offered a new vista. Mostly of the narrow valley. Occasionally glimpses towards the parallel ridges and valleys, all climbing up to the City of Gold. And then more twisted, rusting, bullet ridden reminders of the battles to bring food to Jerusalem.
Many years later, I was to learn that my in-laws first met during that siege, on line for drinking water. She was 6. He was 9, and a refugee whose home was destroyed by the Jordanian Army attacked his housing project. His first grade teacher had been on the roof with a machine gun, covering the dozens of families, as they fled under fire.

DSC_2422

Hockney painted a series depicting the experience of driving through the hills above Los Angeles. The idea of capturing an ever changing landscape in a still image, appeals to me. The idea of capturing time in two dimensions, is a a pleasing oxymoron. And I want to recapture my wonderment of age 15, when all was so new and romantic for me.

New Show Opening this Thursday!

פלדמן-מזל הזמנה עברית

פלדמן מזל הזמנה אנגלית

Opening Thursday, June 18 on the Art Shelter, Jerusalem at 20:00
Yehuda HaMaccabi St 7, in Makor Baruch. In the shelter, under the park.

Israel is unfortunately blessed with a large number of public bomb shelters. Rather than letting them go wasted, municipalities rent them out for pennies, for a large variety of cultural activities.
The Art Shelter is one of these unconventional settings.

Founded about 30 years ago, by a pair of well recognized artists, the Shelter’s mission was to bring the language of art to the conservative and art deprived Ultra Orthodox community, while respecting their religious sensitivities. In recent years, the Shelter has achieved an additional status: It has become a meeting place for many mid career and advanced Jerusalem artists, where they can intimately display their works, sketches and work processes, with other members of the local art community.

I find its shows and artist talks to be remarkably refreshing. Without the pomposity, affection and solipsism so prevalent in the art world.

Chapeau! to the wonderful curators Pnina Frank and Noa Cohn.

My work will be shown with larger oils by Yisrael Feldman,  I will primarily be showing smaller works in gouache, mainly selections from my “I Saw a Cypress” series.

Both of us seem to have a deep attraction to geology and geography. Both selections share a strong spiritual element. I shall share more after the opening!

Olive Grove #2 2013

Olive-Grove #2, 2013

מטע זיתים #2 2013, גואש

Gouache 36 x 51

I pulled this out of my drawing cabinet, to show various brush and layering techniques to the students in my Diving into Color workshop. And then decided that it merits scanning. Not bad, huh?

On the very first day of each 6 meeting workshop, we discover the joys of unexpected color combinations, and the hidden beauty of ‘ugly” colors, when used in tandem with just the right neighbors. Muds can be such an elixir of life or fascination. Here, muds and grays add to the strangeness of the olive grove, and raise visual questions for the viewer.

By the second lesson, we are already investigated working in layers. What happens when color upon color are built up, leaving little glimpses to the shade partly hidden below?

Aah. I would love to teach a week long workshop in a vacation setting. Maybe in some old European farm. I get as much pleasure from seeing students eyes light up and think, “I CREATED THAT???!!!” as I get from painting myself.