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.

8 Persian Flasks, Feb 2015. Gouache and Ink, 46 x 61 cm

8 בקבוקים פרסיים, ציור של חנן מזל ירושלים

8 Persian Flasks, Feb 2015.  Gouache and ink on paper, 46 x 61 cm
שמונה בקבוקים פרסיים, פברואר 2015ץ גואש ודיו על נייר 46 * 61 ס”מ

One more in the series, this one being particularly challenging.

I often tell my students that simplicity is important: When challenging the viewer with something confusing, they must limit additional stimuli.
The way that Braque and Picasso used restricted, neutral palettes for their Cubist still lives.
And as in cooking: Best not to use every spice in the kitchen, in each dish. Choose your direction, and emphasize it alone.

Good advice that I chose not to follow.
I did not to practice what I preach, in order to stretch my abilities to a new limit. I wanted to see how much chaos can still be contained in a viable composition and in a pretty, pleasant painting.

Roll Reversal

Red Cypresses 17.1.2014

Cypresses in a Red Field, Gouache, Jan 2014

I completely forgot that I had painted this last January.
I must have been playing with my old positive/negative reversal toy, after giving that assignment to an art class.

עבודה נשכחה, מלפני שנה. גואש.
חזרתי לשחק בצעצוע היישן של פיטיב/נגטיב, אולי לאחר שנתתי את התרגיל הזה לתלמידים

When I hear the protest “But I don’t know how to draw!” I hand students scrap paper and scissors and tell them to cut simple stencils. That way we get past their childhood comparisons to the project of the kid sitting next to them in art class, and begin learning about painting!

The second secret is in the mess: To free the the class up for experimentation, I put on some crazy music, and tell them to to attack the page with paint, while moving with the rhythm. Working standing up, with the weaker hand helps too. Once that undercoat is happy and uninhibited, we begin to work with the stencils.

My students’ results are often better than my own work! I certainly learn a lot from them.

Thirteen Persian Flasks, 2014

Thirteen Persian Flasks, 2014, painting by Chanan Mazal

Thirteen Persian Flasks, 2014. Gouache painting by Chanan Mazal, 46 x 61 cm

שלושה עשר בקבוקוים פרסיים, 20914. ציור גואש של חנן מזל

I started this one before my last visit to the US, and had a hard time going back to it. So I just went bonkers with splattering yellow and orange, and let it flow from there. Just let things go.
The controlled, cleanly drafted, identical bottles, all placed at an identical height, were in contradiction with the rest on the painting. So was my flat treatment of these bulbous forms, against the depth and flowing movement of the background

Two Vases 2014 by Chanan Mazal. Gouache 41 x 61 cm. Available.

2 Vases, Gouache painting by Chanan Mazal,  Jerusalem2014

Two Vases 2014 by Chanan Mazal. Gouache 41 x 61 cm. Available.
שני אגרטלים , גואש, חנן מזל 2014 למכירה

Artists and others desiring to promote themselves, are not supposed to invite viewers to participate in critiquing their works. But I shall:

I was very happy with the mixture of wildness and “prettiness”. I often use this color palette of complementary reds and greens, and then break the sharp contrasts into musty grays. This time, the pallette gained a new meaning by surrounding the windy central white band. The white also added a feeling of depth. The while was so far away, outdoors.

I was tempted to leave the painting at this lovely abstract/ornamental stage, but I was not completely convinced by the composition.
Rather than added a new decorative element along the diagonals, I took the risk of adding an old, old convention: Vases, balanced on their toes like plump ballerinas.

My goal as an artist is to offer the viewer a paradox. Aesthetics plus curiosity is far more satisfying. I realized that the vases would flatten the depth and flowing movement of the strips of pattern. All the more so since I chose to paint them in the same flat manner as the background. What I gained is a tense composition. Balanced against all of the rules.