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.

Studio Espionage

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A peek at my painting process. Early May, 2013.
Pencil and ink, then gouache, on 3 “Claybord” panels. (Wood, coated with white clay.) 30 x 135 cm.

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.

Nine Persian Flasks, February 2015

.9 Persian-Flasks, 2015 by Chanan Mazal

תשעה בקבוקים פרסיים, פרואר 2015, גואש, 46 * 61 ס”מ

Gouache 46 x 61 cm.

I keep on finding new ways to approach the challenge of turning a lovely mess, into a non-functioning painting, and then to restore its dignity and intellect.
If only the real world was this simple.

כל פעם אני מוציא מסלול חדש  בדרך לאתגר: להפוך בלאגן חינני ויפהפה, לציור לא מתפקד. ואז להחזיר לציור הנכשל את הכבוד, עצילות ותבונה
הלוואי שהיה כל כך פשוט לעשות כך העולם האמת

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.

Seven Persian Flasks, 2015

Seven Persian Flasks - Gouache painting by Chanan Mazal 2015

Seven Persian Flasks, 2015. Gouache and ink on Arches paper, 46 x 61 cm.
שבעה בקבוקים פרסיים, 2015. גואש ודיו על נייר 46 * 61 ס”מ

This series has been most interesting to create. As I wrote earlier, each painting begins with a chaotic splash of ink. I am often content with it at this stage, as is. But Jackson Pollack passed away long ago. Therefor I work hard to bring this joyful mess, into a polite conversation with the billowing curtains of pattern.

These Oriental bottles confuse and entertain the eye. Sometimes they appear in the painting – and sometimes are camouflaged, playing hide and seek.
And I wonder… does this series, with its Middle Eastern name and imagery, have any deeper political and cultural significance?

 

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.