Thursday, November 16, 2017

Time of the Season

Budapest - Asian restaurant

Summer lingered on hot and humid and I was still in Israel. After my previous last-minute trip to New York, I thought I will be traveling again this summer, but there were various setbacks, and on top of this it was the most horrid summer in history, I shit you not. 


But at the end of August I did hit the road. And what a glorious road this time, stretching between three continents and checking out many new destinations, starting in East Europe - Hungary and Serbia - and ending in the fantastic Grand Canyon and a village in Pennsylvania.
I took gear for all seasons almost. In Europe summer was still on when I left late mid-Sept, and here in New York (where I am writing this) winter sends a cold and wet hello every now and then. It is time to go back, soon in a few days, to one of the world's most weather-friendly places (though its people are used  to complain about the climate, let me assure you, they have nothing to complain about).
In Budapest I have been visiting my good friend the artist Josef Ralt, a remarkably skillful painter who likes to sit at cafe's and draw the people with his pen and watercolor. He left Israel recently to move there and has already formed a new circle of friends, similar to the one he had in Tel Aviv.


No need to explain

I went to Pennsylvania following an invitation of yet another artist friend, Shirley Kanyon, whose words (here in her Hebrew blog) are almost as enchanting as her lyrical images. I stayed for a week after a week of Grand Canyon solo adventure, and it was quite different there in a countryside village. I felt like in an art residency, having deep discussions with Shirley about art, painting, structure and subject matter. I exerted myself and tried to learn new methods of adding line and color to form. 

Home at Shirley's

Botanical garden

And this is New York.

A man I met in the park wanted his portrait in markers, and then his daughter's, from a photo. It was a great experience to actually talk to someone who was really interested in what I was doing. Real contact is rare. This is a call to my fellow brethren to please make conversation with an artist at work, as long as the work seems finished enough you wouldn't be intruding. We love your comments when they are genuine and coming from the heart. Artmaking is a solitary business, done in private and not performed before a crowd; and we may miss that human connection sometimes. 

As the leaves are falling, done by now with their spectacular multimedia show, so shall I wrap myself to be back to my old hometown and see what's new. I know I have been missing a few.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Out in the City of Haifa

Summertime. Leaves are dark green and grey. The light too cruel and direct, and I rise early to get before everybody else does to the nearby Binyamin Garden, a local green lung slowly turning into a charming spot. The people there, mainly Russian and Arabic speakers, hard working or unemployed, find their way into my paintings without ever noticing it. They go about their happy business with daily contentment. I am a temporary intruder.

These trees make a wonderful shade, may they live long and prosper. The rest of the garden is olives - not big enough yet.
Here is an oil painting I just finished. It's based on photos I took in winter. The color of the path is plain grey in reality.
Plywood 49x65 cm

Below is a small marker sketch of two cats. Following an idea I picked up on the web, I used watercolor paper prepared with gel medium. Strange results. The paint stays on the surface and doesn't sink in, so it can be moved around, like Winsor Newton promised their Pigment Markers would do if I used their own paper.

Another time same place, markers:

The card players, markers

At the end of the journey I go down to the market. This is Haifa, up or down. Down many stairs that lead me to the main street of our busy neighborhood Hadar.
And right before the market I notice these two beauties, so colorful I just have to draw them.

... and then you go down here.

Ah yes the market. Same street, two views.

Lower still. Downtown, Harbor street (Hanamal), on July 14th they had a cheerful French Revolution party.

A favorite spot downtown, not as colorful in reality but nice enough...

Monday, May 29, 2017

Portrait Made Easy

After the third "Yefe Nof" fair is over, I am happy to say that for the first time, I had some success, because I didn't participate this time. Why bother with framing and hanging when you can draw portraits for fun and even get some bucks for it?...
Discovery: people love to sit for a portrait. They love it better if it's a double portrait with their loved one. Too bad there are not so many people in Haifa - I could get rich.
Discovery #2: I'm rather good at it.
I am posting just a couple of pictures here due to privacy issues and the poor quality of the photos I took on the spot. Eyal is an exception because, of course, he is a friend, so he let me scan the image at home.

Except for Eyal I never got to paint less than two people in one painting, so I was really happy that I brought a few larger sheets with me. There were couples, small children and a breastfeeding mom! She said it would be the only way to keep him from bouncing about.

I already knew markers were "my medium" but I was still amazed at how easy it was.
Between "real" sessions we the artists were drawing one another. And lately I have been painting and drawing quite a lot of people, -  cafe sitters or people on the train, or standing in line at the post office, with or without details (sometimes you have to work fast and even then they go away faster). 

One of my friends, Michal, artist at work (drawing me while I draw her):

Yvonne Helmrich is a gifted friend who lives nearby and makes delightful paintings. At work too, here:

Another Yvonne, not much of a likeness, but a nice drawing:

Another artist friend, Sari Doveh. From photos, - a very different approach and to be honest I would really prefer to work from life. It gives you so much more information, such as color and character. Sari has a fascinating face and I made a few more drawings and paintings of her.

And then there's these guys, which I believe started it all.  I have worked over a month because it was from photos and not very good ones, and I know these people too well. ...
Oil 26x36 cm.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Life Underground

On a cold day in January I stayed for hours in the Subway tunnels, changing trains 5 or 6 times and making sketches of the Subway People. I think this time in New York more than ever I have taken a real interest in drawing people, an art I have drifted away from since 2010 or about.
A man in the train, three people seated at a table in a bookstore cafe, people strolling down a busy street, a friend in his living room, a woman sitting alone in the park, a group in the airport waiting for the flight, each with their unique features, attire, air and stance, color, background, not knowing they are subject to scrutiny, or if they become aware, smile broadly or turn away, they all fascinate me now, so different, all part of the Big Apple without discrimination. Or so I would like to believe.