Wednesday, August 22, 2012

View from Home

"Pinecliff Lake-late afternoon"
Gouache on Arches, 7.5"x11"

I did this painting without squeezing paint out of a single tube.  I literally just used left over paint on my palette and mixed it with water from my brush.  Gouache and watercolor are nice like that, in that any time you add water to them, they are still alive.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Sea View

I just got back from Florida... greeted by a cold, humid and rainy week in New Jersey. While I was in Florida, though, I did a sketch. After a soothing swim in 82 degree water in the Ocean, and a gorgeous 88 degree day, I sat at an outdoor hotel dining area and drew the sea, the palm trees, and the view. I ordered a cobb salad, with chopped turkey, iceberg lettuce, avocado, sliced hard boiled egg, and chips of crispy bacon... A blue cheese dressing, and crumbs of blue cheese.

I sat there, with a pot of the most delicious coffee, and kept refilling my cup. What an amazing day, and just me. Perfect weather, and a quiet wind moving the branches of the palm trees before me.

My trip in Florida was to be a service to my grandparents, staying with my 95 year old grandfather as my grandmother went on a trip of her own. During the day a nurse came, allowing me the opportunity to get out of the apartment for a few hours. My grandma has taught me that we need to enjoy ourselves so that we can meet the challenges in our lives with a clear and positive attitude.

And so, I drove my grandma's Lincoln town car, cream leather interior and pale sea foam green body, listening to Frank Sinatra singing Dindi, the Girl from Ipanema, and other soft brazilian music from the songbooks of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Needless to say, I drove slow, and in wonderment that this type of experience is real. I pinch myself of course when I go to park that boat...

I return to the apartment, and imagine being 95, reduced to sleeping most of the day, and unable to walk more than a couple laps around the living room. However, my grandfather is all there. 95, and he can still remember the name of the theatre where he first took my grandmother to see a play, when they used to go out on the town. We drink scotch, and sit and talk about our family, my future plans, and my grandma. They have been married for 63 years, and when my grandmother returned from her trip, my grandfather smiled widely, hugged her, and told her how much he missed her.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Scuba" 11" x 8.5", Gouache on Rives BFK

About the work, 'Scuba'.

I will never know what the scuba man is saying to the woman, who she is, or if the scuba man is actually Swiss. I took a photo at what appears to me, to be an unlikely event in a remote place. For me, the scuba man represents Meaning, revealing itself in an odd way, a half dressed scuba man carrying a briefcase almost leaning onto an unsuspecting woman. The chaos of the unarranged chairs, and the bystanders who never witness the moment from my perspective, all reflect my thought that truth is a momentary flash, and then it's gone. This encounter of the woman and the man is baffling, remains baffling, and no matter how much I think about it the space between them is uncomfortable and funny at the same time. Funny because the scuba man is not swimming, he is walking on land half naked with a briefcase, and the woman doesn't seem to mind so much or the people in the background eating or drinking. This event could be reduced to experiencing something out of context, and never taking the next step to investigate it; talking with the two people involved, showing them the photo, laughing about it and asking what just happened here? However, things like this happen all the time, and we never know or have the time to investigate. And even if we did, the conclusions never are as powerful or interesting as that initial impression.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Some art from travels: 2010 (Florence, Berlin, Sicily, Sailing, West Milford, and Maryland)

This man organized the traffic systems in florence.

Cafe del Moro, San Vito Lo Capo. After a delicious cafe latte I tried to draw the Mountain through the Pine tree, which is the iconic land formation in the area. That, and the beautiful beach.

Potted Pine: Erice, Sicily. Another Cafe drawing. This time with an overpriced beer at a tourist trap. I'm from Pinecliff Lake, forgive me if I like little pine trees.

I drew this pineapple head while on a sailboat. I think pineapples are strange looking fruits.

Pinecliff Lake, view from Stowaway Park on Anchor Ave. Fall Foliage.

My Vespa in the corner outside Cafe Zi, in Marsala Sicily. While finishing the drawing, this little Sicilian kid sat next to me and watched. My Italian is decent enough that I can carry a conversation. He'd never been to America, and he was very curious what I was painting. Truth is, I just had a delicious Zi Cafe, and I wanted to sit for a while and paint. It didn't matter what was in front of me, but I was happy to get my bike in the picture. It's a Honda, 125cc Liberty moped. It could hold an hour's worth of gas, and I would shut it off on the tops of mountains and coast, because I never knew when the next station would come up.
Also, check out . If you ever go to Sicily, Antonino from Italia moto rent will help you out. He's the man.

Portrait of Käthe Kollwitz, based off a self-portrait statue in the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Berlin.

Outside an Internet cafe on Via Guelfa. I rented an apartment around the corner, and this internet point was my homestead for keeping in touch with family and friends. While writing an email I turned to the left and saw this guy suspended in a thought with the graffiti tag behind him. I snapped a photo, and worked up the image in gouache paint.

Self Portrait with Handmade Glasses.

German couple on a plane to London. Up close and personal, maybe a little creepy, but I couldn't get over the shape of the woman's nose and her husband's white mustache.

Night Portrait.

In the district of Mitte - Berlin.

Done after spending a day touring the city of Berlin.. Woke up in the middle of the night, it can be a haunting place.

View of the Arno, facing San Niccolo.

My friend Alban, sleeping on the last bus back to Sesto Fiorentino.

Farmhouse table top. It was like musical chairs, but with salt and pepper shakers as people would sit down use the shakers and try to rearrange them the way they found them so I could continue painting.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two weeks on Kayam Farm

Just got back from a 2 week Artist Residency at Kayam Farm. The experience was overwhelming; Kayam farm is a progressive thinking organic farm making strong efforts to bridge Jewish faith with sustainable agriculture. When I was contacted by the farm manager, Jakir Manela, a friend of a mutual friend, I didn't really know what I was getting into. I thought it would be a good way to gain more perspective on my own 'half-jewishness,' and also a way to make artwork for 2 weeks without having to worry about making money. As soon as I arrived, there was a lot of action; between meeting the farming staff, getting orientated with Kosher style living, Kosher Vegetarian style living... and being surrounded by Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox Jews and Rabbis coming to the Farm and larger Pearlstone Retreat center to study, I was immersed in a cultural experience. There were ecology lessons taught on site in the woods, tai chi at 6:30 in the morning, harvesting and farming throughout the day, and close readings of Jewish texts in small groups, known as Kollel. I attended 4 classes while I was there, and it was wild. We spent 2 and half hours just talking about which type of bread receives a blessing first. Hard to imagine, but if you were living a life where you wanted to say thanks in the most special way you could, and do it consistently with clarity, then you enter a discussion that has existed for centuries. I don't say a blessing when I eat, but I am grateful. It was painstakingly interesting exploring ideas, which may not have relevance for me, but I can appreciate for the care taken by those who created them and maintain them. I really don't know...

Above is the artwork I created though. Three sculptures in materials that I have very little to no experience working with. Cement, Metal, and log carving. Carving out that head and tree trunk into the wood was so intense that I had to go to the dentist. I thought my wisdom teeth were coming in, or that I had a gum disease or something... but it turned out I was clenching my teeth so much while chiseling, that I strained my whole TMJ. (tempromandibular Joint=Jaw Joint). I could barely open my mouth to eat food, and it still hurts. I know you're all shedding a tear for me.

You have three sculptures, "Abraham" (cement), "Jacob" (Maple log with Cherry tree roots), and "Issac" (Metal). These sculptures were commissioned by Jakir, the Farm Manager of Kayam, and are installed on the posts of the "Patriarch Garden," which is a vineyard consisting of three different types of grapes. I think Jakir had been mulling over the idea for while, and when I showed him an image of a sculpture head I did, he asked me to make some drawings for the Patriarch portrait sculptures. An idea that, with the little Jewish background I have, I knew might be controversial in the context of a religion, which grew out of an opposition to idolatry. Never the less, the sculptures are made and I think everybody likes/is curious about them.

I had fun making them, minus the dentist bill.

If you read all this, thanks.

Kayam Kollel
Kayam Farm at the Pearlstone Center

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Concert 2010

This is a drawing done for a Spring Concert held within my local community. The portraits are of the Singers who performed, and the other imagery is generated from the lyrics.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010