Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunrise, a new day

I think this painting is done now. I always hesitate to varnish it for a few weeks until I'm sure I won't want to change anything.  I start back in classes in a couple of weeks and will review the painting with my art teacher before I varnish it and declare it "done".  I had a hard time getting a good photo without shadows.  I think my camera lens is not working quite right as I noticed some areas of light where there shouldn't have been light. I moved the canvas to several different areas in my studio and did not use a flash for this photo.

More details on this painting are on last week's blog post. I will probably make some cards from it and post them on my website. This painting was inspired by a beautiful sunrise I saw in Costa Rica last February.

A little marketing note for artists: If you are selling cards, prints or originals, make sure you keep track of your customers and collectors.  The Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah) is next week. I looked back through my past order of Rosh Hashanah card customers, sent out some e-mails with links to images of my current cards and received several new orders.  In business remember, it’s always easier to sell again to an existing customer, they are already happy with your work.

Friday, August 23, 2013

On my easel today -- Sunrise, WIP

Sunrise, a New Day.  This is an acrylic painting in process. The canvas is 16" X 20"  I am happy with the way it looks so far and will work on the details when it dries a bit more.  This painting will be donated to Families in Transition, a wonderful organization in New Hampshire.

I am participating in a painting project organized by Friends of Art Manchester.  I am the treasurer (and chief blogger) of this organization and we are trying to get more public art downtown.  Families in Transition has some residences that have bare walls.  It's a match! We have artists and they have walls.

FIT is paying for the canvases and the artists are donating their time and expertise to create paintings to beautify the walls.  You can find the details on the FOA blog (link above).  We are starting with six 16" X 20" canvases and two 8" X 10" canvases. Some are already reserved.  We hope that this will be an ongoing project and will encourage some local artists to join our organization.

Meanwhile, I have a display of paintings, prints and cards at the Derry Public Library.  This will be up until the end of September.  I had a wall display there in April and now I have my paintings in their beautiful display case.  This is in Derry, New Hampshire.  I lived there from 1979-1984. The library has expanded and has a different exhibit each month.

The display case is quite large and I went back a second time to fill in the extra space with cards.  I didn't realize how many paintings would fit into the case. Photo below shows one section of it. I received some positive comments while I was arranging the paintings. That's always nice to hear.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Time and the month of Elul

One of the courses I took on retreat was about time and art. We studied various biblical and talmudic verses. We talked about linear and circular time.  We are in the Jewish month of Elul now, which is the month before the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah).  This is a time of reflection, meditation and looking inward so that we forgive ourselves our imperfections, ask all those in our lives for forgiveness in case we have wronged them, and pray with the intention to do our best in the future.  We listen to others with compassion, try to stay in the present moment and try to understand who we are and where we are going. This is also called "cheshbon ha-nefesh" which is the Hebrew for a spiritual accounting.

I listened to the meditation from the teacher on the last day of class and visualized the Hebrew letters going vertically that spell out the tetragrammaton, the unpronounceable word for God (there are various pronunciations now).  She talked about colors going up and they were the rainbow colors I learned in Biology 101, ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).  I didn't have all the right crayon colors with me so I approximated the colors for the letters.

Psalm 27 is read every day during this month.  It seemed appropriate for the visualization.

I am a visual artist. I paint what I see (with some adaptation for composition, color etc.).  I found this class very difficult.  We were talking about a non-visual concept (time).  I brought watercolors with me as I found that easier to transport than my acrylics.  I visualized a sunrise, mountain, river for Genesis (creation story) and put the Hebrew words on the mountain from the morning liturgy (Blessed is the One who spoke and the world came into being).  The bottom words (English) are also from the morning (daily) liturgy.  We had spoken in class about our traditions regarding both birth and death and the hevra kadisha (holy burial society). I have written about that on this blog several years ago. So this painting was about beginnings and endings (circular time).

We also looked at Dali's paintings and Monet's treatment of light changing during the day on his haystack paintings.  I prefer to paint what I see so I'm not sure I would take a class like this again, but it was interesting.  My morning class was an introduction to the Qu'ran (Koran). That was fascinating and I hope to continue to learn more on this subject.

If you are interested in a Jewish retreat next year, this group (about 300 people) is usually the first week of August.  You can find out more information at http://havurah.org/

The theme of the retreat was from Psalm 90 - notice my artwork on the right.  I have had this phrase on my blog from the very beginning in 2008. I've also posted a poem about Elul. The poem was posted 8/27/08. I'm hoping this link will work for you: http://avisiblevoice.blogspot.com/2008/08/first-of-elul-september-1st-this-year.html

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On Retreat

On retreat this week. That is a view of Mount Monadnock (in NH) from the parking lot.

Lots of lakes in this region of New Hampshire (southwestern part of the state)
Canada geese like it here too.