Friday, August 5, 2011

Flying a Fish, in my "Perfect Town of Imperfections"

I am planning to post forever the results of my July Mural Marathon, of doing 3 murals in 3 weeks,( the "Jerusalem Wall" being one of them), but that will have to wait.

"Imperfection" is the theme of IF fo this week.
In my perfect art world, imperfection is the key to creativity.
The more it seems impossible or most likely to come out imperfect, the more I wanna do it!
In real life I am a perfectionist. I feel I can't create anything until the house is spot clean and my desk uncluttered, and all my children's needs are met, so I can have peace and quiet to do my work.. Yeah, well, keep on dreaming right..My desk looks uncluttered for less then 24 hrs and then back to style ala "Einstein".

Reminds me of the Wallgreens commercial of the town call "Perfect". Don't you love those? :)

In My "Perfect" town of imperfections, the happy little girls with checkered hats and ruby red Birthday Party dresses fly Gold Fish in afternoon golden starry skies..

What magical things are happening in your "Perfect Town of Imperfections" ?

This second image was enhanced by using GIMP program for the first time.
I have no idea how I did it........... Have to learn more about it..

All images are copyright © 2011 Malka Michaela Barshishat
and are not to be used in any way without permission.

Thank you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kotel ha-Ma'aravi - "Western Wall" in Jerusalem

First third of summer is behind us.. Work work work....Another year with/out vacation..
As I am eagerly awaiting the results of the map competition I have completed a mural I was hired for in the yeshiva, where I started my teaching job in June.
The school director has requested a painting of Kotel, Western Wall in Jerusalem.
I have completed it in a week and I don't even know how..

When it comes to walls, I really never know what happens.
Unless someone requests something very specific and I have to do a full color sketch prior to the painting, I paint directly on the wall, just looking at pictures for reference.
People ask me all the time, how do I do it, and the answer is, I really don't know, it's all G-d.
He gave me this gift and I constantly feel not good enough as I have no training in painting what so ever, besides books and few art classes I took as a child.
It's just something I love to do. No rules what so ever. I put colors and lines and shapes just where they feel right. Can't explain it. But I am sure many if not all artists out there know what I am talking about.

When it comes to walls, I have worked with an interior decorative painting company for several years, called Evolving Image until I had to stop, because I was busy being a mom. I learned to do a variety of faux finishes, like glazing, ragging and sponging. Strie, gilding, furniture painting, faux stone and wood designs, venitian plaster, Tromp l'oeil and much more. Many of their murals that you will find in their portfolio I have worked on, you can find them in my own gallery as well.

I am happy when I get to do murals once in a while.
I feel at home amidst the smells of paints and glazes, drop-cloth, rags and brushes.

For this project I used only Benjamin Moore latex paints, Zinsser water based glaze, artist's brushes, cotton rags and sea sponge.

The sign on the wall that says "Ahi Ezer" is the name of the yeshiva. The white pieces in the black crevices of the wall are the paper notes people insert in the real wall, with their prayers and requests to G-d.

I have never been to Israel. I hope to see the real wall one day in person.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Map of Prague

This is my map for They Draw and Travel.

When I found out about the Map Contest, I saw an opportunity to express my love for Prague, my birthplace.
I would have never attempted to do something like this by myself.
Being a busy mom, it took a quite a number of late evenings, after everyone fell asleep, to work on this.
Some evenings, while researching images, I got stuck on various Czech websites,staring tear-eyed at the pictures that brought back so many memories.

I believe artists need to be challenged to grow and I find the industry resources and expanded knowledge of the variety of techniques and materials, one is exposed to while studying,  invaluable.

Though I never went to art school, luckily I have joined an amazing group of artists here in the blog-world, who have been very supportive of me and one another. I am learning a lot from them and am excited to find many drawing challenges on various sites.

It has been 15 years, this 4th of July, I haven't been to, Prague.
The things that stand out for me the most from my very fond memories are portrayed in this drawing.

1) The famous Charles Bridge, where I spent days and days of meeting new people,taking long walks across the river, making money from doing hair-wraps for tourists and selling friendship bands.
2) Alfons Mucha, an amazing Art Nuveau artist, whose designs can be found throughout the whole city.
He is one of my biggest inspirations. If I had to choose, I'd pick Art Nuveau as my favorite style.
3) The Jewish Quarter, dear to my heart as a Jew, where the statue of Rabbi Loew can be found, The Maharal of Prague and creator of Golem.
Golem is said to be buried in the attic of the Old New Synagogue and no-one is allowed to enter that space, as the few that tried never came out alive, rather had to be pulled out by a rope they were tied to. There is a strong magic presence of G-d there that no-one has the merit to witness alive.
4) The Orloj-Astronomical clock, masterpiece! Many artisans have taken part in creating it over the centuries. One of them was blinded upon creating additional parts of the clock, around 15th Century, so he'd never create such a piece again for another City. Which made him so mad (obviously), that even though blind, he was able to disconnect some parts within the mechanism, making it stop for the next at least 100 yrs! No-one could figure out how to fix it..until later on.
5) Vltava River. The origin of the precious stone Moldavite.  
Bedrich Smetana, a Czech composer, wrote this amazing composition,  portraying the flow of the river from a tiny stream in the mountains to stormy current before it reaches Prague and then rolls on. This melody always makes me cry.

Materials I used for the drawing:
Pencil, B&W and Sepia Sakura Pigma Micron archival pens, Strathmore Bristol Vellum acid  free paper(100lb), Farber-Castell watercolor pencils, original Czech stamps from old letters my mother sent me.

I used Art Nuveau "medusa" and "samira" fonts. The leaf design framing the picture is of a Linden tree, Czech national tree.
The round symbol is the crest of the city of Prague. The double-tailed lion is the symbol of Bohemia.
On the big postage stamp is an image of Tycho de Brahe, an official astronomer and alchemist to Rudolph II , Czech 16th century emperor. Bellow the stamp is a drawing of hops the famous Czech beer is made form.
The woman's necklace is  made of Moldavite. There are several questions written in her hair, the answers to which can be found throughout the map. Some questions are in Czech as well.

I was so thrilled my map was accepted for the competition!
As much as I'd love to win one of the prizes, this project made me grow a little more as an artist and opened new doors to my desire to draw more images of Prague.
That alone already makes me a winner!

Thank you for patiently reading this long post.
Enjoy. I am looking forward to reading your comments!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Hello Dear friends!

Hope everyone is getting ready for sizzling summer. :)

So this is what I have been working on for the past weeks, with breaks.
Graduation gifts for my kid's teachers.
Daycare called Keshet (meaning rainbow in Hebrew) has been like my family here.
My kids went there since they were babies. Since all of my husband's and my relatives live across the ocean it is very uplifting to have such meaningful relationships like I have created with Keshet's loving and caring staff.
My children graduated there from the UPK class. last year my son and this year my daughter.

I made this drawing of a hand (Jewish Hamsa) for them, for protection from Ayin Hara (evil eye).
I included Blessing for Business in Hebrew to bless their establishment, so it continues to strive, while offering loving and cozy environment for the lil' ones, from newborns to UPK.
I also made individual copies of another design (below the Keshet design) for the teachers with their names written inside each one in Medusa script.
Medusa script is one of my most favorite. It is an Art Nuveau script which reminds me of my countryman and favorite artist, Alfons Mucha.
('Morah' means teacher in Hebrew), and there are blessings in Hebrew above each finger of the hand. From left to right: Parnassah (livelihood), Ahava (love), Emuna (faith), Shalom (peace), Briut (health).

However, I have to admit I made a mistake I yet have to correct.
Bellow each name are two Hebrew letters, hey and yud. As I was drawing till late hours, I didn't realize, I meant to write chet and yud, which means Life. Yet to be corrected...

ART FORWARD  projects that I owe to my dear followers since March ..( :/ ) will be my next thing to work on, while I am finishing up a map of a place very dear to my heart for They Draw & Travel.

Stay tuned! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where have I been? .....Asleep

Hello everyone.
I am weeks behind Illustration Friday and it just so happens that this week's theme is "Asleep".
Yes, my pens have been asleep as I have been busy caring for my lil' ones while trying to get used to my new part time job. I started working as an Art Teacher, out of all things, in all girls yeshiva. Who knew?
It came out of the blue and now I am challenged to come up with weekly arts and crafts projects for grades from Pre-1A to 8th.
I never taught art before. To my surprise, I felt like I have always done it and both teachers and students were happy. Thumbs Up!
It is quite a psychological challenge as well. I increased my  respect for all the teachers out there ! So if anyone has a petition to sign for teachers to be respected and paid more, I'll be glad to sign it!

Bellow is my IF entry for this week. I love babies and I so I draw them.
This is an ACEO card, drawn with archival Sakura Pigma Micro Pens on acid free Strathmore Vellum paper. You can find more of my ACEO's here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Art Forward Update

At last one my Art Forward winners received their card together with requested Name Keepsake for Art Exchange. Everyone that has commented on my Art Forward post will be contacted soon. Please bare with me. Things have been hectic around here...

Jennifer N. Bower's Art Forward and Art Exchange (custom designed name keepsake):

Friday, April 29, 2011

Illustration Friday: LESSON

There is a lesson to be learned from a rose that breaks through a concrete...

Everyone I know well or have recently acquainted has been struggling more than usual. Going through some incredible life changing experiences.
Battling with a serious illness (G-d forbid), stress, financial issues...
Depression due to just things going wrong.
Unexpected outcomes despite all the hard work one puts in.
Natural disasters continuing to occur worldwide...

Whatever belief or religion we do or don't  follow, however we react to our challenging situations, we HAVE TO  remember even a motionless heartless concrete can crack open and let a life sprouts through.
We have to have faith...

I drew this in 2006  for Dr. Sherry Reiter's poetry therapy seminar, based around Tupac Shakur's poem.

I challenge everyone this week to look around:

How many miracles can you see?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Illustration Friday: BOTTLED

For this week's illo I have chosen a drawing  I made in 2009.
It was designed to accompany a story called: "The Woman Who Plowed Verses", in Dr. Sherry Reiter's captivating and healing book: "Writing Away The Demons: Stories Of Creative Coping Through Transformative Writing".
It is a collection of stories by those who, while in crisis, took up a pen and paper and wrote stories, poetry, memoirs, and more in order to cope with their dilemmas ranging from addiction to cancer.

Dr. Sherry Reiter, LCSW, one of the pioneers in poetry therapy, is a uniquely gifted writer, practitioner, and educator for her pioneering work as a therapist using writing and poetry for wellness. For workshops, lectures, or training, you may contact:

The story accompanying this drawing is about a woman, professional calligrapher, who suffered tremendously in a relationship with an alcoholic. She used writing to successfully overcome her struggles and start anew. 
Below is an excerpt from her chapter.

"…He deceived me from the beginning. Yes, I was gullible. I was lonely and hungry for some intimate personal attention. He was a magnificent, well-practiced liar, and I must confess that I wanted to believe everything he said. . . He was not what he appeared to be — a healthy, creative artist who was a bachelor. In reality, he was a married alcoholic whose work life was rapidly spiraling downward from inattention and irresponsibility. He kept his 29-inch waist by drinking and hardly ever eating. He lived on sugared coffee and straight-up gin which he bought in the jumbo size twice or three times a week and stored behind his workbench, and which he drank from first thing in the morning to the last thing at night . . ."
*  *  *

Copyright © 2011 Malka Michaela Barshishat, All Rights Reserved.

Addictions in any form CAN be treated. With will, the right tools, guidance and support. 
If successful, it changes the lives, both of the addicted and those around them.  Everything happens for a reason.  A repercussion of one's acts, a lesson to be learned, even often ever so painful.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If anyone reading this is experiencing such challenges or is close with someone who does, I highly recommend Dr.Reiter's book in helping to overcome these hardships (


Monday, April 11, 2011

Name Keepsake: Sivan Noa

I am soo behind in my assigmnets.
I have been working forever on name keepsakes for a relative.
They are being delivered way behind the promised time and I feel so bad....
Sometimes mixture of circumstances and artist's block prevents us from performing the way we'd like.
Being a working mom by day and an artist by night...I find it  impossible to set priorities.
How does one prioritize priorities?
When every issue I am facing has to be resolved RIGHT NOW, my head is spinning to say the least.
Does that happen to everyone?

An old Jewish saying goes: "If you want to make G-d laugh, tell him what your plans are."
So I just have to give in to the will of the Creator, and hope, the recipients will like my work so much, they will forgive me for its delay.

So below is my name keepsake for a little girl, that was designed days after she was born, drawn around last year's summertime, accidentally been damaged,  has been redrawn  two months ago, finished this weekend and  is being shipped off today, couple months after her first birthday.

I truly hope though, it will be treasured forever.
Copyright © 2011 Malka Michaela Barshishat, All Rights Reserved.

 I really really enjoyed drawing it!

Materials: Micron archival markers and Strathmore Bristol Vellum acid free paper.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Hello everyone!

I am happy to announce that my first two Art Forward, ACEO- art card requests are done!

Jennifer and MarryAnne have both requested a horse.
Luckily, I am a horse lover myself. I  too have experienced the magic of seeing the world from the horseback while living in Europe.
Additionally, my winners have both requested an Art Exchange. How exciting!
Both will be name keepsakes.
I am working on it now and plan to mail them together with the art cards.
My third winner, Kathrine has yet to get back to me. Kaaatheriiine, where are you? :)

Fourth winner will be randomly chosen from the following posts.
There is still time to comment on Art Forward to win a custom art card!
I am extending my deadline, (well there never was one,but there is now), till the end of April!

So here they are:

Jennifer Noel Bower                                            

and  MarryAnne   

All Images in this post and on this blog are:

Copyright © 2011 Malka Michaela Barshishat, All Rights Reserved.

No copies or reproductions of these images are allowed without written permission.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Illustration Friday: DUET

This illo was inspired by a photo of twins.
When I think of duet, I imagine the perfection of two little heartbeats in mommy's tummy.
Complimenting each others rhythms. Synchronized...
And continuing to do so even after birth.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Fellow bloggers, artists and crafters:
I am proud to present my first project  Art Forward.
I am so excited! I have been blogging only since February 2011 and it feels like some of the amazing artists I have met here I have known for years! 
We all enjoy the company of those who understand our cravings to draw a line whenever we see a pen, the shiver down our spine when we smell new paper and the content, peace and satisfaction we feel when we finish a piece of art, wondering..did I really do that?

I am looking forward to strengthen the friendships I have already made as well as meeting new artists. And so I invite you to join in!

What is Art Forward?
An act of artsy kindness in our blogger family.
It traveled through many creative fingers from Isabelle titeled "Pay It Forward" to Rubin and detoured to me.
Passing on kindness in a form of creating special something for special someone, and encouraging your recipients to do the same,  forming a never-ending chain of goodwill.

How does it work?
The first three fellow artsy bloggers that comment on this post will receive an original ACEO art card, handmade by  ME, with my brand new archival Micron markers (that I just got in the mail! so excited) on an acid free drawing paper. Signed and dated. An image of your choice, inspired by my drawings, measuring 2.5 x 3.5 inches.
The fourth recipient will be randomly chosen from the remaining comments.

What's the catch?
No catch!
Just as soon as I will post that you are a                                  
I'd appreciate you to post Art Forward on your blog and continue the game. Then email me to your delivery address and design or image of your choice, and I'll get to work!

Those who DO NOT get to win and still would like an ACEO or a drawing from me, I will gladly do an ART EXCHANGE. 
Something creative of yours for something creative of mine!

Thank you for JOINING!

Name Keepsakes: DIANA

My first name keepsake!
So excited!
It was custom ordered by a friend who is giving it as a gift.
The recipient has changed her name to Diana after overcoming a series of life challenges that have strengthened her and led her to identify herself with this being form Roman Mythology.
I have researched the meaning of the name and incorporated images that are connected with the myth.
The drawing is made using archival pens by Micron on acid free Strathmore Bristoll Vellum paper.
Zentangle doodles were added to fill in the spaces between images.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Illustration Friday: Cultivate

Nothing material lasts forever.
Also spiritually we are changing as we grow, mature and encounter series of hardships in our lives.
Last week's IF theme "Cultivate" seemed perfectly chosen during those trouble-some times on our planet Earth.
One small ball of air, water and land, spinning fearlessly in the vast universe, and it's inhabitants are at each others necks since the beginning of time...

I invite you to watch this wonderful video of  Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman,  an elder of the Dakota Sioux, preceded by a short article.

We come from Earth and as Earth changes, we change.
And as we change, we affect the Earth.
If people believe in the prophecies of the coded Bible/ Torah or not, noone cannot deny the fact, that the inevitable changes to Earth are taking place right now. That we have abused her resources for decades, and only realize it now.
And we suffer the consequences and 'she' is changing.

My  artist friend Rubin Pingk has hooked me on Art Exchange project, that I am going to participate in. (More about that coming up soon.)
I made my first ever ACEO card last night. Inspired by combination of the IF theme, the video above and Rubin's project.
I have chosen an excerpt for the ACEO from my original drawing I made in 2006, titled "Potential", you can find it here.

I still didn't buy new camera since my old one is totaled, so the image is scanned in. The background is water colored w/ sprinkles of salt to bring out the texture. The colors are sooo much more vivid in reality and the drawing much sharper. Until I get new camera, this must do.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Purim!

This past weekend we have celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim.
While Dell reps were fixing my computer last week, I was Zentangling and came up with this Purim greeting card image.
Wicked Haman is walking Mordechai through the town  on the king's horse. King Achashverosh and Queen Esther are the other images.

Megillat Esther teaches us that life’s challenges are always for the best, because what appears as an obstacle is really an opportunity to develop ourselves for the better. And it all comes from God’s invisible hand that guides our fate, every step of the way.

Zentangle  is so much fun ! I got a whole portfolio in my head! :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I am back!

OK. So last IF topic was WARNING!
And guess what.
That Friday morning I was looking up some warning signs of animals on Flicker, when suddenly (coincidentally?) I got "Warning" signs all over my screen.
I got virus!
My computer hardware shut down too and though I have McAffee, nothing worked.
Dear Dell personnel, outsourcing from I guess India, sent me a technician twice. Changed my hardrive twice, played around with my computer and almost 2 wks later! made it work only after talking me into buying an extra software protection plan..
No, I tried e.t. there was no way to go around it.
Geek Squad or anyone else would charge me the same just for one time service. At least I am covered for a year.
Boy are we hooked on technology!
I canceled my TV 6 mos ago., too much of nothing going on for my money, I rather spend my evenings drawing. But now without even the computer I felt so cut off from the world.

Thank you for checking on me, Rubin. I have reemerged. It's now 1:30 am in NYC and I am exhausted from being on the phone with Dell for 4hrs! I am going to sleep!

New artwork coming up soon...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Illustration Friday: Swarm

People say, you should not have expectations..
I say, you have to have expectations, just expect the unexpected!

When I was about 6 yrs old, I spent a few weeks of summer vacation with my family in a rented cottage. It was a small colony of about ten cottages, ten families, no electricity, just kerosene lamps.
My mother used portable gas stove to cook her delicious melas on, and we took "showers" outdoors, under an iron water well pump.
Me and my sister ran around, smelling of summer sun. Trees and grass and buzzy bees and birds everywhere. Endless outdoors adventures. Exciting summer storms, that kept us indoors playing cards and board games, mushroom hunting..I could go on and on..wooonderfull summer!

One morning I woke up to find our grassy cottage front swarming with hundreds of orange butterflies.

They were all gone by mid day, besides one.
For some reason, one butterfly stayed, and followed me the whole day.. I think I gave him a name.
He flew away into the sunset right before my bedtime. I couldn't fall asleep. I got so attached to him.

The following day,  he was nowhere to be found.
Suddenly, while I was playing in the grass, he came out of nowhere and sat on my shoulder!
I froze and called out for mom to come and look. I got up slowly and he stayed on me while I walked around. I felt so special!
Two more weeks till the end of the summer vacation in the cottage; he came back every day!

I was heart broken when we had to leave.
The following summer, I couldn't wait to see if he was back...  :)

This drawing is based on my memory of this one magical summer encounter.

Monday, February 28, 2011

"Fish & Birds" - Sketchbook Challenge, Feb. 2011

Here is my first Sketchbook Challenge.
I do own a sketchbook, although I draw in it once in a blue moon.
I use my printer paper for most of my stuff. Yes, non archival....I'll get more organized soon.
I am happy I found this challenge blog. Between this monthly task and weekly IF, it's just about what I can keep up with for now, even there is just so much more to sign up to! I am looking forward to adding more.
I decided that I do have a chance to be drawn (randomly) as one of the 2000-something people, to win some art supplies, that I so need, so I submitted this picture, just minutes before deadline. We'll see.

The theme this month was "Opposites".
So of course I first thought of my black pen on white paper. And then fish vs. birds, swim vs. flight, far vs. near, circle vs. triangle...
So I took out my sketchbook... and added to it (1 yr later).
I love color,  but my Sony camera got destroyed by my toddler's spilled apple juice and I haven't yet  bought a new one to take pictures of my watercolors. Scanner eats all the color up. :(

It is obviously just a sketch.. perhaps I will add to it or redo it in the future. Suggestions are welcome.

( I admire M.C.Escher..he has no comparison!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Illustration Friday: Layers

Layers of Love.
From partner to partner.
From parent to child.
From child to its mother. Mother and father.
Sister to brother.
Contagious like a smile. Growing.
And traveling from one to another...

Tough topic this week.
I had in my mind everything form the layers of onion, to earth and winter clothing; even layers of character and experience with years.
Spending some valuable time with my kids this weekend, reminded me, when I was pregnant with my second child.  I asked a friend, how did she feel when her younger son was born. Did she divide her love? Did she feel more love toward her new baby?
She said, her love just got bigger.

With each child my love only grew. It is amazing how the creator keeps on layering our love.
How there is just more to give each time we do. True unconditional love is just bottomless.
And the more we get love, the more we give love and the more we give the more we get.

Layers upon layers upon layers..

Monday, February 14, 2011

Illustration Friday: Sweater

This is my second IF drawing.
Also found on flicker among my other works.
The first one I did was last week. You can find it here.

The initial idea that came to my mind was a person sweating, but that didn't intrigue me enough to draw. Second thing was a llama. I love alpaca wool. So soft. And here is the drawing. 
There is just something so serene about a knitting grandma. And this idea makes knitting "green". :)
No dying. No processing. No balls of yarn with printed labels...
The original drawing has a bit of a color. The sweater is actually sepia and so are the flowers the lama is eating. But I couldn't scan in the colored version well, the BW came out much better.
Thank you for looking.

Welcome to my blog.

Why Memories of Trees?
Yes, I am a big Enya fan and Memory of Trees is my favorite song of hers...
The true is that as a child, whenever I doodled, it was always trees, (while sitting on trees) and during drawing those amazing creations, I dreamed of being an artist, a real artist, that creates works which will make people feel good, like a relaxing song.
Music can change someone's mood. Painting or drawing can do the same.

Being a busy mom, I do not yet have my own art studio to retreat to. Just a desk, dining room table,  a drawing board on my lap and empty walls in my house or someone else's to paint on.
I have managed though to have some of my work published, but there's much more I yet have to learn.
I am amazed by the computer age that enables artists to share their work, gratefull to watch free art lessons, and  talented works of others.
I have decided to put together this blog, where I can share my work and get some constructive criticism and words of encouragement from fellow artists.

Thank you G-d, H-shem, the creator of the world and all the living things, who has gifted me with two "golden" hands.
And I'd would also like to thank all those people who ever hired me to paint their walls, and all my friends who ever admired my creations and who keep on "bugging" me to make it public.

This is for YOU and because of YOU!
For helping me remember my trees.

Thank you for visiting.
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