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!

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