I am always painting to music and can often remember what I was listening to when painting a certain piece. Just click on any of the videos below to step inside the mood in my studio.
"A painting I completed in November 2014. I don't do florals very often but this one came out of a conversation with a close friend about the art of Judy Chicago and Georgia O'Keeffe, and what it means to be a female artist living in the age of third-wave feminism. The flower itself came from my garden... the musical inspiration during the work, from Adam Cohen..."
(The Song: What Other Guy, Adam Cohen)
"A painting I completed in October/November of 2014. I've been listening to a lot of Passenger this year, so there have been several paintings done along with his music in the studio. This song is especially meaningful..."
(The song: Rivers, Passenger, duet with Lior)
"A commissioned painting I completed in October 2014 for a North Carolina couple who honeymooned in Lake Louise. It was great to create something so meaningful for them and contribute to their celebration. This time through the process, it was Lenny Kravitz's music playing in the studio..."
(The song: Stillness of Heart, Lenny Kravitz)
Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, I have been making art since I was a child. I really don't remember a time when I wasn't creating. My fascination with watercolours started in high school when I was first introduced to the medium. It was love at first sight. That led to an art degree from the University of Calgary and further watercolour instruction at the Alberta College of Art & Design. I have at times tried other media but have always returned to watercolours. I am at a point in my career now that I am sticking with my first love.
Living in Calgary I was always surrounded by amazing and overwhelming landscape, from the giant Rocky Mountains to the endless flow of the prairies. Fully embracing who I was meant spending time in Israel and painting its landscape as well. Having lived on Vancouver Island in years past and now living in Vancouver, I have done a lot of painting of the Canadian west coast as well. There is something about these lands that all speak deeply to my soul and contribute to my expression.
The most significant moment in my artistic journey took place at the turn of the millennium. I grew up with parents who survived WWII and the Holocaust. The subject of the Holocaust in particular however was off-limits in our home, and the most I ever heard were whispered conversations between my parents. Our home was secular and full of anxiety, and I was told over and over by my father not to let anyone find out I am a Jew. Given his concentration camp experience as a young boy, his fear was justified and I never questioned it. I grew up associating my Judaism with one thing only - fear. This also made it an identity that was very easy to walk away from.
But it turned out it was the artistic process that wouldn’t let me leave a core part of my identity behind. Painting with bright, vibrant colours has always been an antidote for me to the black and white of my family history and in the early 2000s, it became a much more conscious process. I began to use my art to recover my identity. I painted a series of works that addressed many of the things I was never allowed to talk about as a child. I had been reading a series of essays written by Jewish theologians during and after the Holocaust and came across the stunning parallel many of them made between the crucifixion (the execution of one Jew 2000 years ago) and the murder of 6,000,000 Jews in the 20th century. Coupled with my fascination with Chagall's work and his paintings of the crucifixion that make the same association, my own paintings were born.
Since the beginning of that journey, my faith has deeply affected how I approach and express myself through painting. As an artist who painted the vast Canadian landscape, reconnecting with my identity as a Jew meant the discovery of another landscape in Israel. The land has always been a spiritual touchstone for me.
Artistically, Canadian painters Lawren Harris and Toni Onley have been big influences on my painting. The power that Harris evokes through stylization of the Canadian landscape had a huge impact on me. And though my own style with watercolours is quite different from Onley's, the freedom and simplicity in his work has always been great inspiration to me. Of course, Chagall's work played a very big role in helping me find my place as a Jewish artist. Seeing his work in person in several places in Israel, I was in awe of his ability to express deep and sometimes difficult subjects. I am inspired by all of them, and the journey itself, to continue to seek new and deeper ways to express my spiritual reality.
It is only in the last couple of years that I have ventured into abstract expression, though I've been told by other artists that my landscapes are just abstractions with a horizon line. But I wanted to explore being more "automatic" in my art, and paint in such a way that I was drawing from a deeper core, less reasoned and more intuitive. This to me is what defines the continuance of my art journey. I love painting reflections, whether the ocean, a mountain lake, the Sea of Galilee, or just a puddle. The water of the medium itself and the subject of water and reflections have always held significant spiritual meaning for me.
I am a full-time artist, though I do still have a part-time job on the side. I've been told by many artists in various fields of expression not to quit the day job too quickly! In the meantime, it is a balancing act. My dream is to be able to make a living from my art alone so that I can devote all my time to my first love. The adjustments made to my lifestyle to pursue my artistic goals have been well worth it. There is no looking back.
I am thrilled when someone respects my work enough that they are willing to invest in a painting to adorn their home or office. It is the ultimate connection and affirmation.