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Archive for April, 2008

I started on a new picture a couple of days ago. The painting shows the view to Yemin Moshe from just next to the Jaffa Gate of the old city of Jerusalem. Yemin Moshe is a beautiful historic neighbourhood set adjacent to the old city. It was the first neighbourhood to be built outsid eth city walls in 1891 and is named after Moshe (Moses) Montifiore (the name means “the right [hand] of Moshe”) – the Jewish British philanthropist who established it. I have been planning this picture for quite a while and during the recent Pesach holiday I took some photos around there when I did the old city ramparts walk with my children.

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I dropped in at Nofim this afternoon and I was honored to find my pictures hanging next to a Menashe Kadishman sheep. You can see my Walls of Jerusalem at the bottom and Gateway with Bouganvillea on the right.

I’m pleased to see they’re keeping good company.

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The effect of a frame

Yoyo blogged about my painting “Banias water” that I gave them on my recent trip to Australia. Thanks Yoyo,  I am really glad you like the picture. I see what you mean about the black frame… I would probably have gone for something a bit more silvery.

Choosing frame color is always a hard thing for me. When I work on a painting and spend time to get everything just right, making a decision about the frame is by far more difficult. The color of the frame can make such a big difference to the whole effect of the painting. It can close it in or just let it flow out. It can change your perception of the composition and of what color the painting is even.

An example is my painting “Running brook” that I have hanging on my wall at home. I thought the painting was brown until I framed it in the silvery colored frame you can see here on teh right that is reminiscent of the rocks in the painting and it turned out that the painting is now dominated by the bluish colors of the top half of the picture. When I was choosing the frame it was a toss-up between this and the brown with a green band frame you can see at the bottom. I stood there in the frame shop (Alon’s machsan in Ramat Beit Shemesh) for several good minutes, umming and ahhing until I chose… and I am still not sure if I made the correct choice.

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Pesach in the air

If you have been wondering why I haven’t been doing any painting recently (or blogging a lot either) it is because Pesach is in the air.

Pesach is the Jewish festival that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. For those unfamiliar with the story, the family of Jacob went down to Egypt where in the course of a couple of generations they were enslaved by the Pharoah. After a couple of hundred years, God called on Moses to take the people out of Egypt and lead them back to Israel. Pharoah refused to let them go, God sent 10 plagues until the Egyptians ejected their Hebrew slaves and the march to the promised land began.

As with all Jewish festivals there is the historical story on the one hand and the inner meaning on the other. So what is Pesach really all about? It is about the belief that there is right and wrong and that evil empires and their emperors do not have a divine right to rule. It is about the belief that there is meaning to history, right will prevail and that there is a basis for hope. It is also the birthday of the Jewish people as a nation and a time to look at the relationship we have with God.

So why is this stopping me from painting?

Unlike some people, I haven’t been busy making my own Matza, but getting ready for Pesach is always a busy time.

First there is the yearly battle to clean the house of Hametz (crumbs and bits of anything leavened). You may think this is easy, but this has become the annual spring clean (nothing to do with Hametz) – with a deadline by which time all the house must be spotless. Later this week I do the real cleaning bit and kasher (make kosher) the kitchen for Pesach which is a whole exhausting day’s work.

Secondly preparing for the Seder. This is a big family meal held on the first night of Pesach where the eating is in fact the less important part, but rather the telling over the story of the Exodus based on the traditional text of the Hagadah way into the night. This is Jewish-family education’s big night. In order to prepare well for this I have had to do a lot of reading to get back up on the subject matter.

All in all a busy time.

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I just browsed back in my archive and discovered that back in August last year my first blog postings were a WIP of the Jerusalem Balcony picture.

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