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Archive for April 28th, 2009

Today is Yom HaZikaron (memorial day) which is held the day before independence day – Yom HaAtzmaut.

Much has been written about this almost impossible juxtaposition of grief next to rejoicing. The idea is that in order to rejoice we need to remember those who enabled our independence. A very beautiful idea and one that focuses the whole country on a day of national, often very sentimental, mourning. Everyone knows someone who has a close relative who has died in our never ending war from independence to this day. Thus the public mourning focuses not on the achievements and the heroism, but on the personal loss and tragedy of our best young men and women who we send to defend us.

Most people work half day (except those who attend memorial ceremonies in the morning). I have the whole day off work, so I am making good use of the free time. The first thing I did this morning was to do my country a good turn and I collected up plastic bottles left on the badly kept path and undeveloped land next to our home. Five minutes work and I came back with a large bag bursting full of bottles.

I made a resolution that when I go out walking at nights (another resolution I am trying to keep to), I will collect up at least once a week discarded bottles.

The number of discarded bottles on the edges of undeveloped plots and under bushes on the side of the road never ceases to amaze me. Who drinks all these 1.5 liter bottles? Some of the ones around the park next to our house are left every night by kids who smoke nargilas there. We have a big problem with garbage in the park and although the city sends someone once a week to clean up, there is a lot of mess there.

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2009_04280001-400What you see here is progress of yesterday evening. From a blank canvas to this took about two hours, maybe a bit less.

I started with a phthalo blue underpaint wash (which you can see poking through the shady bit of the path at the bottom). I then started from the top down. Soon I realized this was not going to get me where I wanted to go (too regimented) and I started just blocking in color over the whole canvas.

Build it up and this is what came out. It is not finished yet, but the challenge now is not to lose the spontaneity of the picture when I add in finer, more careful detail.

My palette was sap and olive greens, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, titanium white and oxide black.

I must say I was pretty amazed at what came out. It’s that feeling of the painting flowing sub-consciously from my fingers, working instinctively and not really knowing how I got there. It is now about half a year since I last picked up a brush and I was not expecting this.

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