Home Stretch

With summer nearing quickly, so is my time in Israel, and this is causing me a bit of a panic. Have I painted the bedroom enough? Have I painted anything enough? Two years ago, my fiance came up with a new problem to solve in the world of condensed matter physics, and two days ago he found the solution. It is an enormous relief and a cause for celebration, a marvelous achievement after an important post-PhD assignment at the Weizmann Institute – but it also means that we will be moving on to a new place soon. New problems to create and solve. Packing, moving, and unpacking. Looking for a new apartment, discovering a new neighborhood.

I can’t quite relate to the kind of relief he is feeling, even though the parallels between painting and physics are so striking. As a painter, I can spend a heck of a long time on a painting, trying to resolve it as I discover new problems along the way – but whether the official “end” of a painting refers to relief and the solution to the problem is another unknown. I can paint a ton of failures, one after the other, filling a room with them. The worst is perhaps when I paint a failure but don’t know it. Just last week, I splurged on 30 new wooden panels. They are not too large (for moving and packing) but already I have started paintings on nine of them. I am trying to balance the urge to paint more with the desire to paint sincerely and honestly and with the knowledge of limited time and impending change.


Blue Diagonal

As I paint my messy home with nostalgia of our time in Israel, I am looking forward greatly to knowing what our new home will be, knowing that it is around the corner. Somewhere and sometime soon. Although we can change countries and cultures with a mere airplane ride, I think that the memories of places stretch from one place to another, exerting themselves on how we think and what we find important, despite the distance of time and place.


Postcard Painting



Purple Blanket

Stephanie Pierce Solo Show in Boston

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Stephanie Pierce will be opening a solo exhibition at Alpha Gallery in Boston next weekend, April 16 from 3-5 pm. The show will be up through May 11, and I recommend going out of your way to see these new works. Pierce’s paintings are stunning visual trips for those who get to see them in person, a reward of intimate colors and forms that she has found by coming to that fork in the road and opting for the road less travelled. For closer looks of her paintings, please visit her excellent website.

Summer Sojourn in Italy


Pink Window of Time, 29 x 32 cm

I returned in the wee hours on Friday, September 3 after a 7 week stint in Italy at the Certosa di Pontignano just outside of Siena, and since then I have been able to improve my website and post new images. Though most of my time in Italy was taken up by things other than art and painting, I did manage to begin close to 30 paintings, all on linen, though many of these are “failures” that will become the underpaintings for others in the future. As much as I might appreciate the quick, rapid sketch, I also enjoy the challenge of returning to a theme again for further contemplation, allowing it to become a greater niche in my thought process. So some of these images here are very quick and not so big, while with others I was able to at least get a second session with it. The painting above, for example, was something I came across when going to answer the phone. That pink light coming in from the window lasts no longer than 5 minutes each evening before sunset, so I tried getting back to it a few days in a row. The painting below instead was another view I came across in my room when the entire Certosa lost power in a massive thunderstorm. I was struck by the reflection on the floor, the blast of white and the inclusion of a television, and I was forced to paint very quickly before the lights came back on an hour later.


Approaching of the Storm, 16 x 25 cm


Closet, 35 x 48 cm


Pink Journal and Paper Bag, 33 x 40 cm

I suppose one might think that a long stay in Italy would involve numerous landscapes or street scenes, but after my enduring plunge into domestic chaos and focus on the beauty in the mundane, even in luscious Italy I stayed away from painting the rolling hills of Chianti. I preferred coming across pink journals and paper bags. Still, I did venture outside a few times.


Blue Clouds, 16 x 25 cm


Afternoon View, 16 x 25 cm


Arch Study, 30 x 42 cm

But I kept returning to my room, where things seemed to change constantly with the flux of the days:


Amber Wall, 30 x 43 cm


Pillows, 16 x 25 cm

And the following are some other quick, unfinished sketches, which may hold something that can be resolved (but probably not):

About 2 weeks before returning to Israel, I began to think about my dilemma as an artist, about what it is I want to paint and what I don’t. As much as I would love to move often and walk into new places of transit to find new chaos and stories unfolding, it is hardly practical. And then the solution dawned on me, and I am extremely thrilled to get into this whole new world of works. And there will be no need to change countries, houses or furniture. What bliss.

Pushing 40 cm

For the last year, I have been very good at limiting myself with surfaces that will be manageable when the time comes again to change home and country.  I gave myself a maximum limit of 30 cradled wooden panels (my favorite painting surface) under 50 x 70 cm, along with various sizes of linen (which I dislike now for the tooth) and paper.  Still, I felt stifled by the smaller sizes I have been working with and I really needed a solution.  On heavy duty painting paper, I have found that with several coats of gesso, the paint slips around for me like it does on panel.  And with sizes reaching 100 x 140 cm, I am thrilled to work on sizes that take in a greater perspective.  Though I used to work large on linen, I have found that the texture “irritates” me, gets in the way and forces me to paint in a way that seems less natural to the way I paint.  I love when paint slips around and feels like it has a liquid mind of its own, and panel – and now the gessoed paper – provides this kind of surface.  The images here show 2 different pieces I have started.  I intend to work them quite a bit more to see how they can evolve, allowing myself the artistic luxury of reconsidering marks, colors and composition. Like sinking your teeth into something tasty after a prolonged artistic surface diet.