On the Easel

My time in Israel is winding down quickly, and with it also my painting time. I have much to look forward to, including the city of Naples, a new home, further academic studies, getting married, seeing my family, as well as all the Italian food and etiquette I have been missing like crazy. Sometimes it can be hard to concentrate on the painting with all the things that need attention right now. I thought I would show a couple of my works in progress in their various stages of starts and restarts before I may find it necessary to pack them away and resume them again later after moving.

The sink study above was a quick one, maybe about an hour at most. I plan on doing another one, but much more “finished,” because I like both quick/sketchy paintings and more defined ones for so many reasons. They have different things to see about the experience of perceiving the space and subject.

The square bedroom ones below instead already involve many days and hours overlapping. I don’t share these because I am happy with them now as they are as a whole, but rather to share the process of what I am thinking about as I paint them and look at them. They have parts or aspects that perhaps I am pleased with or make me think of new directions to take. In the square painting below, for example, I am happy with the back left corner of the room, particularly with the cat cage and Christmas tree sticking out of it. But in order for the painting to be more representative of reality, in my opinion, the painting needs numerous other “days” inside of it, and in particular I need to work on the colors. I may prefer to make this painting more black and white.

This second bedroom start has a bit more room in the approach to the bed, and I like that. I also like the cooler and softer colors, and I am wondering if I don’t want to make the painting a bit more blurry-eyed in general. Below this top surface are, I think, at least 6 or 7 other paintings I had started, though I am not sure I can remember what they were.

This last square painting had originally been an interior one, depicting my kitchen, at least until the washing machine/sidewalk scene outside my front door distracted me so much to the point that I needed to grab the closest, least precious, most suitably sized surface available. Hence, no more kitchen painting. The photo below shows the first half hour of frenzied changes, and it has been an absolute joy to be outdoors painting again. I do this a lot, painting over older paintings, and not because I am convinced that the new painting will be better, but because the new motif interests me more. Painting is a passionate enterprise, involving impulsive actions which can ultimately lead to a failure. But you must take a breath and jump all the same.

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.