Monday, October 25, 2010


As a teaching artist I have done any number of programs where I demonstrated, among other things, how to draw portraits and how to use water color. In numerous cases I actually enjoyed some of the samples that I created and preferred to keep and file them away as opposed to disposing of them.

As I was sorting through some of my file drawers I found a few of these samples. They were purely academic and not terribly interesting. Still, I felt as though there was some sort of untapped potential in them. It occurred to me that with a little tweeking the pieces could take on entirely new forms.

In certain cases I had used oil pastels because of the wonderfully resistant effect that occurrs when water color is applied over it. This is the technical part that I enjoyed. But aesthetically there were other issues that I could explore as well.

In this day and age I am very fond working with collage assemblages. As I looked at the pieces I wondered how I could apply this approach to the water colors. I noticed that quite by coincidence all of the portraits were almost the same size and proportion. If I could cut them apart and then reassemble them as I done on so many other occasions, the results might be quite interesting.

I love how identities can be blurred and relationships reinvented, and all in a state of resolved dissonance.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Over thirty years ago I was living on a kibbutz in the Negev desert near the Gaza Strip. As a young artist I was granted a day a week to ‘make’ art instead of working in the fields or in the kibbutz factory. I was just learning to be a painter but as an art student I had briefly been introduced to etching butnever really pursued it. At some point I had met the director of a printmaking studio from Tel Aviv and had asked him about creating etchings. He had told me that if I could arrange to get to the studio, then he would let me to work as an unpaid assistant and in return he would give me free access to the facilities. So over the course of seven or eight months I would take a weekly 3 hour bus ride up to Tel Aviv to the studio where I would sweep the floors, grind lithography stones, prepare etching plates, and silk screens while slowly experimenting with my own work. The good news is that I was very productive. The bad news is that it was hard work with long hours and I would inevitably miss the one late bus back to the kibbutz. With no money I would periodically stay with a friend. But in many cases I would have no choice but to spend my nights walking the streets, and sleeping on benches and stairways until I could catch an early bus back to the kibbutz the following morning.

Eventually I left the kibbutz began work full time at the print studio where I worked for another year, creating an entirely new body of work. The samples here are a few of the dozen or so pieces I created in my first year. All are printed in black ink.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Egg Heads

I am aware of some expression from somewhere referring to some idea that suggests that we are the sum of many parts. The Egg Head Series is a fair representation of this idea. While creating other collages I had accumulated bits and pieces of paper and remnants of drawings (in pencil and in ink) that I could just not dispose of. “You never know when they might come handy.” And the Egg Heads are the direct beneficiaries of these bits and pieces.

First I cut the paper into square like shapes and then randomly glued them together. From there with watered down acrylic paint I dabbed a few suggestions of the facial features and then applied a bit of ink for extra details. Each face was created with the same intention and from the same perspective—straight on.

What always enjoy is creating images using layers of disparate pieces with the resultant textures that become almost invisible except to the touch. This is the case with all my collages, and why they always demand another look.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Etching Collages

30 years ago I worked in a printmaking studio. Although I only stayed a couple of years I managed to accumulate a large body of etchings, most of which remained in my file drawers for the next 20 years. About 10 years ago, I had begun experimenting with collage and thought about my neglected etchings. Cutting them apart I began to reassemble them into entirely new pieces, complementing parts of them with pen and ink or acrylic paint. What I love about them is not only the texture of the pieces but the process of find the pieces to complete the pictures. This past September I had a busy month with the colored etchings. Here is a sampling of some of it.