In the summer of 1999, by chance I encountered “The Book of Kells” for the first time. As an avid, lifelong student of art history, I couldn’t believe I had never heard of it before. The astonishingly detailed illuminations that the four Irish monks were able to render over 1,500 years ago changed the direction of my art forever.
I immediately asked myself if this level of illumination can be done by a Jew working with Jewish themes, honoring the Lord G-d of Israel. My sketches that summer and fall led me to the Magen David (Shield of David) six-pointed shape as the central theme for a series that, much to my surprise, is still in-progress over a decade later.
Historically, synagogue architecture and decor has been inspired by the aesthetics surrounding them, no matter in what country they were found. This led me to explore the vibrancy of Moroccan designs and the mathmatical intricacies in ancient Persian geometry. I combine all of these exotic influences with my love of contemporary graphic design and bright colors.
The Magen David is the quintessential “Jewish” symbol. The challenge to myself for this series has been to take this relatively simple shape and illuminate it differently each time, each with a different theme out of the Tanach (Jewish Scripture), and each with a unique palette. I have filled my sketchbook with literally thousands of 1" x 1" Magen David doodles over the years. When one tiny scribble captures “the spark” that I'm looking for, the intangible quality that makes it leap off the page from among the other scribbles. Then I take it and redraw it much larger to see if it holds up.
From there I’ll produce a carefully measured version and do both value-based (b&w) sketches and loose color comps. When I've acheived a solid, compelling color design, I blow it up to 21" x 21" and transfer it to Arches 300 lbs. watercolor paper or Canson toned paper. I use a combination of watercolor, acrylic, gouache, and colored pencils to achieve the intricate designs and vibrant palettes you see in my portfolio of works.
Most important to me is that the final painting should have a deeper meaning and spiritual impact beyond the sum of its parts. While the beauty of the colors and patterns can qualify as “decor,” I strive to make each a complete, stand-alone work of ART.
Ahava v'Chai - Love and Life
Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and Prophets
The Holy Days
Tefilot - Prayers
Magen David Letters
Kabbalah and Hamsa
The Promised Land