My Tuition Fundraiser

Hello,

As part of my efforts to pay the tuition of my art school as well as related expenses next year I am offering my entire collection of student work for sale. Most of the pieces are framed.

These are all originals and will help support my efforts to make a career as an Artist.

My body of work includes drawings in graphite and pastel, monochromatic and limited-palette oil paintings. Some of these works are a result of 5 moths of work, some are shorter studies done in a week.

If you found one you would like to purchase or ask questions about, please contact me.

          

‘The Merchant’, $2200     ‘Journey’, $850               ‘At Rest’, $850

          

‘The Little Nun’, $480       ‘Seated Nude’, $660        ‘Potion Making’, SOLD

           

‘Reclining Nude’, $540      ‘Sea Shell’, $80                ‘Standing Nude’, $450

           

‘The world in                   ‘Greek Sculpture’, $450    ‘Woman with Red Scarf’,
my Hand’, $550                                                   $60

          

‘Sphere’, $80                  ‘Glass and Leaf’, $80       ‘Metal Vase’, $80

     

‘Standing Nude’, $80      ‘Seated Nude’, SOLD

          

‘Curved’, $60                    ‘Standing Nude’, $80        ‘Ashley’, $35

          

‘Allan’, $35                  ‘Triangular’, $35              ‘A Man’s Profile’, $35

 

Creating art as introspection (weekly #12)

My core motivation in making art is a process of self discovery and contemplation.

Drawing or painting an image from my head allows me to look at it as a concrete and better understand what it is I had in mind. It is a process of translation from something abstract in my mind to a physical representation of it.

As I’m creating the drawing, I would feel compelled to move some parts, increase certain aspects of the gesture or minimize them, have the head turn a certain way, have the character look a certain direction or have a certain expression – I don’t always know all the parts beforehand – sometimes they become clear after I put down some core part of the idea I had in mind.

The best examples to illustrate this can be found in my old drawings (about 10 years ago) when I was drawing from my head. These drawings are anatomically bad, but they have something good. The stuff that makes art – art. That spice that cannot be mistaken for any other – authentic introspection (or inspiration).
They show a process of discovering the physical representation of something I found interesting and appealing, the process of finding that translation.

For example, in the drawing above, I had in mind a certain character, which was best expressed in a moment of fleeting attention to something.
Usually, no one would give this drawing a second or a first look because it is technically poor, but, wait one minute longer, see if you can find something interesting about it that would make you want to see this woman as a well-developed painting.
What I see, is a face and an expression one rarely encounters. She seems cold and mildly interested in what she is looking at, but at the same time she seems like a person who is not easily interested in things because she knows so much already (not because she is shallow or not curious as a person).
For me, the drawing started from a similar feeling to how this woman seem, and the motivation to draw it was a compelling urge to make it real so I can look at it, move some lines, change things, move her eyebrows up or down, decide if her mouth should be open or closed until I know it’s captures “that thing” just right. I don’t know what “that thing” is as I put it, nor why it is better if she has her mouth open and not closed – those questions are answered later, maybe, say, 10 years later as I’m looking at it, or ideally, after the first sketch and before I move on to working on making it a final, well developed piece.

I go through a similar process in drawing the whole figure from imagination, or while describing a certain situation. In the next drawing , for example, I actually had the dragon in mind, and the lady with it was a derivative.

The dragon is upset – it has to go through a long journey chained and shackled. It’s sitting in a corner, looking at its chains and crying, while its captive is care free.
The funny thing about it is that the dragon is 50 times stronger than the woman – the chain is not secured to the ground, but loosely tied to a thin, brittle stick which the girl is holding. The dragon can escape at any time, yet it doesn’t know it because it is busy looking at its shackles and crying. Too busy following its captor obediently to realize how easily he can be free. The idea doesn’t start with a dragon, in this case I couldn’t tell you what the idea started as, it somehow just was in my mind but then I still had that need to see how it would look like, to go through the process of figuring this idea out.

I had a similar moment to that as I was working on the background for the current painting I’m working on at my school. This one, however is different because I have limited choice in the subject matter. I did, however, choose the background:

I was struggling with the background for a while, trying different things that didn’t work until finally, I gave my self permission to just put things down boldly, to put down what I really want to see. So I started by making the curvy line and darkening the area bellow it, then, I knew I wanted bright sky behind her, I put the ocean line and the sky, then I realized this could be the edge of a large round window on a ship.

This is how groping for ideas for the background looked like at the beginning:

 

One last thing I want to talk about relates to the content with which I started this post.
In the past I would draw, not knowing what my technical drawbacks were. Being unaware of any flaws, I felt free to put down whatever was on my mind. I had total freedom to explore my ideas and I produced a lot of such fast drawings and paintings too.
After a while I realized the drawbacks and I was not satisfied with the technical side of my art anymore. I refrained from drawing because I was afraid to disappoint myself.
Today I realize, it doesn’t matter at all. You can always have room to improve the technical side of your work, as an artist, but what is equally valuable or of greater value, perhaps, is to be able to express your ideas; to have open communication with your subconscious and to be able to put down lines to create a drawing like the first one I shared here, of a woman’s face.
Today, equipped with better knowledge and experience I can improve the anatomy of that face, but I could never get back that moment and expression had I not put them down. If all I focused on was getting the anatomy right, all I would have now is one more anatomically accurate face. Boy, am I glad I didn’t worry about all that stuff!

The realization I had was that as an artist, preserving your soul is just as hard a job as improving your technical skills. You must give yourself permission and place to screw up in technique; to be wrong; whatever it takes, but keep that “channel” to your subconscious open.
Creativity is a habit, but a fragile one that needs to be nurtured and guarded. The good news is that all it really takes is your own permission.

Today I am celebrating my 31st Birthday. It is not a coincidence that today of all days I am sharing my oldest work which is also technically worst, something you would expect an artist to keep hidden in their closet.
As an artist, it is THOSE paintings and not my current ones (which are technically superior) which I would celebrate primarily. Those have my soul, these have my mind (as well as some of my soul). I find both equally difficult to make and eventually I will have the combined challenge of both things.

I hope that by putting my old work here for display for all to see, I am giving courage to someone else out there to embrace their own work and cherish their inner “spark”: don’t trade it for a better technique or for compliments. It just ain’t worth it, man.

I wish myself a good birthday and a successful and happy year to come.
Why, thank you, that’s very nice of you to say, Ifat. You too. 😉

-Ifat

My finished portrait painting (weekly #10)

Friday I finished my 4-week painting. Here is a picture of it that I took with my cellphone:

(Click to Enlarge)

I’ll post a high quality picture after the painting is dry enough to varnish (which revives the color and reveals finer details).

I had fun painting this one.
Because of the subject, I felt comfortable painting more loosely than I usually do. The reason for that was that an unblended brush stroke would end up looking like a wrinkle in the skin and stay true to the subject.

This means that I did not make an effort to blend brush strokes into existing paint on the canvas and just let them sit on top. Another aspect of this is that I built up my paint in layers working wet into wet. So, suppose I wanted to paint the feather, for example, first I would put the background, then I would put the colors of the halo of the feather (I wanted it to have a bluish halo), then I put some dark brown, which is the average dark part of the feather and finally built up the lighter paints on top, letting them sit there without blending them into the canvas.

I will try to continue the same method of working on the next long pose – we will have a young woman.

 

I find that I really like finding similarities among objects, as much as I like finding the differences. I may think of the structural separation between the nose and the cheek, but then find that they are similar in value because the light is hitting them both equally, creating very little separation between the two planes. It is a challenge to describe the differences and the similarity at the same time. I enjoy this challenge and I am curious to see to what balance I would eventually arrive to in my style of painting.
Finding differences is more of my natural inclination and I hope the balance will end up being more on the “similarity” side.

For a reason I don’t yet know, subconsciously, I think of being “true to what I see” primarily as being able to find distinction between things rather than similarity. I think that deep down inside, I think that it is the separation from other entities that gives something its identity, even though its similarity to other entities is part of identity just the same. For example, an apple is an apple because it is different than a banana (it’s green, firm etc’), but also because it is similar to a banana (it’s sweet, edible etc’).

Or to pick an example that relates to painting: An object in a bright light is distinct from a neighboring object in the light (they have different shapes and colors), but they are similar in that they are both in the light. The question is, which should takes precedence when painting them – The similarity or the difference?

My answer is: It depends on what the theme of the piece is (I think of it as the “actual subject”, as oppose to the subject matter, which is a different thing). If these are just background objects to the “actual subject”, then it is better to describe them as just “things that have bright light hitting them” and play on their similarity. If these are the actual subject, though, it would be better to emphasize their difference.

The challenge is, then, not to obsess over any particular object and describe it to perfection if it is not the “actual subject” of your piece. This sort of obsessing is easy to do, since when painting it, it is the center of the artist visual focus (Last week I quoted my instructor about this).
I think the key to avoiding the error of over describing something is to keep in mind the actual subject of your artwork at all times. This is achieved by staying emotionally connected to what it is you find appealing in the painting you are creating at all times.

I am discussing this a little too soon, though. I am still an art student and what I create are studies, not art in the full sense. I learn to see and describe value, color, paint handling and so on. As such, they don’t necessarily have an “actual subject” – not a subject I chose and not one I am necessarily emotionally attached to. This is OK, this is the way a school should work, in my opinion, since the primary focus should be technical.

Next year, which will be my final year, I plan to work on a project that would involve more of working from imagination and putting a figure in an environment. That project will be one where I will apply the above thinking more.

Have a good week and I appreciate your interest,

-Ifat

 

My finished 5-months still-life drawing (weekly post #5 )

Title: ‘Potion Making’

Still life pastel drawing
(Click to Enlarge)

The drawing is done with black and white pastel pencils over toned paper.

This is part of my first year Atelier training where we learn to see nothing but value. This drawing took quite a while with a lot of challenges along the way but eventually I completed it to my satisfaction.

The idea I had behind it was to choose objects which are integrated by a narrative. It was quite fun, although I still haven’t decided which potion I was making. Was it a truth drug or a love potion, or maybe a potion that makes you incredibly lucky – a potion that provides answers to all the questions your subconscious knows. Maybe a potion that turns you into a mermaid for one day. Cool; potions are fun.

I think I would have chosen to become a mermaid for one day, but only if I could find predator free waters to swim in (and possibly, if I had enough of the potion to share with a friend).

This was the last drawing project I did – this year it’s only paintings. I currently have a love-hate relationship with oil painting. I love it. I hate it. Indeed, it’s how it is. But I think I love it more.
Cheers!

-Ifat

 

My weekly Post #1

Hi there.

I’ve decided to start a new tradition on my blog and make a weekly blog post on Saturday, discussing new thoughts and ideas I have about my art as well as my progress at my art school and what I’m working on.

So from now on every Weekend will feature such weekly post. Alright, so here we go. What have I been doing all this time?

I’ve been working on a lot of paintings since the beginning of the year. Last year was nothing but drawing for me, this year started with monochromatic painting (just a black and white), then I added red to my palette and finally, in the last 2 weeks: Yellow. Oh, the excitement!

So I realize that for you, the reader, there is no proof that I am actually doing these things since I have not been posting pictures. So to prove that I am not making this up, I shall post some highlights.

Here are a couple of drawings from last year. One in Graphite and one in Pastel pencils:

  
One of my favorite poses this year has been a new model at my atelier named Jodie. I painted her for 3 days with black and white oil paints; it was a very delightful and inspiring experience. I had a lot of fun describing the form of her body with paint. Here is a picture I took (with my low quality camera, unfortunately):

 

The story will will continue next week, in my weekly Ifat’s Art post #2.

-Ifat