the menorah … “is to be made of sixty-six pounds of pure gold. see that you make them according to the design being shown you on the mountain.” Sh’mot (Exodus) 25:39-40.
on one level the construction of the menorah is exact, and drawing an image of it is relatively easier than drawing light–for light is not static, it is a phenomena, its ethereal; it has an effect on what it shines on. hence when we realize that the Shekinah of G-d– represented as the menorah’s light– is present, we cannot avoid it having a profound effect on us.
since the time I took up the pen and brush again I have been drawn to the menorah as a subject, and studied the Torah for its description– mainly in Exodus 25, and Exodus 37. here is a concise entry of the menorah by Tracey R. Rich at Judaism 101.
I found it intriguing that the almond blossom is used to describe the bulbs and branches. (the almond staff of Aaron that budded a branch has great significance.) while there is no longer a temple in Jerusalem for the menorah to rest, one enduring purpose is to give light to man of the presence of Hashem throughout the world.
I want to give credit where its due. the first big help came last month (Feb 2015) when I walked in at Spring Board for the Arts offices in Lowertown St Paul, Minn. I met one of their resource directors, Zar M, and he showed me their free courses on Work of Art, Business Skills for Artists, which I enrolled in promptly. After meeting a co-attendee at the 3rd workshop, he gave me the Artist Directory & Guide for Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA). My eyes popped as I realized this community of 700 artists (in both Minneapolis and St Paul) have their collective studios or home in a 1-mile square neighborhood next to the Mississippi River. I’ve known of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, U of M, Minneapolis College of Art & Design, Walker Art center, Weisman Art Museum, etc, but that’s a different kind of community; its more like the education phase–if you look at a continuum– where the business end is a gallery and patrons, and customers ranging from individual to corporations. I have definite plans to follow the map in this directory and get familiar with the artists there in NE Minneapolis, even take the Art-a-Whirl tour to get a lay of the land. I’m just so sure this will be the type of influence and encouragement I know I’ve been lacking for 25 years.
The caterpillar may or not know what he will change into (what do you believe?), but the symbolism is what I’m reaching for here. As an artist I’m aiming to get back on the road my Creator seems to have laid out for me, hence this image. I made it mainly to get a sense of what color pencils will do to evoke the soft texture and subtle shift of colors of the monarch’s wings.
its never too late to start something new. I’m an artist, but for a couple decades I hesitated to see myself that way, even if it was first obvious to everyone else as early as the 1st grade. so this blog will document my journey back up to what Adonai, G-d of the universe, would probably have wanted me to be doing years ago.
this self portrait was done near my last year of college (1979). I’ll put up more art from that period from time to time, but my real reason to have a blog is to get me posting new things daily. I welcome your comments and candor.
the paper I painted on with oils is 18 x 24, so the head is larger than life. often I find a surprising result when I venture beyond what I’m accustomed doing, like moving from mono to stereo, and later to surround sound.