The inspiration for the painting came from Igor Shrayer's photo: [link]
The painting was done as part of the cityscape workshop in the Solo-exhibition group[link]
My process is described in pages 14-17 of the workshop (including some WIPs)
Original size is 15x22". Painted using W&N pigments and some watercolor pencils on 300LBS CP Arches paper.
My purpose was to paint it in “California Style”. Artists working in this style often chose to paint watercolors depicting scenes of everyday life in the cities and suburbs of California. Their paintings had bold design, creative use of the white paper as a “color” and featured the transparency of this medium. ( [link]
I decided that Igor's photo will be suitable for the style I want. This was taken at Rue des Rosiers (road of the rose bushes) at the “Jewish Quarter” of Paris.
It was the center of the Jewish community there for centuries, but had it’s ups and downs. I got the impression that lately it is more of a commercial/tourism region than a cultural center. This made me think about the importance(or nor?) of preserving cultural heritage. As I started planing this painting I wound up taking a more personal direction, which resulted in the narrative of this painting. The little girl just wanted to fly…did her heritage help her or hinder her? Do the people around her care either way?
There is a Yiddish poem by Itzik Manger that describes this conflict aptly. (More info about the poet [link]
This is my own translation:
On the Road Stands a Tree/ Itzik Manger
On the road stands a tree,
Bent and drooping over, you see.
The birds that used to flock there,
Flew away now, perhaps forever.
Three flew west, three flew east
and the rest thought south is best
All abandoned the tree
to the winter storms’ mercy
To my mother I declared:
“Listen, mum, no matter what
I will myself, dont stand in my way,
become a bird today.
Perched upon the barren branches
I’ll console the tree with my verses.
I’ll persevere all winter long
I’ll comfort it with a lullaby song”
Said my mother: “Oh no, my boy”
God forbid, my pride and joy.”
As she cried with a bitter tear
“There you’ll freeze to death, my dear”
I protested: “ Mum, spear your tears,
Your beautiful eyes will redden,
Before you know it, right away,
I am transformed to bird already.”
Said my mother: “Itsik, my crown and glory,
For God’s sake, I do so worry,
Wrap up warmly in this scarf, it will be better,
Dont catch a cold in this wintery weather.
Put your galoshes on your feet-
The winter is so bitter, so bleak
…and dont you forget a wooly hat
dear oh dear, you make me so sad!
Wear more underclothes, dont mess about,
Or soon, silly boy, you’ll be among the dead no doubt”
I spread my wings…I flap…I try
so much extra baggage, I couldnt fly.
Mother has pilled too much on me,
The weak, helpless, little birdie.
Tearfully, and with a sigh
I gaze into my mother’s eyes.
Her boundless love, my hopes defies
prevents me from being a bird that flies.