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Sign of Life

Hello friends. It's been terrible, really. But as Douglas Adams noted, human beings are great adaptors, and life settles into a new routine.

It took me two months to pick up a brush again. It took a couple of more weeks to decide I'm officially back to work. I missed it. I miss working. I miss painting and the act of creation; more than ever, this feels like the cure for all the destruction and pain.

So here's what I'm doing:

Drawing with the evacuated kids

Once a week I drive down to the Dead Sea, to draw with the kids who where evacuated from their homes. I've been doing this since mid-November. It's a way I can help, and though it's hard both physically and emotionally, I do it because I feel it makes a difference for them.

Drawing comics with the evacuated kids in the Dead Sea Hotels, November 2023

Light beats the Darkness Monster, kids drawing, Israel -Hamas War
"Light beats the Darkness Monster"

Now to get back to my own work I needed some structure to help me get back on track, and the January 2024 Strada Challenge was just the thing.

It's a daily painting challenge. The objective is to paint or draw from life every day during the month of January.

It feels so good to be out and painting, even if it's just half an hour during lunch break.

Today was the fourth day already, here are the works so far:

Warm-up painting

A couple of days before the challenge I checked all my gear, got everything ready, and did a warm up session on the balcony at home.

I painted the Limequat tree against the grey urban background.

Oil painting of Urban Limequat Tree, oil on panel, plein air
Urban Limequat Tree, oil on panel, plein air

painting setup on the balcony

Day 1

Monday is now the day I'm at the hotels, and I only had about one hour for a lunch break. I went down to the beach and saw these blue chairs sitting in the water. Lovely calm scene to get started.

Pencil Drawing of man sitting on chairs in the Dead Sea
Day 1 #Stradaeasel painting challenge, Pencil

Photo of blue chairs in the Dead Sea, Israel
The Dead Sea

Day 2

Out in the desert just beyond the houses in Neot Hakikar, where I also teach art an art class for adults, and sleep over before making the long way back.

Got up in the morning and went out to the "Mushroom trail". It's a stone mushroom, just to be clear :)

I also went there the week before and did a field warm up sketch. Got the colors of the shadows all wrong but it was good practice. A strong wind came, full of sand, which stuck to the wet paint and got into EVERYTHING.

So the next week I went down into the canyon to be both in the shade and get some protection from the wind.

A bunch of teenagers training as guides were there too, and I invited them to join me. They sat down with pencils and paper and drew for a bit which was fun.

Oil painting of a canyon in the desert south of the Dead Sea
Day 2 #Stradaeasel, Mushroom Trail, Neot Hakikar

Netta canfi Painting en Plein Air in the desert
Happy painter :)

Day 3

Making my way back north I stopped in Herzliya to paint with my all-time-painting-travel-buddy Lena. Nothing went as planned, and we just ended up painting her building.

Painting of a cityscape, building with palm tree
Day 3 #Stradaeasel Lena's Building, Herzlyia

Plein air easel
Taking cover from the rain

Day 4 - today

After weathering the elements for these last few days I just wanted to sit somewhere nice and warm.

I went to the new cafe in Kfar Glikson. It was warm and colorful and everyone was very friendly and came to see what I was doing.

Sometimes painting out is a bit of a performance art :) I don't mind it at all and love talking to the people who stop to see.

Oil painting of a colorful cafe
Day 4 #Stradaeasel Cafe Glikson

Painting easel in a colorful cafe
So colorful!

Happy New Year, friends. May it be a better one.

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