Tri-lingual Ketubah – Hebrew English Telugu

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News | 0 comments

Tri-lingual Ketubah – Hebrew English Telugu

An extraordinary opportunity for me to learn came with a request to craft a marriage document (ketubah) in three languages:  Modern Hebrew, English, and Telugu, a language spoken by the bride’s family in their home in south eastern India.  Working closely with the rabbi/officiant, and then with a Hebrew translator and members of the bride’s family, we were able to acquire beautiful translations of the words that the bride and groom composed for their document.  While I spend much of my life creating song and visual art that could easily have come from the late 19th century, for this piece I have been praising the internet to the heavens! The couple chose a palette limited to mango orange and cobalt blue, and the addition of gold leaf (many, many leaves, I can assure you!!!) allowed me to use those three color elements alone to craft the ‘long and narrow, simple and elegant image with paisley design.’  I sought out a small volume from the Victoria and Albert Museum on 19th Century shawl designs, heavily influenced by patterns from India, and with that, the aging hippie within took to the studio, happily!  Can you imagine how many proofreaders I engaged?                               Notice below that the Telugu text is written with TWO different text weights.  Written in monoline (which means no thicks and thins within the letters), I used two different Rapidograph pens to be certain that the writing was absolutely correct.                ...

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Hamsa Ketubah II

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News | 0 comments

Hamsa Ketubah II

The bride and groom searched for a ketubah that would reflect their backgrounds and visions and found that I had crafted a text once before within the shape of a hamsa.  The groom is Moroccan-born and speaks several languages, including French and Arabic. The Hebrew along with English and Arabic translations of a line from Shir HaShirim circle the text. The couple chose the colors they wanted to reflect a sunset atmosphere, and two tiny butterflies complete the design.  Raised gold leaf dots highlight the design.  The lettered art is created using gouache, an opaque, water-based paint, thinned to flow through a chisel-point...

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Four Seasons in Trees

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News | 1 comment

Four Seasons in Trees

Inspired by a similar ketubah, this couple worked with me on developing a ketubah design that features 32 trees, each one slightly different from the one before and after, the foliage, berries, buds and blooms representing a discreet moment in the course of the year.   A few judiciously placed, raised dots of 22 K gold add the sparkle that make the piece come alive. The lettered verses across the top and bottom translate as “I have Found the One in Whom My Soul Delights” and “This is my Beloved and This is My...

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Soft Colors of Jerusalem Ketubah

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts | 0 comments

Soft Colors of Jerusalem Ketubah

This couple had few but very specific requests:  a traditional text laid out with squared margins, a painting of the Kotel (Western Wall) in a lunette at the top, water-like abstract papercuts bracketing the text, and a background of the soft colors for which Jerusalem is known.   To emphasize the papercuts, I had my framer meticulously cut a backing mat with reversed bevels to elevate the lettered panel just a bit above the background painting while remaining invisible.  Then to pull the eye into the text itself, in discussion with the couple, we decided to prepare mats for the wedding that were the choice for the final framing.  The two outer mats were one four-ply and one eight-ply mat, the same color, cut to give great depth to the whole piece and keep the focus on the central area.  Very effective! The wonder of watercolor is that working with transparent paint, you can build up multiple layers of subtle color to develop a depth unattainable with opaque paints.   The paper must be stretched on a board to keep it from warping terribly with all the soaking the multiple layers create. Soft Colors of Jerusalem Soft Colors of...

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Israeli Wildflowers Ketubah

Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News | 0 comments

Israeli Wildflowers Ketubah

A couple with deep connections to the land of Israel chose to have me embellish their ketubah with a garden of protected Israeli wildflowers.  As simple as this sounds – ‘just’ flowers – the challenge is to balance color, size, shape, and height to make the design ‘read’ as an aesthetic whole. I love painting wildflowers.  They are so much more cooperative than birds because they never fly away, and they generally look just like the examples in the field guides! I find that once I’ve spent hours drawing from life and then incorporating the images into a painting, that encountering the same flowers in the future feels like bumping into old friends. The 22K gold leaf which is applied to the first word of the ketubah (b’echad) and the text from Torah that forms the ribbon across the flowers is laid on a ground of Secotine, a fish-based glue that has been used for centuries in Jewish...

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Vivid Papercut Ketubah

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Ketubah Art, News, Papercuts | 0 comments

Vivid Papercut Ketubah

The exuberance of this couple is reflected in their concise wish-list for their ketubah:  “Bright!  A circular text with papercuts and a tree and two doves and… whatever you think!  Bright and colorful!”  We talked to flesh out some more specifics, but basically I was guided by a feeling of their energy and relationship.  So here’s the finished product, which brought them to tears and had them each ask me how I had climbed into their minds to craft exactly what they’d hoped for!

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