Delicate Blues and Purples of Spring Ketubah

Posted by on Jun 20, 2018 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Delicate Blues and Purples of Spring Ketubah

Springtime on the east coast brings a profusion of color, and it’s always a wonder to welcome blues and purples after a long grey/brown end-of-winter.  This ketubah sets the text off with delicate wisps of monkshood, Virginia bluebells, columbines, dayflowers … the fleeting riches of the season tucked into all variety of greens.  To work with the design, we chose to letter the text in a cool grey instead of black, so the effect of the entire piece is in keeping with the flora of the season peeking out to appreciate new...

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A Far Out Acacia Tree Ketubah!

Posted by on Mar 21, 2018 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

A Far Out Acacia Tree Ketubah!

The groom was born and raised in Be’er Sheva, and when the couple spoke to me about the central image being an acacia tree in the Negev, I was already dreaming in the gorgeous, subtle colors of the Israeli desertscape. As I often do, I asked the couple to bring me a ‘few’ paint chips so I could have a larger palette from which to build some contrast.  When 18 chips arrived at my door and they were basically an array of psychedelic colors (at least by way of contrast to the desert!), I knew it was time to rearrange my own vision! Here’s a look at how I clustered the chips I chose to use so you can see how the design developed: Lettering in white on a deeply saturated (richest color) background is tricky, but a mix of several opaque white water-based paints gave me the coverage I needed and the ability to add enough water for the paint to flow through the pen.  No do-overs, so this takes concentration! If you look very carefully, you will see two hands rising from the trunk of the tree into the crown – a touch the couple requested.  In the palm of each hand is an open heart. The first letters in each line of the poems on either side of the trunk in Hebrew and English spell the names of the bride and...

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Windows of Color Ketubah

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Windows of Color Ketubah

Most of my work is just a joy, and once in a while, the joy comes even before I have the germ of a visual idea!  In this case I was blessed to be asked to create my first ‘second generation’ ketubah!  I’d created the marriage contract for the bride’s parents … a while ago!  Starting with a phone conversation and the most simple thumbnail sketch, we knew we were on the right path.  The couple saw my sketch of 3 balanced but different-sized rectangles looking like windows into their new life. It was a GREAT idea that became our touchstone going forward. The central text is the traditional Aramaic language, and on either side a text that was written by bride and groom in English and translated into Modern Hebrew. I often ask people to take a field trip to a paint or hardware store and pull paint chips for me to match.  This is one of the more magical things I get to do as I stir in a touch or this or that, mostly by instinct, to match the chips.  This design called for colors spanning the three rectangles in a spray of arcs.  It may look simple, but this required eight color arcs to move from a central point off the right side and allow the edges of the colors to read naturally.  Wherever you can picture a ‘line’ between colors, the individual letters are drawn with my pen in two different colors, coming down exactly where the colors should meet! Good, sharp pen nibs and magnifying lenses over my glasses are among my tools of choice....

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New York City Skywatchers’ Ketubah

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

New York City Skywatchers’ Ketubah

Deep sky, its swirling and wispy clouds reveal tiny pricks of starlight and a massive rising moon. You may imagine correctly that both bride and groom are deeply connected to New York and love to look beyond the lights of the city to the skies.  The moon is mounted on a reverse-beveled board so it floats in the blue/purple heavens.  What’s impossible to see in this photo is the deeply stippled background of lunar craters under the grey lettering! So take a look at the moon-in-progress: Another thing that’s hard to see in the photo is the detail on the skyscrapers, each showing the tiniest bits of light in windows. About 6 different pen nibs were used to write the English text since each line of lettering is very slightly larger than the one preceding it. (Star Wars...

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Blue Ridge Mountains Marriage Contract

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Mountains Marriage Contract

The precious couple who asked me to craft their marriage document told me that the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is their ‘happy place.’  When I asked for pictures, I did not expect MILLIONS OF TREES! Oh my.  So I dipped into the wonderland of autumn color by creating a background painting of the sunrise sky and then the faintest of the old, worn mountains at the horizon, moving slowly, slowly forward into more sharply focused images.  The trick to watercolor is to build up with great patience, keeping transparency as long as possible. A special aspect of this piece (and please suspend disbelief here, because there are two opposing seasons in one painting) is that the groom has a beloved daughter from a previous marriage. Their desire to represent their new family of three at the time of their wedding led us to come up with an iconic cluster of blooming rhododendrons in the foreground.  They told me that when they received the piece and showed it to their daughter, she pointed to the small flower in the center and said, “That’s me, right?”  Perfect!...

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Pets, Pittsburgh and Petrified Wood!

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 in Ketubah Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Pets, Pittsburgh and Petrified Wood!

When a seemingly disparate list of images comes my way, I dive into the challenge of  building an aesthetic whole. This couple brought me a list that included beloved pets (a cat and two fish), an iconic bridge, a cross-section of the Grand Canyon, petrified wood, and cherry blossoms.  The color palette is bold, and together we came up with a riff on Mondrian’s recognizable horizontal and vertical blocks to define an appropriate space for everything: texts, signatures, and images.  No matter where we begin our exploration, the final product is a reflection of the couple. I see my function largely as one who channels a couple’s vision, and there’s great joy in that...

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