Saturday, March 26, 2016


Israel has a wide range of beautiful wild flowers. The queens among them are certainly the Irises. This is the Nazareth Iris, and as the name suggests it grows in the area around Nazareth in the north of Israel. Its Latin name is iris bismarckiana. It can be enjoyed in some other locations too, as in the Galilee, the Upper Jordan Valley and on the Mountains Hermon and Gilboa. 

It is truly magnificent - actually all the wild Irises here are, but this one is my personal favorite. Blooming in March and April, the big flower grows on a high stem. The upper leaves, called flags, are off white to light purple, with delicate pinkish stripes. The lower leaves, the falls, are dotted in brown and look like a wild cats fur - gorgeous! 

Plenty of seeds grow in a three part capsule. These royal Irises are very rare, endemic to Israel and South Lebanon. Here in Israel they are fiercely protected.

I love these these marvelous spring treasures and looked at them many times with wondering eyes and a thankful heart.

Photos by Uri Eshkar.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


It was quiet for a while here on my blog. Facebook is partially to blame, or rather I am to blame for falling into the Facebook trap of easy and quick posting. I don't seem to be the only culprit of this. I have blog pals whose posts I am missing, seeing almost daily fast postings on Facebook instead. On the contrary I have a dear friend who took the consequences, closed her Facebook account, and pays attention to her blog with good posts, informative about her art work, with wonderful photographs. I think it would be best to find a middle way. Artisans' and craft people's Facebook posting keeps audience alive. Blog posts are for deeper insights and should be constructed in more detail, which does not mean they have to be endless long and boring, but more heart and soul should be felt in them.

 I also had another reason to be absent. I was quite busy. About a month ago I was invited by a curator to join an exhibition in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Not with paintings, but with my painted stones, "hamsa" and "against the evil eye" stones, which she had seen - yes - posted by me on Facebook. I happily accepted and started working. Well, I know, when you see the results, it looks more like playing, and it is, but it is certainly hard work too.

Of course first the raw material has to be collected. I always have large wadi pebbles, which I bring home from outings, but I did not have enough. So off we went looking for more.

I decided to prepare two styles of stones, round pebbles, the uneven bumpy, not flat kind, which I meant to paint very colorfully, all the colors, no worries! One source to obtain them you see in the above photo.

And then flat stones, the kind which is used for garden paths and decorative walls. Some of these we found in nature, and others I got from the Arab nurseries down hill. The flat slabs I wanted to paint with more muted and earthly colors, and I did not want to cover them completely with paint, but let the texture and color of the stone show through. I finished them with a matte varnish, while the pebbles got a glossy one.

The glossy varnished pebbles are hard to photograph, the last photo was taken before varnishing, therefore there is no glare.

 Mostly I let the form of the stones tell me what to put on them. This one for instance was in the shape of a fish, so that is what I painted on it.
The symbols of the hand, the eye, the fish, the heart, the colors of blue and turquoise are all Middle Eastern good luck and protecting charms. I added touches of my surroundings, like olives, pomegranates, grapes - and naive images of the old city of Jerusalem.

Here you see a small selection of the about forty stones I painted. The exhibition with works of many wonderful artists will open in the beginning of April at the Ben Ami Gallery in Yafo.

Photographs were taken by me - these and my painted stones, like all my work, are copy righted.