October 13, 2016
Here are the newest additions to the series of yearly self-portraits:
And this is what I wrote two years ago about the series:
October 1, 2014
For the sixth year in a row, I painted a self-portrait at the start of the new Jewish year, a kind of painterly introspection parallel to the reflection so central to these Days of Awe. Some viewers have commented on a growing self-acceptance in the works created so far. If so, I hope that this process will carry over from painting into life.
This year I participated in a Sephardic Rosh Hashanah service, and heard the following prayer for the first time, recited before the blowing of the shofar horn:
May it be Your will, God…that you will tear all the screens separating You from the people of Israel, for the sake of Your holy and pure names emanating from the [sounds of the] shofar…And treat us…with…kindness and…mercy.
I was moved by these words. Thinking about them further I wonder what will remain if all partitions are erased, and if the world can exist without distinctions and differences.
In any event, the sound and the sense of hearing are meant to cause these separating screens to be torn down. In observational painting, in contrast, looking at the outer screen of things is what enables us to see deeper within them – and in the case of the self-portrait, this screen is the skin on our faces.
In honor of the new year I pray:
By looking and painting, may the screens that separate me from my self and from the world be torn down.
Enable me to treat myself and others with kindness and mercy,
And without lies.