Between parenting, teaching, cartooning and writing, it's been very difficult to find any time for fine art work for several months. I was getting so frustrated seeing my students at school let loose on great big canvases with oil paints, acrylics, collage, printing and other exciting media, exploring exciting and imaginative ideas, but not having any time to paint myself! Well, last Thursday I was at last able to take a few hours to paint.
I set up the goblet and plate in a box to isolate the light source, and I began. Using a small square canvas and oil paints, I first covered the surface with a grey wash, and then proceeded to paint the goblet and plate, working generally and the gradually refining the details, finishing with the white highlights. I wanted to finish the painting in one sitting, inspired by the 'daily painting' movement, where artists produce a new work every day. As my time was running out I was tempted to set the painting aside having finished the main objects, and come back to the background later. But once I took a step back, I decided to resist the urge to start tinkering, and leave the background rough and sketchy. This, I think, helps to retain some energy in the painting, and allows the focus to remain entirely on the goblet and plate.
The idea for this painting had been brewing in my mind for some time. After painting the silver objects in my painting 'Havdallah'
, and relishing the challenge of capturing the dramatic reflections on the metallic surfaces, I was inspired to try some other silverware. We are very fond of our kiddish cup, with its elegant curves, and Jerusalem motif around the edge, so I used it in this composition. The title, 'My Cup Overflows' is from Psalm 23 (Mizmor l'David from Shalosh Seudos). In this psalm King David talks about how Hashem (G-d) is continually providing for him and protecting him, and the term 'my cup overflows' ('kosi revayah') is a visual image that I felt would work beautifully in painting, particularly as Jews would be familiar with the overflowing cup during the havdallah ritual where we overfill the goblet and let some of the wine spill over the edge to represent the holiness of Shabbos spill over into the week. For me, this painting is a little piece of gratitude to G-d for all the amazing blessings He has given me.
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