I have used the butterflies to link the paintings on the themes of Tu Bishvat and of nature and its gifts.
I have used my large iPad and an Apple pencil to create all the art work in this series.
Israeli Independence Day
Independence Day is a national holiday, a time for celebrating becoming an independent state in 1948, and realising the 2,000 year old Jewish dream. I love to walk out on this day in Beer Sheva. I see people waving flags, flags hanging out of windows and strung across apartment buildings and other places. I live near the narrow lanes with low houses where people hang many flags, and this is what you can see in my art work. I have woven a tapestry of butterflies and flags to bring colour and joy, and a mother and child to symbolise continuity.
We are told, in The Torah, that when we enter the land of Israel, we must plant trees. In Israel we do this especially on Tu Bishvat. When we plant we will be following the example of Our Creator, Who, ‘planted a garden [of trees] in Eden’.
Tu Bishvat occurs on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called the ‘New Year of the Trees’.
In ‘Tu Bishvat, Butterflies’ I have depicted a woman planting a sapling, a newborn fruit tree. I have painted the butterflies on the woman’s scarf coming alive and flying/dancing about with joy. They know that they need trees and plant life to survive.
The Seven Species
I have painted an upside down tree in ‘The Seven species’, as a righteous person is like a tree with its roots in heaven (Psalms (92:13-14). The wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates, are given to the Land of Israel from Above. We eat these fruits after saying a blessing, which is why I have depicted hands offering thanks upwards to The Creator.
Tu Bishvat Seder
Over the years I have enjoyed many Tu Bishvat Seders. I love tasting the different fruits, and saying the blessings over each one. I also enjoy drinking the four cups of wine and the discussions on the inner meanings of each fruit tasted. I especially enjoy the musical seders, with instruments and songs. ‘Tu Bishvat Seder’ is based on a sketch I did whilst enjoying a wonderful Seder in Nachlaot, Jerusalem, where I was living before moving to Beer Sheva in 2013.
Blessing Over Trees
‘Blessing Over Trees’. I have painted a man and his wife who are overjoyed to see blossoming fruit (almond) trees for the first time during the Jewish month of Nissan. They are reciting the special blessing, which is only said once a year.
It is our job to protect the trees, as they transform the earth from a barren mass into an environment capable of supporting us, as well as animals and other forms of life.
We learn from the Talmud that the life of a person is from the tree.
‘When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, but thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee?’ (Deuteronomy 20:19)
We need to show sensitivity towards, and care for, nature.