My simple intention for what turned into my Judaic series was to pour out my head and heart onto canvas.
What came next, was a total surprise. I received such great interest in these contemporary abstract paintings. I revisited the possibility of making fine art prints in order to give the texts and images a much bigger audience. Up until then, I had only sold original paintings. I quickly discovered that High Holiday cards were a big seller and after a few years, I needed to add to the offerings for our holiest of days.
I read some history about how this prayer, penned by Rabbi Akivah, came to be. The Rabbi was asked to pray for rain. All earlier efforts had failed. Instead of asking for rain, he praised G-d and only asked that He listen to their voices and then "do with us, for Your name's sake."
The rains came.
In a formal service, this prayer is often a highlight of the service musically. It's just one of those prayers that allows cantors to share a full range of emotions. As a congregation, we hear it, sense it, feel it.
I knew where to begin.....with a lot of water for the rain. I also knew I needed to listen to cantorial renditions of this prayer, rather than singing it on my own.
I started with the most passionate of colors: red and slashed wide brush strokes across the wet canvas.
As the drips poured down I saw tears, not only of Rabbi Akivah's contemporaries, but of our people when this prayer is offered up in our High Holy Day services.
Lo and behold, two shofars appeared, juxtaposed from the same source....our Father, our King.
As an aside, when I was completing this painting, a woman contacted me about commissioning a painting for their beloved Rabbi. She requested something with a shofar in it. Their Rabbi, first hired after 9/11, played taps on the shofar at the memorial service for their congregation.
I was so moved by her story (and still get goosebumps today just thinking about it.)
It was clear where this painting needed to make its home.
Shanah Tovah to all of my friends, followers, collectors and connections. Please G-d, let it be a good one for us all.