L'Shanah Tovah... Happy New Year!

The 'High Holidays' are here...

This week our family observed Rosh Hashanah, which is one of the 'High Holidays" known as the Jewish New Year 5780, which is based on the Lunar calendar.

This "Hamsa" collage is made up of only magazine images!

According to Gil Marks in "The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food," the abundance of seeds, nestled into a white membrane and encased in a protective and leathery skin, is associated with the 613 commandments in the Torah. They serve as symbols of righteousness and fruitfulness,  as expressed in the Rosh Hashanah expression, “May we be full of merits like the pomegranate (is full of seeds).”

Rosh Hashanah is a time for our family to come together in the kitchen to create some special dishes, including an apple cake which Gwen and Noah baked together, and a noodle kugel (casserole) evenly split between no raisins and raisins!

It is a day spent with friends and family, sharing a meal together, singing joyfully, and dipping apples in the honey, (to symbolize one’s wish for a sweet new year to come)

It's also a day of personal reflection, casting our sins and misdeeds into the 'sea', essentially wiping the slate clean.

And it's a day to spend together as family in the synagogue, praying, singing, and listening to the blasts of the shofar (ram's horn) which signifies the presence of God and is a powerful symbol of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to show obedience to God by reminding us of the ram that was provided in Isaac’s place.

It's also our annual portrait day (using a selfie stick).

I also take a look at my artwork that reflects the spirit of Judaism within me. The first image is an acrylic painting of a family going to their friend's house to share a special meal. The second image is made out of acryilic paint and is a woman lighting the candles and singing a special blessing welcoming in the New Year. The "Hamsa" was created using the Procreate App on my iPad. It reminds me of a kaleidoscope with the little bits floating around, taking shape.

Art Class "Sketching Around Houston"

Charcoal drawing on toned paper

I just started an art class at Rice's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. For the first outing, we went to Levy park and our goal was to draw the table and chairs using different methods, including scribbling, blocking in and then erasing the silouhette, and drawing not the object, but the shapes around the objects. It was quite a tricky concept. These were timed exercises, so I didn't quite get to finish what I had started.

Quick charcoal sketches of children on the playground.

We also spent some time trying to capture the basic shapes of children running around on the playground. They never stay still, so this was quite challenging!

Pencil sketch on toned paper

We also had a lesson about portraits - how to draw the features and how to put them in perspective. We each paired up with another art student and drew each other at the same time, which was also quite tricky! It's difficult to draw someone's eye open if they are constantly looking down to draw. But when your eyes meet, and you don't even know the other person, it feels a bit invasive of personal space. And as you draw, you really begin to study the shapes of their eyes, nostrils, the way their lip turns down on the ends, etc. As I look at what I created in a very short amount of