While my work as an artist and an art teacher has evolved over the years, one thing has remained constant: the need for creative expression, which I know resides deep within me and, I believe, within all of us. I feel most connected to God in the studio, sitting silently at the pottery wheel, my hands forming beautiful vessels from dirt.

Artist Statement: “Sunflowers”

I began the Color the Omer Sunflower page using colored pencils, and it was really stressing me out. Then I tried using oil pastels, but that didn't really work because of the thinness of the paper. Finally, it occurred to me that what I really wanted to do was Watercolor the Omer, which turned out to be very relaxing.

Since sunflowers have become a symbol of the resistance of Ukrainians against the Russian invasion, I used the colors of the Ukrainian flag for my sunflowers. So they are less realistic. The yellow is a warm yellow, not a mustard yellow of real sunflowers, and the blue of the center is an azure blue; obviously, real sunflowers are brown in the center. 

While the paint was drying, I went on Twitter to see if anyone had posted their Sunflower page and I noticed that one of the authors of the book, Shari Berkowitz, had also used the colors of the Ukrainian flag in her Sunflowers page. I didn't see her post until after I'd already made my artistic choices.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to say, Barukh she'kivanti, a blessing we say that acknowledges when we had the same intention or interpretation as someone wiser. It's not unlike saying "great minds think alike!" I was likewise delighted, when presenting my page to my students, to teach them about this blessing of gratitude to God, the source of our wisdom, who allows our thoughts to be aligned with those of someone we respect and admire.

April 28, 2022~Yom HaShoah 5782