I’ll admit that concentration during prayer is not one of my strong points (ok fine, forget concentration, it’s hard enough to get me to sit and pray altogether!) However, the two minutes that I take to light my Shabbat candles every week, are some of the most focused and intense moments, and prayers, of my week.
After I ask for all the specifics, I always end with a prayer for the Immediate Redemption.
Over the years I’ve worked on visualizing the Beit Hamikdash in my mind, as it really helps me focus my prayer.
Thus, I wanted to somehow use the image that I had in my mind during those intense moments of candle lighting, as inspiration for the art that would go on the nook where I light my Shabbat candles.
Except, I needed something that is visually attractive to me. Art is so personal, I know. I happen to love color (as if you didn’t know that). I also love modern art in an otherwise classic or traditional interior. The juxtaposition kills me every time. Here are only a few of many examples I have saved over the years on my Pinterest (btw, go ahead and follow me).
So when I was thinking about art for the dining room nook where I light my Shabbat candles, I had a feeling I wanted to do something that added a similar contrast in this otherwise classic room. Indeed, both the theme and the style were to be something totally unexpected!
I’ve told you about our Dining Room before – a vintage McGuire table from the seventies, and vintage Chinoiserie chairs from the seventies that I refurbished. The room is painted a very classic light blue and we added the moulding to add architectural interest to the room. The DIY marble countertop took the room to the next level. But, we were still missing art.
My current budget does not allow for an art purchase of the scale that the space needs, plus it’s such a special space that I couldn’t just have any piece of art. A mirror would not do as we cannot pray in front of a human image. Therefore, a portrait was also out of the question. And, of course, I wanted the art to be Jewish art. So, once I had defined the style and subject matter, there was still one problem…
How could I get art of the Beit Hamikdash that still reflected my aesthetics and my current budget? Making it! Now, don’t be too judgmental. This might not even be considered art, but to me it feels like art, and that’s what matters. Albeit not perfect, (and you know my thoughts on that), I am beyond thrilled with it.
I had this image in my head from this Little Green Notebook post so, I decided to try a similar Photoshop experiment with a picture of a Beit Hamikdash model that I found online.
Ideally, I would have created a large piece and then played with color, but where in the world am I going to find a high resolution file of the Beit Hamikdash!? So, I used the size I had available and decided to make multiples in different colors, creating one entire piece. This would avoid any copyright issues (I hope!).
Using Photoshop I created different files of the same image, each with different level hues and saturation levels. I tried to keep it inconsistent and varied and not to be too strict with it. I’m no Photoshop expert, and I’m sure one could make this into a more sophisticated piece, but it worked.
The intention was to reflect our various lenses, by which we can make this a more concrete reality in our lives. Unfortunately, most of us live our lives as though the reality of a Beit Hamikdash and a Messianic era are totally foreign for us – abstractions of the subconscious mind at best.
But, I believe that if we open our eyes and adjust our lens – our perception of the world – we can actually see how real the Redemption is. By bringing this forward into our consciousness – allowing it to be part of our current reality – I believe, we make it into reality. Thus, my piece was born… (I told you it was art!) ;-)
One day I might take this piece to the next level, but for now, it does the job of taking my Shabbat prayers to the next level. :-)
I love that the piece screams Jewish tradition while being totally modern. But, more importantly, I love that it expresses my persona and aesthetics – a girl with a love of color that knows no bound plus a love of Judaism which is even greater!
Would you dare incorporate some bold Jewish art into your collection?
All of the Photography of the art, myself and my home is from Elisheva Golani Photography.
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