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Archive for November, 2009

25th Nov 2009

Celebrating the Anniversary of Washington’s First Thanksgiving Decree

This year the USA ‘s Thanksgiving celebration coincides with the date first set aside by George Washington for the celebration exactly two hundred and twenty years ago.

Fall Tree Aleph by Judy Rey Wasserman

Fall Tree Aleph

Trees of Life series
by Judy Rey Wasserman
Strokes are the original letters of Deuteronomy 6

From its roots the  harvest and thanksgiving festival shared by the Plymouth Rock community of Pilgrims (who both sought and offered religious tolerance) and Native Americans (who were so tolerant they enabled the new settlers to survive!) has been a communal  expression of gratitude and religious tolerance.Perhaps George Washington’s time spent with Native Americans during the French and Indian War helped develop his tolerant views, which were radical then— and in many parts of the world remain so today.

Although much has been written and preached in America about Thanksgiving, I think nothing surpasses Washington’s initial declaration. It is the only law or decree that both brings tears to my eyes and makes me want to say, “Amen!”

So this year I am turning over my annual Thanksgiving message to my first “guest blogger” who is also the subject of the Essence Portrait I am currently creating: George Washington.

Ten Commandments (George Washington)

by Judy Rey Wasserman
Essence Portrait
Strokes: Exodus 20

In his first term as President, our first president made the following proclamation on October 3, 1789, designating the first official national Thanksgiving Day in the new United States of America:

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

“And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”


Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.

Each year Judy Rey Wasserman writes a special message at Thanksgiving. Previous messages that you will also enjoy include: Thanksgiving Choices and Thanksgiving Faith & Vision
To see a larger version of the Ten Commandments George Washington print and a close up of the details click: PRINTS

Posted by Posted by judyrey under Filed under Art & Inspiration, Tolerance, Freedom & Peace Comments 1 Comment »

11th Nov 2009

10 Commandments Used to Create Portrait of Barack Obama

On November 10, 2009, Judy Rey Wasserman completed a new Essence Portrait of Barack Obama using the letters of the text of Exodus 20 (Ten Commandments) for all  the  strokes. Below is the portrait plus the artist’s comments about her choice of strokes.

If there were an award for the person who has made the best use of social media and the Internet to date, it would absolutely go to Barack Obama. It is widely understood that Obama won the presidency of the United States due to his incredible and pioneering use of the Internet to reach new and swing voters. Perhaps the presidency is his reward.

As an artist I am creating Essence Portraits and other artworks for a series and show(s) called Essence of Social Media.

Obviously President Obama is one of the celebrities at the very top of my list for this series.

My purpose with the Essence Portraits goes beyond celebrating and commenting on Social Media, such as Facebook, Linkedin,  Twitter, You Tube, etc. My purpose with any Essence Portrait is to show the spiritual, the Source and also the scientific essence within each individual.

I am the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory especially a branch called UnGraven Image I use strokes that are symbols to represent the essential pre-matter/energy of string theory. My symbols are the only set on the planet that is alpha-numeric, phonic and binary, which means they elegantly represent elementary physics’ strings.

Pissarro (a Jew) and Monet (a Catholic), were friends who founded Impressionism to paint the Light, which the understood to be both a religious and scientific reality.

I am founding Post Conceptual Art (painting with strokes that are symbols) painting and sculpting within the branch of UnGraven Image to depict the essential essences, the energy of the universe, which I understand to be both a spiritual and scientific reality.

UnGraven Image’s symbols are the Torah font letter-numbers. This symbol set is also the original font of the Bible. My artistic strokes and processes also always references basic theology held by all denominations and branches of Christians and Jews and also mentioned in the Koran: the Creator speaks the universe into existence beginning with, “Let there be light!” Since the symbols are also always binary, which is synonymous for duality, my work also references concept s of duality, including light/dark, holy/profane and also yin/yang.

The Bible texts for all of my work are selected carefully and prayerfully. For Essence Portraits I consult the people who are subjects if possible for what texts they would prefer.

A while ago I contacted the White House through their web site, politely asking if President Obama had any favorite Bible texts he would prefer me to use for an Essence Portrait of him. Since the Post Conceptual theory of painting with symbols is radically new, I doubt if the intern who handled my request understood it. However, I did immediately receive an emailed reply that my email was received.

My choosing a text for the strokes that would add up to create an image of President Barack Obama was easier than for any other single portrait to date.

Barack Obama’s professional adult life has centered on the law. He is a Harvard trained lawyer who was president of the Harvard Law Review. He has practiced law, taught Constitutional Law, served as a senator (lawmaker) from Illinois and as Chief Executive his job is to uphold and administrate the law.

The basis for the law of the Western and most of the free world is the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. This scripture is suitable for the strokes for an Essence Portraits of Presidents of the United States.

Barack Obama’s use of Social Media to gain the presidency and his continuing use of it, especially Twitter (@BarackObama), as a way to reach his citizens,  coupled with his strong legal experience made creating an Essence Portrait of him using the letters of the Ten Commandments for all the strokes is an appropriate, even elegant choice.

The image below is large enough that you can pick out some of the symbols strokes!
Barack Obama painted with the 10 Commandments by Judy Rey Wasserman

Exodus 20 – (Barack Obama)

By Judy Rey Wasserman


NEW! Added 11/13/09 Poster of Barack Obama -Ten Commandments at our Zazzle store. And check out the other items for the whole family featuring Judy Rey Wasserman’s Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art!

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art — A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.

Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by judyrey under Filed under Art & Inspiration, Art Theory and Show Reviews, Tolerance, Freedom & Peace Comments 9 Comments »

10th Nov 2009

Lessons from Monet

Everything was going well with the new Essence Portraits. I had created one of Andy Warhol, then Rembrandt, then van Gogh. Each of them inspired my art and “taught me much about portraiture from the walls of great museums and galleries. Like Warhol, and the self portraits of these artists, I focused in on the faces, ignoring clothing or other extras that could be used to convey status or wealth.

Things were moving along fine until I came to another artist I’ve lovingly , personally called “Papa Monet” since was a prepubescent girl. I am not quite sure If I came up with that or I learned it from one of the gallerists who took, me under their wings. I suspect the latter.

Since the first Essence Portrait of And Warhol, which set the tone for those of other artists, I strove to combine my style somewhat with theirs. For instance, in Vincent van Gogh’s I made “strings” of tiny symbol-strokes to emulate his longer strong brush strokes. For Rembrandt’s I played with his softness and the light.

Working within the theory of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art, I use the original letters of Bible texts for each and every stroke. My symbol-strokes are the are the only set of alpha-numeric, phonic and binary symbols in the world. They elegantly represent the strings of elementary physics, which like phonic letters are either energy (sound) or pre-matter (written), basic and essential (prime numbers and phonic letters) to our binary physical universe. Thus, the term, Essence Portraits.

I wanted to keep my focus on the subject’s head, and creating a basic black and white portrait that could be then used in various ways, similar to the way that Warhol used his silk-screened portraits. Usually that is what I create for a basic Essence Portrait.

Except for Claude Monet. For a while, his portrait had me stumped.

As I stared at my initial portraits of Monet, I knew something was missing. But what?

Actually, I had the text I knew I was to use, a Psalm that seems to me to refer to Monet. That was one of the first ones I had as I peruse through Bible texts searching for appropriate ones for portraits, wildlife and other paintings.

The difficulty was whatever I drew and painted did look like Monet, but somehow it was wrong – a likeness that was missing his essence. My portrait looked like Monet, but failed to capture him.

This went on for a week, on and off as I pondered Papa Monet and his life.

I first learned about the wonder and even magic of strokes from Monet, who “held” regular classes for me through his works that hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I learned about art from many of the works of artists at the Met and MOMA, from the time that I was a pre-teen growing up in NYC, armed with a passionate curiosity about art, way too much free time that needed to be spent away from home, passes for free public transportation, plus, most importantly as a student I enjoyed free admittance to all of the art museums in Manhattan.

Being nearsighted, actually with better than normal vision up close, I have always been most comfortable getting as close to things I want to see (especially art). I will get as close as I can without letting my nose touch the work to see the strokes.

Since I was at the Met on an almost every other day schedule, except for summers, and also at MoMA regularly, their guards came to know me, trust me and even watch over me as I roamed and explored. It did not take long until they allowed me to get as up close and personal as I wanted with paintings as they knew I would never touch one, plus out of respect, I even held my breath, usually making a grand display of that effort. I laugh now, because I sort of took a gulp and went “into” a painting much like a diver. Back in my girlhood on wintry or bad weather afternoons the Met was fairly empty, and there were times that I was the only person in some of the rooms, including those that have Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.

Monet taught me more about how to paint and strokes than anyone, except van Gogh.

Monet’s strokes are multi-colored, multi-sized, textural blobs of paint. Unlike the Pointillist Seurat, Monet’s strokes are not of one size, they overlap and one grand cascading jumble of color. Certainly more than any other artist’s work, my original approach to using symbol-strokes was influenced by Monet. My colors are almost always influenced by Monet’s.

We know that Monet painted outdoors, including in horrible weather, working quickly to catch the light, that he would return to the same spot to paint day after day, as change between canvasses, each canvas only worked on for the time that the light was relatively the same as when it was begun. Thus there are series of paintings that show the movement of light through the day. Monet painted in a hurry, capturing the essence of a place, capturing its light. His strokes are the hurried and thoughtful strokes of a master; they are the notes of a symphony of color that he plays upon his canvases.

It took a man who was strong, physically and in resolution to produce the art that Monet did. Physically, he endured long days outdoors in the cold or heat. Most of his paintings were created outdoors as Monet painted what he immediately saw. To do this he was lugging around paints, brushes, solvents, an easel and lots of canvases, from location to location, often on foot. He would stand all day long in whatever conditions, painting. He was strong is resolution, too as he struggled for a long time to make ends meet for his wife Camille and their two children. Then after her death he continued to struggle to take care of his two sons plus the family of Alice Hoschedé, who became his second wife, and her six children. We see photographs of his large studio at Giverney, and an older prosperous Momet, but that came later in his life.

Monet’s career spanned the emergence of photography on into the twentieth century, so we have photographs of him, as well as portraits. In one of my favorites, he is youngish, and has a walking stick in his hand; he pauses for the camera for a moment clearly about to resume his walk. Monet was a strong, vital, good looking man and clearly from his output of paintings and projects at Giverney, very physically active. Only in a few of the last photographs, after he was famous and well, older, does he seem slowed down – but he ever physically active, calm but in motion.

To capture the essence of Monet, the artist in his prime, I needed his body, at least his strong shoulders that had supported so much and so many, and perhaps Impressionism, which ushered in Modern Art. An Essence Portrait of Monet needed his strong broad shoulders to capture his essence.

To capture Monet I needed to include his heavy, worn winter coat– the one that kept him warm as he worked outside on cold winter days and his hat. His is the only portrait so far where the background is painted. Energy fills the space around him. He is the authentic painter of light and like that light he is ever changing energy, penetrating whatever we can see.

I discarded my failed head shot portraits and began again.

Now the work was better, but difficult to complete as something was still missing.

Monet without color is, well, not Monet.

So, I deviated from the pure black and white of the other Essence Portraits, using a third color by adding pure while strokes to the ivory paper.  Monet’s Essence Portrait has more shading, and layers of paint than any other portrait to date.  There is a bit of the purest white in his eyes, those eyes that saw such color and light!

Thus, in my own first portrait of Monet that seemed acceptable, that captured Monet, his essence, and his blobs of strokes permeated the whole of the space, the paper, not just the image of his physical body. He takes over the whole space the way that dynamic and charismatic people can enter a room, most quietly, but their vital energy colors the space with their presence.

Once again, I learn from Monet.

Claude Monet, Essence Portrait by Judy Rey Wasserman

Psalm 97  (Claude Monet) by Judy Rey Wasserman

[Note: for more about Monet ‘s influence on Judy Rey Wasserman and UnGraven Image theory see: Monet’s Blobs and the Hebrew Letters

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by judyrey under Filed under Art & Inspiration, Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments No Comments »