Tali, my daughter emanated joy. People would take notice when she walked into a room…it was her spirit that spoke to so many. At 19 she was a sophomore at Cal doing very well! I had started painting her as a bird in June. In September she and her boyfriend were killed in a fraternity fire while trying to save a third student. I wanted to be with Tali on a spiritual level and so I continued to paint her as a bird. Over the years, the bird became light and movement.
Dinah and I are what I call "Lifers." From childhood we both realized our path was one of daily creativity. It is the place we both found peace and calm and this joy goes to the marrow of our bones. It is Air, Water, Love and Art all on the same level.
We met by chance at the Napa Valley Museum gathering for Lucy Liu. We sat beside each other and immediately we knew we were like minds. I had not heard of Dinah and she had never been to my gallery.
The next week I went to visit Dinah and was totally blown away by the impact her studio had on me. It was huge and filled with the magic of her vast body of work. We talked about her life and the tragic death of her daughter and how she expressed all her pain in her art for years.
Dinah came to the gallery the next week and she too seemed amazed by the experience in realizing how large the gallery was and at the quality of the work I represent. She had no idea this beautiful 7000 square foot gallery existed in our Little Napa Valley.
The day after she visited I woke in the middle of the night and the voices said "paint TALI." The only photo I had was a tiny image in the front of a book Dinah gifted me about her work and life.
Painting faces comes with moments of insecurity and doubt and I could feel Tali pushing me forward through my concerns. I wanted to capture her in the best way. I did not know that Birds were a powerful part of Dinah's journey before and after Tali passed. They fluttered up and formed the base of the piece.
A face of a fox appeared in the middle of her heart and I was certain she was sending messages to all of us.
urges you to act swiftly, but be guided by your wisdom and intuition. The fox spirit animal teaches you to be resourceful and flexible if you want to emerge victorious."
This painting was done before the Pandemic became prevalent.
Of all the realistic portraits I have done recently, this brought me to tears many times and yet I felt the deepest and most profound joy. It was as if Tali walked into my soul and wanted to let her Mother know she was okay and sending her love.
We have all experienced loss of loved ones in our lives and I feel that the tears I shed for Tali were also tears for all my life losses. She gave me the place to put my sorrow and also my laughter and joy at having known these precious people in our lives.
Cry with me and the tears will help heal all of us.
"To" appeared amidst the clothing of the dress beside little Tali. Note to the side of the Buddha's Hand is the letter Chai which means "to life" in Hebrew.I did not paint this in.
It was a blot that accidentally became this word. This image speaks of the brilliance and wisdom this child had with the owl as her companion and her mother who holds the weight of the world in her hands. The Buddha protects them and the bird above Dinah gives her wings to create her inner world on the canvas.