JOY's FANTASY ROOM & SUKKAH
photos and montage © Joy Krauthammer
"There's no place like home."
Welcome to my
ROOM and SUKKAH
Garden of Gila
- Joy Krauthammer
I know that artists don’t necessarily explain their work, but I need to do this for me, because this six-week graphic process was new for me, and I need to figure out what my subconscious was up to in this montage.
Enjoy Photoshop creation as is, or you might enjoy creation with explanation.
The "Room and Sukkah", inside and outside, is about knowing who I am, and my soul being Joy. Room is a place / makom where in my medium, I meet myself in my universe; real or imagined. What is reality? I began by creating an empty space (a gift) and decided how to fill my space. The blank page was raw, like unmolded clay or a blank piece of writing paper. Photography is my passion, a Zen practice. Spiritual books and Torah on my shelves, percussion I play, objects d’art I’ve created in clay, and my garden are also the “garments (and colors)-- the outer expression of my soul”, but “not the essence of my soul”, as my beloved Reb Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen, zt’l, would say.
Soul is seen looking into the Sukkah, as we look into our inner selves. The Sephirah of Chesed / loving-kindness is expressed between friends on a journey of life along the Etz Chaim / The Tree of Life; fragile and vulnerable as a Sukkah.
The yellow centered mum's floral floor path serves as the "Yellow Brick Road" with Dorothy the drummer, in red magical shoes, as she leads us all to the temporary open hut, the sukkah-- along the yellow flowered road to discover our own "heart, brains and courage", which, mamash / truly, we already have.
As metaphors, Wizard of Oz's Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion are ushpizin / guests, looking in through the window, and ready to 'occupy' the sukkah. * (As in "Occupy LA" or Wall Street-- what is ‘real’? (Who would you invite as guest? How would you treat your guests?) When you feel you "want a brain", a "heart" or "courage", enter your sukkah-- your inner space of faith, and speak to the Compassionate One.
"There's no place like Home." - Dorothy
The Wizard of Oz's 'hot air balloon' is seen through the window's foreign landscape (a separate Photoshop invention.)
Web ‘Images’ in the concocted scenes include separate elements I isolated, cleaned ("layer masked") and combined: African land, individual lions, giraffes, hot air balloon; and partial garden path, path walkers, cartoon characters; French doors, sukkah, frames and window treatments. These images add to the "Room and Sukkah" elements created from my personal photographs. Tree of Life painting I transformed into the (vector) bench. The bench, table and legs are created from lines of wood. I'm sitting on it with frame drum from my Moroccan trip. When almost finished filling my Room, I realized that I, too, could be visibly present and inserted a photo of myself.
Photoshop altered graphics and photos encompass my New Year's card of international peaceful people on the path, the Tree of Life, the framed ART on the left wall, and the Photoshop window African landscape on right wall, and then the whole integrated collage, Room and Sukkah.
Room and Sukkah was a giant challenge to create. Contains six weeks worth of creations and meditative patience to be the best that it could be.
(Thanks to graphics teacher, Gustavo, for the guidance.)
If you really want to know what the meaningful, joyous spiritual scene (where art and life merge) means to me as 'Gates and Keys of Joy', read on:
The lavender flowers left wall is a garden shot I took at LA’s Getty Museum.
The Italian marble PS Stone ceiling version #2 below, is a few inches of wall at the Getty Museum.
(As a child, I loved visiting east coast caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
Do I live partially underground, although my window view is to wild life?)
(See BLUE ceiling version #1 above and anecdote, with ceiling of Blue Ripples. I made those ripples and photograhed them when I moved my body in pool of friend and life-guard, 89 years young Edith.)
The amethyst right wall is a bit of gorgeous huge purple amethyst geode I shot at Washington DC's Natural History Museum.
The pink mums floor is a curbside street garden that I photographed.
My loving sister Faye waited for me after I made a U turn for pink photo, and was with me for all the shots when I knew I would use them as textures in my upcoming explorations. College friend from sixties, Suzanne, was also at Getty with us celebrating Faye's birthday.
The blue ripple partial view table top was shot at my life guard, Edith's, swimming pool. (I swam in the unheated pool until last wee moment-- the middle of October!)
The matzeivah / gravestone is husband Marcel's, z'l, and I placed it on top of the table and the water because it was the correct ‘Illustrator vector’ table shape! Marcel also loved water sports and here I surround him in water.
That UCLA medical visor on the matzeivah, is from the 1988 brain surgery when I stood vigil for three months for the first of all his two dozen cancer surgeries.
After Marcel died from 18 years of cancer, and after deeply mourning, I was able to return to my soul, active in my arts world.
"There is no place like home" and home is where the soul resides, one filled with joy. (I'm grateful I could create this art collage.)
The double Torah bookshelves (with Reb Shlomo's, z'l, photo I shot), are from one of my bookcases. I encased filled shelves in a wall case.
Today is 16 Cheshvan 5772, the 17th secular yahrzeit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach.
The little blue velvet Torah on shelf, daughter Aviva and I made, in her A.J. Heschel Day School kindergarten class.
The red pomegranates in New Year's card (painting on left wall) and on sukkah ceiling as skhach/greens decoration, I photographed in my spiritual friend Gilla's garden.
The vessels of sounds, Sounds of Joy, are some of the percussion instruments I play; some purchased around the world or had created for me. You see my three favorite Remo timbrels-- frame drums that I perform on all the time; and solo African djembe that I play for two decades, and some of my other drums.
(Paulo Mattioli, obm, my wonderful drum teacher, made that beautiful “cadillac” djembe for me. He died this week, Oct. 22, 2011.)
The Tibetan singing bowls I brought home from Tibet, and I play them and the Woman gong in sound spa healing journey meditations that I offer.
I love my WOMAN gong. It used to only say "WUHAN" until I painted it. This Sunday I play gong at Women’s Drum Day.
All these instruments (garments of my soul) pave the way from my soul, along the path of my joy.
The pottery from my ceramics era few decades ago (those that survived the Northridge E Quake) sit in front of my fireplace and coffee table and here, under the table.
Photo of me with large hand-made timbrel I brought home from Morocco, is shot by Sarah Barash at the Lev Eisha women’s pre-Pesach Seder.
Who/what did I neglect to mention? Why? (Gee, should I have implanted also in the room, an Apple computer with Adobe's CS5 program?)
WINDOW TO THE WORLD
AFRICAN landscape is composed of individual animals I either photographed—i.e. garden lizard, or were images I found, 'layer-masked' cleaned and placed separately. I added the happy hot air balloon ride for Oz Wizard.
Do we need to soar above for a better view of self and beyond, or only go ‘inside’?
Do we need to soar above for a better view of self and beyond, or only go ‘inside’?
(I rode a fun balloon in Sedona with Marcel, z'l, and could happily see my soaring reflection on distant mountains.)
Africa is my view, my vision, and has a relationship to my music. (See my djembe.) I always thought that some of my prior lives had been in Africa. (My kids just returned from their volunteer work in Uganda.)
I added red curtains because I thought that was a good color idea for the window.
Curtains at a window seem to be realistic for the outdoors' world.
GREETING WALL ART
The framed PATH collage on left wall: the double rainbow in yellow sky, I shot in my garden, in pure joy on the New Year 5772.
I created pomegranate trees on both sides of the 'path' which I had cloned in Photoshop.
May our mitzvot be as numerous as the 613 seeds in a pomegranate.
In the framed Path collage on left wall, is my spiritual friend, Rinala, sitting on ground with her shofar for the High Holidays. I have created for her, a basket of red ripe pomegranates.
The Chareidi Chassid at the other far end of the ‘trail’, leads us to Torah.
Truth of the Chassid and Rinala, the shofar sitter, represents the real life topical tension between the Orthodox man and (at times, Orthodox woman) the Renewal Jewish woman (representing me) with ritual object. I have them at either end of the same trail, a path towards Torah. Feminism and Orthodoxy don't blend well, yet both are filled with mitzvot, as many as a pomegranate.
Can we all sit together in shalom, in the Sukkah? And in the Room?
Do our religious styles have to separate us?
The simple Chinese water boy is hydrating the international ‘path walkers’.
'Water is Torah', and nourishing me.
My singing bowls I bought in Tibet, China.
I have a message, a greeting for you: Shana Tova.
More of greeting (not visible) had wished us Shalom, world peace, and “May Peace Prevail.”
(They are important to me because I met the original importer of The Peace Poles.)
I add open French doors to invite and lead us into the sukkah.
(I wanted the technological artistic challenge of adding another 'room' to the Room.)
A small amethyst mezuzah with a Hebrew letter "Shin" is on the open French door lintel.
Guess how I made the mezuzah! OK, hint: Mezuzah is out of amethyst wall.
* What do the Wizard of Oz friends teach us? So much...
Do we need to travel to Oz, to clearly see truth and self?
I framed the OZ ushpizin looking through the Sukkah window that I created for them.
(Miriyahm HaNeviah, timbrel player, is always invited to my sukkah.)
In the past, I invited Miriyahm as guest into the sukkah of an Orthodox rabbi, and he never again invited me for Sukkot.
As one of the ushpizin, I invite my beloved Jerusalem chareidi Reb Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen, zt'l. He transitioned, 27 Elul 5771. His shloshim is this week as we end Sukkot.
Marcel, Aviva and I used to build a sukkah each year. I invite Marcel’s neshamah to visit with us.
I always invite Marcel to be where he had not been, where he would not go, now that the 'veils' and boundaries are not present for him.
The sukkah is set for a traditional holiday kiddush.
I add more pomegranates to the roof as skhach decoration.
Are we more vulnerable to truth (without our possessions) in the fragile Sukkah?
The biggest tech challenge of this Joyous ROOM and SUKKAH, was getting the whole project into spatially correct “one point” perspective-- fantasy and all.
Process: I used Adobe Illustrator to set up my empty room line “vectors”... oy, and then transferred the barren room to Photoshop.
Thank you for visiting my Room.
If you have any thoughts, do please share them.
I love hearing from you.
BlesSings to you for a sweet new year, Shana Tova, filled with health and joy, and all you desire-- just like the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow. Remember to look within, and talk to the Compassionate One, and stay true to your soul.
click on art to enlarge.
Stone Version #2
Oops, my 'life guard' Edith thought that the Room's ceiling would be better off, not as Getty Italian marble in Version #2, but as the swimming pool water ripples that are created when I swim in her pool, so... take a look at version #1, and you decide, and let me know.
Edith loved the ripply wet look of the Summer 2010 Chinese Olympic swimming pool ceiling, and I agree. Did I succeed with my ceiling? I kept my camera dry!
Marcel's matzeivah reflects the swimming pool blues.
JOY's Fantasy Pool or Stone ROOM & SUKKAH
photos and collage © Joy Krauthammer
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That's me with my giant Moroccan timbrel sitting on the bench I created out of lines.
Here's a tiny peek into my process: my first Illustrator vector drawing:
Oh, well, when I learn how to copy an A1 image I will share it.