This painting was created during the second Lebanon war, as I was yearning to connect to life beyond the tumult of the moment. The painting was like a burst of life inside of me that I was surprised and pleased to see emerge---life!
Tree of Life - Etz Chaim
The tree of life painting exudes joy and hope. It was painted during the second Lebanon war when we as a family traveled to the center of the country to escape the bombs falling in Tsfat. It was a time of great turmoil, and painting was my place of connection. Moving from place to place, not knowing when we could go home, not knowing what would be the state of our lives from day to day, I needed a way to hold on and stay stable. Painting is a form of prayer for me, a way to connect. So every night, wherever we were, I would paint another painting. In 5 weeks of wandering as refugees (see www.shevachaya.com Refugee Series) I painted 25 paintings. I learned something very valuable from this experience.
Rebbe Nachman from Breslov speaks about seeing the good points. He says in the Torah Azamra that even if someone witnesses someone doing something wrong in front of their eyes, instead of judging that person unfavorably, to stop from that natural inclination, and think, this person must have done something good in their life. Changing the focus from the negative judgment to the positive thought about the person literally changes reality. It makes that good aspect of the person come to the surface for that person and helps the person see that they are really good, and can return to truth, to their connected self, to HaShem.
This idea really hit home with the Tree of Life painting. In a moment of great darkness, where it was hard to see the good in the world, I was painting and painting, looking for connection. It was my attempt to see the good in a moment that really didn't look good at all. This allowed for this painting to come through. Without trying to paint a tree of life, one night this painting flew and flowed out, alive and full of joy and hope. Over time, this painting has become proof to me (and many others) that when we make the effort to believe that there is something good through the darkness, it pulls through and surprises us. By seeking out the good even in a difficult moment, that good is revealed and shines much light, pushing the darkness away.