Your art, your stories — a collection of the paintings and sculptures that inspire our readers
On a wall in Barbara Sander’s apartment in Sarasota, Fla., a seabird flies between two palm trees across a pinkish-orange sky.
Ellen Green feels inspired by a deep forest, one she used to gaze at for hours when she was a child.
Chani Miller of Highland Park, N.J. finds peace and content when she looks at the shabbos table her daughter painted — a bouquet of roses, a carafe of wine, a challah.
When we asked you to send us photos of your favorite artworks in your home and tell us why they inspire and move you, we weren’t expecting all the lovely and varied responses we got. We’ve received pictures and stories from all across the country — one reader even wrote to us from Australia. Every image is fascinating because every one has a story behind it. And all of them remind us how much art can mean in our daily lives.
So, we’ve decided to turn this into a regular thing;
Send us a picture of your favorite work of art to [email protected]. Tell us why it matters to you, and we’ll do our best to feature it on the Forward’s Instagram and Facebook pages. If you’re not sure exactly what to say about the art you’re sending us, we may have a reporter contact you to help you tell your story. But mostly, we’d like to hear from you.
Here are some of the artworks and stories we’ve received so far.
Forest painting, by J.L. Wiener
Submitted by Ellen Green
As a child in the 1950s, I would lay on the floor in the living room of my family’s home and stare into the colors of the oil painting of a deep forest. My mother had told me the story of how on a road trip they had found the artwork of a man who painted by holding the paintbrush between his teeth, because he had no arms.
My parents purchased four of his oil paintings — two water scenes, a field of grasses and a forest. My mother particularly loved the field because you could see the brush strokes in every blade of grass, and my father favored the water. But I always loved to wander through those woods. Eventually the paintings all ended up on the walls of my older sister’s home in Pennsylvania. Recently, her home was sold and my nephews called to ask if I wanted the paintings. “Just the forest,” I told them, and now I am free to wander again in the woods of my childhood every day.
Submitted by Chani Miller
Although my oldest daughter was always an excellent student, she had a tendency to daydream and doodle in class. Every Friday night when we reviewed the weekly Torah portion from the parsha sheets she brought home from school, we admired the elaborate drawings that lined the margins of the pages. As the years passed, it became evident that she was truly gifted. Somewhere along the way my husband cajoled her into painting something for the house, the result of which is a magnificent oil painting of a shabbos tablescape that resides on the far wall of our dining room.
I’m a homebody, not a traveler. Everything I truly need lies within the confines of the four walls of my home; I journey through books, words and thoughts alone. For me, for now, this is enough. This painting of a shabbos table personifies everything in my life that is meaningful – family, spirituality and the comforts of home.
Manhattan Cityscape, by Lionel DuPont
Submitted by Ellen Tabor
This cityscape of Manhattan was painted by an artist named Lionel DuPont. Unfortunately it’s unsigned and he has no internet presence but my then-fiancé and I bought it from him while on vacation in Montreal. I was living in Boston and my fiancé was living in New York and this painting encapsulated all that I loved about New York: the immensity, the buildings, the vibrancy, the intensity. I couldn’t wait to get there! Also to get married! We have very few walls in our Manhattan co-op and this is the only piece we have up aside from some framed family photos.
After 30+ years, we still love it.
Tropical Landscape, by Isaac Knight
Submitted by Barbara Sander
Isaac Knight was one of the 26 African-American “Florida Highwaymen,” (including one woman,) who, barred from showing their work in white galleries in the early 1950s, peddled their art along the roads of the East Coast of Florida.
The group did “fast painting,” often producing multiple paintings each day, in order to earn their living. They used lots of rich color, but simple forms, creating impressionistic Florida scenes. Originally selling for 25 cents each, these paintings now sell for thousands of dollars. The “Highwaymen” have been inducted into the Florida Hall of Fame, and have works in the National Museum of African-American Art and Culture.
I love the painting for itself, love the typical Florida scene. But I also love that it represents the ingenuity and perseverance of these Black artists, in the era of segregation, to create art and find a way to make a living from it.
“Triptych,” by Todros Geller
Submitted by Carol Nissenson
This part of a triptych hung in my childhood home until the house was sold decades ago and now hangs over our fireplace. I especially love it because of the story behind it. My parents had just wed. They were only 22 and had very little money. They went to Geller’s studio just to look and fell in love with this piece. He asked if they wanted to buy it. But they explained that all they had was $400 (saved to buy silverware).
“That’s funny,” he said. “That’s exactly what it costs.”
Later they learned he had just turned down triple that amount. He wanted it to go to someone who truly loved it.
“The Clockmaker” (artist unknown)
Submitted by Maxine Vasquez
This is a print that we purchased at a charity auction, perhaps 40 years ago. It appears to be a pen and ink drawing. It has been on display in our living room all these years near an antique windup Waterbury clock from my Zaidy’s home. We cherish the clock and we cherish the picture. If anyone recognizes the picture and can identify the artist I would very much like to know his or her name.
Harbor painting, by Adam J. Schiff
Submitted by Jennifer Still-Schiff
I have a teenage artist living here. During the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, I found his sketches in a pile, and hung them up with binder clips all over the walls. We felt like there wasn’t much museum-going in our future, so we wanted to have images to enjoy. This piece reminds me of growing up on Long Island, always near the water. He is practicing watercolor techniques, and although this isn’t painted from life (we were still in lockdown when he made it), it feels like you can hear water lapping against the boats.
“Wonder” (reconstructed “Parting of the Red Sea”)
Submitted by Cheryl Gordon
My husband and I purchased a beautiful and abstract piece of glass art about 20 years ago in a Dallas gallery. It was cryptically named “Parting of the Red Sea.” This was not an obvious title and I have no idea of the name’s origin or who the artist was. We displayed and enjoyed it for many years. Then, this spring, the inevitable thing for a busy household happened: It crashed to the ground during a housecleaning and smashed into about 40 pieces. Still, the colorful glass retained its beauty and its ability to bring joy.
After some research, I located a local glass artist who told me that the project of making something new and original out of the pieces was intriguing and could be fun. Plus, he said, he’d never refuse to “re-fuse.” This is the end result. We’ve only had it a few weeks, but it, once again, evokes joy. No Red Sea, but I call it “Wonder,” because I wondered what to do with the shards and now I know.
Mixed-media painting by Neta Levi
Submitted by Marci and Marc Dollinger
This is one of the many pieces of art in our home that reminds us of the many blessings of our family and our heritage.Every year, Marc and I choose a piece of art for our anniversary, as a gift to each other. This one we found at a JCC art fair and quickly fell in love with the artist’s whimsical style and colorful images. We realized this was a perfect piece to mark our 15th wedding anniversary. There are cut-up, collaged pieces of wedding invitations embedded in the background.
The Chagall-esque style really spoke to us. It hangs on a wall just outside of our dining room, where we often welcome guests for a Shabbat or holiday meal. We always wanted our home to be a place of welcome and respite. This painting conveys the love we have for each other and our community.
“As the Clouds Roll By” (artist unknown)
Submitted by Lori Lippitz
In 1971, I bought this original painting in Evanston, Illinois, for $25 at an auction to support George McGovern for president. It is my favorite painting, and always cheers me (in a surrealist sort of way) when I see it hanging in my home office.
“A Street in Old Jerusalem,” by Kalman
Submitted by Lucie Ramsey
My late husband, Kalman, (Charles A Ramsey, lll), painted, sculpted and gold smithed, and, everything he touched turned into a piece of art. I love this piece I’ve submitted. I live in a museum!
“Or Chadash” (Holy Light), by Yoram Ranaan
Submitted by Harriet Kaplan Suvall.
Everything this artist does is full of meaning and spirituality. He explains what the painting means to him, as he does with many of his works. Yoram lives and works in northern Israel and he had a major fire in his barn studio that destroyed many of his works. This painting is a vision of moving toward the divine.
We have gotten to know Yoram Raanan through email exchanges and he is truly a special and holy individual with immense talent and spirituality. I hope you enjoy viewing this uplifting work and feel this holy light!
Watercolor painting, by Howard Kaye
Submitted by Jane Levine
My mother gave us this painting as a wedding present. What a wonderful mother to give you art for your wedding! So when I look at it (often; I can see it from the bed), I think first of her, my beloved departed mother. And I think of our wedding, almost 40 years ago, and our long life since then. And I think of Nebraska, where I’m from and where this was painted.
Untitled landscape, by Mildred Niesse
Submitted by Agnes and Jacob Carciente
My husband Jacob and I traveled from Caracas, Venezuela, to Lafayette, Indiana, for a year at Purdue University. We had just married and loved naive art and wanted to start a collection. We saw this painting and read about the artist in the local newspaper and contacted her. We visited the exhibit in Indianapolis and loved her work. The painting traveled with us and our six-week-old son from Lafayette, Indiana to Caracas, Venezuela by boat.
Stripe-shirted Boy and Girl, by Joy Dellas
Submitted by Pam Mendelsohn
This painting is among my favorites. It’s by Joy Dellas, an artist who used to live in Humboldt County, California (like me) but is now in Sonoma County. This particular piece is my idea of a peaceable kingdom. I love the garden, the animals and the angel wings on this stripe-shirted girl. When I went to pick the piece up from Joy’s studio, I noticed something else with stripes on the floor.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Oh nothing,” she said. “I was just fooling around. Do you want it?”
And that’s how I got the wooden stripe-shirted boy.
If you’d like to tell us about your favorite art, send a photo along with the story behind it to [email protected]