August 22, 2019, 7:00 am

A piece of art purchased during a trip abroad can be the ultimate memento. Here in Israel we are not lacking in amazingly talented local artists who channel their passion for this indescribable place into their different mediums.

This is a list of just 12 of the many Israeli studios, comprised mainly of artists producing paintings and sculptures.

Many of these works focus on scenes of Judaism and the beauty of the land of Israel from different perspectives, while others make elegant sculptures of dogs from scrap metal and funky silk-screen fabric tapestries.

No matter which medium floats your boat, taking a piece or two home with you is like taking a bit of Israel home. It will remind you of the magic you left behind while at the same time supporting creative souls in Israel.

  1. Jean Pierre Weill 3D Painting on Glass, Tekoa

Creating artwork comprised of brightly colored cheerful scenes on multiple levels of glass (called vitreography), the Jean-Pierre Weill Studio in Tekoa provides an inviting and fascinating art experience.

Weill and his twodaughters, Davida Klein Velleman and Sefira Klein, create 3D magical scenes beaming with light and depth, made out of the uncommonly used material.

Aside from purchasing art there in-house, a visit will also give you a behind-the-scenes look at artists hard at work. If you ask, they will gladly tell you the story behind each piece.

How to plan a visit: The gallery is open to the public. Check the website for opening hours.

  1. Yoram Raanan, Moshav Beit Meir
Biblical painter Yoram Raanan at work in his rebuilt studio. Photo: courtesy

An artist who has literally risen from the ashes that destroyed both his studio and over 1,500 of his paintings back in 2016, Yoram Raanan of Moshav Beit Meir has managed to rebuild his life’s legacy since that fateful forest fire three years ago.

Now, sitting in his newly built studio and gallery space, he continues to create oil and acrylic paintings that capture an eerie celestial quality through the use of light and electric color schemes. His pieces are abstract depictions of Jewish celebrations, landmarks such as the Western Wall at sunset, flame as seen in his menorah series, and depictions of the fire that continues to live inside Raanan’s memory.

How to plan a visit: Visit by appointment. Contact via the website.

  1. Elisheva Shira, Bat Ayin
A work by American-Israeli painter Elisheva Shira. Photo: courtesy

An American-Israeli painter trained in New York, Elisheva Shira is an artist whose talent knows no bounds. From her studio in the Judean Hills she works on her exquisite pastel and oil paintings, which display a soft lighting, a sometimes haunting quality, and spiritually influenced subject matter including the surrounding landscape, Judaica, and custom-madeJewish wedding contracts (ketubot). She leads workshops to help artists of all ages develop their skills.

How to plan a visit:Visit by appointment. Phone: +972-54-3262701

  1. Levantine Gallery, 16 Christian Quarter Road, Old City Jerusalem
Levantine Gallery in Jerusalem’ Old City Christian Quarter. Photo: courtesy

A standout gallery in Jerusalem’s Old City, Levantine is the only commercial art gallery in the Christian Quarter. Set in a picturesque historical building with stone walls and a domed ceiling, the gallery, established in 2017, is a collective of 25 local Arab, Christian, and Armenian artists.

The affordable original prints and bronze sculptures sold in this gallery make for an original alternative to the traditional Old City shuk souvenirs. Among the artists here is illustrator Shaima Farouki, whose charmingly playful watercolors include that of a cat admiring the ancient city’s holy sites, and a scene of a traditional Arab breakfast; and Taleb Dweik, known for his Old City scenes depicted on unusual materials such as silicon, sandpaper and the back of wok-like flatbread pans.

Another staple of the gallery is Carlo Pecoraro, a formerly Roman artist inspired by Christian art of the Renaissanceera. The twist is that he adds modern backdrops.

How to plan a visit: The gallery is open to the public. Check the website for general opening hours.

  1. Darius Gilmond, Ra’anana
A Darius Gilmond work on a biblical theme. Photo: courtesy

Getting his start by focusing on recreating “visions of Sinai” after a visit to the modern-day peninsula, Darius Gilmond combines cartoon-style illustration and vibrant technocolor acrylic paint and gold leaf, with subject matter that is both serious and full of humor.

Creating romantic and intricate depictions of biblical scenes on canvas, as well as quirky observations of real-life happenings in Israel, such as religious men who are late to shul hurrying along in the street, Gilmond is not just a talented painter but also a skilled ceramicist.

Providing a fun modern twist on this genre of art, his work is beautiful, fun and thought provoking. Working out of his Ra’anana home, Gilmond creates custom pieces and sells his work via his studio and his online shop.

How to plan a visit: Visits by appointment. Email: dgilmont@gmail.com

6. Chana Helen Rosenberg, 28 Sderot Ye’elim, Beersheva

“Chasid leaving Machane Yehuda” by Chana Helen Rosenberg. Photo: courtesy

Born in England and currently residing in the Negev city of Beersheva, Chana Helen Rosenberg is a convert to Judaism and a cancer survivor with an inspirational personal story. Her stunning paintings reminiscent of Marc Chagall’s famous works will certainly catch your eye.

The subject matter, however, couldn’t differ more. Her work from a 2019 Tel Aviv exhibition focused on scenes of the rainy Jerusalem winter which she drew from sketches she made while out and about in the city’s most crowded areas by Machane Yehuda Market. Also known for her celebratory biblical and Shabbat scenes, Rosenberg is one talented painter whose art you should get to know.

How to plan a visit: Visits by appointment. Phone: +972-50-573-1565

7. Nirit Levav-Packer Art Gallery, 9 Beit Eshel Street, Tel Aviv-Yafo

“Bicycles” by Nirit Levav-Packer. Photo by Uri Packer

An art gallery with the draw of a museum exhibit, Nirit Levav Packer’s exquisite sculptures displaying her knowledge of goldsmithing and ironwork make this Jaffa spot a pleasure to stop by.

Made up of quirky subject matter created from unusual recycled materials, such as old bicycle chains, nails, and glass shards, Levav-Packer’s sculptures, both big and small, include depictions of dogs, pregnant bellies, dresses, and even Judaica.

How to plan a visit: The gallery is open to the public. Check the website for opening hours.

8. Julia Broll Wolkind

Julia Broll Wolkind at work on a mosaic. Photo: courtesy

An artist who lives and works in Modi’in, Julia Broll Wolkind creates mosaic pieces made up of striking color palettes, full of wisdom. The pieces, each of which is unique, start with ink drawings that Wolkind creates on small paper squares.

These are then arranged on a canvas and sealed together with glue, something the artist says represents the connections between every person in the world, as well as faith, destiny and the bigger picture in life.

A Julia Broll Wolkind mosaic. Photo: courtesy

Sometimes resembling gorgeous tapestries, and other times mimicking the look of stained glass, Wolkind’s pieces are sold readymade or custom-made by commission. Her pieces also aresold at Hershele Gallery at Jerusalem’s First Station complex.

How to plan a visit: Visits by appointment. Phone: +972-54-6808722

9. Tamar Messer, 5 Maaleh Hashichrur Street, Haifa

The interior of Tamar Messer’s Haifa studio. Photo by Hagar Messer

A Haifa-based artist whose works are displayed in a renovated historical building with views to Haifa’s Mediterranean Bay, Tamar Messer’s gallery is part showroom, part workshop.

Messer splits her time between creating pieces of art including furniture, fabric-based wall hangings, tapestries, and mosaics from recycled or reused materials; and illustrating vividly colored Judaica books such as the Passover Haggadah, and creating graphic prints of traditional biblical and zodiac-inspired scenes that show a modern point of view.

A woman of many talents, her work has been displayed in The New York Jewish Museum, Harvard University, Yale University and the Library of Congress.

How to plan a visit: Gallery hours are 9am-2pm. Phone: +972-4-866-3010

Tamar Messer at work in her gallery. Photo by Hagar Messer

10. Leah Raab, 5 Shvil Hazahav, Ra’anana

A work by Leah Raab. Photo: courtesy

A fine artist whose acrylic paintings offer an “unearthly effect” on everyday city scenes and landscapes of New York and Israel, Leah Raab does observational art that shows her 40-plus years of experience.

Raab is known for the texture she brings to her paintings, and her atypical choice of colors, as well as her attention to detail.

How to plan a visit: Visits by appointment. Phone: +972-54-4510957; Email: leah@raabco.com

    1. Sharon Binder, Hutzot Hayotzer Artists’ Colony, Studio No. 32, Jerusalem
Sharon Binder’s studio in Jerusalem. Photo: courtesy

An artist whose gallery sits in Jerusalem’s famous Hutzot Hayotzer artists quarter, Sharon Binder –a painter, designer and calligrapher who creates Judaica motifs — has had her work presented to foreign dignitaries and permanently displayed in such institutions as Hadassah Medical Center and the Ramat Beit HaKerem Synagogue.

Often incorporating Hebrew biblical verses and psalms into her work, using a combination of watercolor and calligraphy, fiber arts, and contemporary graphics, her inspirational creations make for a great centerpiece in a Jewish household, or excellent gifts for friends and family back home.

How to plan a visit: The gallery is open to the public. Check the website for general opening hours.

  1. Olive Tree Fine Art Gallery, Abraham Sade Square, Old City Safed (Tzfat)

A gallery in the mystical Old City of Tzfat in the Upper Galilee, Olive Tree Fine Art Gallery, which opened in 2005, specializes in promoting the local artists of the city as well as others from all over Israel.

Olive Tree Fine Art Gallery, Safed. Photo via Facebook

Featuring artworks, sculptures, jewelry and Judaica from Israeli artists past and present, such as Marina Zlochin, Menashe Kadishman and David Gerstein, the gallery is a central feature in the modern Israeli art scene coming out of this traditional city.

This gallery is sure to have a piece of artwork for anyone who enters the 200-year-old stone building, which was once part of the ancient marketplace.

How to plan a visit: The gallery is open to the public. Check the website for opening hours.

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