Dale Fairbanks: October 2012
I am passionate about and committed to diversity. It may be reaction to my Deep South Mississippi upbringing, or it may be simply my offspring who make “the road not taken” so vital and alive in our family.
My oldest daughter converted to Judaism and married into a large and boisterous, geographically scattered Jewish family: a family conservative, liberal, rational and irrational, religious, not so religious, and without fail politically involved. For me personally, the union of our families under the chuppah was delightful, surprising on many levels, and certainly diverse.
Commissioned by the bride and groom to illustrate their ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract and an integral part of a traditional Jewish wedding, I was introduced to an artist who has become a colleague and a collaborator and even a friend, though we know each other only by telephone and email.
Patty Leve is a professional calligrapher specializing in Judaic art and especially in writing and designing ketubot. Her work is astounding and beautiful. Patty and I collaborated on this particular ketubah, and I have included an image of the finished piece in this post. I have also attached a link to Patty’s website.
I received another commission this past year, and it is my favorite of all commissions: “Here is the wall - this is the size.” I began work on the canvas before I realized that I was being prompted and pushed to answer a call of sorts, a directive, and a physical direction. The clients were in their house after a long and arduous journey through the New York City desert turmoil of remodeling battles and endless waiting for permits and permissions. They were “home” after several years, and they were rejoicing in that peace of place.
Inspired by Jeremiah 11:5, I called my artist friend and said, “Patty, I have this idea.” So began another long and arduous journey through the desert as Patty, with extraordinary patience, taught me how to paint to her perfectionist ideal a string of incredibly beautiful Hebrew letters.
Every once in a wild while, a painting will appear on the white canvas, done already in an artist’s mind’s eye before the first brush mark. This was one such painting, and I felt only exhilaration every step of the way.
"...a land flowing with milk and honey."
©Dale Fairbanks Oil on linen 72"x84"
Photography by Gary Langhammer Studio