As anyone who regularly attends events at the Jerusalem Theatre knows, it’s difficult to find a good parking place for one’s car there. The solution that works best for us is to get there well ahead of time. The problem then is, what do you do with all that time to kill before the concert/play/film begins?
That’s how I found myself studying a large book of watercolour paintings in the bookshop in the foyer. Flicking idly through it I was captivated and could hardly believe my eyes! The paintings were of a singular beauty, depicting sites and scenes all over Israel. The independently published book was aptly titled ‘Land of Beauty.’ As an aspiring watercolourist myself, I immediately recognized a wonderful pace and freedom of movement, as well as bold yet delicate colouring and an enviable economy of brush-strokes.
That’s how I’ve always wanted to paint! I exclaimed. Only, to my chagrin, my paintings never come out quite like that. I must meet the painter and find out how he does it.
The book contains over 150 beautifully-painted scenes of places in Israel, and is produced to an extremely high professional standard. It was with immense joy that I bought it, realizing that from now on I could always have it to hand while I was painting, and use it as a guide and didactic tool.
Since the painter’s website and email address appear on the flyleaf of the book I was able to send him an email. He replied with his phone number, and in the ensuing conversation it turned out that he lives not far from my house, and that during the current month his paintings are on exhibition in the foyer of the Jerusalem Theatre, where he is to be found every evening.
And so it was that one evening Yigal and I turned up at the exhibition, bringing the book with us so that the artist (and author) could sign it. This he promptly did, very graciously, and for the next hour or so we talked about painting, his work, people we both knew, and even my own feeble attempts at painting.
Yohanan Lakicevic (pronounced Lucky Chevich) hails originally from Yugoslavia but has spent most of his life in Israel. After graduating from the Bezalel Academy of Art he was employed for many years by Israel’s main TV channel, producing illustrations, scenery, and any kind of animation or figurative work required. He has also worked as a cartoonist for leading Israeli newspapers and has produced books containing collections of his work. He has worked in many different art media but maintains that his special love has always been watercolours.
In the introduction to his book Yohanan relates that he never leaves home without his satchel which contains a painting block, watercolour paints and brushes, and in this way documents all his travels in Israel and abroad. He paints quickly, he told me, sometimes sitting in his car, sometimes out in the open, endeavouring to capture the scene, the flavour of the moment, allowing his hand and eye to do the work for him.
He gave me a few helpful hints about which brushes and paints to use, and even showed interest in seeing my paintings. I’ll need to pluck up a lot of courage before I can bring myself to show them to him.