Oleh Profile: Ra'anana artist journeys to painting

As a special gift, she painted a portrait of Ze'ev Bielski, former mayor of Ra'anana, and a long-time friend.

bielski painting 298 (photo credit: Courtesy)
bielski painting 298
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For information on classes click here. See Readers' Comments at end of article After 30 years of using her hands to create art out of clay, Ra'ana artist Reida Mishory-Isseroff tried something new - oil painting. Her current exhibition, "Journey to Realism," is on display at the new Ra'anana Mishkan Le'omanut Vemusica (Arts & Music Institute). Mishory-Isseroff's love affair with art began at the tender age of 11, long before she ever even considered moving to Israel and making aliya. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, she was enrolled in a program for gifted children and won a competition which included her art being displayed at the St. Louis art museum. Her pieces included a sculpture of a unicorn and a rhinoceros. Following high school, Mishory-Isseroff chose to attend Webster University in St. Louis, where she graduated in 1971 with a bachelor of Fine Arts and degrees in philosophy and education. At the time it was very difficult to find a teaching job, as the market was flooded with baby boomers. Mishory-Isseroff decided to go into social work, but taught art on the weekends and at night at the local Jewish Community Center. It was around that time that thoughts of Israel first entered Mishory-Isseroff's life. After meeting her first husband, who was Israeli, she converted to Judaism. As a person who had always been open to religion, she explains that her philosophy is that "man doesn't define God." The world of conversion was nothing new to her as her mother had been Lutheran, but converted to be a Baptist for her father, and at age 12 Mishory-Isseroff chose to become a member of the Episcopal Church. In 1974, Mishory-Isseroff and her husband made aliya. Arriving in Arad, she began to teach at the studio she set up in her home, as well as at the Visual Arts Institute in Beersheva. She recalls how life in Israel was "wild" when she first arrived. Remembering when the road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv first opened, Mishory-Isseroff recalls the prior journey on small winding roads, which took over two hours. A few years later, after moving to Tel Aviv and getting divorced, she had to put art on hold for a while in order to make ends meet. She worked as a secretary for the AACI (Association of American and Canadians in Israel) as well as to the assistant dean of students at Tel Aviv University. Upon meeting her second husband in 1983, she once again began working on her art in her newly established studio in Ra'anana and also returned to teaching. Mishory-Isseroff has since remained in Ra'anana. For nearly 30 years, the main focus of her art was working with clay. She also used to have a Judaica line, which she created from porcelain, but two years ago she decided it was time for something new. At a time in her life when she felt she had done all she could with both the clay and porcelain, it was time for a break. Following a year-long hiatus she was faced with the question of what next? She found the answer by teaching herself how to paint. Her past experience of working with clay helped her understand the world of painting. Familiarity with the three-dimensional world she had used in her ceramic creations, led her to understand the true depth of her paintings. "It is the intention of the artist to represent the reality that she sees, as well as possible, and to do so with taste and the illusion of depth," she says. As this new passion for painting grows, Mishory-Isseroff is constantly thinking of new things to paint. Carrying her digital camera everywhere and clipping pictures from newspapers, she is constantly influenced by her surroundings. She is usually drawn to human beauty and emotion, she explains, "I think it's very powerful and has a lasting effect." "Beauty is the ultimate expression of life," she says. Her current exhibit is a culmination of the past two years of her work in painting. The paintings in the exhibit include a little bit of everything, people, landscapes, flowers and still life. As a special gift, she painted a portrait of Ze'ev Bielski, former mayor of Ra'anana, and a long time friend. The painting will be donated to the Mishkan as a thank you to Bielski, who played in an integral role in its creation. The exhibit opened on November 3 and runs until November 30. For more information about Reida Mishory-Isseroff, and to see many of her paintings, please visit her website www.reidamishory-isseroff.com . Readers' Comments Carol, Jefferson City, USA: My sister, Reida, just happens to be the "profiled" artist in your article and I was glad to see she was well received. I unfortunately was unable to make her "opening," but she knows that I'm with her in spirit. As one of her earliest subjects to be painted, I know how hard she strives to get each nuance and color just right to capture the essence of the person. I applaud her continuing success and wish her all my best. Send your comments >>
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