What’s It Like on an Art Kibbutz on Governor’s Island? Part One

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Sometimes, we just need to start the summer with a fresh new start.  (With a suitcase-turned standing desk of course – my book isn’t going to write itself!)


Standing desk on a train…mad skill…

I haven’t been having the smoothest travels lately… (those darn detours!)


Guess why I’m staying here for two weeks..

The day I would have been celebrating my one-year wedding anniversary (if I were still married…) I was packing my bags for two weeks to work on an Art Kibbutz on Governor’s Island.

What’s an Art Kibbutz?

Art Kibbutz is a volunteer-driven artists’ community, residency, and a hub that offers artists of all mediums, ages, backgrounds, nationalities, and affiliations opportunities to explore universal issues through a Jewish artistic lens. Art Kibbutz provides inspiring and peaceful space to work, learn and seriously explore the rich heritage of Jewish experience that informs their creative process.

So basically…I get to go to Governor’s Island every day, paint for hours and get to talk about it and exchange ideas with others who think similarly – I know, I know, tough life! 


It was never this clean again…

Well, it was a little tough.  It was difficult for me to just pack up and leave, especially when I would much rather be pitying myself.  But I learned that if I just stayed home in sadness and despair, the only one I was hurting was myself.  After all, I’ve survived near death circumstances by pushing myself to go on.  Now shouldn’t be any different.

It’s hard for anyone to leave their usual life aside for two weeks and do something completely not practical.  But I told myself, I had been so crazy busy this year, touring my show, presenting at conferences, maybe I did need some time to just paint what was still too hard for me to process.


What helps YOU unwind?

After all, painting is what had helped me heal all along the bumpy, surgery-ridden, uncertainty-filled road.

The more I learned abut Art Kibbutz, saw the fresh new sights, met the amazingly interesting other artists from everywhere – Greece, Israel, Brooklyn, Kansas, South Africa….

Lev Ari – what an awesome guy!

I realized that I had come to the very right place at exactly the right time.  Now it was healing time for ME. And a chance to learn NEW things, meet new people, and open up my world again.  The theme is art and social change – something I’m very passionate about.   I hope to share what I’v learned from PTSD and shed light on what that experience may be like for others.  My working process is intuitive –  a celebration of life’s beautiful detours. I found art accidentally on my way to healing from physical and emotional trauma, and have learned that it is one of the most rewarding, forgiving, beautiful ways to find my way through the darkness and into the light.  Everyone deserves to create.

Is there something new you’ve been dying to try? Just do it!

There’s always a way through.

Sometimes…it’s just a little messy.


Okay, enough of the words. I would much rather show you what I’ve been working on. I have trouble knowing when to step away from a painting. My whole life seems to be about “more is more” sometimes!  What’s your feedback? Don’t hold back – I’m an actress so I have thick skin!

I could feel the figure dancing…

So I just committed to what I saw.

Not really knowing what I was doing, I just filled the space.  I can’t help but feel my grandmother’s spirit with me, inhabiting this space.  My grandmother was a holocaust survivor, and although I haven’t gone to Israel YET, I know she’s smiling down at me in a kibbutz – an art kibbutz!

You KNOW I can’t leave a painting without a tear!

OH by the way – all of my crazy self taught art is for sale 

Just e-mail me – right now, it’s just taking up space in my basement!

Anyway, I kept going with the tears, worried I was doing too much.

Sometimes it helps to use creativity as a mindset to see things differently…

But I still wasn’t loving it.

Eh what the hell. It’s for me. I’ll keep going.

I even started to dance a bit – who cares 

Okay, how did I get paint on my knee?

I guess when I ran out of space on my canvas, my flesh needed attention?   Or maybe I just have bad aim.

Either way, the more I kept going, the more I wasn’t very satisfied. What was I trying to paint?  This is how my piece ended for now…

And sometimes you need to know when to walk away…

Now ain’t that a metaphor for life.

Nah, not really.

Anyay it sort of is.  It’s good to work hard and play hard and love hard.  It’s also good and healthy to know when you just need to take a break from it all.  I’m strong, just like all of you, but I still have my moments of hardship – lots of ’em.

So that’s what I’m doing.

But creativity is the best medicine.

So I’m briefly MIA in Governor’s Island for a little soul-juice refill.

Stay tuned – I’m here two weeks and you haven’t even seen the START of all the messes I’m making!