I felt moved to paint Rabbi Brodt after he passed away. Interestingly, I didn't paint him while he was alive. When I sent this picture to Judy, Sholom's wife, I waited for her reaction to know that it was finished. In her message, she wrote, "Was he telling a joke? Was he excited about a piece of gevaltic Torah? Was he so happy to see his student???"
I had a stronger connection with Judy but always considered them one unit. They showed me what a beautiful compansionship built on friendship, respect and shared values looked like. I would go help in the kitchen or sit at the table with Judy discussing something. When Sholom came in, she always directed her attention to him with, "Hi, Tatty" or something like that. They were really in step.
It was always kind of exciting to see Sholom outside his third meal role as wizard/mashpiah/grandfather/father to the community. I interacted with Sholom more as Judy's friend, always a little intimidated by him. Painting him these weeks has strengthened my relationship with him and I feel much closer to him.
The painting kept evolving through many of his expressions and emotions. I always wanted it to be a comforting and loving painting to help comfort his friends and family that his spirit is still alive. I incorporated some fresh flowers which Judy always delighted in.
Here are some quotes from family and friends about the painting.
"This is absolutely amazing; I feel his presence so well and strongly in and thru this very skilled and deeply resonant and elegant master work. Thank you so much for sharing this and the stories of Judy and R. Sholom which accompany it."
"a masterpiece - this painting is alive, full of neshama"
"WOW!!! Love this SO much! Thank you for your devotion and talent!"
"It does make me think of him telling a good joke😄"
"You've really captured our colorful and vibrant Rav Sholom! This is stunning work!"
"A million moments in one...captured perfectly!!❤"
"You captured so much of him. There is such life in this painting. It feels as though he is talking to me. Thank you!"
"wow.. you got that light in his eyes... thanks.....and that smile..."
"This is amazingly beautiful!! You channeled something holy and captured his spirit. It is as though he were alive looking at this. What a tribute and beautiful gift for Judy. Thank you"
"Just wow. Feels like he's about to step right through! Can't wait to see this, live..."
"Beautiful beautiful beautiful!! I didn't even know him but I can feel him through this painting. Wonderful job!!"
"ADORE.TOUCHING.AND SO EDIFYING AND JOY INDUCING"