I came across Ronit’s work one day while browsing new posts in A Stand For Art-Journaling.
The image was of a camel in a sand scape of creamy tans and brown paint. It was simplistic and powerful.
Since that moment of wonder I have followed her work enjoying the play between organic materials and bright bold brush strokes.
I am excited to introduce this humble, beautiful story teller.
Ronit Neeman Salei is a graphic artist by profession with a background in fashion drawing and textile.
She has been teaching drawing and painting to kids and adults for many years, creating art from nature and from recycled materials.
Originally from Israel, she left for a lover to the big city of New York some thirty years ago but married another. They reside in New Jersey these days.
“My passion is in inviting others to experience and appreciate the satisfaction of expressing yourself through creating art.”
What is your relationship with art?
I painted almost before I could walk and talk….
My father had a studio in the back yard where he painted his oil paintings, and I spent hours watching him at work. As a very shy child and a young woman, art spoke for me.
It was my tool of communication. My power to stand out in the crowd. I was free to create. I was forced to preform especially to sing in front of family friends.
Painting was easier. I always always painted, that was my safe world.. Place I escaped rather than spending time socializing.
It is only in recent years I stopped performing. Which is hard to admit… It is very tempting to show off your technical ability, even to yourself. Than to find your own inner voice.
I was expected to show nice art, or maybe I expected myself. I now challenge my self to create only what resonates deeply to me.
Some times it isn’t pretty. I try to reach within for simplicity, primitiveness and rawness. This is my massage to those who take my workshops.
“Create only what resonates deeply to you.”
Your work for me conveys your love of nature/organic matter and a feeling of reminisces? Does your childhood influences your work?
Yes, art was big part of my up bringing. Painting was a main hobby of my fathers,not profession. My father painted mostly landscape and flowers.
We would travel to places, and he had a portable easel and oil paint. He painted the eucalyptus trees over the Sea of Galilee . Or the old city of Akko by the sea.
Or fresh cut flowers we brought from our trip. It was only a natural transmission to show them in my work. I painted just like that for years.
I find in nature all the interesting lines , texture and color that I am looking for and just never have enough.
I love drawing too, looking at the lines and curves in a wooden branch, or a shell. I love to be carried away digging into the very small details in those.
What do you collect?
I LOVE bringing nature into my home. Branches that were in the water for a long time. Shells, I have them all around the house. In cups,standing on their own.
How has collecting nature affected your art? What influence does it have?
In my art journaling workshops I try to surprise myself and my guests with simple home or nature objects, anything they do not have to go to the store to buy.
I always love to see kids and adult’s surprised face when I introduce those. I always have a jar of washed and clean eggshell. I just can’t have enough of organic free -range chicken eggs. The different colors of the shells, bring back a strong memory from kindergarten in Israel. I always love to see kids and adult’s surprised face when I introduce those.
I love to make stamps out of roots or any cut or a whole fruit that is left to dry. I love watching the change . It excites me to recycle.
I think I learned so much that I aim for anything simple and not complex.
Where do you feel most at home?
I find myself mostly happy and calm when I am in nature. Preferably next to a source of water, sea, lake, waterfall.
Hearing the sound of water near by is like hearing my own voice.
What are you working on these days?
Projects I am working on now.. I am always creating paintings, art journals, sewing, knitting (some for as long as twenty years, few stitches here and there.)
I love to leave a project and go back to it with a different approach…
I am always looking for original concepts and materials that I can implement into my art and workshops.
I have been working on a Cooking Journal all about the color of flavor. I have been promising my kids, it will come out one day.