Custom design for Nancy Tobi

Understanding these images

At this point, we are working on composition. These two images are actually identical but showing different aspects of the same design.  They are not showing color or texture.

Yellow Lettering: Added in stars, changed figure of Jacob to standing and have the faces more aligned. (hopefully conveying strength after the wrestling in that the figure of Jacob is not submissive to the angel). Simplified shapes around figures (they will likely be broken up a bit in painting, but there were just too many little bits). Added in additional water swooshes to increase water association behind quote. I think keeping the lettering and stars in solid pieces works better.

Color Study:  Proposed color scheme. The texture will be quite different so the impression made by the colors will be softer.

 Black and white lines: This is more or less like a coloring book page - showing all the shapes to be filled in.  Some may blend into each other or be simplified if I feel like they are too complex or fussy for the intended effect. Most will be softened and rounded as I paint. I don't think I will keep everything quite so angular. Smaller areas are likely to be blended into larger areas. (You will see color blocks next once we nail down composition).

Red lettering image: This is showing composition emphasis.  Once color is added, this elements will be pulled out with color and shading. (For some reason the final quote mark didn't make it into the English - this has already been fixed).

 Helpful feedback would be things like: Can you make the lettering of X bigger or smaller; move this element to X; add X text to this area; can you make the figures larger (or smaller); add a border; get rid of X element.

The final effect I'm going for is close to the Stanton Macdonald Seated Woman, so this will be soft and warm rather than architectural - since I'm trying to get the structure right before I go into color, it is bare bones at this stage.


Design Brief:  

Gift for adult 24 yr old daughter of  calligraphy/art for her bat mitzvah torah portion, Va'Yishlach and the perek is 32:31 :

And Jacob named the place Peniel, for [he said,] "I saw an angel face to face, and my soul was saved."

וַיִּקְרָא יַעֲקֹב שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם פְּנִיאֵל כִּי רָאִיתִי אֱלֹהִים פָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים וַתִּנָּצֵל נַפְשִׁי:


  • verse in Hebrew and English
  • daughter's name  (also Hebrew and English: Maya Straiya / מיה סטרייה 
  • and birthday Kislev 12, 5750 / י״ב כסלו תש״ן

An abstract representation: the struggle and salvation, protection of the angels. Water themes good because of name.

Colors: bright colors like purples, yellows (deep primary rainbow colors).


Dimensions:  16" X 16" frame but the calligraphy area itself is just 11" x 11".

Budget: $300 cap


  Some inspiration:

Stanton Macdonald "Seated Woman" 

Paul Klee, "Fire Evening" 


Geneviève Claisse,  Agena, 1965

stained glass window of face to face

Jacob and the angel etching