Self Portrait

I was born in London, England, and studied art at high school. But, I chose a career in science, did a PhD in chemistry of DNA at Cambridge University, and had a successful career in biophysical chemistry applications to biological systems including cancer cells (you can see my scientific cv under "Other" in the list on the left). I only returned to art many years later when I settled in the Washington DC area. I took courses at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC, the Jewish Community Center, Rockville MD and Montgomery College. On moving to Netanya in 1996, I studied at the Art Institute with Alex Umanski.

Many of my oil paintings contain geometric elements intermixed with other more abstract components. This has been described as my scientific/analytical side in tension with my creative/artistic side. Some of the early works are brightly colored, while the later works tend to be more subdued. A prominent theme of my latest oils was shadows and the abstract nature of some aspects of reality. I have had solo shows in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2016 (see list on left).

I have been writing for many years and over time I have gathered together my works and published them. They are available on-line at, including my auto-biographical novel, "Amanuensis" (2009); my collections of short stories, "Discovering America" and "Trove," (2009); my memoir, "Confessions of a Jewish Activist" (2010); my story of intrigue in science, "Antisense" (2014); my telling of the story of a Chilean Christian who became an Israeli for love, "Zionism: A Love Story" (2015); my story about anti-Semitism and science, "Of Gods and Lemurs" (2015); my collection of humorous tales, "Humorous Husbandry" (2016); coping with my wife's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, "Life on Planet Alz" (2017); my book about the re-emergence of the Crypto-Jews, "The Reawakening: The Re-emergence of Jews after 500 Years of Spanish-Portuguese Catholic Persecution" (2017); and the story of my friend Eddie Bielawski's family survival in Poland, "Invisible Jews: Surviving the Holocaust in Poland" (2017). That is 11 books self-published in 8 years. I was also a co-editor of "Iberian New Christians and their Descendants" published by Cambridge Scholars Publishers (2019). For further details click on the item on the left-hand list.

They say you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. But, at the age of 80, after painting in oils all my life, I started an art course with the painter Uri Peretz in Beer Sheva, where I live. The course started with water colors and then acrylics, with an abstract approach. The idea is not to have a fixed idea of what you are trying to do, but rather add paint to paper, board or canvas and let random actions produce something. It can be purely abstract, or it can tend towards something real, like a person, a building or a scene in nature. This is the opposite to my previous approach that required a close examination of a subject and then an attempt to reproduce a facsimile of that as an image with paint on canvas. I found it hard to embrace the freedom of this approach and also difficult to make decisions to completely over-paint whatever had been painted to produce a different image. However, I persevered, and although I think Uri did not approve of my tendency towards representational art, nevertheless I hope I succeeded somewhat. Here are some of the paintings (see "Watercolors and Acrylics") that I produced in the period of this course.