Meet The Artist: Aliza Marton

Photo: Courtesy of Aliza Marton

Until very recently, art has been a very private part of Aliza’s life.  While providing art instruction to as many as 60 students at any given time, her own artwork has historically only been shown to private audiences.

Aliza did not formally enter the art world until the age of 39.  Life had been busy until then.  Aliza had pursued her degree in Psychology and Education from UCLA, worked as an elementary school teacher, and (most importantly) raised four wonderful children.  Once Aliza picked up that first brush with oil paint on its tip, like a wellspring, art began to flow and it has not stopped since.

Aliza finds inspiration everywhere and sees the hand of the Creator in everything.  Aliza also sees the natural world as a bridge to the spiritual realm.  She lives in awe of G-d’s creations and their unique characteristics.  Aliza’s commitment is to capture moments of particular beauty and to share them.  Aliza’s hope is that her artwork will serve as a celebration of the natural and spiritual worlds’ ability to provide comfort, guidance, and inspiration.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I guess you could say my story begins with my grandparents, Sephardic Jews who traced their roots to the Spanish Inquisition and who were living in Egypt at the time of my mother’s birth. While King Farouk was in power in Egypt, Jews prospered. In 1956, when Nasser rose to power, Jews were no longer welcome. After narrowly escaping from Egypt my grandparents found themselves impoverished, living in a tiny apartment in Rio de Janeiro. They waited for ten years to get a visa for entry into the USA. Being the oldest daughter, my mother needed to support her family. She worked hard and only began her career as an artist when she was pregnant with me. Years later, her mother began to paint as well.

My father’s father was incredibly artistic but never had time to focus on it. Having arrived in Ellis Island in 1917 from Russia, also escaping persecution, he needed to quickly learn the language and find employment. Although he and my father never pursued art, all my father’s siblings became artists.

I guess you could say that art is in my blood. However, like with my mother and grandmother, I did not pursue art until I was older. The schools that I went to as a child and teenager did not provide art classes. Doodling in class was never seen as something good.

Finally, when I was 39, I gave myself the most wonderful gift – a painting class that met once a week! I had previously tried to make time for sketching and other artistic ventures, but something always got in the way. For example, at age 37 I went to an art store and bought myself a sketch pad and pencils and slowly began my dream. Soon after, most unfortunately, my son was in a near death accident. I happily spent all my time caring for him along with the rest of my family, nursing him back to health through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for the next few years. Eventually I began to paint. Once I started, I could not stop! My head is always swirling with ideas! I love painting with a passion! Sometimes I start painting and lose track of time, only realizing that I have to stop because it is three in the morning and I must sleep! Although I am a busy wife, mother, grandmother, and mother in law, I teach art to women and children and teach a Navi (Prophets) class to women on Shabbos. I am so grateful to God for the opportunity to create artwork. I hope to do so forever! Trying to end the chain of women in my family not giving to themselves, until everyone is taken care of. I encourage my daughters to give to themselves in a way that is nurturing. I am happy to say that even though my oldest daughter is a fairly new mother, she paints and teaches art classes in Jerusalem.

What inspired you to become an artist?

It has been a dream of mine since I was a young child. Going to museums, I would stare at the paintings in amazement trying to figure out what techniques the artist had used – deconstructing paintings in my mind. Although I never had the opportunity to take an art class as a child, when I would see a painting, I would study it and imagine how I would paint it.

What is your specialty?

My absolute favorite medium is, without a doubt, oil on canvas. I love the luscious creamy feel of the paint, it is so forgiving, vibrant, and rich. I love expressing my emotions and feelings through paint. I hide phrases from the scriptures, mostly Psalms, in my work, partially as an expression of my feelings and partially as a way of showing gratitude to the Creator of the world.

How and where do you work?

I work in my studio at home. It has wonderful large windows overlooking the city. My easel faces the largest window. I love the natural light! I sit, stand, and walk around by my taboret and paint away.

What is the most indispensable item in your studio?

It is impossible to choose one thing. The quality of paints and paintbrushes, and the overall setting make such a difference to me. The large windows in my studio give an incredible amount of natural light that I love! I also love my taboret, that I helped to design. It was custom made by Casey Child’s. One thing I cannot seem to get enough of though, are “dead” brushes. When others are ready to throw out their brushes because they’ve lost their shape and start to flare out, those are keepers for me! They have a softness that you cannot get from a new brush.

Where do you take your inspiration? Are you pursuing any themes?

My inspiration comes from everywhere! Sometimes it is the beauty in nature, most often it is my personal experiences and thoughts. Seeing the hand of God within everything and needing to capture it in some small way. Every painting has a story and includes a little piece of myself that I leave within. These “stories” span everything from challenges I have had to overcome to hopes and dreams I have for the future.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am working on a series called The Days of Creation. Each day of creation is highlighted by something that God created that day.
A Rebbe Nachman story called “The Exchanged Children,” It is a very complicated piece with a lot of symbolism that is true to Rebbe Nachman’s style.
My husband walking down a street in Tzfat. I love that mystical city, its history, and of course all of its art galleries.
And, a large diptych of my two daughters. Reminiscing on how they were when they were young. I am painting them with a whimsical twist!
I very often like to work on a few things at once.

What is your favourite item in your current collection?

Tough question, as all of my pieces are all so personal to me. However, probably my favorite would be “Home.” It’s called “Home” because there’s no other place other than Israel that I truly feel I belong. This feeling comes from such a deep place within me. The painting depicts the home where my brother used to live through the arch on the left, and we would often rent the apartment through the arch on the right. The window above the flag is where my girls slept. I painted my boys walking towards the steps going down. Making a left on the next street (Shonei Halachot) leads to where my parents lived. Even though my family lived there for many years and today live elsewhere in Israel, I still feel like this is my home.

Photo: Courtesy of Aliza Marton

How do you know when a piece is finished?

Hard to explain exactly. Sometimes it goes quickly and you just know you’re finished, and sometimes you can look at it for years, do a little here and there, and you just know it is not quite right yet.

Do you do bespoke work?

Yes, I have done so in the past.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

The first piece I ever sold was when I was 16. I had won a scholarship for a trip to Israel. As I stated above, although I never had the opportunity to pursue formal training as a child, whenever possible, I would doodle or sketch. So there I was on a TWA flight to Israel, sitting on the floor in the back of the plane doodling. In those days there was empty space at the back of the plane. An Israeli man came over to me and saw what I was doing. I had sketched a woman’s face using a black pen on a lined spiral notebook. And just like that, he handed me $20.00 and asked for the drawing, which I handed to him. I felt bad in giving it to him because I knew in my mind that it was not a real work of art. Nevertheless, he reassured me that one day it would be worth much more. It was a real Chessed.

Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
That’s a really a tough question for me. I really enjoy painting pretty much everything! My favorite recent project would have to be “Spire Cove”. I had gone to Alaska for the first time and could not wait to go kayaking through the Kenai Fjords. What amazing natural beauty! Really, I would love to paint everything that I saw on that trip. This painting is the first from that adventure. The entire time I just kept saying,
‏”מה רבו מעשיך הי כלם בחכמה עשית מלאה הארץ קנינך”
Which means, “How great are Your works, God, You make them all wisdom, the world is full of your possessions”(Psalms 104:24) and I embedded that phrase into the side of the mountain on the right.

What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?

I would love for my pieces to touch individuals in a way that helps them realize that God is within everything. Nothing exists without God.
My hope is that my artwork will serve as a celebration of the natural and spiritual world’s ability to provide comfort, guidance, and inspiration.

Where can we find your work?

My website is,
I’m on Instagram as @alizamarton
I’m on Facebook as well under Aliza Marton

Photo: Courtesy of Aliza Marton

Photo: Courtesy of Aliza Marton

Photo: Courtesy of Aliza Marton

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