Working from nature, Tucson artist Beth Surdut will have a month-long exhibit of her matted and framed local native birds and wildlife art at Beth Shalom Temple Center from Monday, Sept. 16 through Wednesday, Oct. 23.

“The Art of Paying Attention” will include about eight intricate works of local wildlife done in colored pencil and ink on paper. Each is 16-by-20 inches or larger and will include a printed story of the specific Southern Arizona fauna.

“Before drawing any creature I research behavior, often watching animals for years. I want people to know about the fascinating wildlife we share. I’ve spent hours watching local wildlife and have worked with professional photographers who let me use their photographs to work from,” Surdut said.

The exhibit will be open to the public 12 hours a week starting Sept. 16. Hours are Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. All art will be for sale.

Surdut also creates handpainted personalized prayer shawls, known as “tallit” in Hebrew. She will offer a Power Point lecture, “The Modern Tallit,” on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m., and the public is invited to learn about the elements in creating a tallit.

“R’fuah Shleimah’ means complete healing of body and spirit. Prayer shawls or scarves are about 8 inches wide by 54 inches long and are bought for someone else, like a get-well card,” Surdut said.

She interviews each client to find the prayer, colors and forms to create a one-of-a-kind hand-painted silk prayer shawl or tallit. The giver chooses the colors and wording according to the intention.

Designs and wording are drawn with gold-flaked resist onto white, sand-washed crepe de chine silk. Each piece is painted with fiber-reactive dyes, then steamed for hours to set the dyes, Surdut writes on her website.

On Sunday, Oct. 13, an artist’s reception for Surdut is scheduled following the monthly Bagel Breakfast. She'll talk about her series of drawings and the research that goes into each.

Brunch begins at 9:30 a.m. and is $7 for members and $10 for non-members. Phone 520-648-6690 for reservations.

Beth Shalom Temple Center is at 1751 N. Rio Mayo in Green Valley. Take La Cañada Drive to Via Alamos, head west and turn right on North Rio Mayo.

Contact Green Valley News freelance reporter Ellen Sussman at

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