Abstract artist creates conversations in Bothell

“What I’m doing as an abstract artist, I’m really dealing with lines, shapes, patches of color,” she said, standing in her basement, walls lines with dozens of works of art leaning against mattresses. “Abstract is a new world, it’s the only way an artist can really express what’s inside them,” she said.

Yael Zahavy-Mittelman is an abstract artist based in Bothell.

For those unaccustomed to abstract art, Yael Zahavy-Mittelman has an exercise she uses to initiate them. The Bothell-based artist instructs newcomers to close their eyes and imagine a black or white canvas, and then place colored lines on it. Add some shapes, and finally patches of colors, rearrange them again and again, and you have the basis for a world that the artist works in.

“What I’m doing as an abstract artist, I’m really dealing with lines, shapes, patches of color,” she said, standing in her basement, walls lines with dozens of works of art leaning against mattresses. “Abstract is a new world, it’s the only way an artist can really express what’s inside them,” she said.

Her paintings range in size from small, 12-by-12 inch works to massive canvases covered in vibrant colors, wandering white lines, obscured human figures and loaded with stories.

Largely, Zahavy-Mittelman said her works flow naturally, often times themes and ideas appear in them, but she hopes her paintings are an opening line rather than the final word.

“I would like people to have a conversation about art,” she said. “It’s an invitation for a conversation.”

Her work has been featured from New York to Israel, and regionally from the Seattle Convention Center to art galleries in Bellevue and Monroe and beyond.

Since she was a girl, Zahavy-Mittelman has been surrounded by art, as her mother is an artist too. She said she started drawing with chalk before moving on to paint.

“Art was all around me because the walls were covered in my mother’s art,” she said. Zahavy-Mittelman received a masters in art therapy from George Washington University, and has worked at area hospitals before retiring for health reasons.

Now, she has made art, and raising her three children a full-time career, with her husband Sharon Mittelman.

“I don’t stop working,” she said. “Either doing the art, or doing the shows.”

From her art studio on the second floor of their home, she also gives lessons.

With her art’s focus on interpretation and conversation, she hopes to not only guide children artistically, but to expose them to a complicated world she says cannot be boiled down to strict lines of “black” and “white.”

“If I could, in their young minds, (get them) to consider the idea that there is way beyond what they’re taught,” she said.

As for her own work, Zahavy-Mittelman’s older pieces are generally color-based, with the aforementioned lines, shapes and colors taking the lead and generally, as she describes it, painting themselves.

“Any element in the painting would look completely different if you eliminate any part of it,” she said.

Over the years, she has used various techniques ranging from paint throwing, to including old jewelry sent by her family in Israel in her works.

Currently, she’s using canvas with rectangular insets, collage, jewelry and ink drawing to create intricate pieces, with many smaller “stories” contributing to the overall piece.

“It has to have a bit of everything, because that’s what makes a good story,” she said.

Zahavy-Mittelman said she hopes her art creates a space for people to think about the world.

“It’s something to inspire your day, to think about it differently,” she said. “It’s not an image that somebody puts a spoon to your mouth, you have to think about it.”

Her art can be viewed at yaelsart.com, or by personal viewings at her home. All her pieces are also for sale, she said.

As for creating art, Zahavy-Mittelman said anyone can do it.

“You don’t need to be an artist to do art,” she said. “It’s always your own version.”

Yael’s art can be seen at the Northwest Collage Society 2016 Open Winter Shop at the Washington State Convention Center until March 26, the Saaski Gallery in Monroe from Feb. 4 through 8 and the EarthenWorks gallery in Laconner.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

File photo
State Supreme Court strikes down $30 car-tab initiative

Justices unanimously agreed that voter-approved Initiative 976 is unconstitutional.

A suspect in a carjacking hangs almost 60 feet up in a tree after climbing it to avoid police on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 near Mill Creek, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After gunfire, Bothell carjacking suspect climbs a tree

He allegedly passed a trooper at 114 mph on a motorcycle, crashed, stole a car, fled gunshots and climbed 60 feet.

Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)
Gov. Inslee loosens rules for bars, libraries and movie theaters

New rules come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide.

Jay Inslee (left) and Loren Culp
Inslee, Culp will meet in only televised debate Wednesday

The two candidates will answer questions for an hour but they will not be on stage together.

Cecil Lacy Jr. (Family photo)
Court: New trial in case of man who told police ‘Can’t breathe’

Cecil Lacy Jr. of Tulalip died in 2015 while in police custody.

A Sept. 10 satellite image shows smoke from U.S. wildfires blanketing the majority of the West Coast. (European Space Agency)
University of Washington professors talk climate change, U.S.-China relations

Downside for climate policy supporters is it can risk alienating moderate or right-leaning voters.

Sightseers at a Snoqualmie Falls viewpoint adjacent to the Salish Lodge & Spa on Feb. 19, 2020. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
25 COVID cases linked to Salish Lodge

Public Health is urging anyone who visited the lodge to monitor for symptoms or get tested.

The nose of the 500th 787 Dreamliner at the assembly plant in Everett on Sept. 21, 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald, file)
Report: Boeing will end 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Boeing declined comment on a Wall Street Journal story saying the passenger jet’s assembly will move to South Carolina.

Car hits hydrant and power pole in Bothell

Luckily there were no injuries

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.