JUDE HARZER FINE ART

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”~ Paul Coelho

"Some Mad Hope..."
A young and vital child knows no limit to his own will, and it is the only reality to him. It is not that he wants at the outset to fight other wills, but that they simply do not exist for him. Like the artist, he goes forth to the work of creation, gloriously alone.
Jane Harrison

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator
My art is a reflection of my effort to recognize and embrace the beauty in the world around me, even when it seems most difficult to find. Contact me at judiharz@aol.com or visit my website at http://www.judeharzerfineart.com

Visit My Website

http://www.judeharzer.com

"Most of us have two lives- the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance."Steven Pressfield

"The greatest freedoms are freedom from regret, freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, and freedom from sorrow."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Beauty

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old." ~ Franz Kafka

Images and words can be powerful and revealing. They can convey the secrets of your soul and the abundance in your heart.Inspired still by the words of a 12 year old,posted in a prior blog entry,I intend to live and celebrate 2009 with a "full heart." I want my images and words this year to represent the joy and love in my life.I am fortunate because it truly is plentiful.It is difficult to admit that I sometimes cling to the "negative" because it is comfortable being the victim... but that is a heavy weight to bear. I am no longer a child.Those who imposed great pain are gone and many years have passed.I was recently advised that it is time to forgive,(myself included.)How strange that someone should fear "success" or "happiness".I do it seems.Embracing both,admitting both,involves,believing in my own self worth. That must seem inconceivable to some. I am almost there:)

So I have decided to choose words to focus upon, my own "daily affirmations", as inspiration for my art.I will select one simple word per month,posted alongside the wise writing of a 12 year old and the artwork of a friend on my easel, and I will create with that word in mind.Seriously, how powerful and "full" are words like love,peace,beauty?...We overuse them and tend to dismiss their value. We diminish the essence of their genuine meaning.An entry by artist, Vivi-Mari Carpelan on her blog,A Spiritual Journey On Planet Earth, reminded me of the need to "see" beauty,the meaning of true beauty (she is it),the necessity to find it,unearth it,appreciate it.
So for January, the word is BEAUTY...it surrounds me... I know it:) 258

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Upcoming Art Exhibit

Jude Harzer
Fly:Recognizing Possibilities
oil on canvas 48" w x 36" h
National Association of Women Artists
2/19 - 4/26/09 - HUB/Robeson Galleries, Penn State, State College, PA
(Reception: TBD)

Wisdom From A Twelve Year Old: On Living With A Full Heart

I came upon this as I was perusing a counseling site. I surround myself with children. They love abundantly. They accept life with a graceful ease and honesty. I have learned more from my children and students than from any adult. I tend to build protective walls and then "challenge" others to a point where they either stay or go.It seems more comfortable and "painless" to remain guarded.Unlike my sister who loves fully and generously,I prefer to avoid potential hurt.Children,however,seem to be the exception for me...I easily connect with them.They require immediate attention,trust and kindness...there are no overriding expectations. They simply choose to love.I discovered these words, written by a 12 year old. How perfect that a child can "see" so clearly and with great wisdom."Out of the mouths of babes..."

On Living With A Full Heart
When one is too hurt one cannot see others' pain, is too blind with one's own.
When one has many weights to lift, one cannot enjoy life.
When one has many expectations, one cannot be patient with others.
When one has fear, one cannot enjoy life.
When one does not give, one is making the heart lonely.
When one does not take, one is making the heart feel inferior
When one does not hope, one is shutting oneself into a tight closet.
But when one does not love, one is killing one's self.


(written by 12-year old Olivia, Berkeley, California, 2/12/02)

So in 2009, my purpose will be to live with a full heart. I posted this on my desk next to a treasured image entitled, Slaughter Run.
2009...moving forward,moving on.
The joy of life is the forward road...—Tertius Van Dyke

Quiet Your Mind

A recurring bit of advice from several of my most trusted friends and family: "Quiet your mind,quiet your actions and words and look within yourself because all that is needed to succeed is within you, not elsewhere. Let your art be your voice." I know all of this. I advise people to do the same and the work that lies before me, is personal and internal. It is the act of BELIEVING. Actions do speak louder than words. I know, I hear, I see, I just have to believe and trust myself.I somehow believe that others are smarter,more talented,more worthy and will lead the way.I already know the way.I am tired of my self-defeating repetitive thoughts and actions.Beth Anne,my baby sister, you have become an unlikely source of inspiration and wisdom. Who would have thought? :) Congratulations on this years achievements.You've had many. I'll be there to see you successfully finish your 18 mile run. Run, run for your life. I'll paint for mine.I am proud of you and thank you with all my heart.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

“It may be that the deep necessity of art is the examination of self-deception.” Robert Motherwell

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Message From Zimbabwe

I received this message from Janice Ashby,a friend,artist and humanitarian who has selflessly devoted her life to helping a community of papercrafters in Zimbabwe. To read about Janice and her non-profit organization, Eco-Africa,click on the following link: http://www.ecoafricasocialventures.org/home
Janice and her efforts are a wonderful reminder of the abundance that we share and the generosity and the resilience of the human spirit. Happy Christmas!

Hi everyone.
Here is a picture out of Zimbabwe which is good news for a change. The distribution to our artisans of the food that was purchased with your donations of US dollars.

This means Christmas time for Eco Africa’s artisans and their families will be not spent desperately searching for food sources.

The truck arrived at St Alois mission Wednesday morning and was quickly unloaded by teams of women ready for distribution later in the day. The smiles of relief and joy on their faces made it worth all of the efforts we, together with you our friends and supporters, went to to make it happen. Then there was the Christmas Party, our fifth at Eco Africa. Finally we all went home, tired but happy, never mind that it poured sheets of rain the whole day. It’s the rainy season!

I thought I would make this more of a Holiday Picture Show than a newsletter. I went deep into the township of Chitungwiza on Sunday and saw first hand the horrible effects of the total breakdown of services there. The huge piles of trash that line the roads uncollected, the streams of raw sewage that runs down each side of the streets and collects in fetid pools. I have graphic pictures that would horrify and sadden you – but instead I chose these. While parked outside the tiny modest cottage, home to one of our artisans, I contemplated the devastating neglect that has caused the sickness and extreme hardships in these peoples lives.

Then - a moment that brightened my day – a tribute to the resilience of children. Even in intolerable circumstances - kids will be kids!


Happy Holidays every one.
Janice

Friday, December 19, 2008

Indifference

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Seeing Beauty When It Seems Most Difficult To Find

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.... People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back." ~Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982

I remember reading this in college. The words struck me because I always knew that if you look hard enough, despite the "noise" and ugliness,the unkindness,the pain...God is there. Beauty is there. It is however sometimes hard to find.But it is there.God(which for me equals beauty,hope,the goodness and potential within us all),can be found in the smiling face of a child, the kindness of a stranger,vibrant purple flowers growing amid a field of weeds...

Alice Walker's, The Color Purple, often makes me think about my students,..actually all children and people in general. We are naturally attracted to the physically beautiful,the talented,intelligent,funny or socially outgoing.It is human nature really and certainly all of those qualities are evidence of beauty. But the more satisfying beauty, for those that wish to "see",sometimes is not quite so obvious.

During the first several weeks of school, I make an effort to "see" all 700 of my students. There are those who are outwardly naughty and misbehaved. You can't help but notice them and learn their names quickly but the beauty is in the fact that they demand to be seen. They make you very aware of their existence and that is actually wonderful because they command attention,good or bad, and will be cared for. Then of course there are the attractive,the sweet,the gifted and talented...the children who are "easy" to teach and "easy" to love.They provide a refreshing, constant source of beauty and inspiration." ..their beauty is "easy" to see. Finally, there are the silent,the mentally or physically challenged,the "plain", the painfully shy,the abused,the misunderstood,the "faceless" who seem invisible to most.Beauty is equally within those children, those people...it is quietly concealed and more difficult to find,especially if you have a limited and superficial understanding of what beauty is. But I assure you it is there.It is what lies beneath the "mask" that often offers the most beauty. In all of us, "true" beauty is not in appearances. It is in our goodness, our kindness and generosity, it is in discovering who we are.

So throughout my year,I do make a concerted effort to see and help my students discover their own beauty. It is my job as an Art educator but it is more importantly my mission as a parent and as a person.It is amazing when you actually stop and talk to a person who probably would go unnoticed by most, and ask them with sincerity, how they are and who they are. You will witness an immediate physical and emotional transformation. Sometimes the response is one of suspicion or surprise, but for a moment, they realize that someone cared to see....I think I will do a purple painting:)

May you always find beauty in the world around you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Works In Process:A Return To Color



I met with an artist friend yesterday who has become an unexpected source of inspiration and somewhat of a professional "coach." It does help to bounce ideas off other artists who you value and trust and who know you personally. It helps if they can physically see your work as much gets lost in photographs,... mine anyway. Artists tend to work in isolation but occasionaly it helps me to input from a fellow artist. When my daughter left for college, I lost her critical eye. She helped me immensely when I couldn't find direction or when I was struggling with a composition. And she was tough and vocal in her critiques,which I greatly appreciated. I wasn't looking for flowery compliments,only assistance so that I could improve....Anyway, I am uncluttering my head and my discussion yesterday confirmed that I need to focus more than ever and "just do it." You have to love those Nike guys:) So right now I am rapidly transferring new ideas onto canvas. This is effective in documenting the general concepts so that I can later return to refine them.I actually have an abundance of images swirling in my mind,waiting to be manifested...but some of the older work still needs to be completed and there is value in further developing them. Here are some of the numerous images,hastily painted for the sake of peace of mind. So I'm off to a good start for 2009, I actually have a plan and deadlines in January for projects, one of which I vowed to fulfill based on a handshake:)It is my integrity that is on the line, personally and artistically. Yikes! No more procrastination...


Monday, December 15, 2008

DREAM

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also DREAM; not only plan, but also BELIEVE." ...."Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream."
Anatole France

I am at heart a dreamer and I plan to keep it that way. There is a reason I surround myself with 700 Kindergartners everyday because they still BELIEVE and know how to dream.And color is so beautiful and my new art will reflect that. Kindergartners love color!

PS...so I arrive at school this morning and am setting up for the second portion of our "stained glass" lesson.I told my students how distracted I was attending Kindergarten because everyday at Holy Angels in Trenton we would go to mass and I would be mesmerized by the colors and patterns of the art...it was everywhere...the mosaic floors, the painted ceilings, statues and woodwork, but especially the stained glass windows. I revisited that church this year on the day of my Grandmother's funeral and it was just as beautiful and magical!I was distracted again:)I was in love with the visual richness and architecture of that sacred building. I really do paint my memories and dreams.

Anyway....speaking of dreams, two of my Kindergartners greeted each other this morning,after being separated all weekend and one exclaimed,"I dreamed about you last night!" Then they smiled and unabashedly hugged. We can learn a lot from five year olds. No apologies. A special someone gave me a button at my recent art exhibit...it read "Never apologize for your Art." To me that translates also to never apologizing for my dreams!
Make a great day!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

FLYING

"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Flying is not a magical process!
It requires focus,persistence,practice,hard work and a belief in one's own ability to fly. Someone important in my life,told me that failure was an option and that one must "see" possibilities rather than obstacles.It sounds easy,because obviously our hearts and heads,our lives and the lives of others,among so many other things,tend to get in the way.
But I assure you...it can be done. Patience,persistence,practice,discipline,focus,forgiveness of oneself,persistence,fearlessness,persistence,imagination,determination,persistence,desire...and acceptance that it is an ongoing practice are NECESSARY.
I knew this little girl once who was not particularly exceptional,save for her passion for art.I barely noticed her in school. She blended in...was nearly "invisible".Without sharing the tragic details, let's just say, she was a victim of pure dysfunction, dysfunction with a capital "D"...Her art became her solace and reserve.The sad thing is no one ever taught her that she could fly,that the ability and strength was within her.Not many people even knew that she was anything other than average,existing in an average life.I know that she was "paralyzed" by FEAR,embarrassment and confusion.But somehow,in the midst of all that "noise" and clutter,she did see and learn and grow.I haven't seen her for quite a while, but I heard that she recently found her wings:)I think of her often because as a parent and as an educator, I have a wonderful opportunity to encourage children to take flight,to tell them that there are no mistakes really,that the "bad" will pass and the true "magic" is within them. It isn't easy,but it can absolutely be done.
So persist and BELIEVE.Be patient and dream but at the same time,keep it real. People are watching and listening and craving assistance on their quest to fly.There are some exceptional mentors out there who provide guidance and support... if you let them, but in the end it all depends on you.
May you soar to new heights and find your magic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Growing Up: A Beautiful and Bittersweet Wonder

Someone once told me that our children grow up, "in spite of us." As a parent of two older teens,I am fascinated at how grounded and independent my children are...yes, in spite of me.The ironic thing is that I was an embarrassingly over protective parent. I mistook the responsibility of loving my children,particularly my first, Christina,for guarding her and controlling her experiences. Tia was delicate and beautiful. I nursed her for 2 years, never sent her to preschool, let her sleep with me until she was 5....all in an effort to keep her safe... and where did she end up?...in a worry group. At five years old, she didn't want to leave mommy and so Kindergarten was traumatic. I missed the lesson that my primary job included preparing her for the real world.
I erred in the name of love. I tend to do that still.The daily visits to the beach,boardwalk,zoos,parks,play groups,..the building of homemade puppet theatres, pretend castles and pillow houses was the norm but not necessarily effective in readying her for school and friends and life:).
Now here is the incredible thing,kids are resilient, and when loved, they really do learn to "fly."One thing I do well, is love Christina and Robert.At five she came to me and pretty much said, "Hey, I'm sleeping in my own bed...and she never returned to mine." At 13, she criticized me for not allowing her to ever walk around the block by herself with the argument that she would be living away from me in several years and she barely knew how to cross the street alone. She didn't want to be afraid. That was painful to hear...that I had imposed my fears. She continued to educate me and demand her freedom.She became my teacher and then one day, several years ago,she took me aside and said,"Camel(her name for me),you are pretty much a hypocrite...as you encourage us(her brother included) to find our passions,live fearlessly and excel, you live in a safe,small world of your own,paralyzed by fear." She asked why I abandoned my dreams? Wow...that hurt. It hurt more that she could see me and even more to hear the truth. And then I began to paint and to dream for myself and for my children.I was painting for my life.
So kids really do grow up in spite of us:)
And that little girl, now 18, is a DREAMER and a free spirit but tough and focused. Nearly finishing her first semester in college with high honors, she has secured an internship that requires her to move far away.She leaves in January.I think she is about to fly:)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Progress:Discipline+Focus=A Happier Me!

"One-half of life is luck; the other half is discipline — and that's the important half, for without discipline you wouldn't know what to do with luck."
— Carl Zuckmayer: Was a German dramatist
I know that I am lucky,although it took until I was 40ish to realize the value of being disciplined to translate that "luck" into something more meaningful.I believe that I am happiest when I am productive, creating art. I think it is funny when people express concern and encourage me to relax or to rest.I live for those quiet, uninterrupted moments when I am painting.
I actually want to "work" more and have only devoted several hours a week to my art since September. Hmmm...so I assure those nearest and dearest to me, that I will try to rest my mind but certainly not my schedule.I aim to simplify and focus. Discipline is key ...and somehow I always manage to notice the beauty in the world around me, I am surrounded by it...but when I am working, I realize the beauty within myself.It's all good.

So here is 15 minutes more on my self portrait( about an hour in all) and progress on my Simple Dreams painting. I am also returning to COLOR! 2009 will be colorful...I am sure of it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Simple Dreams: My Current Works In Process


I will let my images be my voice. I did spend ten minutes starting a self portrait in an effort to salvage a canvas which originally had the beginnings of a sketched figure. I also did it while struggling to get started painting this evening. I think I might actually attempt to complete this one:)


Tim Maslyn sculptor 1957-2008


Tim Maslyn sculptor 1957-2008
Last night I received unexpected news that the husband of my sister's childhood friend, died suddenly. Three young daughters are left behind. Words cannot express the pain and loss that they must feel. I wrote to Janine last night,wanting to express my condolences.A recurring thought, that I did share with her, was that Tim would continue to inspire, and his memory survive, because he shared with others his purpose and passion...his art.
Tim Maslyn was a NJ based sculptor. Several years ago, I remember standing in my sister's kitchen in upstate NY,at a family gathering,listening to Tim talk about his choice to sculpt and his success in supporting his family doing so. He encouraged me to return to my art and have faith that if I was doing the thing I loved most, the rest would fall in to place. Many others, including my sister Lisa, have relentlessly tried to do the same. And finally I am doing just that,and I trust that what I am doing is important.That my art is meaningful to someone other than myself.
Upon hearing of Tim's passing, I thought about what is most important to me and questioned what it is I will leave behind that is greater than my life with my immediate family.For the first time, without hesitation, I am confident that it will be my art.
Art gives myself and other artists their own unique voice,and the ability to speak to a great many others in a manner that transcends words,time,socioeconomics and culture. Art has the power to touch hearts,lives and the human spirit. It is a universal language... a gift. And so, when I think of Tim, I think how wonderful it is that he created so many meaningful works that others will continue to appreciate and share, especially his family.Tim ensured the perpetuation of his memory through his sculpture.
May Janine and her children find comfort in his memory and generous spirit.
To read about Tim Maslyn and to view his work, please visit his site at:
http://www.maslynstudios.com/

Monday, December 1, 2008

Visit Michael Keropian's Site and Then Link to Me!

The internet offers wonderful opportunities to communicate and network with other artists.It enables me to view quality art from the comfort of my home. It is a source of inspiration and instruction for me personally.
At my recent exhibit at Gallery 638, it was an honor to have New York based sculptor, Michael Keropian and his talented wife, artist/art educator, Jan Malin, in attendance.Mr. Keropian has graciously added me as a link on his site. Please check out his monumental and brilliantly sculpted bronzes. His new page featuring his historic figures is particularly impressive! Enjoy! http://www.keropiansculpture.com/HISTORY.html

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breathe In, Breathe Out


The holiday season is a time for reflection. It is a time when people are encouraged to think of how fortunate they are,about others rather than themselves and hopefully take action to be kinder,more thoughtful and generous toward others. I think this is the beautiful thing about the holidays. Because as we race through the days and weeks,often attending to a host of unnecessary tasks and obligations that clutter our lives, in addition to tending to work, family,friends,activities, we miss the simple things. The holidays do make us stop, if only for a moment. They mark the passage of time, another year lived. So instead of focusing on the commercialism, the traffic, the stress of added finances,the absence of loved ones, notice the beauty. It is there.

I love when children's faces and noses are flushed and rosey from the cold air,when even my teenagers want to drink hot cocoa and snuggle to watch a movie,when their eyes reflect the twinkling strands of holiday lights, when dark,chilled nights,especially snow filled ones, do seem silent and when strangers genuinely do say hello and wish you well.We hear constantly about experiencing "gratitude" and recognizing "abundance". Like beauty, sometimes it must be sought after and revealed. It is there.

This image is from last year.My children are like the holidays to me. They make me stop and pause for a moment...actually for many moments. They demand that I pay attention and notice life. This painting, which I recently entitled, "Breathe In, Breathe Out," was created for the many, seemingly endless and frightening moments, that I lay with my son who struggled to breathe on countless night,weeks,months... because of his asthma. I literally spent years sleeping with him, my hand upon his chest,making certain that he could breathe, ensuring that he would wake.This painting is of Christina,my daughter, sharing her breath with her younger brother,Robert. It is a celebration of life,of breathing effortlessly,of dreaming peacefully and of my gratitude for the many moments that my children command me to think about someone other than myself.Robert will celebrate his 16th birthday on New Year's Day! "Breathe In, breathe out" Tia and Robert!I will do the same.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Works in Process:Simplification



I continue to deliberate about my choice of subject matter and technique, what to paint and how to do it. I am abandoning color for awhile and concentrating on value. It simplifies the process of painting especially since I am only using titanium white and Paynes grey in my palette.

I will incorporate color again soon but this monochromatic series (there are 5 paintings in all) feature elements that I have been exploring in my most recent work:the patchwork of the quilts,sleeping children, pattern,texture and koi. I do feel as though I am "drawing" with paint. It is a relaxing process.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Herb Olds and Leonard DeLonga: Artists and Master Art Educators


A friend from Carnegie Mellon, where I attended college in 1981,brought to my attention the work and whereabouts of our drawing professor Herb Olds. He was probably the single most influential artist who dramatically altered my thoughts and drafting skills, as a self taught,inexperienced and uneducated 17 year old.I found several images online that he created. He continues to create and shape lives in San Diego.He is in my thoughts on this day.Thank you Mr. Olds.

And on this day, I am also thinking most fondly of Leonard DeLonga, the legendary sculpture professor from Mt. Holyoke College who became very much like a father to me, and to many others,while attending there from 1983-1987. He was a gentle giant. He was large in stature as were his bronze creations. He and his art were powerful and monumental,perhaps intimidating at first glance.But he had a heart and spirit that was generous,gentle,kind and infectious. He guided me and allowed me great freedom while in his sculpture class,as he simultaneously counseled me about life.As persuasive and charasmatic as he was,he never succeeded in getting me to embrace the process of bronze casting in its entirety. Unfortunately, I was too impatient and unfocused but Mr. DeLonga recognized my ability to produce elaborately finished wax figures very quickly and charcoal drawings to accompany them, and so he encouraged me to do what I loved rather than follow his curriculum:)He teasingly called me "irreverent" as did another sculptor I met in recent years! I always thought that was ironic and funny because I tend to be such a rule follower.
Sadly, he passed away in 1991, a year after my daughter was born. He too is always in my heart and in my thoughts. I think he would laugh, because I have been sculpting a bit lately,(not in wax and never to cast) but he would know my true passion is for my drawing and painting.He might also be surprised that I abandoned all of it for 20 years but sincerely satisfied that I rediscovered and finally embraced it again:)
Reflecting on those who influenced my art and my life, many whom perhaps never knew, makes me particularly grateful at this moment.
So Mr. Olds and Mr.DeLonga, thank you and thank you M.H.for reminding me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Works in Process: Gallery 638


My first major exhibition of my work will take place tomorrow at Gallery 638 in Pt. Pleasant Beach, N.J. It is exactly what I imagined. Jim Inzero and I did a final walk through this evening. It is an amazing thing when people share like views, objectives and expectations in regard to their work. The show for us is already a great success in that it beautifully showcases out talents,ideas and commitment to our art. Jim has created an environment which offers a unique viewing experience that is certain to impress and engage the "audience." It has certainly impressed and engaged us! :) At this moment, we are pleased with our efforts and are enjoying this "moment" but looking beyond to future projects and possibilities.
One of the features of the exhibit, is the "works in process" table for each artist. Jim displayed the implements that he uses for his encaustic paintings: resin, powdered pigment, beeswax and brushes. I displayed two paintings that clearly reveal my underpainting with the raw canvas exposed and areas of highly textured collage.I started these paintings in the past 3 weeks but have already "moved on." This exhibition experience has inspired a flood of new ideas and the desire to use new materials and subject matter.I wish that I were able to "manifest" the images in my mind more effectively and more quickly.
This image is of my recent , unfinished works in Gallery 638.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. -Alan Cohen

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tell Me A Story


My children loved for me to tell them stories when they were young, requesting to hear the same silly tales over and over again. I would fabricate details in an effort to make them more interesting, but they were satisfied ,and actually demanded ,that I adhere to the original version. My daughter has become somewhat of a storyteller herself and truly possesses a gift for writing. One of her favorite books as a child was, "Tell Me A Mitzi " by Lore Segal.

I also enjoy hearing stories about people and their lives. Their personal narratives reveal who they are as individuals. Some people are better story tellers than others. I knew someone once who had a particularly melodic and euphonious voice that made listening to the simplest account of life's happenings, a pleasurable and transforming experience. When I paint, I often think of that voice and actually began a series of paintings entitled, "Tell Me A Story."

If you care to listen, everyone has their own unique story to share. Ask someone to tell you theirs. It is a gift really, because you are given a glimpse into their life, their thoughts and at times, their heart and soul.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Opportunities

"Within our dreams and aspirations, we find our opportunities."
- Sue Atchley Ebaugh

At this moment in my life, I am blessed with an abundance of opportunities.In these politically and economically volatile times, opportunities still exist...positive and meaningful opportunities! Never abandon your dreams and aspirations. Genuine wealth and happiness have very little to do with money.Personally, this is a "moment" of pure "synchronicity." Dream!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

November 15,2008 Art Exhibit

Next month, I am going to share a large body of my paintings with an audience in a 2 person exhibit entitled:

MANIFESTED ENCOUNTERS IN PAINT AND WAX
Recent works of Jim Inzero and Jude Harzer.
The opening reception will be held at
GALLERY 638
638 Arnold Ave.
Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ.
4-8 pm

Over the summer I told Jim Inzero how I envisioned "his" art show. I clearly saw his encaustic paintings displayed against richly textured, scraped plaster walls. Now others will be able to appreciate his work, displayed against those actual walls.To read more about the encaustic technique and to preview emerging artist, Jim Inzero's work, check out his blog at: www.shoreartist.blogspot.com/

Both Jim and I live and work at the Jersey shore. We have created an opportunity to exhibit in our own neighborhood.For those of you who have not had the pleasure of experiencing Pt. Pleasant Beach on a brisk autumn day, a visit is well worth the trip. It is a beautiful and charming shore town that offers fine shopping ,dining and family entertainment. Downtown Pt. Pleasant Beach is just blocks away from the ocean and boardwalk. This nostalgic seaside resort is also a year round residential gem! It boasts contemporary businesses like, Stella e Luna Boutique, Green Planet Coffee Company, The Beanery, Jenkinson's Aquarium and other quality attractions.

A friend once told me that "nothing is random" and encouraged me to see and embrace opportunities. This is one of those "moments." I feel very fortunate that Jim Inzero invited me to participate in this exhibit. Although our art and preferred techniques differ, our "vision" is very much the same. We value skill and creativity and have succeeded in producing impressive bodies of work that celebrate who we are as artists and as individuals. We hope that you will visit the Jersey shore and join us for our opening.
Thank you Jim and Lauren:)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UPCOMING ART EXHIBIT




MANIFESTED ENCOUNTERS IN PAINT AND WAX
Recent Works of Jim Inzero and Jude Harzer

exhibit at GALLERY 638
638 Arnold Ave. Mezzanine Level
Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ
Opening Reception: November 15, 2008
4-8 pm



Regatta Encaustic48 in x 60 in

Jim Inzero
After many layers of wax brushstrokes, I step back and objectively look at the composition from all directions to see what the painting expresses to me. I look to see a physical response in my work, especially a desire to reach out and touch the painting. It is my intention for you to have a sensory and a visual experience with this work.
View Jim Inzero's work at: shoreartist.blogspot.com


Recognizing Possibilities oil on canvas

Jude Harzer
My work is about the preservation of one's "spirit" and dreams. I paint primarily with oils and have recently begun to explore the technique of collage, using an array of patterns and colors, in a quilt like motif, to achieve rich texture and a "loose" visual narrative. My objective is to layer, juxtapose and ‘stitch’ together seemingly unrelated materials and images in an effort to create a single interesting composition. In many ways the process reminds me of one’s life: diverse experiences and meaningful "moments", pieced together to create the distinctive fabric of a person’s existence.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"The Pain Passes, But the Beauty Remains"

During the school year I am very fortunate to have parents and other community members, volunteer in the Art studio to assist with the children. The students benefit greatly from their presence, as it means that they are given added attention. I also enjoy the interaction and appreciate the adult conversation, but most importantly, I value their generosity and time.

So it wasn't unusual when this beautiful, vibrant woman entered my studio to assist with her son Michael's class. I immediately connected with her and admired her poise, enthusiasm and genuine warmth with the children. Amazingly, Pat, who has since become a friend, had just lost her husband Mike, to cancer. Literally, just weeks after his passing, she appeared in my art studio to volunteer. In the midst of a time of great pain and loss, Pat chose to act and "live" on behalf of her son, and in honor of her husband.

Michael is so loved and exceptionally beautiful. He is bright, curious and energetic...all that a 6 year old boy should be.(He is also incredibly knowledgeable about dinosaurs:) Mike is ever present in their hearts and minds. As I came to know Pat and Michael this past year, I could not help but be inspired by their relationship. I witnessed in Pat, great strength and grace. She would probably say that she was simply doing what anyone in her position would do, but I know that she is exceptional.

And so, I asked if I could paint Michael. Eventually, I will create a piece, which in essence, becomes a "memory quilt", celebrating the love of this family.The image here is my first portrait of Michael. Pat commented that the sky to the right, looked like heaven.That was not the intention but the symbolism seems very appropriate.

People enter our lives, unexpectedly, for various reasons... I believe mostly to guide and to teach us but only if we are truly "awake" and listening. Some of those individuals are particularly special and offer "gifts" that influence who we are and inspire us to live more fully. Hold fast to those gifts. Value the love, the pain, the memories. It is a reminder that we are alive!

Thank you Pat and Michael. You are beautiful and have been a gift to me this year.

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains."-Pierre Auguste Renoir

(Although, in all honesty, I believe the pain never fully passes, but perhaps is dulled and transformed into something more constructive. The pain is a result of the intense love and beauty of shared moments. May you always see and remember the beauty. It will sustain your soul.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Beautiful Minds


"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." -Albert Einstein

At the start of the school year, I attempt to explain to very young learners, why "Art" is of great importance. I ask them "What is Art?" and "Where is Art?" Five year olds are enthusiastic, curious and "magical" human beings. They truly do "see" beauty in the simplest of things and very quickly they are able to conclude that "Art" is everywhere. It is absolutely everywhere!

They always inquire as to how one "gets good at Art?". I respond by telling them that they must use their eyes and their minds. They must practice and make many wonderful mistakes.( I realize no one ever shared that with me until recent years.) But most importantly, I explain to them that "Art" means trying, learning and creating to the best of their ability for the rest of their lives.That is "big stuff" ,one might think ,to share with a Kindergartner but amazingly, they understand, because in essence I am asking them to always be who they are: spirited, interested and "brave" learners, who have little regard for, or comprehension of "limitations."

We know that "Art" is about so much more then creating 2 and 3 dimensional images and objects to display and view. There is an "Art" to all human activity.Athletes, scientists,educators, parents ,all individuals are genuinely "artists" when they wholeheartedly direct their minds and efforts toward mastering the knowledge and skills associated with their endeavors.

An archaic definition of "Art" is "science, learning or scholarship." (not really so archaic).At the beginning of each academic year, I think seriously about how I will share with my students my personal passion for "Art", learning and life.I tell them to "think big" and think for themselves. And so this morning, I read about some "artists" that I greatly admire because they "think big" and persist in unraveling the mysteries of the universe with childlike wonder and energy. These artists are the physicists who after 14 years of labor, "at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva successfully activated the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest, most powerful particle collider ." They are artists in the greatest sense of the word because they continue to learn,explore and imagine!
So to everyone, "Think Big" and use your beautiful minds.

Check out a video and read a wonderful article about the Hadron Collider on the NY Times website.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/science/11collider.html?pagewanted=1&ref=science

"In his daring concept of universal evolution as constant motion, as put forth and written into (unwitting) poetry by Einstein, we have then the greatest conceptioning and greatest communication by a human being to other human beings not only in the 20th Century but possibly in any other of the centuries. Therefore I see that Einstein is certainly the great artist of the 20th Century. Einstein becomes the prototype scientist-artist of the not only the 20th Century but of the now looming 21st Century." R. Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Breaking Free

In July of this summer, I was having difficulty concentrating and consequently, producing art. I have learned to work on multiple images as a way of dealing with a "creative block." This is actually a common practice among artists. However, there are times that even a body of unfinished paintings, fails to inspire me to work. At these "moments" of pure frustration, I often feel compelled to create what seem to be "random" images with subject matter that is outside of my traditional oeuvre. I cannot explain for certain the origin of the work but I do know that it is a result of my "breaking free" from some mental barrier. This image is one of three, belonging to a triptych that features crows. I haven't touched them in weeks but was recently reminded of them by something that I read.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Summer of Inspiration


John D. Ressler photographer Santa Fe, NM
Joseph Standing Dancing Rock Taos, NM
I am a painter and a public school art educator.
While in the classroom, I am surrounded by my
most treasured subject matter…children. The purity of their
spirits and their natural beauty, inspires my work. I am
fascinated by their enthusiasm and their honesty.And while
I am being honest, another "joy" of teaching is the summer
hiatus. That extended period of time is a gift. Of course my
intention as an artist was to fervently create images during
this time. I envisioned sleepless nights devoted solely to
painting in solace, producing new and incredible work. As I
plan to return to the classroom in just a few days, I realize
that there was actually very little art making that occurred
this summer.

Instead I allowed myself to pause and reflect upon my recent
rediscovery of my art during these past two years. I thought
about my life, my goals and my values. Were they my own?
Were they meaningful and am I “brave” enough to continue
on this path, making a commitment to creating art? Socrates
said,” the unexamined life is not worth living.” Upon endless
examination, I know that my life is so worth living. Never before
have I been so certain of my purpose and so passionate about
my goals. I have learned to make decisions based upon my
“strengths”, rather than upon my “weaknesses” and to include
like minded people in my life who do the same.

I had the rare opportunity this summer to spend time and
correspond with artists who have devoted their lives to their
work. It became a “quest” of sorts to speak with them and
learn from them. Perhaps I was looking for guidance and
affirmation. I received that and so much more. Each encounter
was as different as the individual artist with whom I met, but
all yielded a very similar message: that Art in some respects,
"chooses you", that it has the power to "heal", to feed your
soul, to build community and that success is inevitable when
one is doing and becoming what they are meant to be...
(obviously success is relative and warrants an entirely separate
conversation). Funny, that none of this was a surprise, but
“seeing” it manifested through the lives of others, made it more
“believable.” The life of an artist is truly a life of abundance.
The inspiration, the process, the possibilities, the far reaching
connections, are endless. It is the right choice for me.

Some of the artists who graced my life this past year and
particularly this summer, were sculptor, Carol Saylor,
illustrator, Rich Harrington, painter, Joseph Breza,
photographer, John D. Ressler (who also happens to be my uncle),
illustrator, Marcella Moreaux, encaustic artist, Jim Inzero,
artist, Jody Kendall, artist, Dr. Barry Altmann ,graphic artist,
Terry Novatin, sculptor, Joseph Standing Dancing Rock,
artist/educator, Trish Maunder, artist/professor, Dr. Slavko Milekic,
from AENJ and so many
other valued friends and artists. I want to thank each of them for
enriching my life and my art...and a special "I love you" to my
sister Beth Anne.

The simplest guidance of all came to me from Joseph Breza as
he quoted lyrics from the famed Beatle's song: “Hey Jude,
don’t be afraid…” Soon after, I found a sketch book from
nearly 2 years ago when I first resumed painting, and I
discovered a message scribbled from my daughter who left
just yesterday to begin her college career. It said “Mommy,
don’t be afraid.” She is a wise, with an artist’s soul. And so
to Christina (our Tia) and my son Robert, I am no longer afraid
and I will recognize and make choices based on my strengths
and hope that you will do the same. The joy is in the journey.
Be fearless.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Art Connections: "Women in the Sun" at Grounds For Sculpture

While gallery sitting at Ellarslie mansion one
Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting a soft spoken woman, delicate in stature, named Jody Kendall. We had a brief conversation about the exhibited work and quickly discovered that we shared a unique connection and obviously, a passion for art. Also we had both created works entitled, "Fly". Jody's was a 3-dimensional metal mesh torso with wings and mine, a series of paintings each featuring a child, blowing a "breath of inspiration." Somehow even our art, seemed related in concept and spirit.

Jody, a fellow member of TAWA and an artist herself, volunteers as a docent at the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. She generously invited me to visit and offered to personally escort me about the magical 35 acre sculpture gardens. I accepted and had the opportunity to see her on August 27th. Both the weather and the tour were perfect! Jody's knowledge about the sculptors and their work, was astounding. She is agifted storyteller. She spoke of each artist as though they were a dear friend with words that were poetic and meaningful.

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit GFS, you are in for a treat. GFS was "founded in 1992 on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds by J. Seward Johnson to promote an understanding of and appreciation for contemporary sculpture for all people." The landscape is breathtaking and the art work superb. Each season offers a unique visual experience of this sculptural wonderland. Visitors are encouraged to touch many of the pieces with respect and care.

As I ran my hand along the surface of many of the works, feeling the smoothness of stone or the warmth of cast bronze, heated by the radiant sun, I thought of Carol Saylor. As a blind artist, she relies on the sense of touch, to create and experience her world and her art. She would love it here. I think she would particularly appreciate Leonda Finke's two cast bronzes, Standing Figure and Seated Figure from her "Women in the Sun Series". The surface texture is sensual, almost crude, but there is strength and raw feminity within these figures. Jody explained that Leonda Finke's "women" were symbolic of gratitude. Looking upward, "posed in self reflection",their faces bask in sunlight, greeting a new day, a new season, giving thanks. Simply beautiful!

There was an abundance of art to which I would like to refer but the joy really comes from
discovering the work on your own. The art is monumental, rich and diverse. The stories behind the career of many of these sculptors, seem to have been inspired by personal epiphanic moments that led them to choose the creation of art as their life's "work." For most artists, there is no other option. It is an expression of who and what they are. For me, it is no longer an option, It is an incredible blessing for which I am grateful. I am thankful for those who guided me toward this path.

Jody introduced me to several people throughout the day at GFS as an artist who
believes that we can all "fly." I sincerely do believe that! I hope that everyone has the opportunity to discover what makes them soar. To Jody, a genuine "thank you" and wishes always for self growth, healing and liberation! May we all fly!

Friday, August 22, 2008

"The Art of Living": Infinite Hope and Strength





Carol Saylor is an artist. She used to paint and draw but has focused her efforts, as of late, on sculpting. Her work is exquisite and is meant to be touched, gently handled and "experienced." Some of her recent works resemble organic vessels that conceal delicately sculpted figures, faces, tear drops and other hidden objects. Unlike most art, Carol's work is intended to be caressed and explored. When you reach inside the clay forms, your hands discover unexpected treasures.

Carol painstakingly and lovingly creates figures that evoke a sense of sorrow, intense joy and beauty. Several of her pieces were inspired by Carol's youngest child, Alice, who succumbed to cancer in her early thirties, leaving behind three young daughters and a husband. Her absence is evident and still greatly felt.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Carol Saylor this past week.It was marked by incessant conversation and laughter. Her home and her art are reflective of her energy and spirit. I believe Carol is uncomfortable continuously hearing that she providesincredible inspiration to others. For Carol, being blind and deaf, is "inconvenient" and "annoying." She is very matter of fact about the "choice" to live fully in the face of such obstacles.

Carol's "story" may seem tragic in some ways but it is incredibly wonderful as well. The "tragedy" is more a result of the loss of two children and her husband, than the loss of her vision and hearing. Carol seems to have drawn unimaginable strength from her art and her desire to live not only for herself but for her surviving and beloved children and grandchildren.

I hope that you will take time to view Carol Saylor's website: http://www.carolsaylor.com/ and watch her two part "youtube" video where she talks about her art, life and family. Carol generates most of her income from speaking engagements. She is eloquent and powerful in her thoughts and words. Technology enables her to "hear" and to effectively communicate. Carol was sighted and able to hear for some forty years. Her experience and perspective, having lived in "both" worlds, is manifested in more than just her impressive body of art work.

Carol Saylor is talented and inspiring and has chosen to embrace life and its "possibilities".
My visit with her was a gift.
"Seeing" is a matter of perception.
Carol Saylor has never lost "sight" of what is most valuable.
Enjoy! -Jude

Jude, Art and Inspiration