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

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"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

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.

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Jude, Art and Inspiration