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, 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

Jude, Art and Inspiration