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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Empty Nest Means New Art Space

So my beloved muse, my beautiful T-bunny,my one and only Christina ballerina, I have a confession to make...your room has become the "finishing" room for my work. I resisted encroaching upon, yet another family space with my art, but I was in need of a clear, horizontal surface and your room offered several:) So you asked about Mommy's work, well here is some. I actually packed up a dozen other images to transport to the gallery. I know you would approve by letting me invade the "Beachbum" room for the sake of completing my work:)

You will be missed at my opening. I have been in desperate need of your "eyes" and your biting sarcastic critiques but I managed on my own.I'll email you new work and you can comment all you want.

So the show is installed this weekend in historic Asbury Park, NJ. Hope you are having fun in the sun ,Tia. Also look, I am holding a piece featuring my most recent muse, your baby brother who is now nearly 6 feet tall,braces free and set to drive. Yikes!

We miss you Christina Autumn. Your absence makes me realize how noisy and messy you were. This show is for you and Diesel. Never abandon your dreams!

Serendipity: It's Showtime! February 7,2009

New work that is show worthy and show ready!
More information to follow!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Art: A Universal Language

PLC Kindergartners perform a "dragon dance"! A student's first attempt at scroll painting...bamboo for good luck!
The student's "shadow puppets"...low tech entertainment! My favorite!

January 1st marks the start of our New Year of course. It is a time for rejuvenation and renewal! For me, it is when I begin my celebration of multicultural arts and crafts in my school art studio. This month has been devoted to the richness of Chinese Art. My Kindergarten artists have tried their hand at "brush painting", creating images of bamboo with minimal and effortless strokes,(well obviously some of my 5 and 6 year old friends were more successful than others),lanterns and shadow puppets. The culminating event was our "Lunar New Year" celebration,complete with dragon dance,storytelling, shadow puppet performance and parade...all organized by the special area staff, myself included.

Studying and celebrating world cultures, reveals the universal importance of art as a vehicle for expression,recording history and as a means of beautifying and elevating the seemingly mundane.Art was integrated into every aspect of life, but particularly into the ceremonial events that marked the passage of time.Despite my passion for the fine arts,(painting,drawing and sculpting),the crafts of world communities have been most inspiring to my own work in recent years. The graphic nature of printed Adinkra funerary cloths, the colorful whimsy of Oaxacan animal figurines or aboriginal dreamtime dot paintings and the delicacy and ballet like movement needed to create Asian calligraphic strokes, never cease to fascinate me.And it is that which I share with my students.The aesthetics of the lines,patterns,color,textures and symbolism evident in these crafts, can be described as "simple sophistication." Art + children = Pure inspiration

Let me ask you something, what is not art? ~Author Unknown

Relay For Life -" Jump and Jive At Year Five!"

Brick Township will celebrate it's 5th year participating in the very worthy, "Relay For Life" event which is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity.Entire communities gather for an overnight, 24 hour long event, aimed at celebrating,remembering and fighting cancer."Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event." The "Relay" events, are life changing for all who participate.

In Brick, we held our "kick-off" event this past Sunday. In an effort to engage the children of the community, students K-12 were asked to submit artwork, inspired by the annual theme.This year, in recognition of our 5th successful year as participants, "Jump and Jive at Year Five" was the selected slogan. The winning image is used for the invitation and other promotional material for the Relay event. Well this year, out of some 280 submissions, one of my Kindergarten artists,Miss Tyler O., tied overall for 3rd place. What an incredible honor! Kindergartners tend to create with an immediacy and freshness that is hard to duplicate. Typically,there are no preliminary sketches. It just happens. Tyler's image is alive and beautifully reflects the concept of joy, life and celebration! Check it out! Brava Tyler O. and congrats to my other 4 students whose work was selected as honorable mentions! Kindergartners rock!

For further information on the event, please visit RelayForLife.org.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”-Pablo Picasso

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Serendipity": Solo Exhibit

Hanging show in 9 days and about 10 paintings to complete.
So you are all invited. I wonder if viewers will be able to detect which paintings were created in my most "colorful" states of pure, unadulterated frenzy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fly: Giver of Life and Light

"Rosa Parks sat in 1955: Martin Luther King walked in 1963: Barack Obama ran in 2008,that our children might FLY."

Jude Harzer "Fly: Giver of Life and Light" oil on canvas 48" w x 36" h
Although created in 2007, this image seems perfectly suited as a commemoration of this day in our history. It celebrates our children and all that Obama represents: promise, life, light,persistence and the ability to fly based on strength rather than weakness.This is an extraordinary "moment"...January 20,2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Faith Ringgold: Finding Inspiration

"I have set my life up so that I don't have to worry about [my work] being accepted. If I do it, and it's there, people will come around at some point. And they have." Faith Ringgold

When I first rediscovered my art three years ago, I was encouraged by my colleague and friend Susan MacDougall, just six months later, to attend a University of the Arts workshop where NJ based artist, Faith Ringgold was presenting. Although I instruct my students about Faith Ringgold's work and would actually have the opportunity to meet this living:) artistic legend, I didn't relish the thought of spending all day Saturday in Philadelphia participating in a "class" for which I would have to pay....Well that Mrs. MacDougall is very wise and persuasive. Fortunately I went to the UArts event and it literally changed my life.It also made me think twice before passing up opportunities...especially those that seem to fall into your lap.

You must take chances. If you do nothing, you reduce the possibilities you have for greater joy.—Walter Anderson

In addition to meeting Faith and her daughter Barbara Wallace, I met my friend Trish Maunder, a dynamic and smart artist and educator.I can never get enough of her British accent( I love the sound of certain people's voices):)She prompted me to show Faith Ringgold some images of my own work that I had with me. At first I was intimidated and embarrassed. Faith was certainly not there to conduct portfolio assessments. But if you have ever met Faith Ringgold(and many artists have because she is so accessible and generous with her time), she is simultaneously regal, gracious and "real".There is no artifice or pretension.

Not only did I share my work with her but I conversed with her about the seriousness of my intentions to become an artist and she in turn told me her story of rising early before her daughters every morning to paint and the need for discipline, devotion and a dedicated work space.She talked about every woman's struggle to balance home,children and work...and, I am a good student and took her words to heart.The following week, at the invitation of Faith and her daughter Barbara, I auctioned my first ,"Fly" painting at the ACA Galleries in Chelsea, NYC on behalf of her Anyone Can Fly Foundation. I haven't stopped painting since and I rise nearly every morning all year long at 5 am to paint.It has become second nature...effortless because I rediscovered through this process my true passion for art. At 5 am it is peaceful and everything begins anew for me... It has been magical!

I have also been very fortunate to maintain contact with Faith and Trish.Faith Ringgold has a children's museum opening in Harlem in 2011.I'll keep you posted on the progess. Today Trish Maunder forwarded an article about Ms. Ringgold and her support of our newly elected President Obama. It was with great confidence that I voted for him in November. We are in need of his guidance as a nation at this moment in history. He will lead us with strength, dignity,fairness and intelligence.And his wife Michelle, his equal in every way,will do the same. I know it! I can feel it:) Faith Ringgold believes it as well.

Tomorrow will be historical as our 44th President, Barack Obama, is inaugurated.Here is an article that Trish emailed me earlier this evening. As artists we are always seeking inspiration.Obama will inspire us.Read how he has inspired Faith.
CLICK HERE TO READ!. May you always find beauty and inspiration!

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Andrew Wyeth,Famed and Infamous Artist,Dies"

Among my favorite places to visit is the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa. It houses a spectacular collection of three generations of Wyeth artists works: NC,Andrew,Carolyn and Jamie, among others.Today I read in the NY Times that Andrew Wyeth passed away in his sleep at Chadds Ford at the age of 91.Although it saddens me, it made me think fondly of all the beautiful images that he created that continue to inspire me as an artist.

My favorite are the Helga Pictures.
From 1971 to 1985,Andrew Wyeth created over 240 images of his neighbor Helga Testorf without sharing them or the knowledge of his specific subject matter with a single individual, including his wife. To me they are his most beautiful and intimate images. Whether working in tempera,watercolors or pencil, Wyeth's skill and passion for his art, was undeniable, despite the ongoing controversy amid art critics.It is impossible for me to look at the layers of pigment and his detectable and deliberate brush strokes, and feel anything other than confidence and awe, that his path in life was meant to be just what it was: as an artist.

I will make the trip this year to Brandywine once again. I had the opportunity to hear Andrew's granddaughter Victoria speak about his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art several years ago.That particular retrospective and the stories of his life and work,made me value Andrew as a painter and as a person even more.
For more information, read the NY Times article devoted to Andrew Wyeth and visit the Brandywine River Museum site.
Andrew Wyeth will live through his art and his stories.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Odilon Redon

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Beauty, Truth and Art

Vivi-Mari Carpelan Hanko,Finland
If you would like to subscribe to a quality blog that is both beautiful and thought provoking,check out artist Vivi-Mari Carpelan's blog entitled: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY ON PLANET EARTH. Vivi-Mari's recent post,"Beauty, Truth and Art," is particularly interesting and addresses the subjectivity of perception in regard to art and beauty and the ability of an individual to recognize the beauty that is inherent in all natural things.Is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder? It seems that some,have a greater ability to "see" beauty.Perhaps when we are mindful and receptive,beauty reveals itself. Vivi-Mari also observes that beauty and art are often confused and not necessarily equivalent. Obviously not all art is beautiful, but the most aesthetically displeasing,melancholy or symbolic may elicit a reaction that makes one aware of beauty in its purest sense...the beauty of emotion,spirituality, thought or yes, even the physical.Thank you Vivi-Mari for your words and reflections. May you always see beauty in the world around you:)It is there!

I am an art educator in a New Jersey public school and have the pleasure of spending 180 days with 700 energetic five year olds. It is necessary to simplify ideas for them but they are without a doubt, intelligent and receptive.So to ring in the new year, prior to our exploration of multicultural arts and crafts,we discussed the idea of making resolutions.I explained that grown ups make these "personal promises" in an effort to improve themselves and make positive changes. In my art class, we decided to make our own collective resolution and to repeat our promise each week. We talked about the importance of trying our best and not comparing ourselves to others. Their "job" as "Kinderartists", and as people, is to be the very best that they can be and to become who they are meant to be.I told them that Miss Judy,(that's me), resolves to become a better artist but asked them if wishing was enough?Absolutely not they responded, "you have to practice!" Wishing alone does not make it so, but it sure helps! So I shared with them this "secret" and told them to remember it and spread the word...
WISHING + WANTING + WORKING = WINNING! So before we commenced creating art,we hugged ourselves (really you have to be there...it is an incredibly "happy" place),and said in unison our 2009 Art class resolution,"I wish to be, the very best me!"
It really was a magical sight to see them, eyes closed,as they were working and some, as they left my studio, hugging themselves and whispering those words,"I wish to be the very best me." What could be better?...except of course, for them to believe it and live their dreams. I think that some of them will! Practice and Persist!:)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Beauty in All Children

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 difficult 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.

Jude, Art and Inspiration