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

Monday, March 2, 2009

Art Criticism

It took many years before I had the "courage" to create art and share it publicly. Making art is a very personal and emotional experience for me.By sharing it, I would be exposing a part of who and what I am.Mind you, it is only a small part because I am much more than my work and it is only a glimpse into my life and my thoughts...but still it would be difficult.I decided there was no other option than to paint and exhibit my art.I never anticipated how personally transformative and challenging a process it would be.

Of course all art and artists are unique. My work tends to be "sentimental", reactive and reflective. I have been greatly criticized for this.At first the criticisms seemed excruciating.It was difficult not to take them personally.The "rejections" from exhibits,fellowships and guild memberships were aplenty.I had to quickly learn to "toughen up" . I realized that they were merely opinions and the only value they had, were the ones I assigned to them. And they certainly did have some value because they caused me to think seriously about my own sincerity and commitment to my discipline.

The most difficult to overcome however, was a critique which in one fell swoop caused me to stop dead in my tracks,and to reassess my life, my feelings and my art. For me, my greatest love, thoughts,inspirations, experiences and emotions,all manifest on canvas these past three years, were dismissed as a "glitch"...a moment and an obstacle to be overcome. And despite, all the reading, working and "growing" in an attempt to discover and become my "true" self, that critique is one which I will thoughtfully ponder and work to put in it's place because of the depth of the pain that I allowed it to cause,especially because the source of that critique was someone who I loved and respected.

The value that has come from all of this is that I no longer "fear" sharing my work. I know my work is authentic and heartfelt,as am I.I cannot control whether or not someone accepts and appreciates my art or whether they understand or value me, but I can control how their thoughts and opinions make me feel.

So the moral of the story is to embrace the criticisms and view them as opportunities for growth. Letting go, although seemingly impossible,is sometimes necessary. In the end, very little of it matters. My art is now simply an extension of who I am.Once created, I am not attached to the end result.It is more important to share it and let it go. My objective right now is to keep it real for myself and my children and to challenge myself to create the best work of my life!

As far as the art critiques go....bring 'em on because despite what people "see" , I am stronger then most!My mother used to say, "Life is a breeze, as long as you don't weaken." To my incredibly independent children, my wish for you is that you never weaken:)

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Jude, Art and Inspiration