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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Support Stella In Finding A Cure!

Please help support my friend and fellow artist Carolyn(a.k.a. "Stella") in her latest challenge which marks year 11 in her personal quest for a cure for blood-related cancers.
In the past decade, she has completed one (and sometimes two) endurance events a year with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Program, raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.Her efforts are inspired bu her mother Lucille, who lost her battle to lymphoma six years ago. To date, Stella has raised over $ 50,000 for a cure!
Thank you in advance for your generosity! Here is the link to make a donation.
Stella, you are truly a shining star! You go girl:)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eternally Hopeful

Several people recently commented upon my "spirit" and sense of direction. It is interesting to hear how others perceive and "experience" you especially when it is in direct contrast to how you feel and "see" yourself.I do know that I am passionate and focused in many ways. I think people would be surprised by my "fears" and insecurities. They are not about the physical...about traveling or living in a strange place alone( i.e NYC this summer),about being financially destitute or homeless, about being adventurous and taking risks such as in surfing or skydiving.... That is really all the "easy" stuff, easy meaning those situations command or force both reaction and action in order to "survive." They dictate specific behaviour that will determine "success" or "recovery." My deepest fear is that I won't become what it is I know I can be:)about not making a meaningful "mark" on this world in the process of living. It is not a paralyzing "fear." It inspires "purpose" and "hope."

One thing I am, is eternally "hopeful", and if that translates to a more youthful spirit, than I am very fortunate. Hope,like love,drives my sense of being...and for once, much of it makes beautiful and profound sense!

"Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don't, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you."

"Hope is a state of mind, not of the world.Hope,in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good."

"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."

Vaclav Havel

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the Presence of Genius: Reflections on NAEA

I just returned from the National Art Educator's Conference in Minneapolis!It was an incredibly worthwhile trip as an educator but even more so as an artist!
Some INVALUABLE highlights were my visit to the Walker Art Center and the adjacent sculpture gardens. Rauschenberg, Rothko,Giacometti and more...Creative inspiration was unavoidable!

Hearing Mark Bradford speak and seeing his wall sized paintings and installations,offered ideas and wisdom that I will consider while creating work this summer at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.Their monumentality and innovative use of materials gathered from the L.A. urban landscape, were edgy,beautiful and thought provoking.

Of course conversing with artists,art educators,colleagues and friends from around the country was rejuvenating as well.

But the encounter and experience that left me most inspired was meeting and talking
with George Pratt,John English and Brent Watkinson. These guys and their colleagues,including the master illustrator, Mark English,have launched a hands on instructional program aimed toward "training the brains" of other talented artists who aspire to achieve a greater level of excellence in their work. That I was able to hang with artists who exemplify inventiveness, talent, skill and discipline, is beyond cool!

Check out their website at:
They will be launching a program on June 22nd that will allow individual artists access to their expertise,art,podcats,instruction and more for a reasonable fee.
Think Norman Rockwell,Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth and imagine a new breed of like talent...They are who wowed me most this week!
Thanks guys and best of luck in your new endeavor!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Worth the Trip! Art and Inspiration!

Spring has sprung and the forecast this weekend is "set" to be mild and sunny..a perfect time to seek inspiration and view some incredible art. I visited three friends and fellow artists this week. Pure sunshine amid the rain! If you get a chance ,visit these guys and be sure to say Jude sent you.

1. Ellarslie Trenton City Museum: Hurry in and see the tail end of the current exhibit:Made You Look: The Art of Deception
Deborah Raven, Eric Schultz and Natalie Featherston
February 28, 2009 - April 19, 2009
. It really is a "must see." I especially liked Eric's monumental sculptures, constructed from recycled metal and other materials. His use of discarded auto parts,light fixtures,aluminum,steel,hardware and wire have been perfectly married to form interesting high tech figures that strangely seem "life like.". These found object masterpieces are silver,shiny and highly intriguing!

While visiting,say hello to Brian O. Hill, the director of The Trenton City Museum, who prides himself on sharing this NJ artistic gem and whose efforts during his 10 years as director , have resulted in an incredible increase in attendance and renewed interest in the museum!(You can't miss him...he greatly resembles Santa!) Soon to open is the annual juried exhibition," the Ellarslie Open, which highlights the abundance of regional artistic talent. This exhibit provides visitors with an opportunity to view the finest regional work from the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, as well as work from as far away as California." To read more about Ellarslie visit: http://www.ellarslie.org

"The museum is located in Ellarslie Mansion, an Italianate villa built in 1848. The mansion is the centerpiece of Cadwalader Park, which was designed by the famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, whose most famous work is New York City's Central Park."

2. Today I met with Joel Monesson, artist and director of the Mattison Gallery in Asbury Park. I was fortunate to have my first solo exhibit at the Mattison Gallery in February.Join Joel and artist Melissa Bronwen Pyle on Friday evening, April 17, 2009 , 7-10 pm for the opening of Pyle's show "Heaven Over Earth." Her resin pieces and large scale round landscapes are spectacular!Live music and refreshments are a plus! Joel is busy working on several very provocative contemporary plaster sculptures for his own upcoming exhibit in May. If you can't find him to talk about art,music or building restoration or preservation, check out the band! Joel can be found playing harmonica or a host of other instruments with the very talented Colie Brice and Friends.And Joel would much rather be sculpting and playing music, than talking anyway:)

3. To make the day absolutely awesome, I visited Jim Inzero,Jersey Shore based encaustic painter. Jim and I successfully exhibited together last November. Both of us have been very fortunate with recent sales and commissions but Jim, especially,despite the recent economic down turn,has been selling at a consistent pace to very saavy and appreciative customers ! We discussed our shared enthusiasm and the ever increasing momentum of our careers and ideas! We both agree, the best is yet to come. Visit Jim's site http://shoreartist.blogspot.com/ to view his colorful wax creations or stop by and visit Jim and his wife Lauren in Pt. Pleasant Beach at their trendy yet tasteful,gift and clothing boutique, Stella e Luna.http://stellaeluna.blogspot.com/

And now I am off to prepare for my highly anticipated trip to beautiful Minneapolis for the National Art Educator's Association's annual conference.http://www.naea-reston.org This event is the largest of it's kind in the WORLD. I am more than excited:) I am confident that I will bring back a wealth of ideas and information that will influence my work and the work of my students. I also happen to be traveling with a very esteemed group of Art educators/artists. These people are seriously like the "rock stars" of the Art education world.In New Orleans, I swear people wanted their autographs! Very cool! I am more like a starry eyed groupie just tagging along:)

Prints of my work can be purchased at the Mattison Gallery and at the Trenton City Museum gift shop.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Know Thyself

"...that what your heart thinks is great, is great.The soul's emphasis is always right." Ralph Waldo Emerson
This was followed by a comment by NDW: "The mind is the last part of yourself to listen to.It thinks of everything you can lose. The heart thinks of everything you can give, and the soul thinks of everything you are."
Knowing who you are, and everything you have to offer, is key to living the life for which you were intended.
I am starting a commission,working on a collaborative arts project with very talented and amazing female artists and will hear Judy Chicago speak this week. Awesome!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Determinism vs. Randomness

Robert and I had a dinner/movie date today. I actually was awake throughout this film much to my son's amazement: "Knowing" I am amazed by the special effects artistry of the film industry. Riveting! However, I wasn't particularly overjoyed by the sci-fi conclusion of the story...:)

"Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences." or is it all just random?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Summer Study in NYC 2009

Late Thursday afternoon, as the last of the students were dismissed for spring break,my Principal's voice was heard over the sound system in a voice much like that of the "lottery announcer"..."If Judy Harzer is still in the building, I am proud to announce that you are a recipient of the Geraldine Dodge Fellowship and will be studying as an artist in residence at the School of Visual Arts in NYC this summer!" This was how I was made aware of the award. As I ran and "wa-hooed" directly to the main office, I was greeted by hugs,kisses, high fives and genuinely heartfelt congratulations from staff and friends. I was elated and am excited by what this means for me! I dreamed of this moment in December but already know that the experience will be "better" than I had originally imagined.

In December, as I was completing my application, I asked my daughter to proof read my essays. She handed them back and simply said that all she read was "blah, blah,blah!" and explained that it sounded formal and impersonal which translates to uninteresting. My heart sank because I knew that she was right but I was exhausted and dreaded the time that it would take to revise and rewrite. She further commented that I have spent my life, teaching her and her brother to embrace and celebrate what is unique about them as individuals and to focus on their strengths. I raised them to know "my story" and to understand how it influenced who and what I am...but how it will never fully define who and what I will become. Christina seemed disappointed and implored me to share what is real and unique about myself and just start the process over. Cripes!... And so I did... and once again,this beautiful and brutally honest child of mine, provided the support and guidance that no one else could.She knows my heart and what it has taken for me to arrive at this place.

I cannot express at this time how much I need and want this opportunity. I am confident it will alter my work and dramatically influence my life. I had to choose between Rome and NYC as my preferred place to study. My objective is to work my butt off in my usual addictive and incessant way. NY will provide inspiration and so much more. It is the perfect place to get lost amid canvas,paint ,metal and wax. Rome, at this point in time, would have simply been a beautiful distraction.

I sealed the application with a kiss (really!!!) before sending it on it's way and I told my daughter that I would be living in NY and it is there that we would celebrate her 19th birthday...and so it will be. I'm chasing my dreams and there is so much more to come. So maybe next summer when I am living in Florence, Tia can blow out her candles near the Duomo or in the hills of Fiesole. That dream hasn't been clearly defined as of yet:)Thank you Christina Autumn!Dream huge!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Embracing Discomfort

Now that I have started painting again,post MRI and EMG,I am at a loss for what to paint. I have an abundance of ideas, big ideas, but I am surrounded by many half heartedly painted, incomplete canvasses begging for time and attention. I can only "rest" for so long and so to clear my thoughts,I have decided to do a few quick oil sketches of my favorite subject matter: children. It is meditative and therapeutic.
As I painted tonight however, I realized more than ever before, that it is time to move forward.I feel confident enough to really paint and take risks with my work.I have relied on "safe" for too long. My paintings have been tentative and tame. It no longer feels authentic to work with such hesitation and fear because it certainly doesn't reflect how I think and feel.
This upcoming summer will be devoted to experimentation in my work.For the "moment", I will enjoy the intimacy and comfort of creating the "familiar." Within the next few weeks I will be learning the encaustic process. Perhaps my "Dream" paintings will appear genuinely "dreamy." It is exciting to no longer feel afraid and it is amusing to wonder why I ever was:)After all, it is painting... not life saving surgery!But oh what a privilege to be able to do this! I envision works of wood,wire and wax. Yes....very dreamy.
I do love that I posted this work because I can easily see areas in need of revision but I especially like her expression...hmmm...bored maybe:)I think she needs a few layers of Vermeer like glazes. The fun is in the process. It's time to have some real fun!

“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”
Denis Waitley

Monday, April 6, 2009

My New Chauffeur

Tia, Your baby brother is no longer a baby and those endless hours of driving go karts at Breakwater Beach at Casino Pier in Seaside Hts. has helped him to competently navigate behind the wheel. I am not comparing, but I curse and pray less when driving with him:) You best return home soon. I believe Diesel has assumed ownership of your vehicle...ahem...our vehicle.

New Beginnings

Had it not been for the prompting of former CMU classmate and fellow artist, Nick Bell, I probably would have missed my opening in NYC at the Pen and Brush on Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Nick and his friends:artist and CMU alum, Susannah Stern and her pathologist/sculptor husband, Bruce, my opening was especially meaningful.
Curated by NYU Professor and Dean of Humanities, Edward Sullivan, the "In Your Dreams: Reveries,Fantasies, and Impossible Wishes" exhibit is an international multi-media group show, conceived of by Sullivan himself. 105 works were selected from over 800 submissions.The exhibit runs until April 26th.
The locale of The Pen and Brush was exquisite.It was incredibly well attended but being highly claustrophobic,my primary focus was unfortunately not on the art but rather on how to feel and breathe fresh, cool air. We were able to make our way out to the rear courtyard,where there was a table available to sit and talk. I enjoyed the unique perspective of "looking in". It is always a good thing to find new and interesting ways of "seeing", especially as a visual artist. And catching up with Nick, his life and art, was well worth the trip.
I also had the pleasure of seeing and speaking with fellow AENJ member and exhibiting artist,So Yoon Lym.
So to D.J. Haslett, thanks again for the suggestion to apply to the show and to Nick, Susannah and Bruce: you were exceptional and gracious company:)The service at the Indian restaurant was memorable and amusing:)Susannah, I believe our waiter needs to meditate.
And a final thanks and hello to Michael Heisler, letterer and artist extraordinaire for purchasing my first print,reconnecting with me and putting me in touch with Nick and other CMU friends. I expect by the time I get to CA., Michael,you will have created an impressive body of sketches and figure drawings to share:)
Check out Nick Bell and Susannah Stern's work!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dreaming In NYC

I am off to NY to see the "Dreams" show at the Pen and Brush. It really will be a day of seeking inspiration...seeing old friends,perhaps making new.

I love the abundance of everything in the city...sights,smells,sounds and am considering relocating there this summer. I will check out the neighborhood where I will be living. I believe it will be the perfect place to work on my series of paintings entitled ,"Absence" and "Tell Me A Story." And the "Dream" series...well that is ongoing.

My objective is to paint bigger,better and to incorporate more materials into my work.I just purchased canvas that is 18 ft. in length and am working on acquiring old doors upon which to paint! Aluminum,galavanized steel and silver leaf make my heart sing at this moment in my creative development:)This is an aside but I think power tools,sheets of metal and recycled wood make the best gifts:) Actually those that know me well, give me just that and it is all so greatly appreciated. The yards of Belgian linen from an encaustic painter friend of mine, was a pretty awesome donation as well!
Dream big!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April: Art All Around Join Me!

April is a very busy month for art exhibits and cultural events. Besides, "First Saturday" in Asbury Park, the Garden State Film Festival will host it's 7th annual 4 day event, Thursday April 2nd- Sunday, April 5th. Join me and Renee Geller at the Open Talent Casting Call at 3rd Ave Pavillion in Asbury Park on Sunday 9:30am - 1:00. Be sure to check out the film festival website for schedules,directions and other event information http://www.gsff.org.

If you are in NYC on Saturday, stop by the Pen and Brush for the opening of the group exhibit entitled,In Your Dreams,Reveries, Fantasies, and Impossible Wishes, curated by Edward J. Sullivan. I will be at the opening reception on Saturday, April 4th, 3-5 PM . The show runs until April 26th. Gallery Hours: Thursday - Friday 4-7 PM, Saturday - Sunday 1-5 PM.

Stay tuned for a posting of other upcoming exhibits.If you are attending the National Art Educators Association conference in Minnesota, I'll see you there. This is the world's largest gathering of art educators and the "creative community" includes more than 20,000 art educators, college professors, researchers, administrators, and museum educators. I have had the pleasure of meeting and "hearing" notable and innovative creative thinkers such as Daniel Pink,Audrey Flack and Faith Ringgold among others. This year, I am excited to attend a lecture by one of the keynote speakers, artist Judy Chicago.

My goal this month is to return to creating my own work after a much needed winter break. Art in April...Enjoy!

Painting Inspiration: Red Ribbons and Fields of Gold

Jude, Art and Inspiration