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, August 27, 2009

Hope: Dandelion Wishes

Well I found my misplaced camera which was carefully tucked away in a drawer in my very messy studio space. I am certain that I did that in one of my more practical moments, realizing that if it was placed anywhere amid the clutter, it would be hopelessly lost:)
So I was able to photograph some work in process. I am creating paintings inspired by specific themes for several upcoming shows.This posted image is actually 3 individual canvas panels that will be stitched together to create a single 9 ft. unstretched vertical image.Painted in oil, it will eventually include other media that emphasizes its relationship to fabric and tapestries.
The piece will be included in an exhibit having the theme:"Hope." The title of this image is "Hope: Dandelion Wishes".

I am also working on a unique quilted piece. It is created using paper clay, aluminum wire mesh,gesso,oil paint and monofilament. The square panels will feature art work that will be applied,after it is fully assembled.It's abrasive texture is in direct contrast to the softness of traditional quilted fabric.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Forever A Dreamer: I Want More Than Just Okay

Today's musical inspiration while painting: (I'd post my images but that would require that I locate my misplaced camera:) Perhaps tomorrow.

Fade to Black~Apocalyptica
More Than Fine~Switchfoot
Only Hope~Switchfoot
Dare You to Move~Switchfoot

"Whoso loves, believes the impossible."~Elizabeth Barret Browning
"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."~Willa Cather

The Fine Art of Fishing

Despite my protests and that of my friend, Andrea,to our sons, warning them of approaching "Hurricane Bill" and the danger of a whipping up of the waters at the Jersey shore, Robert and Danny insisted that they would brave the ocean. "No" didn't seem to be an option for them as they desperately wanted to go tuna fishing with their friend, Peter, a licensed captain, 50 miles off the coast of Long Beach Island, NJ on Thursday.I actually was quite confident that they would be safe and admired their lack of fear. Robert has aspirations of studying marine biology and works and hangs regularly off Casino Pier in Seaside Hts.and off the inlet at Manasquan and Pt. Pleasant Beach. They are his neighborhood "playground."So any experience in and on the water, is valuable.

The boys spent the entire day off the coast and successfully caught tuna and other fish to use as shark bait. Robert caught a 90 lb. bluefin and Danny an 80 lb.one. Aside from Danny's bout of seasickness, these beach boys, fared well and we will be eating tuna for more than a few meals. Last night Robert and I enjoyed the first sampling of it. Awesome!

So Robert once again requested that I consider painting fish. He likens his love for fishing to my love for art:)I definitely appreciate that we share a similar sense of inspiration and passion...and if he continues to supply me with fresh fish, he and I just might be able to work something else. Tuna as subject matter? Hmmm...we'll see!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In Process

Dreaming: Current TAWA Exhibit at Gallery 125

On display AUGUST 14 through SEPTEMBER 4, 2009 is the Dreaming exhibit at Gallery 125in Trenton, NJ. Two of my paintings: Fly: Catcher of Dreams and Breathe on display in this multi-media juried exhibit showcasing the work of other Trenton Artist Workshop Association (TAWA) members. Be sure to see Robert Girandola's work, "While Dreaming", created using "tape" and encased in resin. It is beautiful and can best be appreciated when viewed up close. Creations by friends and fellow artists: D.J. Haslett, Carl Frankel and Andrew Werth are also on display.
The gallery is located at 125 S. Warren St. at the corner of W. Lafayette St., across from the Trenton Marriott.
Gallery hours : Tuesday through Friday noon to 6pm; Saturday 11 am to 4pm.
The gallery can be reached at 609-989-9119.


For more information, view the following link:

Andrew Ricci and Drew Ricci: Father,Son and Fellow Artists

On Sunday,August 16th,I attended the exhibit of friend, Andy Ricci and his son Drew,himself a young emerging artist. This father and son team displayed an impressive body of work at this well attended event. Sponsored by the Berkeley Community Arts Alliance at the Faith Community Church Hall in Bayville, NJ, Andy's paintings and drawings and Drew's photos and prints could be viewed during this one day exhibition.
I met other artists while there with my friend Marlene. It never ceases to amaze me, the power that art holds, to unite a community. Andy and I worked together for nearly 8 years, collaborating on the creation of silk screened materials for amusement games. Andy Ricci is the owner of Thumbs Up Screen Printing and a master printer:)
Congratulations Andy and Drew. It was a pleasure:)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cleaning House

My issue usually is that I have a cluttered mind with an abundance of ideas. The only way to be productive is to be decisive. Pick an idea and explore it...but of course I argue with myself, questioning the value of my own ideas and if one is more worthy of my time and effort. I am so comfortable with these conversations that occur within my own mind that they are an expected and "normal" part of my process. They are also frustrating and at times, paralyzing.

While I was at SVA this summer, an artist told me that I should just paint furiously and produce work for ten years before even questioning or critiquing myself.Because I didn't create for nearly 20 years, the ideas,questions,concerns and fears regarding my art, accumulated, like clutter and memories in an attic. So basically, in order to free my mind and create art, I have to "clean house."

Although I started a few images this weekend, I'll only post a few today. There was no real objective other than to just paint. I also promised my son Robert that I would feature an image of him with our dog Kona. I reclaimed the dining room table as my art studio upon my return.Much to his dismay,Robert was only able to use it once while I was away for one poker game:)He hangs with me while I paint, as does Kona, amid the "clutter."

The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Progress and Strength

I haven't painted in nearly 2 weeks. One week was devoted to show preparations at SVA and than this past week was gladly spent at home with family and friends. A visiting artist this summer talked to me about the power of "focus." I tend to lose it easily but intend to make a concerted effort today to remain "on task."
Last night at an art opening, my conversations with other artists seemed to address the recurring idea that we must believe in ourselves and be aware of our individual strengths in order to progress.
Today I will paint and progress.

Musical inspiration of the morning:
Dave Matthews The Dreaming Tree
Jason Mraz Song For A Friend
Jason Mraz Sleeping to Dream

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Omo People: The Human Body As A Canvas

California based artist, Grace Matthews, forwarded this video to myself and others. It took my breath away. Photographer, Hans Sylvester photographed these images of the Ethiopian Omo people. The natural joy and rich beauty they create in transforming their bodies into works of art is astounding. It is a simple, yet sophisticated beauty that makes one pause in awe.It somehow seemed so directly related to my recent work where I am attempting to dissolve the human figure into intricate patterns. Thank you Grace for this worthwhile video and for the inspiration.

View My Album!

I am home at the Jersey shore, safe and sound. It is beautiful,quiet and green:)
I loved being in NYC but the experience has made me very aware of the abundance of my life at home.
Here are just some of my images from my time at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and the culminating exhibit. Click on the link below to view my album. I have posted one of my favorite images of my beautiful model Aurelia who has inspired some of my recent works. Thank you to her lovely parents, Jen and Francis, who escorted her to the exhibit:)

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Highlight of the Evening

Perhaps the greatest moment of my evening was seeing my son Robert who I had only spoken with almost daily throughout my five week stay during my residency. I will post other images and reflections from the evening but my children have been gracious enough to allow me this time and acknowledging them is of the utmost importance for me. Christina, my 19 year old daughter,is currently in Virginia and was unable to attend. She did visit my studio, early in my stay, and is always present as she is my muse and her image is often included in my work.
I believe the greatest gift I can give to my children is my own success and independence as I become who I am meant to be. They are much the same. I wish for them to discover their purpose and their passion and to live as independent and mindful individuals in this vast world.

So to my son Robert, who makes my heart sing, who makes me laugh and who upon seeing me called me "Jubraseph" and "Joey": I love you and want to thank you and Daddy for sharing in my special evening.You and Tia inspire me and make me know and feel "true" love.
May you always find beauty in the world around you, even if it means leaving to do so. I am always with you. Love, Jubraseph 0x0x0

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's Showtime! SVA Summer Residency Artist's Exhibit!

Well the day has arrived! I am on my way to move furniture, sweep my studio and take care of last minute touches! Teaching and motherhood have greatly influenced my time management skills so actually I have been "ready" for several days and have gotten to relax, walk and do a bit of shopping. There were no end of "semester" all nighters for this "mature" artist but I did enjoy watching my young colleagues bond and work with oneanother late into the evening/morning:)
I am confident in what I produced, what I accomplished and the lessons I have learned. Throughout the day, if time allows, I'll post the exhibit preparations and works of friends. If not, I'll be certain to provide images and other artist's links, after the show.
I'll see many familiar faces in NYC this evening! I am excited but have forewarned my serious artist friends to be kind in their criticisms:) I'm sure they will fill be in later as to their experience of my work at SVA. It's all good! Peace and love 617! :)
Tonight! School of Visual Arts...21st Street...NYC...6-9 pm....4th Floor. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Passion for Portraiture

Why does one create art? For an "artist" there is no option. It is a need. I recently heard artist Alice Aycock speak. She said that if she stopped making art, she would die. I believe her.
From where does an artist find inspiration? That is unique to each artist but I do believe that the greatest art is influenced by great pain, great sorrow, great loss, great gain , great beauty and of course great love.
Being in New York has reinforced my passion for figurative work. When I see the faces of children and women in particular, I see art. The diversity of beautiful faces that I have observed during these past 5 weeks, has prompted me to carefully consider the art of portrait painting in a historical context.
I am amazed by the vast number of portait painters that have devoted their careers to the challenge of capturing the warmth and "life" of human flesh and beauty, but how few created images that were memorable or unique.
Although many of you have seen this video, I remain fascinated and captivated by the skill and passion that was present in creating these images. Witness a glimpse of 500 years of female portrait painting in this video composed by Philip Scott Johnson.
When I return home to NJ, I will mindfully paint a portrait for, what I believe will be, the very first time. There is no option. It is a need.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Final Week at School of Visual Arts

August 3rd! How can it possibly be time to prepare for the culminating exhibit? It seems like only yesterday that I arrived in NYC on July 6th and now I am in my fifth and final week at the School of Visual Arts summer residency program.

In addition to creating a body of work, we are responsible for exhibiting our art in a manner that best showcases our efforts. Some colleagues have prepared installations, They have painted walls, floors and ceilings. I am in the process of creating an environment that sets a particular "mood" for the viewer. I won't post the progress until later because I don't want to ruin the initial impression for those of you who are attending. I am very fortunate living somewhat near to NY, so I will have both family and friends in attendance for support.

Just a side note and a thank you to my husband. The finish work for my exhibit, necessitated my using my brand spanking new drill! My going away "present" from my husband was a power tool:) I love it.!I'd prefer any useful power tool to roses, chocolates or diamonds any day.

So I am gearing up to complete my work and ready for the open studio tour.

NYC has been incredible! I have worked very hard, eaten too much,and slept too little. I have met beautiful and talented young artists who I am certain will make their mark in the temperamental world of art and some who I believe will become life long friends. I haven't seen a great many sites. I haven't shopped at all for anything other than food and art supplies and I haven't attended any concerts or live performances. I did what I came here to do: work, paint, learn and transform my thoughts and my art. It has been a successful and life altering experience!

The countdown begins: 4 days left until showtime:)
I will keep you updated and also introduce you to some of my fellow exhibiting artists! I am off to do laundry....there is a no socks/underwear or paint free clothes situation that makes this chore inevitable and necessary:)

"May you always find beauty in the world around you." It is there. Just look a little harder and look inside your heart!

Jude, Art and Inspiration