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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Drawing In Process

I want to break out and paint...bigger, better and freer than ever:) But time,professional obligations and the business of life are messing with my creative flow."If I draw for only an hour a day", she whispered to herself, "I might just create something of value." I do talk a lot to myself by the way. It is inevitable for artists who spend a great deal of time alone. So for an hour,or less, I sketched my daughter. It is worthy of developing and I did enjoy using charcoal again. Drawing is often dismissed as the poor orphan to painting and sculpture. I love to draw and continue to be attracted, in recent weeks, to this process.Perhaps that will ease the desire to paint ...ease but not eliminate.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ART 21: Art in the 21st Century

For several seasons now, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) has developed and hosted a quality program that highlights contemporary "master" visual artists.

It is called: Art:21 Art in the 21st Century.

For art educators like myself,this program is an invaluable and familiar resource. For me personally,as a fine artist, it is inspiring to witness emerging artists who are fully immersed in their craft and whose unique art production is evidence of their fearless passion to evolve,explore and manifest their "vision."

The featured working artists are dynamic and innovative in their thinking and creation processes. Their lives are inextricably connected to their art and to the world in which we live. Tim Hawkinson, Sally Mann, Kiki Smith ,Nancy Spero,Janine Antoni,Ursula von Rydingsvard,Jenny Holzer and Mark Bradford are among my favorites.I had the opportunity to meet Mark Bradford!
These artists are the "real deal!" This program offers a rich and accessible understanding of contemporary art and artists. Learn about and view art at it's finest!
Check it out at :Art:21 Art in the 21st Century

Friday, September 25, 2009

Can't Sit Still!

I always have a difficult time remaining still. Even when I paint, I need to move a great deal and listening to music seems to help with the process. When I was in college some 25+ years ago, a painting professor suggested that I ONLY listen to classical music while painting. Hmmm. I seriously considered this advice.However, since recently rediscovering my passion for painting, I realize that my "moods" effect the way I paint and that directly corresponds to the music to which I listen while I create.I certainly appreciate the beauty of a violin or the magnificence of an orchestra. My taste is eclectic and Yo Yo Ma, Chopin and Bach might "rock" my world during some painting sessions,but tonight, it is pure MOTOWN. I really haven't figured out how to stand still when I am painting. Perhaps if I did, I'd be more productive! So listen, move and make magic!
Ball of Confusion
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
I Can't Get Next To You
I'm Losing You

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In Process: Chasing Fireflies,Robert, Bat Girl and Mary

The Miracle of The Moment

On Friday evening I attended a Women of Faith conference at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia with friends. I was especially moved by the music of Steven Curtis Chapman. His life,his faith, his love for his family, and the recent and tragic loss of his youngest of six children, Maria, provide inspiration for his lyrics and melodies.Songs such as "When Love Takes You In" and "Cinderella", love songs to his children, reminded me of how my own two children, Christina Autumn and Robert Christian,encourage my "faith" in the moments and inspire my art and life.Chapman's work is genuinely heartfelt.He uses his talent to celebrate the here and now and the promise of what will be.Despite whether or not an individual is faithful or religious in a traditional sense, which I am not, it is the belief in something greater, belief in love and the adherence to our dreams and a higher purpose, that sustains and motivates us. As always, balance is key. One must appreciate the present,learn from the past and move forward with conviction and hope.
Enjoy today with gratitude. Embrace the "Miracle of the Moment."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chasing Fireflies

Some people who know me gasped in disbelief when I said that I was attending a Women of Faith conference in Philadelphia this weekend, entitled "Grand New Day." I attended with childhood friends from Millstone and 18,000 other women:)( That's a whole lotta estrogen, power and creativity).I consider myself more spiritual than religious. I have opened my mind and heart to the possibility that learning and inspiration come from unexpected and sometimes unlikely resources.This weekend provided a wealth of experiences that genuinely inspired an abundance of new ideas for my art. The first painting will be entitled Firefly. As guest speakers, performers, authors, and musicians shared stories of their lives and their journeys toward discovering their strengths, talents and higher purpose, images flashed incessantly before me...images that will undoubtedly make their way into my paintings.

Author and motivational speaker Patsy Clairmont likened the people who enter our lives and impact us in a special way to the magical glow of "fireflies." They flicker and attract us to them, providing light for our hearts, minds and souls. These are the people that guide,motivate,instruct and love us. Gratefully,I have had many fireflies, flit in and out of my life, in the past three years. Although their glow may have dimmed or faded,I have stored the magic of them within me:) They help to light my way.

Be still.Welcome and appreciate the fireflies that grace your "moments".Capture their light in your heart and mind.Sometimes the faintest of fireflies can provide the most intense source of "light."I'm trying to pay a little better attention so that these glimmering gifts don't go unnoticed.

Fireflies,dandelions and children...these are a few of my favorite things! During the conference, one of the very dynamic women speakers said..."aging is inevitable,but growing up is optional." Words to live by:) I was reminded again of who I am and of the light that is within me. Maybe I'll get to create,share, shine and be someone else's firefly.Just maybe.

“His sanguine spirit turns every firefly into a star.”
Arthur Conan Doyle

Embracing Change

"At each stage of learning we must give up something, even if it is a way of life that we have always known."
~ Ginevee~Australian Aboriginal

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh The Tempation!

In this adorable video by Steve V., it amazed me the restraint that most of these children demonstrated. Real temptation(for something greater than a marshmallow:))presents itself to us as adults on a regular basis. Our response to it demands that we make choices. It challenges our patience and the promise of delayed gratification and the hope of something more. And of course, there are times, when we all blissfully surrender to that which attracts us, like the little girl who unapologetically and immediately consumed her sweet treat with pure enjoyment. Hmmm...there was no regret on her part. Of course as adults, our temptations are often more serious in nature and our reactions, have greater impact on our lives. But still,there are lessons to be learned here...patience,hope and self-forgiveness. You gotta' love kids! Some things are simply and sweetly irresistable!

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Please Don't Lick The Art

I read an article which made me smile and reminded me why I love teaching at the Kindergarten level.

Did you ever read a label and wonder why it includes seemingly ridiculous warning information? For example, there are actual warnings that direct consumers to " NOT use a microwave for drying pets" or cautions users of irons to "NEVER iron clothes while on body." Sadly, I have tried to dry and salvage a wet vintage magazine in a microwave which melted all of the adhesive binding creating a mess and I have also ironed clothes while wearing them and burned my neck and stomach at various times.Unfortunately, I fully comprehend the need for such admonitions. I really did think that these actions seemed reasonable to attempt at the time. Yikes! Trust me, I have successfully and safely reared two nearly grown children and taught nearly 7,000 students without harm:)

When I introduce an art lesson and new materials, I must explain to my young artists the DO'S and DON'T's of using various media as I am very familiar with the behaviour of my "target audience." DON'T put crayons in your mouth,nose or ears.DON'T cut your hair, clothes or your neighbor's artwork with the scissors. DON'T paint the walls, furniture or floors at home unless a grown up gives you permission!DO dress for mess in the art studio and DO wipe your hands on a smock, NOT on your friend's new white tee as they are standing in line in front of you. This happened...TRUE STORY with supposedly washable kid-friendly paint. The parent that called informed me otherwise:( This is typical and necessary instruction when teaching a little one, knowing that they naturally want to experiment and explore.

Well during these first few days, I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful,and evidently smart little girl.She was enthusiastic about being in the art studio, but her attention seemed easily diverted by her new surroundings and friends.We used modeling clay to encourage fine motor development and play. My instructions did include the direction:" DO NOT throw or eat the clay." Very simple! But alas, there are the irrepressibly curious like my lovely little friend who proceeded to lick clay, lick her arm and collect spit in her name tag. When I instructed her to refrain from such behaviour she simply smiled, stopped and gave me a hug. She was just checking things out, using her sense of taste:) When I read the article about the child who licked a master painting in a museum gallery, I thought of my Kindergarten artists who excitedly enjoy and explore with every fiber of their being, even by using their tongues! Awesome! Kudos to the Minneapolis Institute of Art for their understanding and sense of humor in response to the situation!
‘Please Don’t Lick the Art’: Words to Live ByBy Dave Itzkoff

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Appreciating this portrait by the French painter Nicolas de Largillière is apparently a matter of taste.The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has a new piece of merchandise to offer at its gift shop — not to mention an endearing anecdote that inspired it — following a young art fan’s recent visit to the museum, The Star Tribune reported. On a recent survey of the museum’s Gallery 308, Tim Piowtrowski, a guard there, noticed a little girl who was admiring a 17th-century portrait of the French aristocrat Catherine Coustard, the Marquise of Castelnau, with her son, Léonor, by the French painter Nicolas de Largillière. The young aficionado, whose age was not given, was so taken by the deep blue velvet dress worn by the Marquise in the painting that Mr. Piowtrowski had to admonish her: “Please don’t lick the art,” he said. That phrase now adorns a T-shirt on sale at the museum for $22.50. The painting was unharmed, according to The Star Tribune.
Please Don't Lick The Art

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Joy of Drawing

"The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."~A.K. Chalmers

Yesterday,after transporting my son to party, I waited in Seaside for him and decided to draw. I don't typically draw, although I believe it is my "first love" and comes more naturally to me than painting. I used to say that if someone gave me a no. 2 pencil and a sheet of paper, I would be content. I think that still holds true but I have directed my efforts for the past three years toward the "challenges" of painting. Every time I begin a new canvas, it often feels as though I have never before held a brush.
When I was at an art event this summer, I saw this beautiful little girl.I planned on creating works of art inspired by the images I took of her. Yesterday however, I thought she would be the perfect subject for a pastel drawing. Here is the start of the composition.I liked the immediacy of the medium.This was created on handmade ,organic paper that was glued to heavyweight watercolor stock.

Labor of Love

"The true way to render ourselves happy is to love our work and find in it our pleasure." ~Francoise de Motteville

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end to summer here at the Jersey shore. It also means back to "work" for myself and all educators. Labor Day is actually an annual holiday observed worldwide, although at different times, in celebration of the economic and social achievements of all workers.I considered the meaning of the word "Labor", defined primarily as the "expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory" .It made me realize how very little what I do seems like work or labor at all.I am very fortunate to love what I do:teaching young children and creating art.The closer I come to embracing art as my way of life, the more I realize, I may never labor another day in the traditional sense of the word.There are times when I secretly am awed that I actually get paid for this. And so I have spent some time this Labor Day weekend,"working" at what I love most: painting!This genuinely is my labor of love.
Enjoy your holiday!


“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.” ~Pearl S. Buck

Friday, September 4, 2009

Opening Reception for "The Spirit of Charity" Art Exhibition

My work will be on display at the College of St. Elizabeth in Madison, NJ. Please join me for the:
Opening Reception for "The Spirit of Charity" Art Exhibition
on Tuesday, September 8 2009 04:30 PM - 07:00 PM

The "Spirit of Charity" reveals contemporary paintings, photographs, sculptures, DVD presentations and installations that celebrate the broad notion of charity. More than 20 works by national artists, especially those from the New Jersey and New York area, will focus on themes and ideas surrounding compassion, generosity and altruism. Co-curator, Patricia Pongracz, Ph.D. notes the show includes a variety of ways in which charity is expressed through images of Saint Francis, Buddhist monks, a soldier's family during World War II, organ donors, volunteer urban gardeners, and visual meditations on society's response to beggars and the homeless.

Artists in the exhibition include: Janice Anderson (Cliffwood, NJ); Leigh Celentano (New York City); Doug DePice (Secaucus, NJ); Jim Fuess (Berkeley Heights, NJ); Sister Anne Haarer (Convent Station, NJ); Jude Harzer (Brick, NJ); So Yoon Lym (Wayne, NJ); Claire Marcus (Bethlehem, PA); Athena Robles (Washington, DC) and Anna Stein (Brooklyn, NY); Susannah Slocum (New York City); and Peter Tilgner (Tenafly, NJ).

Campus location: Annunciation Center

Cost: free

The Gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 1 to 7 pm; Friday, Saturday and Monday, from 1 to 5 pm; or by appointment; and closed Sunday. For more information, contact Lynne McEniry at 973-290-4188.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Paint What You Love

On this beautiful day in Ocean County, NJ, where temperatures reached a perfect 75 degrees, I marked my return to school for another year of teaching Art at the Primary Learning Center.I also managed to paint. I have so much in progress and now an overwhelming amount of other teaching related responsibilities to complete as well. Somehow, the busier I am, the better able I am to manage my art career.

With several upcoming exhibits approaching, it is time to paint,complete and move forward with new ideas. Here is further progress on some current work.
As I near completion, I'll post the resulting images and elaborate further on the process and motivation for these paintings.Really it is quite simple... I paint what I love.I am inspired by love and I love the technical aspect of the painting process. I'll be sure to keep you posted:)

Jude, Art and Inspiration