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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Seeking Solace: "Shhhhhhhhhhh....Quiet....please!"

Often I feel as though I cannot paint because I am unable to silence the ongoing conversations that take place between my head and my heart:) This self portrait that I began tonight ( 1' x 4') seemed appropriate as I tried to quiet my mind. I believe as I invest more of myself in my work,I will find where it is I belong.It is when the "noise" is greatest, that I need to work most. Painting is very much like meditation.Tonight I thought only of color, the strokes of paint, the movement of my brush and the smell of the pigments.I was lost in the rythym of my work. Pure peace....mind, body and spirit. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Listen to your heart! ~

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wildflower Underpainting: In Process

Day # 3 I'm uncertain how to proceed and not "feeling" a resolution. I 'll work on another piece. I gave this an hour of time and "effort" and think it best to work on some other smaller works in process This is about 3' x 7' and although my intention was to use an array of materials, I'm working exclusively with oils and charcoal. I tend to be reactive and rushed when I paint. I'm trying to be more thoughtful about my work... well for the moment anyway and anyone who knows me, knows that might change in an hour or so:)
Day # 2. Not much headway made or time invested this evening, but I decided I'm gonna paint like I mean it. As I was teaching today, one of my students made what she believed to be a grave error...as grave as one could be for a Kindergartner:). As I showed her how she might resolve this unexpected mishap and to think how it might actually enhance her work, I thought about my own paintings. There really are no such things as mistakes...There are only opportunities to learn and challenge ourselves to be more creative and innovative. There is nothing else I'd rather be doing at this moment. I painted. My children hung out in my studio as I did. It doesn't get much better than that.

As with most of my work, I rarely do preliminary sketches. I usually have a vague idea of where I am headed. I like that the paintings evolve and that the end result often masks layers of my initial marks that don't even resemble what is seen by the observer. I did have a more defined concept for this piece but then I picked up charcoal and that distracted and redirected my thoughts about how I will proceed. I am certain many aspects of this painting will be revised,marked and masked.Here is day #1. I'm just glad to have painted:)

Monday, January 18, 2010


In process  untitled
As usual, I have lots of works in process. While I work, I think. Dangerous at times.My family calls it "Judy's world." I am starting my newest "Wildflower" image.I'm looking forward to the scale and the use of color: BIG....and cerulean skies with  pure, glowing gold and a full feminine form.I can see it:) I spoke with a fellow artist at our exhibit yesterday about the "need" to paint. It can only be explained as gasping for much needed air.It is like breathing,sleeping,eating...necessary. I took a break from my preferred routine for the past several months. I can offer excuses as to why but I thought to myself as I've begun again, why do I ever refrain from doing what it is I love to do most? Why deny myself that which nurtures my spirit most? I was unable to breathe. How strange that all I had to do was open a window ........and paint.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art Connections 6 Exhibit: You're Invited!

TODAY! Hope To See You There!

Art Connections 6 Exhibit
George Segal Gallery
Montclair State University
Opening Reception:
Sunday, January 17, 2010
2:00 - 5:00 pm
Exhibit Dates: 1/17-2/13, 2010

They Were Here

In Process: Day # 1

The images of a devastated and heartbroken Haiti ,flood the internet. They are unavoidable. One image in particular struck me as ironically ,very beautiful. Amid the destruction, a large tent city was erected by the survivors made from salvaged blankets, sheets and fabric. It provided shelter from the sun. It was centralized,organized and evidence of a living community....evidence that despite the worst, life continues and so must the effort to sustain it.The photograph was an aerial view and the suspended fabric of this makeshift roof looked like a hand sewn quilt of colored textile patches. Where there is life, there is beauty.
Tonight I began two images. The larger one with the child, surrounded by pink, is inspired, in part by that fabric tent city. The pinks, reds and blues, in contrast to the grey of the debris, reminded me of wildflowers, blossoming alongside an urban highway...beauty where and when you least expect it.
Lives senselessly lost, are dreams lost.The images, the media coverage, the art, the global outcry acknowledge that these lives mattered...they were here.
I Was Here

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Share Your Life,Your Love,Your Light

In God's reality, the more you give of yourself--in feeling, generosity, self-expression, goodness, creativity, and love--the more you will be given ~ Deepak Chopra

On Jan. 12, 2010, an earthquake struck Haiti, already one of the most impoverished, and politically unstable countries in the western hemisphere. The aftermath is tragic beyond words. More than 50,000 people are feared dead . We are all witness to the devastation via continuous media coverage . For me, the images of the children, both dead and alive, are particularly haunting. Personally, there is nothing more beautiful than the smile of a child...and nothing more painful than a child in pain. Children are typically my favorite source of subject matter. I am inspired by their untainted beauty and easy acceptance of life. I cannot imagine creating an image that sufficiently captures the misery of this "moment" but I feel compelled to work more than in months past. There is beauty there...in Haiti, in the efforts of the rescue workers ,in the selflessness of the global community, in the anonymous and abundant donations of many forms of assistance and in the spirit of the survivors...in the eyes and faces of those children. I will paint the beauty.
As an artist, I have changed hats temporarily, undertaking a collaborative project that involves the tragic existence of another devastated community ...located in Central America. Because it is in progress and in the initial stages, I am unable to share images or information.I am genuinely glad to be illustrating for such a worthwhile endeavor. I was attracted to the work because of my interest in the children. I have been absent from my fine art and the internet, save for some basic correspondence... but have responded to inquiries from Cafe Press and other arts organizations to donate work on behalf of Hatian relief. As an artist, I create work inspired by great love and loss, but always with the notion that I am not alone and that my experiences and emotions are shared. So as artists, what greater gift can we give in this time of need, than our ART? I offer, without hesitation, my work, myself, my passion. We all have something to give.....if only our prayers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Join me at Montclair State University This Weekend!

This weekend! You Are Invited!

Art Connections 6 Exhibit
George Segal Gallery
Montclair State University
Opening Reception:
Sunday, January 17, 2010
2:00 - 5:00 pm
Exhibit Dates: 1/17-2/13, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

One Sweet Love: Wildflower Paintings

Although I enjoyed my time away and the warmth of the weather while on vacation, I yearned (yes yearned:) to return to my studio and to my work. And so last night I began again to paint, collage, sketch and scrape. Recycled wood is my preferred substrate material. The texture ,taste and "nature" of love will always inspire my work. This is a work in process.This is actually a single composition, hinged in the center. The portrait falls to the right. It is a rough underpainting and collage. Oh how I missed the smell of my materials.

Portals: Art Exhibit at Laurita Winery

You are invited to attend the Allentown Art Guild Group Show, entitled "Portals." The theme of this exhibit is especially meaningful for me as many of my recent paintings  address the theme of self imposed limitations (closed doors) and self discovery and  awakening to limitless opportunities, love and growth (open doors). Of course each member interprets the concept of "Portals" in their own personal and unique way.I hope that you join us on February 7th for the opening reception at the Laurita Winery from 2:00 until 5:00 pm.                                               Every wall is a door. ~Emerson 
Pure love and suspicion cannot dwell together: at the door where the latter enters, the former makes its exit. ~Alexandre Dumas

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gretchen Ruben's Happiness Project

Happiness Project
I have tried my entire life to find and "see" beauty, even when it seems most difficult . I am an artist. My greatest and most treasured sources of subject matter are children, (especially my own). I am also inspired by "true" love, tragic loss and the belief in the goodness and potential of most people. Despite a challenging and "noise" filled childhood, my life has been rich and abundant....and yet there are still times when I struggle and find myself fearful and lost.

On one particularly "dark" morning, many months ago, I actively sought inspiration. As many of us do, I   waded through a wealth of websites, videos and blogs online, expecting little other than to find an inspiring quote or two or something of interest to distract me from my own useless  and self-defeating thoughts. I perused major media sites about current events, theological and spiritual blogs and scanned through fine artist and art historical websites, desperately searching for a way to emerge from this rut! And then I accidentally happened upon Gretchen Rubin's "Happiness Project" blog. I was interested, engaged and encouraged. I dropped her a quick email thanking her for the much needed inspiration. Surprisingly, she promptly responded . I was hooked! I read. I laughed. I rediscovered myself and my objectives vicariously through Gretchen's own personal journey and I have since  become a "SUPER FAN!"

It was no surprise to me on New Year's morning when I saw Gretchen's book, The Happiness Project, was listed on Oprah's top 10 books to read in 2010! This morning Getchen emailed and thanked her fans for all of our support.Her book just debuted world wide and appeared on the New York Times best seller list at #2! Congratulations Gretchen Rubin! It is much deserved! To read more about Gretchen's work, to become a fan , purchase her book, or begin your own happiness project, check out her site! I wrote to Gretchen to let her know that her efforts and her sincerity are greatly appreciated and that her positive impact is more far reaching than she could have ever imagined:) I think she is going to have an unbelievably awesome year!

"Gretchen Rubin is a best-selling writer whose new book, The Happiness Project, is an account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. On this blog, she shares her insights to help you create your own happiness project."

From Gretchen's site:
Newsflash! THE HAPPINESS PROJECT Hit the New York Times Bestseller List! #2!
I'm in shock. I just found out. My book, The Happiness Project, hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, its first week out in the world.
This is one of the HAPPIEST moments of my professional career! I'm beyond thrilled!
Thank you, my dear readers, for your enthusiasm and everything you've done to support The Happiness Project. Thank you!
Now I'm off to jump around the room with joy!

 Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
~Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

May your new year be full of love, joy and purpose!
Happy 2010 to all!

January 2, 2010

“One joy shatters a hundred griefs” Chinese Proverb

"Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there, with open arms and open eyes yeah..." ~Incubus

Collaborative Art: More than a Sum of the Parts

 Last year I was invited to participate in a collaborative art group organized and conceived by San Diego based artist Grace Matthews. Several groups of female artists, myself included, each created five small scale works that we then circulated amid our assigned groups via snail mail. My band of lovely and talented women were the "Barnum Group".The receiving artists could alter the work by adding or subtracting from it in a technique of their choice. The transformations were documented on Facebook. The final art was posted and then returned by US Mail to the original artist. our efforts are now on display at the Escondido Municipal Gallery in Escondido , CA. Please join us for the opening  of our show: Collaborative Art: More than a Sum of the Parts, to meet and greet some of the artists and to learn about and enjoy the fruits of our fun:) Work is available for purchase.
Collaborative Art: More than a Sum of the Parts

January 5-31, 2010
Reception: January 9, 5:30-8 p.m.
Escondido Municipal Gallery-262 E. Grand Ave, Esc. CA 92025
“Artists usually work alone so creating a community forum where they can see images and comment on artwork is very gratifying.” G. Matthews
Exhibition of work produced in 2009 by 10 members of The Collaborative Mail Art Group, formed and curated by San Diego/New York artist Grace Matthews. Matthew’s has combined the old fashioned mail art group format popular in the late 90’s/early 2000, in which artists collaborate on each piece circulating in their group, with the enhanced digital communications available on Facebook, to create a provenance for the project and the artworks.
Join me on Facebook!

Patterns:Embracing Change

New Year's Eve 2009
I find comfort and power in the predictability of patterns. Aesthetically speaking,the repetition of line, shape and color creates a rhythm that seduces, soothes and engages my eyes and my mind. From the radial symmetry of a flower to the proportions of the human form, patterns provide beauty and a meditative calm. I will continue to use patterns in my work but am becoming more fascinated with what happens when the anticipated calculability of these occurrences ceases because of a sudden, accidental or deliberate change. My use of patterns is reflective of my recent life. Sometimes the unforeseen and unanticipated, transform and redirect our "typical" and habitual thoughts and behaviours.There is an excitement in the mystery of "not knowing" what lies ahead.
"All around us are facts that are related to one another. Of course, they can be regarded as separate entities and learned that way. But what a difference it makes when we see them as a pattern! . . . They begin to make sense. The world becomes a more comprehensible place."
Murray Gell-Mann (1929-), American physicist.

"Wildflower" panel in process 2010

Jude, Art and Inspiration