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, February 28, 2010

Balloon Series: She Flies Alone

I am a little obsessed with the notion of "flying." It is an amazing concept and symbolic of varying states of mind and being. What child doesn't imagine being able to fly at will, effortlessly soaring high in the sky?To "fly" simultaneously implied freedom, breaking away and escaping.I developed an uncanny ability as a kid, in a very noisy and often violent environment, to emotionally remove myself from the existing situation by flying. Well not actually flying of course, but I could disconnect emotionally and physically it seemed, at will. It was through my art and through music that I found my greatest solace. The problem is, that it took me a long while to realize that as I was fleeting and fleeing, protecting and avoiding, I was also escaping the "good stuff"...the love, the care, the beauty and the joy.

It is still through my art that I experience the feeling of flight but it is no longer solely as a means of escape:) It is a much more positive and meditative exercise.To fly, is to succeed, explore and dare to live. For me it has become synonymous with awakening to my true self. When we discover and foster our life's purpose, our abilities and passions,we are destined to "fly." I paint. It is my purpose to create. Often it is because of our own fears that we stay grounded and still. I can't seem to stay very still these days:)

The balloon series was inspired by an email  that I received while staying in NYC this summer. The story is lengthy but truly symbolic and inspiring. I'll save it for another time and share it as these paintings progress. I love the idea that balloons float, hover, and soar. They possess a simple but fleeting beauty. If you liken them to people, and this is key to my work, you have to hold on tightly and protect them, in order to enjoy these ethereal, fragile and momentary treasures. I deemed one of my friends, my big fat green balloon who I try to handle not too tightly but with great care:) There's more to come. Wildflowers, balloons and shhhhh! slides and swings! Awesome!
Jude Harzer Fine Art 2010
Jude Harzer Fine Art 2010
Jude Harzer Fine Art 2010
And just because I love this song and listened to it as I painted these images:
Keep it real:)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fly Away

Jude Harzer Fine Art 2-23-10
Fly Away

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I have an upcoming exhibit that I am curating. It is about "love." Actually it is about passion and dreams which seems inextricably connected to my definition of love. A core body of work that will be featured are my "Wildflower" paintings....all very much in progress and process. Reflecting upon the essence of these works, I want to convey on some level the awesome beauty of that which grows freely and how it relates to the human spirit. True love and "wild" passion for others, for ideas, for work,for a purpose,for freedom... have a great deal to do with persistence, an indomitable spirit,and a strength of mind in the face of resistance. It also involves forgiveness, patience and adaptability.At heart, we are all wildflowers but often our growth is limited by both internal and external forces.As we mature, we hopefully identify these boundaries and realize that they are superficial and that we are mostly bound by our own thoughts and fears.

Two weeks ago when my daughter departed for Australia for 6 months, there were people who, prompted by "love" and concern ,shared with her a host of reasons why she SHOULD reconsider her choice of destination: distance, money,inaccessibility,insects and snakes(okay that may have been me but this kid has life threatening allergies):) I asked her to think about and believe in why she SHOULD go rather than the should not's and to think about whether or not she would regret not going based on the fears and misconceptions of others. She packed her bags and arrived in Brisbaine alone with no housing, no group program, no friends or contacts:) She loves it.She has met people from all over the world. She secured a youth hostel room until she signs a lease for a home that she found on her own.She begins her studies at the university today. Imagine if we all lived expecting to succeed and blossom. Christina is my "Wildflower" and I have a whole lotta people in my life that share that some wonderful spirit as well. We all have the potential to grow and become our own unique, abundant and beautiful selves! Yikes! I get excited!

So here is an idea for a painting that I know I will create. I drew it early this morning using charcoal on primed cardboard. It was an unexpected image but it represents all those lovely, free thinking, unique spirits that cannot and will not be subdued:) Grow, Tia, grow!

in·dom·i·ta·ble/ɪnˈdɒmɪtəbəl/[in-dom-i-tuh-buhl] –adjective
that which cannot be subdued or overcome, as persons, will, or courage; unconquerable

Saturday, February 20, 2010


"I'm ready now to fly from the highest tree...." P. Ahn

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Awaken Poppy So That You May "See!"

Have patience with me! It seems as though my art is as erratic and varied as my thoughts and emotions these days. I decided to try my hand at illustration as opposed to creating my "fine art", whatever that means....does it matter? I don't think most people that I know can be defined by a single endeavor ...a sole purpose or profession? Today I was inspired to create an illustration for a children's book. I have had ideas and have actually written ,but not completed, several book concepts. Ah, my usual pattern of behaviour...the incomplete, the unfinished, the rough sketch. If I resolve one of these ideas, I am confident it will move me forward. I am committed to the process . I realize that it is the work that will guide me. My thoughts are abundant but I've decided to attempt to give "life" to even a few...to share them....despite how they may be received.

So I'll introduce you to Pouting Poppy:)   Okay, in all honesty,until today she simply lived in my imagination , actually she didn't exist until I put brush to paper. This is my first attempt at developing her character. A good solid days effort. I like her:) She will undoubtedly evolve... Remember the painting that I scrapped after 30 hours of effort? Well, I tore the gessoed paper in half, rotated it, sanded it, applied an additional ground and voila! Poppy appeared:) I know, crazy huh? I tell my students that artists use their errors...they conceal and alter them...and sometimes they themselves are pleasantly surprised by what results. I know, I know.... one day Lucien Freud for inspiration and the next Stian Hole:)

So here is some "rough" accompanying text for for my new friend. I can imagine my own kids cringing at this moment ,whispering to themselves that Jubraseph has finally gone off the deep end. Actually, I feel as though I am awakening from a deep sleep and seeing myself for the first time. I am learning to appreciate the unexpected.

"Pouting Poppy" illustrations Jude Harzer
 2010 all rights reserved Jude Harzer Fine Art
"Skies of blue....blossoms red,
 Beauty unseen by a heart unfed,
 Poor pouting Poppy... loved ...she would wake,
 To a world of dreams...all hers to take...."
 "Wake Poppy, wake!"

Sheesh I gotta' wake this girl up:) To be continued....
Dave Matthews: Blackbird
And just because ya have to dance after all that painting:):
Crazy In Love

"That she was seeing with different eyes and making the acquaintance of new conditions in herself that colored and changed her environment, she did not yet suspect." Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love: The Exhibit

Fully Armored  Jude Harzer 2008
I received an inquiry about the exhibit that I plan to curate, inspired by the very powerful and universal experience , we refer to as “Love.” The show is planned to debut in 2011. It is a collaborative effort . My art and the art of others will be enhanced by the writings of a very talented emerging author and compositions by an equally gifted musician. The three are inextricably connected and are necessary in order to fully convey the essence of this exhibit. Art, like love, is multi- sensory and multi faceted.

The idea for this show became clear as I sat outside the home of friend and fellow artist, Carol Saylor this past December. Anyone that dares to spend time with me, knows that the conversation is rarely “light.” .Carol endures my persistent questionings, musings, and pleas for answers regarding life, love, purpose and passion. Carol “knows” life and love. She has suffered great tragedy and pain. Despite premature blindness and deafness during mid life, the loss of a daughter , ( Alice a mother of 3 , in her 30’s) ,to cancer, the death of her husband and so much more, Carol radiates energy, strength and beauty. How and why does anyone navigate this life with persistence and purpose in the face of great pain,loss and failure ? There have been many people who have graced my life who I have witnessed do just that….move forward despite the hard knocks and obstacles, with unusual persistence and vigor. Again I ask "How and why? "

….Always, always, the answer makes a resounding reference to LOVE! Love, passion, hope and a belief in something greater than ourselves, is a powerful motivation that reveals in us strength and greatness beyond our wildest imaginations. And yet, “love”, misunderstood, unexpressed, rejected or absent , has the potential to consume, destroy and diminish. Perhaps this is not love at all, but personal perception is not a tidy and universal process to be defined.

I’m not simply talking about the hearts and roses of romantic love, although that certainly provides a wealth of inspiration. I am referring to the entire spectrum of the experience….the good, the bad, the pure…young love, true love, first love ,mature love, unrequited love….the love of a parent, a friend, a lover, a child. We are often motivated by the love of country, the love of learning, the love of freedom, the love of God , nature and life itself. Is it possible to genuinely and fully love many, or do we reserve our love for a chosen few? Why do we crave , live, die , and pray for it? Unconditional love…does that even exist? And why do we fade in the absence of it? All I know is that love matters and sustains us in times of need. It exposes beauty where there appears to be none . Love makes the seemingly mundane appear extraordinary and unites us in ways that give meaning to our brief moments here in this life.

Another exceptional friend, fellow artist, art historian and educator Trish Maunder, once told me that love is the “stuff’ that inspires all great art .I believe she is right! So as I journey to make sense of it, I have become an observer of this phenomenon and have learned to embrace rather than resist it.Yes, when we expose our hearts, we are left unguarded and more susceptible to pain, tears and potential hurt. But comfortably numb is not living and over time, the pain of regret, is far greater than any love, lost or found.

So this isn’t a Valentine’s exhibition. It is about life, love and inspiration and I am blessed to have plenty of it all! Live and love HUGE!

PS… Dino… the one you love! This one is for you Pork Chop:) See image above for reference. All rights reserved Hanna Barbera.
Check Carol Saylor out on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TcJ0KZHIR8&feature=related

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Painting :Enjoying the Process

Besides an abundance of ideas regarding subject matter, I actually am interested in my technique and palette. In an effort to paint more fluidly, I am working on 1' x 1' gessoed cardboard and have limited my palette to Prussian blue, titanium white, burnt sienna and dark cadmium red. It is amazing the range that can be achieved in value and hue.

This idea was prompted by receiving an image from friend and fellow artist, Andrew Werth, who created a beautiful and "quiet" painting of his wife Karen. He told me that he was influenced by Edward Hopper and I really studied the stillness that he suggested in this work. I also was advised this summer at the school of Visual Arts in NYC to look at some figurative work by other artists such as Lucien Freud and John Currin, in particular.John was a fellow classmate at Carnegie Mellon in 1981-1982. I recall his skill. It served him well. He is among the top 100 artists in the world:) I won't comment on his subject matter. You can check it out for yourself... but his talent is undeniable.It does help once in awhile, to step outside of yourself, to escape your own thoughts in an effort to learn and develop further. Looking to those who have achieved great success, can be very instructive and inspiring.

So today I painted and am still painting and making progress. It has flowed freely without any intention of creating a finished piece. These are the days that I am reminded of how much I love the smell, feel and process of working with oils. It is the ultimate form of meditation.

"I intend to paint myself to death." L.Freud "  Painting til death ,sounds like a beautiful demise. J.Vereb
Hooray for snow days:) Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! I think we might have another snow day tomorrow. 2 consecutive days of painting ! My words cannot adequately convey my rapture. I might cry:) Just joshin.' Hey Pork Chop,.... if you're out there, this geeky artist girl is about to make magic!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Fly: Breathe  Jude Harzer
When I started painting four years ago, my greatest inspirations were my own children,Christina and Robert, my students, and the children that we all are or once were. After considering for many years why any of us fail to recognize our talents,beauty,and potential to succeed and live fully, I realized that it had a lot to do with love or an absence of it:) True and pure love is offered without expectation, judgement or malice. It mutually nurtures the spirit of the "giver" as well as that of the recipient. I began a series of paintings entitled ,"Fly." Each featured a figure, usually a child, offering a "breath of inspiration." I believe wholeheartedly that if we were all encouraged with kindness and taught to celebrate our unique gifts, we would at least have a good head start as we ventured off to pursue our dreams...unfettered by thoughts of failure,fear or inadequacy.

I tried to raise my children with love and kindness. I  have failed at many things but I try like crazy to be a strong and mindful parent. I took seriously, the responsibility of encouraging my children to love and respect themselves and to pursue a life of purpose and passion. I imagine that they grow tired of hearing their wacky artist mom, spew motivational advice about chasing their dreams and embracing their own greatness:)....but they listen. I know they do. I see it in their eyes and in their actions.

Yesterday we said so long to my daughter Christina , who is bound for Australia for 6 months to study communications. As a young girl she would tell me about a recurring dream. It was clear and explicit and involved her travels to the Australian Coast . Okay , it also involved a beautiful surfer boy and his family  which is of no surprise because she was raised at the shore and prides herself on being a "beach bum".So at 19, she is chasing her dreams.Young, beautiful, bright and bold, this kid is destined to fly. And before she left she turned to me and told me to paint with all my heart. She hugged me ,praised my recent work (that is very generous coming from her)and advised me to return to my "Fly" images. I think she is right:)

Christina, last I heard, you were on a flight to Fiji. I will think only of your safety, the adventure and the possibilities! No fear! And although you will be missed (minus the mess, the mouth and the noise) I want you to live big my love and FLY! May you dream and dance down under....dreams really do come true:)
PS...Contact us ASAP when you land and are settled. I'm still your mama my muse:)
Saying "so long" for now 2-7-10

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Thursday, February 4, 2010


"PATIENCE!" is an ever recurring self reminder. I'm incredibly patient...except of course with myself and often with those I love. For now, I am PATIENTLY painting....readdressing canvasess that I started and abandoned.I had a fellow artist look at my work this summer. He identified quickly, weak areas of my paintings that revealed evidence of  my IMPATIENCE. His only ,and VERY powerful critique was to,"Fix it..you are better than that!" Jeez ! I hear Peter when I paint!. So now I am completing work that I left because of unresolved issues. Some might advise me to move on, but I believe my efforts and PATIENCE will yield rewarding results. Here are two works in process to add to the others:)
I am actively patient. I am creating and hoping with discipline and passion.
"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish". ~John Quincy Adams

Jude, Art and Inspiration