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

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's In the Journey

~ Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. ~Arthur Ashe

Click here to see me and my art in Savannah, Ga.
I am an artist. I can't imagine being anything else. I see art everywhere. It took a lifetime for me to accept and embrace that I view and experience things in a way that is unique only to me. I am a painter of dreams..., my dreams. It has been a very strange, confusing, and yet very beautiful journey to arrive at this place. At nearly 48 years old, I am beginning to recognize and understand the person who I am, or rather who I wish to become. This journey through life, requires transformation.We are not meant to stand still or necessarily be comfortable or content.

Here at Savannah College of Art and Design, where I began my graduate studies in painting this summer, standing still was not an option and change has been demanded. The faculty expects it . My lifestyle and painting practice made it inevitable. A 5 week intensive quarter semester with a daily schedule from 5 am to midnight ,devoted primarily to art production and critique, did not allow for idleness, mentally or physically speaking.They call it "art boot camp" here. It is.... but the rigor and discipline were welcomed . I was made for this.

My life this past year has evolved in ways I never imagined. A new job, my youngest child graduated and  college bound, irreversibly altered personal relationships, and a host of other life happenings , ... all  necessitated that I evolve and grow...or not. There were long, dark  "moments" when I did not feel able. I resisted and nearly surrendered to a dangerous and paralyzing complacency and acceptance of a life to which I no longer belonged. Acceptance to graduate school was a long considered "reaction" and opportunity to redefine my life and reorient my path to where I wish to be. I don't know exactly where that is, but I know that moving forward is the way in which I'll arrive at that realization.

I even expected the torturous self reflection that this experience would evoke.Crying....there was a lot of crying...some from sadness, frustration, loneliness, relief and joy. Daily, life altering conversations with like minded creative spirits, exposure to art making and criticism that dramatically differs from my own, financial and personal sacrifices to "selfishly" be in this place, plagued my thoughts on a daily basis, amid an expectation to produce and perform. And still I know I needed to be here. As uncomfortable and challenging as it felt at times, I felt an urgent, disquieting pull to embrace this new phase in my life.I created this moment and this opportunity. I cannot waste it.

There is no place, however to which I can go, where I can hide from myself....not even in Savannah. It has a haunted, transient , unpredictable atmosphere. It feels right for me at this moment. Yesterday was a final critique. No one can possibly criticize me more than I evaluate and criticize myself.I realized through this process, how much I have to learn, how sincerely I have grown and how strong I am in mind, body and spirit.  I trust how I think . All the confusion and angst usually comes from resisting what I know to be certain. I know my heart. I know my passions. I know my many weaknesses and flaws. So finally, I am letting go. No promises...no expectations of anyone other than myself to assist in my journey but pure gratitude for the health, love, family and friendships that have guided me here... and hope, always great hope, that those who I love will have patience, empathy and compassion as I venture forward. I am so grateful and blessed. I wonder if I say it enough...if those I love, know it enough.

I'll make art that matters...to me and hopefully to others. I'm desperate to learn.I'll continue to share my graduate school experiences. I expect they will be interesting, to me anyway:) The posted images are a few of the works I created during the 5 week immersion. I think art is meant to be shared. It is who I am.
Some of my recent artistic transformation was inspired by the direction of two wildly talented and brilliant young professors: Gregory Eltringham and Natalija Mijatovic. It was an honor to work with them. They offered a rare level of intelligence, talent, and sensitivity that made me respect and value the artistic process and purpose. They made me want and expect more of myself. Here are links to their professional sites:
Now I have a brief hiatus. As I prepare to send both my children off to college and ready for my own year of teaching, I must plan and learn to manage the demands of graduate school. I'm ready.No more wasting me:)
"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." ~Confucious

No longer waiting for my real life to begin....this is it!

SPECIAL LOVE and THANKS to my room mate Jessica and my neighbors and friends, GAV and CHRIS who made me smile and who endured my quirkiness, stories and energy:) oxox

Jude, Art and Inspiration