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

Visit My Website


"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

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Phyllis Frances Vereb: Remembrances of Our Mother

Phyllis Frances Vereb, 73, passed away at Bayshore Hospital in the late evening of Dec. 4th, surrounded by her loving family. Phyllis was born on July 27, 1940 in Trenton, NJ to parents Edward and Bernadette Wierzbicki. Visually impaired since birth, this platinum blonde beauty with a “Colgate” smile was raised, along with her younger sister and brother, by their devoted mother, in their Lalor Street home where Mrs. Wierzbicki remained until her death in January, 2008 at the age of 87. The passing of Phyllis’s mother, who was her most treasured friend and greatest supporter, was a profoundly sad event in her life.

Phyllis graduated from Cathedral High School in 1958 before marrying her childhood sweetheart David Vereb in 1960. Together they had six children, all of whom were raised in Trenton before the family relocated to Clarksburg, NJ, Millstone Township in 1972. Phyllis independently reared her spirited brood of six in this picturesque Monmouth County farming community. She proudly lived in her Stagecoach home residence until her recent fall and subsequent illness in late October.

Phyllis leaves behind her beloved six children: Lisa Diez, (CA), David P. Vereb (VA), Judith Harzer (NJ), Beth Martin (NJ), Christopher Vereb (NJ), Robert Vereb (VA) and thirteen grandchildren: Christopher, Shannon, Kelly, Christina, Justin, Maurice, Robert, Mary, Michael, Mario, Patricia, Jordan and Jacob. She helped to create and inspire all of these beautiful, passionate and accomplished young lives. She is also survived by many valued immediate and extended family members and friends. Phyllis was pre-desceased by both of her parents and her ex-husband.

When remembering Phyllis, her children wish to recall her devout faith and the affirmations that motivated her despite a life filled with tragedy and hardship. Daily she would assert, “This too shall pass.” “ One day at a time.” “Patience is a virtue.” and “Life is easy as long as you don’t weaken.” Phyllis loved music, especially Johnny Mathis and Broadway show tunes. She played the accordion as a child and was a graceful dancer mastering the Lindy, Jitterbug, Waltz and Polka. Phyllis valued art, literature and fashion, having been a model for local Trenton department stores as a young woman. She prided herself on baking authentic traditional Polish holiday nut rolls and Chrusciki for her family. She appreciated history, Shark Week, Jeopardy, the ocean, Anne of Green Gables, dogs, the color pink and wonderful food. She adopted the butterfly as a symbol for her life as it represented freedom, beauty, evolution and flight. And with what little she had, Phyllis regularly contributed to charities and organizations that supported children and the underprivileged. These are the memories that help define who Phyllis was and how her family wishes to remember her.

Phyllis will be cremated and celebrated privately by her immediate family. She was recognized, post mortem by the New Jersey Sharing Network for a successful organ and tissue donation. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider making a donation to Catholic Charities who greatly assisted Phyllis while raising her children, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the Blind Commission.


“to live in this world you must be able to do three things
 to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
 and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” ~Mary Oliver

Friday, November 29, 2013

Project 365: Unexpected Challenges

Project 365 is progressing slowly. It seemed an exceptionally simple objective: to execute a single daily image of a child, given whatever time was available, using any medium. Start date: November 6th, my 50th birthday.

I have not abandoned this concept so early on in the process but have realized more than ever that factors such as real world occurrences above and beyond the typical demands of full time work, family and life in general, potentially impact time, energy and motivation in a way that is down right paralyzing. This goes without saying perhaps but my own deep-seated sense of inadequacy that conceived this basic project to purposely keep my ever wandering mind on track makes personal failure at something so seemingly “easy”, difficult to bear.

As of late, even putting a single stroke on a page seems uninteresting and laborious. My motivation has waned and yet I am scribbling my way through but not with the intended fervor that I had imagined. I am embarrassed by my inability to perform better.

The “real world occurrence”, without over dramatization or a laundry listing of the many heart wrenching details …was the hospitalization of my 73 year old mother two weeks prior to my project start date. In many ways it was expected… inevitable. I knew immediately that this would not have a positive outcome and that she would possibly never return to her home of 41 years. It was confirmed two weeks ago that indeed she will not. This has been excruciating for her to process on many levels, the most significant being that my 47 year old, mentally impaired brother who lived with her, will as a result, also be displaced.

The lives of my sister Beth and I have been consumed by the juggling act of the resulting upheaval. Beth is the strong and gracious one shouldering much of the precipitating burden. Near daily hospital visits and sharing custody of my brother who suffered trauma that caused extensive short term memory impairment 20 years ago, have become the norm. My Mom, coherent and depressed, reluctantly resigned herself to being situated in a convalescent home for the duration of her life. The care she requires is so incredibly extensive, that this seemed the only alternative. She knows this and was relocated this past Saturday to her new residence.

On Sunday morning, November 24th, she flatlined…coded…whatever the appropriate terminology. She was rushed to the nearest E.R. They responded efficiently and effectively, worked furiously to revive her unaware of the “Do not resuscitate” orders which had not yet been transferred from the rehab center to her new "home."

This week, she has been surrounded by family. She is awake without any recollection of her lapse into a permanent sleep or the resuscitation that followed. She is amazingly able to converse and respond quite well. However, her challenges are greater. She is unable to breathe independent of a Bi-pap ventilator. The trauma to her chest from the CPR caused physical damage and pain. Her body is retaining fluid. She is reliant on others to accommodate her basic needs. She is not ambulatory and is trapped in her own body.This is her current state of existence.

Along with my sister,while we are able,  we wait, feed her, talk with her, watch monitor levels rise and fall. I fail to imagine her pain and place. I asked her what she thinks during all of these hours immobilized and alone. “Life and death,” she emphatically stated. However, she does express hopefulness that she will recover but also how tired she is at trying.

I cannot remember why I paint at the moment. In comparison to real challenges, mine are ridiculously small...near non-existent and yet I do not move. I know this is a time to just be and accept events as they unfold.

Project 365: more to come….

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Project 365

Project 365

On November 6th I celebrated my 50 th birthday. In the months prior I began seriously considering the significance of this milestone. A half century of life and experience sounds strange to acknowledge in regard to myself. I remember when I was in high school asking my grandmother who has since passed, if she could "feel" the years and the aging, not on her body but on her mind. She was not much older than I am at the moment.  50 sounded sadly ancient to an anxious sixteen year old. But I was always torturously reflective, sensitive and empathetic in my youth. I was very aware that I would be like her one day and that she had been me...  young, love struck, perhaps passionate, although I think her conservative blue collar Catholic upbringing did not allow for passion of the kind I felt. I desperately needed to know how one gets from point A to point B without transforming into a  stern and worn shadow of their former self. I don't think she ever appreciated my inquiries. They forced her to readdress  choices and regrets. Her response to me: " Life and your body will betray you." I savored these words but knew that somehow I would not surrender to them.

Fast forward more than three decades. Life has happened and my body has changed but neither have betrayed me. I am grateful. The difference between my grandmother and I quite simply is time. I grew up in an era where education, exploration and the power of thought to process experiences was gradually embraced. My life was wrought with challenges...abuse, molestation, my parent's divorce, financial poverty, illnesses, deaths, lost love and more. I didn't always navigate these gracefully but I lived them open eyed , searching for the value and the beauty that lay within or beyond these moments. "This too shall pass," my mother would say. I feel it all passing, the good and the bad. It is as it should be.

So to acknowledge this passage, I will use my art to mark each day of this upcoming year. There are a few things of which I am certain at 50: Always there is beauty of some sort to be found, only I have power to create the life I desire and so very little of the abundance of this world is known by me. I will leave it ignorant but awed.

Project 365 will be comprised of daily sketches or paintings, 5 minutes or 5 hours, of my favorite subject matter: children. There is no real objective other than to persist in practicing my painting despite the busy pace of life. The end result will be a body of work that reminds me that I paused to consider the beauty and that I am participating in life, rather than hiding from it.

I hope that you enjoy my work . I welcome comments and contributions of images of your little ones
Here is a glimpse of Project 365 in process.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Join Me On FaceBook!

For updated information about new work, exhibits and art resources, please like or follow my new artist's page! Thank you! <3 p="">


Recent Works: MoreDeta

 Recent works
1 hour oil on board
Untitled, oil on linen, detail,  2013

Protector, in process, oil and graphite on paper, 2013


“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”
― Henry Miller

Heartache can be likened to regret. When quiet with myself, the persistent pangs that gnaw at and wither my spirit , I realize, are largely self imposed. I wince and wallow in this awareness that I failed to take action, follow through or respond to life itself. I lacked courage and stood still,
Note to self: move.

Action # 1 Post recent works and update blog.
Armed (detail) oil on linen 60" w x 20" h 2013
I create works that for me, are satisfying in their conception and process (for the most part). Many are incomplete. They surround me , waiting to be revisited. Crazily, many pile up in my studio, as I pay little attention to their "after life". The time has come to sell, exhibit or at least share my art. I am preparing for an adventure...a move...a leap of faith.... and I cannot carry the weight of these works with me. So for today, I will offer a glimpse of my private pleasure of painting. 
Hiding Spaces oil on linen 20" w x 60" h

My recent Hiding Spaces series explored space, both physical and psychological. I enjoyed creating these works as they felt very authentic and emerged fluidly as I painted.
Fish Tales oil on board 2013 Concept for future series exploring the art of storytelling featuring children and fish as subject,  both representative of  fertility, abundance and transformation.
There's more to come....

Jude, Art and Inspiration