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 26, 2014

Photography As Reference and Inspiration

As a pre-teen, I taught myself how to draw the human face and figure by pouring over Seventeen Magazine advertisements featuring Christie Brinkley and Cheryl Tiegs and the apparel sections of the voluminous annual  Sears Christmas catalogue.  Basically, I used whatever visual references were available and trust me, there weren't many. On butcher's paper that I "borrowed" from my Mom's kitchen, I  made detailed and time consuming pencil studies of eyes, faces and torsos. Substrates were limited as well and so I carefully rolled out several feet of this clean white surface onto the crowded floor of a bedroom I shared with my two sisters and then would spend hours looking and copying without any regard for rules or technique. I just felt the need to draw people, particularly kids, and as I recall, my five siblings were not the most stationary subject matter . I made work and either discarded it or tucked it safely under my bed. I was more interested in learning and improving than sharing my art.

Since then of course, I have had the experience of drawing from life using a model . It is an invaluable resource that has enriched my work but it is not always convenient or affordable. So photographs are my "go to" for subject references, made even more accessible by the immediacy of digital photography and top notch editing programs. I encourage my students to use every resource possible but not to rely on any one of  them exclusively. They are simply" tools" that when paired with the experience, knowledge, skill and imagination of the artist, can strengthen and inform their work. There is no magical singular solution or "way." I only know what I feel works for me and that is what I share but always with the willingness to try alternate methods and new materials.

During the past two years I have been teaching basic Digital Photography and Photoshop editing at the high school level . I had no prior experience and had to learn along with my class.  It has significantly impacted my own way of "seeing" and has exposed me to the works of some masterful contemporary photographers who create imagery that seems as precious to me as the finest oil paintings on Belgian linen. These artists happen to all be women.  They capture the human form while telling some underlying and often thought provoking story, whether or not that was their intention. Intensely captivating children are featured as subject for a few of them. I am drawn to them. I hope that my paintings share a similar sensibility. So I thought I'd share the excellence of their work.

I was asked why I don't just make photos. Because when I paint, I am aware how much I love the process , the error  and the evidence of my very own fumbling marks when using pigment .

Here are a few of my favorite photographers:
1. Sally Mann
Sally Mann
b. 1951 Lexington, Va.
 2.Francesca Woodman

Francesca Woodman
 b. 1958-1981 Denver, CO
3. Diana Arbus

Diane Arbus
b. 1923-1971 New York , NY
4. Loretta Lux
Loretta Lux
b. 1969 Dresden


5. Deborah Parkin
Deborah Parkin

7. Tierney Gearon
Tierney Gearon
b.  1963 Atlanta, GA   

Sunday, January 12, 2014


This painting, entitled Progeny is part of my White Rabbit, White Rabbit: Rituals of Painting, Progeny and Play exhibit. It can be viewed at the Ocean County Artist's Guild at 22 Chestnut Ave, Island Heights, NJ from February 2-26, 2014. Please join me for the opening reception Feb. 2 between 1-4 pm at this location. http://ocartistsguild.org/
Progeny  oil on wood 30 x 30 2013 Jude Harzer

Project 365

Why do any of us create? That is such a broad question, unanswerable by a single response. Obviously it differs for each of us. I know that for myself, this desire is persistent, necessary and therefore important. Finding time to do it with all of life's happenings  poses challenges but it seems in life,  we tend to make time for that which we value most....or we don't and that is often more about our choices and priorities rather than about time itself.  So although I have neglected writing about my efforts in an organized and chronological way, I have certainly not abandoned my effort to create an image a day , every day, since the start date, my 50th birthday: Nov. 6th.

Some of these have been 5 minute scribbles and others have been day long oil paintings but  all are evidence of the fact that I have indeed made the time. I value my work no matter the end result. I have deemed it " Project 365." Perhaps next year I will work on a more sequential, highly organized and deliberate version of this project, faithfully documenting it along the way .....or maybe  I won' t. For now, I would simply like to share a sampling of the images that have resulted from time I feel is well spent. In these moments of scribbling, scrawling and pushing paint about, I feel most aware of what I need and value.

I hope you find the time for what matters to you and discover your joy.

“You will touch this joy and you will suddenly know it is what you were looking for your whole life, but you were afraid to even acknowledge the absence because the hunger for it was so encompassing.”
Eve Ensler

12 x 12 oil on canvas Jude Harzer 2014

Rolodex cards graphite sketches Jude Harzer 2014

Rolodex cards (enlarged) Jude Harzer 2014

Crowned oil on canvas 24 x 24 Jude Harzer 2014

Flock oil on canvas 24 x 24 Jude Harzer 2014

The Wait oil on canvas 24 x 36 Jude Harzer 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

You Are Invited! FEBRUARY 2, 2014 1-4 pm Jude Harzer Thesis Exhibit

A belated and abundant New Year to all!

On Sunday , February 2nd, my graduate thesis exhibit opens at the Ocean County Artist's Guild in Island Heights, NJ. This concludes the requirements necessary for me to successfully complete my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the  Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. This is the culmination of a 3 year commitment , one that I chose not necessarily to acquire a degree but to immerse myself in a creative and learning community dedicated toward rediscovering and establishing my own art practice.

It took a great deal of persistence, balance and encouragement to actually complete this program... and so I did, despite the whole lot of life that happened in the midst of it all. I finished my academic work just two weeks prior to the passing of my mother and a week after I celebrated my 50th birthday. Yes, life goes on and I am moving forward and through it all.

And so I celebrate the start of this New Year with my exhibit entitled, "White Rabbit, White Rabbit: The Rituals of Paint. Progeny and Play." If on February 2. 2014 you are available between 1-4 pm, I'd love to share my work with you and simply say hello and thank you!

Hope to see you there!

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
― Neil Gaiman

Jude, Art and Inspiration