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   

1 comment:

Jude, Art and Inspiration