Summers in Mar del Plata

"Beautiful Memories"  watercolor, pen & ink on watercolor paper 12x16. ©Dora Ficher

“Beautiful Memories” watercolor, pen & ink on watercolor paper 12×16. ©Dora Ficher

During the summers we went to the shore. My grandparents had a wonderful house in Mar del Plata.

My grandparent's home in Mar del Plata

Photograph of my grandparent’s home in Mar del Plata

After school was done in December (Dec. 21st, 1st day of summer), the baúles (trunks) would get all packed and we would get ready to go for the summer. A company called Rabbione would pick them all up.

I remember being at my grandparents house while everything was getting packed as well. They had lots of trunks. They would take everything since we were there for the whole summer.

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The baúl

The baúl

The baúl

 

 

 

 

 

 

They would also take everyone who worked at their house, the cook, the housekeeper and the housemaids. It sounds like Downton Abbey, I said to my mom today. She said “Yes, that’s how it was”. I’m sure it was, but in a much smaller scale. The houses were definitely not as big.

My aunts and uncles would also come. My grandfather, my dad and my uncles  had to go to work so they would leave on Mondays and come back on Fridays. They didn’t stay for the whole 3 months like the women did.

I remember that my grandparents bought me a little chair that they always kept there. It was my princess chair. That’s the 1st thing I always looked for as soon as we arrived.

We spend the holidays there and stayed until right before school started in March.

We would all go by train. I recall the name of the train was “Marplatense”. “The Marplatense”. was all silver and had stainless steel wagons. It had air conditioning and an elegant restaurant. It would take us about five hours to get to Mar del Plata. The most fun on the train was the restaurant.

El Marplatense

El Marplatense

Their house was wonderful. It had beautiful gardens very nicely manicured by the gardener. There were lots of flowers all around and great big trees that we could climb.

mami, claudia, yo-mardel

My mom, my sister Claudia and me. 1954-55

I do remember that the kitchen was big and they had a large commercial refrigerator that looked like the photo. The house was always full of people.

Refrigerator

Commercial refrigerator in the kitchen

"Mardel" Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks ©Dora Ficher

“Mardel” Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks 18 x 24 ©Dora Ficher

The beach with the cabanas.

The beach with the cabanas.

My dad and me at the beach.

My dad and me at the beach.

My mom and me at the beach.

My mom and me at the beach.

EPSON MFP image

My mom, my sister Claudia and me. 1954-55

La rambla - The boardwalk

La rambla – The boardwalk

 

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .

Childhood Memories of Colorful Buenos Aires

 

"The Beginning" Mixed Media, Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks ©Dora Ficher

“The Beginning”  Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks ©Dora Ficher

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 14, 1951 in Sanatorio (medical center) Otamendi . At the time my parents lived on Inocensio Arias street in Castelar the west part of Buenos Aires.

Sanatorio Otamendi, the hospital where I was born.

Sanatorio Otamendi, the hospital where I was born.

Here I am with my mom and my dad. I was 3 moths old.

Here I am with my mom and my dad. I was 3 moths old. My first trip to Mar del Plata (the shore we went to every summer. Check out those tiny shoes I’m wearing.

My father had his laboratory there. He did blood tests and everything else a lab does.

I remember that we had a wooden 2-person swing in the backyard. I am amazed that I remember this since we moved out of this house when I was 3 years old.

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The 2 person swing

I recall that my grandmother’s housekeeper, Paula, would come to pick me up, and take me on the train to my grandparents’ house. At that time, going to their house was the most wonderful thing in the world. They had a big house with a big glass and iron door. It was called a Petit hotel, I guess because it had many bedrooms, a big garden/patio and several rooms for the people who worked there (the cook and housekeepers).

My grandparents home

My grandparents home

When I visited my grandparents’ home, I slept in the room with my aunt, who was only 14 when I was born. I felt like a princess every time I was there.

My grandfather and me. His name was Jaime.

My grandfather and me. His name was Jaime. I was about 20 months.

My grandparents had a television set (I am talking about the 1950s). One of those big Zenith sets.

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The Zenith TV

 

Whenever I was there I loved to have breakfast in the “comedor diario” – the casual dining room. I could watch the TV while eating. TV’s were something very new at that time. We didn’t have a TV in our house so this was a treat.

My grandmother with my sister Claudia and me.

My grandmother with my sister Claudia (sitting) and me.

Working on my first painting of this series

Working on my first painting of this series

Starting to collage and write memories the this painting.

Starting to collage and write memories the this painting.

©Dora Ficher - work in progress. I added a photo of the door to my most memorable house. It's the door I have on my painting.

©Dora Ficher – work in progress. I added a photo of the door to my most memorable house. It’s the door I have on my painting.

The Street of my grandparent's house

The Street of my grandparent’s home. Antonino Ferrari, in Buenos Aires.

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The door to the entrance of my grandparent’s house.

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .

 

The Opening

“Happiness and “The Blues” ©Dora Ficher

After several delays due to weather and political upheaval in Argentina, my exhibition at The Embassy of Argentina in Washington, DC opened on February 19th.

In spite of the record-breaking low temperatures of 4-5 degrees, we did have a good turnout for the Opening. The Argentine wine helped warm everyone’s fingers and toes allowing them to enjoy examples of our ex-pat Argentine artwork.

The exhibit, entitled “Hiraeth, is a showcase for both my work and that of my friend, Diana Gonzalez Gandolfi, a fellow Argentine expat and artist who also works with encaustic.

For more background on Hiraeth read here or read our statement at the end of this post.

I had never been to the Embassy before and was struck at how beautiful the building was, both inside and out.
The Washington Hispanic newspaper was at the opening and did an article about us which you can see below.

Washington Hispanic spread

Below you can see a panoramic view of one side of the rotunda, the room where the exhibition was held.

Panoramic view of one side of the Rotunda, at the Embassy of Argentina.

Panoramic view of one side of the Rotunda, at the Embassy of Argentina.

Picframe-DC1

Above, Diana Gonzales Gandolfi and me. Below, the curator, Alfredo Ratinoff and Maritza Gueler from the Embassy of Argentina Cultural Section.

More photos from the opening below.

Picframe-DC3 Picframe-DC2

The outside of The Embassy of Argentina, Washington DC

The outside of The Embassy of Argentina, Washington DC

Bust of General San Martin, liberator of Argentina

Bust of General San Martin, liberator of Argentina

About the exhibition
Hiraeth (heer”’-eyeth) Welsh.
(n.) A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.
We came upon this word and thought it was the ideal title for our joint exhibition.
We first met one another five years ago at an International Encaustic Conference in Massachusetts. During conversations throughout the conference we discovered that we had grown up in remarkably similar ways. We have so many things in common. We were both born in the same hospital in Argentina, 11 days apart. Each of our families left Argentina while we were very young. We each had to leave behind all that was known to us…family, friends, school, home, language, food, and more.  We each then grew up part of an international community that became our extended family.  We live close to one another in the Northeast. And now we are both artists and we both work with encaustic. Although, to the eye, our finished work looks not at all alike, the process by which we get to an end is notably similar. We both like to structure our space with grids, we both use symbols and color as a subject matter and we both use pigmented wax (encaustic) as our medium. Working with encaustic paints involves the layering of images. This build-up of marks, shapes and colors results in surfaces with a history and aged quality that suits the subject matter of our work. The process reveals present realities and glimpses of memory.

Opening Reception
Wednesday, February 19, 6:30 pm-8:00 pm
On view, February 19-April 10
Monday through Friday, 3pm-5pm
Where
Embassy of Argentina
1600 New Hampshire Ave. NW,Washington, DC 20009
Curator
Alfredo Ratinoff
more information
Embassy of Argentina

doraficher.com
dianagonzalezgandolfi.com

 

Hiraeth

I am working on a new series for an exhibition titled “Hiraeth.” I will be part of a 2 person show with an artist and friend, Diana Gonzales Gandolfi, with whom I have many things in common among which are very similar backgrounds. We were both born in the same hospital in Argentina 11 days apart. We both left Argentina with our families when we were very young. I was 10, she was 8. Now we are both artists and work with encaustic . We live close to one another, she in New Jersey, me in Philadelphia.

“Hiraeth.”  (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

I never heard of this word before. I don’t remember where I saw it or heard about it, but as soon as I saw it, I said to myself, ” I need to use this word for the title of our exhibition.” Diana liked the title as well.

The exhibition will be held at The Embassy of Argentina in Washington DC. The opening day and reception is on Wednesday, February 4th at 6:30 pm.

I am working on all new pieces with encaustic, collage and oil sticks. I am making 3 diptychs. Each finished set will be 36×48. I had to work around the gallery space at the Embassy,  a rotunda with very high ceilings.

I will continue to post the process of each piece. Stay tuned.

©Dora Ficher - work in progress

©Dora Ficher – work in progress

Hiraeth-Studio-painting2-web

©Dora Ficher – work in progress

The Beginning-Studio-painting3-web

©Dora Ficher – The Beginning

My-writing-crissed-crossed-web

©Dora Ficher – work in progress. My story.

 

©Dora Ficher - work in progress. I added a photo of the door to my most memorable house. It's the door I have on my painting.

©Dora Ficher – work in progress. I added a photo of the door to my most memorable house. It’s the door I have on my painting.

 

 

 

 

 

Calendar 2015

Looking for an “ART” Hanukkah / Christmas gift.  My new 2015 calendar is here.

High quality square 8×8 calendar. Every page has one of my paintings followed by a month page with a quote.

After the year is over each individual painting can be framed as a print.

Calendars are $20. Free Shipping.




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2015 Calendar – $20.00

 

From the Train

Hello friends,

As many of you know, I am the co-owner of a summer day camp. This is our 25th summer!


Due to my long summer camp days, I am finding that lately I have neither the time nor the energy to get to my studio. This will be the case until my camp ends at the end of August. Saying this does not mean, however, that I am abandoning my art. That would be impossible, unthinkable. I live in the beautiful city of Philadelphia and ride a train to and from camp where I am inspired daily by the beauty that surrounds me. Equipped with my handy-dandy iPhone camera, I can’t stop taking pictures. I will continue to share these, my summer art, on my facebook art page and here on my blog. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoy taking them.

Happy Summer!

Dora

 

18th Street

I have been painting homes and buildings. My latest pieces are homes I find while walking around center city Philadelphia. This house has an interesting story. When I was 16, I had my 4 wisdom teeth out at one time. In those days, the late 60’s you had to stay in the hospital for this. It wasn’t out-patient how it is these days.

While in the hospital I had a room-mate, someone who was married and older than me. We did become friendly and she invited me to her home on 18th street around the corner from Rittenhouse Square. I remember falling in love with the house and with them. I thought it was so cool to have older friends (early 30’s) and that they paid attention to me. Both she and her husband were artists. I was fascinated with their studios and their art.  I kept in touch with them until I left to go back to Argentina to Art School.

Walking around the other day I passed by the house. This was the house where my room-mate lived. I took some pictures and painted this piece from the photo. I am planning to use it as one of my paintings on my 2015 calendar.

Calendar 2014

My new 2014 calendar is on its way. High quality square 8×8 calendar. The theme this year: My trip to France. Every page has one of my paintings followed by a month page with a quote. You can see it below in the sample.

To see what it looks like: Click on link below (be patient while it is loading all the pages) to see the whole calendar. Please remember that this is a low resolution sample of what the calendar looks like. The colors might be a bit off as well.

Click to see sample—> 2014 Calendar-sample

Calendars are $25. Free Shipping. They will be shipped the 1st week in January.


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