Benito Quinquela Martín – His Impact on La Boca and Me!

My painting called “Tango” of La Boca.

As an artist, I often find my inspiration from the intricate connections between colors and patterns. I notice these aspects in the world around me; in architecture, the variety within landscapes, and the tones and quality of light. Too, I see a little piece of my native Argentina in the elements of my work. When I reflect on my development as an artist, I can clearly see how others have also left an indelible mark on me and contributed to my evolution over time. Over the next few months, I plan to highlight other artists who have inspired me or helped mold me. I hope you will enjoy learning about these wonderful artists.

To start, I will begin with an artist who made an impression on me way back when I was in art school in Buenos Aires. Benito Quinquela Martín, “a man who is a synonym for the neighborhood of La Boca” is known for his colorful depictions of ports, ships, and port life in his beloved neighborhood.

www.welcomeargentina.com/personas-y-personajes/benito-quinquela-martin/benito-quinquela-martin-c.jpg

Benito Quinquela Martín was so devoted to his neighborhood that, in the 30’s, he used the success he acquired there to begin giving back. In 1933, he donated land for a public school and later money to build a theatre – the Teatro de la Ribera – “a kindergarten and a breast milk center and, finally, a Pediatric Dentistry Hospital.” In the 50’s when La Boca began to decline, Martín infused his neighborhood with his artistic color and “created an outdoor art exhibition space devoted to artists and craftsmen. He recreated an old street filled with colorful conventillos on a stretch of a disused railway line. [T]his path was named Caminito after a popular tango written by Juan de Dios Filiberto.”

www.welcomeargentina.com/personas-y-personajes/benito-quinquela-martin/benito-quinquela-martin-d.jpg

My friends and I used to go to La Boca and sit in the street or in a park to take it all in and paint. We were in awe of the color!

Benito Quinquela Martín’s presence is still visible throughout the neighborhood of La Boca today – a vibrant place full of energy, music and street performances. And Martín’s bold palette surely impacted me!

La Caminito, La Boca © ilkerender/ Flickr

 

Experimenting With Encaustic Monotypes

I am back in my studio and full of ideas and inspiration from my southwest trip and workshop with Paula Roland, a pioneer of the encaustic monotype!!

The encaustic monotype is made by laying paper on melted wax. This process is achieved by using a heated palette – a hotbox – and results in a one-of-a-kind painting. The exciting thing about it is that I can lay stencils on the hotbox, make a collage, and I have infinite other possibilities of things to do before the finished painting. 

Since my return, I have begun experimenting using two hotboxes together.

It’s fun to have 2 hotboxes together – so much bigger! 

I am loving being back in my studio, creating and exploring my process.

Warmly, Dora

From Denver to Golden, Colorado

From Denver to Golden, Colorado

Before leaving Denver we got together with one of our students from PMFS! Jessie Beer, who lives in Denver and works in Boulder, was also a counselor at our camp for several years until she moved 5 years ago. It was GREAT to see you Jessie!

From Denver we headed to Golden, Colorado for Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Breakthrough 2017.  Alyson B. Stanfield has been my Art Biz Coach for many years! Her online programs have been invaluable to me as I work toward becoming an “artist entrepreneur.”

I was eager to attend Alyson’s yearly Artist Breakthrough conference. This was my third time in attendance and this year was as inspirational and informative as I had hoped. It is always an incredible opportunity to be surrounded by so many artists and Alyson and her team are a dependable source of information, strategy, and motivation! They cover so many aspects of how to be an “artist entrepreneur,” and a businessperson, not only a self-employed artist.

We didn’t only learn, at Breakthrough, we also did a lot of dancing!!! We had fun, hung out with artists from all over the USA and beyond, like Mexico, Canada, and Malaysia. I even met several artists from other Latin American countries who live here in the USA like me!

I ended my week feeling inspired and couldn’t wait to get home to begin incorporating everything I have soaked up during this incredible trip into my art business. 

Thank you for traveling along with Heidi and me. We’ve enjoyed sharing our trip with you!

Dora

From New Mexico to Colorado

From New Mexico to Colorado

What an adventure we are having! This past week we have traveled from New Mexico to Colorado delighting in wonderful eateries, incredible sites (and sights), and cozy inns.

In Taos, New Mexico, we enjoyed a lovely meal in the cutest restaurant, The Love Apple.

“Once known as the Placitas Chapel, This little Catholic Church was built around int 1800’s and was in operation for 100 years,” but according to the hostess, “well, since this is New Mexico, you never know…”

We were also fortunate to visit the incredible Taos Pueblo, an ancient pueblo belonging to a Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people and the only living Native American community designated as both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The adobe structures and land were breathtaking and truly inspiring.

After visiting Georgia O’Keeffe’s house and Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, an absolutely awe inspiring experience, we checked into the warm and comfortable Abiquiu Inn where we enjoyed a delicious meal and even had beer brewed by the monks.

After leaving New Mexico, we drove to Manitou Springs, Colorado where we had a wonderful dinner and stay at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak – such a stunning place and nice entertainment by a guitarist!

From Manitou Springs we set off for Denver and stayed at the iconic and beautiful The ART Hotel. It was so clean and minimalist and there is artwork everywhere throughout the hotel! Simply gorgeous!!

From Denver we headed to Golden, Colorado where I am taking part in Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Breakthrough 2017. I am excited to be here and for the opportunity to take part in this conference and I look forward to telling you more about it next week.

This trip has been amazing so far, and I can’t wait to get back to my studio and start painting. I took so much in that I’m thinking of doing a southwest series. We have been and seen so many places since we landed in Albuquerque… totally inspiring!!!

From Philly to New Mexico

From Philly to New Mexico

It’s been an amazing 10 days of travel, learning, beauty, and food! Last Tuesday Heidi and I flew into Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was excited and eager to participate in Paula Roland’s Intermediate Workshop on Encaustic Monotypes. The workshop was “designed to help you… refine skills; advance your techniques; find your voice, and connect style and content of monotypes with your studio practice.”

 

Paula is an incredible artist and teacher and it’s an honor to learn from her and work alongside so many engaged in developing their work. You can read more about Paula in this Vasari21 article by Ann Landi

I also had lots of time to explore Santa Fe before and after Paula’s workshop. Santa Fe is an incredible city full of vibrant color and amazing food! We started our trip off right celebrating Heidi’s birthday at Sazón, a fabulous authentic Mexican restaurant.

Our fave breakfast spot during our stay in Santa Fe was Café Pasqual’s, which beckoned us with an assortment of delicious breakfast options 3 mornings in a row including gluten free French toast! It’s a must if you are visiting.

On Monday, we left Santa Fe and drove to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa and what an amazing place it was.

Next stop, over the breathtaking (literally) Rio Grande Gorge and on to Taos, New Mexico! 

Stay tuned next week for our visit to Abiquiu and then on to Denver and Golden, CO to Alyson Stanfield’s Breakthrough Conference.

Encaustic “Minis” and Getting Back Into my Studio

Encaustic “Minis” and Getting Back Into my Studio

During the summer months my time in the studio is very limited. For the past 28 years, I have spent my summers surrounded by the campers who attend a summer camp I own and run with another teacher.  My paintings during these months are often done at home after busy days with pen, ink, and watercolors.

 
By September I am more than eager to return to my studio. I often feel a bit lost and not sure where to start. This year was no exception, so I just began drawing and painting.

I did not know where I was going with this body of work, but I knew I had to create! For me, this approach was a big leap because I prefer to plan before starting something new, especially a new series.

I surrendered, wanting to work more intuitively and it felt really good! I challenged myself to loosen up and focused more on just letting go.

I have not yet named this series of work, but I noticed a theme emerging as I developed and layered each piece. It seems my series depicts the characteristic spirals and swirls of hurricanes, clearly an expression of my concerns and anxieties for so many in the destructive path of this season’s hurricanes.

As well, this body of work speaks to the state of “hurricane” our country is experiencing politically. Creating intuitively has allowed me to express and process my feelings through my work. My last series also related to the state of our political situation as well.

Thank You for Joining Me During POST

Dear Friends,
I loved welcoming so many of you into my Studio this past Saturday!

I am always thrilled to have visitors in my studio and I especially love showing folks around, introducing some to encaustic painting, showcasing my most recent work, and catching up with others.

Mixed Media, encaustic, collage, wax stick, 4×4 ©Dora Ficher. Available $75 

This year, 20 of us here at Scotts Mills participated in POST and I am left feeling grateful to be apart of such a vibrant artist community! 

Thank you for your support and for stopping by.

Cheers,

Dora 

 

2016 Calendar

Sample of January page

Looking for an “ART” Hanukkah / Christmas gift.  My new 2016 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.





Images of 2016 Calendar pages

2016 calendar-12 images for blog

Wedding bells are ringing for me and my gal

"Luquillo" watercolors on paper. ©Dora Ficher
“Luquillo” watercolor on paper. ©Dora Ficher

I’m getting married next weekend and was very fortunate to get a call from the Chesnut Hill local asking if they could do an article about my art and my wedding.

If you click on the image below you can get the whole story at their website.

Chestnut Hill local
Chestnut Hill local

Heidi & I are going on an amazing honeymoon to Europe.

We are taking the Viking River Cruise, you know, the one you see the ads for on PBS’s Downton Abby.

We begin in Paris where we will spend 4 days.
We are then on to Luxembourg where we tour a bit and then board our ship.
Our first boat stop is Trier, Germany. We then cruise along the Moselle River and dock in Bernkastel for the evening. The next day we sail to Cochem for a morning tour then sail on to visits in Koblenz, Braubach, Rudeseim. Heidelberg, Wurzurg, and finally Bamberg. After eight days on the river, the cruise part of the trip ends in Nuremberg. We then travel to our final destination of Prague, Czech Republic where we will spend four days. The trip will take us to UNESCO sites, castles, and ancient villages.

I will be posting photos and sketches during our trip.

As I mentioned on my newsletter, I am part of on instagram: “The 100 Day project”, which I will be sharing about before I leave.

Coming up:

Save the dates:

POST, Philadelphia Open Studios – October 3rd & 4th, 2015

The Gold Standard Cafe – 4800 Baltimore Ave in West Philadelphia.

My work will hang there again this year, during December, 2015 and January, 2016.

I will update you on other happenings that are in the works.

Warm regards,

Dora

Doraficher.com

soldesignstudios.com

Los Reyes Magos

©Dora Ficher-Los Reyes Magos; Watercolor, pen and ink on watercolor paper. 8x8
©Dora Ficher-Los Reyes Magos; Watercolor, pen and ink on watercolor paper. 8×8

On January 6, most of the Hispanic world celebrates “El Dia De Reyes”, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts for the Baby Jesus.

Even though it’s a Religious event, in Argentina, everyone celebrates it as more of a fun, gift giving holiday.

On the night, of January 5, before going to bed we used to put our shoes outside our bedroom door. We would also leave hay and water for the camels, and some cookies for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. We would leave the hay and the water near a door or a window left open so Los Reyes Magos can enter.

The next morning, we would wake up and had gifts next to our shoes. For us kids it was one of the most fun days of our summer vacation in Mar del Plata.

My cousins, my sisters and I would sleep up on the 3rd floor and try to stay awake waiting for the Reyes Magos. We would take turns looking out the window. Of course we would all fall asleep while waiting.

As we got older this is what we found in our shoes…

This is what was in our shoes when we got older.
This is what was in our shoes when we got older.
My sister Claudia and me in Mar del Plata. We were 6 and 8 yrs. old
My sister Claudia and me in Mar del Plata. We were 6 and 8 yrs. old
With my grandfather, sisters and cousins.
My grandfather on my mom’s side with my cousin’s, sisters and me. We would all wait for Los Reys Magos. I’m the oldest of 12 cousins. There were only 7 of us here, the other 5 were not born yet.

 

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

To read about it, click here and here .