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

 

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 .

 

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.

Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.32.43
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.

Screenshot 2015-03-06 16.04.54
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 .

 

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

 

Cinco de Mayo

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

~Confucius

Cinco de Mayo – Pen & India Inks on watercolor paper. 8×8
Cinco-de-Mayo-in-progress2©Dora Ficher
Cinco-de-Mayo-in-progress1©Dora Ficher
Cinco-de-Mayo-in-progress3©Dora Ficher

 

paintingAweek 6

doraficher.com

 

 

Piano Tune

This week I am sharing my painting “Piano Tune”

Piano Tune Mixed Media, Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks 16×16 x2″

“Piano Tune”, the basic scale is made up of 7 notes, which are the white keys on the piano.
My painting reflects the rhythm and movement of the music you can make with the piano keys.

“Piano Tune” was selected for a Juried Show title “Seven”. When I heard the title which was the theme for the exhibit I came up with many ideas. My first idea was to work on the seven sided shape called a heptagon. I did many drawings with my ideas but it just wasn’t happening.

Finally I went back to my music theme which has been in my mind for a while now and came up with the idea of the 7 notes in a traditional scale (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So (or Sol), La, Ti (or Si)) or (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). That made me think of a piano which I had played for many years as a child. From there I started making the keys of the piano and collaging them into the painting. And that’s how Piano Tunes was born.

Piano Tune-work in progress

The exhibit will be held at:

Castle Hill Gallery,Truro
Opening: Thursday, May 30, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Closing: Thursday, June 6, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Hours and directions: www.castlehill.org

 

 

Time to commit

Hello friends,

I have made a big decision. I am committing!!! To what? To writing blog posts. My commitment is for once a week. But…I am allowing myself to post as much as I want.

I am in Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Coach Bootcamp…click on the link and read all about it. This, along with other classes I have taken from Alyson have changed the way I am approaching my art business….Yes, “Business” because that’s what it is.
I also belong to Alyson’s Art Biz Incubator. Last week I went to our member site and heard a wonderful talk between Alyson and artist Janet Vanderhoof .
Janet spoke about a big challenge she had set for herself for the year 2012. The challenge was to paint a painting a week. I was so inspired and motivated by what she did that it made me look at myself and think about a big project for me to do and write blog posts about.
In the year 2011 I was part of #draw365 on Twitter and successfully completed 365 ink drawings throughout that year.
This year I am going to copy/reproduce…Janet’s idea (which I’m sure she won’t mind) and do a painting a week. I also want to write posts about the process of my big challenge. In other words, I want to post images of my work in progress as well as finished.
You will see mixed media paintings done in my studio and ink drawings, watercolors or guache

Work in progress ~ Mixed media, collage, encaustic 9×12″ ©Dora Ficher

which I do at home.

Instead of just posting all this on facebook like I usually do, I will be posting here on my blog. My commitment  is for every Wednesday but don’t be surprised if you see me here more often.
Thank you Janet and Alyson for the wonderful talk.
One more thing, tell me what you think about my new website/blog.

Some needed flowers

Sharing my new and updated website / blog with all of you…along with some needed flowers…

3rd Street – watercolor

Stay tuned for a new series coming up on my blog soon. It’s all about famous Argentinean artists.

For now, take a look at my new site and let me know what you think. I am looking forward to your thoughts.

 

My 2013 Commitment

Little Houses @Dora Ficher Art

It’s actually my 2013 Commitment…but even though I changed the title it doesn’t show up.

I was a children’s art teacher for the past 30 plus years and had always been blessed to be teaching in places where we had plenty of art supplies.

Inner city public schools do not have that advantage. In fact, art education is at a critical point in the Philadelphia public schools as the school district is struggling with massive cutbacks. Funding for art education has been cut drastically.  This year, only 83 cents per child per year was allocated for art-making supplies.

Musical Squares – Collage, Encaustic, Oil sticks – @Dora Ficher Art 2012

I passionately feel that something must be done to save art making in our public schools. I feel that art is so very important in a child’s education that I have been looking for a way to get involved in helping children have that art experience in the Philadelphia schools. Searching and researching, I found Fresh Artists, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, created to help save art making in K-12 public schools.

Fresh Artists is an innovative concept of student-centric philanthropy. Fresh Artists is a new model of civic engagement where recipients of corporate generosity are full and equal partners in the common goal: to save access to art making for all children.

Fresh Artists donations are used to purchase materials and equipment for art-making in public school art classroom programs.  Art teachers are invited to apply for assistance.  This program is designed to augment, not replace, existing school district funding.

Fresh Artists Delivered $40,000 in art supplies within its first year

I have committed to help children in the Philadelphia

public schools have experience with art.

Starting today I am donating 10% of all my sales to Fresh Artists.

You will find all about the mission of Fresh Artists at this website. Do read about the program. It is inspiring and essential.

Following is a PDF link with The Whole Story!

http://www.freshartists.org/documents/FreshArtists-TheWholeStory.pdf

Also “Like” their Facebook page                              

Dora 

 

©Dora Ficher Art – 2013 Calendar

An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia

Two of my Encaustic pieces “1974” and “Reflection Too” were selected for the juried exhibit…

An Art Journey From Argentina to Philadelphia

If in the Philly area, stop by City Hall (2nd floor…the Mayor’s floor ). Exhibit will be up until Nov. 30th.

“An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia” Nov. 1, 2012
“An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia” Nov. 3, 2012

The cultural section of the Embassy of Argentina is pleased to announce the opening of “An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia”, a juried art exhibition featuring a selection of artwork created by Argentine artists residing in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, working in a variety of media and themes.

“An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia” Nov. 1, 2012
“An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia” Nov. 3, 2012
“An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia” Nov. 3, 2012

“It is my hope that this event will be the first of many to promote the arts of Argentina in the city of Philadelphia,”notes Alfredo Ratinoff, Chief Curator for the Embassy of the Argentine Republic.

An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia Nov. 1, 2012. Alfredo Ratinoff, Chief Curator for the Embassy of the Argentina in Washington DC.

 The exhibition, housed in display cases along the second floor of City Hall, is presented in partnership with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, and its opening is timed to coincide with the celebration of Argentine Week (Oct. 29 – Nov. 3).  The works will remain on display through November 30th.

“An Art Journey from Argentina in Philadelphia” Nov. 1, 2012

The story behind my two pieces:

“Reflection Too” is painted on an old shutter that I found at a local flea market. I collaged some “found” wood and metal pieces on to the wax.

This piece brings memories of  the Southern Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina, which I have visited since I was a little girl. This shutter is a reflection of the water in that ocean. What happens to these shutters or doors when they live so close to the salty ocean water? I wanted them to look aged from the effects of the sun and the salt spray. I love to see all the interesting textures and faded colors caused by years of ocean side living.

“1974” is the year I graduated from Art School in Argentina. Collaged into this piece are many memories from those art school years. I included some drawings and writings from school as well as brochures from art exhibits.

Artists whose work is featured in the exhibition include:

Anibal H. Reimondez
Laura Tabakman
Dora Ficher
Felisa Federman
Roman Antopolsky
Rosana Azar
Paula Meninato
Emiliano Orestes Begnardi
Franco Lippi
Marcelo Novo
Miguel Pérez Lem