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 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 

 

Join Me – Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) – October 14th

Ever wonder what happens in a day in the life of an artist? Come visit my studio, take a look around, and get a sneak peek at some of my newest work during this year’s Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST).

  • Saturday, October 14th
  • 12 Noon – 6 pm
  • Scotts Mills: 3510 Scotts Lane, Building 32, Studio #118, Philadelphia, PA

My studio at Scotts Mills is home to a small community of diverse artists situated on a quaint street in the beautiful East Falls section of Philadelphia. There are two floors filled with artists for you to explore. 


**On-street parking is limited and there is free parking in the large lot in the back of the Scotts Mills campus – enter via the driveway, just past Building 32.  

“Alternative Wax: Layers of Facts” an Upcoming Exhibition

Announcing an Upcoming, Inspiring Group Exhibition

I’m excited to share the news that one of my pieces, “It can not simply be reduced to black or white,” from my “It’s not just Black or White” series will be in a group exhibition at the Kolbalt Gallery in Provincetown in June! The show, “Alternative Wax: Layers of Facts,” is the first political show associated with the International Encaustic Conference. It offers artist like myself the opportunity to express their views on the current political state in our country through their artwork. Francine D’Olimpio, juror and Kobalt Gallery Director, and Cherie Mittenthal, the Encaustic Conference Director “feel this is the perfect time to seek artists’ perspectives on alternative facts through layers of wax!”

The show promises to be a wonderful and intriguing one. Every submission was accepted for exhibition as every, “single one of them is unique in its interpretation of the theme, with perspectives ranging from humor to horror!” according to the curator.  

If you are in Provincetown anytime between June 2nd and June 8th, plan a visit to the Kobalt Gallery!

Exhibit Details
  • 11th International Encaustic Conference
  • Exhibition Title: “Alternative Wax: Layers of Facts”
  • Juried by: Francine D’Olimpio, Gallery Owner and Curator
  • Exhibition Dates: June 2 to June 8, 2017
  • Exhibition Location: Kobalt Gallery
  • 366 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA
  • Opening Reception: Friday, June 2, 2017 7 PM – 9 PM

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Exhibition REMINDER: “It’s not all Black or White”

Later this month, my entire “It’s not all Black or White” series will be on exhibit at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts. Inspired by my post-election feelings, “It’s not all Black or White,” is a series that explores the “complex convergence that defines and enhances the richness of the human experience.” Read more about it on my here. And catch a glimpse of the series in progress here.

The show runs from May 12th – May 26th and the Opening Reception is May 12th from 5:00 – 7:00pm. I hope to see you there!

Save the Date!

It’s not just Black or White

I am thrilled to announce my newest encaustic series; “It’s not just Black or White” on exhibit next month, May 12th – May 26th, at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, 439 Ashbourne Road, Cheltenham, PA 19012.

About the Series

Like all truisms, this is not a black OR white world. Rather, we live in between those concrete lines. My series explores this “in between.” Within the black and white, the layers that define us are embedded in the work…. the colors of the spectrum converge and merge toward shades of grey, ironically the combination of black and white. We need to explore this complex convergence that defines and enhances the richness of the human experience.

 

I hope you will join me at the Opening Reception on May 12th from 5:00 – 7:00pm. I’m excited to share my new series with you. In the meantime, if you’d like a sneak peak of the collection in progress, take a look below.

                                         

 


   

 

 

  

 

 

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.

Screenshot 2015-03-16 17.33.56
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.

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.
23593_449926003288_1604410_n (1)
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 .