“Dora Ficher works in encaustic and in styles as varied as geometric abstraction (as in Journey), Impressionistic representation (as in Poppy World), and Expressionistic script (as in Birds in Flight). This leads to a sense that I am seeing samplings of different oeuvres. In all, her colors are luscious and for the most part her surfaces are thick and smooth or roughened to create pattern. Encaustic used in this way often leads to a sense of encasement like a bug trapped in resin or a cloudy cover-up. But not here. The color feels solid and dense. And as with encaustic work, it is difficult not to touch it. This is especially true in her Layers 1 – 4 which include a horizontal bar and the previously cited Journey. In Ficher’s largest piece, From the Boat, a work that shows her expertise in using her medium as conveyance you can see the careful geometry of the circular, orange sun against the modulating blue sky, the layered and worked surface of yellow, red, and green fashioning the land, and the translucent blue water that covers an underpainting of orange shapes.”
A HUGE thank you to Carol Taylor-Kearney for her generous review of the Cerulean Arts Associate Collective Members Exhibition.
The exhibition has come down, but it was truly wonderful to be included. I am appreciative of the opportunity to be apart of this fabulous exhibition and a member of an incredible collective.
And thank you to everyone who came by the opening reception. I didn’t get too many photos but here are a few…
If you are interested in seeing and/or purchasing any of the work that was up during the exhibition, stop by or contact Cerulean Arts Gallery and Studio.
What do I love about the International Encaustic Conference?
There is so much… and that’s why I keep going back. This was my 8th time in attendance. The conference is held every year in Provincetown , MA., the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Memorial Day.
- The artists who attend. I have made so many amazing friends by attending the conference. I can say that some of my closest friends today I met at the conference.
- The talks, the demos, the keynote speakers. Every year I learn something new. This year we had an amazing keynote speaker. It was Judy Pfaff.
- The juried exhibitions at the Castle Hill Gallery that opens on the Thursday right before the conference begins. This year I was very happy to have a piece there.
- The exhibitions around town which officially open on the Friday of the conference.
- The vendor room. I do my yearly shopping in the vendor room. The vendors are amazing!
- The dinners with friends. Usually a minimum of 6-8 friends go out together to the different restaurants in Provincetown. Of course we have some favorite restaurants that we keep going back to.
- The hotel fair. On the Sunday of the conference many of the artists set up their hotel rooms and have their work for sale. It’s so wonderful to go around and see everyone’s work and to share mine.
- The walks around Ptown. One of my favorite places…
- The pre and post conference workshops. So many wonderful ones to choose from.
I was absolutely thrilled to return and to have been selected to exhibit at this year’s juried show. The challenge presented to artists for this year’s show was to create a work that reflected the theme, “Anything But Flat.” Juried by Founder and director emerita of the International Encaustic Conference, Joanne Mattera, my piece “Journey” was selected. This work is especially meaningful to me as it represents a piece of my personal immigration journey. Read more about “Journey” in my blog post “My Immigration Journey.”
The exhibition opening at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill was wonderful and I was honored to have my work hanging along side so many other incredible pieces by amazing artists.
I am truly an expert – an expert in procrastination. I am so good at it that I can spend hours doing stuff I don’t need to be doing. Like this morning, I was getting ready to write and decided that the notebook I was using wasn’t good enough. It was too hard and too uncomfortable and I really didn’t like it. So, I went down a rabbit hole on Amazon looking for Moleskin journals that I would like better. Well, actually, before that, I started looking through my old notebooks I have here at home. Then, of course, I had to start looking through the notebooks themselves because I wanted to know when they were from. I looked at them page-by-page because I loved looking at all of my doodles and all of the notes I had taken.
Afterwards, having found the perfect Moleskin among my notebooks, I went back to Amazon to order it because I only have half of my current one left to use. Even though I know that is plenty of space for my upcoming Encaustic Conference, I needed a new one. Then, I checked out Amazon to see if they had delivered the pencils and pencil sharpener I had
ordered because I had heard someone talking about how awesome the pencils were and that the pencil sharpener is the best in the world. I had ordered them but hadn’t picked them up downstairs yet because Amazon didn’t post that the order was delivered. So I decided to find another notebook to write in and to write with a pencil I found.
I wonder what will happen when I start writing in pencil. Will the words get a little fuzzy after a while? Will the pencil smear? Guess I’ll have to see. What if all my writing starts to disappear because it was done in pencil? So many things go through my head? So, like I said, I should have a degree in PROCRASTINATING. I am so good at it – I give myself a 100%. I hope the pencil stays.
What are the barriers that keep you from progressing your projects? I found this writing exercise helpful. It allowed me to not only reveal something important about myself, but also to laugh at myself a bit! Leave me a comment, let’s share all of the things that get in our way.
Since I returned from my vacation in Mexico, I’ve been busy in my studio creating artwork for my Immigration Series. Digging into my project just after spending a few weeks outside of the U.S. and in a country overflowing with vibrant color and culture feels fitting.
As a starting point, I’ve elected to create several pieces representing my personal immigration journey. Expressing my own remembrances through my art has been both challenging and wonderful as my own immigration story is one of both loss and opportunity.
I was 10 years old the first time I came to the U.S. with my family. My parents decided to move to the U.S. because the economic and political situation in Argentina was in upheaval. But leaving meant saying goodbye to my extended family; grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and many friends in Argentina. I also left behind my school, my classmates, everything known to me until that time… foods, customs, my native language… everything I had ever known.
As a child, I recall it felt hardest to leave our close-knit family. Growing up, I cherished the summer months when my extended family would gather at my grandparent’s home in Mar del Plata for the summers.
My recollections of the actual journey and arrival in the U.S. come to me in isolated images. I recall the boat we took – the “Delta Line” – a passenger-cargo ship connecting South America to New Orleans. The trip took about 25 days, but we got to stop and visit many new places. I think that my favorite at that time was Barbados. I had never seen water so clear and blue/ turquoise. Rio & Santos in Brazil was also amazing. So many things to see.
I recall the fun my sisters and I had on the boat, the party crossing the Equator and just hanging out all day. We met so many wonderful people, all on a new journey just like us.
All we saw all day was the water below.
I do remember seeing the buildings upon our arrival in New Orleans though I think we were there for only a few hours before we went on another trip, this time on a greyhound bus in the pouring rain through the night to St. Louis. MO. where my dad was waiting for us.
The first pieces I have created for my series depict a few of these first memories, including my very first complete piece called “Journey”.
“Journey” has also been selected to be included in a juried exhibition called “Anything But Flat.” The challenge for this year’s show was “to create a work that has a tangible, physical presence.” The exhibition, at the Castle Hill Main Gallery in MA, will occur during the 13th International Conference – May 30th – June 6th. I am honored to have been chosen as an exhibitor.
I hope you have enjoyed this first installation of this series. I look forward to continuing to share it with you as it unfolds and I’d love to hear from others who have immigration stories to share too. If you have one, leave a comment or email me: email@example.com. My dream is to make this series a diverse and expansive one.
I am so excited about this new series/project I’m working on.
As some of you may already know, I have begun working on an immigration art series/project. As an immigrant myself, I’ve chosen to explore this topic through my art because creating provides me with the outlet I need to cope with all that’s going on in our country at the moment. I want to channel my feelings and emotions into doing something positive.
to uncover the hopefulness in each story. We all have so much to learn from the stories of immigrants and I am excited for the opportunity to express their remembrances, experiences, hopes, joys, and sorrows through my art.
As many of you know, I have been excited to bring my work out of my studio and into the greater Philadelphia community. Currently, my work is hanging in three local cafes; High Point Café at Allens Lane Train Station, Good Karma Café III at 2319 Walnut St., and the Trolley Car Café.
Last month I held an Artist Reception at High Point and was overjoyed to see so many of you. Thank you all for coming out, filling the café with your updates and laughter, and for supporting my work!!
For those of you who missed my reception, there is still time. My art will be hanging at High Point Café – Allens Lane Train Station – 7210 Cresheim Road, Philadelphia, PA 19119 – until the end of the month.
As Mt. Airy coffee lovers know, High Point Café offers amazing coffee and the yummiest pastries – gluten free pastries too!!
As I reflect on 2018 and look forward to 2019, I can’t help but feel enormous happiness and excitement. 2018 was a year to be remembered and I want to share some of my very favorite things from this year with you.
The highlight of 2018 was Michaela’s birth! Our newest granddaughter, and the first child of my son Jonathan and his wife Jessica, is full of joy and laughter. Her smile and laugh melt my heart. In fact, she, along with my other grandchildren are my greatest inspiration.
Heidi and I have loved every minute with our three grandchildren this year. We have enjoyed trips to the park, baby music class, holiday celebrations, and a family beach vacation in September. We truly cherished 2018 with them.
Some of my other 2018 highlights include discovering new books, art and office supplies, and artists. Perhaps my list will lead you to new discoveries too.
- Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over by Nell Painter
- A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles
- The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion. Witty and very funny.
- The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks
Supplies: office and tools
- Levenger Switch, swap, and rearrange pages as you please with the Levenger Circa Notebook System. One of the artists at the Asheville Mastermind Workshop had this notebook and I fell in love with it. She gave me all the info and as soon as I got back I ordered mine in my favorite color, turquoise, or aqua as they call it. I LOVE it. Papers go in so easily. You have to read about it to know how it works. Mine is all ready for 2019 and will help keep me organized during what is shaping up to be a very busy new year.
- Kemper Tools: Mini Ribbon Sculpting Tool Set, 5” long. I found these little tools while walking around in Asheville, NC. We happened upon a wonderful arts and craft store that had everything you could possibly need even if you didn’t know you needed it, or that it even existed.. It was a privately owned store run by a pair of aging hippies who still retained their flower power. They carried marvelous things, from carpenter tools to knitting tools. From sculpting tools to gardening tools. From yarn to paint. Spinning wheels to clay. Weaving frames to easels. In a little corner I found these mini sculpting tools which I love to work with on my encaustic paintings. Great for scraping and building up the wax. Wish I could remember the name of this awesome store.
- Yearlong Calendar: This is one of my very favorite new things that I began in 2018. I hung up a year long calendar on my pantry door. It is very cool to see your whole year in front of your eyes. I color coded mine. It was definitely helpful. The 2019 one is erasable, a feature that I like.
- Donna Uettwiller To put it simply, I am eternally in her debt. She is my assistant, my sounding board, my moral support, my lifeline to the “e world,” my editor, and my friend. That said, Donna has been my friend for almost twenty years and has now become an integral member of Doraficherart. She assists me by photographing my art and helps me to write my blog by weeding through my scattered thoughts to find a coherent thread of what I am trying to communicate to you. In just a few hours a week, she is able to work her magic, an alchemist at creating a finished product out of my scattered thoughts. Donna is an amazing photographer. Check out her photos here—>website. Thank you, Donna!
- I saw quite a few art exhibitions this year here in Philly and during my travels to Asheville and Lancaster. The one that mostly stands out is one I just saw at the Guggenheim museum this past week: Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future. I had not heard of her until a few weeks ago reading friend’s posts on facebook. I was fascinated with her work. You can read all about her and see her paintings in the links above. It felt like her work was meant to be displayed at the Guggenheim.
Six strings, Duet, and Allegro, mixed media – Acrylic, wax, collage on canvas. ©Dora Ficher each piece is 20×20″
And, because this time of year is full of favorite traditions, I’ll close by sharing my family’s New Year’s Eve tradition! On New Years Eve, all members my family wear a brand new pair of underwear. Some of them even say the color you select should match your wishes for the coming year. It may sound silly or superstitious, but, for our family, wearing new undies ensures we welcome the new year ready for a fresh start. I have always done it and, so…we will be wearing new undies to welcome 2019! I’m not sure if this is just an Argentinian custom but I have done my best to encourage its growth in the USA. So now I’m wondering about other family customs. Do you have any special traditions in your family, holiday related or not ? I would love to hear about them so I hope you leave me a comment here.
I want to thank all of you for supporting my passion of creating and my art business.
Happy New Year, my Friends! May 2019 bring you much Happiness, good health, prosperity and PEACE.
Hugs to all,
***Stay tune for details about my two upcoming exhibitions opening in January. More about it next week.
This year, I’m so appreciative of all who have supported me, purchased my art, and cheered me on as I have taken this bold leap of faith to become a full-time artist. To show my gratitude, I am hosting a sale of all of my Early Work on my website.
Beginning today, Sunday, December 9th, and through next Saturday, the 15th, every piece in the collection will be reduced by 40%.Your loyal support over the years has meant the world to me and I am thankful.
To find something you love to add to your art collection or to give art as a gift, check out the entire collection here: Dora Ficher’s Early Work. I am also available to meet in my studio by appointment if you’d prefer to see my collection in person.
As you may know, I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina last week to participate in Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Mastermind Workshop. As I begin to make a transition into being a full-time artist, it’s invaluable to me to take part in workshops that will help me clarify my goals and reflect on my past achievements. While I’d love to do nothing but paint, turning my art into a successful business will require me to invest in the “business” aspects of my art and impose some discipline into my best practices. Lucky for me Alyson’s workshop was exactly what I needed. It provided me with the opportunity to not only focus on my goals and the tasks needed to support them, but also to connect with others working through the same process. I learned so much from the group!
Asheville wasn’t all workshop time though! Heidi and I visited studios throughout the expansive River Arts District and I got together with a few local artists who work with mixed media and encaustic. I loved that all the studios are open to the public every day of the week and I am amazed by how supportive the artist community is in Asheville. I am inspired,too, by so many who have successfully turned their art into a career.
With many hours to reflect on the train ride home, I doodled and considered my goals going forward. I find that my greatest hope is that my art will bring forth feelings of happiness and positivity. Art can and does change the energy around us and I endeavor to be a part of generating a shift that promotes feelings of joy and cheerfulness. To that end, I want to create a variety of ways my art can be accessible to anyone who wants to collect it. Upon my return home, I have begun creating larger pieces while also taking time to compose collections of small pieces too. I will continue to work both digitally at home and with mixed media in my studio.
Last week was truly transformative for me. Thank you Alyson and all of the other artists who took part in the Asheville workshop. If you are an artist looking for this kind of guidance, consider Alyson’s Art Biz Mastermind Workshops. The next one is scheduled for February 5th – 6th in Atlanta, Georgia.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!