Phish Concert with my son

My wonderful 25 yr. old son Jonathan invited me  to a “Phish” concert here in Philly.

We went last Tuesday, Nov. 24th. I have to say that I did have a good time! I believe that I was probably one of the oldest people there…reminded me of my concert days back in the 60’s & 70’s.

I really enjoyed the lighting of the show! The lights person is very talented. Each set of lights looked like a piece of art.

Light Show

Light show turned computer art

Photo from the show which I turned into computer art

Art Exhibit


The Opening of “de colores” exhibit happened

on October 18th at Gratz College.


Heidi Schifferli, Lonnie Beer, Dottie Leonard, Julie Hastie and me

The exhibit did very well!  Five of my paintings found
new homes.

I had a
good turnout in spite of being a wet rainy Sunday afternoon.

awesome son
Jonathan set up the whole exhibit for me.

He has such a good
eye, I guess you need one to be a photographer….

He made everything look good
even on top of the dark brick walls in the gallery.


Dodi klimoff, Lonnie Beer, Dottie Leonard, and me

really wonderful things happened as well because of the exhibit.

The day after
my paintings went up I got a call from the director of the Olitsky Art Gallery
located in
Congregation Beth Or, Maple Glenn, PA. She expressed how
much she liked my paintings and asked me if I would like to exhibit in their

I accepted and will be showing my work there in January.

The Opening
will be
on January 8th and the exhibit will be up

until February 4th. More info to follow!


Ann Alberts, Gretchyn Hansen, and me

Another very cool thing that
happened at this exhibit was that a friend
from high school (we graduated 1969)
who I reconnected with through
came to the e
xhibit with her husband and
became one of my collectors. We hadn’t seen each other prob
ably since the early
1970’s since I went back to Art school in Argentina and we
lost touch.

My work is now up at Culture Hair

in Mount Airy.
It will be there until the end of the year

First Friday and Mount Airy focus on local art
coming up tomorrow:

You can get all the information at Mount Airy First Friday

and Mount Airy focus on
local art.

Here is a list of participating

Following are photos of the paintings that went to new homes
in this exhibit.

Colorful Night

“Colorful Night”

La Boca

“La Boca”

Little Poppies copy

“Little Poppies”

Long Poppies newblog
“Long Poppies”

How growing up around color influenced my paintings

Why do I use bright colors?

I have been taking another one of Alyson Stanfield’s stimulating
online classes. I always get very
inspired and motivated while I take her classes. I meet new artists, and I
start to see my art career in a different way. Alyson is so knowledgeable and
the information she gives us is invaluable.

One of our lessons was to interview
ourselves and respond to our questions. We had to come up with about 10 questions. After thinking
about it, I came up with one at the moment. More will follow.



This is my 1st question: Why do I use bright

I use bright, bold, vivid colors when I paint. Which
had me thinking a lot about my choice of colors. I believe that it has a lot to
do with my upbringing and where I come from.

As I have mentioned in past posts and in my bio, I was born
in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
a very colorful city in every aspect. I also come from a very vibrant,
energetic family just as colorful as my hometown.


There are so many colorful feelings I have about my
childhood memories in Buenos Aires. One example is the color of the sky. It is deep
blue. I remember clear blue days with not a cloud in the sky. It’s a different
kind of blue than the sky here.
I’m not sure why, but I still see it every time I go for a visit.   BuenosAires_market

can see every color possible when you go to their
markets. But where you most see it is in the people. Buenos Aires is
one of the cities that never sleeps. Walking around you can see the
coffee houses full because everyone loves to go for a “cafecito”  (a
little coffee) any time of day or night. Porteños
(name given to Buenos Aires natives) love to  dance, eat, hang around
book stores and art galleries till the wee hours. This happens any day
of the week, not only the week-ends. They are always dancing away with
their colorful personalities.
Buenos Aires Market. Photo by Jonathan Meter

Buenos Aires doesn’t have a White House…it has a Pink House. That pretty much sums it up.IMG_3616

La Boca “La Boca” watercolor

Following are some of my latest “colorful“paintings

I have done for my Art Exhibit called “De Colores”

Purple Mountains

Tulips 2-full

The Pond

Summer Heat

The Still of the Night

How the summer enables me to be an artist

Heidi's Plants-new My life feels kind of opposite from most people. Summer for me is a time for long hours of work outside of my home. Much fun but long hours. What is summer to you? Time for vacation, to relax, slow down, right? For me summer is my “day job”  that allows me to be able to spend autumn, winter and part of spring being an artist. Well, actually I’m always an artist, that’s who I am. So to rephrase, it is when I am able to do my art. So thanks to the summer months I have the freedom to create, explore, paint, post on my blog…and be the artist I want to be. There are two d ifficult times in this backwards living: the transition between working i n my studio, doing it on my own hours, no alarm clock, to all of a sudden getting up at 5:30 am and working 12 hour days outside of my home. As much as I like it, it is definitely a shock to my system.

When summer starts, the first thing I do as soon as I leave the house is go to Starbucks and get a “Venti” (the largest) cup of coffee. This to summer transition takes me probably 1-2 weeks. Little by little I get used to being up at the crack of dawn and about my business. In case you are wondering, I have (together with 2 other teachers) an awesome camp called Fun in the Sun which I have been doing for 20+ years.

Banner for blog So all this lasts for about 12 weeks. Wonderful summer days surrounded by amazing, fun, creative, children of all ages. Campers from 4-13 and counselors from 14-30ish. We go non-stop 7:00AM to 6:00PM+  from the very first day of summer break to the Thursday be fore Labor Day.

And then…it’s back to the studio with out any prior “Getting ready to….”. So here I am, back and feeling overwhelmed and a bit at a loss. No alarm clock (and still wake up at 5:30) get up and not sure what to do. First of all, I make my own coffee (OMG), not sure if I remember how to do it. Photo on 2009-09-14 at 12-small

Then I have to figure out how to get back on facebook, twitter, update my blog, start painting, getting ready for a show…and I feel more like the little kids looking around on their first day of camp, not knowing where to go. “Me”…trouble with transition? I guess so! It’s been a bit more than a week and I am finally, well kind of, getting back to my “art” mode.

Where are all those wonderful children though? There is no one around…Up to two years ago I used to go directly from teaching to camp to teaching to camp, so I did not have a break to think about the transition, it kind of just happened. But now I have the privilege to go to my studio and create. I feel blessed & happy. At the same time…I feel like my painting,” Dazed & Confused”. Dazed and Confused-web

My son, my hero

Are your children your heroes? Did you ever stop to think about that? Has your child ever done anything that motivates you so much that it makes you rethink if you are doing what you want in life. Have you ever told your kid to follow his drJano-pirate age 6-7eam and to do what he “really” wants and not what someone else wants him to do? Did you ever realize that you told your child to do this but that you are not doing what you preach?
I tell you that I can answer “yes” to every single one of those questions. My son’s name is Jonathan, he is 25 yrs. old, lives in New York City in the East Village and I am happy to say that he did follow my advise. He is doing exactly what he dreamed of doing. Watercolor of Jonathan in 8th grade by Dora Ficher

I remember back when he was in kindergarten I guess, 5-6 years old he was a dreamer. Anywhere we went he stood in the background admiring and checking everything out before jumping in to join the crowd. He is an observer and picks up every detail of what he sees. I think that is the reason he decided to do what he does. During T-ball at that time he would get bored of waiting for the ball so he would sit on the grass and look at the flowers, the bugs and forget that he was waiting for the ball. When I tell him this story now he laughs because he became an incredible athlete all through school playing soccer and wrestling.

He graduated from Friends Select high school here in Philly and since in   9th-10th grade he knew he wanted to go to The University of Pennsylvania. He is a city boy. He applied early decision to Penn, got in and got the “Mayor’s Scholarship” which they give to several kids who live in Philadelphia to go to Penn. When he had to choose a major he was very confused and decided to go with Political Science and Fine Arts Photography as a minor. He thought he would go to Law School after graduating. At that point he started working for the school newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian” as a photojournalist. He became a staff photographer very quickly. He absolutely loved it and took some amazing photographs for the DP. He had been into photography since he was 10.

During his junior year he was involved in a very bad car accident with 3 of his friends on Oct. 22, 2005. He was not able to go back to school that semester because he had to have two surgeries. He did go back to school in January and graduated a semester after all his friends (Dec. 2006). During his time off he lived at home so I could take care of him while he recuperated both physically and emotionally. We had long conversations during that time when he realized that he didn’t really want to go to Law school. He just thoughtIMG_5641 that Law School would be ok because he would get a good job. But having gone through a traumatic experience (talking from experience, but that will be another post) made him evaluate what life is all about and he decided to pursue his photography. He has been working for himself free lancing ever since. He started out in Philly and then moved to NYC where he lives with his girlfriend whom he met at Penn and who also wanted to go to Law School. Worked in a firm for 2-3 years and is now in one of the NY Culinary schools studying to be a chef.  They live in this wonderful pre-war apartment where the shower is in the kitchen, how cool is that?

So, why is he my hero? He is doing what I wish I would have done back in my 20’s but didn’t have the guts to do. Watching how Jonathan is doing gave me the courage to do it. He is following his dream. He is a professional photographer in NYC. Taking cues from him, after much soul searching, I retired from teaching and am now following my dream.

Above photo: Jonathan and Jessica (his girlfriend)


Photograph by Jonathan Meter

Check out his website:

And his blog:

Author of “Eat, Pray, Love” Elizabeth Gilbert: A different way to think about creative genius

Colorful Spaces-small  "Eat,Pray,Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, is one of my favorite books that I have read in the past two years. It made such an impact on me that I gave it as a gift to everyone I know. I even bought copies in Spanish and gave it to my friends and family last June when I visited Buenos Aires.
I have been wanting to write about this book because after reading it
is when something clicked in my mind realizing that I needed to pursue my dream to do my art100%.

The funny thing about all this is that I met Elizabeth Gilbert back when first her nephew and then her niece were my students in kindergarten, She use to pick them up after school sometimes and we would talk about the kids. So to me she was just the aunt of these kids. Well, the kids moved on to the next grade

so I saw her more infrequently now. Just at school events or around the playground after school at times. At the same time my book group decided to read "Eat, Pray, Love". We had the best discussions about the book, It was one of the first books that we all agreed on many of the issues. As I read it and finished it, I had no idea that the Elizabeth Gilbert was the the same woman who I saw at school. To me she was just the kid's aunt. So when I found out, I emailed her and asked her if she could come to our book group. By that time she was so busy that she emailed me back and said she was very sorry but she was not able to put one more thing on her plate, which was ok.
So, why do I love the book: because
Life is too short. After reading it, I felt I needed to make many changes. The biggest change I made was to retire from teaching and do feed my creative spirit. In other words I started creating via a pencil, a marker and a brush.
This book has changed my life. Reading Gilbert's text is a meditation. As you follow her on her journey, you begin to look at your own life, your fears, your  dreams and hopes. Maybe we can't all travel the world to heal our wounds, but this book has healing power. It asks us to dig down deep, to go places we're not sure we want to go, and then it asks us to move on, changed. It is clear that Elizabeth Gilbert wants her readers to experience pure joy, to live our best lives; she cares that much about each and every one of us. The gift she give us is this: as we finish the book, we realize that we care that much about ourselves.

Following you can see a video which I found on TED  Great website by the way. Check it out.

The above painting is one of my new oils: "Colorful Spaces"

“If you have any experience with "Eat, Pray, Love" or with Liz Gilbert, we’d love to hear about it!
Just click on Comments below to add your two cents.”

How Doodling Helped Me Focus


Red Cheek I am totally enjoying this blogging class! It gives me a great challenge. We even have homework. Yesterday’s homework was to list at least 20 ideas for blog topics. The 1st topic I came up with was about my doodling. I am a doodler. Are you a doodler? Do you know some doodlers?
Being a dreamer (non diagnosed add maybe), focusing was always a challenge for me as a child. I remember being in school looking out the window, looking at the blue sky, the clouds move, and having no idea what was happening in class when suddenly I was asked a question. Have you ever experience that? It’s one of those huh? Am I supposed to know what’s going on here? Well, that was the story of my childhood. As I got older, I realized in one of those “aha” moments that while I was doodling I was listening to what was going on. I was actually focusing instead of dreaming about something totally unrelated. All of a sudden I was able to answer a question if asked. This goes back many, many years ago, probably back to middle school. Guess I made it through college and beyond with my doodles. My best ones in the last few years were done during our weekly faculty meetings while teaching. I am including some of them which I later used as my card designs or to inspire me in some of my paintings. The one above (on the left) started out as a doodle and moved on to becoming a note card (above at right). Following are a few more doodles.

IMG_2520 IMG_2515 IMG_2525 IMG_2493

President Obama is a doodler. Although I bet it is not to keep him focused.These are doodles he made while he was a senator.  Can you tell who he was doodling?  Check this out and find out: President-elect Obama’s doodle in Shore collection


Adding to this post I will upload some of my work that came directly from my doodles. I painted them with art markers and scanned them to the computer. I used them for greeting cards and for prints.

“If you have any experience with doodling or doodles, we’d love to hear about it!

Just click on Comments below to add your two cents.”

The Art of Blogging


Hopefully I am now on my way to the “Real Art of Blogging”.

I really want to get this blog going. It’s been standing still with out any change since back in March. I decided to do something about it and found the best thing possible.

With a commitment to building a more vibrant blog, I signed up for the 4-week Blog Triage class with Cynthia Morrisand and Alyson Stanfield . Make sure to click on their names if you want to read a real blog.

Today’s assignment has 2 parts. The 1st one is to describe who I would like to visit and read my blog.  The 2nd one is to write about what it is that I want to get out of blogging, what are my goals.

So, here we go…who would I like to read my blog?

You! of course, thank you for reading and don’t forget to leave a comment. Maybe you can share it with your friends & family, that would be very nice.

    I would like my readers to be interested in all aspects of the art world, maybe in art education, art/artists from different countries.

    Artists who are starting over and following their dreams, kind of like my life.

    I don’t like to exclude anyone so this is not just for artists. There are many of you out there who love art but not necessarily want to be an artist yourself. So this is for you as well.

    My friends and family, I would love it if you read my blog and see what I’m up to these days as well as take a look at my new paintings.

    I think that my former students would love to see my artwork and read my blog. We had so much fun in art class.

    Today being earth day, i would love to write about the connection between the earth and artwork. What can we do about painting with oils and all the waste and fumes that come along with it. By waste I am talking about paper towels. Rags full of turp are not very safe and can’t really be washed in the washer. I’m sure there some of you out there interested in all this.

    So to go on to the 2nd part, what do I want to get out of blogging:

    One of the things I want to get is being able to connect people with my art. To have them read about who I am, be able to see my art work, hopefully decide to invest in my art work.

    I want to keep creating more so I have more work to put up on the blog.

    I would also like communication with other artists reading their blogs as well.

    I want to feel comfortable about writing and sharing what I write. This is not easy for me, the writing part. I have a feeling that the more I write the easier it will get.

    The main thing is that I want to feel comfortable with the whole process of blogging and getting you and everyone else to visit my blog.

    I want to have a ‘Healthy” blog that is fun to read, interesting, in fact so good…that you can’t wait to read my next post. Then I get lots of comments, meet some wonderful people who enjoy my art work and share it with their friends.

    I think that this affirmation card I made during the Blast off Class goes well with this post.


    Art in School Auction

    The school where I used to teach is having a fund-raising auction this month. The items that are the big sellers are, naturally,”Artwork” made by the children in the different classrooms. I love all the festivities that surround the auction. I invited  Heidi Schifferli Rozak to be the guest author today and talk about the project that her 1st & 2nd graders did for the auction. So here is Heidi in her words:

    I was so excited to be asked to be a guest author that I was moved to write for Dora’s first!
    Every other year, each of the classes at Plymouth Meeting Friends School are asked to create something to be auctioned at the school’s biannual fundraising auction.
    In the past my class has created wall art in the form of bead weavings, a quilt, weaving, macramé.  As we are studying Native American culture, this year we (I) decided we would try a facsimile of sandpainting.  Each of the children were given several squares and strips of sandpaper and “Native American” color acrylic paint and were asked to paint a Native American inspired design on each of them.
    I have witnessed for years that, left to their own inspiration, with a minimum of adult “help,” children are incredibly creative.  The mural they created this year exceeded all of my expectations that were, as always, quite high to begin with. It is stunning.  And some lucky someone will get to display this art at home and help the school at the same time.  Talk about “”good giving back to the giver”….




    I am donating one of my paintings to the school Auction as well. It’s an oil painting 22 x 28 titled
    Colorful Town. It is based on the Town of Jerusalem. My abstract portrayal of it is colorful and bright representing peace.

    Colorful Town

    My trip to Buenos Aires – June, 2008

    Following are photographs that I took this last June in my hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    If you haven’t been there, it’s a wonderful place to visit. Lot’s of artists, museums & art galleries.

    La Boca

    La Boca, originally uploaded by doraficher.
    This photograph was taken in “La Boca” neighborhood during my trip to Buenos
    Aires, Argentina in June of 2008. La Boca is the oldest, most colorful,
    and most authentic neighborhood in Buenos Aires. The neighborhood was
    settled and built by Italian immigrants that worked in the warehouses
    and meatpacking plants in the area. La Boca is partly an artist colony,
    and mostly a working-class neighborhood. All the houses in this
    neighborhood are painted in very bright colors. This is the home to the
    soccer team “Boca Juniors”. The Boca Juniors is one of the biggest
    soccer teams in Argentina and happens to be one of the clubs that the
    soccer great Diego Maradona played for. Their stadium, La Bombonera, is
    not so surprisingly located in the La Boca barrio.


    Mate, originally uploaded by doraficher.

    is the national drink in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and a common
    social practice in parts of Brazil, Chile and eastern Bolivia.
    drink is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabashgourd.
    The straw is called a bombilla in Latin AmericanSpanish, a bomba in
    Portuguese, and a masassa in Arabic. The straw is traditionally made of
    silver. Modern commercially available straws are typically made of
    nickel silver, called Alpaca, stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane.
    The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa, while in Brazil it has the
    specific name of Chimarrão or cuia.
    As with other brewed herbs,
    yerba maté leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture
    called yerba. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The
    submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the
    brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the
    mixture. A modern bombilla design uses a straight tube with holes, or
    spring sleeve to act as a sieve.

    Man with bicycle & flowers

    Man with bicycle & flowers, originally uploaded by doraficher.
    Walking around Buenos Aires this past June I ran into this gentleman trying to
    carry flowers on his bicycle. It was such an interesting site that I
    spend a while taking photos of him.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Is it ever too late to fulfill your dreams?

    Do you think it’s ever too late to fulfill your dream or dreams? Do you
    think there is an age limit to do what you really love? to do your
    passion? What kept you back from not doing it earlier in life?
    am 57 and I am now doing my art full time. Do I wish I had done it
    before? I don’t know. I did many other things during the process and
    now I’m here. Are you happy with your current profession? Is there a
    dream you want to attain?

    I feel very fortunate to be able to dedicate my time to doing my art full time. This has been one of my dreams for a long time.

    I have been taking this amazing online class: with Alyson Stanfield, author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio!
    The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. This is helping me
    learn to promote myself as an artist. I first read the book and loved
    it. Which took me to her website where I learned about her classes. You
    should all check out Alyson’s blog (Click on her name).
    We are now
    on day sixteen and I have been learning so much about myself, my art
    and how to promote it. This class has me so excited that I don’t want
    to stop working at night and can’t wait to get up in the morning to
    continue. I am so excited about all this that I signed up to take two
    art classes at the Fleisher Foundation in Philadelphia: The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, the
    nation’s oldest tuition-free art school, is guided by the spirit of its
    founder, who first extended an invitation in 1898 for “the world to
    come and learn art.” They offer an exciting selection of tuition-free
    classes and low-cost workshops for adults and children. Starting next
    month I will be participation in an oil painting studio class and a
    watercolor class.

    So back to following your dream, or fulfilling your dream, do you think it is ever too late?