The Making of an Encaustic Monotype

Happy Friday! Since my return from the Southwest and Paula Roland’s Encaustic Monotypes Workshop this fall, I have been experimenting with my encaustic monotype process and have really been loving it. I thought it would be fun to give you peek into what I have been doing and show you the making of my newest piece, “Into the Woods.”

Encaustic monotypes require me to surrender, use tools that often result in unpredictable outcomes, and force me to stretch and grow as an artist. This past week has been cold in Philadelphia, but I have used my hotboxes to keep me warm in the studio as I work.

A bit about the process… Encaustic monotypes are prints made from wax paintings transferred onto paper.

 The painting is created using solid pigmented wax sticks, brushes, sponges, and other tools on the surface of a heated metal plate, a hotbox.

The heat from the hotbox allows the artist to manipulate the paint with her tools and refine her painting before transferring it to paper.

The use of pigmented wax paint allows the artist to build layers of texture into her painting.

And repeating the process merges multiple layers of rich color and texture creating a complex, one-of-a-kind painting.

I hope you have enjoyed this little peek into my studio! I look forward to sharing more of my monotypes in the coming weeks and months.


Antonio Berni

Hello friends, 

Happy weekend! Looks like it will be a little warmer these next couple of days. I’m happy that it will be nice for the Women’s March here in Philly tomorrow!

During this 1st month of the year, I have been busy working on my 2018 daily art project, exploring the theme of music through mixed media paintings on canvas, paper and digital collages. Watch this space for my progress and read more about my project here!! I have been working mostly at home because my studio has been very cold. Hopefully by next week I can get back to it and continue to also work on my encaustic paintings and monotypes. 





You can find all these paintings on my website here and here.

I have also exhibited three of my encaustic pieces in a juried group exhibition at the 3rd Street Gallery (details here) and, today, published a blog post on a wonderful Argentinean artist and personal family friend, Delesio Antonio Berni (below.)

Returning to my blog series on artists this week, I am excited to share a bit about a man who was a personal friend of my family as well as an influential Argentine figurative artist.

Antonio Berni, born in Argentina and educated in Paris was considered a child painter prodigy. As a teenager, “seventeen of his oil paintings were exhibited at the Salon Mari. On November 4, 1923 [at age 18] his impressionist landscapes were praised by critics in the daily newspapers La Nación and La Prensa.” His talent earned him scholarships to study in Europe where he became simultaneously interested in surrealism and revolutionary politics. “His late 1920s and early 1930s surrealist works include La Torre Eiffel en la Pampa (The Eiffel Tower in Pampa), La siesta y su sueño (The Nap and its Dream), and La muerte acecha en cada esquina (Death Lurks Around Every Corner).”

After returning home in 1931, Berni discovered a struggling Argentina, which ultimately uncovered the limits of surrealism for him as he felt it didn’t fully convey the frustration or hopelessness of the Argentine people. “Instead he began painting realistic images that depicted the struggles and tensions of the Argentine people. His popular Nuevo Realismo paintings include Desocupados (The Unemployed) and Manifestación (Manifestation). Both were based on photographs Berni had gathered to document, as graphically as possible, the “abysmal conditions of his subjects.”

Later in his life, Berni’s work was described as a synthesis of Pop Art and Social Realism, and also included engraving, collage, “several decorative panels, scenographic sketches, illustrations, and collaborations for books.” However, he remained best known for his Nuevo Realism. This style is easily seen in the incredible works of art he gifted to and painted for my family.

Berni was a personal friend of my grandfather, my dad’s dad. And later also became friends with my maternal grandfather. My mom’s dad was an art collector who commissioned Berni to create this incredible painting of my grandmother, mom and aunt.

This painting is huge, approximately 4×6 feet! My aunt is on the left, my grandmother in the middle, and my mom on the right. My mom told me that they had to sit while Berni painted this and it took him many sittings.

Before painting this piece, Berni created a number of drawings and gave my mom this drawing of her as a gift because she connected him with my grandparents who were art collectors.

Another connection between my family of origin and Berni predates the commissioned painting , back to my parent’s wedding. Since Berni was friends with my paternal grandparents, he attended the wedding and gave my parents this beautiful painting for their wedding gift.

To this day, a number of works of Berni’s art hangs on the walls of my mother’s home, including this piece, a part of my grandfather’s collection that was divided up between my mom and her 3 siblings after his passing.

I am grateful for this incredible artist’s contribution to my family’s art collection and for his artistic impact on and representation of Argentinean life and society. To end, I leave you with this quote from an interview with Berni shortly before his death in 1981, “Art is a response to life. To be an artist is to undertake a risky way to live, to adopt one of the greatest forms of liberty, to make no compromise. Painting is a form of love, of transmitting the years in art.”

To read more about Delesio Antonio Berni, check out his Wikipedia page, the primary source of information detailed in this blog post.


Wonderful Opening Reception for A Winter Juried Collection!

It was so wonderful to see everyone’s work at the Opening Reception for the 3rd Street Gallery’s Winter Juried Collection on Sunday, January 7th! 

I am honored to be exhibiting among so many talented artists including:Sarah Gutwirth, Jack Knight, Lois Schlachter, Shawn Murphy-Holland, Keith Sharp, Kathryn Harr, Kristopher Benedict, Eduardo Verdecia, Mat Tomezsko, Rosalind Bloom, Shaina Craft, Dennis Ambrogi, Nancy Kress, Khanh H. Le, Pia De Girolamo, Katie Knoeringer, Lee Muslin, Jean Burdick, Rebecca Schultz, Ben Weaver, Jeff Carpenter, Jacqueline Unanue, Robyn Miller, Scot J. Wittman, Charles J. Adams, Andrew Werth, Jessica Eldredge, Teresa Shields, Robert Reinhardt, Jennifer S. Rodgers, Ann Breinig, Renee Chase, Lori Renee Evensen, Constance Culpepper, Lauren Vargas, Demetra Tassiou, Nicole Patrice Dul, Willard Johnson, Eli Smith, Mo Gerngross,Tania Qurashi, Jacob Foster Sandra Koberlein, Sandra Benhaim, Deborah Leavy, Kristin Myers, Jeff Carpenter, Scott O’ Neil, and Kimberly Stemler.

Check out 3rd Street Gallery’s facebook photo album for a glimpse of the exhibit!

The collection will be on exhibit from January 5th through January 28th.

A Winter Juried Collection
Friday, January 5 through Sunday, January 28, 2018
First Friday: January 5, 5:00- 9:00 pm
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12:00- 5:00 pm

3rd Street Gallery
45 North 2nd Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19106




Happy New Year!

Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family.

We celebrated here in Philly with our daughter and family and our wonderful grandchildren. Christmas morning we headed to Brooklyn to celebrate Christmas and a belated Hanukkah with our son and daughter in law.

New Years was a blast at the World Cafe Live! We enjoyed the amazing music of PhlillyBloco and Open Hand. 

Last year I started a daily art project on Instagram. I used the hashtag #365dayscreatingart. It was great that many of you joined me and now we have a large body of work posted with that hashtag!

My word for 2018 is “Determined”. 

I am again committing myself to another year of #365dayscreatingart. It’s a daily art project on Instagram. I kinda fell off the wagon for a bit in 2017, but no falling off in 2018!! To help, I am going to number my work with the day – 1/365… and post it using the following hashtags: #365dayscreatingart #draw365 #365project #dailypainting #dailyart.

Who will join me? At the end of 2018, I envision a gallery with a collection of all of our work.

To start my series off, I am revisiting a theme that continually inspires me, music. And, of course, my dad, Miguel Ficher, a violinist and lover of music, will occasionally be included in this developing body of work. I hope you enjoy it and will join me.

Unfortunately, it has been too cold to work in my studio during this first week of January, but I have been using the many tools I have at home to begin creating. Here is my growing daily collection so far!


“Music Above” Mixed media, collage, acrylics, gouache. 15×20


“I hear the sound” Mixed media, collage, watercolors, acrylics, pen on watercolor paper. 5×5


“Samba” Mixed media, collage, watercolors, acrylics, pen on watercolor paper. 5×5


Mixed media, collage, pen, sketch on paper.


Digital sketch on iPad Pro.

All of my work from my #365dayscreatingart posted on Instagram and my website will be available for purchase.


Upcoming Exhibition

3rd Street Gallery – A Winter Juried Collection

I am excited to be among many talented artists selected to be included in the 3rd Street Gallery’s Winter Juried Collection this month! Juror, Luella Tripp, a gallerist, curator, and art consultant since 2001 has selected three pieces from my “It’s Not Just Black or White” series to be included in the exhibition. The collection will be on exhibit from January 5th through January 28th. You can read more about my entire series here and more about the 3rd Street Gallery here.

3rd Street Gallery
45 North 2nd Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19106

A Winter Juried Collection
Friday, January 5 through Sunday, January 28, 2018
First Friday: January 5, 5:00- 9:00 pm
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 7, 1:00- 4:00 pm**
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12:00- 5:00 pm

**I am planning on attending the Opening Reception on Sunday, January 7th and look forward to seeing everyone’s work!


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.

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.”

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!


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.