Investing in Myself

As some of you know, I started June off  by attending a 2-day Art Biz Mastermind Workshop in Lancaster, PA with one of my favorite people, Art Biz Coach Alyson Stanfield. Alyson’s workshops provide me with the opportunity to invest in myself.

We were matching Alyson (far right)…very colorful.

The Art Biz Mastermind Workshop is intended to help artists focus on and plan the “business” of our art. Alyson’s wisdom and feedback are invaluable as we examine what we do to support the business aspects of being artists. Collectively, we share our experiences and support one another to contemplate and explore new possibilities for ourselves. We also share our own best practices and, in the end, finalize a plan for ourselves. The guidance I receive from other artists and Alyson is invaluable to me as I work to grow as an artist. And we enjoy one another too!

A peek into the the workshop…

The whole group!
I met so many awesome artists in person.
I always doodle during workshops. It keeps me focused.
Music always emerges in my doodles.
Dinner with friends.

Creating art is intuitive for me. 

Engaging in the business of art is something I need support and guidance to accomplish. I am grateful for these re-focusing and planning opportunities!

And, it is always wonderful to spend time with Alyson Stanfield.

Warmly, Dora

 

 

Montgomery County Studio Tour – Sneak Peak

Enjoy this sneak peak of just a few of my encaustic monotypes planned for the Montgomery County Studio Tour this weekend.

 

Event Details:

MONTGOMERY COUNTY STUDIO TOURS
Saturday, June 10, 2018
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 11, 2018
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I am excited to be among a group of artists selected to showcase my work at this year’s Montgomery County Studio Tour! The tour features 52 artists and 21 studios. For more details, click here

My work will be exhibited at the Glessner Studio – 24 Robbins Avenue, Rockledge, PA 19046. 

And, to learn about the other wonderful artists I am exhibiting with at Lorraine Glessner’s Studio, use the links below!

Lorraine Glessner: https://www.montgomerycountystudiotour.com/glessner

Karen Freedman: https://www.montgomerycountystudiotour.com/freedman

Julie Miller: https://www.montgomerycountystudiotour.com/miller

Exhibition Preparations Underway!

This artist’s life isn’t always about wax, hot boxes, and bold colors!! Many days in the studio are, but the days and weeks leading up to exhibitions are about getting all of those art works ready to be seen and sold.

As you know, the Montgomery County Studio Tour is coming up on June 9th and 10th and, so, Heidi and I have been busily mounting, framing, naming, and labeling my body of encaustic monotypes for the exhibition. 

The adhesive mediums and blow torches are in overdrive!

While it is certainly a change of pace in the studio, it feels great to see everything come together. It is positively thrilling to experience the impact mounting, for example, has on my monotypes!

The Montgomery County Studio Tour features 52 artists and 21 studios. I will be exhibiting at Lorraine Glessner’s Studio with Lorraine and two other wonderful artists. To learn more about us, click on our names: Dora Ficher
Lorraine GlessnerKaren Freedman, and Julie Miller.

I have so much new art to share with you. Everything from monotypes raging in size from 24″ x 36″ to 5″ x 5″ to a selection of my original “doodles.” I hope you will stop by and/or plan to take the entire tour! 

Warmly,
Dora

Goals and Big Changes Ahead

Hello friends,

It feels like we skipped spring and went right into summer. Hopefully by next week my favorite season will be back.

This week, I want to talk a bit about what’s happening in my life and what my current goals as a working artist are.

As some of you know, I have been a co owner/director of a summer camp for the past 28 years. This will be my last summer working with the camp. It’s been a wonderful and gratifying experience to be part of Fun in the Sun. My business partner, Bonnie Templin started the camp in her house and I then joined in at my house. Since then it has grown incredibly. We now have 2 locations one at a swim club in Plymouth Meeting and another one at the Unitarian Church (USG) in Mount Airy. We have put in so much work to make the camp the success it has become. Fun in the Sun has been such a big part of my life that it is with mixed feelings I step down from my role at the camp.

The positive gain for me is that I will now be able to be in my studio throughout the summer and more deeply commit to my artwork year-round without interruptions.

Over the past few months I have continued to experiment with the theme of music through my daily digital collages. As my Facebook and instagram followers know, I have produced a large collection! Recently, I have decided to incorporate my encaustic work into this exploration too.

My immediate goals include a continued investigation of this theme, inspired by my dad and his love of music, producing bigger work, and looking for new spaces to show my art.

Do you know of local café or restaurant owners looking to feature local artists on their walls? If so, let me know!

As I turn my focus to becoming a full-time, working artist, I find myself reflecting on this change in my focus.  Something keeps going through my thoughts that  quite often makes me question myself. As I look at other people’s artwork and their artist statements , they seem to have some kind of deep, often tragic, meaning. My confusion may be just a few jitters working through my system but I am certain of one thing, I love to create art that makes people happy. There is so much drama and hurtful happenings in our country right now, overwhelming us all.  We need some space to contemplate and evaluate our role and way forward.  My intention is for my art to be a happy respite from all this stress.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dora

 

Save the Date!

MONTGOMERY COUNTY STUDIO TOURS
Saturday, June 10, 2018
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 11, 2018
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I am excited to be among a group of artists selected to showcase my work at this year’s Montgomery County Studio Tour! The tour features 51 artists and 20 studios. For more details, click here

For information about the Glessner Studio, where my work will be exhibited, click here.

And, to learn about the other wonderful artists I am exhibiting with at the Glessner Studio, use the links below!

Lorraine Glessner: https://www.montgomerycountystudiotour.com/glessner

Karen Freedman: https://www.montgomerycountystudiotour.com/freedman

Julie Miller: https://www.montgomerycountystudiotour.com/miller

The Making of My Digital Collages

Recently, a few of my followers have asked me, “What is a digital collage?” In today’s blog post, I am going to show you how I create digital collages by walking you through a step-by-step making of two of my most recent pieces, “The Sounds of the Trumpet” and “I Hear a Drum”.

As you may know, on the first of the year, I re-committed to creating art each and every day. I love working in my studio best, but sometimes life (and weather!) get in the way and I need alternatives. A robust collection of painting supplies keep me painting and exploring my mediums and style in my home. However, at the beginning of the year I decided to add a new medium to my repertoire and made the decision to learn a digital program for artists called, Procreate.

Procreate is an iPad app made for professional creatives for sketching, drawing, and painting. It utilizes the Apple Pencil for detailed work and to use with its impressive brush library of more than 130 brushes! Procreate allows me to mix and match brushes, manipulate and layer my illustrations, and add unlimited background, texture and detail layers. The layering system gives me complete control over each and every element of my digital collages as you can see in this selection of layers from the piece, “The Sounds of the Trumpet”.

Procreate also allows me to create very large, high-resolution collages. This means that any print or product reproductions I offer enjoy the same vibrant and crisp qualities as my original collage.

It took me a few weeks and lots of trial and error to begin developing my style and palette within the app and I am so glad I persevered! I love how my musical series is developing through this new medium and I have enjoyed stretching myself as an artist too. Adding Procreate to my artist toolbox has also given me the opportunity to bring my art on the go with me when I can’t be in the studio or at home. With a new grandbaby in New York, I know this tool will serve me well!!

Check out this cool time-lapse video of my piece, “I Hear a Drum” and enjoy!

Watch this space for my next blog post. I plan to get more in depth to show how brushes are used and how you can create your own digital collages!

And the featured artist today is…Lorraine Glessner

Happy spring, my friends! If you can call this “spring.” 

“Philly from my window” First day of spring.

It seems more like Christmas time these last few weeks. This is our 4th Nor-easter in Philly this March. 

I’m not giving up though, Spring will be here any day now, right?

Every few blog posts I have been featuring an artist who inspires, motivates, and guides me. The last two were Argentinian artists.

Today I am excited to tell you about my friend, artist Lorraine Glessner.  

Meadow of the Low Sage, encaustic, collage, pyrography on wood, 36x48x1.5

I met Lorraine or Lori, as I call her, about 9 years ago when I became curious about and interested in learning more about encaustic painting.  I was looking for an artist to teach me encaustic techniques and, after much searching, I found Lori.  I took a private 2 day workshop with her back then; learned from her and fell in love with bees wax and everything related to encaustic painting! Since then, we have become very good friends and I have taken many more group classes with her throughout the years. She has taught me so much about painting with encaustic and I absolutely love her work! That is why I wanted to share it with you.

Participants Within the vast Imagination, encaustic, collage, pyrography on wood, 48x60x1.5

What I love about Lori’s paintings is well said by Art Historian, Andrea Kirsh, “Lorraine Glessner’s paintings are composed of multiple layers of images, the paintings resolving into subtly-flickering worlds of extremely seductive richness. Some of them resemble images seen through a microscope; others hint at the world seen from far above.”

That Strange Space, encaustic, collage, pyrography on wood, 48x48x1.5

I hope you have enjoyed this small taste of Lori’s work. I encourage you to visit her website to explore her and her art more fully, you won’t regret it! Check out her blog as well. I never miss her posts, they are always insightful and thought provoking. You can also read an older blog post of mine where I interview Lori.

I am also delighted to announce that I will be exhibiting my work along side Lori’s and 2 other artists at her studio for the Montgomery County Studio Tours on June 9th and 10th. “Montgomery County Studio Tour’s mission is to promote regional artists and contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of the area by presenting original artwork.”

Why Do I Use Bright Colors?

Hi everybody,

Happy Friday! A wet one here in Philly.

Have you ever wondered why I choose the colors I do? 

I love bright and vivid colors! I get energized by my favorite colors… turquoise, oranges, reds. The color of the ocean when I travel, that transparent deep bluish green. The colors of the doors and windowsills in Santa Fe. The colors of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a place where I have been going to for the last 20 years.

I have tried many times to paint with a different color palette but I always end up returning to my usual colors.

I even created an entire series in black and white but had to add a little bit of “my colors” to each painting.

Which had me reflecting a lot about my choice of a bright, bold, vivid palette when I paint… 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.

I have so many colorful feelings 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 in Philly.  I’m not sure why, but I still see it every time I go for a visit. You can also see every color possible when you go to their markets. Everything is fresh, never frozen and it comes through in their colors.

I think you can see what I mean by looking at my most recent encaustic monotypes, Poppy Field and Poppy Garden.

Poppy Field – Encaustic Monotype on paper, 24 x 36.
details of “Poppy Garden”

At some point I will have to challenge myself to paint a series in more subtle colors. Think I can do it? It will definitely take me out of my comfort zone.

What are your favorite colors? 

Have a great weekend!

love,

Dora

Dora Ficher Art
Sol Design Studios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.)
 
Enjoy!
Dora

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.