What’s Next?

I am excited to announce that, after 28 years of having so much Fun in the Sun with so many fabulous children, I have retired from my summer camp. I will now be a full time Artist, a life long goal, for the first time. I am so very excited and can’t wait to see what I can do in the studio with all of the extra time. As you probably know, I have been an artist my whole life. During the past 6-7 years I have found a passion for working with encaustic, an ancient art form that allows me to paint with molten wax. Though I will continue to create art using a diverse set of mediums, techniques, and tools, like collage, oil sticks, oil paints, pen and inks, and acrylics, I am excited for the extra time to really dive back into my encaustic paintings and encaustic monotypes.

I want to thank my business partner, Bonnie Templin, for 28 wonderful years watching hundreds of children grow up, year after year, during the summers at Fun in the Sun Camp – and, that includes our own children! At the conclusion of summer, we turned the camp over to Bonnie’s son, Rob Carter. Rob grew up at Fun in the Sun, first as a camper, then as a counselor, and for the past two years, as the camp’s director. He brings in-depth experience and limitless patience for children and their needs. He is an innovator always seeking more ways to create a fulfilling camp experience for all campers.

I will truly miss the campers, their families, and the staff, but I promise to visit.

As I shift gears and head into my studio full-time, I look forward to progressing a few unfinished pieces, experimenting with new techniques and mediums, and taking advantage of the extra time to lead workshops! In fact, I already have one planned for April 5-7 2019! I will be co-leading a workshop in my studio with my good friend and peer, Lorriane Glessner. I am also looking forward to opening my studio up to visitors again this year for Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) on October 7th. POST is a program of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists that gives tour goers the opportunity to visit studio spaces, experience artist demos, and talk face-to-face with artists from more than twenty Philadelphia neighborhoods. To learn more about this fabulous self-guided tour, visit POST.

More from me about what is next soon. I anticipate having lots of art news to share with you in the coming months, including my annual calendar sale announcement and details of upcoming art focused trips. In the meantime, drop me a note and let me know what you’d like to see coming out of my studio in the next year. I am eager to hear your thoughts!

How Do You Title Your Work?

Like many artists, naming my artwork can sometimes feel like a daunting task. There is so much to consider. Names should illuminate a defining element of the piece while also being original. They should assist the viewer to make a connection, but also embrace diverse interpretations. A title could mean the difference between a buyer connecting with the work or being turned off by it. No wonder the task feels like one of the hardest things to do as an artist!

Keys Keep Dancing

Over the years I have approached naming in a variety of ways. Often, and especially with my musical body of work, I relate my titles back to my life with my father. During my childhood we often would lay on the rug together and listened to music. Words from those days come to my mind as I view my work. For example, my most recent encaustic piece, “Allegro” was named in this manner. “Allegro” is a lively, cheerful musical tempo and an element I see in this piece.

Allegro

Another recent piece I named using this convention is called, “Overture.” Like an orchestral overture, for me, the motion in this encaustic painting evokes the feeling of something about to begin.

Overture

I use other approaches to naming too. Sometimes an element jumps out at me like in my encaustic monotype titled “Silverlining.”

Silverlining

Other times I may use bits and pieces from songs or phrases to title my work like in this piece, “Into the Woods.”

Into the Woods

My varied naming techniques ultimately assist me, yet I find myself wanting to find an easier approach to coming up with good titles. What is your approach? How is it working for you?

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

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

Time to commit

Hello friends,

I have made a big decision. I am committing!!! To what? To writing blog posts. My commitment is for once a week. But…I am allowing myself to post as much as I want.

I am in Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Coach Bootcamp…click on the link and read all about it. This, along with other classes I have taken from Alyson have changed the way I am approaching my art business….Yes, “Business” because that’s what it is.
I also belong to Alyson’s Art Biz Incubator. Last week I went to our member site and heard a wonderful talk between Alyson and artist Janet Vanderhoof .
Janet spoke about a big challenge she had set for herself for the year 2012. The challenge was to paint a painting a week. I was so inspired and motivated by what she did that it made me look at myself and think about a big project for me to do and write blog posts about.
In the year 2011 I was part of #draw365 on Twitter and successfully completed 365 ink drawings throughout that year.
This year I am going to copy/reproduce…Janet’s idea (which I’m sure she won’t mind) and do a painting a week. I also want to write posts about the process of my big challenge. In other words, I want to post images of my work in progress as well as finished.
You will see mixed media paintings done in my studio and ink drawings, watercolors or guache

Work in progress ~ Mixed media, collage, encaustic 9×12″ ©Dora Ficher

which I do at home.

Instead of just posting all this on facebook like I usually do, I will be posting here on my blog. My commitment  is for every Wednesday but don’t be surprised if you see me here more often.
Thank you Janet and Alyson for the wonderful talk.
One more thing, tell me what you think about my new website/blog.

Interview Wednesday ~ Donna “Iona” Drozda

Donna “Iona” Drozda
Iona who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia loves to paint in the middle of the night. She adores nature. Yoga and gardening. She is now also enjoying Kayaking.
In Iona’s words: “My community goal is to assist you in diving deeply into physical, emotional and spiritual zones where true creative joy resides. Lunar phases inspire me. I apply this inspiration to my mentoring program, Lifecycle. My monthly ‘Luna See’ newsletter helps keep us attuned to creating with the moon cycles. I design studios for The Contemporary Art Center of VA and as a Statewide Artist Educator for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 140 illustrated journals testify my gratitude for being here now. A few ‘Drozda Art Life’ adventures: ~ first gallery sale: 108 paintings to private collector ~ owned a gallery in a bustling arts district ~Chanted with monks in Tibet ~Witnessed the Ketchek trance dance, at midnight, in a forest in Bali ~hospice volunteer and author of book for care givers. Volunteer and on Board of Advisors for Tidewater Arts Outreach ~With its many phases life is simply wonder-full.

Iona and I met online while working on our mutual blogs.

We were classmates in “The Blog Triage” class given by Alyson Stanfield and Cynthia Morris.

I was fascinated with Iona’s blog posts, her art work and right away signed up for her newsletter ‘Luna See’.

 

The Red Room (detail), Drozda 1993, 64×48″ Acrylic on canvas

 

Iona, could you tell me about your relationship with the moon and your  ‘Luna See’ newsletter?
  • First of All, thank you, Dora, so much for inviting me to sit with you for a Dora Ficher Blog interview.
  • Watching the moon dance across the sky has always lifted my spirit. Since 1989 I’ve been  following the cycles of the moon as a way to look at time, and my creative work patterns, in a calmer gentler way.
  • For 6 years I met monthly with a small dedicated study group and our teacher, Robert Kent Myers. He would record our sessions and send them out to subscribers across the country. Each October several hundred  highly creative students of the moon phase work  gathered here in Virginia Beach for a seven day intensive at the ocean front. Each year I was one of the lead teachers. We were all interested in living with more creative focus and balance and spent the week learning, sharing, exploring , creating, dancing, drumming and playing.
  • ‘Luna See’, my monthly e-newsletter, helps us to look-up as we consider slowing down.  Over time, as one follows  these eternal patterns, they  discover a  natural harmony that aligns with the eight phases of each lunar cycle.  Each moon cycle carries a keyword which is then woven through each of the eight phases. This process, cycle by cycle throughout the year, builds a rhythm and offers  ways to engage your self expression . It’s a terrific tool for focus. For example; each August is the “Trust’ moon cycle. We can begin to look forward to this time period each year to focus on how that quality is functioning in our lives and particularly in the studio. A few other keywords that we visit during their specific month are: Introspection, Strength, Clarity and Renewal…with each month bringing our total to twelve.
  • Each phase of the moon extends for approximately three days and within that space there is a specific way to creatively express what the phase represents. For example; at each new moon we can take three days to hold a vision…at the first quarter phase we take an action on that vision… at the full moon we reflect on how the vision is unfolding and what it’s revealing, this is an appropriate place to look for any fear, trepidation or as I call it, ‘Luna See’ regarding what we’re striving for…and at the third quarter we devote time to watching with gratitude as our creative idea matures for the current cycle. That’s just  a glimpse at four of the eight monthly phases. Each Monday I do a blog post for that weeks moon phase energy.

    River of Time, Drozda, 2007, 14 x14″, Acrylic on wood
I read that on your first gallery sale you sold 108 paintings to a private collector. Wow, how did that happen? Could you tell us about it?
  • It was so magnificent. Here’s the  short story: I worked in relative seclusion for 5 years before the time of home computers. I had no phone, TV, radio or outside distractions. I didn’t have a car. I was recovering from violent crime and invested all of my time in gardening, healing and  the study and making of my art. At the close of those years I moved back to the city and made an appointment to have the top art gallery look at a portfolio containing 12 of my paintings.  The gallery asked to keep the work to show the pieces to the curator of modern art at the major museum in town and also to a private collector. The museum curator was out of town. The collector came to see me in my studio, went through all of the paintings I had done during that 5 years and contracted with the gallery for the purchase of 108 completed works. I light up each time I think of what dreams may come to meet us.
Marsh Morning, Drozda, 2003, 14×12″ Acrylic on wood
You say that you love to paint in the middle of the night, what is it about it that you love? I’m particularly asking this question because I also love to paint in the wee hours of the night.
  • Then you know, don’t you  Dora, that there is a quiet and a certain alchemy that happens in the wee hours that simply isn’t available at any other time. That’s what I love. My pattern is to go to sleep at about 10:30 instructing myself to wake when I’m rested and ready to create. This happens spontaneously (no jarring alarm clock) between 2-3 am. I move into my studio and let the muses show me what they will. I generally work until dawn. Then a short nap and the whole day ahead with another nap, of 20 minutes,  in the late afternoon.

 

March Morning, Drozda 2008, 16×16″ Acrylic/board


Could you tell us about your mentoring program, Lifecycle?
  • Since 1990 I’ve also incorporated living in harmony with the phases of the moon into this studio outreach service.  Lifecycle is a personal energy reading and the format is an 80 minute audio CD that’s based on two pieces of your birth information plus a sample of your handwriting (I’m a certified analyst in love with the way we make marks on paper). The information  focuses on you and the creative energy that is available to you focusing on the twelve months ahead. Many of my clients get an update each year at their birthday to stay tuned into their own creative rhythms.
  • I have clients from all across the country and beyond. Lifecycle clearly and gently reminds you of your innate gifts and talents. It’s like a portrait in words or a refreshing energy drink that you listen to!  Any reader who may want more information can email me. I also follow up with many clients who sign on for 6 phone sessions which allow time for deeper exploration and cultivation of creative strengths.
Spirit House, Drozda 2003, 36×48″, Acrylic on board
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
  • I don’t think I could do any better than to quote Georgia O’Keeffe.  “Go to work.”
The Bodhisattva, Drozda 2001 48×60 Acrylic/canvas
How do you get your inspirations?
  • I’m passionate about symbolism and metaphor combined with observation of the natural world. I’m inspired by the opportunity to be alive! How fleeting and what a treasure.  I feel that ‘affecting the quality of the day’, as Thoreau said, ‘is the highest of arts’.
What is your favorite medium to paint with?
  • I mix materials with abandon but Acrylic is my paint choice. I love its versatility and color quality. It stands up fabulously over time. A new media favorite are the beautiful Pan Pastels.
‘Don’t Stop the Dance’, Drozda 2006 60×60 inches Media Blend on Unstretched canvas
Bee Goddess, Drozda 2000 8 x8 “ Media Blend on wood

Iona, thank you so much for being part of my “Interview Wednesday” I have learned so much from you in these last few months.

You can find Iona at:

Celebrating Art Life At

Her Website: http://www.donnaionadrozda.com

Her Studio Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wren-House-Studio/

Her blog: http://donnaionadrozda.com/blog

Shameless Self Promotion Workshop

©Dora Ficher 2010 “3rd” mixed media, wax, oils, photograph 8×8

The above is a work in progress

I had a wonderful week learning all about “promoting your art online”. I attended Alyson Stanfield’s workshops.

In Lancaster, Pa. “No Excuses-Art- Marketing Workshop” and in Rehoboth Beach, DE. “Shameless Self Promoton Workshop”.

I first went to Lancaster, drove there with my son Jonathan Meter who is a photographer in NYC and had never taken any of Alyson‘s classes.

He and his girlfriend just started a new blog, “The BiteSizedblog” and he wanted to learn all about promoting it.

In Lancaster we met some wonderful artists. The workshop was sponsored by The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftmen.

I was very excited to be able to help Alyson with her sale’s table in both workshops. I had a ball.

I have taken many classes with her and I am always learning new things.

Facebook, blogs and twitter are constantly “changing” and Alyson is up to the last minute changes in everything “social media”.

It was great to meet new artists. I believe that for me this is the most fun of participating in both online classes and in workshops. You meet so many wonderful people.

After Lancaster I came home for a day, picked up Heidi and headed down to Rehoboth Beach where neither one of us had ever been to.

The Rehoboth Beach, DE. “Shameless Self Promoton Workshop”. was held at The Rehoboth Art League and organized by Kim Klabe.

Saturday after the workshop we walked around the town and visited several art galleries. My favorite was the working artists studios: Base where many of the artists that attended the workshop have their studios.

What better way to end a week long journey than with a great dinner at an awesome seafood restaurant.

If you have never taken any of Alyson Stanfield’s online classes be sure to visit her blog and sign up for the next one. You will learn tons!

 

Heidi, the tree hugger