new undies for the new year?

 

Dear friends,

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.

 
“Water Blue”, 10×10 , “Dawn”, 8×8 “,  and Coastal View” , 8×8 , Encaustic, collage and oil stick ©Dora Ficher

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.

Books:

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:

  • 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!

Artists

  • 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,
Dora

***Stay tune for details about my two upcoming exhibitions opening in January. More about it next week.

Lessons from Asheville, NC

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!

xo

Dora

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, Lorraine 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