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First an Amateur...

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 "Every artist was first an amateur" ...Ralph Waldo Emerson. I have had this quote taped to my computer for years. It's smudged and  torn  from my repeated touching as if it were a talisman. If ever there were a time to truly understand its meaning... it is now.  It is a time that we all need encouragement and something to believe in that depends only on ourselves. Our self reliance and resilience have been called upon in so many ways that to ignore that call to creativity would be to start at a disadvantage.  First of all to start this New Year of 2021, I am thankful having just been notified of this award : Congratulations! You are a  Judge's Pick  winner of the December 2020 DPW Monthly Contest!  "Sea Escape Series No.5" 5"H x 7"W oil on panel  SOLD Now back to the studio!

Good Bones

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I have to laugh as I write this blog. I skipped last Sunday's check in because of a technical glitch. Today, this is my second version of this blog because my computer ate my first draft... and ooo I thought I had a good one too! The universe is clearly trying to tell me something... bringing me to this question posed by a follower. Q: What do you do with older/failed paintings? Do you throw them out ? A: When a painting has stayed in my hands too long, I know it is only a matter of time before it will be returned to my easel. I never think of a painting as a failure, only as a  work that needs time and more skill to resolve. I am not opposed to reworking a painting. As my skills have grown, my vision for my work has changed. Influenced by other artists that  I study and simply by showing up each day in my studio to paint.   That being said, it is not easy for an artist to rework a finished painting. There is a period of denial, of angst, frustration of time invested and a disappoi

The Gifts...

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#work in progress 12"H x 24,oils on canvas by H.Harris I'm late this morning in writing this blog. My most recent painting was just too tantalizing to leave on the easel untouched in the early morning hours. A fragment of color here & there, the wispiness in a cloud  ... it was just too tempting and the blog could wait. If you've been following my journey in my past blogs, this brings me to the fourth stage of my painting progression into other mediums... oils.  I had resisted oils for many years. I always found a reason not to use them . They were toxic, messy and took too long to dry. I'm a prolific painter and had always had a full schedule of art shows to prepare in short time frames. Oils were just too needy....but then as before, it happened ...what if?  I experienced 3 separate incidents that were gifts that changed everything about my work. First , an impromptu  visit to a tiny gallery/studio in Lambertville, NJ where I caught a glimpse of color

The journey continues...Acrylic

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Acrylic ...that was my next  adventure. After years of establishing a following of watercolor  and mixed media I decided to take off after an idea that I had been kicking around. That "what if " question that lurks behind the " I'm bored" thought, took hold and for the next two years (remember my learning curve) I explored this medium. At first I struggled with the properties inherent to the paint. Unlike watercolor that used water as a vehicle to spread color, acrylic just stayed where I put it. No exciting explosions of colors mixing...  I had to create that .  No accidental forms that pushed my imagination... I had to create that.  WAIT...just why am I torturing myself? Is it worth starting all over again? ...but what if? So it began. Once I set aside my expectations of painting as I had before, I gave my self permission to play. I got paint on my hands, mixing globs of paint just to see how it reacted, smearing it on canvas,papers and panel

Mixing it up...

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 The  key to my progress and success as a working artist lies in my constant experimentation. A fear of marketing my work had to be put aside in order to grow. I never lose sight of my collectors' desires yet I do not let others dictate my work. I am motivated by a sense of discovery, a questioning of what is known and study of those who have come before me and found answers. It is important to note that with each deliberate change of medium I was able to build on past skills, not abandoning what came before. Watercolor progressed into Mixed Media, as I stated in my last blog, because of my need to find a way to better express the form of a rock. A humbling moment when my skills were not able to satisfy what in my mind's eye was needed to elevate my work to the next step . I struggled. Two years later I found my way. I gave myself permission to "fail" to stumble, and to simply play. I reached a point that I was creatively satisfied in the joy of puzzling togethe

Upon this rock...

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In last week's post I said that I would speak about my thoughts on how and why I've progressed through 4 different mediums during  my art career. Each stage was a deliberate not arbitrary change. My path changed because there came a pivotal moment when I chose to follow a different direction.  Today we will begin with my work in Watercolor. I was surprised, while looking back through my photos of my earlier work that I found very few examples of purely watercolor paintings. Those that I did find were quite revealing!  I think that my first attempts definitely pointed out the simple fact that this was not to be my forever medium. Yes, they all sold, and yes, they were of professional quality but I could see that I was using it as a way to explore my skills. Let's be clear... watercolor is not for the faint hearted!   It will quickly inform you of your strengths and weaknesses in your studies. It will frustrate you into acknowledging that your need to unders

It all began...

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 I began my art career as a graphic designer. My father wanted me to have the possibility of earning a paycheck if I chose to be an artist! Lol.. loved that man. He didn't know nor did I that computers, a marriage and three children would redirect that dream to take a different path and to this day I am forever grateful it all happened.  Many artists will begin in a medium and happily stay with it perfecting all of its nuances and never questioning their choice. Others will flail about with a brush always searching for that magical tool that will bring success.  For 25 years ink and brush were used in many illustrative, commercial ways yet I knew it was not the right fit for me but then what was? I joined an art guild, resurrecting my figure drawing skills and habits of study from my college days, met like minded artists and continued to explore.  Watercolor was my first brushstroke. It seemed a natural step after commercial work. It was a safe medium to have in the