Category Archives: Inspiration

Art Exploration in Charmed Santa Fe

In August 2016, my sister Beth from Tucson had a conference to attend in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was quick to tag along to check out the art!

Like Sedona, Santa Fe is filled with beautiful adobe structures. Unlike Sedona’s clean, contemporary adobe look, much of Santa Fe’s is rustic and natural. You can feel the evolution of structures over time.

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As part of her conference, my sister and I took a Healing through Self Portraits workshop with Amy Stein. Actually it was drawing your inner self, as there were no mirrors. I think her quirky humor was the most healing aspect of the workshop!

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The galleries on Canyon Road are a fairyland of exploration! Amid much wonderful abstract art, I made some good connections.

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Serendipitously, the week before, someone had told me to check out the art of Stan Berning. I was impressed with his work – and excited to learn that he lived in Santa Fe, just where I was going! Right off the main square, his studio has an exhibition space called Art Box  that can be seen through a big window even when he’s not there.

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Thrillingly for me, we were able to meet and have a long conversation about abstract painting. Stan showed me a treasure trove of luscious paintings that had not seen the light of day for a long time! Apparently I was so engaged in the moment that it never occurred to me to take a picture of him in his studio to show you.

Another special connection was made in Santa Fe. A Fun Fact from my past is that my sister’s and my high school art teacher in Austin, Texas was a Mexican-American/Native-American who went on to become one of the most highly successful and well-known artists in that arena, Amado Pena. We visited him at his gallery in Santa Fe, plus I managed to find his sprawling studio somewhere in the most convoluted and authentic red-dirt back roads of an Indian reservation.

We paid him one last visit at his booth at the art fair that happened to be held the final day of our trip, and headed home.

Okay, this picture is actually from an art fair in Tucson 2015, but we all looked exactly the same in 2016. Photo by Minda Bernstein

Okay, I neglected to take a pic that day, but this picture is from an art fair in Tucson in April 2015, and hey, we all looked exactly the same in August 2016. Photo by Minda Bernstein

 

The Art of Summer

Summer in the Southwest: hot, dry, timeless freedom. Here is how mine went.

Luscious Abstractions students painted enthusiastically at the Sedona Arts Center, May 2016.

Tracy, Gioia, Stephanie, Brenda

Tracy, Gioia, Stephanie, Brenda

In June a gentle free spirit, Marj Leininger, came from New Mexico for a private workshop. Here she is with our paintings-in-progress (hers on the left, mine at right).

Marj Leininger

The Sedona Summer Colony cast a charmed spell over six weeks of the summer. A new collaborative venture of the Sedona Arts Center, over 100 artists came from all across the USA to the beautiful red rocks of Sedona for inspiration and creation. My daughter was an intern for the Colony, so I led a number of hikes.

Devil’s Bridge Trail wound up through jutting rocks to a spectacular landscape:

Devil's Bridge, Sedona

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That last shot is quite abstract! Here is my daughter Amber on Dead Man’s Pass Trail:

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We also climbed the heart-stopping Cathedral Rock Trail:

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My hat tried to blow away in the gusty wind on those heights. Photo by Wanda Holmes

Summer in Arizona means hummingbirds! I make a practice of trying to photograph them in the sunset.

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Meanwhile, my painting “Saved by Flaw” was in the show Of the Earth at the Sedona Arts Center in July (biggest one in photo).

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“Promontory” was in the Sedona Arts Center’s August show, Blowin’ in the Wind.

Photo by Beth Bernstein

Photo by Beth Bernstein

Local newspaper The Cottonwood Journal gave a cute caption to a photo of my painting. It says, “Gallery 527 artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann will show her work, ‘I May Be All That Exists.’ That is something to think about and discuss at First Saturday Art Walk on July 2 in Jerome.”

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In August my Luscious Abstractions class at the Sedona Arts Center included a joyful and loving combination of deeply spiritual people of different faiths.

Rabbi Alicia and Marj

Flo, Rabbi Alicia, Marj

Here are their fabulous paintings!

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L to R: Paintings by Marj Leininger, Linda Hogsett, Florence Johns, Alicia Magal

Marj, like summer, stayed for an extra day of pouring.

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The summer wasn’t complete without a trip to Santa Fe, but that’s another post!

 

Let it be easy

To watch a good artist on a roll is to see ease in motion. Like a trickling brook, the artist cascades from one brushstroke to the next, allowing the gravity of ease to carry them. 

Less experienced artists may struggle. Overthinking and under-observing make it hard to hear the natural voice of ease and flow.

Let it be easy!

For example, does the motion of your brushstroke seem to expand your joy, intrigue, and relief? Or does it contract, like your mind is taking control because it doesn’t trust the muse? Expand or contract: that distinction makes it easy!

Listen richly to life.

See if you have room, right now, to loosen up and let it be easy. Allow the light and sound around you to help you — you are in an ocean of Source!  Each moment is a chance to open to expansion and ease.

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Let It Be Easy, by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, acrylic and latex on partially primed canvas, 24″H x 30″W

Local Color

Our new home lies among the ruins of the Sinagua Indians, a name given to the ancestors of the Hopi (and other tribes) who thrived in the Verde River Valley from 1100-1250 A.D. We live near three national monuments…and one lesser known landmark:

Here is Montezuma Well, just two miles from our home. The well is a seemingly endless source of fresh water in the desert: 1,500,000 gallons per day has been coming out of this limestone sinkhole spring for thousands of years. The Sinagua lived in the dwellings you can see in the rock face. Our drinking water comes from this well, and while it tastes pretty bad, I like knowing it will always be there.

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Montezuma Castle is another ancient Sinagua dwelling 11 miles south.

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Tuzigoot National Monument is about 20 miles northwest, in Clarkdale.

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All pictures are by me, except this one of me, which was taken by my daughter Amber Engelmann

More importantly, one must not overlook the lesser-known tourist attraction pictured below, which greets any visitor to our exit off the freeway between Phoenix and Flagstaff. As you can see by the sign — and especially important to an artist like me — a home for fine art is right in my neighborhood!

And honestly, tell me. Are you greeted by an alien every time you drive home?

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Um, don’t answer that.