Category Archives: Exhibits

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


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


We also climbed the heart-stopping Cathedral Rock Trail:

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.

SunsetHummies SunsetHummy

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


“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.”

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!


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

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


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


Dear deer: Creating through desire and allowing

For the Sedona Arts Center 36th Annual Juried Members Show, March 4-28, 2016, I entered two paintings; both got selected. One of them was an odd painting that came out of me after I had moved to Arizona, yet didn’t feel settled yet.

I had been looking at a pink and yellow canvas for quite awhile. The rectangular pink form on the lower half had begun to take on a life of its own.

That’s when my friend Scott, forever passionate about deer, commissioned me to paint a deer portrait.

Quiet, detail, acrylic on canvas, 20"Hx24"W, 2014. Private collection

Quiet, detail, Julie Bernstein Engelmann, acrylic on canvas, 20″Hx24″W, 2014. Private collection

In the course of looking at deer faces and deer paintings I got onto the wavelength. Suddenly it became clear what the vision was on my pink and yellow canvas:

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Creating Through Desire and Allowing, acrylic on canvas, 25"Hx25"W

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Creating Through Desire and Allowing, acrylic on canvas, 25″Hx25″W

The force of those antlers was very masculine compared to my usual flowy forms. I may have to return to such imagery one day! The eye needed to remain in transition – an abstraction transition…

The title, “Creating Through Desire and Allowing,” was a subject on my mind. How do you manifest something in your life? The object coming into view between the antlers represents to me the oscillation between desire and allowing that occurs in the process of bringing a creation into being, into reality.


Dreamtime show at Sedona City Hall and Mayor’s office

I was invited to show at one of the Sedona City Hall buildings, Oct.-Dec. 2015.


I called the exhibition Dreamtime,” an aboriginal term for the eternal place where the uncreated spiritual essence of form exists. 


My daughter Amber at my Dreamtime show

Two of my paintings were hung in the Mayor’s office. Do they look gorgeous or what on those purple walls with the arch window! Check out the beautiful sculpture on the left, too.


Here I am with Mayor Sandy Moriarty at the Artist Meet and Greet closing reception on January 6, 2016.


Heart Conversations exhibition

Gallery 527 in Jerome gave me a featured exhibition for the month of September 2016. I called it “Heart Conversations.”


Articles about the exhibition were printed in 4 area newspapers, along with a huge color photo of the painting on the upper left, “Nighttime Conversation.”


From the press release:

“The paintings are like personal stories, only just their distilled essence,” said gallery owner Donna Chesler. “Each one has a very specific feeling, distinct from the others, which is unusual in abstract art.”

Engelmann explains, “The title, ‘Heart Conversations,’ refers to my heartfelt relationship with what I call the painting spirit. Like a dynamic conversation, the painting spirit actually helps me make a much better painting, leading to a surprise ending that reflects my seed idea in an intriguing way.”



Gallery 527 Jerome

My sister Beth is fearless — especially when it comes to promoting my artwork. I took a picture of her here in the artist colony of Jerome, which she cheerfully describes as “cutesy.”


Jerome, Arizona, is a former copper mining town built into the side of the Mingus Mountains. Its only main street switchbacks up the mountain, revealing one spectacular view after another, mixed with colorful galleries and tourist shops, mixed with the ruins of the ghost mining town it is built upon.


So, there we are eating a delicious lunch and perusing art galleries. Next thing I know, Beth has made a connection to get my art into Gallery 527, my favorite one.

With an intriguing range of high quality local art, the gallery has been around for ten years — which says a lot. Within a couple of weeks my work was beautifully installed.


All photographs are by me except this one by Ken Chesler, co-owner of Gallery 527 with his wife, Donna

Soon I attended my first Artwalk.


There, I was interviewed by a local photojournalist. Within a few days a large color picture of my artwork and me appeared on the front page of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Everyone needs a sister like Beth.

Check out my page on the Gallery 527 website. It gives the poems behind four of my paintings!


Faerie Queen in Recent Acquisitions exhibit at SAMA

A year ago, my solo show, “Being Spirit,” was featured at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Altoona, Pennsylvania. At that time, the museum acquired my painting, “Flight of the Faerie Queen.” Now the painting is on view at the museum’s current exhibit in their Loretto, Pennsylvania location, titled Arriving in Style: Recent Acquisitions of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.

According to the museum’s web announcement, “The exhibition, on view April 25 through June 14, features seventy-six paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by artists of regional and national stature.”

"Flight of the Faerie Queen" on exhibit in "Arriving in Style: Recent Acquisitions of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art." Photo by V. Scott Dimond

“Flight of the Faerie Queen” on exhibit in “Arriving in Style: Recent Acquisitions of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.” Photo by V. Scott Dimond

“Flight of the Faerie Queen,” by Julie Bernstein Engelmann. Acrylic, latex, charcoal on unprimed canvas; 66″H x 42″W; 2009. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA

“Flight of the Faerie Queen,” by Julie Bernstein Engelmann. Acrylic, latex, charcoal on unprimed canvas; 66″H x 42″W; 2009. Collection of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA

If you’re in the area of Loretto, PA, home of St. Francis University, stop by! See SAMA’s page for more information, hours, map and directions.

My painting in the Greater Latrobe School District Special Collection

While I was at the Center for Creativity at the Greater Latrobe High School (Latrobe, PA) doing the Third Grade Art Symposium (see last post), I took the opportunity to wander the halls and view their famous art collection.

This student-selected, student+community purchased collection has been acquiring artworks almost every year since it was founded in 1936. The collection has been an inspiration to many other school districts, including the Derry Area School District that purchased my painting last November.

Walking the halls, you can’t help being awed by the presence of the artworks (which are, by the way, protected by plexiglass). The noise level when the students are pouring out of classrooms seems much lower than in other schools.

Eventually I found my way to my own painting, Restart, which was acquired by the collection in 2006. This purchase was actually a key event for me, as I explain in My Art Story:

My turning point as an abstract artist came in 2006, when I won a Purchase Award from the Greater Latrobe School District Special Collection, which is selected by the students. I was aware that people loved my abstracts as much as my landscapes, but this was a wake-up call. Not only did real, regular high-school kids pick my abstract painting over my realistic ones, but this was the first abstract painting they had picked for their collection since the 1960s. In the meantime, I had discovered how to create space in abstract paintings. I finally decided to throw myself behind my belief that abstract painting is my gift. Mine are the abstracts that don’t need theories to explain themselves to people’s hearts. 

Here is my painting in the hallway, after hours.

My painting in the hallway of the Greater Latrobe High School

My painting in the hallway of the Greater Latrobe High School


“Restart,” by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, acrylic on canvas, 24″H x 18″W, acquired 2006 by Greater Latrobe School District Special Collection.

As Barbara H. Nakles says in her introduction to A Unique Vision of Art, The Special Collection of the Greater Latrobe School District, second edition (2008), “The collection is…one of the finest collections of 20th and 21st century regional art on permanent display.”

Her book includes all the artworks in the collection purchased through 2007. My painting can be found on page 191. I love that!

Freedom from wondering if I did something wrong

My painting, Freedom From Wondering If I Did Something Wrong, won Best of Show in the 10th Indiana County Open Arts Exhibit, Nov. 22, 2013-Jan. 11, 2014, at the Indiana County Historical Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Click here to see the Indiana Gazette announcement and photo of my painting being judged by sculptor Norman Ed, from Johnstown, PA.

What I get a giggle out of, though, is thinking about all the people who read my painting title in the newspaper and had just that one little moment when they pictured what it meant to have freedom from wondering if they did something wrong.