Category Archives: Events

“Choose What You Create” exhibit at Gallery 527

My show, “Choose What You Create,” is now on view at Gallery 527 in the artist-colony tourist destination of Jerome, Arizona. Below is the press release, which got printed in all of the local newspapers!

Keep scrolling down to find photos from the show and from First Saturday Artwalk, which served as my artist reception.

Artwalk is a fun, active time with visitors roving the galleries and shops of Jerome sampling treats and wine from 5-8 pmThe final Artwalk and Artist Reception for my show will be held Saturday, December 2, 2018, 5-8 pm. Please come!

“I’m Ready” (40×30”) embodies the crucible of a decision in the show Choose What You Create – all new work by Julie Bernstein Engelmann featured at Gallery 527 in Jerome, opening October 7 during Jerome Art Walk.

Choose What You Create

Abstract paintings by Julie Bernstein Engelmann

October 7, 2017-December 29, 2017

Gallery 527, 527 Main Street, Jerome, Arizona 86331

Opening Reception at Artwalk, Saturdays, Oct 7/Nov 4/Dec 2, 2017

Gallery 527 announces a new exhibition, “Choose What You Create” – all new work by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, opening Oct. 7 from 5:00-8:00 pm. Each of Engelmann’s dramatic abstract paintings embodies a quality she chooses to create in her life.

“Paintings vibrate with the intention behind their creation,” Engelmann says. “So I use the painting process to consciously dive into an experience or vibration that I want to amplify.”

“For instance,” said Engelmann, “I notice that my posture aligns when my heart is open and I’m at my best spiritually, so I painted ‘Open Chest’ to focus on that aligned state. ‘Gift from a Child’ comes from an imagined experience with my childhood self where she gave me a weed. I realized weeds are wild and free and unapologetic, so I painted the gift to bring it into my life. Another painting, ‘Ask Your Body,’ is a reminder that whenever I have a question about my health or emotions, my body knows the answer and will reveal it if I ask.”

Gallery owner Donna Chesler says, “The paintings are like personal stories, only just their distilled essence. Each one has a very specific feeling, which is unusual in abstract art.”

Engelmann’s lush abstracts have won numerous awards. She was honored with a retrospective exhibit, Being Spirit, at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, Pennsylvania. Site Coordinator Barbara Hollander stated, “Julie Bernstein Engelmann combines passages of poured and brushed paint that remind one of stained glass creations. Her technique relies partly on many years of study and partly on an intuitive, creative interaction with what she refers to as the painting spirit. The resulting works are spiritually resonant and ineffably uplifting.”

Engelmann holds an MFA from UCLA and a BA from Barnard College, where she studied with Milton Resnick, first-generation Abstract Expressionist. She teaches Luscious Abstractions on the faculty of the Sedona Arts Center School of the Arts.

“Choose What You Create” will be on view at Gallery 527 in Jerome from October 7 through December 29.

For more information about the Jerome Art Walk please contact Donna at 928.649.2277.

Donna Chesler
Gallery 527
527 Main Street
PO Box 1265
Jerome, AZ 86331

To view any of the paintings more closely, just click to my website gallery or back room.

Gifts of Soul show

Here are shots from my exhibit, “Gifts of Soul,” at Gallery 527 in Jerome, Arizona, December 2016 through January 2017.


CASA and Marva’s Heart

Marva came up from Tucson for my Luscious Abstractions class last April. She enjoyed the critique so much that afterwards she asked if I would do something similar for her art group. Marva is the program coordinator for the Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona (CASA). So we came up with a plan, and in October I drove to Tucson with slides, demo, and critique supplies in hand.

My morning presentation was called “Honoring the Paint: Layers and Pouring in Abstract Painting.”




The program included a pouring demo, but on seeing a CASA show the evening before, I realized that the canvas I had brought was not suitable. The group would benefit more if I used a regular store-bought canvas instead of my hand-stretched one where the paint runs at a much slower speed. So Marva offered a canvas of her own.

This gesture, and Marva’s whole nature, was so generous that when it came time to pour the demo and I needed a title, the first one that popped to mind was “Marva’s Amazing Heart.” Here is the way the painting evolved:


This was the initial pour during the demo. Look at that yummy yellow! Pours are luscious when wet.


I added a second pour when I got back to my studio. The painting needed more action in the corners, and I wanted a soft, neutral gray to offset the active red.

Marva's Amazing Heart, by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Latex and acrylic on canvas, 24"H x 20"W

The finished painting: “Marva’s Amazing Heart,” by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Latex and acrylic on canvas, 24″H x 20″W.  I turned the canvas vertically and completed it in acrylic. First, I seated the diamond shape on the beautiful base. Then, I integrated the corners by modifying the colors and activity. Finally, the center suggested a “story,” which also served to give it definition.

A group of artists stayed for the afternoon Mini-workshop, “Revitalize your abandoned artwork! In-process critique with Julie Bernstein Engelmann.”  Each attendee brought a piece she was stuck on or hadn’t finished in a previous workshop. Using acrylic on glass over the painting, I demonstrated the thought process for enhancing the magic you do see in the paint, rather than letting frustration blind you to it.


The next day, heading home my daughter and I stopped at the studio of a friend who wanted a private art class. It was a special and sacred time.


Maryanne Maldonado and her magical mystery painting. Photo by Paul Maldonado

My favorite kind of trip: as an art emissary!


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!


Farewell to dear friends and Indiana, Pennsylvania

With our house finally sold, out went the days of houseshowing interruptus, and in came the massive task of packing and strategizing.

Packing up artwork

Before we left, we got to enjoy one more family trip to Northern Wisconsin.



My grand-niece Macy painted my nails abstract.


I am fortunate to have made many amazing friends among the artists of Indiana, PA, and was sad to say goodbye. The Indiana Art Association threw me a wonderful farewell party.


with an “abstract cake” in my honor.

Abstract Cake

In turn, I brought all of my not-so-great canvases that I didn’t want to cart across the country and gave them to friends who wanted them. Here they are, all laid out on the floor of the Artists Hand Gallery.


A sendoff with love!

What I learned from the young ones

In May I had the intense experience of a month-long residency teaching abstract painting to K-12th graders in a therapeutic school setting.

I’ve taught Abstract Acrylic Painting dozens of times over the past nine years, refining my methods each time to better help students avoid pitfalls and quickly reach a level of comfort and freedom of expression through their materials.

Teaching a workshop at the East Suburban Artists League, Murrysville, PA, April 13, 2013.

Little did I know the kids would change my game forever. They showed me that the steps I was teaching could be collapsed even further, which has led me to develop a new course called From Beautiful Mess to Strong Composition. I will be teaching this workshop several times in July and August, and then developing it into an online course. To keep informed, sign up for my free Beauty & Spirit Note from the studio.

Student working

Residency final exhibit, May 30, 2013

Residency final exhibit, May 30, 2013


Finding My Voice: A Dance to my art

The most moving part (pardon the pun) of my artist reception at my SAMA exhibit was a modern dance choreographed by Jennifer Park to express the spirit of my artworks–in particular, Finding My Voice. Perhaps Jennifer is to dance what I am to painting, because for some reason we have this amazing creative connection.

Jennifer (from Altoona, PA) and her daughter Heather Park, along with Tango dancer Sean Cosgrove from Pittsburgh (who explained to me the fascinating interactive responsiveness of Tango), together created a mood like a blessing in the exhibit space.

You can enjoy the dance through a video that my husband and I put together. What you will see at the 10 minute mark is the audience joining in the dance in the most loving, heavenly, spinning way. It was an awesome experience I will never forget.


Finding My Voice: A Dance to Art



Special thanks to composer Bruce Mitchell for his gorgeous music.

Here is the stunning cover photo that Heather Stone Russell created to express this experience.