Category Archives: Presentations

My autumn 2018 through pictures

Autumn is a time of fruition and transition.

I taught my final Luscious Abstractions 2-day crash course at the Sedona Arts Center in September 2018. I say final because I will be turning that class into an online course and transitioning my in-person teaching to a 3-day workshop, The Inspired Abstract.

Here is the wonderful group of painters and their luscious abstractions:

Carlos, Colby, Sylvia, Eliana, Rob

Sylvia was inspired to take the class because she owns two of my paintings and wanted to try my method and see what would come out. Find her fabulous musical painting in the photo above.

Eliana created delicate and lively pieces. She was concerned that she couldn’t keep imagery from appearing in her work. I told her, as I often tell students, “Imagery is fine! as long as it appears by itself and you aren’t forcing it.”

In October an art therapist, Diane, came out from California full of heart, and we had a wonderful time in a private workshop. Her apron is embroidered “Art Heals,” and that says it all.

In November a young adventurer, Fulya from Turkey, came to Sedona on a spiritual quest and wanted to capture it in a painting. When she contacted me out of the blue with this request I said, “Wow, have you ever come to the right place! That’s exactly what I teach!” Here she is with her fairy-dance piece created in our private workshop.

Meanwhile, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s in Sedona included my work in a several-month group show called “Signs of Life” and promoted it beautifully. (They even made a video of my work in the show!) Here are a couple of my pieces on their walls and in their ads.

As a highlight of the show, Sotheby’s hosted an elegant artist reception. It happened to be scheduled the evening I planned to drive to San Diego to attend a coaching conference, so I considered skipping the artist reception. But then Sotheby’s placed another ad, “Meet the Artist – Julie Bernstein Engelmann” and some of my friends saw it and told me they were coming! So I went to the artist reception after all and delivered my 3-minute speech to the lovely crowd and had a great time; then changed clothes in the car and embarked on a 7-hour drive, arriving in the wee hours.

At the conference I met my Artist Mastermind buddies in person for the first time. We had been meeting by Zoom for awhile, but hadn’t gotten the full flavor of one another. In person we all hit it off like old lifetime friends and had a magical time together. Here I am with my special and most wonderful support buddy Barbara Brown, artist of the forest (watch her incredibly beautiful video! scroll to bottom). We continue to meet by Zoom every other week, alternating with our Mastermind, to share, witness, and support each other in our respective art businesses. 

Finally, over the course of 5 weeks from November to December, I collaborated in a community mural called “Camp Verde Grows” in the nearby town of Camp Verde, AZ. The lead artist, Joan Bourque, held meetings with members of the community, including me, to determine which elements to include: scenes from its Sinagua, Hopi, and Yavapai roots; farming, vineyards and crops; birds that draw birding enthusiasts to the Verde Valley; area scenery, from faraway forested Flagstaff with its San Francisco peaks, to the red rocks of Sedona, to the white gypsum cliffs the town is nestled among; and the constellations, since Camp Verde is the world’s newest International Dark Sky Community.

I worked with Joan on the design and layout and painted the top third of the mural – all the non-green parts and sky that required climbing the scaffolding! From there, up high I could turn around and see the entire expansive landscape that I was painting. I used a star chart to paint the constellations! My favorite part was painting the petroglyphs by Montezuma Castle; check them out in the enlargeable photo below.

Here’s a nice blog post from a local journalist about the project, which quotes me quite a bit, including the story of how the mural’s title came to be.

Here is the core group of artists (the ones that got paid ;)) although a number of community members had their hand in the mural as well!  Joan Bourque, the lead artist, is second to right.

Camp Verde Grows mural – click to enlarge. I painted the upper third of the mural – all the non-green distant landscape and sky, as well as Montezuma Castle at right. Check out my favorite part: the petroglyphs!

The mural project was organized by the Town of Camp Verde Economic Development Department. They bought one of my paintings, which is on display in their office conference room, along with another of my abstracts.

I always appreciate the subsiding of activity between Christmas and New Year’s, and this year was no exception. After all the activity, I went into hibernation for a deeply enjoyable time of regroup and regeneration. Winter, even in sunny Arizona, brings its gift of fresh clean newness.

My Spring 2018 through pictures

Here I’d like to share my spring 2018 events through pictures:

Another event was more bittersweet. Gallery 527, after a successful run of 12 years in Jerome, Arizona, closed because the building was sold. My work had been featured there for three years and the artists and owners were like family.

Here are some shots from the final show and closing Artwalk:

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.”

CASABigScreen10-7-2016

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CASABigScreenTucson

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:

CASAMarvasAmazingHeartPour1

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

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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.

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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.

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

My favorite kind of trip: as an art emissary!

 

El Valle demo and workshop

The El Valle Artists Association in Cottonwood, AZ, invited me to do a demo and workshop in November 2015. Here is a picture from the demo.

Photo by Elaine Bomkamp

Photo by Elaine Bomkamp

It is always refreshing to gather with fellow artists! The workshop was held in a school, so during our break we had fun swinging on the swingset. A couple of the older artists hadn’t swung for 7 decades!

Who is this infinite being?

I had gotten a couple boxes of 20″x24″ canvases to make paintings that I could bring on an airplane. It was freeing to have so many canvases to experiment on, do demos, and, in a way, use them as sketchbook pages.

Here’s one that made it into the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Juried Group Art Exhibition, Nov. 15, 2013-Jan. 11, 2014 at The FrameHouse Gallery in Ice House Studios, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh, PA.

Who Is This Infinite Being

Who Is This Infinite Being, by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 20″H x 24″W, Latex and acrylic on canvas, 2013

This was a case of it takes a community to name a painting. I started out with the title, “Am I really still with this man?”

Have you ever looked in awe at your spouse like: who is this person? How odd that after all this time–I’m changing every day, he’s changing every day–we are still together as if it is the same relationship? How is it possible that two beings could evolve so dramatically, in two different minds and world views, yet still enjoy each other, pretend to know each other, work around each other’s life plans, and laugh often? It is beautiful and weird.

So I used that title for the demo painting I did in my residency at IUP. (I’ll write about the residency next.) While my fellow teachers were nodding their heads, I think it alarmed the students, who still had their tender lives ahead of them and might not have felt comfortable attaining this extraneous piece of wisdom from their elders.

So I changed the title to, “Am I really still here?” and posted it on my Facebook page to ask whether this new title still sounded negative (which was the opposite of my intention). It came back with a lot of nodding and suggestions for positive ways to convey my meaning.

Thanks to all the good ideas and some playing around with them, I came up with the right title that suits my painting perfectly: “Who Is This Infinite Being?” Ahh.

 

In Flow and Ease

My recent painting, In Flow and Ease, won the First Place Professional award at the Indiana Art Association Spring Show, Indiana, PA, June 7, 2013.

In Flow and Ease, by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Acrylic and latex on unprimed canvas, 24"Hx18"W

In Flow and Ease, by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Acrylic and latex on unprimed canvas, 24″H x 18″W

I used this same painting to create a sheet of flowy stationery that I’m offering as a gift for people to download and print who sign up for my free Beauty & Spirit Note from the studio. If you’re already signed up, I’ll include a link in upcoming newsletters.

Free In Flow and Ease stationery to download and print

Free In Flow and Ease stationery to download and print

In other news…I gave a talk on Abstract Art–my principles and stories — at the Greensburg Art Center, Greensburg, PA, May 13, 2013.

Greensburg Art Center, Greensburg, PA, May 13, 2013

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

 

Talk about Being Spirit

What a wonderful turnout and enthusiastic audience for my Lunch a l’Art talk for my Being Spirit exhibit at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, PA. Here are some photos and snippets from my talk on March 13, 2013.

“I found that latex and acrylic complemented one another. The color range was vast, and the variations of fluidity were exciting. I could make what I call a beautiful mess to start with, and then go in with my brushwork and give form to the painting, and add things to create — well, I never know what!

“I pick up on the stories in the paint, and I start adding depth, and make it into shapes, and the vibrations start to come into tune. As some parts come into tune, the other parts–it becomes apparent what needs to happen. And by the time I’ve worked it through, there comes a moment when the entire painting jumps into 3D, like a hologram.”

“I began to take pieces out of my journal and use them for starting points on my paintings. You can see, some of the titles are kind of long and unusual, and I think that they’re fun, because sometimes they’re even a spiritual exercise of their own.

“But once I started working with these ideas, so they were more personal, it became much easier for my intuition to kick in. And I began realizing that I was actually working with the paint as a co-creator, that the paint had a consciousness about it. I began realizing that I wasn’t alone in what I was doing. And it was a huge revelation. I can’t tell you how this turned the corner for me.”

One more special event will take place before my exhibit closes on April 20, and that is my Artist’s Reception on April 13. Guess what! A choreographer who came to my talk got inspired to create a dance, and will be performing it, along with some other dancers, at my reception!

Here is the description:

“Finding My Voice” is a modern dance choreographed by Jennifer Park, based on an exploration of Julie Bernstein Engelmann’s creative life as it transfers from canvas to dancers. Inspired by many of the stories behind Julie’s abstract paintings, the dancers frame the works through movement, stillness, voice, reflection, and energy. Witness as the dancers communicate from painting to body back to painting… and eventually to you. We hope you will feel inspired to join in!

Please click to Exhibit and Event Info for all the details and to RSVP. I hope to see you there!

Abstract Painting Spirit

This summer I was asked to speak to a group about my creative process. I offered to create a video, because my process is in the living color! So this is my first video, showing the process of making two of the paintings for my Lily Pads exhibit. It’s 9 minutes. P.S. The group responded well!

Abstract artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann demonstrates her creative painting process (acrylic and poured latex) and discusses the Spirit in the paint. Beautiful music by composer Bruce Mitchell. 9 minutes.

Lily Pads
I was fortunate to be offered the second-ever exhibit at The Artists Hand Gallery, our new art center in my town of Indiana, PA. Here is the postcard:

Why Lily Pads?
Artist Statement for Lily Pads exhibit (excerpt)

This summer I took my annual sojourn to northern Wisconsin. On a day trip, our pontoon ambled through a chain of lakes and channels to a secluded area strewn with lily pads.

I was struck by the majesty of the water lilies: their confident blooms bursting forth from the impervious, sashaying leaves swaying above the secretive, sinuous stems swishing in the undertow. I took countless pictures.

Back in Indiana, Sandy asked me whether I had come up with a title for my show. In a leap of faith, I decided to create my show around that inspiration, even though I only had three weeks to prepare new paintings. Luckily, many of my current paintings fit the feeling of the theme: bold yet fluid. I set about creating several new pieces.

You may notice some interesting titles. These are taken from my journal. I name my paintings before I paint them. I don’t always keep the titles, but they provide a meaningful starting point for my embarkation from blank white canvas into the land of discovery. They guide me along the way, and they usually turn out to be uncannily suitable.


Color – joy – refreshment – intuition in overdrive – unexpected, thrilling color-texture blends – lush beauty and tactility – childlike freedom – releasing the left brain – being alive to this moment : these are reasons I create art. Can you see them in the paintings?

– Julie Bernstein Engelmann, August 21, 2012

Best of Show
Earlier this summer I was very proud to receive the Best of Show award in the Indiana Art Association 71st Spring Show at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Museum. It was a big surprise, because there were several other pieces that could easily have taken the award. Here is the winner: Saved by Flaw 36″Hx40″W.

Best Art Sales
Thanks to my wonderful patrons and dear fans, I had the best summer ever in painting sales. I sold 17 paintings through my Silent Auction, plus three more after-auction sales. On top of that, two realistic commissions paid for my summer travels to Ontario and Wisconsin–a great way to go.

So I have had a very good summer and am looking forward to a fantastic fall. I hope you are, too!

Yours, Julie