Category Archives: Teaching

Birthing your beloved and mysterious artwork

In birthing my 3-day workshop, The Inspired Abstract, I wanted to bring together the best of all that I have to share. So I started in the way I always create magic: contemplating the spirit of the transformation that seems to be waiting to come forth. And then I embody it in an artwork.

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, “My Beloved Workshop,” 24″H x 30″W, acrylic on canvas

Over the past two years the workshop has become a living artwork for me. And when you’re involved in an artwork you see it everywhere.

Are you familiar with Marie Kondo? She wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I recently saw her Netflix series and was struck by the similarities between her approach to decluttering rooms compared to my approach to bringing a painting to life. Kondo’s clients move into their desired future by learning to sort out which items spark joy.

Do you follow joy in your work? That is my ever-evolving process in art and in teaching art.

As she walked into a client’s chaotic cluttered room, Kondo said in her Japanese accent, “I love mess!” This statement startled me, because usually I think a messy room needs to be fixed. But I could see in her face the same joy I feel when I approach a student’s painting in its mid-process “beautiful mess.” I can’t wait to help the student see the spirit in their painting, which is just waiting to come out.

Try looking for the spirit of any project or painting you do. You’ll be amazed at how much help your project or the painting spirit can give you!

Another point I appreciate about Kondo is that when she enters a person’s house, her first act is to kneel, close her eyes, and introduce herself to the home. She asks it for permission and assistance to help the family move toward the future they want in that space.

What about you? If you are trying to make a change, consider asking for permission and assistance, whether from your body, your home, your future, or your creative life. In art, for me this moment of introduction and permission takes place when I contemplate on my painting inwardly before putting brush to canvas. Additionally, I’m aware I can only really help a student with their painting when I listen to their painting spirit. Now I will make a point to ask inwardly for permission as well.

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, “Dream of Learning to Paint,” 20″H x 24″W, acrylic and latex on canvas

A final interesting point is that in releasing the objects that do not spark joy, Kondo has her clients thank them first. What unpreferred parts of your life could be released more easily if you thanked them first? In art, a lot of frustration is saved by realizing that every awful choice turns to gold when it is layered over and peeking through. 

Come introduce yourself to the spirit of your mysterious and beloved artwork. Follow what sparks joy and embody your magic in paint. Please join me in The Inspired Abstract.

Three opportunities:

1. Coming right up this Sun-Tue, Feb 17-19 at the Sedona Arts Center. This one is for the late risers among us. It will go from noon to 6 or 7 pm each day.

2. March 29-31 at the Visual and Textile Arts of Tucson. They were kind enough to put out a beautiful promotional webpage. Although I have to say, my chest has never merited such a featured headline before 😉

3. May 3-5 at the Sedona Arts Center. This one takes place during normal hours!

 

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 Summer 2018 through pictures

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:

Joyful Luscious Abstractions

November 2017’s Luscious Abstractions crash course at the Sedona Arts Center was a delightful time. Almost all the attendees were professional artists!

 

Summery Luscious Abstractions

Summer is always a time outside of time for me. Here are the Luscious Abstractions classes from the sunshine season.

Luscious Abstractions at the Sedona Arts Center, May 2017 and September 2017:

A sparkling artist, Lisa Pedersen, came from Los Angeles for a mentoring session in August 2017.

Tucson Workshop and the Abstracts of the Chiricahuas

I love combining travel and teaching. In April my sister Minda from Montreal came to Arizona for a reunion with me in Sedona and our other sister Beth in Tucson.

We were excited to plan the trip so they could both attend my Luscious Abstractions class. As it turned out, my daughter Amber attended too – as well as a dear artist friend from western Pennsylvania, Kathryn Galey!

Here are some moments from this special Luscious Abstractions class at the Sedona Arts Center, April 2017:

Then we sisters headed for southern Arizona. Here are some stunning abstractions from the Chiricahua National Monument:

Finally, knowing I would have a couple days to spare while Minda and our husbands went on a birding jaunt, I set up a workshop at the beautiful studio of Don Canada in Tucson with the help of amazing Marva.

Here are some of the sun-drenched moments of the workshop, Layers: Intuition to Composition in Tucson, April 2017:

The following month I had another opportunity to visit Beth in Tucson, and took advantage of the time to have a followup mentoring session with Marva at Don’s studio. Beth and I also hiked among the saguaro.

I needed some art supplies, and while at the store with Beth, got the inspiration to suggest that she buy some paint too! Next thing we knew, she was all set up with her own studio outdoors by the pool, painting ecstatically.

Elliott’s Painting Visit

Elliott, a Vital Abstracts mentoring client from New York City, had an inspiration. Why not take his vacation in Sedona, Arizona and get some private lessons from me in person at the same time? We timed the trip so that he could start with my two-day course, Luscious Abstractions.

Scenes from Luscious Abstractions at the Sedona Arts Center, March 2017:

Then we dove into several days of individual instruction:

We ended with a lovely hike at Sedona’s beautiful Bell Rock vortex. Unfortunately, my photos of the hike seem to have disappeared into the vortex, hopefully to be found at a later date!

The Art of Autumn

Here are highlights from the fall months of 2016:

Such a lovely group of painters from my Luscious Abstractions crash course at the Sedona Arts Center, September 2016. Notice how differently each painting turned out!

Stephanie Watson and her gorgeous painting from my Luscious Abstractions crash course at the Sedona Arts Center, November 2016.

This is my painting “Morning Pages,” 30×24, acrylic on canvas. My student from Luscious Abstractions (Nov 2016), Rosemary Keiser, liked it so much she took this shot as I submitted it to the Sedona Arts Center Holiday Show. She must have added some magic fairy dust, because the painting sold the next day before the show even opened.

These are shots from a show at the Sedona Arts Center Village Annex Gallery, located in a mall in the Village of Oak Creek for the holiday season. Maybe you can spot my paintings on the walls! I painted there often and gained valuable insights about my works-in-progress from customers.

Here are painters Theresa and Jennifer from my Meaningful Abstracts workshop at the Sedona Arts Center, December 2016.