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:
My sister Beth is absolutely glowing with the joy of rediscovering paint. She is the one who taught me to be an artist when we were kids, but hadn’t painted since then!
My radiant sister Minda at right, with my daughter Amber bent over her palette
Soul friend and fabulous artist Kathryn Galey from western Pennsylvania, who came for healing and rejuvenation in abstract painting
Lori and Nicole, mother-daughter painters who added to the special family atmosphere of the class
Then we sisters headed for southern Arizona. Here are some stunning abstractions from the Chiricahua National Monument:
This picture is turned sideways for a better composition.
I like this abstraction better in black & white.
I’m valiantly holding the abstract structural element in place.
This one is upside down for compositional interest!
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:
Joyous artist Altie Metcalf
Altie Metcalf’s gem of a painting
A rich, organic painting by Carolyn Starbuck
Paintings set up for the first critique
Lovely abstract painter Peggy Rubin
Amazing Marva Harvey
Paintings set up for the final critique, backlit by the afternoon sun
Beautiful view from the studio windows, with Marva and my husband Chip at workshop’s end.
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.
Don’s magical studio
Saguaro friend – photo by Beth Bernstein
Beth ecstatically painting by her pool
I had time to play in the pool… or was that my shadow side?
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.
Marva came upfrom 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.
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
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.
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!
The galleries on Canyon Road are a fairyland of exploration! Amid much wonderful abstract art, I made some good connections.
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.
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, 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
Summer in the Southwest: hot, dry, timeless freedom. Here is how mine went.
Luscious Abstractions students paintedenthusiastically at the Sedona Arts Center, May 2016.
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).
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:
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.
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
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.
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!
We put in bid on a foreclosure home in Lake Montezuma, Arizona (20 miles south of Sedona), and set off across the country waiting to hear.
So did our movers!
Kirby and Sapphire were wary of the changes. Sapphire had to learn to use a kitty litter for the first time.
Having longed to live in the southwest again after 28 years, I asked my daughter to take a photo of me crossing the “threshold” to the West, my new home.
We found a place to stay until finally we were able to inspect our home and the contract came through. Here is my husband Chip (with hat) on the roof with the inspector, our ocotillo blooming in front.
In the meantime we explored our new “back yard,” the gorgeous Oak Creek Canyon and Red Rock State Park.
I had a great follow-up trip to Arizona in December. Incredibly, I was able to get into another fabulous Arizona gallery, this one in Sedona. I’ll give you details when my first artworks are on display there.
When I got back to Pennsylvania, I had just enough time in the studio to create the final, large diptych for my SAMA show.
It’s called, “No One Else Knows Better,” 48″H x 72″W.
Soon the truck came to pick up my 39 pieces. I can’t tell you how great that feeling is!
Here I am in the truck, beaming, with Scott Dimond, Curator for Visual Arts for the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.
The show, called “Julie Bernstein Engelmann: Being Spirit,” is now open to the public at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, Pennsylvania, through April 20, 2013. Here are a couple of shots.
Site Coordinator Barbara Jo Hollander did a beautiful job of hanging the show. It is sort of like swimming through a sea of vibration that keeps changing.
Here is Barbara with artist Steve Gilbert of Altoona, who coincidentally, is the only other artist I know in western Pennsylvania who, like me, studied with abstract expressionist Milton Resnick in New York City around 1980.
There will be two colorful public events for the show. One is Blue Monday, with the popular bluegrass music of Mountain City Grass. Totally by chance, it turns out that my fellow ArtsPath artist-in-residence Tom McCarty is in that band. This event, reputed to be raucous fun, costs $20 and will be held on Feb. 11, from 6PM-8PM.
The other, quieter event is Lunch a l’Art, where you get to munch at tables among the paintings and then listen to me tell stories about my artwork for about 15 minutes. That will be held Wed., March 13 at noon, and costs $13.
Find all details about the show and events, along with more pictures, here.
Oh yes, two pieces sold before the official opening!
I hope you will find a chance to see the show. If so, let me know what you think!
I had an amazing trip to Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. The whole thing was just magical.
For some reason, a couple months ago when I heard about a seminar by Andrrea Hess in Phoenix on manifesting, my heart leapt with joy and I knew I just had to be there. Apparently the Universe agreed, because the Latrobe Art Center sold one of my big paintings, “Listen,” which paid for all my bills and plane ticket in preparation for the trip. Thank you!
Meanwhile, “Phoenix,” I thought, “I’d like to teach a workshop at the Phoenix Center for the Arts one day.” Then it occurred to me, maybe I could go ahead and do it on this trip!
I didn’t even know whether there was such a place, but a couple web searches, emails and phone calls later, I was scheduled! Soon my workshop was more than full. Here are paintings made by some of the wonderful attendees.
Meanwhile, GoogleMaps had told me that my sister Beth was a mere 2 hours away in Tucson, so I scheduled my trip around seeing her. We went hiking in Saguarro National Forest.
I got to see some of my paintings in her office at the University of Arizona.
She came to the seminar with me and we had a wonderful time.
And the best part? I was able to make a very good connection with a fancy gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, that tentatively wants to start representing me in June 2014! I have been floating in seventh heaven ever since. If you’re wanting to buy one of my paintings, you might want to do it before then, because once I’m in there my prices may double or triple!
I’m heading back to Tucson in December to house-sit (I would say babysit, but my nephew is 14 and might not appreciate that term). I hope to use the quiet time to create an art book for my show at SAMA*. And I’m also going to check out places where I may want to move with my family. My heart is longing for the southwest air and soft colors!
*I’m putting the finishing touches on my final artworks for the show at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, PA. I’ll have 39 pieces, all abstract work from 2005 through 2012. Show dates are Jan. 18-Apr. 20, 2013, and we have a couple of special events scheduled. More on that to come!
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.
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!