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:
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.
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.