Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Art is made to be Shared

I find that my introverted creative nature still craves interaction - with both other creatives and art appreciators. Carmel Fine Arts and Music Festival proved to satiate these most recent cravings. It is always exhilarating to share new art with hundreds of new people, once I get beyond those jittery feelings of vulnerability. I so appreciated all the feedback on my show and especially on specific pieces.

This paraphrased response sticks with me "Your art is more than a nice picture...it draws me in and invites me to experience it." It thrilled me that my desire to reflect nature or pull people toward it is coming through so clearly. And the comment that it goes beyond the physical to the spiritual confirms that I am able to grasp and express some of the inner vitality of the subject.

"Freedom" by Lorenda Harder. Acrylic on canvas. 1' x 4' 

I bid adieu to a few pieces this weekend, including the largest in this weekend's exhibit, "Freedom."
I painted this piece with significant yet controlled passion - imitating the wave itself and totally focused from beginning to end on the sense of both the freedom and active peace I experience when watching even the smallest of waves hitting a shore. And with this, I bid you all adieu, wishing you both peace and freedom.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Discover Discovery

Have YOU ever snorkeled? It's magical. This couple inspires me. I have snorkeled only a handful of times but when I started following Miss Daynah and Tadas on Instagram, I became enamoured all over again with the endless discoveries and constant fascination that the beautiful sea affords.  This particular painting was based on a go-pro shot by tadas. I changed it considerably to grasp the feel of their diving straight down seeking new things to discover. I think that this large 4' x 4' painting looks so great in the B Gallery right now that I am sorry to have to take it down at the beginning of September. Perhaps one day, it will find a pool area or beach house to settle in! If you haven't had a chance to see it face to face yet........I am giving a couple of brief talks about my motivation and process for "Ocean Encounters" along with a Q and A time on Sept. 2nd and 3rd, 2017. You can check out some of the details here if you can't meet it face to face. Let me leave you with the suggestion to make all of life a "discovery"...You never know what you will meet as you turn a corner so why not turn fear into anticipation? 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Like a Facial for the Heart!


What's an ART SPA?? I first came up with the idea of offering "Art Spas" to others when I began using Chinese inks and discovering how therapeutic it was for me personally. By following the ancient Chinese rituals of observing and a few simple techniques, it slowed me down and made me more aware of my mind, body and the beauty around me. My breathing slowed and the calm process of ink painting from nature became key, not the product - though the product ends up uncontrived and beautiful.

Similarly, I have developed simple, expressive watercolour techniques and enjoy teaching how to paint sailboats in the lake, flowers in a vase or trees on mountains. I use a very playful approach and love sharing these tips and tricks with others for very happy outcomes. 

I have since taught children as young as 6 a simplified introduction to these artforms and it is one of the most satisfying activities I know. 

So I have decided to offer this to ladies who need a break from the crazy busy lives they lead. I want to keep the group more intimate, so I am limiting it to about 6. I'll demonstrate, then we'll observe, paint and sip beverages.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Shall Call Him Squishy...

"Mesmerized" by Lorenda Harder
19.5" x 25.5" Soft Pastel on Toned Paper, 2017
$350 Framed

Who doesn't remember, with much affection, the character Dory from "Finding Nemo"? In the scene (watch it below later-still makes me chuckle), Dory finds a tiny jellyfish and wants to make him a little pet - but it ends up not being the best idea. When I saw my first jelly fish is was large and beached and quite dead. I was still fascinated by the inner workings of the animal as I observed it there. I've had opportunities since to become quite mesmerized by them and I get pulled into and lost in their beauty. I knew I had to capture its smooth movements and bioluminescence through the medium of soft pastel - I thought about this piece for 2 years before I finally put chalk to paper. Now I want to go back to the ocean and float in it like these beautiful little creatures. DID I also capture a memory YOU have of the sea? Share in my comments below!

You can see the rest of my Ocean Encounters show in person or online here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Stumbled across some Owls.

As I continue to paint and gather work and prep it for my fall sale at Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival, I stumbled across some owl sketches I hadn't seen in a while. Several years ago, Kay and Larry McKeever, founders of The Owl Foundation in Ontario, Canada, hired my husband to build a bedroom suite addition (with a small owl cage in it of course). It is then, that I received the rare opportunity and privilege to observe and draw over a dozen owls in their giant natural habitat cages...and to literally walk down the same path as Robert Bateman (sponsor of the rehab and long time friend of the McKeevers). I took my time, with sketchbook in hand, meandering along that boardwalk in Jordan, surrounded by lush trees, the unusual sounds of the owls and quite lost in quietude. It reminds me to make moments like this...to surround oneself with the beauty of creation. 
Time for a walk. . . And I think I will add a couple of these to my show. 

"Great Gray Owl" Lorenda Harder

"Curious Owl"  Lorenda Harder

"Snowy Owl"   Lorenda Harder

Friday, July 21, 2017


14" x 16" Unique Hand-pulled Collage Block Print on rice paper, 1982
Featured in my Ocean Encounters Exhibit, St. Catharines, ON. Jun-Sep '17

As a teen I learned what "Kamehameha" really meant: A Hawaiian word pronounced “kə-ˌmā-ə-ˈmā-hä” meaning “set apart." In Japanese it denotes a giant wave. In this print (collaged items glued on a board to make the print block), I was standing there in the wind, arm over my head trying to control my hair and the other against my torso attempting to keep my dress under control. The thundering Pacific waves pounded the north shore of Oahu. I hoped to show in this print both the threat and awe of the ocean and a relationship between the physical and spiritual worlds. This moment on the beach was a powerful and worshipful one for me as I looked out over the wild edge of the ocean: Just a short while before, I had been caught- more like sucked up- in a riptide, and after a compact Job Prayer, the memory of hearing how to respond to a riptide (submission to the wave) and trust that I was in God's hands no matter what happened, I was spit back to safety and swam to shore. After I recovered, I stood there on the shore feeling quite “set aside” for whatever purpose the Creator might have for me. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

When we were Six

As a young child, my view of the world was full of wonder. However, I became confused rather suddenly when ugliness came in and snatched the wonder away for the first time. I then found myself becoming unsure about whether or not to embrace the joy when it came my way. 

There are so many distractions from what is beautiful. I came to realize though that the ugly things need not replace the beautiful. Rather, they can co-exist to make the beautiful, in contrast, look even better. 

It's all about placement. We can be so surrounded by horrid things that the gorgeous world can seem out of reach. Ugliness is inevitable, but when I deliberately seek out beauty, it helps sustain me as I walk through my grief -  I acknowledge the bad and then choose to let beauty dictate my day. 

It's simple. And hard. Where is the beauty?

Look at the branches behind the bird in my drawing from childhood. . . I managed to be observant enough as a seven-year-old to notice the different tones and tints of the berries and to celebrate those along with the smiling woodpecker, even though confusing ugliness still lingered from my previous summer.

Every day that I choose gratitude, it allows me to slow down enough to notice the beautiful thoughts moments, memories or sights and pull them close to me, gather them, even hoard them. This way when the ugly hits, I have a stash of beauty close by. 

God himself surrounded himself with beauty and today, we can still enjoy that beauty or create our own. Just the act of creating brings a valued joy.  Just the observance of creation fills a hole. I hope you can find a way to gather beauty today: read some old thank you cards, draw a picture, set a gorgeous table, memorize a loved one's face. Take a moment.