Archives for posts with tag: Janice Fried

I don’t do a lot of landscapes but once in awhile cool greens and blue skies without a person in sight feel very appealing. I am currently in a local show of artwork inspired by nature called “Outside In.”

I had some older pieces that I could have submitted for this show but I wanted to do something new.

So here is “Bluebird” along with a few other nature inspired images.

Happy Summer!

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“Bluebird” ©Janice Fried 2016

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“The Spirit in Everything” ©Janice Fried 2003

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“Waves” ©Janice Fried 2003

This has been the strangest winter I can ever remember. The cherry blossoms were blooming in December and in January we had 30” of snow. The natural world seemed turned upside down so I drew this image I call Thallo in Winter.

Thallo is the Greek goddess of Spring who should be arriving officially on March 2oth carrying buds and blossoms.

Thallo in winter lr

©Janice Fried 2016

I just learned of the passing of another one of my illustration heroes.

Jim Spanfeller was a large, gentle man with white hair, dark eyebrows and long graceful fingers who created very magical artwork. He used a technique called stippling which is created by making millions of tiny dots in pen and ink to create tones of gray . His pieces were incredibly detailed and intricate.

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@Jim Spanfeller

He taught at Parsons School of Design and he was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to school there. At the time, his class was only offered at night so as a daytime student I had to get special permission to attend. In my three years at Parsons his class was the one that made it all worthwhile.

We stayed in touch for a number of years after Parsons. He helped me create my first illustration promotion piece. His influence was clear.

Pierrot Luniere

©Janice Fried 1979

 

Eventually our communication faded. I tried to reconnect with him over the past several years to tell him how important he had been to me but I had lost his address and couldn’t find any recent references to him until a fellow artist and Parson alumni posted the sad news today.

He was master of the dot and line. A master in black and white…A master of pen and ink.  I was lucky to have been one of his students.

I don’t think we’ll see anything like him again.

Generally, summer is not my most productive time.

I have lots of ideas and projects but once that beautiful weather takes hold, I seem to lose interest in anything that keeps me indoors.

But, this past spring, I took part in an local event called “Sheep on Show”. Artists and townsfolk were invited to paint a plywood cutout of sheep that would be placed around town.

No one knew exactly what to make of this at first but once the sheep started popping up on people’s lawns the interest grew.

My sheep was titled: Sheep Apnea

Sheep Apnea

I was also part of a group of artists who painted a life sized fiberglass Ox for the town of Hopewell, NJ. Included in the group were my mother and my niece. Each artist did an interpretation of the ox through history. After my Asian themed painted violin, I choose to do an Asian Ox. It was challenging to figure out how to create and apply the artwork to the large ox. Some of the artists chose to paint directly onto it but I chose to create mine on handmade paper and then print it out on fabric. The fabric would be able to mold easier to the body of the ox. It worked although the colors weren’t quite as bright once transferred to fabric.

Asian Ox 1

So far there haven’t been any more barnyard projects but I have always liked chickens…

Chicken

All images ©Janice Fried

 

This has been one of those winters; one of those snow upon snow upon ice upon snow winters.  The kind of winter where my son’s school already called more snow days than they build into the school schedule so they start taking away holidays like President’s Day.  The kind of winter where you don’t want to venture outside unless you have to.

I am not a winter hater and I can enjoy a good snowstorm from the inside looking out but this winter has been challenging to say the least.

I have been trying to use my indoor time productively.

Here are two recent images from the Winter of 2014:

My Snowy Valentine ©Janice Fried 2014

My Snowy Valentine ©Janice Fried 2014

The Sleep on Winter ©Janice Fried 2014

The Sleep of Winter ©Janice Fried 2014

When I was in the third grade we were given the opportunity to play an instrument.

Since my beloved grandfather played the violin I decided on that.

My grandfather Frank was self-taught in everything he did.  Art and music were his passions and those passions were passed along to his children and grandchildren.

He made his living as a painter/decorator painting murals, doing wood graining or marbleizing on walls in office buildings or in private homes. He supported four children on painting.  He painted for a living and he painted because he loved it.  He’d paint old wine bottles or furniture he’d find on the street and make them into beautiful art objects.

He painted constantly and when he wasn’t painting, he was playing his violin.

He loved to tell stories about how when he first came to this country he used to wait by the stage door at Carnegie Hall for Jascha Heifetz and offer to carry his violin for him.  My grandfather was also a wonderful storyteller.

Grandpa w Violin

I continued to play the violin through high school in various orchestras and for school plays. It was only when I decided to make art my focus did I give it up.

Last spring I learned that the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra did a fundraiser each concert season where they asked artists to paint an actual violin that would be auctioned off to support various education programs that the orchestra sponsored.

I applied and was accepted as one of the artists for the 2013-2014 season.

In late July I received an unvarnished violin .  We were told we could pick a composer or a program or a particular piece of music to illustrate on the violin.  I had a few months to complete it.

I chose to interpret the orchestra’s winter program of Gustav Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (Song of the Earth) and a piece by a contemporary Chinese composer, Tan Dun whose “Earth Sonata”  would be premiered. Both of these pieces were based on poetry by the 8th c. Chinese poet Li Bai.

I wanted to work in my usual style of watercolor, colored pencil and collage but I wasn’t sure how any of it would translate on wood.  I used a small paddle from a paddleball toy as a test board.

I decided to paint the front of the violin in a Chinese style and the back and sides in a Vienna 1900 style a la Gustav Klimt.

I created the tuning pegs out of bamboo to imitate a Chinese stringed instrument.

I loved working on this project and working on wood was a revelation for me.

My grandfather died twenty years ago and I miss him.  He used to love to laugh at his own jokes and say “That was a good one!”

But I’m not joking when I say I loved painting this violin.

That was a good one.

Violin Front by Fred Stucker Photog.Violin back by Fred Stucker Photog.

Photos by Fred Stucker © 2013

Artwork © Janice Fried 2013

This world leaves me spinning sometimes.

I decided to put my name into a Google image search recently and was stunned to see how many pieces of mine were being used without my permission on numerous blogs and websites.  Most of them gave me a copyright credit but some of them did not.  Somewhere in my head I knew this could happen once you put anything online be it a website or a blog or in a publication but seeing it for real was disturbing.

I can forgive the ones who gave me credit for creating a piece of art that happened to fit nicely with their poem or article but it would have been nice to have been asked first.

But then there were the magazines that should have known better. One of these magazines is a major publication that has been around for a very long time and one that I always included in my promotion campaigns.

The fact that the only way I could get my work published by them was by having them steal it is particularly upsetting.  Yes, I was credited but I was neither asked nor compensated.

For the last few years I have struggled and wrestled with, mourned over and tried to maintain a career as an illustrator.   I have questioned my talent as well as my ability to compete against younger artists born in the digital age.

I have attempted to keep a positive approach with this blog but something about seeing my work used all over the world for free in other people’s blogs makes me question the way the world works now.

Yes, it’s crucial to have some kind of online presence these days if you want to be seen or heard or read but that also leaves you open to thieves. Just because it’s visible to anyone with a computer doesn’t give people the right to use it without asking.  People don’t see it as stealing but it is.

Many people feel everything online should be available for anyone to use for free.  As an artist, I don’t agree.  It devalues what we do and removes any controls from our creations.

People like to say, but it’s great exposure!  But as my songwriter husband and creative ally, likes to say, “You could die of exposure”.

Copyright laws were meant to protect the creative.  There is also common decency.

Artists need an audience and a way to make a living. We are thrilled when you like our work but please ask first before you just take it.  We might just say okay.

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“Love Thief”  © Janice Fried

The last couple of months of 2012 were full of drama.

Hurricane Sandy stormed in and swept away some people’s lives and gave purpose to others.  We lost power and heat for a week and considered ourselves extremely lucky losing not much more than the food in our refrigerator.

Luck.

Shortly after the hurricane, there was a huge lottery of almost $300 million dollars.  The odds were 1 in 175,223,510.00 to win the jackpot.

I ask myself what would I do with that kind of money?  What dreams could I make come true?

My dream was always to be a successful working illustrator. Something money couldn’t buy. A successful career is a blending of so many factors: timing, persistence, talent and yes, luck.  $300 million in the bank wouldn’t hurt either….

Despite the odds, I took a chance on doing the thing I most wanted to do with my life and I even won a few golden tickets over the years but the jackpot would have been a lifetime’s worth of illustration jobs.

A number of years ago I was chosen to do a deck of affirmation cards for Hay House publishers. They found my work in the Alternative Pick Directory.  For me it was like winning the lottery.

Over the next few years, I did a total of three decks of cards for them; 175 pieces of artwork that brought new life to my illustration portfolio.

So here’s to 2013.  Will it be win, lose or draw?

I choose Draw.

From "Healing Cards" by Carolyn Myss and Peter Occhiogrosso Hay House Publishers

From “Healing Cards” by Carolyn Myss and Peter Occhiogrosso Hay House Publishers

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May a stronger wind blow away your heartache and a gentle breeze surround you in the coming year.

Here is a new piece fresh off the drawing board.  I have always loved the combination of black, white and red.