Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sunflowers in Berlin

Sunflowers in Berlin
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
12" x 24"

"Art is not an adventure undertaken by the few for the gratification of their natural instincts, but a part of the complete expression of a people.  It has no place for weaklings. 
Only the strong persist, for they must feel and speak for all."
-William Forsyth

Hmmmm... I don't agree that my or anyone else's work could ever 'speak for all.'   Every person's experience is unique.  Every person deserves to have their story shared.  I do agree however that creating art in any form is courageous.  We show our underbellies, our vulnerable side.  We express what we see, feel and care about.  This takes courage.  The release that you get from opening up to it makes it worth it.

What do I see in today's painting?  This was a bunch of flowers for sale in an open air market in Berlin.  This area of the east side is haunted by the devastation of World War II and the violent separation of the east and west.  Yet the day I was there it was bright and sunny.  We ate fresh breads and cakes.  This is an image of renewal.

Join me for the opening reception of "Art In Bloom"
Petrov's Frame and Fine Art, 5172 N College Ave.  Indianapolis
April 2, 2015  6:30-9pm

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Abstract Sunset

Abstract Sunset
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas

"Abstraction is real, probably more real than nature."
-Josef Albers

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Flowers in a Wine Glass

Flowers in a Wine Glass
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure."
-D.H. Lawrence

Friday, March 13, 2015

The History of Flower Painting 101

"Red D'Anjou Pears and Flowers"
Oil on Canvas 11" x 14"

Buy Now on Etsy

"Each blossom that blooms in their garden bowers on its leaves a mystic language bears."
David Kandel, German Herbal, Illustration of a Lime Tree, 1546
  As I prepare for the upcoming class "Painting Botanics", I have been totally geeking out on the history of botanical flower painting!
 We will begin our first day of class by examining early renaissance herbals and DISSECTING SHAMROCKS THE DAY AFTER SAINT PATRICK'S DAY.  (Sacrilegious I know!)
Jan van Huysum, Dutch 1724
 Starting in the Dutch Golden Age reaching into the Victorian era the people of Europe were crazed with floral symbolism.  Lovers would gift each others flowers (and paintings of flowers) using this secretive symbolic language.  Oh la la! 

Flowers were not just decorative ornaments in these paintings but told the story of life, death and the moral code of the age.  We will be creating still-life paintings inspired by their methods and madness!
Amazing woman explorer, Maria Sibylla Merian "Life Cycle of the Butterfly" 1705
 As Europeans pushed for exploration of new territories during the "Age of Discovery" scientists documented their finding with artistic paintings. In this class we will be closely observing floral "specimens" until we can capture their graceful beauty.

And this is only the beginning of the story! 

Then there is Impressionism and Symbolism and O'Keefe's bold Modernism....
Odilon Redon, Ophelia, French Symbolism 1910

Join us!  Sign up now for
"Painting Botanics"
starting March 18th at the Indianapolis Art Center.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New!!! Alchemy of Art Podcast

Inspired by the completion of my book "The Alchemy of Art: Stories for the Classroom"  I have started a podcast to share the collection of folktales and true stories!

Each episode includes stories, questions from listeners, book recommendations and inspiration to keep you going.  It will also be a place where I can answer the philosophical and practical questions I get asked about why and how we create art.

Please feel free to contact me with questions you would like discussed on the podcast! 

Listen on iTunes

Or Podbean...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Crepe Myrtle Tree

The Crepe Myrtle Tree
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Buy Now On Etsy
To me crepe myrtle trees are summer.  They are the south.  There is nothing quite like taking a walk on a 100 degree hot afternoon and rounding the bend to come upon a tree like this one.

It is on days like today when the Indiana landscape around me is covered in snow that I have to admit... I wish I was home.

 "The ache for home lives in all of us, 
the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."
-Maya Angelou

This painting depicts the Ann Street Methodist Church adjacent to the Old Burying Ground Cemetery in Beaufort, North Carolina. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
"To create a little flower is the labor of ages."
-William Blake

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Indiana Storyteller's Workshop and Retreat 2015!

Join us for the next 'Indiana Storyteller's Retreat'!
Nothing is better than having a day of sharing stories and ideas together with an awesome group of librarians and teachers.  This year's retreat will be located in Indianapolis!  Register today... spots are filling up fast.

Indiana Storyteller's Workshop and Retreat

May 23rd 2015 9am-5pm
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Join fellow storytellers, librarians and educators for a day-long storytelling retreat in the heart of Indiana.  Bring one traditional folktale to work on as we explore the purpose and process of crafting storytelling performances for children.

Course credits:
5 LEU (Library Education Units for Indiana Librarians)
5 PGP (Professional Growth Points for Indiana Teachers)

Register here:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February Florals Day 14: Valentine's Day Pinks

Copyright 2014 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
9" x 12"
Bid on this Original Painting Starting at only $100!

"Keep love in your heart.
A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."
-Oscar Wilde

***Happy Valentine's Day Everyone***

Friday, February 13, 2015

February Florals Day 13: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
18" x 36"
Prints Available on Fine Art America

While looking for stories involving flowers I reread the legend of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' or "The Virgin of Guadalupe.'

It is said that in Mexico City in the year 1531 a man by the name of Juan Diego walked up to the Hill of Tepeyac.  There he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary.  She told him that a church should be built on that spot in her honor.  Diego shared this message with the archbishop of the city.  The archbishop told Diego to go back to the spot and ask the apparition for a miracle to prove her identity.  Diego returned and asked for a sign.  He was gifted the healing of his sick uncle.  Then he was instructed to gather flowers from the hillside.  Diego gathered many roses.  When he returned to the archbishop Diego opened his cloak onto the floor.  On the fabric of the cloak was an image of the Virgin Mary.  The roses surrounded the miraculous image.  It was decided that indeed a church should be built on the sacred spot.  It is known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It is visited by many pilgrims every year.

"All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Here are some photos showing the stages of creating this painting...
"Our Lady of Guadalupe" Painting by Hirschten Stage 1

"Our Lady of Guadalupe" Painting by Hirschten Stage 2

"Our Lady of Guadalupe" Painting by Hirschten Stage 3

"Our Lady of Guadalupe" Painting by Hirschten Stage 4

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February Florals Day 12: The Sweet Scent of Roses

"The Sweet Scent of Roses"
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!

"The fragrance of flowers flows only in the direction of the wind.  
But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions."

This would be a perfect Valentine's Day gift!  These flowers don't wilt.

(Yes this painting is similar to the bouquet from day 1 of the challenge.  I rearranged the flowers and repainted it with a different color palette.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February Florals Day 11: Hidden on the Forest Floor

Hidden on the Forest Floor
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!
THIS is the forest primeval. 
The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, 
 Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, 
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms. 
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean 
 Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.  
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it  
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman? 
Where is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers -- 
Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands, 
Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven? 
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed! 
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October 
 Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er the ocean. 
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand-PrĂ©. 
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient, 
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman's devotion, 
List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest; 
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy. 
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

February Florals Day 10: Pinks in a Blue Vase

Pinks in a Blue Vase
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid now on this Original Painting Starting at only $100!

"Do not send me flowers when I am dead.  If you like me, send them when I am alive."
-Brian Clough

Monday, February 9, 2015

February Florals Day 9: Light on Roses

Light on Roses
Copyright 2014 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February Florals Day 8: Keep the Light

Keep the Light
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
12" x 24"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!

"Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light."
-Theodore Roethke

Saturday, February 7, 2015

February Florals Day 7: Flowers are Sunshine

Flowers are Sunshine
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!

"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;
they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."
-Luther Burbank

Friday, February 6, 2015

February Florals Day 6: Leaves that Have Ripened

"Leaves have Ripened"
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
18" x 36"

"Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all."
-Robert Frost

Join me tonight for the opening reception of Love, Lust and Poetry!
This painting and two others will be included in the exhibit.
Love, Lust and Poetry Opening Reception
Noblesville, IN
Friday, February 6, from 6-9 p.m.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February Florals Day 5: Sunflowers, Salt and Pepper

Sunflowers, Salt and Pepper
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!

"To me flowers are happiness."
-Stephano Gabbana

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February Florals Day 4: Rose's Roses

Rose's Roses
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
18" x 24"

"Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

So my fellow artist Rose Nakeeb got this bouquet of roses for her birthday.  She sent me a photo of them for inspiration- thanks Rose!

While creating this painting I took a few photos to show the steps to the finished product...
"Rose's Roses" Painting Stage 1

"Rose's Roses" Painting Stage 2

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February Florals Day 3: A Bountiful Bouquet

A Bountiful Bouquet
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
12" x 24"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!

"If your heart is a volcano how can you expect flowers to bloom?"
-Khalil Gibran

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Florals Day 2: Red D'Anjou Pears and Flowers

Red D'Anjou Pears and Flowers
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid now on this original painting starting at only $100!

"Flowers are restful to look at.  They have neither emotions or conflicts."
-Sigmund Freud

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Florals Day 1: White and Pink Roses

White and Pink Roses
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
Bid Now on this Original Painting Starting at only $100!

Today marks the beginning of my countdown to Valentine's Day "February Florals" challenge.  Each day I will be posting one flower painting here on the blog.  If you are looking for a unique Valentine's Day gift consider purchasing one of these paintings.  
(These flowers won't wilt!)

"Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, 
like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless 
but all together perfume the air."
-Georges Bernanos

Friday, January 30, 2015

Japanese Storytelling Theater

Storyteller Yasuno Yuji, who died in 2012, performing on the streets in Japan

With my upcoming "Kamishibai Storytelling" shows this summer I have been getting a lot of questions like "What the heck is Kamishibai anyway?!"

Kamishibai is a traditional Japanese form of storytelling.  The performer has illustration cards that are held in a box theater often shaped like this...

In the past Kamishibai performers always worked in the streets porting their theater on the back of a bicycle or cart.

The style of art later morphed into what is now manga comics.  
Yes, those manga books the teens love like popular Pokemon!

The history of Kamishibai is fascinating.  It dates back to the 12th century.  During the Heian period Buddhist monks used it to share morality stories.  After the WWII bombings storytellers used Kamishibai to process the horrors of the atomic bomb like in this illustration from "Children of the Bomb"....

I highly recommend reading Caldecott winner "The Kamishibai Man" by Allen Say

and "Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater"

to get a better understanding of this historic art form.

For this performance I will be using a mixture of my own illustrations and historic copies of Kamishibai stories.  All of the tales are from the folklore of Japan and feature "heroes" (to fit the 2015 Collaborative Summer Reading Library Program theme of "Every Hero Has a Story.")  

Book a show or illustration workshop with me now for Summer 2015!  June is filling up fast...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Love, Lust and Poetry!

The Lovers
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
18" x 24"
Prints available on Fine Art America

All kinds of marvelous things go on,
I don't see how anyone who has looked, and seen,
can do ought but say,
'where I stand, wherever I stand, I am on holy ground.'
-John Wood

Join me for the opening reception of Love, Lust and Poetry!  This painting and two others will be included in the exhibit.

Love, Lust and Poetry Opening Reception
Noblesville, IN
Friday, February 6, from 6-9 p.m.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Kayak

The Kayak
Copyright 2014 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"

"The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.
The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."
-Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Top 10 Reasons to Create Art

Sedums and Skull
Copyright 2014 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
Purchase Prints on Fine Art America

1.  To express emotion
If you are angry, happy, sad or in love you can use art to express your emotions.  The purpose of this form of art is to heal the artist by letting out pent up feelings, not to create a product.  If this appeals to you may be interested in the Art Therapy.  This form of art has its roots in the German Expressionist Movement, a group of artists who used art to reflect their internal world and were influenced by Freud, Jung and other psychologists.

2.  To communicate our values
Art can convey a message to the viewer.  Political art clearly goes into this category.  In addition if you create landscape art because the environment is important to you; you are communicating your values.  We often create more of what we want to see in the world.

3.  To open our eyes
When we look at a flower for hours on end in order to recreate it in artistic form we view it in a whole new way.  We break it apart, dissecting it until every detail is more apparent to us.  Art can open our eyes to the miraculous patterns found in nature.  We observe our world and appreciate it more fully.  Henry Miller said it best when he wrote, "The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."

4.  To challenge ourselves
Sometimes we need direction.  Focusing our energy on accurately depicting a mountain stream can help an artist find direction in life.  Pushing ourselves to the limit of our abilities is healthy and promotes innovation.

5.  To share our experiences
Whether it is in celebration or anger we often want to share our experiences.  Art can be used to help others understand what it is to be another person with different values, skin tone or culture.  When a truth is expressed people listen.  This is a powerful form of art that can transform cultures.

6.  To honor the sacred beauty of creation
Many artists have a reverence for the natural world.  They use art as a way of honoring that messy beauty.

7.  To create more beauty in the world
William Morris founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement wrote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not believe to be useful and believe to be beautiful."  He believed that we should not fill our lives with ugly things.  Artists who fit this category create art with the purpose of filling our homes and communities with more beauty.  The Aesthetic Movement and the writings of Oscar Wilde may interest artists with this purpose.
A word of caution: do not be fooled by standard measures of beauty.  Beauty is not easily defined.  It is in the eyes of the beholder.  Robert Henri wrote, "Beauty is an intangible thing; can not be fixed on the surface, and the wear and tear of old age on the body cannot defeat it.  Nor will a 'pretty' face make it, for 'pretty' faces are often dull and empty.  Beauty is never dull and fills all spaces."

8.  To understand the human experience
When we create art it can show us a lot about ourselves.  It can show what we are afraid of, what we value, what we love... what we are attracted to.  Art reflects the experiences of the people who create it.  I often see my students be shocked when they expose their inner lives to the outer world.  They are surprised at what they see in that mirror. 

9.  To articulate our purpose
Art can be used to narrow down our goals.  It can help us to articulate what it is we want to say before we make our final exit.  Sometimes I will have students who think that they will use painting to express their message but soon find that writing or another art form would suit their needs best.  

10. To enjoy ourselves
Sometimes it is as simple as that.  We create art for the enjoyment of creating art.  When we do this we are participating in the great cosmic dance, being active, being alive.  Many art movements have campaigned for this purpose.  The Decadent Movement proclaimed "L'art pour l'art... Art for art's sake."  After Zen Buddhist writings such as "Zen and the Art of Archery" were published in the west artists strived to enjoy the process of art more than the product.  The Process Art Movement and Jackson Pollack fell into this category.   

In conclusion...

The reasons we create art are as diverse as the many artists of the world.  Sometimes artists conflict because they do not understand that the motivation for another artist may be different from their own.  I have seen artists bad mouth one another and I am tired of it.  Through art we can come to better understand ourselves and each other.  Art is unique to the human experience.  If we truly value diversity and the worth of every person we must strive to understand the various reasons for creating art.
Reasons to create art can influence style but it doesn't have to.  Another element to respecting each other is recognizing when a style is different from our own it does not mean the art is "bad" or "not art."  There is room for a diverse range of styles in the art world.  Just as "one man's junk is another man's treasure" recognize that just because a work of art doesn't speak to you it might be important to someone else.

May these reasons to create art inspire you to find your voice.  I want to hear what you have to say.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Marsh on Carrot Island North Carolina

Marsh on Carrot Island North Carolina
Copyright 2014 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
24" x 36"

I had to kayak from Beaufort to get to this amazing spot on Carrot Island.  When I arrived there were 28 horses gathered around this marsh pond drinking.  Gradually they walked away down the well worn horse path in groups of 5 or 6.  Then the sunset became glorious with two layers of clouds being pushed in from the sea.  I can only hint at how overwhelmingly beautiful this place was.

"Any landscape is a condition of the spirit."
-Henri Frederic Amiel

And here is a small study I made before doing the big one...
Sunset Study
Copyright 2014 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Orange Season

Orange Season
Copyright 2014 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"

"There is no blue without yellow and without orange."
-Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Street in Berlin

Street in Berlin
Copyright 2014 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
This is my holiday gift to the mysterious stranger walking the streets of Berlin. 
(Hope he likes it!)

"It is all a matter of love.
the more you love a memory,
the stronger it is."
-Vladimir Nabokov

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rose in the Cafe

Rose in the Cafe
Copyright 2014 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"

Art is like a bright star up ahead in the darkness of the world.  It can lead peoples through the darkness.  Art is a guide for every person who is looking for something.
-Thornton Dial

As my fall classes wind to a close I have been thinking a lot about how art is a language.  We use paintings to express what we cannot say in words. There is so much that we all want to share including the sacred beauty around us. As the earth quiets with the stillness of winter may you all find the voice to express what you are longing to say. 

"The human heart is full.  Each pulse beat draws us towards new frontiers.  The life within us calls out for expression.  This is what creativity serves.  It endeavors to bring some of our hidden life to expression in order that we might come to see who we are."
-John O'Donohue