Thursday, October 8, 2015

Alchemy of Art Podcast, Episode 11: Interview with Jessica Green and "Matisse's Second Life"

"Summer Stripes" Painting by Jessica Green

Podcast also available on Podbean and iTunes

Today's podcast features an interview with the artist, Jessica Green.  She is a member of daily paintworks, who creates stunning landscape and still-life oil paintings.  After teaching art education in a public school setting for 7 years she now runs her own business teaching art camps and classes for children in the Indianapolis area.

See Jessica Green's art blog sharing her journey to complete 500 paintings:
Connect to Jessica Green on facebook:

The story of the day is "Matisse's Second Life," a true story found in the book, "The Alchemy of Art: Stories for the Classroom."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 11" x 14"

I consider my art studio as a kitchen garden. Here, there are artichokes. There, potatoes. Leaves must be cut so that the fruit can grow. At the right moment, I must prune.

I work like a gardener… Things come slowly… Things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen. I must graft. I must water… Ripening goes on in my mind. So I’m always working at a great many things at the same time.
-Joan Miro

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sunflower Fields at Boyer Farm

Sunflower Fields at Boyer Farm, Converse Indiana
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"
This past weekend I participated in the "First Brush of Fall" Paint Out in Converse, Indiana.  I especially enjoyed visiting the sunflower fields at Boyer Farm which is also the location of the Powell Homestead Cabin built in 1848. I can only imagine what it has been like for this family to live on this beautiful farm for so many years!

"Where flowers degenerate man cannot live."

30 Paintings in 30 Days done!  Woohoo!!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Apples on the Tree

Apples on the Tree
Copyright Hirschten 2015
Oil on Canvas 18" x 24"
Prints available on Fine Art America

"The need to express who we are is archetypal; that is both necessary and timeless.  And expressing who we are is less about describing ourselves than it is about letting who we are out in a regular rhythm that is as imperative as breathing.  
Essentially, the life of expression is the ongoing journey of how we heal each other... 
for by telling our stories and listening to the stories of others, we let out who we are and find ourselves in each other, and find that we are more together than alone."
-Mark Nepo

The image of a tree heavy with fruit appeals to my basic hunger.  The archetype of the bountiful harvest attracts us all.  It is my hope that images like this can connect us, showing how their appeal is universal and part of being human.... 
and maybe we can be reminded to be thankful for what we have.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Salt, Sugar and Roses

Salt, Sugar and Roses
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"

Art can die; 
what matters is that it should have sown seeds on the earth... 
It must give birth to a world.
-Joan Miro

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Gladiolas for a Friend

Copyright 2015 Hirschten

A friend of my asked me to create a painting of her favorite flower, Gladiolas.
Oh this most difficult and unusual flower!  Here are three attempts I have made at it... I think I like the last one the best.

Wisdom always breathes, there are exceptions to everything.
-Tama Kieves

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Love Never Dies

Love Never Dies
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 24" x 36"

Love Never Dies
Constant as the sun
We take hands
then another

A long chain
rekindling again and again

We remember every love

Over the years I have compiled a series of paintings called "A Celebration of Sexuality: A Study of Gender."  In it I explored the fine lines between what is feminine and masculine, what unites and divides individuals who are in romantic and sexual relationship to one another, as well as my own desires.

Here is a video on the series for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Three Tomatoes. Finished!

Three Tomatoes
Copyright 2015 Hirschten

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.
-Lewis Grizzard

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three Tomatoes, Stage 2

Three Tomatoes, Stage 2

Probably the happiest period in life is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I also often like the middle stage of a painting.  When the foundation is solid, I can start having fun with the colors, and am in the homestretch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Three Tomatoes, Stage 1

Three Tomatoes, Stage 1

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. 
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
-Winston Chuchill

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Anemone Flowers

Amemone Flowers
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 5" x 7"
Buy the Original Painting Now on Etsy
Prints available on Fine Art America 

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
-Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Monday, September 21, 2015

Just a Study

Rose Study

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.
-Marilyn vos Savant

And then going back to the drawing board.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Blessings on the Table, Finished!

Blessings on the Table
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"
Prints available on Fine Art America
 Buy the Original Painting on Etsy

When you are grateful- 
when you can see what you have-
 you unlock blessings to flow in your life.
-Suze Orman

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Blessings on the Table, Stage 2

You've got to get to the stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing.
-Arthur Ashe

Friday, September 18, 2015

Blessings on the Table, Stage 1

Creativity is always a leap of faith. 
You're faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.
-Julia Cameron

Thursday, September 17, 2015

*FREE* Steps to Painting Mini-Course

This new *free* Steps to Painting Mini-Course is available exclusively to my newsletter subscribers.
Join today:

This includes a PDF ebook and video to guide beginning students through the process of creating an oil or acrylic painting.

(And yes... this is the beginning of my next book!)

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, 
don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Here is the whole painting:
August Flowers
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

August Flowers

August Flowers
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"
When I created this painting last month I got together with a couple of other artist friends.  We chatted and ate cookies as we painted.  Each artist's painting turned out so differently!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Flowers with Apples

Flowers with Apples
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"
Prints Available on Fine Art America

"All your renown is like the summer flower that blooms and dies; 
because the sunny glow which brings it forth,
soon slays with parching power."
-Alighieri Dante 
Here you can see the process as I created the painting....
Painting in progress 1

Painting in progress 2

Painting in progress 3

Painting in progress 4

Monday, September 14, 2015

Flower Study

This small study on paper is one of those experiments in technique.  I was going for a flamboyant wallpaper-ish design... but honestly I am not pleased with the result.  Even though many botanical prints lack a background color in this piece I feel the absence of it.  

I was soooooo much more pleased with this painting of the same set of flowers:
The Heart of Flowers
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"
Prints Available on Fine Art America
Buy the Original Now on Etsy

Oh well.  It is during these 30 day challenges that we experiment.  
Some pieces are more successful than others.  

The true method of knowledge is experiment.
-William Blake

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chrysanthemum Study

Chrysanthemum Study
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 5" x 7"

Why don't you get a haircut?  You look like a chrysanthemum.
-P.G. Wodehouse

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Haus Segen

Haus Segen (House Blessing in German)
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
I have become obsessed with "Fraktur" art lately.  Fraktur means "broken letter" and refers to the distinctive calligraphic font used in these pieces.  These are usually birth certificates and house blessings made by people of German ancestry in the Pennsylvania area.  They used black ink for the general design, words and outlines filling in occasionally with colors.  By the way the "Haus Segen" designs morphed into the now common "Home, Sweet Home" posters.

To see many amazing historic Frakturs read the book "Fraktur: Folk Art and Family."  Or for a more hands-on workbook on how to create your own Fraktur read "Fraktur: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Learning the Craft."

I shared this art form with my elementary age students a few weeks ago.  We used quill pens to create our designs.  They loved it and have a new appreciation for modern pens!

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

Friday, September 11, 2015

African Violets

African Violets
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas

I did this African Violet sitting in the window of my studio.  Their rich velvety texture it difficult to capture!  I love their quiet beauty.

And now your inspirational quote of the day:

"If you don't go after what you want, you will never have it.  
If you don't ask the answer is always no.  
If you don't step forward you are always in the same place."
-Nora Roberts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book Launch Party Tonight!

Buy Now on Amazon
Come one, come all!  You are invited to...
"The Alchemy of Art" Book Launch Party
September 10th 7-9pm
Indianapolis Art Center

I wrote this book while teaching art classes for the Indianapolis Art Center.  While the students created their daily projects I would read art stories to them.  I am happy to announce that this collection is now available to be shared.  If you enjoy it please write an Amazon review and share with fellow art lovers.

Hope to see you there!

(This feels like cheating to make this an entry in the 30 day challenge but honestly this event is eating my time today!) 

The original painting on the cover of the book is of my daughter.  It is named "Birdhouse in your Soul" after the "They Might Be Giants" song.
Birdhouse in Your Soul
Copyright 2015 Hirschten

"It is the artist's business to make sunshine when the sun fails."
-Romain Rolland

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Echo in the Grand Canyon

Echo in the Grand Canyon
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"
"Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down
the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo."
-Don Marquis

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Rose is a Rose

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 5" x 7"

A rose is a rose is a rose.
-Gertrude Stein

In other words things are what they are.  

Unless... it is not a pipe:
Magritte's famous pipe paintings from 1928

But it IS a painting of a pipe.

So my rose isn't really a rose.  
BUT I can safely say that I understand my rose better after having communed with it to create the painting.

Monday, September 7, 2015

African Violets in the Window

African Violets In the Window
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 5" x 7"

Summer's lease hath all too short a date.
-William Shakespeare, Sonnets

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Rose in the Light

A Rose in the Light
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Acrylic on Canvas 11" x 14"
Buy Now on Etsy

Education is the movement from darkness to light.
-Allan Bloom

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Heart of Flowers

The Heart of Flowers
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"
Prints Available on Fine Art America
Buy the Original Now on Etsy

The act of painting is about one heart telling another heart where he found salvation.
-Francisco Goya 

This painting is so very idealistic it hurts!  

It is belongs in the room of a young girl.  My grandmother and mother made me a quilt of these same colors when I was a child.  Feminine and ornate this painting reminds me of the Palace of Versailles and Baroque style.  The flowers that were in front of me last night as I painted it...  they are the objects that are so beautiful they are my salvation.  They are my comfort. 

A contemporary artist can use the findings of all epochs and all styles, from the most primitive literary expressions up to the most refined products of the baroque.
-Juan Goytisolo

Friday, September 4, 2015

Green Silence

Green Silence
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
Oil on Canvas 5" x 7"

Green was the silence, wet was the light.
-Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The End of Summer

The End of Summer
Copyright 2015 Hirschten
8" x 10" Oil on Canvas

Bees do have a smell, you know, 
and if they don't they should, 
for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
-Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine 

And how good is their sight I ask you?