Monday, June 4, 2018


Parágo is Here!

4' x 4' Parágo by Lorenda Harder -- Mixed media acrylic

Parágo, meaning "produce" in Greek gave me particular challenges due to the nature and application of its mixed media and techniques: Layering paper, colours, lines, scumbling, dry brush, metallics. I'm quite pleased with the result because, although it is a significant size at four by four feet, it has an overall easygoing feel to it. I get the sense that I am sitting in the vineyard sipping a well-aged red - It holds a warm and welcoming presence. Have you ever slipped into a vineyard on a late autumn day to meander down the row?

Friday, April 13, 2018


Escarpment Horse    12" x 12" Acrylic on Baltic Birch

Sometimes, when I paint, the piece immediately emerges. Other times, I struggle for hours, days or even weeks to get it under control and to draw out the beauty I have seen in nature. I suppose the process is a little bit like raising children. Some fight and squirm while others gently flow through into adulthood.

The image here of "Escarpment Horse" (above) emerged almost immediately when I found it in the natural grain of the baltic birch on which it is painted. I was able to leave a lot of the wood for colour in my background and even bits on the horse itself. "Niagara Vineyards" (below) on the the other hand, was like wrestling with the actual pruning of the thing! I worked on it's whole season: from young grapes and green foliage to the late fall, the grapes sweetening and the leaves crisping up along with my painting.

I love both paintings equally yet differently, like I do my children: Their characters, their motivations, their personalities and my own differing investments into their lives. I encourage you to both embrace your challenges and ride on the wings of growth...where ever you find them.

Niagara Vineyard Concords .  12" x 12" Acrylic on Baltic Birch 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Under the Clutter III

(I couldn't help myself. Sorry.)

DeGLUTTING. . .It's all about letting go.

I first heard this term as a teen. It meant not being gluttonous with STUFF. I liked the term but somehow its application alluded me - I REALLY did get good at decluttering because as I practised getting rid of things, even more would come into my life! I was gluttonously attempting to hold on to the stuff of memories. When I finally recognized that it was my MIND that was gluttonous, the inner release of anxious "glutting" starting to become deglutting (not just decluttering). See my previous post: Clutterer II. Now my overarching goal is to MAKE room in my mind and life for creative expression and not worry if memories fade or even go away. I do this practically by NOT collecting more things than I can manage and by living more in the moment than in the past. As my last post on cluttering and my final challenge...Remember: Once and for all DeGLUT, don't just deClutter again and again!

The 7 Steps to Freedom CHALLENGE


1. Get 4 boxes, a felt marker, a garbage bag and label each box thus:

  • Box 1 - Give Away (this can be stored in a closet until it is full)
  • Box 2 - Garbage (lined with bag)
  • Box 3 - Sell (optional - for garage sale or online)
  • Box 4 - Decide Later (optional, if needed) meaning I'll-pack-it-away-and-decide-later box (This box MUST be dated one month from today).

2. CLEAR OUT: Clear everything off the surface/area and clean it. Enjoy that moment of NOTHING there and brew yourself a cuppa.

3. NEEDS: Next, pull out everything that you need (to use, not just to look at) and place it near where you will use it. If there is nothing you need, go to the next step.

4. QUESTION PERIOD: Go through the rest of the items asking questions about each one until it finds its way onto the surface/area or into one of the boxes. Questions like "Does this item give me joy or a feeling of guilt? Do I like it? Do I care for it? Would taking a picture of it suffice? Might someone else appreciate or be able to use it more than I do (the pass-it-on principle)?

5. ARRANGE: Now arrange everything pleasingly on the surface/area, without overcrowding. For decorative items, think about groupings in threes (or other odd numbers), group blending items together (you can grab items from elsewhere in the house). You've created a quiet and beautiful place for your eyes and mind. This is a gift to yourself.

6. ENJOY: Enjoy your new space. It's a great beginning. This is how I started and now I have many usable and pleasing places in my home.

7. REMEMBER: Remember to visit the "Decide Later" box which you have labeled with the day/month. You may find it's easy to give it up then. I DO admit I have a couple "Keepers" bins to hold childhood or very sentimental things, but I take photos of many things I thought I would need to keep the rest of my life. What freedom to let it go!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Under the Clutter II

REcovErIng Clutterer

This is what USED to be my favourite mug which read "a creative mind is rarely tidy. . ." I loved it because it was so funny (there WAS truth in the funny). However, it also silently haunted me as I brainwashed myself into thinking it had to be true inside and out, always and forevermore, Amen. Eventually I connected my identity to most of the things I owned. This meant it became hard to let go of things because it felt as though they were actually a part of me!

With a tendency to clutter, I've probably read a dozen organizational books in an effort to gain control (all with great tips and tricks and systems but few of those bandaids stuck).  It is only when I realized that I needed to make more space in my mind first in order to see any permanent changes in my environment. I had to realize that the truth was that my stuff owned me and not the other way around. And for me to become productive creatively, I had to make space outside (in my workspace) while simultaneously releasing the clutter inside (my head). Recognizing this was half the battle...

BUT I am still working on the other half.  Since that revelation, I have been asking questions like:
  1. "If I get this new item, what old item will it replace (space and use wise)?"
  2. "Why do I feel I need to keep this?" 
  3. "Do I even like this thing?" 
  4. "Does this item give me a sense of joy or guilt?" 
  5. "Could I just take a photo of it and pass it along to someone who would actually use it?"
Now as an active "Recovering Clutterer", I have been able to focus my creativity more and become a little more efficient. I feel relief. I have more time to paint. I could highly recommend several resources, but it is the 12-step program Clutterers Anonymous that I find gets closest to the heart of the matter for me.

This room featuring one of my pieces is NOT my living room - YET.  
But look how good she looks when there is enough space for her! 

4' x 5' acrylic on canvas "Branches through the Snow II"

P.S. I gave the mug away a long time ago.

CHALLENGE for the day: PICK out a piece of art, sculpture or photograph that you already have in your home and clear the area around it. Make the space an uncluttered place to FEATURE it. Send me pictures!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Under the Clutter I

DecorARTing or Creative Clearing

As an artist, I love opportunities to apply my skills in various areas. And as a recovering clutterer as well, I was thrilled to recently help someone streamline a few rooms in her lovely home. After taking a hard look at what I had to work with and asking several questions, I put the practical items where she uses them, stored a few items that might find a new place elsewhere in the home (or a new home all together for things she didn't even like or care about) and then featured the most artistic pieces in groupings of what I call "like attracts like" items - one theme pulls them together (Colour, purpose, material, etc.) while being sure there was variety within the theme (eg. size or texture). This freed the eye to appreciate the many beautiful things she owned - which also showed off her innate talent of finding gorgeous stuff! Here is just one example.



Today's Challenge: 
Go try "creative clearing" a surface for fun and inner peace. 
Send me your pictures!

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 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.