Wednesday, March 8, 2017



Happy International Women's Day!

As we head into March 2017, I can't help but think that this month is aptly named!  It's a time where we march out of winter into spring, we march toward lighter days with daylight savings time (yes we turn the clocks ahead an hour this Sunday!) and we march into the beauty of the unknown!  I know I love waking up to the cacophony of birds this time of year, so spirited and marking the beginnings of warmth. 


Since it's 'marching' month, I've decided to put my best foot forward and pay it forward to a very important cause, the American Heart Association, and help sponsor my friend and former high school Vice Principal, Dr. Thomas Mawhinney, as he walks his 4th year in the Dutchess & Ultser Heart Walks.  Dr. Tom has been in the education system as long as I can remember, serving as a VP at Hoosac Valley Hight school and Bethlehem Central School, in addition to being Principal at Rhinebeck High School for ten years.   In 2012, Dr. Tom suffered a cardiac arrest on Good Friday, while working out at his local gym.  Thankfully, with the help of an EMT working out next to him, he was revived, and a week later (on Friday the 13th no less), had a quardruple bypass.  Grateful for those that saved his life, Dr. Tom now fundraises and annually walks: to help raise awareness, celebrate life, and give back to those who helped save his life.  I have the pleasure of knowing 'Mr. Mawhinney,' as I was used to addressing him back in 1993, during my high school years.  Being known as a 'slight rebel,' or as I see it, 'one who marches to their own beat,' Mr. Mawhinney and I didn't exactly hit it off right away.  I guess you could say I was a teen who questioned and challenged authority and pushed my limits, and perhaps quite a few buttons.  Nevertheless, he persisted in trying to better understand me, and looking back, I can smile about and say that this is someone who went the extra effort, probably one of my first lessons in the power of connection, and for that I am eternally grateful.  So with that, I'd like to pay it forward and am pleased to offer this month's newsletter and promotion!

In honor of Dr. Thomas Mawhinney's fundraising heart walk with the AHA, I am offering my support and donating half of all sales to support his walk.  Beginning March 8 and running until March 22, for any sales made through my websites, I will donate half of all sales to his cause in your name (anonymous if you prefer) and mine.  You will get a a beautiful item of your choosing shipped to you, while also supporting a worthy cause on a local level.  On March 23, I will present a lump sum all donations raised/sponsors directly to the AHA on behalf of his walk.  I hope you share my enthusisam in the connection of friendship and consider paying it forward to celebrate life!


 To read more about the walk/organization, please click here:
 http://www2.heart.org/site/TR?fr_id=2092&pg=personal&px=2101321


To view a list of available work to help fundraise, please visit any of my sites:
http://www.aliherrmann.comhttp://www.aliherrmann.etsy.comhttp://www.theotherali.etsy.com

Friday, March 3, 2017


Memory: sitting & looking, thinking, reflecting, remembering.  It's a tricky thing sometimes.  It is part of us.  It helps make, create and, at times, define us.  I have a friend who swears by my memory and would not question it (as they say, 'an elephant never forgets'); though sometimes I do, based on memory jogs, internal brain misfirings and of course, self doubt.  Regardless, memory has always been strong with me, ingrained or perhaps burned into my brain.  At times it's hard to forget and others hard to let go.  There's both good memories and those that aren't so good, but all those were once experiences that helped shape who we are.  In growth, we take the good memories with the unpleasant ones.  I find sometimes that it's the unpleasant ones that at times are the most defining, leading to growth of character.  And as such, I love the memory of dreams; I don't mean the 'hopes and dreams' in life, but our actual dream state of sleep.  There is something even more peculiar about that type of memory, because many times a dream memory is not so lucid, but rather, tiny bits of information processing in a different functional state, conscious memory vs. sleep-dream sequence, or some filtering of both.  Like a definition, I find writing it all down, yet another function of memory, a written remembrance to look back upon from time to time; much like the art being created to feel and convey the physicality of memory.   

* the image is one of my 6"x6" encaustic paintings, combining layered papers, pigments and drawings: loose images I had saved in a sketchbook from 2004, text from a recent read, and a paper printout of memory that a peer had randomly handed me while teaching a class.  To see more in this series, please visity my website: http://www.aliherrmann.com


Friday, August 15, 2014

Inspired by Travel

Recently I took a trip to the beautifully bucolic, Asheville, North Carolina.  I was staying with a friend in Raleigh and traveling around the state to search for potential places to relocate.  In the past, my memory of traveling to Asheville was at night, either in complete darkness or during a rain storm, white knuckling the winding, uphill roads that lead there.  This time it was a bit different; while still experiencing the travel at night and somewhat white knuckles, I did it with my friend Jen, so we could talk through it together and used Air B&B to find a place to crash for the night.  The following day spent in Asheville, we experienced the River Arts District and saw some exceptional arts & crafts, walked a bit around downtown and stopped at a few local watering holes with too many great craft beer selections to mention here, and crashed locally upon the kindness of strangers, before heading back to Raleigh.  At the crack of dawn, when the first signs of light began to appear, we climbed the hilly paths and started the next part of our journey home.  This time however, the mountains seemed welcoming, even though we were leaving.  They enveloped our path home and we were guided by the most amazing, hazy morning sun rise, as if we were following the sun home.  This small 6" x 6" encaustic piece titled 'Heartland' is a momento of that trip.
Available for sale at https://www.aliherrmann.etsy.com

Friday, June 11, 2010

Artist Interview


Have you met Sarah yet? Sarah is an artist who lives in Paso Robles, CA. She is a painter, knitter, teacher....okay, I could go on, but let's let our interview speak for itself.

1. How did you come to be an artist?

Growing up I showed a strong natural talent toward creative thinking and I was encouraged to pursue artistic challenges whenever presented. My high school art teacher recommended me for a job at a local frame shop and gallery which further enabled me to see art as a career. As I continued on to college studying fine art was my only interest. I spent a few years without being focused on the business of being an artist and allowed other distractions to keep me from taking it to a professional level. A couple of years ago my sister started working as the assistant to the director of the San Luis Obispo Art Center (now the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art), one day an instructor couldn’t make their scheduled class and my sister suggested me as a replacement. That opening allowed me to continue to instruct over the following summer as well as develop a relationship with the Art Center for additional showings and sales. Over the last couple of years I have found a motivation and an interest into creating a body of work that is becoming stronger with each piece.
Currently I spend the majority of my days working solely on my artwork or on the more tedious business aspects. Although a couple days a week I spend a few hours working at The Art Works; a frame shop and gallery in Paso Robles. I have worked there for several years at different levels of involvement developing a relationship more akin to family with the freedom to allow me to focus on my artwork when necessary.

2. Do you show your work in galleries?

I am a continued featured artist at The Art Works; in addition ALTAMIRA Gallery in New York features a selection of originals and prints from my Surfer Series of watercolor paintings. I am also an artist member of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art participating in their Business Exhibit Program which allows me to create and hang a new show every four months at a new location.

3. How do you market yourself/work? What is your best means for this: galleries, markets or internet?

Aside from the galleries and Business Exhibits I already mentioned I primarily market online. I live in what is still a very rural area of California with limited local events that feature fine art. Having global access through the internet is the only way for me to see any substantial viewership. I maintain several social networking venues as well as two shops on Etsy, one for my artwork and one for handmade crafts. I have only been selling and marketing online since February 2009 so I feel it is still a learning process to see the best use of my time.

4. What has been the best internet site/resource for getting your work viewed/sold?

My Etsy shops maintain my highest source of traffic, specifically my art. I have heard Etsy referred to as “social commerce” which to me perfectly describes the keys to having success via Etsy. There are different ways to stay involved in the Etsy community; through teams, creating Treasury galleries as well as the forums. Many Etsy sellers continue marketing throughout Facebook and twitter which further develops the social aspects and networking.
Earlier this year I joined Flickr which has become a wonderful source for views which in turn has sent buyers to my Etsy shops.
While I do not use Twitter to sell directly it has allowed me wonderful feedback from followers when posting images of work in progress. It has also given me invaluable connections to other artists and exposure to art I would not have otherwise seen.


5. How important is money versus the making/selling of your art? Do you make art which has more sellable qualities than others works?

I will admit that having sales in certain subjects does motivate me to create similar pieces but at this time the creation of my art is a high priority for me. I will list new work in my Etsy shop or post an image on Flickr gauging what has the strongest reactions by number of views as well as repeat sales in prints. While some series have developed I still enjoy exploration which leads to work in several styles with various subjects. There are a few signature textures I repeat and I am ever drawn to create images associated with water such as my Umbrella Series, Surfer Series or my abstract paintings filled with bubbles.
My Surfer Series of watercolor paintings has been my most popular work by far, winning awards and selling rather easily compared to some of my other work.

6. What has been the biggest struggle with your art?

As I mentioned my corner of California doesn’t have many venues for shows so finding the right marketplace is a challenge. I appreciate having global access via the internet, but which sites will best represent my variety of artwork to the most interested audience is difficult to gauge. I plan to expand my exposure through additional galleries online this year in hopes of finding a broader base of fine art buyers. The business of marketing is not a task I enjoy; it can be extremely time consuming as well as a huge distraction from creating art. I struggle daily with scheduling all that needs to be done online while finding time to paint and still have a few moments not “working” in some way.

www.sarahjohnafana.etsy.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hours in a Day

Sometimes it seems as if there just aren't enough hours in a day. I would love to say that I get "x amount" of painting in every day, but working as a full time artist also means putting part time hours in at other jobs to help keep income rolling so that I can keep painting. I bring this up because recently I was asked 'how much time do you spend every day painting?' My answer can best be summed up with....'as much as I can get in....even if that means only 1 hour, I say make it a good hour! Typically, I like to spend a few morning hours in the studio, then have lunch, go for a walk, go back to the studio and paint away into early evening, unless I have to go to my part time gig, then I get cut short a few hours on the end. When I feel tired or that the juices aren't flowing, I try to journal, sketch, and work on my jewelry.' My hands are almost always moving and that helps keep the ideas flowing. Not every piece is going to be a brilliant and stunning masterpiece, but I like to see the evolution that happens from one piece to the next; that is very intriguing! And sometimes I hit upon a stroke of genius!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unusual Inspiration

People often ask me where I draw inspiration from to make my art. While this may seem quite simple enough of an answer, it is not. Perhaps most of the time, I would say that 'nature is my biggest inspiration. Seed pods are my favorite things to see, collect and paint! I've had a fascination with wooden boxes for a long time and seed pods remind me of them, but more so on the level of Pandora's box and the mysteries of what's on the inside! Seasonal changes and colors are also a great inspiration, as I am fortunate to live in New England....the smell of mud, watching something grow, mature, change, decay....life cycles. I do love science on many levels: chemisty, botany, geology, so these do play somewhat of an inspiration. Most importantly I think the act of creating art inspires the next pieces and so on.' While this is the broadest sense to describe where I find inspiration, it is not always the case; often times I am in the most random of places when I feel, hear or see something. For example, just the other day, while playing hostess at my part time job, I saw residual watermarks on a serving tray that reminded me of a lingering oak leaf, sprouting in the breeze, clinging to it's twig-like branch for dear life, while acorns, pods and berries drifted in the wind around it. This reminded me of an ink-blot image, oozing the potential to be more than just watermarks; the potential to be an ink painting that perhaps gets a few touches of acrylic highlights.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

By the Light of Mars


I don't quite know how to describe it, but when the new year rolls around, I feel somehow different, as if the world around me is changing and I'm not quite ready to settle into it. I don't have a brainstorm of life altering ideas....and with my art, I like to keep that ball rolling from the year's end. Thankfully I've had a few custom requests to keep me busy on that end! So today, while I was preparing my papers and materials for one such request, I decided that I would create a piece that symbolized my current mood...one of floating, drifting, and moving in a direction to unknown changes and distant horizons. It's no surprise that I used this murky, yet fiery orange: one of my favorite colors to wear. However, while I was making this piece, I began to wander in the dreamy floating of these pods, that they began to take a journey to uncharted visions. Somewhere while getting lost, I realized that I felt like I should be on Mars, alone, searching for whatever it is that evokes that new year feeling.