Hermine Harman

I am a color maximalist.

photo of Hermine Harman Flower Portal

This is My Story

I have spent much of my life as a feminist and an advocate, seeking social justice, and practicing social work while continuing to paint. In college, I majored in Social Work. (While I did take a few art classes, it was not a career path for me but a healing modality.) My life turned topsy-turvy in 1991 with the suicide of my only child, Jason. At the time, I was in private practice as a therapist in Southern California. My friends sent me to the Esalen Institute, the original personal growth center founded in the 1960’s where Gestalt Therapy and Rolfing were originated. After five days there, I entered the “Creativity and Healing” program for a month and began the slow, lengthy process of healing with art and other modalities.

I worked hard during the days in the beautiful gardens of Esalen, weeding and planting and grieving. I learned that grief was like pulling weeds, one weed at a time. Later, I began to think of grief coming in waves out of nowhere and then receding back into the ocean of emotion. There are many waves of feeling represented in my artwork.

The first year after Jason’s death, I organized a ritual honoring his passage and my birth as an artist. I burned my first mother’s grief mask in the fire pit, with fifty of my friends witnessing and participating in the ritual. I realize now that the ceremony was my first performance art piece.

In the last year of my “dark night of the soul” in Big Sur, I entered a juried show at The Henry Miller Library and Gallery and was one of three artists selected. I sold several works from that exhibition and felt deeply validated as an artist. One of my pieces is in the Esalen Collection.

During my third winter in Esalen — a winter of power outages, floods, and road closures — I visited a lifelong friend on Maui. I ended up falling in love with Maui and a man I met at Little Beach. It was my first time at a nude beach, although nudity had been common at Esalen’s cliffhanging hot tubs. I sat at the beach that January day, painting and trying to be nonchalant, though I felt anything but that.

After a year and a half of commuting between Esalen and the islands to date my beloved, I moved to Maui in April of 1995. I continued to paint and my wonderful painting teacher brought her workshops to Maui, teaching several times at my home. I produced an abundance of work during these inspirational classes.

I have taken several workshops at the Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center on Maui and painted in the solitude of my home studio. I have been known as “The Party Queen“ of Maui Meadows and have had as many as 125 people in my home for Halloween with theater, dancing, food, and libations. When I was suffering from female problems, I did a performance at one of these large gatherings and destroyed a fibroid painting (part of a fibroid series) to rid myself of the problem. I magically believed the ritual would relieve me of the necessity to have surgery.

For my 70th birthday, I had an incredible time creating, and bringing to life, a Celebration of Life Event. Many of the paintings that were done specifically for that event, are now featured here, including “Cirque Hermine”.

I have also begun a new and exciting series, called, “Color Bursts”, and have enjoyed learning new techniques and finding new ways to use glitter. These Color Bursts opened the door to being chosen as an artist at The Enchantress Gallery by Bootsy in Wailea. I have been selling my creations since then and have grown as an artist experimenting with many new techniques. I have done several political pieces and continue to do socially conscious pieces. Of course I still paint my emotions and process.

During some health challenges, the co-owner of the gallery called and told me he wanted us to do Albert Einstein together….so, we began a challenging collaboration as the canvas was at least three times the size I was used to working. However the finished product sold within 3 weeks of being in the Gallery.
Somehow, my feminist roots called out and I began a series of female icons, beginning with “The Essence of O” (Oprah) nearly completed. I am now working on The Divine Bette Midler and have a long list of women who have inspired me, and many others, with their contributions to the world!

Enjoy my colorful world on Maui.

Hermine Harman Studio Collage

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