Posts Tagged ‘dawn spencer hurwitz art’


“moon” egg tempera on paper , 1992 DSH

Some say that artists are always making ‘themselves’ in their work.  Much of my early visual art work was indeed self portraiture.  It makes sense since I was studying the figure from a very classical point of view, and as I was the model who was always available any time I was ready to work, self portraits were a common occurrence.  It was also a form of self exploration…you know the kind one does in their early twenties (and for many, well beyond).  In my last year of art school I started creating more symbolic work and incorporating the self-portrait into various forms.  I’m blown away at how these images and objects from what feels like a past life have found their way back into my consciousness and into my current work.  These older images have become the fodder for making new images for a new perfume and holding space for the energy behind what will be the first launch of 2017 for DSH Perfumes.

“moon, 2” egg tempera on paper, DSH 1992

“lilith” egg tempera on paper, DSH 1992

I can’t yet announce the name and the full concept, but later this month I’ll be able to spill the beans.  ( I clearly can’t wait!)  It’s for a ‘mystery project’ that really resonated  with me and how I feel I am navigating the world right now (slowly emerging from the early childhood phase of mommyhood, and post-election).  The project also prompted a major ‘looking inward’ and even, a digging into the past to find these artifacts.

“totem” clay pot 1992, DSH

I thought that for this post I would just share some of the images that helped inspire what’s coming out next.   It’s all art work from the early 1990’s that is coming back around to feel perfectly relevant now.  It’s amazing how these pieces fit seamlessly into the project and the visual story telling of the design.  And in terms of the kind of artistic and spiritual integration that I am going through right now, these couldn’t be more powerful.  I hope that you like them.  ❤







Read Full Post »


Something is happening to me.  I can’t seem to get my head (and nose) out of the woods these days.  It’s a trend that seems to be popping up in all parts of my creative world: in my own (paltry at the moment) design time at the studio, in my classes with private students, and even in terms of what I am wanting to photograph right now. Of course,  I have been working with conifers and fougeres in my studio for awhile now, but I think that this shift in my psyche really set in in 2011, right around the time I got pregnant (hmm…) with some more classical constructions as well as some more modern ‘abstractions’ in the making.  The thing is that while I have been dancing around this concept I have had few actual launches to show for this line of exploration.

Last year’s Matsu, which was a rather abstract, Japanese influenced ‘pine’ scent expressed a humid, green woody concept with a brilliant bergamot flash at the opening (and containing no actual pine of conifers) is really the only launch that I have managed.  Until (sometime close to) now.  Well, I’m not ready to launch this particular design just yet but I think that it is finished.  It’s a much more literal experience of a pine / spruce fragrance but it doesn’t read at all like pinesol or worse, in a way, a bad interpretation of Polo or Pino Sylvestre.



Something that may have spurred on this creative indulgence in the conifer arena has been a lovely friendship that has sprung up between myself and the micro-distiller, Eric Bresselsmith and his wonderful company that features *rocky mountain region* materials.  I have been getting new materials from him for years without having the space or time to really jump in and work on crafting the perfumes I have in mind when he shows me samples. Finally, I have little by little managed to get something going with some very wonderful and rare aromatics.  I want to take a quick moment to touch upon a few of my favorites that Eric has brought me: Concolor White Pine (distilled from recycled Christmas trees in Aspen, CO),  Common Juniper (a shrub that I have torn out of my own yard to make way for a rose garden but yields a lovely, GREEN take on juniper oil), Engelmann Spruce (a delicious, slightly fruity, airy, clear as a bell, spruce) and Great Western Sage (a dry, spiky but gorgeous sage scent.  If you like smudge sticks, this is for you!).  Eric also makes some very wonderful and creative co-distills using the woods, leaves/needle and cones of the conifers sometimes mixed with shrubs and sometimes different but similar species of evergreens.  I really like some of the juniper and cedar co-distills that I have tried.

One of the most incredible and very rare oils that I have gotten (and used in this new design) is an infusion of 50 year old resin crystals in pure pinion essential oil.  It is magical in the extreme.  It was also a labor of love as Eric told me that he was out with the ancient felled pinion armed with tweezers picking the crystals off, little by little, by hand.  As soon as I smelled it I just said, I want this.  I didn’t ask how much; I just knew that I needed to get as much as I could afford.  Seve de Pin (Pine Sap) is based upon this beauty.  There is wider story than just wanting to showcase a new material, but I had started this design years ago and it seemed to be waiting for this last ingredient to make everything fall into place.



Seve de Pin was partially inspired by the smell in the night air on my first overnight trip away from my parents when I was 4 years old and in pre-school summer camp.  *The trees were speaking to me all night long* and in this construction, there is the distinctive smell that was in the air (in the drydown) that night.  I would know this smell anywhere.  It is mysterious and ancient and all-knowing.  Like the earth itself.  And that there are secrets that may be revealed to those who listen (and smell it).  Along with this sense of peering into other realms, there is comfort and protection, too, inherent in this aroma.  Like lying cozily on a soft bed of needles, nestled in the trees with only the night sky above;  you are sure to see the shooting stars.



There is another inspiration, which was simply the incredible sensation of the first clear, oozing pine sap from the pine trees in my own back yard each Spring.  Maybe the reason this scent has been so long in the making is that I can only really work on it during a few weeks in Spring; I need experience that wonder first hand.  The new sap is unlike the aged sap that you find incrusted upon a more worldly tree and I wanted to really capture the airy freshness of that first exudation.

It has been interesting to construct this from almost all natural ingredients (99% botanical) with just a touch of green note accord in the top and an augmented resinous base to give the architecture something firm and stable.  Naturals have their intrinsic beauty but many times it is just impossible to get the structure to hold it’s form.  At least the form that I am working to sculpt or to use the former metaphor, build.  The tendrils of the naturals want to collapse on themselves and rush to be together in the middle.  It sometimes takes a lot of skill to get the pieces to confirm to the shape that you have in mind; something that is quite vertical as opposed to horizontal (landscape) or rounded / voluminous (a bouquet of sorts).  These few synthetic structure “poles” support the flickering nuances of the different shades of green leaves and needles, the cones and most of all the sap that dries into the crusty, delicious resin.  The fluidity of the design needs to be upheld.  It is sap and air after all.

I’m deliriously happy about the final result, I have to say.  Ask anyone who has been around me as I test it.  They will tell you of a crazy woman who can’t stop huffing the blotter (I almost NEVER do this) and swooning about, rolling her eyes in ecstasy.  I am that child again under the stars hearing the whispering murmurs of the trees and dreaming of the possibilities of life.


I’m not sure when I am releasing this new perfume BUT I would love to share~

So, I am offering a drawing for 3ml EdP deluxe spray samples to 3 lucky winners.  Please leave a comment about your favorite conifer, or evergreen scent or better yet a favorite scent memory.  The drawing is open until June 8 at midnight MST.  Good Luck!

* images are all my own.  you can view some and others by me at my instagram page.

Read Full Post »

It’s not always that it’s been a long, hard Winter or that blooming things get me going (which is true).  No matter what, Spring inspires me.  I get this rush of creative juice and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to keep up with all that I would love to do.  This feeling is probably universal, right?  Doesn’t everyone feel like this?  I mean, doesn’t everyone write themselves like 10 emails with ideas every day or so at this time of year??  (Hmmm, I hope you didn’t all answer no.  I just might feel funny about that).  Well, anyway, I’ve been on this jag of walking with Xander, sniffing around, sending those emails to myself, and snapping pictures for weeks now.  I just wish that I could be in the studio 24 hours a day to work out all of these concepts.   For now, I will just have to be satisfied with the *writing down* in my notebooks, and sharing some of my images.



crab apple blossoms on my walk



grape hyacinths with honey bee in my yard


first crocus

first crocus



pink bouquet

pink wreath




a perfect fougere


apple blossom

apple blossom


muguet green

muguet green




I hope a walk in my garden and around my neighborhood brings you joy and inspiration, too.  Have a very happy (and fragrant) week~~~  ox


images: all the images are my own; more in this series can be found here at my instagram page.


Read Full Post »

"june bouquet", egg tempera on paper, 1997, DSH

Well, when it rains it pours…again.  Two posts in two days??  WOW!  Am I on a roll?  I wish.  It’ll probably take another week or two before I get a chance to do another blog post.  But I am here now and I’m here to celebrate: It’s my anniversary.  My Blogging Anniversary.  🙂 It was exactly one year ago today that I started my little blog project and while I had every intention to dedicate more time to writing, I think I have found a happy medium in terms of expressing what I am doing and while I’m at it, gaining more practice writing.

Before I started the blog I had been in contact with a number of other bloggers and artists with blogs and was given such encouragement… I can’t tell you how much it still means to me.  (Thank you for so much inspiration and good thoughts.  I am eternally grateful).  Looking back, it’s been an incredible year filled with projects and more projects and so much artistic growth.  It’s been my pleasure to share it with you and I look forward to what comes next.

As a big thank you to all of my subscribers, regular and sometimes readers and dear friends, I want to do a draw for a big prize: ** a Bespoke perfume creation.   This prize was mentioned on a thread of a facebook perfumista group not too long ago and I am happy to oblige.  So, to enter, please leave a comment about what your dream perfume would be.  I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.  The draw is open for a week, so it will end on June 20 at 11:59 pm.  Good Luck everyone!   And while you’re here, maybe you’d like to subscribe as well.  Those  growing numbers sure do make me smile.

Read Full Post »

Well, it’s really “Up and Adam Atom”… but “Up and At Them” is a funny phrase that I love to say. (It’s a quote from the Simpsons. ‘Rainier Wolfcastle’, if I am not mistaken.). It’s what I say to myself when I am ready to get to work; ready to get down to business in my studio or in my life. It gets me excited and energized. Even though yesterday was a Sunday, in January no less, and you would think that I’d be relaxing, it was one of those days when I make plans. Lots of plans. Inspired plans? I hope so… since I’ve sketched almost 10 perfume ideas and as many jewelry pieces. Now I have to get to the real work of creating. (That’s when I’ll know if anything will come from yesterday’s contemplations). So, today it’s off to the studio to work.

pink amethyst with Tahitian pearl & black spinel, rose gold pendant, DSH 2009

Normally, Monday is part of my weekend, so I am not usually going to work at the Essense Studio, more like in my painting or jewelry studio or something like that. Not this time. I’ve got big plans and I mean to make use of this intense energy that’s come over me. No hibernating so far this year; instead I’m off to see if I can make some fire and magic, aromatically speaking. We shall see (and smell).

blue midnight, DSH 2011 (digital photo; new years eve 2011)

Wishing you an energetic and enchanted start to your week~

Read Full Post »

Just a quick note to wish everyone a lovely, Merry Christmas (if that’s what you celebrate) and a deliciously starry sky to everyone as a blessing to all.

starry night no.11 (mixed media on canvas, 2007)


Thank you for making this a warm and cozy day to celebrate love and togetherness. Wishing everyone JOY~
oxoxo, Dawn

Read Full Post »

I was so on top of it a few weeks ago… or at least it felt like I was.  Now, look: I am behind again.  It’s Holiday time and I know what comes with that but every year I secretly harbor delusions of grandeur that I will be able to do everything I want and need to do; on time and gracefully. (ha ha ha ha ha: that’s funny).

What that means is that I am just now mentioning that if you are a member of the Denver Art Museum, I will be there *TODAY*, December 6, for their Holiday Trunk Show.  What that also means is that I will be showing the new Sampsuchinon solid perfumes in the carved stone vessels and the Flappers & Pharaohs presentation bottle.

Flappers & Pharaohs Presentation

While I’m announcing things, here’s some other great news I’d love to share about Holiday events and such:

On December 10 and 11 I will be at BMoCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art) for their Holiday Trunk show, not only stocked with the new Holiday Collection Boxes / samplers and with Garden Bathe Aromatherapy Collection boxes, but with a collection of my Gem Art jewelry pieces and some small paintings in tow.  It’s super exciting t be among 40 artists juried into the show and to have the opportunity to help support the Museum with my Art.  *If you’ll be in Boulder, please do stop by…it should be great fun!

waxing philosophic mixed media on paper, 2009

Also on December 11, I will be blasting back from BMoCA to attend  my own party… that’s right: our Holiday Party / Open House at the ESSENSE STUDIO is on for December 11.  It’s starts when we open at noon, for tasty treats and warm drinks, plus the official launch of “December” at the studio; I’ll be there with bells on from 4:30 pm  to 7:30 pm.  (You should also stop by to enter  to win some of our Holiday treasures and for your free sample!)  We’ll be showcasing Mary’s jewelry and Amber’s hand-made cuffs and chokers, too.  It’s going to be a great day!

I’m also thrilled to thank Mary Jarrett, editor of the BOULDER Magazine for her wonderful interview with me in the Winter 2010 / Spring 2011 issue!  I just love that she ‘gets it’ about Aroma Artform and wanted to get the word out about it and the Essense Studio. (Plus, it’s totally cool to see one my images from this Summer’s Quintessence : Multi-Sensory show, “Akasha” in print!!)

akasha, 2010 - multi-media on canvas

And I am so excited to be mentioned in the LA Times.com, in their “Smells like the Season” article.  Winter White is such a soft and delightful scent and I couldn’t be happier to see it get some love.  (Thank you Denise Hamilton!)  Well, the Winter White solid perfume is so incredible that I’m going to have to do a post all about those (solids) soon.

That’s all for now… I am wishing everyone a lovely start to their week!

*ps: Due to popular demand, we’ve decided to extend our Thank You / Holiday sale until December 18!  So you can use code: Holiday10 to get 20% off through 12.18.10.  Enjoy~

Read Full Post »

Well… after the zigs and the zags about that September has afforded thus far, including the fourmile wildfire, I’m getting back on track.  I’ve completed the talk for DAM on Ancient Aromatics of Egypt, although I had wanted to introduce another new scent based on the “aromatics of the Nile” if you will, or aromatics that Egypt is famous for in a more modern sense.  I think that is still to come on my website — so I will have to keep everyone posed about that.  In the meantime,  I want to continue showing you the Quintessence: Multi-Sensory show here with some new images I took of the remaining paintings.

I am very excited about these little paintings that are all part of a triptych”series 3: earth • fire • sky” (although I’m showing them in reverse order).  It’s been several weeks now since the show has been hanging at Naropa and I feel a bit like I am looking at these pieces for the first time again, right now.  I still love the texture and luminescence of the pearl / silver pigment and paint.

series 3 • sky

I also love that as I continue painting with acrylic medium, I am more and more able to feel it like I used to feel oil painting when I worked with that.  Oils have such depth and richness but the hazmat issue still has me worried to use it while I paint in a home studio…even though E. and I both love the smell of oil paint, turps and linseed oil.   Maybe someday we’ll make a good ventilation system for that room and THEN… YES!  But for now I am happy that I m beginning to get what I’d like from acrylics.

series 3 • fire

These painting are only 8X8 inches… there’s a lot going on for such small canvases.  I do love the intimacy of these pieces, though.  This series didn’t have aroma sculpture created in conjunction with them; maybe that’s why they seem wildly silent to me.  Perhaps I will give them ‘voice’ for a future show.

series 3 • earth

I wasn’t able to get a shot of “Elemental Fire: Vermillion without the glare on the glass from the gallery lights but I did include a detail of the paint and markings.  Mmmmmm…yummy colors.  I want to eat a painting like that.

elemental fire: vermillion

detail: elemental fire:vermillion

mercurial nature

“Mercurial Nature” is sort  of another study in Viridian pigment.  The last one I did for my CHROMA series of scents had elements of blue, yellow and white involved; this one is darker (black) but in some ways more pure.  The gold pigment really glows more delicious-ness.  I actually used the Viridian aroma – color as a base for the scent that expresses this painting.  (I think I already mentioned this scent structure in the first post for Quintessence…)

I realize as I’m writing that there’s much more I want to tell you about this show and more images so there will be a third post about this show.  If you want to see more before I get to posting, I would love it if you would visit my new art webpage made at wix.com.  ( http://www.wix.com/dshartstudio/dawnspencerhurwitz ).  It’s not 100% finished (there are still some bugs I want to work out…) but I think it’s pretty good so far.  And hey, I just figured out how to insert a link on the blog so I’m still making strides on my learning curve. 🙂

Happy Friday! to everyone and I hope you have a wonderful weekend~

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: