Thursday, February 21, 2019

Flowers, flowers, flowers - and a Mexican Koko!

 Brown-eyed Susans
Oil on black canvas, 14x14
Please click here to email me for price and availability

AFTER A WEAK show in Tubac and a round of self-doubt and self-examination, I dove back in and started painting again, and it felt great.

I have a solo show in July and August at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, in Norfolk, VA, and I need 30-40 paintings for it. So I decided to paint florals, and just let the paint flow and take me where it takes me.

You people - the community that has grown up around my paintings - you people are so very sweet and so very supportive, it takes my breath away sometimes.

I write about the bad times as well as the good to share the experience, with you who love and admire and buy my art, and with other artists, especially younger ones, who might think that they are the only ones who doubt, who question, who wonder about their work and their direction. I've been making and selling art for a little while now - and that is not false modesty, but the truth: In terms of people making their living at art, I'm still a neophyte.

But I'm successful, and people buy and collect and love my paintings - and still, I question my direction, my purpose, my way. I wish artists with vast experience would share more about their doubts and missteps. I'd love to hear their questions and their answers.

Thank you, all of you who wrote and sent me your love and support. I truly appreciate it, and it always, always helps me gather my courage.

And that is what I'm doing. I'm experimenting, I'm painting with faith and verve, I am going to go where the path leads me, and I'm not painting scared. And guess what? It feels great.

Inset - Peonies, 6x6
Above - Peonies and Tiger Lilies, 12x36
Below, Bouquet on White, 16x16


DAD AND PAULA and I went to Nogales, Mexico, last week, so Paula could have some dentistry work done. They, and all their friends - and a number of other people I know - cross the border from Nogales, Arizona, to Nogales, Sonora, regularly for dentistry. The dentists are first-class, and the work is miles cheaper and way quicker. It's often more economical to fly to Tucson, get a hotel, drive to Nogales and have your dental work done, than to go to your own dentist down the street. To the right is the dentist in his waiting room. Below, Nogales, Sonora. 

Above, the border going into Mexico by car. Below, Paula walking toward the border you cross on foot. Dad and Paula park in Nogales, Arizona, and then walk across the border. Apparently, the line for cars to cross back into the US can be very long. 

Above, a Mexican Chinese restaurant. Below, a Mexican Koko! 

Look through the fence at the border return, above, and you can see the metal fence, now lined with razor wire, separating Nogales, Sonora, from Nogales, Arizona. Below, the line to get back into the US. It looked pretty long, but took us only about 25 minutes. 

Perro de la Dia

IT'S THE MEXICAN Koko, above! For those of you who might not be able to conjure up an image of the Virginian Koko, I have included a photo of her, below. Amazing likeness, si? 

A Final Thought

"Art has many avenues; love is carried through many vessels. Your oceans are your colours, your ship is your brush and your treasures are in your heart." 

- Moncy Barbour

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

On Deep Creek Road

THE SHOW IN TUBAC, while not a loser of a show, wasn't great in terms of sales. I met some truly lovely people, visitors and artists alike, and made some marvelous connections, some of which will last for life, I think - and patrons and supporters of my work bought some paintings.                                                                                                                           It was excellent on a human level, and was not a disaster financially, but it was a long, slow, and very cold show. Standing outside in 40-degree weather, with a cold wind blowing, for 10 hours or so, to bring in $35, well, that's a tough day.                                                                                                                    Inevitably, a day like this, a show like this makes me question my direction, my production, my choices, even my talent. I talk positively to myself, I remind myself that I believe truly in what I'm doing, and that my job is to talk to people, listen to them, share my story if they're interested, hand out cards, invite them to sign up for my newsletter. And bring the art to them, the best art I can bring. But doubt creeps in. 

It's all an opportunity to critique my paintings honestly and even brutally, and that is OK. 

So, for your consideration, I'm posting my newest mosaic painting, at the very top, and the original painting I made of the scene, below. I like them both, I have to say, though they are very different. I'd love to hear your insights. 


MY NEXT SHOW is the Rio Grande Spring Festival in Albuquerque, March 8-10, 
at the Lujan Exhibit Complex at the Expo NM Fairgrounds. 
I'm glad to say that this will be an indoor show. 

Dog of the Day

It's Ringo Starr, whose humans made and sold macrame jewelry just up the road from me during the Tubac show. Ringo was friendly and very well behaved.
Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at

A Final Thought

"The purpose of art is not a rarified, intellectual distillate - it is life, intensified, brilliant life." 

-Alain Arias-Misson

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Curly, Larry & Moe

Curly, Larry & Moe 
Oil on black canvas, 20x20 / Available soon at District Arts, in Frederick, MD

This has been an exciting and busy stretch for me, as faithful followers of this blog can tell by my prolonged silence. I spent January painting commissions, painting for galleries, painting for shows - and somehow, I feel light on supply, in spite of all that painting. But it's a good problem to have, really! 

As I write this, I am in Tubac, AZ, visiting my dad and stepmother, in advance of the Tubac Festival of the Arts, which starts on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. I won't know my booth space until set-up time on Tuesday. I'll post it on Facebook then, and on my website, The photo to the left shows me and my dad, together on Saturday at the Arts Center in Tubac. Dad was 90 in September, and is doing great. He volunteers at the Arts Center, knows everyone there and has a keen eye for good. art. 

I've had the good fortune to be invited to show and sell my work - including Curly, Larry & Moe - at District Arts, 15 North Market St., Frederick, MD. ( The gallery, which is set to open later in the month, if all goes well, is owned by Staci and Bill McLauchlan, who are wonderful artists I met years ago, doing shows. Knowing them, and seeing the artists involved, I am sure the gallery is going to be spectacular. If you're in the area, please stop in. 

I'll have Nine Honkers (below) with me at the Tubac Art Festival. Hope to see you there! 

 Nine Honkers
Oil on black canvas, 20x60

Scenes from the Road

I STOPPED IN Robertson, Alabama, at the Oasis Travel Center, and was delightfully surprised and amused. The place sort of defies explanation - and is ridiculously fun. You enter through a giant VW microbus, find yourself face to face with a pirate ship, and then find an 18-wheeler, a school bus and a variety of fun sculptures, T-shirts, snacks, sodas and entertainment inside. It's a scream! I will make a point of stopping there any time I'm on I-10. 

Dog of the Day

It's Lulu - a/k/a Princess Yum-Yum - ready for bed. 
She doesn't really sleep this way - but my guess is that she believes she should! 

A Final Thought

"Every creative act involves a new innocence of perception, 
liberated from the cataract of accepted belief."

- Arthur Koestler

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

One More Wrinkle

September Song Reprise
Oil on black canvas, 10x10, $125
Please email me at if you want this painting! 

So, to add another dimension to the musings in the most recent post, here's a "regular" painting of the same scene as the loose mosaic of "September Song."  Your thoughts? 

My thoughts have swirled around the concept of just painting, however I feel like painting on any given day, at any given moment, and if the one painting is completely different in style and approach from the one before it or the one to follow, well, so be it. I will do what I can to make my booth at shows look like a crazy person didn't set it up, and aside from that, just do what calls out to be done. 

I had another idea, too - I have a solo show in July at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, and I am contemplating doing three views of each scene that I paint - a "regular" painting, a mosaic and an abstract. I am pretty excited about this idea! I'll let you know more as the process progresses. 

Dog of the Day

Peter and I were heading out yesterday when we saw something in the road, down Bayview. A piece of newspaper? A box? Nope - it was Dave Shields's dog, whose name I think is Lola, though perhaps it's something out. Dave is working on a house down there, and the dog was tied to something, but loosely enough that she could lay in the sunshine out in the road. That's the kind of town Wachapreague is. Dogs can - and do - nap in the roads here.

A Final Thought

"Art is born of humiliation."

- W. H. Auden

Monday, December 17, 2018

Three Mosaics

"Map of My Heart"
Oil on black canvas, 36x36
Please email me at for price and availability

I STUMBLED INTO "mosaic" painting early this year, and have spent a lot of time and energy on these paintings. A year later, I find myself loving - and questioning - them. 

What I love: 
  • They call to me.  I find myself seeing the landscape in bits and pixels, focusing on how to build these daubed landscapes, being drawn more and more to views that can be painted in this way (it is not every landscape, I'm finding). 
  • They contain some magic, in the making and in the viewing. I can look at one of these big pieces forever, and find myself drawn in by them, by the colors, the patterns, the repetition, the rhythm, the movement through the canvas. 

What I question: 
  • It takes forever to make them. 
  • It is physically difficult. My poor shoulder resents these paintings and the uncountable number of daubs and strokes required. 
  • I have to ask high prices for them (see above!) 

And... in the end... a little voice sometimes says - "Just Paint." Quit finessing, quit this focus on method, quit daubing, just load up the knife, make long, loose, free strokes, Just Paint. 

This is a serious quandary, and I would love any feedback you'd like to give me. 

I have started a further experiment, with these two smaller pieces. They are looser, faster, less involved, less planned. The strokes are larger, the margins less fussy, the effect - I think - entirely different. What do you think? 

Autumn Hillside, 10x10, $150

September Song, 10x10, $150

Dog of the Day

Saw this trio in Onancock last week. Ho ho ho! 

A Final Thought

"What is art? Nature concentrated."

- Honore de Balzac

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Windy Day on Assateague

Windy Day in Assateague, 12x24
oil on canvas
Please email me at for price and availability

IT WAS A FREAKISHLY warm day in November, and my friend Susan McGuire and I headed out to Assateague to paint. 

When I was painting in the national parks out west, I bought a National Parks pass - $85 and I am in, for the rest of my life! 

If you are 62 or older, that's what it costs, and I think that's a great deal. It costs $35 to get into most national parks, so if you plan on going to three before you die, it's a smart purchase. Like a "duh" purchase. 

It was windy in Assateague, as it usually is, and we used my giant van as a mobile wind break. We had a great time, made a few paintings, and managed to leave town without stopping at the Creamery, for the best ice cream on Earth. Usually, I'd say the Creamery ice cream is worth every calorie, but this time, we were just too cold and wind-blown. 

I'll have this painting, along with 2019 Wachapreague calendars, a book of paintings from 2018, and some other Eastern Shore pieces with me on Saturday at the Historic Onancock School, 6 College Ave., Onancock, for a little show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Susan will be there with her beautiful paintings, and my friend Carol Baney will be there, too, with her steam-punk watch jewelry. I think we'll all have fun!  

New Mosaic Painting

HERE'S A DAY-BY-DAY, step-by-step view of how I make a mosaic painting. 

As you can see, it's slow going. Each day, I spent hours on this painting. I think it's going to be spectacular - but it's a slog, that's for sure. 

Sometimes, especially when I am rejected from show after show, as I have been in recent weeks, I wonder if the mosaic approach is wrong-headed, if it focuses too much on style over substance. 

But I think all art is, in the end, at least a little bit about style - otherwise, we would all paint the same, and would have all painted the same since time immemorial. 

These paintings call to me. They pull at my heart and my imagination, and so I think that they must be valid, they must be appealing, they must be as much about substance as style. 

What do you think? 

Dog of the Day

He came to my most recent show, and he was friendly enough, 
but a little scared - like so many people I know! 

A Final Thought

"Art, when inspired with love, leads to higher realms. 
Love art, and that art will open for you the inner life." 

- Meher Baba

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph
Oil on black canvas, 18x18 
Please email me at for price and availability

THIS IS AN interesting time of the year for me, and probably for many painters. I have one, maybe two shows, coming up, but that's it until 2019. 

So far, I've only been rejected by shows I've applied for next year. That's daunting - but par for the course. A number of top shows, ones that I haven't cracked - YET - make their decisions late in the year. 

I am working hard on 101 Dogs project paintings, and am pleased to say that I can see the end of the project. 

But that's it. This is the one time in the year when I can experiment, try stuff that might or might not work, and paint without the pressure of immediate deadlines. It's also the one time in the year when I can kick back a little and maybe not work every single day. And I've been enjoying both paths. 

The Chief Joseph paintings are part of the experimental phase. So far, no one likes them except me, and Eastern Shore artist Bethany Simpson. Everyone else's responses run from "meh," to "Ick." But I love them, and am going to try one more before I move on. 

What do you think? 

Cool New Stuff! 

YES! THE 2019 WACHAPREAGUE calendar is ready, with 12 paintings by me. (You can see them all on the "available" page of the Jacobson Arts website.)

The calendars are $20 each, including shipping - or you can get them at Seaside Art & Antiques, Main Street, Wachapreague; or The Book Bin, in the Rose's shopping plaza, in Onley, VA. 

I will be at the Historic Onancock School on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., as part of the Eastern Shore Artisans Guild Holiday Tour - and I will have calendars and, I hope, books, with me. 

The books are $25 each. They are softcover books, 8 inches by 8 inches, and contain more than 40 of my 2018 paintings - from the Eastern Shore, Newfoundland and Utah. 

Dog of the Day
I want to go where they're going! 

A Final Thought

"Art is our memory of love. The most an artist can do through their work is say, 'Let me show you what I have seen, what I have loved, and perhaps you will see it and love it, too.'"

- Annie Bevan