Friday, May 22, 2015

The Optimist's Declaration - and Paradise City!

The Optimist's Declaration
Oil on canvas, 40x40
Please contact me for price and shipping/delivery options

Sara Genn, daughter of the late Robert Genn, sends copies of "The Painter's Keys," a  newsletter that her father wrote while he was alive. (You can read all about the newsletter, and sign up to receive it by clicking here). 

I love getting this newsletter and usually learn something from it, or am inspired to think a new thought or look at life and painting in a new way. 

A recent newsletter focused on the value of titles. "The right title makes a difference as to how a work is seen and understood," Genn wrote. "Not only are titles a bridge to the viewer, they are also part of the art. I'm a believer in giving your titles some careful thought." 

I finished this painting, "The Optimist's Declaration," a month or so ago, and gave it that title in my inventory list. 

Today, when I went to put it on the blog, I couldn't remember where the name came from. Certainly, it was nothing I invented! I know it was a quote, but the only one I can find today came from Kierkegaard - and it feels unlikely that I was searching Kierkegaard! (the quote is below). 

So if any of you recognizes this quote from a more friendly source than Kierkegaard, please let me know. 

***
SATURDAY THROUGH MONDAY, I'll be at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA. The show takes place at the Three County Fairgrounds, and includes really wonderful art and fine craft. You will see amazing furniture, sculpture, mobiles, glass, clothing, photography, painting and more. It's a fun, fun show! You can find out more about it, and get a discount off admission by clicking here to visit the Paradise City Arts website.

***
A Final Thought 
"The joy of faith is different from mere happiness or sheer enjoyment. The movement of resignation distinguishes faith from both a naive optimism and a careless hedonism. In the face of the former, the difference is that the optimist's declaration (when facing adversity) that 'everything will be alright' is not based on trust but rather on a refusal to acknowledge the full extent of loss and human limitation. In the case of the latter, the difference is that the hedonist's immersion in finitudes is not based on deep attachment but rather on seeking pleasure."

- Soren Kierkegaard




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kinney Azaleas - and Paradise City

Kinney Azalea Path
Oil on canvas, 12x48
Available at Center Framing and Art, West Hartford Center, CT

Just down the road from the University of Rhode Island are the Kinney Azalea Gardens, a paradise of color and bloom and the sweet promise of spring. 

Lorenzo and Elizabeth Kinney started the gardens in 1927 at their home on Kingstown Road. According to a website about the gardens, Lorenzo's father - the first professor of botany at URI (then the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts) - helped launch the project, with plants from the Lowland Rhododendron Farm. 

These days, there are more than 800 types of azaleas and rhododendrons on the property. They come in all sorts of colors, orange and yellow and white and of course the amazing pinks and reds that are more typical. 

The bushes bloom generally during the middle of May, and while I haven't been there this year yet, it is possible that the gardens are still in bloom. You can also buy azaleas and rhododendrons there, too! 

There is no fee to walk the gardens. Donations and plant sales provide the funds to keep the gardens up and running, so if you go, please leave them a little something! 


***
THE AZALEA PAINTING IS one of the ones I will have at the Paradise City Arts Festival this weekend, Saturday through Monday, at the Three-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA. You will find me in the Morgan Barn, the smallest of the three buildings at the fair. 

This is a wonderful show, filled with top-quality art and craft, including paintings, sculpture, jewelry, clothing, furniture, glass and lots more. Local restaurants are part of the show, too, so you can count on having a good lunch! 

There is a fee to enter the fairgrounds, and you can get a $2 discount by printing a coupon you can find on the Paradise City Arts website (http://www.paradisecityarts.com/), along with lots more information. 

Hope to see you there! 

***
 Dog of the Day 
I met these chow mixes at the art festival in Arlington a couple weeks ago. They were as cute as can be! 

Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com

***
A Final Thought

"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does, the better." 

- Andre Gide


Friday, May 15, 2015

Oscar - and a Grand Barter

Oscar
Oil on canvas, 20x20

I was on the edge of sleep last night when something close to panic set in, yanked me awake and kept me there for hours. 

Today is set-up day for the Stockley Gardens Art Festival in Norfolk. (The show is Saturday and Sunday, 10-5 and noon-5 respectively. Click here for more info).  Then, on Thursday, I leave for New England and the Paradise City Art Festival in Northampton, MA - and, I realized, as I was falling asleep, it's also the day I leave for shows in Cincinnati, Omaha and Columbus. 

And this is what slapped me into wakefulness. Do I have enough paintings? Will I be able to paint on the road? Do I have enough canvases to paint on the road? Have I finished all my commissions? Will I be able to finish them by Thursday? How will I pack the van? Have I made reservations, filled out forms, done all the stuff I need to do? 

Usually, I can quiet my mind. Last night, I couldn't, and it was hours and hours before I could get to sleep. It will be an exciting time, I know, and it will be fun, this big Midwest Swing - but it's not without its moments. 

***
Bartering Babes


ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS of the show at Crozet last weekend was bartering with Judy, above. She walked by me, wearing the most beautiful loose, flowered patchwork blouse. I remarked on it and asked her if she'd trade for a couple small paintings - and she said yes! So here we are, above, with our bartered treasures. What fun! 

***
Dog of the Day


After meeting Alison Thomas online at Art Fair Insiders, I've had the good fortune to meet her in person. She's a wonderful photographer/digital artist who lives in Louisa, VA, out near Charlottesville. You can see her art at her website, Serenity Scenes (click here) 

Alison has been doing shows for many years, and like so many other artists, has answered my questions and given me innumerable tips and insights on the whole process. 

Little Foot is one of two sister cats who were born under Alison's house, to a feral mama cat. 

Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com

***
A Final Thought

"I invent nothing. I rediscover."

- Auguste Rodin


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Carrots - and Crozet

Carrots
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
Please click here to contact me if you're interested in this painting

The show this weekend in Crozet, VA, was interesting, took place in a lovely spot, and was a pretty good show for me in terms of sales, too. So that's a grand combination! 

The town is just west of Charlottesville, in the foothills of the Shenandoahs. When I arrived, I found that getting there from Wachapreague, about four hours away, does not involve "going over the mountain," a question that a number of people asked. 

This mountain figures prominently in Crozet. The town was named for Claudius Crozet, a French engineer who, among other achievements (helping found the Virginia Military Institute, for example), designed the tunnel through the mountain. When the first diggers reached each other, digging from either side, they were only 6 inches off alignment, after 4,273 feet of digging. At the time, the Crozet-engineered Blue Ridge Tunnel was the longest in the US, and one of the longest in the world. 

The show had a lot of beautiful art and craft items, and made me think of a small Paradise City, in terms of quality and diversity. We set up under a huge tent, and in small pole barns. Music and food vendors were in their own area, a little bit away from the art. I was one of 20 or more artists camping at the site. I stayed in my van, like about half of the campers. The others had RVs, pop-ups and tents, and the encampment made for a fun sense of community. 

The show attracted lots of folks, and especially lots of families. Moms like art! The fair-goers were fun and engaging, and many of them liked my paintings. Two cowscapes sold! And that's great - and unexpected. Both went home with really nice people, who will love them, I know. 

Above, my booth, in the big tent. Below, Dave and Susan, who bought "We Three Kings."


***
THIS COMING WEEKEND, you can see "Carrots" and other new paintings at the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival in Norfolk, VA, Saturday (my birthday) and Sunday, 10-5 and noon-5, respectively. I don't know my booth number or location yet, but it's a small show - you'll be able to find me! 

***
Dog of the Day 
I am always happy to go to the shows, and always happy to come home and see Peter and the dogs. Here are Jojo, left, and Abby, romping in the yard a few weeks ago. 

***
A Final Thought

"I make myself rich by making my wants few." 

- Henry David Thoreau



Friday, May 8, 2015

May Azaleas - a Step Away for Me

May Azaleas
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100 plus shipping if applicable

There's a part of me that always wants to paint more loosely, more abstractly. But I yam who I yam, I guess, and so, most of the time, my paintings are fairly well rooted in realism. And that's fine - but still, on the rare occasions that an abstract sort of piece comes along, I welcome it. 

This started as a painting of a chicken, a large chicken face, and I just didn't like it. So I started smushing the paint around, then adding this and adding that, and azaleas arose from it - at least to my eye. 

I love the colors in this one, and the stepped swirls of paint. I love the energy of it, and knowing that it was a "mistake," transformed. What do you think? 

***
Dog of the Day

The first time I visited Wachapreague, one of the things that impressed me was that, here and there, cats were just hanging out on front porches and stoops. The sight spoke to me of a place so quiet and sunny that the cats were warm and happy and safe. And that insight was true. This happy cat was snoozing in the afternoon yesterday on a sunny stoop on Pearl Street. 

***
A Final Thought

"I would rather die of passion than of boredom." 

- Vincent Van Gogh





Thursday, May 7, 2015

Looking for Lunch


Looking for Lunch
Oil on canvas, 16x16
sold

Richmond welcomed me this past weekend with arms that might not have been completely open, but at least were part-way there. I came away from this show with some profit, unlike most of the shows I've participated in so far this year. So, yay! 

In addition, the people were very nice, the park where the show was held was beautiful, and the neighborhood was gentle and pretty, brightened by azaleas and warmed by lovely brick homes. 

Carol and Bill from Wachapreague showed up, along with their grandchildren Richmond and Keagan, and that was a great treat. My friend Cynthia Battista, a marvelous jeweler from Connecticut (check out her work here)  did the show with me, and friends Alison Thomas, who makes wonderful photographs and digital art, and John Maurer, one of my favorite painters, also attended.  It was a big show, the weather was beautiful, and it was fun. 

***
MY NEXT SHOW is this weekend in Crozet, Virginia, about four hours west of here. I've never done this show, and it seems that it will be interesting. Click here for more information! 

A happy buyer with "Looking for Lunch." 


Clockwise from upper right, it's Carol, Richmond, Keagan and Bill. 

My booth in Richmond

I really like the arrangement of paintings on this wall. 

***
Dog of the Day

This French bulldog puppy was pooped! 

***
A final thought

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." 

- Henry Ward Beecher




Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Small Piece of Land


A Small Piece of Land
Oil on canvas, 16x16

In the dawn light, the raucous birds sing of spring and morning and light the back yard with color and movement. The night hangs on into the day's early warmth, coolness reaching from the still-cold Atlantic up into our sunny morning yard. Above, the sky arcs with orange and pink and yellow, dawn crackling with announcement and a bright and shiny promise. 

Here Wachapreague, the lawns are growing fast, the grass thick and shiny emerald, wet with dew each day. Azaleas and camellias streak our town with color, offset by candy tuft and tulips and the waning daffodils. 

Spring was once my least favorite season. Now, I feel it is the princess, and I am a rapt admirer.

***
TODAY AND SUNDAY, if you're in or around Virginia, why not come to Arts in the Park in Richmond? It's a big show, and promises to be fun. It's today and Sunday, 11-6 and 11-5 respectively. I'll be in Booth No. 90... Cynthia Battista, an excellent jeweler, will be in Booth No. 333; Alison Thomas, a wonderful photographer, will be in Booth 81. We'd all love to see you!  For more info, click here. 

***
Dog of the Day
This cutie came into the booth at the Arlington show. She is a sweet dog, who has Addison's disease. Her human says treatment is going very well for the tiny girl (she weighs 6 lbs), and that she's living a good, full life.

Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com

***
A final thought

"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making 
of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."

- Abraham Lincoln