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Friday, September 14, 2018

On the Eve of the Hurricane

On the Eve of the Hurricane / 10x10 / on black canvas

FOR A WHILE this week, it looked like Hurricane Frances was going to smash right into our teeny town. We prepared to evacuate, packing bags, locating halters and collars, finding the lanterns and the head lamps, cooking some of the good stuff in the freezer. 

We had a plan and a place to go, and then, thankfully, the hurricane moved south and it became clear that it would be safe to stay. So far, we've had no rain, and just some wind, no more than on any normal windy day here. 

This painting is of the marsh the day before the hurricane was predicted to hit. It is one of the paintings I've been making for the 2019 Wachapreague calendar! You can get the calendar through me, or through Seaside Art and Antiques here in town, and possibly one other place, though that's not nailed down yet. 

I haven't made the calendar yet, so I don't know how much it will be, but probably more than $20 and less than $30. If you want one, or more than one, please drop me an email - If you buy a few, you'll get a discount. They make great Christmas presents! 


I'VE JUST RETURNED from a wonderful painting trip to Newfoundland, a province in Canada (the actual province is Newfoundland & Labrador. I didn't get to Labrador, but have high hopes for next summer). 

It was a marvelous painting trip! A friend accompanied me for the first part of the trip, and because of her study and navigation, we were able to see whales, moose and puffins,  and visit some of the great tourism spots on the island. I saw some on my own, too, after she departed, including l'Anse Aux Meadows, where the Vikings first set foot on North America. If you'd like to read about the trip, please check out the blog I sent to my sponsors - You may see all the paintings on the Jacobson Arts website, at

In about a week, I am heading to Arizona to celebrate my dad's 90th birthday! Afterwards, I'll go on to Utah to paint. I'm going to post my travels and paintings right here on The Accidental Artist, and put all the pieces up for sale when I get back. I'm excited! 

Dog of the Day

It's everybody! That is me, under Koko, Doc and Lulu. When I say, "Let's go snuggle on the big red couch," they get all excited. They wait for me to settle myself, 
and then they leap on. It's the best! 

A Final Thought

"More of me comes out when I improvise." 

- Edward Hopper

Friday, July 20, 2018

Three Irises

Three Irises
Oil on black canvas, 16-inch diameter

Shows the past two weekends were successful for me, but were not without their moments of doubt and pain.

In Wickford, Saturday dragged, with only sales of magnets and note cards, and I envisioned a repetition of the Bar Harbor show a couple weekends earlier, where my sales totaled a whopping $8. But Wickford show-goers started buying Saturday afternoon, and continued buying on Sunday. Yay!

At the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, Thursday, Friday and Sunday were virtually sale-less,  (again, I am thankful that I had magnets and note cards!) - but Saturday was a good day for sales, and then I had a delightful one on Monday, as I drove home.

I'm immensely grateful for each purchase, be it a $3 notecard or a $3,000 painting. I am well aware of the incredible success I have found in this life, and am grateful for it.

And most importantly, the shows are not only about sales. They are about art, and looking, and conversation and sharing. They are about my paintings touching the hearts of people who see them. Sometimes this results in sales - sometimes, it results in the sharing of experience, life stories, tales of love and hope and faith and loss.

I need to make sales to pay the bills, yes. But I need to hear the stories, meet the people, share the wonder and the hope. At the very heart of the whole process, I believe, this is what it is about.

Happy Buyers

Here are some happy buyers from Wickford and beyond. 

Next post, happy buyers from State College! 

Dog of the Day
Yup, it's a Carolina Dog! I met her in Wickford. Isn't she gorgeous?
 (She looks JUST LIKE our Carolina Dog, Koko)

A Final Thought

"An idea is salvation by imagination." 

- Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Early Morning Melody

Early Morning Melody
Oil on blackened, cradled beech panel, 16x16
At Center Framing & Art, West Hartford Center, CT

A few days ago, in a book called "The Secret Lives of Color," I encountered the idea that, in the past (and I'd add, in academia and serious intellectual artistic thought today), drawing - line, architecture, replication - were far more important than color. Drawing skills were what was valued, and I can see that when I think of the famous, pre-Impressionist paintings (that honestly - yes, I am a peasant! - mostly bore me).

When I read this, my entire painting life began to make sense to me, and I found my recent questions answered. I've often said that my paintings are all about color - and I have said that off-handedly. But truly and honestly, they are, and always have been, all about color, in a serious and fundamental manner.

Dropping the brush and taking up the knife was a vital step along this route. It allowed me to apply pure color to the canvas, while loosening my grip on line, drawing and detail.

All of this has helped me understand and accept the mosaics , which have worried me enormously of late. Now I see they are the next logical step in the exchange or abandonment of line for color. In large part, with these pieces, I am building the painting by using only the building blocks of color, light and shadow.

To some degree, this is what I've been doing all along - but the mosaics do it in an undisguised and raw way. They are harder to do than anything I've attempted so far. Next blog post, I'll write a little bit about why.


The Wachapreague Volunteer Firemen's Carnival is on, Wednesday-Saturday, through July 7. The carnival supports the volunteer fire department, and is great fun! There are rides, games, food and music, on the carnival grounds, Atlantic Avenue, Wachapreague.

Our Fourth of July parade starts at 11:30 on the Fourth, on Main Street in Wachapreague. It's not a long parade, so don't be late! Amazing, spectacular, astonishing fireworks start at dusk on the Fourth. You can park in the park to watch. Donations are appreciated - the fireworks are put on by Rich Pulchaski, a local pyrotechnic genius, and he funds them pretty much by himself.

I'll be at two shows in July -

And that is almost all my shows for the summer, so if you want to see my new work, I hope you'll be able to come! 

Dog of the Day

Met these two (and their service providers) in Onancock on Sunday. I've forgotten their names, but the one in the stroller is 15, I think! And the one walking is no spring chicken, either. 

A Final Thought

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge,
That myth is more potent than history,
That dreams are more powerful than facts,
That hope always triumphs over experience,
That laughter is the cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death."

- Robert Fulghum, 

via "The Painter's Keys," where you can subscribe to get an always thoughtful, usually fascinating and often freaskishly pertinent newsletter. For free. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

House in Accomack

House in Accomack
Oil on cradled beech board, 16x16 

I stumbled onto what I am calling "mosaic painting" when I was working to figure out what to do at the very bottom of a giant painting I'd made earlier in the year for a window at Jerry's Artarama. 

I'd gotten to the bottom of the painting - painted the giant delphiniums and daisies and coneflowers - and I didn't know what to do. I didn't want just grass, or just dirt - I wanted some color down there. Some interest. Some action.

I'd been on a pastels kick just before I made this behemoth, and I decided to try using the oil paints in the way I'd been using pastels - putting down rough patches of color to suggest. I tried it and I liked it - and it occurred to me to make a painting using only that approach - and that's how the first of the mosaics came about. 

I'm working to learn the ins and outs of this mosaic painting, how to use color with this technique, how to get motion and distance and atmosphere into the painting, how to make it all work in a way that I like, and that I like doing. 

The biggest difference between the mosaics and my more regular style of painting is time. It takes me days and days and days to complete even a small mosaic. In the time it takes to make one of these, I can make three or even four "regular" paintings - if I work hard and quickly. 

So, while these are painstaking and time-consuming, I find them captivating and thrilling. I love looking at them. They shimmer, they change, they evoke, they evolve.

"Couldn't Drag Me Away"
Gesso, acrylic, ink, powder and gold, silver and copper leaf on canvas, 36x48

MEANTIME, and, I suspect, in response to the precision of the mosaics, I've been presented with these "wild" paintings - extremely fast, extremely loose multi-media pieces that just announced themselves one afternoon in April. 

Initially, the bifurcation bothered me, but I am learning to accept it and delight in it. 


THE TIMING is a little bit up in the air, but this summer (June-July or August-September), I am heading to Newfoundland to paint! 

It's a sponsored painting trip, meaning that you can buy a painting in advance, receive my sponsor-only travel- and painting blog while I'm on the road, and then, when I get home, choose your painting in the order in which you signed up. 

The trip will be somewhat limited, time-wise, so I am accepting only 12 sponsors. There are a few spots left, and one or more of them could be yours! It's $125 for a 10x10-inch painting, and $300 for a larger piece. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will also be making a painting trip to Utah, in the fall, so if you're interested in sponsorship but would prefer Utah, that's fine. 

Workshop Coming Up

I'LL BE TEACHING a palette-knife painting workshop in Westerly, RI, on Wednesday, June 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.! It's at Avondale Arts, 95 Watch Hill Road, Westerly... The class goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's $95, limited to 12 people, and you must have at least some painting experience. Contact Avondale Arts for more info and to sign up. (                                            Want me to do a workshop in your area? Please email me at

Dog of the Day

What a a face on this guy! I met him out in Arizona, and he was just as sweet as he looks. 

Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at

A Final Thought

"I make art. Sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all." 

- Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Mixed media on canvas, 40x60
Please contact me for price and availability

Hi, everyone! Hope you still remember me. Hope you've missed me. I've missed you! Missed writing the blog, posting the paintings, hearing from you.

All that being said, I have absolutely no idea why I haven't posted. Honestly, I think I just needed a break, and I am sure you did, too.

I'm going to approach the blog a little differently, at least for a while, posting not every painting, but the ones that excite me the most.

"Buck" is one of them.

As you all know, I've been painting on black canvases for a few years now. By and large, that means that before I start painting, I take black gesso and blacken the canvases. I often become involved with this black on white relationship, and have in fact, kept a couple of these - but just for a while. They became solid black in a couple days.

But this one - this one was different. My fast blackening strokes - fast, loose, urgent - suddenly suggested a horse - and I just decided to go with it, filling in a little, then adding turquoise acrylic paint, then gold dust and gold leaf, and then the watercolor background.

It's totally different for me. What do you think?

I HAVE DAMAGED my shoulder, yes, my right shoulder, making it impossible to lift my arm above my head, or even much above my shoulder. The doctor says the problem is basically arthritis, overuse and a lifetime of bad posture. I've been getting physical therapy, exercising, being careful, getting therapeutic massages, but I am still a wreck, and have had to cancel two shows - Williamsburg and Lake Norman, near Charlotte, NC. Both shows require a same-day set-up, and I am just too slow at this point to be sure that I can set up my tent in time.

To see the shows on my schedule, please click here, or go to and look for 2018 shows.

Dog of the Day

Hahahahahaha, it's Puffy in a tin-foil hat that I got at Archie McPhee

A Final Thought

"All forms of madness, bizarre habits, awkwardness in society, general clumsiness, 
are justified in the person who creates good art." 
- Roman Payne

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Never No More Blues

Never No More Blues
Oil on black canvas, 18x36

Out here in Arizona, I've been loving life - and missing home. How I can have such conflicting emotions at the same time - both strong, both true, both deeply felt - amazes me, but seems to be a fact.

Friends of my dad's and stepmother's bought this painting yesterday, and I saw it hanging in their dining room, and it is stupendous. I'll get a photo next week and post it. It's so great how a painting or any art can change a room, alter an attitude, bring a smile. I love this painting, and am so glad it's hanging in a home where it's adored, and where it hangs with other beautiful pieces.

Fountain Hills

This weekend, I am off to the Great Fair at Fountain Hills, near Scottsdale. This is a gigantic show, with nearly 500 artists. I'm excited - and hoping that my art does not get lost in such a crowd. Also, I am hoping that I don't get lost in such a crowd. The photo above shows last year's festival - yikes! 

If you're in the area, or have friends in the area, please come to the show. I'm in Booth A-27, beside my friend, the talented painter Brenda Peo (check out her work here). 

Dog of the Day
It's little Woodreau, scruffy and fluffy and in need of a haircut, but looking just about as cute as a dog can look. Peter sent me this pic, along with pictures of the other dogs - and daffodils blooming at the side of the house! I miss home so very much. 

A Final Thought

"Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth - whether it existed before or not." 
- John Keats

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Overlook

The Overlook
Oil on black canvas, 18x18

The Overlook is where you go if you live in Westerly, RI, and need a tiny breathing break from life. People park along the edge of the road, look at the big homes and watch the waves break against the rocks. Sometimes there's a seal, but usually, it's just space and air and water and waves and the sweet scent of the ocean. 

Scenes from the Road

I arrived in Tubac, AZ, yesterday, on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, warm enough to chase away all thoughts of winter, snow, grayness, cold. The sun shone on the mountains, I could roll the window down in the van, and relax in the knowledge that I'd made it, safe and sound, across pretty much the entire country.

Peter waved, and the dogs barked and I pulled out of Wachapreague on Saturday, the van loaded with paintings, tent, and all manner of stuff for the three shows I'll do out here - Tubac, Feb. 7-11; Tucson Museum Spring Artisan Exhibit, Feb. 16-18; and the Fountain Hills Great Fair, Feb. 23-25. (Please click here for more info).

The country spun out before me, huge and fascinating and beautiful. The flat lands and salt marshes and tall pines of the Eastern Seaboard t fell away to the piney woods and palms of the Florida panhandle, the surprisingly industrial landscape of Alabama and Mississippi, with bristling ports and creaky bridges, giant gas globes frighteningly close to the highways - and then, all that is behind me, and I'm in Louisiana, and the bayous and water-soaked rice fields lead up to the Atchafalaya basin and the slim causeway that crosses it.

Then, it's Texas, 878 miles of it on I-10. Surprising hills and verdant fields in the east, the incredible bustle and 16-lane-wide highways of Houston, overarched with curving flyways and bridges - and then all civilization falls away, and Texas goes on and on and on and on. You drive by wind-blown towns with empty main streets and paint-peeled houses. Whole neighborhoods living in their RVs. Dogs on chains, and small herds of cows, and here and there goats and burros. Old cars rust into the land, and the door of an abandoned Winnebago swings in the wind, above a structure that once, clearly, was a patio.

The West starts in Texas, with little dots and splotches of red land, and then, up a hill and around a curve, mountains and buttes and a changed landscape. The New Mexico line is a celebration and a marker, and El Paso, with its stinking cow lots and thick array of stores - three Super Walmarts! - and frightening fly-way overpasses fades into memory.

Then, all of a sudden, after days and days of travel, I'm in Arizona, and breathing sunshine and welcome and the promise of seeing people I love, family, just up there, past the cities, by the sun-warmed mountains, glowing ochre and pink in the welcome evening light.

Photos, from top: me with my friend Bonnie, whom I visited in Florida. Then me with Sadie, Bonnie's flat-coated retriever. Next, a rest area bathroom in Texas - it's nicer than my house! Texas just has too much money! And finally, one of the windblown homes you see along the road. 

Dog of the Day

I met Peaches at a gas station in North or South Carolina. Her brand-new family drove to Georgia from Connecticut to get her. She's a rescue, and a fine, friendly, sweet puppy. 

A Final Thought 

"Art is the child of nature in whom we trace the features of the mother's face." 
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow