Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tetons Homestead

Tetons Homestead
Oil on black canvas, 12x12

                                                         

I had been planning on driving to Wyoming and Montana after the show in Omaha, but all sorts of things seemed to be conspiring against my going, and so I came home. I am planning on a painting trip to those western states in the fall, when it is sure to be incredibly beautiful.

But the thought of the West has blossomed in my head, so I took the opportunity to make this painting of a gorgeous log cabin in the Tetons. I'd love to live there, with the sky huge and open above me, and the mountains standing strong behind me, reminding me every day of the force and power that formed our earth.

I don't think I'd like to live there in the winter, though.

***
MY FRIENDS Pat Hart and Carol Burnham are going to reopen Seaside Antiques and Art soon, right here on Main Street in Wachapreague, and that's very exciting. It was more than a year ago when a truck rammed into the side of the store, knocked it off its foundation, ruined most of the items inside, and meant the store's closing for many months. 

Pat and Carol had the front half of the building removed, a new porch added, and the inside redone, and they are ready to open soon! They have wonderful antiques, ranging from inexpensive to very dear, all chosen with love and care. And they have art by local artists, including me and, soon, Peter. 

I believe July 1 is the opening date, so if you're in Wachapreague, take a look and see. 


***
Dog of the Day

It's Doc and Lulu, in their favorite spot, between the couch cushions and the couch back. They will stay this way, feet in the air, heads totally buried (how do they breathe?) for hours. 

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A Final Thought

"I dream my painting and I paint my dream." 

- Vincent Van Gogh

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Seven-Barn Farm


Seven-Barn Farm
Oil on black canvas, 10x10, $125 


Years ago, when I started making the 10x10 paintings, they were what sold first, when I went to shows. At the better shows, I could always count on five or six of them selling - these paintings are original oils, and less expensive then what many artists charge for prints. But starting last year, people stopped buying the 10x10s. Happily for me, they started buying bigger paintings. 

But the not-buying of 10x10s has continued, and has sort of mystified me. Of course, as the paintings stopped selling, I more or less stopped painting them, which has meant that most of my available 10x10s are of the southwest. And not everybody wants paintings of the southwest, especially if they live on the East Coast. 

So I've started a new series of 10x10s, with farms and mountains and salt marshes and who knows what else. I am curious to see if they begin to sell again. I'll let you know. 

***
MY FIRST CHANCE to test my theory on the ground, so to speak (as opposed to on the internet) will be July 9-10, in Wickford, RI, at the Wickford Art Festival. This is a fine-art-only show that takes place on the streets of Wickford, a quaint New England seacoast village. I'll be in Booth 82, on Elam Street. Hope to see you there! 

***

IF YOU'RE TRAVELING anywhere this summer, be prepared to be delayed by road construction. I went to Cincinnati and Omaha and back, and encountered construction - mostly bridge repair - on every road I traveled. Interstate 80 was the worst, with construction pretty much everywhere. 

I have to say that I got a good look at some of the bridges being worked on, and they were scary. This one, which I believe is in West Virginia, is nowhere near the worst. One bridge being worked on in Ohio was literally crumbling as I drove across it. 

All those news stories about the state of our infrastructure? They're right, and not exaggerating. 

***
Dog of the Day


AT THE PARADISE CITY Art Festival, I was part of a surprise involving this painting. Great fun! And here is Boy himself, looking at the painting. I think it's a scream that the dog in the painting is bigger than the dog in real life.  

***
A Final Thought

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: 
I am here to live out loud." 
- Emile Zola





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Missouri Side Road


Missouri Side Road
Oil on black canvas, 10x10, $125


Yesterday, I took my beautiful work clothes, collected over two and a half decades in newspapers, and donated them to the second-hand store. 

This was a big, big deal for me, particularly in a year where the shows have so far been fairly lackluster. Even with all my hope, and all my desire and drive, even with all the support of my friends, family and collectors, even with all that, there's been a little snag of doubt way back in my brain. If this didn't work out, I could always go back to newspapers - and I still had the clothes I'd need to do that. 

Now, I don't. Now, I am truly launched, spirit, soul and wardrobe, into this artist's life, this road I've already been walking for years. My clothing and doubt burden lifted, my stride is lighter, my path more open, my sky and future even brighter. 

***
MY NEXT SHOW is July 9-10, in Wickford, RI. I'll be on Elam Street, Booth 82, close to where I have always been during this show. 

The Wickford Art Festival is a fine-art only show, which makes it a little different than most of the shows in which I participate. There's no jewelry, no clothing, no functional pottery. So it's fine art, and it's fine fun. And Wickford village itself is beautiful - a quintessential New England seacoast town. 

Hope to see you there! 
***
Dog of the Day
It's Baby Girl, who lives in Arivaca, AZ, with the Richardsons. I bet Baby Girl has been staying inside these past few days. A friend in New Mexico posted a photo of her dashboard thermometer, showing the outside air to be 124 degrees. Yikes!

***
A Final Thought
I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.” 





Sunday, June 19, 2016

The End of My Pirate Days


The End of My Pirate Days
Oil on black canvas, 36x48

Under a brutal, blazing Omaha sun, 97 degrees and feeling like 107, I learned that my dear old Smokey would be gone by the time I arrived home. Smokey was at least 14, and a recent vet visit had shown a mass in his rectum. He stopped eating while I was away, and Peter said Smokey went downhill quickly. 

He was a wonderful, noble, silly dog. He looked like a bear, and had a ferocious bark, but was as sweet as a dog can be. Peter found him in a shelter while we were living in New York state, and while Smokey hadn't responded to any men while he'd been at the shelter, he took to Peter right away. I drove up to get him, and when I got him home, I opened the door of our station wagon and Smokey slipped his collar and took off, bounding through the melting March snow. 
I chased him - the wrong thing to do, I now realize - and Smokey fell in the rushing, icy Neversink River, racing shoulder-high behind our house. I went in, trying to get him, but the river was too strong, too cold, and I hauled myself out, wailing, sure that our new dog was drowned, and it was my fault. I was weeping when Peter caught up with me, and pointed to a tiny island across the river. 

Wet and bedraggled and certainly freezing cold, Smokey had made it to the island and was standing there, looking terrified forlorn and anything but fierce. 

I jumped in the car and took off. A Folun Gong group owned thousands of acres across the river from us. At their large, gold gates, I spoke into a speaker and somehow made myself understood. They let me in, and guided me to the island where Smokey was waiting, and I got him into the car and bundled him up and brought him home. 

Smokey had no idea how to play. He'd spent his life chained outside a house, with his brother, with whom he fought constantly. He knew nothing. But Jojo took one look at him, decided he was her best friend, and set about teaching him how to play. With his chow-stiff back legs and slight lack of coordination, Smokey was never the play-maven that Jojo was, but he learned, and they had fun and stayed the best of friends. 

Smokey used to sleep on our bed when it was lower, and he was more agile. When we moved to Wachapreague, he stationed himself in the doorway to our bedroom every night. I always thought he was protecting us, his humans, but when Jojo died, Smokey stopped sleeping there. All this time, he'd been protecting her. 

For weeks after she died, he'd stare at me whenever I came home, and he'd have a quizzical, hopeful expression on his face. Had I found Jojo? Had I brought her back to him? For the rest of his life, I believe, he looked for her. 

And now, he's found her. I think of them together, at the Rainbow Bridge, romping and frolicking, side by side, happy together, waiting for Peter and me.

***
Happy Buyers in Omaha

In spite of the brutal heat, I had a pretty good show in Omaha, in terms of sales. In terms of seeing friends and meeting people, it was a great show. Here are some happy buyers with their paintings. 






***
Friends, Too

And here are some pix of friends I got to see, and spend some time with, at the show
 
Fran and Doug took me out to dinner, above. 
Karen and Sherry took me out to breakfast, below. 
Below, Taylor and her fiance visited; she fell in love with my paintings last year, and has been a big fan and supporter ever since.


Friends of my friend Manja Yirka visited, too, below!  

My big hat was a big help... And below, a beautiful dragonfly spent hours and hours on a Pony Express painting, then more hours just hanging out on the wall of my tent. 


Above, he bought a painting, but only after spending a lot of time looking and considering. This buyer's care for an interest in my paintings really moved me. At one point, he turned around and said to me, "There's no one like you. No one paints like you." That meant a lot. 

***
Dog of the Day 
It's Smokey, of course. Above, the puppies adored him from the moment they met him. In the bottom photo, Koko also loved Smokey. That big, slow-moving dog, that thick, soft coat, his chow patience and shar-pei looseness, all conspired to make him loving and truly lovable.  



***
A Final Thought

"Any fool can be happy. It takes a (person) with real heart
 to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep." 
- Clive Barker


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Boy - And Good Times at Paradise City



Boy
Oil on canvas, 12x12

I was part of a wonderful surprise at the Paradise City Arts Festival a couple weekends ago. 

Last year, in Omaha, I met a lovely woman named Fran, and we hit it off right away. We were similar in many respects, and had a number of shared experiences that shaped our lives and personalities. 

Fran bought a painting, introduced me to some of her family, and we kept in loose touch. A couple months ago, she called and asked me to make a painting of Boy, a beloved little poodle owned by Fran's sister Rose and her partner Terri. 

Rose and Terri live in Northampton, and Fran and I landed on the same idea at the same time: I'd make the painting, hang it on the wall of my booth, and surprise Terri with it. (Rose had to be in on the surprise, for photos and to make sure the women arrived at the show, etc.). 

At the time, I said that it would be extra great if Fran could come out from Omaha to be part of the surprise. She'd love to, she said, but she had a wedding to attend on the Sunday of the show, so it wouldn't be possible. 

I made the painting, and happily, it dried in time. I hung it in my booth and waited. 

A couple hours after the show opened, I looked up - and there was Fran! For a moment, it didn't compute. Then I think I shrieked, and ran up and hugged her, astonished and delighted. A moment later, Terri caught sight of the painting and stammered, "That looks like... that really looks like... That's Boy!" 



***

THIS WEEKEND, I'll be at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival, in beautiful Omaha, Neb. I'm in Booth 134, just about where I was last year, and I have lots of exciting, new paintings that I hope will go to new homes this weekend! It's going to be very hot, so if you come to the show, please be prepared. 

The show is Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

***
THERE ARE LOTS of things that make shows successful. In addition to the wonderful surprise I wrote about, Paradise City was filled with other delightful meetings and connections. 

Amy Davidoff and Penny Winn came to the show, and we had dinner together afterward. Ames and Penny were friends from college, and we hadn't seen each other since. It was such a treat to get together with these amazing, smart, talented women, and continue a friendship that had begun 40 years ago. Forty years!  That's Amy below and Penny to the right. 



***
Happy Buyers! 
I had lots of Happy Buyers at Paradise City! 



AND I HAD Happy Bidders, too! This family put in the winning bid on a painting I'd donated to the Kestrel Land Trust, which has been conserving land, waterways and farms in the Pioneer Valley for decades.  Below, more friends visiting in the booth! 




***
Dog of the Day


FAITHFUL READERS of this blog know that the Dog of the Day isn't always a dog. But it's NEVER been a giraffe until now! I saw this amazing sculpture at Paradise City... here it's being loaded up for its trip home. Wish I could have seen the looks on other drivers' faces! 

***
A Final Thought 

"It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done." 

- Vincent Van Gogh











Friday, May 27, 2016

Early Morning Melody

Early Morning Melody
Oil on black canvas, 48x48

Overnight, the cold spring turned into hot summer, and my body hasn't caught up. Setting up my tent for the show at Paradise City, I found myself just drenched in sweat, for the first time this year, really. 

Part of me hates being all sweaty and sticky, and another part of me feels it's healthy, that the sweat draws out a whole bunch of bad stuff and flings it away into the humidity. 

This painting - a large version of one I painted a few months ago - makes me remember "the cool, green breathing of the leaves;" the sweet scent of new, thin grass; and the winter-cold earth warming. It was only a few weeks ago, but feels like a different era. 

I'll have this and some other exciting new pieces at the Paradise City Arts Festival this weekend in Northampton, MA. I'll be in Booth 909 in the Arena Building. Hope to see you there! 

***
Funny Signs
Above, I found "Beaver Ruin Road" to be a hilarious sign. I'd like to hear about the event that occasioned the naming of that road! Below, a friend sent in this sign... Looks like Archie Bunker might be alive and well after all, selling real estate in Rhode Island! If you see a funny sign, or an amusing scene of any kind, please send me a jpg at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com


***

Growing Up Fast
Above, Doc and Lulu a couple days ago. 
Below, the same pups on the same steps, a couple months ago. 


***
A Final Thought

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. 
It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." 
- Albert Einstein





Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Golden Fields

Golden Fields
Oil on black canvas, 36x60

I work hard to take good photographs of my paintings, and for my birthday, Peter gave me a good camera, a real camera (not just my phone). I'm still learning my way around it, and can already see that it's going to help. 

The one thing I can say is that, in most instances, if there has to be a gap between the quality of the paintings and the quality of the photographs, I'd rather have the paintings look better in real life than vice versa! 

***
I'M HEADING TO New England on Wednesday, to take part in the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA. The show runs from Saturday through Monday at the Three County Fairgrounds, 54 Old Ferry Road, Northampton. I'll be in Booth 909, in the Arena Building. It's a really fun show, filled with high-end art and craft, beautiful stuff. There is an entry fee, but there's a coupon for a discount on the website. And one of my paintings is featured on the webpage about the show!

***

Yes! Cowart Street! I should have gotten someone to take a photo of me with a cowscape beneath this sign. Next time I'm in Chattanooga, for sure! 

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Dog of the Day

This is Lisle's cat, looking affronted that I dared to drive down her street 
here in Wachapreague. She marched along in front of the car 
for quite some time, until she finally headed to a lawn, 
where she could stare at me accusingly. 

***
A Final Thought

"Art and love are the same thing: 
It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you." 
- Chuck Klosterman