Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cloudy Day in the Park - and Homer!

Cloudy Day in the Park
Oil on canvas, 16x20
For sale Sunday at the Piedmont Plein Air Paintout sale
at the JH Adams Inn, in High Point, NC

I started painting on Friday at the train depot in downtown High Point. I painted and painted and painted, and still hadn't captured the train station, at least not in a way that appealed to me. So I had lunch, and packed up and headed out to the park, where I found trees and clouds and water and a scene that comforted and excited me.

Today, I'm going to have another go at the depot painting, and then, perhaps, try it a completely different way. 



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HERE IS a cool building in downtown High Point. I might try painting this today! 


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Dog of the Day


It's Homer, a Weimaraner pup I met at the Brandywine Arts Festival earlier in the month. His human said he was about eight weeks old. He was interested in everything and everyone! 




Thursday, September 18, 2014

St. Mary's - and the Paintout Is Underway

St. Mary's Episcopal, High Point, NC
Oil on canvas, framed, 12x16. 

The Piedmont Plein Air Paintout, here in lovely High Point, NC, started on Thursday with a Quick-Draw event from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., on North Main Street, near the J. H. Adams Inn, where all the painters are staying. 

There we were, 30 of us, spread out along a couple blocks in the middle of downtown, painting. It was fun and convivial and challenging. I saw the paintings most of us did, and they were really great, ranging from a lovely painting of a sun-drenched yellow building, to a vivid painting of a Krispy Kreme donut shop, to a small painting of a half-eaten pink-frosted donut. 

I like my painting of St. Mary's Episcopal Church. I particularly love the threatening, shining sky, and the soft glow of the one side of the church. 

Architecture is not my strongest suit, but I am determined to improve, and so I plan to make more architecture-focused paintings during the next two days. 

The other painters here are amazingly talented, and very, very nice. It's an honor and a pleasure to be in their company.  

If you're in High Point and want to say hello and watch me paint, head to the train station on Friday. I plan to spend much of the day there! 

Here's my painting in the landscape. 

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Dog of the Day

Here's a great, older German shepherd I met at the vet's a couple weeks ago. 
She showed her age a little, when she got up - but who doesn't? 


Blue-Sky Sunflowers - and a Lovely Place to Stay

Blue-sky Sunflowers
Oil on canvas, 48x72
commission

One of my goals in all of this is to do fewer outdoor art shows, and earn the rest of our living from galleries and internet sales, painting trips, plein-air events and commissions. And paintings like this one are proof that that plan can become - and is becoming - a reality. 

I love love love this sunflower painting! It is intensely bright and sunny, and while I'd never have thought of doing the upper background blue, I really like the way it offsets the rich colors of the sunflowers. 

What you don't get from the photo is a sense of the depth of the bright colors, and an idea of the size of the painting - 4 feet by 6 feet. It's so heavy I have to take it off the easel in order to change the height of the easel. And the size is one of the things that makes it so intensely sunny and amazing. I am looking forward so very much to delivering it, and seeing it hang in the gorgeous kitchen where it will hang! 

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I MADE MY WAY to High Point, NC, on Wednesday, for the plein-air paintout that starts today. It was a beautiful drive, mostly west, through lovely, sunny farmland. High Point looks like an interesting city with some bright and well-polished spots, and some fairly large pockets of what look like economically depressed areas. 

The paintout starts today, with what's known as a "Quick Draw," a three-hour event on North Main Street, very close to the hotel. I imagine that part of the Quick Draw is to draw attention to the event, and I think that's very smart. 

The hotel where we are being put up is absolutely gorgeous. And the paintout is paying for our rooms, and for most of our meals. What a treat! 


Above, the front and back of the JH Adams Hotel, where we are staying. 

Here's my room! 


The back entry to the hotel. 

Here's the outdoor patio. 

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MY NEXT SHOW will be An Occasion for the Arts, in Williamsburg, VA, Oct. 4-5. It's my first time doing this show, and I'm excited about it! I'll be in Booth A-8 on Duke of Gloucester Street. If you're in the area, or planning to be in the area, please stop by and say hello, and see my new pieces! 

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Dog of the Day

Today's Dog of the Day is Samantha! She's the mother of Puffy, our other cat, and Kizzy, Puffy's late sister. Doesn't she look like Katharine Hepburn, the Dog of the Day from my most recent post? 

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




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rooster No. 5 - and Thoughts on Fear and Courage

Rooster No. 5
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
sold

I was emailing a friend who is also an artist and a collector of my paintings, and she wrote about how scary it is to make a painting for someone. For anyone, really. They might not like it, it might not look like the person/dog/scene that the buyer was picturing, the buyer might think you're a talentless hack.... and on and on.

I confessed to her that I'm scared pretty much all the time. As I drive up to a show, and especially to a new show, I am often literally shaking. I'm afraid that the people at the show, buyers and artists, are going to look at my paintings and see right off the bat that I am self-taught, that I don't know the rules, that I'm a messy painter, that I can't draw, and on and on and on.

But I told her that I just get a hold of myself, pull myself together, and go on and do it. Be scared, sure - but do it. We are all scared - or at least, I suspect we all are.

After I wrote this to her, I went to the home page of the Piedmont Plein Air Paintout, that I'm participating in this week. I started looking at the paintings by the participating artists  - and totally freaked out again. Sigh.

I left the site, got a handle on my fear and paranoia, and went back to the site later in the day. When I looked again, I could see clearly that my paintings do stand up next to everyone else's - and after all, I was chosen to participate! That should be enough to quiet the fears, right?

I'm sharing all of this not so you all will tell me that I'm a good painter, etc. I'm sharing it because so many people tell me all the time how frightened they are - of painting, of trying to paint, of applying to shows, of thinking of quitting their jobs to follow their dreams. People tell me how brave I am - and I just wanted to share that, really, I am not brave. I am scared and hesitant, but I go ahead and do it anyways. And anyone can do this. It doesn't take not being afraid. It takes not letting your fear paralyze you.

My faith; my belief in what I'm doing; my dear and supportive husband; my dear and supportive daughter, brother, sister, father and stepmother; and all the people who read this blog, go to the shows and buy my paintings, all of these people, all of you, help me find the courage that I need to go ahead, fear in hand, and do what needs to be done.

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JUST A NOTE, in passing. I've changed the title of "Fat Guy at the Diner" to "Room at the Counter." I gave the painting that title in part because it has the same rhythm as "Nighthawks at the Diner," one of my very favorite paintings. But several long-time readers of this blog said they loved the painting, but wouldn't want to buy it, because of the title. Being a person who has struggled with my weight for my entire life, I do understand their point of view, and agree. 

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Dog of the Day
It's Katharine Hepburn, who lives with Lynn Hoins, a faithful reader of this blog. 
Kate looks a lot like our cat Samantha, mother of Puffy and Kizzy, who appeared 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Room at the Counter - and the Passing of Puffy's Sister

Room at the Counter
Oil on canvas, 36x48

I've become really interested in painting people, as those of you who follow this blog know. After a couple more commissions, I'm going to start the portrait project that I wrote about a while ago. 

The American Moments idea is an adjunct to that. Another person-related series, it began with "July 7."  "Room at the Counter" is the second of the series of paintings of small moments, the scenes that we see every day, and that give shape and color to our lives. 

Who hasn't seen that guy at the diner? He's alone, he doesn't have a book or a magazine with him. He's just waiting for his breakfast, as he has done every day for the past who knows how many years. He's young enough to wear shorts, and have a full head of hair, but life - and diner breakfasts, no doubt - have gotten him to the point where he can't get around without the cane. 

For the past few years, I've been taking photos of little scenes like these. I hadn't known what they were for, but now, I'm pretty sure they're for this project. 

I have no idea whether I can do these paintings well. I don't know if they will be appealing to people, or whether they will sell. But I feel a real need to do them, and so we shall see. What do you think? 

***


About 15 years ago, we adopted a nearly feral cat named Samantha. She was not spayed, but we promised the shelter we would spay her. A few days after we got her, we moved to Maine. A week or so later, Samantha got out. We had a devil of a time getting her back in, but eventually, we got a Have-A-Heart trap, and captured her. 

But during her brief outing, she got knocked up by a neighborhood Tom. She had four kittens, which we named Puffy, Tuffy, Snuffy and Scruffy. We kept Puffy, and gave the other three to friends. 

One, shown in the top photo, was taken by Liz, an editor at the paper where I worked. Liz named her "Kizzy," and though she'd been a little hesitant to take her, she fell in love with the kitten. 

Kizzy died recently, after a long, happy life. Liz said she was a great cat, who helped her through good times and tough times. She was much loved. 

Puffy and Samantha are both going strong. Here's Puffy, below. I think she still looks like a kitten. 


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rise and Shine - and a Grand Coincidence

Rise and Shine
Oil on canvas, 20x20, sold

The weather people delivered their proclamations of doom this morning with their typical dramatic flourishes. I looked at the weather map and decided to put some extra weights on my tent, but otherwise, not to panic. 

By 3 p.m., the 52 percent chance of rain had diminished to 30 percent. And just as I saw this, I heard a big thunderboom overhead. Shortly thereafter, the organizers of the Brandywine Arts Festival here in Wilmington, Del., decided that, to be safe, the show should close at 5. 

So I packed up and left, and kept my fingers crossed. But as I was packing, a lovely couple came along and bought this rooster painting. Yay! 

The show here in Wilmington continues on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Stop by if you're in the area! 

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IN A REMARKABLE bit of coincidence, two young women walked into the booth this morning, attracted by that very same rooster. Turns out they want a 48x48 rooster for their kitchen, and I laughed at this, because I had a 48x48 canvas that I'd considered using for a rooster. Instead, I painted sunflowers, and they do look great - but I had kept wondering and wondering about a bigger rooster. 

I took their contact info, and did notice that their last name sounded a little familiar. They asked where I lived, and when I said Wachapreague, they bubbled a little. Their uncle lives there, they said. Did I know James Swineford? 

No, I said, I didn't.

And then I thought about it for a minute. 

"You mean Jimmy?" I asked. "Nitty-Gritty?" They nodded. "He lives across the street from us!" 

We've never called him "James," and while I guess I knew his last name at one point, I quickly and completely forgot it. We call him "Nitty-Gritty," because that's the name of his boat, and what he has on his license plate. Jimmy is a good neighbor, solid and available. He has a little bit of a lawn-mowing fetish, driving the mower at least weekly, and while he has a slight propensity for curmudgeonliness, he is always happy to share a joke and lend a hand. 

Isn't life amazing? 

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Dog of the Day

It's Fred! He belongs to Tamara, a faithful reader of this blog. She sent the picture when I started painting roosters, and I will surely paint Fred one of these days. He's a looker! 

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sun Rings, Peter Chang, and the DOD Takes a Dip

Sun Rings
Oil on canvas, 20x20
commission

When something rears its head repeatedly in my life, I pay attention. I've ignored signs and coincidences all too often, and felt the dismay of clearly missed opportunities. 

So when three people asked me to go back and paint more of these sun ring paintings, I agreed. I painted them originally in 2011 (click here to see one from back then)  and they were fun then. But this time, I had such a blast that I'm going to paint another one today, no matter how tropically hot and humid it is out there. 

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COME SEE MY NEW PAINTINGS at the Brandywine Festival of the Arts this weekend in Wilmington, Del. I don't know where I'm going to be yet, and it is a pretty big festival, but I will let you all know when I know. If you have friends in the Wilmington, Del., area, please let them know about the festival. There is an admission fee of $5, I believe. Click here for a link to info on the festival. 

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ON SUNDAY, PETER and I went to Virginia Beach for a fast supply visit to Jerry's Artarama. On the way back, we took my brother's advice and tried Peter Chang's in Virginia Beach. My brother - Rand Cooper is his name; click here to read some of his food writing - knows his cuisine. He said we'd have the best Chinese food of our lives - and we did. It was truly amazing, subtle, interesting, and miles above any other Chinese food ever. 

The best dishes were the steamed dumplings, which were smooth and rich with subtle flavors - and dry-fried eggplant, which is so delicious it nearly defies description. The eggplant taste was creamy and fresh, and at the very end, there was a hot zing of Szechuan peppers. Yum! 


 

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Dog of the Day

It's Tucker, who fell into a little water feature while visiting my friends Cynthia and Kevin. 
Tucker was none the worse for his experience, and had a nice cooling bath, besides.