Friday, January 24, 2020

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing / Oil on black canvas / unframed / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

WHEN WE LIVED IN MAINE (Bolster's Mills, in southwest Maine, near Bridgton), we had tons of birds all year round. Peter and I loved watching them, and that was where he started his life list. I found his field guide the other day, and there was his list of all the birds he saw during his life. 

One of his favorites, and mine, too, was the cedar waxwing. We'd get them in the fall, and not many of them, but they were reliably perennial, lighting on some tree that had orangey-red berries. They always looked like robber birds, with those dark masks across their faces. They were greedy and funny and noisy and brash, and they made us laugh, every time.


I AM DELIGHTED to let you all know that I now have three patrons! These are folks who've gone to my Blue Sky Patronage Page on the Jacobson Arts website, and enrolled in a program to give me money every month, much as patrons of the arts did in times gone by. 

A couple years ago, The New York Times had an interesting article on a small re-emergence of the patronage concept. Working with my prosperity coach, Joe Skelley, I'd already started my program, but I was happy to see that I was in good company. 

My patrons get some rewards for this, but none of these folks is doing this for the rewards. They're doing it because they believe in me and want to help make it possible for me to continue to make art. Isn't that amazing? I am grateful beyond measure. 

For Today

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show." 

- Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Peter's Birthday Crow

Peter's Birthday Crow / Oil on canvas / unframed / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

TODAY, PETER WOULD HAVE TURNED 73. We would not have had much of a celebration, because he never liked parties. But I would have bought and wrapped presents for him, and set them out on the coffee table, probably with a vase of flowers from the grocery store, our favorite (and only) florist.

I'd have been up since 5, and he'd have gotten up at 8:30 or so. I'd have waited a couple hours for him to be awake enough, and then I'd have made a fresh pot of coffee, and he and the dogs and I would gather in the living room, and he'd have opened his presents, a little embarrassed - yes, even after all these years - at being excited by the whole process. 

Then he'd have gone off and done whatever he did during the days, and I'd have done the same, then I'd have cooked him whatever dinner he wanted, and probably made some gluten-free brownies to stand in as his cake (he always wanted me to be able to share in the food celebrations). And then, tomorrow or the next day, I'd have left for Arizona, and watched him waving goodbye as I drove off. 

It's been 105 days since he died, and today, I celebrate his life, his living, his beautiful spirit and huge heart. How he loved me! And how he loved our daughter, and her family, and our dogs, and our life together. I celebrate his art, his humor, his writing, his constant reading and learning. I celebrate that he lived the life he wanted to live, and chose to share it with me. 

Today, to celebrate Peter, I hope you will celebrate your own love. Husband, wife, child, parent, dog, fish, whatever. Honor him, or her, or them, and the life you have, the path you're walking,  smooth or rough, flat or steep. Rejoice, just for today, just for a moment, that you are walking it together. 

For Today

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." 

- Chinese proverb

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Crow on a Post

Crow on a Post / Oil on black canvas /  5x7 / unframed / $68


I USE A DAILY PLANNER, a paper one, in addition to Alexa, a wall calendar, emailed reminders, notes to myself, etc. And now that Peter has died, I am relying even more on my planner. 

So I bought a special one this year, a vision-board kind of planner made by Inner Guide. It is quite a tree-hugger-zen-hoo-ha-Birkenstock kind of thing, and I really love it. Each week's two-page spread has an area to list priorities, a reminder to stay on track, a place to write gratitudes, etc. There's a monthly intention area, as well as a look-back and assessment of the previous month. 

And at the start, there's a series of questions to answer, intentions to set and decisions to make. The first question - and it stopped me in my tracks - was "What do you value most in life?" 

It took me days to answer - and I answered "My family." 

Friends had other ideas. One said "art," another said "God," and another said "health." 

What do you value most in life?  

For Today

YEARS AGO, MURDERS of crows (big flocks) roosted just outside of towns. Now, they often roost in cities. To find out why, and more about their roosting habits, click here. 

Here is a poem about crows roosting. I found it in a piece on "A Bird Black as the Sun," a collection of poems about crows and ravens, by California poets. 

Black Birds

When the crows come
black against the darkening sky
their wings obscure the sun
and small sounds drown
in their strident caws.

They storm the walnut tree
snatch the green fruit
drop it from great heights
retrieve the cracked kernels.

Again and again they dive
From tree to ground
feathers gleaming
where stray sunrays touch.

And when the mountains turn blue
with the haze of eening
the crows life off in ebony formation
head toward some secret roost 
where they blend into the night. 

- Lisl auf der Heide

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Sparrow / Oil on black canvas / unframed / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


AS I AM SITTING HERE in the kitchen, posting this painting of this plain little sparrow (who I think is adorable), The Today Show folks are talking about the no-longer-Prince Harry and no-longer-Princess Megan. 

For some reason, I begin to wonder if maybe, at one point, sparrows were the royalty of the bird world, and then they turned it down, walked away, leaving the glory to the eagles and cardinals and the other big, flashy, famous birds. 

And now, they are just happy to be sparrows. 

Seems possible, doesn't it? 


FOR THOSE OF YOU who receive this blog by email, I apologize about the illegibility of the  Martin Luther King Jr. speech yesterday. If you want to read it - and really, it's worth it - please go to my actual blog - - and you should be able to read it there. It took me forever to get it right on the site - never occurred to me that the emailed version would not change the type and background. Sorry! 

For Today

"Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark."

-Radindranath Tagore

Monday, January 20, 2020

Stern Mr. Cardinal

Stern Mr. Cardinal / oil on black canvas/ unframed / 5x7 / $68

THIS MORNING, MY STOMACH is rolling, and aside from that making me unhappy on general principles, it's making me unhappy because I have so much to do this week, to get ready to leave on Saturday for Arizona.

So instead of fighting to put my own rolling words on the page, I will copy over the beautiful and powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr., whose life we honor today and whose message I hope we honor every day.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. 

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?"

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only."

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Friday, January 17, 2020

Bluebird on the Wing

Bluebird on the Wing / Oil on black canvas / unframed / 5x7 $68


I MYSELF WILL BE on the wing soon, heading to Arizona to spend a few good weeks with my dad and stepmother. I am hoping to encounter sunny days, and warmth - and I know I will be in a landscape I love, and with people who are dear to me. 

I will be posting a bird a day on my trip, if I can find good, safe internet - and will be painting birds while I'm out there. Also while I'm there, I'll be showing and selling my paintings during the Tubac show, Feb. 6-9. I'll be on the patio at Sweet Poppy, near Shelby's on the Tubac Road. 

You, my faithful blog readers, have probably already figured this out, but just in case, the Bird A Day birds show up first here on the blog, if everything works right. Then, I post them on Facebook and, then, if they're still available, on my website, Jacobson Arts. I try to get the blog to SEND at specific times, so that the birds appear in your inboxes before they show up anywhere else, but that seems to be beyond my control. So if you want to have first dibs on the birds, check this blog in the mornings. 

For Today

"Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature - if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you - know that the morning and spring 
of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse."

- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Goldfinch, Oil on black canvas, 5x7, unframed, $68

AT THE HEIGHT OF SUMMER, goldfinches are brilliant bits of color, flitting around the yard. But they're not always that color. In the winter and the spring, they are a dull yellow, almost olive, a color no one would ever describe as "gold." 

Of course, this winter is an especially dark one for me, but truly, I feel that I am much like the goldfinch. Dull in winter. Sapped of color, of energy, of drive. I don't flit, I plod. 

In a week or so, I head to Arizona for a month, to see my dad and Paula, and to do a show - in a different way than usual. During the Tubac show, Feb. 5-9, I will be set up on the patio at Sweet Poppy, 19 Tubac Road, near Shelby's. 

I am hoping that by the time I drive through Texas and New Mexico and Arizona, and spend a week or so in the sun, that I will start to get my golden goldfinch color back. 

For Today

"Fortunately, however, birds don't understand pep talks. Not even St. Francis'. Just imagine, he went on, preaching sermons to perfectly good thrushes and goldfinches and chiff-chaffs! What presumption1 Why couldn't he have kept his mouth shut and let the birds preach to him? "

- Aldous Huxley

Note from me, Carrie - I am a big fan of St. Francis, and I believe that he did let the birds preach to him.