Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jan. 1, Quinby Bridge

Jan. 1, 2017, Quinby Bridge
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $125
sold
It was warm enough on January 1 to go outside and paint - and so I did! This is another view of the place that's in the painting behind the words "The Accidental Artist" at the very top of this blog. You can see in the photo below that it's a large tidal mudflat bisected by a narrow road. The tides are often very high and very low here, where the Machipongo River Empties into Hog Island Bay. 

The marshes and flats that line our part of the Eastern Shore are a huge reason why I love it so much here. They attract birds and ducks all year round, and it's great to watch the ever-changing flocks. The grasses in the marshes change color, from a brilliant neon green in the spring to a deep, rich gold in the fall, to a muted muddy brown now.

The smell of the marsh is a constant source of pleasure for me, as well. That deep scent of dirt and life and decay, it's a smell many people don't like, but for me, it is a smell thick with promise, with death and life, with the whole rich wheel of existence. 

I made this painting with a full feeling of celebration and gratitude. A new year, a new day, a new hour, a new chance. 



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Just for fun, it's Peter and me at a birthday party for our friend, Pat.  


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Dog of the Day

This guy was soaking up the sun on a Rhode Island afternoon 

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A Final Thought

"If you think good work is somehow synonymous with perfect work, 
you are headed for big trouble. "

- David Bayles and Ted Orland
"Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking"



Friday, January 13, 2017

Sunday Drive

Sunday Drive
Oil on canvas, 16x16
Please click here to contact me for price and availability

I started becoming interested painting people a couple years ago. It took a while for me to work up the courage and confidence enough to really try it.

It took me a while longer to realize that maybe I didn't need to focus on individual faces, and that maybe, just maybe, that would turn out to be a strength of these paintings instead of a weakness.

I've personally balked at buying portraits, feeling that I really don't want a stranger looking at me all the time. And if the portrait is of a person I know, chances are that it won't look like the person, or at least not like the person the way I know that person.

So, in much the same way that my buyers and I have accepted that houses that I paint generally don't have doors or windows, I guess I am accepting that - at least for now - my people won't have faces.

Interestingly, I'm not squeamish about painting dogs' faces! Eyes, noses, what have you - these don't scare or dismay me. Cows - about half the time they have eyes and delineated faces. Maybe there will be a transition eventually with people, but for the time being, I'm OK with them like this.

What I really set out to write about was the action, the motion, in these paintings. Guess that will wait for another post.

***

Do you remember Kato, Inspector Clouseau's valet in the Pink Panther movies? Kato would hide and leap out at the inspector at all hours of the day and night, to sharpen Clouseau's reflexes, or so he said. Mostly, he made a giant, furniture-breaking mess whenever they tangled. Koko might be the canine version of Kato, pouncing over and over on Doc, whenever they're out in the yard. 


***
Dog of the Day

It's Ginger, the dear old dog of Heather and Joe, friends from Maine. 
Ginger has had a good life, being well-loved, well-traveled, well-treated. 
And I think she likes winter, too. What a good girl. 

***
A Final Thought

"Even at best talent remains a constant, and those who rely upon that gift alone, without developing further, peak quickly and soon fade to obscurity." 

- David Bayles and Ted Orland
"Art & Fear /Observations and the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking"




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Smart Felix

Felix
Oil on canvas, 12x12
101 Dogs commission

 A few months ago, a woman I'd met at the Paradise City Arts Festival decided to become a three-dog sponsor of the 101 Dogs project.  It took me a while to get to the paintings, but I did, and two of them - Hershey, the chocolate lab below, and Kody below him - worked well for her and for me. Alas, Felix did not. I redid the original painting, (you can see that one just to the left) but it still wasn't right, so I took a fresh start, made a new painting, and it was good for the buyer and for me.                                                                                                                       This is not a big deal. Usually, I get the dogs right off, but about one in 10 needs to be redone. Often it's because I don't like the painting, I don't think it captures the dog. Sometimes it's because it's a miss for the dog's human. It happens, and it's fine. I learn something from every one of these. But it means that I always have a few dog paintings floating around. With the 101 Dogs project, and the return of some very old sample dog paintings from a gallery, I have more than usual.                                                                                                                            I  like to give a painting away at every show, usually to a young person, and so these extra paintings often go that route. Groups often ask me for donations, and sometimes that's where they end up. But sometimes they just end up in the studio, watching me. A few weeks ago, I had a great idea! I'd put hats and glasses, scarves and ties, necklaces and who knows what else on these dogs, and price them low. So I took Kody, put him in glasses and a tie, and put him on my website, Jacobson Arts.

Remember my mentioning that the lovely Lulu ate my glasses? I went to my local optician to get new ones and since my prescription was old, the woman behind the desk suggested that I have him recheck my eyes. I really didn't want to spend the money, but my eyes are my life these days, and so I did. Dr. Keyes was such a nice man! We got to talking, about his life and mine, and of course I mentioned the website. After the exam (my eyes are worse, imagine that), one of the women was measuring something on my eyes when the doctor came out with his laptop. 

"Is this one available?" he asked, pointing to Smart Felix, with the glasses and tie. "I have to have him!" 

So Smart Felix has a new home, and is very much loved, and the sale helped defray the cost of the eye exam, and I met a bunch of nice people who live nearby and love my paintings. 





     Smart Felix

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Yikes! Snow in Wachapreague! 

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Dog of the Day
It's Koko, Doc and Lulu - Koko has seen snow before, but this is the puppies' first adventure, and they loved it. I froze myself, chasing them around to get them in! 


***
A Final Thought

"Simply put, making art is chancy - it doesn't mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding." 

- David Bayles and Ted Orland
 "Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking" 


                                                                              




















































Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lining Up the Putt

Lining Up the Putt
Oil on black canvas, 16x16

So what about prices? What are my prices generally, and why don't I just put the price of the painting in the line above?

I price my paintings generally at $1.25 to $1.65 per square inch, and then I adjust. Up, if the price seems ridiculously low. Down if it seems unrealistically high.

I used to price paintings according to what I thought they were worth, but this was endlessly confusing, Tiny paintings would be more expensive than huge ones. Buyers didn't get it, so, taking advice from people who'd been selling paintings for years, I went to the square-inch method. Many painters use this method, and my per-inch prices are lower than most of my peers'. And that's OK with me. I'd rather sell lower and make more paintings!

So there's a starting point. But there are many variables beyond that. if someone buys a piece before I put it in a show, they generally get a discount.

For a while, I had a page called "The Hot Nickel," where I'd put paintings that had not yet been to a show. (The title comes from the saying that a hot nickel is often worth more than a cool dime).

That page shortly became disastrous, as I'd forget to put paintings on it, or, worse, forget to take them off once I'd put them in a show.

There are some other discounts I generally offer. If you come to the studio to buy a painting, chances are I'll offer you a discount. The less I have to do to sell a painting, the better.

If you pay with cash, I'll offer a discount.

If you buy more than one painting (except for the smallest ones), I'll offer a discount.

I'm generally open to negotiation, taking all the above into account. Sometimes there's a painting I absolutely adore, and am convinced is worth every cent I am asking, and I won't budge. Sometimes I am just sick of a painting, or I don't like it, or I'm in a mood, or I'm having a terrible show or a wonderful show - and if you catch me at one of these times, chances are I'll give you a big discount.

Another reason I don't put prices on the blog or the website is that I have a terrible memory, and often forget to take a price or a paypal button off a blog post, so sometimes, people inquire about paintings that are long gone.

And finally, galleries sometimes have different prices than I have. Sometimes they're higher, sometimes lower. I don't always know how a gallery is pricing a piece. I give them guidelines, but in the long run, I want them to sell the paintings, so I allow them some leeway - though I am tightening up, especially on the galleries that sell my pieces for less than I'd ask.

***
Isn't this great? It's Humpty Dumpty, sitting, falling and broken. 
I saw this in a beautiful shady neighborhood in St. Paul this summer. 

***
Dog of the Day
It's Kora, who lives with my friend Tiffany. I love her stripes, her dark feet and her long legs.

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

***
A Final Thought

"A finished piece is, in effect, a test of correspondence between imagination and execution. And perhaps surprisingly, the more common obstacle to achieving that correspondence is not undisciplined execution, but undisciplined imagination."

- David Bayles and Ted Orland, 
"Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking"









Monday, January 9, 2017

Fisherman Joe

Fisherman Joe
Oil on canvas, 16x16
Please click here to email me for price and availability

A few years ago, when I was just starting out doing shows, I decided to try Florida. I did three shows and bombed miserably, selling just one painting in three shows - and they were supposedly good shows, too.

It seemed I just didn't have the right stuff for Florida - and it was easy to think that maybe I never would.

This fall, an artist named Carroll Swayzee invited me to a show she has put on for five years in Englewood, where she lives. Carroll is a painter, and though I don't know her well, I like her work and her attitude. The show came at a good time for me, and so I decided to give it a try.

So, Jan. 28 and 29, I'll be at the Englewood Bank and Trust Invitational Art show, 1111 South McCall Road., Englewood, Florida. And in preparation for the show, I'm painting some bright, sunny, beachy, Florida-type pieces, like Fisherman Joe.

A while ago, I thought I'd try people, that maybe portraits would differentiate me from the landscape-and-flower crowd. I had a blast, but eventually got sidetracked by the need for BIG art. So far, I haven't had the nerve to do a person BIG - but one of these days, I will. Especially having had such fun with Joe.

***

I was looking for something in my photo program the other day, and came across this "event." I took all these photos on THE SAME DAY, from a snowstorm in Connecticut to forsythia and cherry trees blooming on the Eastern Shore. 

***
Dog of the Day

This DOD lives just outside Wachapreague - and was not too happy with me, as I drove by on New Year's Day. 

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A Final Thought

"What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don't, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test." 

- David Bayles and Ted Orland
"Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking









Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rex

Rex
Oil on canvas, 12x48

On Jan. 1, I celebrated 30 years clean and sober. It's really a miracle! I was high, on one substance or another, for most of my 20s. I am quite sure I'd be dead now if I hadn't found AA, and my Higher Power, and Peter, and the strength and spirit I needed to get and stay sober. Interestingly, stopping the drinking and drugging was the smallest part of the process. Learning to live again, that was the most of it, and continues to this day.

One of the things AA promises is that "We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness." Look at Rex here. Isn't he all that and more? That's what he says to me, and what I felt while I painted him. He's realistic and abstract. He's dark and bright. He's got the essence of "longhorn," and also the essence of  "art." He's everything I learned before my Big Skies Painting Trip, and everything I learned on it - and was able to bring back and do In The Studio, as opposed to out in the air, where everything is easier for me.

***

Speaking of Out in the Air, what's your guess as to the location of  this telephone pole? Haiti? Bangladesh? Mumbai? Nope. Mystic, CT. Go figure.

***
Dog of the Day


Good-looking chow, isn't he? Looks like he owns the world - as all good chows should. 

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

***
A Final Thought

"The point is that you learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art. The best you can do is make art you care about - and lots of it!" 

- David Bayles and Ted Ormand
from "Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. I'll be quoting passages from this small, amazing, inspiring book for the month of January.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Robert

Robert
Oil on black canvas, 10x10, $125, includes U.S. shipping


When I posted the first stage of "Double Four Time" on Facebook, many folks suggested that I do some cowscapes on black. I've done some of these large, and while people delighted in them, it was hard to sell them. Maybe the smaller pieces will sell more easily? It's worth a try - and it was great fun to paint Robert here!

I've managed to bring home two techniques I discovered on my Big Skies painting trip . One is to not hold the knife with my typical death-grip. I remind myself to hold the knife loosely, and it helps the paint glide on, with interesting not-straight edges.

The second discovery that shows up in this painting is that it's great to use the mixed/unmixed gobs of left-over paint that, in the past, I'd just wiped from my knife. Now, I pile it up in a corner of the palette, and use it as is - randomly, chaotically mixed colors like the ones at the top of Robert's head.

***

OK, of course we all know what they MEANT - "Truck Drives Off Bridge." But I had to laugh at this dog-bites-man kind of headline. "Truck Drives Over Bridge," really? 

***
Dog of the Day

I'm making Lulu the Dog of the Day because if I don't, I might murder her. She just destroyed my spare glasses. 

I was having sleeping trouble last night, and moved to the couch to see if I could sleep there. I watched TV for a while, then took off my glasses to turn over and catch some Zs. I was barely awake. 

This morning, Lulu jumped up on the couch and stole my glasses from the table, where I'd stashed them. Yes, it was my fault for leaving them there, but damn, this is the second pair in as many months. I'm contemplating writing a children's book, "Twenty-Nine Pounds of Trouble." 

***
A Final Thought

"Art is made by ordinary people. Creatures having only virtues can hardly be imagined making art. It's difficult to picture the Virgin Mary painting landscapes. Or Batman throwing pots. The flawless creature wouldn't need to make art."

- "Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking," 
by David Bayles and Ted Orland