Thursday, May 28, 2020


Jacorabbit / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68 includes shipping


WHAT DO YOU MEAN, he's not a bird? Whatever you do, don't tell him! 



ON A COLD AND GRAY MEMORIAL DAY MORNING, I met some other painters in a peony farm in Exmore and we set up to paint. The peony season was pretty much past, though the flowers that remained were incredibly beautiful - deep fuschia, palest pink, brilliant white, and rich with petals fragile as torn tissue. Gorgeous.

Here are two paintings from the day.

Above, Peony Rows, oil on black canvas, 4x12, $88 unframed, includes shipping

Peony World / Oil on black canvas / 11x14 unframed / sold

For Today
(a long one, but worthwhile)


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open - 
pools of lace, 
white and pink -
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes 
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities -
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly
and there it is again - 
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world? 
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever? 

- Mary Oliver

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Raven / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68 includes shipping


I USED TO THINK that the most boring conversations on the face of the earth involved someone telling me - in detail - about their medical problems. 

Now, I think the most boring conversations on the face of the earth involve people holding forth  as experts - which they are not - on the coronavirus.

For Today

Uptown, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Even though it's May & the ice cream truck
parked outside my apartment is somehow certain,
I have a hard time believing winter is somehow,
all of a sudden, over - the worst one of my life,
the woman at the bank tells me. Though I'd like to be,
it's impossible to be prepared for everything.
Even the mundane hum of my phone catches me
off guard today. Every voice that says my name 
is a voice I don't think I could possibly leave
(it's unfair to not ask for the things you need)
even though I think about it often, even though
leaving is a train headed somewhere I'd probably hate.
Crossing Lyndale to meet a friend for coffee
I have to maneuver around a hearse that pulled too far
into the crosswalk. It's empty. Perhaps spring is here.
Perhaps it will all be worth it. Even though I knew
even then it was worth it, staying, I mean.
Even now, there is someone, somehow, waiting to me. 

- Hieu Minh Nguyen

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Cardinal with Red Flowers

Cardinal with Red Flowers /  oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


GUY WILKINS WAS a painter who lived in Wachapreague, and died a bit before we moved here. When I landed in town that very first time, dawdling on my way back to Connecticut from painting in North Carolina, the owner of the Wachapreague Inn looked at me, covered in paint, and told me I had to meet Guy Wilkins. 

Turned out, he was in the hospital, and I never did get to meet him. But I've seen his paintings in people's homes, and on line ( and have heard about him from many people. I wish I'd known him. I think we would have been friends. 

The other day, painting in a peony field in Exeter, I heard one of the other painters say she had studied with Guy Wilkins. "He would tell me to stop right there," she said. "He'd say, 'It looks enough like a tree. Leave it alone.'"

I have much the same philosophy. If I don't insist on painting every last detail, I not only keep myself from getting bored and frustrated, but I also allow you, the viewer, to add your own ideas to the painting. Add your own details. Use your own imagination. I think this makes for a much more interesting painting for both of us! 


ON A WALK with three of my four dogs, Liesl (above, left) my regular dog-walking companion, and Lexie, (above, left) a special guest dog-walker, and I (below) saw this sign outside the crab-picking shack. It amused me - and the dogs thought it was pretty great, too. 

For Today

"A country where flowers are priced so as to make them a luxury
 has yet to learn the first principles of civilization."

- Chinese proverb

Monday, May 25, 2020

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68

ON MY FIRST PAINTING TRIP, which was well more than 10 years ago, I drove to Wisdom, Montana and back, painting all along the way. 

At that point, I was using brushes, and putting on the oil paints very thinly - almost like watercolors. I was often not bringing the painting to the edges of the canvas, a thing I still do now, but in a different way. 

I have a number of paintings from that trip that have never sold - but they're good paintings, ones I love, and ones that I believe have value. 

Since Peter died, I have been clearing my life and my house and my studio of things that don't work for me. Things that make me unhappy. Some of that clearing out has involved paintings. I have thrown them away, covered them over, even burned a couple. 

But I've saved some, too. The other day, I took the painting below, of an alfalfa field near Sandusky, Ohio, and I painted over it with heavy paint and my palette knife. In the process, I remembered that trip, and how liberating it was. And I remembered falling in love with yellow. 

That area of Ohio was rich with yellow. Overloaded with yellow. It was summer - July, I think, or maybe August - and the fields were full of wheat and alfalfa and who knows what all else. The sun up there, by Lake Erie, shone golden and brilliant, especially in the late afternoons, and the world took on a rich yellow hue that I'd never noticed before. 

On that trip, yellow entranced me. Delighted me. Warmed me. Romanced me. I painted as much yellow as I could, used all the yellows I had, mixed them, pushed them, begged them to hold the light and shine that brilliance from the canvas. I lived in a whirl of yellow, and I was in love. 

All of that came rushing back to me when I painted over the Sandusky canvas. And it crept into the owl, too - a happy blur of yellow on a warm May afternoon.  

Above, the original painting. Below, the refurbished one. Both are 12x36. Please contact me at for price, shipping and availability.

For Today

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff.
 If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."

- A.A. Milne

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Mrs. Bluebird

 Mrs. Bluebird / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68 including shipping


IN THE MORNINGS, my friend Liesl and I walk three of my four dogs. Sometimes, we take Woody, but he is 14, mostly blind and mostly deaf, and, while he wants to go on the walks, and is pretty much capable of them, he is a menace, weaving all over the place on his leash, and stopping again and again, to poop in the middle of the road, or just to stop. It is a small miracle that I haven't fallen over him and broken things, on one or both of us.

I think that Liesl (our favorite Austrian) has a well-ordered and calm life - outside of the chaos of Doc, Lulu and Koko. And so it is doubly great that she helps me walk them. 

For months, we have been letting Koko and Doc run around in a little park along the marsh. At first, it was just Koko, with her leash trailing behind. Then we let Doc run, again with his leash trailing. I call them to me, again and again, and reward them with treats, and they've been learning. And the leashes are off.

But yesterday was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day, and Doc decided it was a perfect day to romp off, scamper through yards and pretend that I was calling him in some foreign language, or maybe in a totally inaudible voice. 

Wachapreague is a place without many cars, though there are some, and at that time of the morning, in that part of town, there are usually no dogs out. So it ended up OK, with Doc cavorting back not to me but to Liesl, who had Koko and Lulu on their leashes. 

After the excitement, I said that I was mad at Doc, and exasperated. 

"Why would he run off like that?" I asked. "He knows better!" 

And Liesl told me to be happy that he had come back, and to not take it personally. "It was a beautiful day and he decided it was a good day for a run," she said. "It had nothing to do with you."

Of course, she is right. And so I will make every effort to remember this incident in the future - and not only when the situation is dog-related. 


Would you please do me a favor?

SOMETIME THIS WEEK or next, when you read one of these blogs that you like, would you please send it to one or two friends and ask them to sign up to receive it by email? I would really appreciate it. 

The email sign up box is on the right hand side of the blog -

It means a great deal to me when people read what I write, and also when they buy my paintings. The more people who see the blog, the better my chances of finding happy readers and happy buyers. 

Thank you! 

For Today

"Every work of art which really moves us is in some degree a revelation - it changes us." 

- Lawren Harris

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Australian Fairy Wren

Australian Fairy Wren / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 includes shipping

I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF an Australian Fairy Wren, but I swear, I did not make it up. I was looking for photos of wrens, and this spectacularly colored turquoise and azure and royal and sapphire blue creature showed up and blew me away. 

Usually, I only paint birds I know. I am comfortable doing that, and it makes me happy. I don't care if I paint 30 cardinals and 50 wrens, 100 chickadees and 500 robins - they are my backyard friends, and their songs, their nests, their flitting selves at my feeders help create the warp and the woof of my days. I could paint them forever, and I probably will. 

People send me bird photos all the time, and I do love looking at them. But most of the exotics that people send (and this is what they send) are beyond my skills, especially if I've never seen them in real life. 

What I like best about the bird paintings, I think, is the character and personality of the birds. Capturing those things, in the tilt of the head or the set of the beak - insouciance, or braggadocio, or jauntiness - or just a little chickadee innocence - this makes me happy. And those things are things I've learned from watching my backyard birds.

But there was something wrenny about the Australian Fairy Wren, and then, there were those colors. My brother once said to me that he thought that if blue didn't exist, I probably wouldn't be able to paint. And he might be right. 

For Today

"The chief enemy of creativity is good sense."

- Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Cedar Waxwing

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

SINCE I STARTED THE BIRD-A-DAY PROJECT, I have often begun my painting day with a bird painting or two. More or less at random, I choose a bird I'd like to paint, and then go searching for photos to use as the reference. Or I start the day by going through the dozens of photos I've collected, and choosing one. And then I start to paint. 

There's no planning here, outside of the plan to make a bird painting. There is no rhyme or reason. I paint whatever I feel like painting, and, more to the point of this blog post, I paint however I feel like painting. 

Here is what occurred to me as I looked at the photo above: I've made two cedar waxwing paintings, and both of them have had an interestingly smooth look, in the bird and in the background. Here's the previous one: 

The bulk of my bird paintings don't look like this. So there must be something in the cedar waxwing itself that translates it in my mind into smoothness. It could be as simple as the implication of "wax" in the name. Nutty? Maybe. 

But who knows what causes the creative mind to swerve and dip and go in one direction or another? I know I tend to paint cardinals looking like kings, and kingfishers looking like little ruffians. My crows tend to have wild, tumultuous, loud, squawking backgrounds - or not. 

No matter what you do in life, whether you're an artist or an accountant or an architect, I hope that - at least at times - you feel you have the creative freedom to respond to your subject in the way the subject demands, or requests, or implies. 

Saturday Painting Workshop

AS LONG AS THE GREAT CONFINEMENT continues, and perhaps even after that, I'll be giving painting workshops on Saturdays at 1 p.m. Eastern. Right now, they are on my Carrie Jacobson, Artist Facebook page -

The workshops are free, and last about an hour. I use oils and a palette knife, but people use all sorts of art-making supplies and all sorts of tools. I show you how I paint, and walk you through the process - actually, I kind of hurry you through the process, so that you don't have a lot of time to overthink and overworry. 

This week, we're going to paint a photo taken by a friend. She and I have been exchanging photos of the sky, wherever we are, nearly every day for about three years now. This is in her backyard, and I think it will be very fun to paint! 

For Today

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily. 

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches. 

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled 
with light, and to shine." 

- Mary Oliver