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Friday, December 31, 2010

Storm

Storm
Oil on canvas, 36x48
Please contact me for price and delivery information
sold

It's the last night of 2010, and it's been an interesting year.

It has been a year rich in experience and in choices. I've gone from painting full-time to working more than full-time to learning, bit by bit, day by day, how to balance the two.

I've done something I swore I'd never do again - go back into journalism. But it's an entirely new sort of journalism, and barely feels like the same thing.

And while I am enjoying it, it is entirely too easy for me to be sucked in again.

What I want is to paint, to make my living painting. It is that simple and that huge, and I am on my way.

During this year, my faith and spirituality have developed to a point where I feel that I am prepared to continue this quest, and make progress at it, while still making my living in journalism. I must say that my family and my friends are doing all they can to support me in this - and I thank heaven for that support every day.

Each of you who reads this blog is part of this, too. Every eye, every heart, every mind that sees my work adds to my momentum and my success.

So, that is my resolution: To keep painting in the center of my life, in the center of my heart, in the center of all that I do.

Happy new year to all - and thank you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Italian Hilltop Farm


Italian Hilltop Farm
Oil on gessoboard panel, 4x4, $75 framed




OK, continuing the joke, "campo grande, casa poco." That's "big field, little house" in Italian. 

Now that I can fly, I find myself wanting more and more to go to Italy. We have too many dogs, but the promise of Italy is the one good thing that I can see when I look ahead and see the deaths that are certainly coming. 

This winter is the first that Kaja hasn't greeted the first snow - and every snow - by flopping on her back and rolling around. In fact, she stumbled in the snow this morning and needed help to get up. 

But just when I think it is the end for her, she will do something like this: We decided to take her and a couple of the others out for a walk. Where we expected Kaja to turn back, she insisted on continuing. She climbed up a hill and then tramped on down the other side. I had to run to get ahead of her to turn her back toward home, and even then, she stumped purposefully past the turn-off and I had to run ahead of her and turn her again. (She is stone deaf, so there's not calling her). 

So, Italy is something, but I'd rather have my old, stinky, arthritic dog. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ledyard Farm


Ledyard Farm
Oil on canvas panel, 4x6, $75 framed



The first snowfall of the season came the day after Christmas, and it was a humdinger - mostly because of the wind.

On Monday, I was out in it all day, writing stories and freezing my butt off.

Tony Bacewicz, a wonderful photographer who worked for the Hartford Courant for 35 years, is freelancing for Patch, and he was out in it, too, shooting in Ledyard. He took a photo of this farm, and gave me permission to paint it.

I'm doing a large version of it, but did the mini first. It made me laugh a little, as I realized how much it is another in my "Big Field, Little House" series.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Maryland Dawn


Maryland Dawn
Oil on gessoboard panel, 5x7, $75, framed


sold
As I write this, the sun is starting to set, and it's spilling over the snow, throwing long blue shadows over the undulating surface of the yard. The wind blew our plastic Adirondack chairs over. Squirrels and bunnies have left tracks in the snow, as have hundreds and hundreds of birds.

I am starting to find a rhythm here, and I think it is working. I've been able to paint for most of the days of the past couple weeks. Not every day, and not for the entire day, but for most of the days, and for enough time to make progress. 

I've begun doing these small pieces, minis, as Lori at Center Framing & Art calls them, and I find they are good for limbering up, and for finding where the problems will arise if I do the painting larger. Also, people like them and buy them. 

I am gearing up for the first show of the year, which for me is in February at the Wallkill River School, with artist and teacher and animal lover Susan Miiller. Save Saturday, Feb. 12, which as far as I know, is the date of our opening. It's going to be an excellent show, with landscapes large and small - and animals galore! 


Into the Dawn

Into the Dawn
Oil on canvas, 30x36
Please email me for price and delivery options

Once, I had a thought about the last car on the highway. In my mind's picture, I drove along at night, stars above, and the miles spinning away beneath my tires, and it was something I wanted, a feeling I craved.

Now, I realize that I was in a dark and lonely place when that picture-thought came to me. At the time, I believed I was OK.

Today, I think I'm driving into the dawn, not alone, but the last of those before me and the first of many to come. We might not see each other, we might not know each other, but we are traveling together on this road, and there is comfort and joy in that for me.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
Oil on canvas, 12x48
Please contact me for price and delivery options

On Christmas Eve, I wish you all clear sunlight and a long horizon. I wish you trails and paths that lead to your desires. I wish adventures for the courageous, comfort for the lonely, love for the lost, peace for the sad.

My wish for all of you is that someone will reach out a hand at the time you need it most, and grace will come to you, and you will see the hand and grasp it, and feel the love it holds.

My wish for all of you is that your days in this new year be filled with colors, and with song, and with joy and freedom.

My wish for you is that you know how dearly I appreciate you, and all the heart and soul that each of you has given me, from the day that I began this adventure.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ocoee
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

My dad and stepmother came east from Arizona for Christmas this year, as they always do. They usually come before the holiday, which lets them avoid some of the traveling chaos and also allows them to be back home in Arizona, with their friends, for Christmas itself.

We got together at my brother's house, and it was a different kind of celebration.

It was a brunch, it was alcohol-free, and it involved a minimum number of presents.

So often, the family has just gone overboard with presents. This year, we chose names, and gave one or two gifts, and it felt right.

Christmas will never be the same since my mother died. But it feels like it is starting to become something else, something new, something different, and for that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On the Way to Warwick

On the Way to Warwick
Oil on canvas, 36x48
Please email me for information about price and delivery

What a year this has been! What gifts I have received!

So often, I am on the way to one place, on the way to one destination, when something comes to me, out of the blue - and it is beautiful, or gentle, or thought-provoking - and it was nothing like what I was setting out to do, nothing like the destination I was setting out to find.

This is what happened with this painting. It was a crisp October day, and I was on my way to Warwick. This scene was so beautiful, I nearly drove off the road. I'd have given something precious to be able to paint it in plein air, but the road was narrow, and the shoulder even narrower. A photograph was my only bet.

Back home, I painted in the studio, and much in the way that I'd found this scene I had not been seeking, I found views and colors and resonances in the photograph that I hadn't known were there.

In my mind, that makes it even more of a gift - because it's something I wasn't expecting, wasn't seeking.

I hope that you all stumble on treasures in this new year. I hope that you seek, and that you find - and I hope that on the way, you find something else. Something wonderful that you weren't seeking at all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fiona

Fiona
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

I realized this morning that, while my job as a local editor for Patch is indeed demanding, the fact is that I am still myself, and so I am approaching this job in the obsessive and over-the-top way that I tend to approach anything that engages me.

My usual day starts at 4 a.m. and continues, relatively unabated, until 7 at night, or later. I work seven days a week, so, you can do the math. If my week starts on Sunday, I am usually at 40 hours by mid-day on Tuesday.

Clearly, I have to stop doing this. I have to delegate more. I have to be satisfied earlier. I have to say "enough" at Point X in the day, and either paint or sleep or cook or, honestly, just veg out and do nothing.

So that is my new challenge. I painted yesterday, and I painted today. And I intend to paint tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Meantime, if you want to see what's been taking up all these hours, click here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Paintbrush

Paintbrush
Oil on canvas, 12x12, $350

This summer, while Heather and I were in Canada, we came upon something called an auberge festive.

"Auberge," I knew, meant "inn." And "festive," well, that's pretty self-explanatory. A festive inn? It sounded great.

We drove down a steep driveway and found what looked for all the world like a hippie encampment, right on the edge of the St. Lawrence Seaway. There was a yurt. There was a tiki bar. There was a hot tub. There were treehouse-like cabins built practically into the hillside. There were tied-dyed, tattooed, dredlocked kids by the dozen. And there was music.

Turns out this was a hostel, and it was celebrating its anniversary that very night with a "Woodstock night." All the cabins and beds were filled, but there were places to pitch a tent on the beach, and we were welcome to stay there for a minimal fee, use the communal facilities, join in the celebration.

Honestly, at first, I just thought: No, oh, no.

I didn't feel like staying in a tent, I didn't feel like staying with hippies, I didn't feel like staying with a bunch of 20-year-olds. In fact, the only thing I did feel like was an old, crabby woman who had no sense of adventure. And then I felt terrible about feeling that way.

My knee-jerk reaction could not have been more wrong or more small-minded. The hippie kids drank a lot and smoked a lot of pot, but they were fun and pleasant and happy. The other visitors at the hostel were fascinating and friendly. We cooked a nice dinner, sat on the deck and watched the sun go down on the St. Lawrence, and managed to sleep through the celebration and the bonfire and what, the next morning, looked like it must have been a wild night.

We talked to a group of students traveling from western Canada to work on Habitat-like projects in lieu of working summer jobs. We talked to a woman who had moved from to the hostel from France. We talked to a woman who taught art somewhere, and was staying at the hostel with her boyfriend and another couple - and their dog, Pencil.

In the morning, we thought about spending another night, but in the end, we decided to keep moving, and keep the memory intact. And I decided that no matter how many risks I take, no matter how free I feel or act, I will always have to guard against having a closed mind.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trouble's Double

Trouble's Double
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

When we lived in Maine, there was a really great art-supply store on Main Street in Norway, a couple storefronts away from the Sun-Journal office where I worked.

It was called 100 Acre Wood, and it was a lovely place, run by a pleasant and somewhat ascetic couple whose names I could never remember.

At the time, I didn't paint, though I loved going into the store and looking at the paints and pastels and paper. Another treat was that I'd get to play with Trouble, the couple's Jack Russell terrier.

Let's just say that Trouble was appropriately named. He was more than a handful, luring two of our more peaceful dogs into fights, and causing a ruckuses whenever he could, which was often. He would sleep in his dog bed in the sunny front window of the art supply store, and he would look like a little angel, until anyone did anything that disagreed with him, which could be something as innocent as reaching down to pet him before he was completely awake.

This dog is not Trouble, but he sure looks like he is!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bert

Bert
Oil on canvas. Not for sale

Until today, I have never posted a painting twice. But Bert is gone from our lives, and he deserves the recognition.

I made a few paintings of Bert during his 12 years with Rand and Molly. They were 12 happy years. Twelve years of love, and adoration, and glee, with all parties enriching each other.

Bert was a lumbering, snuffling, happy-go-lucky guy. He snorted and farted and defended his way through life, a gentle guy doing a great job playing  tough guy. At least, that's what it looked like from the outside.

As Bert grew old, he grew very white in the face. He grew very, very deaf. He grew even more dear.

He allowed my brother's and sister in law's daughter, Larkin, into the family and he adored her. He allowed a new puppy, Archie, into the family and at least tolerated him and his puppiness.

Bert loved my brother so deeply it made my heart ache sometimes to see them together.

You were one of a kind, Bert, and I will miss you forever.

Young Bert

Bert, Watching Winter
Archie
Bert the Elder

Friday, December 3, 2010

Buddy

Buddy
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Not for sale

Buddy was a dear old guy, the beloved friend of a beloved friend.

He made his way into her life, and, as the best dogs do, he stayed and enriched it.

Buddy was a happy boy, not too complicated, not too demanding. He was sweet. He pesheled and galumphed (my mother's words for "plodded," but with a little spirit, a little soul).

He pesheled, and leaned and paced - and he loved. He loved with his eyes, with his solid body, with his sturdy presence.

In the end, Buddy got cancer and cancer got Buddy. He lasted much, much longer than anyone thought he would. He had a tumor on his nose, and it got bigger and bigger, but until the very end, Buddy didn't seem to care. When he greeted his people, even with the tumor, he had joy in his eyes and a little lift in his gait.

And when it was his time, he let my friend know, as the best dogs always do.

Buddy was a buddy, and he is deeply missed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunflowers, Tuscany - Supersized!

Sunflowers, Tuscany
sold

So this is the big version of the miniature painting I posted yesterday. I really love this painting. It has great texture - lots of paint! - and the addition of the blue and purple shadows in the foreground really make it sing for me.

Starting in the summer, I began painting the sky in a different way, in short strokes, with colors I usually wouldn't think of for sky - Naples yellow, ochre, different tans and browns and even greens sometimes. And then puffs of clouds over all of it. These skies make me so happy! They have depth and shine and movement, and it is so much fun to paint them.

***

A week ago, I learned that I've been accepted into the Paradise City show in Marlborough, Mass. This show is in March, and is even harder to get into than the Memorial Day show that I will be doing in Northampton, Mass. It is so very exciting to know that I'm going to Marlborough, too! And the acceptance came on a day when I really needed something wonderful to happen.

Life is treating me so well these days, I am grateful, so grateful.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunflowers, Tuscany



Sunflowers, Tuscany
Oil on gessoboard panel, 4 inches by 4 inches, in wide black frame
Contact Center Framing & Art at 860-233-7804 for price and shipping options

I had the chance to paint yesterday, and I relished it. There's heat in the studio now, too, another huge step forward! 

Today, I am painting this same painting, but large, 30x40. I started it yesterday, and so far, so good. There's something magical about the start of a big painting, about those first strokes, those first shapes on the huge white canvas. I always love them when they are just started, and there is always a little part of me that wants to leave them like that. Next time, I will take photos along the way and post them. It's pretty interesting. 

For any of you who have enjoyed my fictional serials in the past, I'm writing another one, for the Patch site I run. The site is montville-ct.patch.com, and the story is "The Best Present Ever." 

If you read it and you like it, I'd be eternally grateful if you'd keep reading it, chapter by chapter, and also tell your friends about it. 

If you don't like it, let me know, and let me know why, so that I can improve. 

While you're on the site, please look around, and tell me what you think. I would appreciate it!



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nigel

Nigel
Oil on canvas, commission

Hey! My last post, the wedding scene, was my 500th Accidental Artist posting. I bet I could see the fireworks and hear the marching band, if only it were night and I had my windows open.

I want to thank all of you who have been with me all this time. You've given me the support and the love I've needed to keep painting and keep posting, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for all of you, and very, very grateful.

I am seeing my way clear to paint these days, in dribs and drabs, as my mother used to say. Often, I do everything I think I need to do to clear a few hours to paint, and then news happens, and whoosh - there go those hours.

But today, I have nearly the whole day, and tomorrow, too - and I have the commitment in my soul to keep going.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead
Oil on canvas, 40x60. Commission

I was thrilled to get this commisison - a big painting, tonal, abstractish.

Then I started my Patch job and I thought, uh-oh, I won't be able to do it! I should turn it down!

But I found a way. And I love the painting, just love it.

I've been reading a book that encourages the reader to be courageous, to go places and do things even when she can't see the resolution. Especially when she can't see the resolution.

These are the only times that we are alive, the author says. The past is unchangeable, nailed down, never growing, never changing. As soon as we do that to the present, we deaden it. The thing to do is to go on,  even if you're scared, even if you can't tell how it's going to come out.

Then, you will be at peace. Then, you will be living life with courage.

I'm just reading and thinking and absorbing, searching maybe for ideas, but not necessarily for truth. I will say that living like that is exhilarating. The past three years have been like that for me, and I have loved each minute, and lived a better, richer life than I ever had before. The new gig is much like that, as it is a startup, and it is the unknown, the brave new world.

May we all find the courage to be courageous!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Waiting

Waiting
Oil on canvas, 12x12, $350

This dog was waiting outside of town hall in Montville, Conn., a place I find myself often, these days.

He (I think it was a he?) was the size of a giant schnauzer, but was marked like an airdale. He was hanging his gigantic head out the window of a tiny, rust-ravaged little pickup. He looked fierce at first, but a smile broke on his face when I approached, and he practically begged me to pet him. Happy as he was to see me, though, his clear mission was to wait for the one he loved.

Every time the door opened, his huge head turned toward it, hope in his big eyes. Every time it was not his human, he turned back to me, disappointed. I was a poor second, but I would do for a while.

Isn't this how we all are? We spend our lives waiting just to be with the one we love. We wait to find him or her, and then we wait to commit, and then, committed, we wait for him to catch up or to turn around and beckon. We wait with as much hope as this guy, putting everything into it, knowing, finally and surely, that at last, something is true.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mabel

Mabel
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Commission

I loved painting Mabel, truly. I love bulldogs, and this one had such an expression of lost confusion, and trust of her owner and friend; this dog's heart was all in her eyes.


I think that's where we all are, really. That's where our hearts and our spirits show and meet - in our eyes and in our actions. The rest is window dressing.

Except, with Mabel, there are those nose wrinkles...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blue Spruce

Blue Spruce 
Oil on canvas, 12x24
Please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com for price and shipping/delivery info.

After a weekend teaching and painting in New York state, I am in New York City at a conference for Patch.com.

It has been a long, long time since I attended a work conference, and an even longer time since I worked for a company that was willing to shell out what are obviously big bucks for such a conference.

The hotel was beautiful, this meeting site is big and hip, and the caterer is talented. Last night, there was a crowded party with a band, food (all with gluten, so I couldn't eat any) and free booze (22 years sober; I wasn't tempted) - for those who were into it, it was great. I walked back to the hotel through a warm New York City night, enjoying the sights and sounds, and glad to be free of the party.

The trees were burnished gold and bronze as I drove from the country to the city, and it was a joy to see them, soft and warm against the gray sky. It is an amazing world, indeed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Good Old Girl

Good Old Girl
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

Fall is blowing in with all its light and all its color and all its sadness. The trees shine as if illuminated from inside, the yellows this year particularly vibrant, especially today, against the gray sky.

The wind yanks leaves from the limbs and then those leaves drop like brilliant snow, covering the ground.

Our old dog will not make it through this winter. She shuffles through the leaves, walking, yes, but now unwilling to go far at all. And yet, when she turns to make her unswerving way home,  long before I would have turned, she looks over her shoulder, taunting, with merry eyes and a big smile. She's had enough, she's going home, and there's nothing I can do about it.

There is a lot that's like that. Life goes on, people do what they will, and laugh about it, the joy of the decision as rich as any reward. I remind myself often these days to be merry, to enjoy all of this, for as long as I have it, as long as I can enjoy it. If misery is optional, that must mean joy is, too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Petit Chien

Petit Chien
Oil on canvas, 8x10, commission

The other night, honestly, I was feeling pretty low, and I'd been venting by sniping at Peter, who had seemed to be sulky and angry.

"Well you haven't exactly been a bowl of sunshine these past few days, either," he said.

Well, I hadn't, I mournfully confessed, the tears rising. I was not enjoying my job. I hated being yanked around, told to do one thing one day and another thing the next. I was being pressured to finish the directory listings, like yesterday - a task I don't like and am not good at. I don't like this, I said, I don't like this at all.

Most of all, I was feeling angry about the fact that these weeks of working have meant very little painting - and if I was looking at a future of very little painting, I was looking at a future I didn't like much.

So what was I doing? Why was I working - in journalism, no less - when all I really want to do is paint?

I felt angry, I felt sad, I felt trapped, I felt sulky and whiny and miserable. I could hear my voice rising, and shaking, tears and frustration all wound together -

And then it all changed.

Just like that, I realized that I wasn't going to quit this job, and so this, all this misery, all this whining, all this anger - it was just me, stamping my feet and jumping up and down, throwing a tantrum, crying "poor me."

It was all optional, every bit of it.

The truth is, I have a job, with a paycheck and health insurance. Very soon, I am going to be done with the directory listings, and I'm going to be out in the community, meeting people and writing stories.

And I can make time to paint.

Sure, there will be many, many days when I have to do stuff I don't want to do, when I have to follow instructions - even instructions I feel are stupid, pointless, hysterical. Yup. That's why they're paying me. That's why it's called work.

Peter and I, and our dogs, are worlds better off now than we were six weeks ago. And I am grateful, grateful beyond belief that I have an income, a way to make a living while I work to make a career.

------

It is not too late to commission me to make a painting for you for the holidays! Send me a photo - of a landscape, a beloved pet, a house, a garden that you love, and I will have a beautiful palette-knife painting for you within a few weeks. The commissions are rolling in, so do it sooner, rather than later!

As always, thank you for reading and looking. I appreciate your support, and I always will.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Small Fall


Small Fall
Oil on gessoboard panel, 4x4
Contact Center Framing & Art (860-233-7804) for price and delivery information

This morning, up before dawn, I stepped out on the deck. Cold air pressed in on me, and it was crisp and clean and every bit the best of autumn. The stars gleamed and there was no noise, no sound other than my breath, and the steps squeaking beneath my bare, cold feet.

This is the time I love the best, just before full-fledged autumn. The promises are so big now! The promise of more of these crystal mornings. The promise of a riot of color. The promise of sudden blusters blowing swirls of leaves along the still-green grass, while big white clouds puff up in a too-blue sky. And then the promise of winter, with all its silence and all its storms and all its hibernating.

Tomorrow, there will be frost on the deck, if the weather guys are to be believed. And I will believe them, and get up early, and see. Another promise.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Little Italy


Little Italy
Oil on gessoboard panel, 4x4
sold
In the midst of work that sometimes has seemed too daunting, in the midst of commitments from one life overlapping another life, in the midst of colds and illness and an opening that not a single person attended, I have found out that I've been accepted again into the Paradise City show in Northampton, Mass.

This is a very high-end show, massively advertised and very well attended by people who come to buy art and high-end crafts. Honestly, it was being accepted into this show last year that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I could make it as an artist. And though I am working for a paycheck and benefits now, and though my time is squeezed, I still believe I can make it as an artist - and that is my intent. Being accepted again into Paradise City has filled me with new hope, new energy.

If Paradise City weren't enough, Chris Rose at the Lighthouse Gallery has said he'd love to have me show there again, this time in July. And after an incredibly complex series of negotiations, I have been told that my show at the Wallkill River School will be in February. I will be showing alone in one room, while seniors from the town of Montgomery show in the other. So three shows for next year are mapped out.

For now, as I learn my way around Patch.com (my new gig), I'll be mostly making small paintings, with a larger one here and there. I love this little painting, which I did with a palette knife and a brush. It's very different, making small paintings. It's a new challenge - and a fast one, so it's just right for me, now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rusty Refrigerator

Rusty Refrigerator
Oil on canvas, 30x40
sold

It was a gray, drizzly day, and Heather and I were on West Mabou Road on Cape Breton Island, waiting for the fog to lift.

We'd backed the van into a driveway, and were sitting there looking over the gorgeous landscape when the guy who owned the gorgeous landscape came into view.

Clearly, he was curious about who we were and what we were doing. Clearly, he didn't want us to think that he wanted to know who we were and what we were doing. I was tired, and just didn't want to deal with the guy, but Heather, abrim with optimism and cheery friendliness, got out of the car and approached him.

They talked and talked and talked and talked. I think I fell asleep for a while, and woke up, and they were still talking. Finally, he headed toward his house, and Heather came back to the car.

We had an invitation, she said, to visit him - in five minutes (why? To give him time to get the plastic blow-up doll off the couch and into the closet?). He wanted us to see some newspaper stories about the crop circles he'd mowed one summer on his land.

It did occur to me, as we were walking in his front door five minutes later, that maybe this wasn't a great idea, going into a strange man's house. But Heather and I could have taken this guy, and mostly, my guess was, the major danger was that we'd be talked to death by this guy.

This guy's house was awful. Just awful. It was a beautiful house - or had been, when his grandparents had built it. Had been, I'm sure, when his parents had lived in it and brought him up. Now was a different story.  He had had a wife, and his wife had left him, and Heather and I figured that he hadn't cleaned, or swept, or washed a dish, since. We never found out when she'd left, but it must have been a few years ago.

He talked and talked and talked and talked, about the farm, about his job as a school-bus driver, about the crop circles. The stories were on the door of his refrigerator, and as soon as I could, I made a move to read them. As soon as we read them, I figured, we could leave.

He pulled a chair over to the refrigerator so we could sit and read. We did. Behind the stories, behind the photos, the refrigerator door (1950s vintage, I'd say), was covered with rust, literally. Covered.

We read the stories, looked at the pictures, oohed and aahed and then got the heck out of there. To this day, I am thankful that we got out before he opened that rusty refrigerator.

These cows in this cowscape? They're his.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wickford Harbor



Wickford Harbor
Oil on canvas, 24x24
Please email me for price and delivery/shipping information

Next Saturday (is it possible that next Saturday is October?) from 5-7 p.m., you're invited to a reception for me at the Voila gallery in Wickford, R.I. 

This is a nice cooperative gallery, at 31 West Main Street in one of Rhode Island's most delightful downtowns. Natalie Thompson, the proprietor, has made a go of it for more than a year, selling paintings, offering classes and selling art supplies. 

The gallery shows work by six or eight artists, ranging from abstract to realist, with pretty much everything in between. The gallery seems to be characterized by paintings with bright colors, and it's lovely to be in there, with the sun shining in, and the paintings shimmering beside you. 

If you can come to the reception, think about arriving early enough to walk around downtown Wickford.  My mom and I used to go shopping there once or twice a year. We'd make a day of it, trooping around the stores, having lunch, visiting the harbor, enjoying the gorgeous old houses. 

Here's the postcard announcing the opening. I hope to see you there! 


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aja

Aja
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Donation to Deerpark/Port Jervis Humane Society

In this new universe of work, I have to remind myself to breathe, to feel, to look deeply at the landscape.

These are things I've been doing during these years of painting, and they are things I've realized I let pass me by, in all my years of working.

In those years, I rushed, I ran, I pushed, I pulled. I stared at computer screens and notebook pages, at the dark road on my way to work in the morning, and the dark road on my way home at night. For more than two decades, I barely saw the world around me, in any way that mattered.

These past years, I've seen it, lived in it, soaked it up. It has enriched my eyes, my heart, my soul. And I hope I've learned how to hold some of the grace that's come to me in these years. Hope I've learned how to balance it with the work.

This afternoon, I walked in the field with the dogs. I watched as little Woodreau ran at the top of his speed, just for the pleasure of it. I watched the afternoon sky turn pink and gold, and soak the hillocks with sunshine and with shadow. I watched the birds fly, and heard them call, and I stood and lingered while the dogs poked and sniffed and dug and sniffed some more.

I promise myself that I will seek these moments, and when I find them, treasure them and revive myself by them. I promise myself.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Frack

Frack
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Donation to the Port Jervis-Deerpark Humane Society

On Saturday, I traveled to my old hometown to paint during the Deerpark Family Festival. It was really fun, and it was for a good cause.

I made two paintings that I really like, and donated them to the Port Jervis/Deerpark Humane Society. I bought a painting I loved that had been in the All-Animal show in Port Jervis (the show had been moved to the site of the festival). I saw old neighbors and friends, got a glimpse of the house where we used to live, and honestly, had a little breather.

I was feeling enough pressure about my new job, though, that I drove back here Saturday evening instead of staying and painting Sunday morning with my friends in the plein-air group of the Wallkill River School.

I did a little work on the job on Sunday, but mostly, I got things around the house settled a little more than they were, and that settled me, too. When my immediate environment is messy, it makes noise in my head. When my schedule is unclear, it's rocks in my path. Tasks left undone pull at me, over and over, taking energy and spirit from me.

Also, I started a new painting on Sunday, a new cowscape, that has me so excited, I can hardly wait to work on it again. So my challenge for myself is to organize my days, yes, even this early in the project, so that I can paint every day.

If you're near Orange County, N.Y., on Sunday, visit the Humane Society's booth in the Fall Foliage Festival in Downtown Port Jervis. They said they'd have my paintings there, and said they might be saeling or auctioning them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two Dogs

Two Dogs
Oil on panel, 16x20, $100
Please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com if you'd like to buy this painting

I'm alive! I made it to Virginia (two flights) and then to Boston (one flight) and I got back to earth safely each time, and I couldn't be happier.

I am hopeful that these flights have marked a turning point in my life. I'd love to go to Scotland, I'd love to go to Italy - and I always said that I would, in spite of my terror of flying. But as my brother pointed out, chances are that I would have just continued to put the trips off, and put them off, and put them off, as long as the terror ruled.

In the midst of these flights - and the reason I took them in the first place - I was trained and trained and trained for my job at Patch.com.

I think it's going to be fabulous, I think it's going to be fun and challenging and worthwhile, but I must admit that right now, it's overwhelming. I am nibbling at the edges of something that feels enormous, so enormous that I can't see where it begins or ends. I'm sure I will find a way in, if I keep pushing.

The first segment of the job involves getting a bunch of people to go out to every business, school, church, etc., in Montville, take photos and get information. When we produce and upload all this stuff, we will have an elegant, complete and fun directory of everything Montville.

The second part of the job is gathering and writing news. That part, when I get to it, should be something I can do well, and do well handily. The first part - well, I will find my way through.

If anyone reading that is in the area and would like to make some money helping me build this directory, please contact me. The work is not hard, and should be fun, if you're computer-literate and you like to write. The pay isn't bad, either. So drop me a line at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com.

I think it bears mentioning that I realized during the training that I have spent most of the past few years outside. It was a little tough simply to sit, inside a room, for hours on end, but I managed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beardie


Beardie
Oil on canvas, 12x12, $300



It's only mid-September, but it's time to start thinking of Christmas!

Last year, I made many, many pet portraits for people. I made lots of them in the last two weeks before the holiday. Some of them I delivered wet.

This year, I am experimenting with some new drying techniques. There are substances I can add to the paint or the medium. There's a spray that supposedly dries paintings for transport (I tried this yesterday and it seemed to make no difference). There is a whole line of paints that dries very quickly, and a medium that dries so fast, it's frightening. It's hard to imagine that any of this stuff is as good as just using regular paint and drying it the regular way, but it does offer options.

So if you want a painting of your pet for a Christmas present, or you know someone who does, send them my way! I would appreciate it so very much.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Siamese


Siamese
Oil on canvas, 12x12, $300


As I was painting this Siamese, I began to wonder why Siamese cats have blue eyes. I mean, I know why their eyes are blue. I know about the way light bounces and how it makes colors and all that, but genetically, evolutionarily, I wonder why their eyes are blue.

I had an all-white cat, Niobe, for many, many years. She had green-gold eyes, and she was a funny, grouchy, willful cat for all her years with me. Had she had blue eyes, I've been told, she would have been deaf. That's right. Blue eyes and a white coat have a genetic link to deafness in cats. Who knew?

I had great fun painting this Siamese. It was the third piece I did on Saturday in West Hartford, and I was tired and rushed. Sometimes, that situation makes for disasters. Sometimes, it makes for the best work!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Archie



Archie
Oil on canvas, 6x6
Not for sale

Mid-morning on Saturday, as painted on the sidewalk in front of Center Framing & Art in West Hartford, Conn., I heard someone say my name. I turned, and there was my brother with Archie, his brand-new rescue puppy. 

This puppy is about the cutest thing I've ever seen! He is 12 weeks old, and is supposed to be a cross between a bichon and a pug... but who knows. The only reason to find out would be to make more like him. If you could, you could make a fortune. Everyone who came along, it seemed, oooohed and aaahed and asked all about Archie. 

Rand, his wife Molly and their 4-year-old daughter Larkin have Bert, the longest-lived English bulldog in existence. Bert is 12 or 13. He's stone deaf, completely white in the muzzle, and he has cancer in his leg. He wasn't supposed to be alive now, in September, but he is plugging along with a vigor and enthusiasm that's really remarkable. 

And now he has a little brother, who's come all the way from Tennessee. 

Archie is the fourth dog in the extended family to come from one of these southern shelters. I am not completely sure what the story is on them, other than that the shelter system in the southern states is not as extensive as the one in New England. No-kill shelters are a rarity there, and so animals are rescued, fostered and shipped north to loving, happy homes. 

There is no doubt in my mind that Archie is in a happy home, and making it happier by the moment. Here's a photo of Rand and Archie making faces at each other: 


Here's Archie again: