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Monday, December 31, 2012

Taking Flight

Taking Flight
Oil on canvas, 10x10
not for sale
Some of you might not know how I started painting, so here's the story:

It was the fall of 2006, and I was 50. My mother had died in July, and I was still a total wreck. Truly devastated. When I look back, I really don't know how I managed to go to work, go home, talk to people.

I was driving to work one day when I was struck by the idea that I should make a painting of our dogs to give to my husband for Christmas.

I'd never painted. As a girl, I'd drawn houses and horses. I'd doodled all my life. I'd made pottery, I'd done a lot of writing, but that was it. And so, if I'd have been my normal self, the self that easily said "I can't," I wouldn't have listened to the voice with that crazy idea. I'd have dismissed the notion, or maybe I'd have hired someone to do it.

Instead, I bought a canvas (it was 24x48 - huge! But we had six dogs, so I figured I needed a big canvas). I bought white paint, black paint, brown paint and blue paint, since one dog has blue eyes. I bought a big brush and a small brush, and I set out to make a painting.

From the moment I began, I loved it. And that first painting was fabulous. It was as if I'd been painting my whole life - I just hadn't picked up a brush.

I took a drawing class, and I took a beginning oil painting class. I joined a plein-air group. And I painted. I painted and painted and painted and painted. At every opportunity, I painted. I looked at my paintings, stared at them, tried to figure out what worked and what didn't. I pestered painters and artists and friends and family members to look at my paintings and critique them. When I painted with the Wallkill River School plein-air group, I asked endless questions - and those wonderful people answered them all.

In January of 2007, a heart attack killed my boss and dear friend Mike Levine, the editor of the Times Herald-Record. In April, the paper eliminated the job I'd thought I would have for the rest of my life.

These events, the death of my mother and Mike, and then losing my job, and all in the course of 10 months, this could have broken me.

I have come to believe that painting was given to me as a way to cope, and I have been grateful every day since.

Here's that first painting:


Next: The transition from painting as a hobby to painting as a profession.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Colby

Colby
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Commission

I was painting before Christmas in West Hartford Center, CT, in front of Center Framing & Art, when a woman came up and started ooohhing and aaahing over Rae, which I was painting at the time, and also over another dog portrait I'd done earlier (to come in time here on the blog... it's a surprise for someone who, I think, reads this blog).

We got to talking, and after a time, she asked if I ever donated work to causes. I told her yes, thinking that she was probably working up to asking me to donate.

Did I ever donate to the Montessori School in West Hartford? I said that yes, in fact, I had - donated a certificate for a dog painting.

"It's me!" she said, laughing and clapping. "I'm the one who won!"

The donation and silent auction had taken place months earlier, but it wasn't until that very week, she said, that she'd been able to get a good photo of Colby, her little dog.

Truly, this is an amazing world.

If you want a portrait of your pet, please contact me! I work from photographs, and they don't have to be great ones. A 12x12 painting is $350; I can include any colors you like, in the animal or in the background. The process takes four to six weeks from the time I start to the time the painting arrives at your doorstep. If the painting is to be a gift, I can send a gift certificate to you to give for any occasion!

Here's the painting of Colby that I worked from:


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rusty

Rusty
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Commission

Here is my prayer for the new year:

Let me wake every day in gratitude and with faith. Let me find courage to overwhelm my fear, and vision to overcome my blindness. Let me forgive myself and others. Let me choose generosity, take risks, and act with the power and the glory of love.

Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Light Beneath the Clouds

The Light Beneath the Clouds
Oil on canvas, 36x60
sold
This is why we moved here, so that we could live up the road from this marsh, and I could see it a hundred times a week, and get to know its swirls and colors, the way the birds fly over it and the streams run through it.

We moved here to be in this light, to learn to see it, to learn to paint it, to live in its brilliance and its sparkle, its deep reds and light pinks and clear yellows and its many blues.

We moved here so that I could make this painting, and many more to come, and share them with you, and sell them to people who can't live here on this marsh, but want to feel its beauty every day.

We moved here so that I could make the most of the blessings that have been given to me. I am grateful every day, for them, for the courage to do this, and for the help and support you all give me, each and every day.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rae

Rae
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Commission

On Christmas Eve here in Wachapreague, VA, Peter and I set luminaria around our house and up our steps. It was a warm night, and we lighted the candles and watched them burn, glowing and twinkling, lighting the path to our home.

No one drove by to see them. No one was home across the street or next door. They were for us, and for us only.

For me, setting out and lighting the candles was an act of faith, of remembrance, of belief. The lights burning in the dark of Christmas Eve marked hope, and spirit, and reminded me of all that is good, and all that is possible.

I am in a new place here, in all senses, and I want all senses to be awake to that. And in the dark, warm night, my senses, my heart, my soul all were awake, and I was grateful.

Our house with luminaria burning

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roy

Roy
Oil on canvas, 20x20

Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down, and sometimes you get both in the same package. Such is the case with Roy!

I arranged to trade paintings with a fellow artist, who is also a good friend. I'd get a painting of hers (to give to our daughter for Christmas), and in return, I'd do a portrait of this artist's dog.

She sent photos, she pulled aside the painting for me, and we were off and running. I decided to take a chance with her piece, do one of my minimalist paintings, and see.

Here's what I saw: She doesn't like this piece.

But I do. I love it. It's one of my favorite dog paintings ever. I love the sketchy, minimalist approach. I love Roy's eyes. I love the green above his left eye. I love his goofy tongue and the way the painting slides off the side of the canvas.

So I'll do another piece for her - and keep my Roy, or sell him, depending. She will be happy, in time - and I already am.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunflower Triptych

Sunflower Triptych
Oil on canvas, 12x48, 48x48, 24x48
Commission

On Saturday, the fabulous Ronet Noe and I painted on the sidewalk in West Hartford Center, in front of Center Framing & Art, the gallery that represents both of us.

I've often painted there, and have done so several times with Ronet. It is always fun, with lots of people out shopping, lots of kids and dogs, folks meeting and greeting on the sidewalk, very much like a small town, back when downtown was the place to be.

We made an extra effort on Saturday, not only because it is the holiday season, but in response to the terrible, horrible death and devastation that was visited on Newtown, CT, on Friday.

I mourn for those families, and I pray for them in the chasm of grief and despair where they must find themselves. I think nothing will ever be the same for them - and really, for us. If grade school is not a safe place, what is?

But we must go on. To change things, to alter the trajectory of this country, we must pick ourselves up and go on. And so Ronet and I painted, and did our best to bring some joy into what was, for many, a very dark day.

***

This large piece is going to a home in the Berkshires on Monday. It's going to hang on a wall that has been empty for years, waiting for the right piece of art. I am honored that one of my paintings will fill this waiting wall.

If you would like a custom piece for your home or office, please click here to email me, or call me at 860-442-0246.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Julius

Julius
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Commission

I loved painting Julius. His expression captivated me, and his eyes just pulled me in entirely. If you click on the photograph, it will enlarge, and you can see the colors and the textures up closer. I really like this painting!

This Christmas season, like the past two, I am making a lot of animal portraits. Many of them are memorial portraits. Like Julius, the pets have died.

I'd encourage all of you, if you think you want a portrait of your pet, to find an artist to make the portrait now, while the animal you love is alive and loving you back. Always when people have me do memorial portraits, they wish they'd done it when their treasured friend was living.

So think about that, for yourself, for your spouse, for your parents. If my style doesn't work for you - and it doesn't work for everyone, I know that - find a painter or a photographer or a collager or a sculptor whose art makes you happy - and make a resolution to get that portrait in 2013.

***

The December painting sale will continue through the end of the month, but in all likelihood, if you buy something now it won't arrive in time for the holiday, since I am leaving for a week on the road on Friday.

But if that happens, I'll be happy to send a Christmas email with a photo of the piece to the recipient, and let him or her know that it's coming!

On Saturday, I'll be painting in front of Center Framing & Art, 56 LaSalle Road, West Hartford Center, CT, with the fabulously talented Ronet Noe. Stop by and say hi! There will be lots of Christmas cheer, and some fun painting, and who knows what else? We'll be on the sidewalk from 10 a.m. to at least 2 p.m., weather permitting.

Now to go hunt down my winter clothes....


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Church

The Winter Church
Oil on canvas, 10x10
sold

Last week, I met with Joe Skelly, who is, as far as I know, the world's only prosperity coach.

And what, you may ask, is a prosperity coach? Just what it sounds like! Joe is helping me raise my income and lower my fear while I do what I love - paint.

His fee is $100 an hour, and we are going to meet once a month or so for an hour. Our goal is to double my income the first year, then redouble it and re-redouble it. He has a track record of success, and I am game to try. 

I think that the whole idea of prosperity coaching is a fascinating concept, and the first session was energizing and exciting.

One of the broad ideas he shared with me was the notion that words - and your subconscious - create your reality. If you find yourself thinking negatively - "Florida was a bust for me, " for example - my subconscious will do everything it can to make that statement true, and make me right. 

So Joe's answer is that, if you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, add "up until now."  Florida was a bust for me... up until now. And just like that, everything changes! 

He gave me dozens more great ideas, and already they have opened up my future and given me a taste of the very real prospect of increased prosperity. 

Joe does his work in face-to-face sessions, and also over the phone, if you live out of the area. If you want to get in touch with him, you can call or text him at 757-675-6569. He has not paid me for this - I am truly excited about it and wanted to share it with all of you!

***

The December sale is going nicely! Three paintings have sold - Blue Sunflowers, Center Street Scene and Majesty.

I've found a couple bumps on the road - PayPal buttons are probably not the way to do this, but for the time being, they are there (two people tried to buy one painting at the Exact Same Moment, and PayPal has no solution for that...). I am going to do another one of these in January, and will probably do it some other way. But for the time being, the sale is still going on, and there's still time to get your presents before Christmas.

If you'd like to buy a piece for someone, but you don't know what they would like, I can sell you an Accidental Artist gift certificate in whatever denomination you want. Just click here to email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com and I'll get one in the mail to you or to your friend or relative!

***

One final note! I'll be painting with the fabulous Ronet Noe on Saturday on the sidewalk in front of Center Framing & Art, 56 LaSalle Road, West Hartford Center. We'll be there from about 10 a.m. to about 2 p.m., depending on weather. Hope for sun and warmth!





Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Farm

Winter Farm
Oil on canvas, 20x20
sold


The crows are at it again, with the pecans, and today, I saw what they're doing.

I wrote the other day about our antenna and how the crows are pelting it with pecans... This morning, I saw them doing what they do.

There's a pipe that runs from about halfway up the antenna to a spot near the top, where there's a sort of platform. One of the birds was using the platform as a place to set the pecans while he tried to smash them with his beak.

But others were tossing the pecans down into the pipe, where they rattled and clanged, in the pipe and against the antenna as they fell.

I watched for about 15 minutes, and no bird ever flew down to the ground to retrieve a pecan, so I can only assume that they're doing this for fun. Crow basketball? Crow drumming? They are funny birds, and so who knows!

Here are a couple photos of the antenna, and a little video of the crows and pecans...


Our house, and the antenna

Near the top of the antenna

Well, I can't get the video to load correctly, but you can click here to go to my YouTube channel and watch it! 




Monday, December 3, 2012

Daphne

Daphne
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Commission

It was warm enough today, and bug-free enough, that we left the back door open so the dogs could go in and out at will, for the first time in their lives.

Clearly, it was liberation for them, and they spent hours running in and out - just because they could. Then Smokey sat in the sun in the open doorway, while Jojo lay in the sun in the yard, and we all soaked it up like the miracle it was.

Earlier in the day, when the door had still been closed, I'd heard the dogs doing something, again and again, making some metal on metal noise. I looked out of the open door of the boat-garage studio where I was painting, and though I couldn't see what they were doing, I thought it might have something to do with the gates, and a potential escape, so I took them inside.

When I came back out, I heard the noise again, and realized where it was coming from - the rusty 40-foot-tall antenna that the previous owner installed, and which towers frighteningly over our house. It's footed in a block of cement, and probably is stable, but still, it looks terrible, and if it ever toppled, would cause all sorts of trouble.

The noise, I realized, was caused by a bird, probably a crow, tossing pecans down inside the antenna, probably in an effort to break them.

Or maybe, just maybe, he did it just because he could.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Autumn Comes to Burton's Bay


Autumn Comes to Burton's Bay
Oil on canvas, 10x10
sold

You people are so wonderful! So many of you have called, written and emailed me about my extended absence, your caring has made me feel loved and appreciated. Thank you so very much. 

For the past eon, or what feels like an eon, I have been mostly driving. The trip back from the disastrous, no-sales Florida shows took two days. I spent a day and a half here at home, then drove to Connecticut, and spent three days there driving all over the state, visiting family, collecting one show, dropping new paintings at Center Framing & Art in West Hartford Center, (go see them if you're in the area; they're really wonderful!), and stocking up on supplies. Then I spent one entire and expensive day getting new tires and new brakes on the van. 

Finally, happily, I am back on the Eastern Shore, and painting again. I'm working on some large commissions for mid-December delivery, and hoping to make time for some smaller paintings - and some projects. 

One of my projects is going to be a Christmas sale of paintings - an inventory blowout, if you will. It's time to start fresh, and so I'm going to offer some of my favorite paintings at very low prices. It's going to take me a few days to get this all together, so if you have favorites that you've been dying to buy but couldn't afford, please email me and we'll make it happen. 

So look for the sale next week, in plenty of time for Christmas! 

***
On another note, there's a serial arsonist operating out here on the Eastern Shore. He (or she) burned two buildings last night, for a total of 26, I believe, in about two weeks. Even though the arsonist is burning only empty and abandoned buildings, and even though there are lots of cops out here, it's still unsettling. 

When I was up in CT, there were no arsons down here, but there were two in Montville, and I did wonder if somehow, I was sleepwalking and setting these fires, and then remembering nothing. Peter says I'm not, though. So, whew!