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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Prayer for Zoe

A Prayer for Zoe
Oil on black canvas, 30x30

I'm finding it difficult to shrug off my sadness at the deaths, within three weeks of each other, of Jojo and Zoe.

Inside, my lights have gone gray. A scattered, broken concentration has replaced focus. Drive comes in spurts, and countless times in these weeks I have grabbed hold and thought I could jump on, only to find myself wandering and lost again.

These girls were family, Zoe a vigilant guard in spite of her blindness, living a life so structured you'd swear she could tell time. Jojo kept me company, filled me with her endless enthusiasm, made me laugh a dozen times a day.

In the early mornings, I wake and listen for the click of Zoe's nails on the wood floor. Every time I go to the studio, I turn and look for Joey, standing expectant and excited in the back hall, waiting for an invitation.

Coming home from Dayton, it was crushing to not be greeted by Jojo, racing and leaping, beside herself with excitement that I was home again.

Peter has been sweet with me, my friends and family have been supportive and I appreciate all of it and all of you. I am trying to heal, trying to rise. But my heart is howling.

***
A Final Thought

"When the Man waked up he said, 'What is Wild Dog doing here?' And the Woman said, 'His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'"
- Rudyard Kipling




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Another Death, and No Dayton

Zoe

Our dear little Zoe died on Tuesday night. She was at least 17, had been blind most of her life, and was mostly deaf. But until the very last day of her life, she trotted around, and played, living her own life in the way she wanted.

I was in Dayton already when she died. Peter said she moaned a little, and he picked her up and held her for a while. He saw that he tongue was a little bluish. Zoe never liked being held, so he put her in a dog bed by his feet, and petted her, and in 30 minutes or so, she died. She was not in pain, and she was not scared. 

Peter called Wednesday morning, and I left immediately. I am broken, heart and soul, and the world looks like a gray and sad place. There's no way I could do a show, far away, this weekend. 

Here's Zoe and Woody. 


Our good old friend. We miss you. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Afternoon, Grassy Knoll


Afternoon, Grassy Knoll
Oil on canvas, 12x12
sold
The Piedmont Plein Air Paintout ended with a wet-paint sale on Sunday, and it was a lovely and fascinating event. It's so cool to see the art that 25 painters make. We were all painting on the same days, in the same five areas, and yet, our paintings were all different in type, and color and focus and approach. That being said, my paintings were totally different from pretty much everyone else's. My colors are brighter, my paintings are rougher and faster, and I generally just paint differently from most painters, and especially most plein-air painters. There was another woman who painted with a palette knife - she would make the paintings first with molding paste, building up the texture, but using no color. Then she'd go back and put the color on top. Interesting! 

Here are five of my paintings from the event. All sold except the one in the bottom left.  


***

One of the very fun parts of the Paintout was a visit from the Art Bus. It's a whole art-supply store in a short bus, and it's very cool. Bibbi doesn't have everything, but she has the right things, and a great idea, too. 
Here's Bibbi, above, who owns the bus. Below, oil paints hang from the bus ceiling. 





Slots on the left hold papers and other supports. Behind them is a rack of small bins holding pens, pencils, pastels, etc. 

***
Dog of the Day
The Dog of the Day isn't always a dog. 

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

***
A Final Thought

"There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." 

- Pablo Picasso







Monday, September 14, 2015

Flowers and Route 13 Farm




I felt I had to give you all a break, and so in addition to "Flowers for Jojo III" (left, 12x36), I'm posting "Route 13 Farm," above oil on canvas, 20x20. Please click here to email me for price and availability. 

I am on my way back from grief over the death of my dear dog Jojo, but it is not a steady climb

I will say that these broken-color paintings I've been doing seem to be helping me mend. Helping me cope.

This is how painting came to me, as a way of recovery, when I was 50. I was struggling to cope with my mother's death, and I was failing. Painting came into my life unbidden and unexpected, and it lifted me, helped me get my head above the grief. It helped again, months later, when my boss died, and again, four months after that, when the job I'd thought I would have forever was eliminated.

It is not a surprise that painting is rescuing me again.

***
I'M HEADING OUT this week to High Point, NC, where I will participate in the Piedmont Plein Air Paintout, Sept. 17-20. This is a fun event. Twenty-five artists will paint on site from Thursday through Saturday around the pretty town of High Point, then sell the paintings, still wet, on Sunday.

On the way, I will put new paintings in J. Gallery in High Point, and with JWV Artists in Charlotte, NC.

The next weekend, I'm in Dayton, Ohio, at Oktoberfest, an art and, yes, beer festival at the Dayton Art Institute. 

***
Dog of the Day
Smokey had been with us for about a year when we brought Jojo home, and they became friends instantly. Smokey is part chow, part shar-pei (we think), and Jojo taught him to play, entreating and inviting him again and again and again and again, until he finally got it. 

For the past 10 years, Smokey has slept nights in the doorway to our bedroom. I believed he was guarding us. But since Jojo died, he has moved out of that doorway and set himself down within eyesight of the back door. 

I think that all these years, he was protecting Jojo, not us. And now, I think, he keeps waiting for her to come back. 

***
A Final Thought
"It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to. The feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures." 

- Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flowers for Jojo II

Flowers for Jojo II
Oil on canvas, 12x36
sold








The second in the series of florals I've painted since Jojo died.

Yet again, I am thankful and grateful that painting came into my life when it did. It's helping to get me through another difficult, sad time.

I'm healing, and Peter is healing, and that's good. Thank you, all of you, who have reached out. Knowing we have your love and support is tremendously helpful.

***
Still no Dog of the Day, sorry. Soon.

***
A Final Thought

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." 

- Pablo Picasso



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Flowers for Jojo I

Flowers for Jojo
Oil on canvas, 12x36
Please email me for price and availability. 
Feeling broken and raw over Jojo's passing, I made three tall florals. They are as raw and broken as I am feeling, and I have to say that I love them.

I wish I could get them to line up side by side in this blog format, but I can't. So you will have three days of flowers for Jojo.

***

The reason I am painting, when all I feel like doing is curling up in bed and weeping, is that I have shows and events coming, and visits to galleries to deliver and exchange paintings.

Next week, I head to High Point, NC, for the Piedmont Plein Air Paintout, a fund-raiser for the Boys and Girls Club there. I was honored to be chosen for the inaugural year last year, and am thrilled to be included again this year, pulled off the wait list.

The weekend after the paintout, I head to Dayton for Oktoberfest, a big show at the Dayton Art Institute.

So I am painting, while grieving, and it's OK. It's what I have to do, and what I should do, and what I must do.

***
I just can't do the Dog of the Day for a while. Jojo is too much in my heart. Sorry.

***
A Final Thought

"I wish they would only take me as I am." 
- Vincent Van Gogh






Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rest in Peace, My Sweet Jojo

My Sweet Jojo
Oil on canvas, 12x12

Jojo died on Saturday, at the hand of our caring veterinarian, Dr. Michelle. I'd brought Joey in on Monday. She was dragging in a way that was not her. She was listless and still. She had been coughing for a year, and we'd taken her in many times, but no one had been able to get to the bottom of it. 

On Monday, X-rays showed that her lungs looked very bad, with stuff that could be an infection or could be cancer. We left with steroids and antibiotics. I took her back on Friday, and though her energy and strength had come back, she had, in fact, he'd gone deeply downhill. Jaundice had set in, and when Dr. Michelle X-rayed my old friend again, she found a mass of cancer in Jojo's liver, and understood that the growths in Joey's lungs were metastates. 

I'd always promised Jojo that I would not let her suffer, would not let her be afraid. I would not let her waste away or die in pain. Dr. Michelle said Jojo's remaining time could be measured in days, and they would not be pleasant ones. I made an appointment to have my dear friend put to sleep, and we brought her in on Saturday. 

Peter and I are bereft. I am sad and lost, and the world looks bleak and broken. Jojo was the dog of my heart. She was my constant companion, the best dog friend anyone could ever want. She was loving and joyous and happy to be alive and barking, right up to the end. 

Jojo was a rescue dog. It was 2004, and the Times Herald-Record, in Middletown, NY, where I worked, ran a weekly shelter animal page. The pictures were in black and white, but Joey's startling blue eyes stared out at me, and we went to the shelter in Pennsylvania and got her. We had a station wagon at the time, and Jojo stood on the lowered back seat on the ride home and leaned so hard on my shoulder that it hurt. 

She made friends immediately with the three dogs we had at the time. She was happy to let Kaja be the boss. She teased Looie and he loved it. She persisted in playing with Smokey until he learned to play, a thing he'd clearly never learned. When Woodreau came to live with us - he had been so abused that we couldn't pet him for a year - she took him on as her acolyte, and they were the best of pals always. 

Jojo was the happiest dog I've ever known. She woke up happy, raced out the door every morning happily barking, to announce herself to the world. She wagged her tail and made friends with every person she met. Jojo invented games to play with us, and amused us with them for years. She never stopped playing with the other dogs, even last week, when she clearly wasn't feeling well. 

Jojo - we called her the Velcro Dog - stayed by my side whenever it was possible. For all these years, she slept beside me at night, stretched out on the couch alongside me in the evenings, curled up on the rug by my feet when I worked on the computer, and kept me company in the studio. She nursed me when I was sick, staying with me every moment. We walked hundreds of miles around town here, and every walk was a thrilling, happy adventure for her. When I came back from art fair trips, she was so overjoyed to see me that she barked and whined and raced in laps throughout the house, leaping onto and off of the couch and the bed, flinging herself onto my lap, rubbing her whole body against me, and licking every inch of me that she could reach. 

She had one really bad trait - she was a runner. I'm sure that's how we ended up with her; she ran away from someone who clearly had loved her. She and Smokey ran away repeatedly when we lived in New York, looking back over their shoulders at us like two bad kids. She ran off many times in Connecticut, heading into the nature conservancy beside our house, and worrying Woodreau until Peter captured her. Here in Wachapreague, she ran away a few times, ending up at the town dock, wagging and greeting people. 

She had two other traits that some people would call faults, but I never really did. One was that she barked a lot. She was about the barkiest dog ever. The other was related. We used to go to a nice dog park when we lived in Connecticut. Sometimes, we'd take Jojo and Smokey, and let them run. Jojo would pick some dog at the park and herd him, barking and barking and barking, chasing him all around the park. Inevitably, the target dog would turn and snap at Joey, at which point, Smokey would go after the attacker.  

Our home is quieter without Jojo. It is emptier. It is nowhere near as happy as it was. It's hard to go into the studio without Jojo, or to let the dogs out and not hear her crazy, constant barking. It's tough for me to sleep without my dear dog by my side, and to wake into a world without her. I miss her unfailing, deep-hearted love for me. I miss her interest in everything, her playfulness and her mesmerizing blue eyes. I am grateful, so grateful, that she warmed my life for these past 11 years. 

Rest in peace, my dear friend. I will miss you every day of my life, and will see you at the Rainbow Bridge. 






If you want to see more photos of Jojo, you can click here to check out her Facebook page. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

House on a Hill, and the Studio Boat

House on a Hill
Oil on canvas, 6x12, $75
sold

This painting feels like a breakthrough. And it feels like something I've been heading toward for a while.

I stumbled on an idea when I was finishing another painting. I'd made a sky that took my mosaic sky idea (click here and here for paintings with good mosaic skies) and went one step further, when it occurred to me that I might be able to paint in a way that illuminates my belief in the interconnectedness of all things.

So I set out to make a painting that brings the sky into the mountains, the mountains into the fields, the fields into the structures on them, etc.

I love this little painting, and how it does manage to tie everything in together - or at least, in my eyes, it does. What do you think? Does it illustrate the concept? What do you think of it as a painting, without any further thought or meaning?

***
Studio Boat 

LAST NOVEMBER, when I was in Texas between shows, I went to the Houston Museum of Art and saw a great show of Claude Monet's paintings of the Seine. It was fascinating to watch his painting style and his area of interest change over the years, going from very precise paintings of boats in the harbor, with every mast and piece of rigging intact, to the soft, blurry, impressionistic pieces he painted near the end of his life, when his style had changed and his vision deteriorated. 

An exciting part of the show was finding that Monet had a studio boat, a stable, covered craft in which he painted the shore, from the water. I have been hankering for a studio boat ever since! Do any of you have one? Have you ever seen one? I have found several sets of plans, and then saw this one (below) in an issue of a newsletter I receive. The letter was focusing on the houseboat behind the studio boat; I've written to the real estate agent who has that houseboat for sale, but I haven't heard back. 


***
Dog of the Day
Saw this lovely Great Dane back in May, at the show in Richmond. He's a beauty! 

***
A Final Thought

"Painting is the grandchild of Nature. It is related to God." 
- Rembrandt


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer's Almost Over

Summer's Almost Over
Oil on canvas, 16x16


September pulls up, quiet and steady and somehow unexpected, no matter how expected. Summer cruises along, and the days are hot and long and sunny and smooth, and all of a sudden, autumn is right alongside, its engine running soft and strong.

It's fueled by shorter days and longer nights, the papery dryness of leaves so very long on the limb. It shows in the lawn crunching  underfoot, and all the garden plants all leggy and thin and tired, no matter how bright their flowers. 

I made this painting from a photograph of my niece, Larkin, and her dog, Archie. The end-of-summer light gleams on the lawn, but an early dusk shades the thickness of the trees and lengthens the afternoon shadows. By next summer, Larkin will be taller, almost a teenager, and almost surely will never feel quite as free and unencumbered - though I hope, of course, that she will. 

***
WE TOOK JOJO to the vet yesterday, and while there's not much clarity, we did get what might be the beginning of answers. She's very anemic, which could come about for any number of bad reasons. Her lungs don't look good, the vet said, though whether the problem is cancer or bronchitis or some other infection, that was unclear. 

We came home with several bottles of pills, and are to bring her back on Friday for a recheck. Thank you for all your good thoughts and wishes. It means a lot to Peter and me. 

***
Dog of the Day
One of Cath Lenoci's beauties, waiting for something wonderful to happen. Thanks for sending her! Would you like your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Cats, birds, parrots, hamsters, all are welcome. Need not be of the canine persuasion! 

Send a jpg to me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com

***
A Final Thought

"Art is never finished, only abandoned."
- Leonardo DaVinci

Home Away from Home

Home Away from Home Oil on board, 8x16, $125 including shipping sold One of the things I love about the palette knife is direction...