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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Red


Red
Oil on canvas, 12x12

A few years ago, after Looie, our Pekingese, died, Peter began looking for a dog for him. A dog of his heart. Looie had been this - as much as Looie, with all his self-possession and ego could be any human's dog - but Peter saw me with Jojo and wanted that same sort of relationship. 

After months of searching through probably hundreds of rescue and shelter sites, Peter found Abigail, a Plotthound, who was being fostered by a woman named Christine, in North Carolina. Peter and Christine chatted over the internet, Christine had him fill out an adoption application form, and when she gave him the nod, off he went. 

According to both Christine and Peter, it was love at first sight. Abby hadn't taken much to men, but she played with Peter, gave him the paw, and recognized him as her human. She's been a great addition to our household - as have Koko, Doc and Lulu, all of whom came from Christine! 

You don't meet many people in your life who supply you with joy, love and family, but Christine has done all that and more. I'll always be grateful - and always think of Christine herself as part of our little family. 


***
Good thing I'm going away today, as I'm running out of fun photos to share with you! So I am revisiting my paint-cap contest photo. People always wonder how much paint I use, so last March, I started saving caps. At the end of March of this year, I'll count them all up. Whoever comes closest, without going over, will get a free 10x10, or $125 off a larger painting! Send your guesses to me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com

It's my pal George. I might have used this already, but I figured we all need a laugh - and George is on his way to Arizona with his pal Henry and their humans, Cynthia and Kevin. We're all meeting in Tubac, and will take place in the art festival there, Feb. 8-12. Yay! Maybe George will wear his hat? 




Monday, January 23, 2017

Benny and the Jets

Benny and the Jets
Oil on black canvas, 40x40

These striped cows are Belted Galloways, a breed that's native to southwest Scotland, where the temperatures are often brutal, and the landscape often rugged and not very fertile. The original Galloways were all black; the banded ones are a genetic mutation which got its own herd book (I'm guessing this is something of a pedigree) in 1928. Belted Galloways are gentle creatures, naturally polled (no horns) and gifted at surviving on what's euphemistically called "rough forage." They also have lots of calves and the beef is supposedly very good. 

I just like the way they look, with their white stripe and big black heads. They're sometimes called "Oreo Cows." 

At a show, someone mentioned that there are strict rules for naming Belted Galloways, and the rules were fascinating, but I can't remember them, and can't find them on the internet. Do you know the rules? Please let me know if you do! 

***
Man of the Day
Today, my wonderful, smart, funny, loving, kind, generous and gentle husband turns 70. It seems impossible, he looks so young, and is so young in spirit. Who knew when we met, so many years ago, that we'd have the life, the love and the adventures that we've had? And who knows what awaits us?  Happy birthday, Peter! 

It's Molly, the cat who lives at the post office. Our postmistress, Jackie, is part of a small group of women who have addressed themselves to the issue of feral cats in Wachapreague. They capture them, get them spayed and vaccinated, and gently find homes for them. Jackie has gotten a small, covered carrier for Molly, and it sits on the porch of the post office. Molly enjoys greeting people, and being petted, but she hates being picked up. 

***
A Final Thought

"The hardest part of artmaking is living your life in such a way that your work gets done, over and over - and that means, among other things, finding a host of practices that are just plain useful. A piece of art is the surface expression of a life lived within productive patterns."
- David Bayles and Ted Ormand
"Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Chaim and Vincent

Before I mention one word about these paintings, I want to rejoice for a moment about the millions of women and men in the U.S. and around the world who marched on Saturday to show their hearts, their courage, their respect, their hope.

I stay away from politics in this blog, and I am still staying away. But I won't stay away from my belief in human rights, in an America that respects and honors people of all religions and all points on the gender spectrum. I won't stay away from demanding to be on an equal footing with my male peers. I won't stay away from believing that we all deserve to be heard.

No matter what their politics, I know that the men and women who gathered in cities around in our country on Saturday believe in these basic tenets, and that the people who gathered around the world to march look to America to lead, always, in fairness and equality and democracy.

***
NOW, ABOUT THESE paintings.

I wanted to paint some faces, but not necessarily faces of people I know. I wanted to try to abstract them, to not worry too much about replication or photographic exactitude. I find it hard to avoid these feelings when I'm painting people I know.

So I decided to paint some long-dead artists, and I started with two of my favorites. To the left is Chaim Soutine, and to the right, Vincent Van Gogh.

Each painting is 6x12. What do you think of them? And what do you think a fair price would be? You won't hurt my feelings.

***

I SAW THIS donut-covered building in Chattanooga last year, and it delighted me. Isn't it fun? Chattanooga is a terrific city, and I'm sad that I didn't get into the 4 Bridges show there this year. I've done well the two times I've gotten in, and I enjoyed the show both times. Next year, I believe I will be in Alaska during the show, but you never know. 

***
Dog of the Day
Gotta love a face like this one! I saw him at the State College art festival last summer. 

***
A Final Thought

"When you are lazy, your art is lazy; when you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in its pockets. But when you commit, it comes on like blazes." 

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






Wednesday, January 18, 2017

3 and 1

3 and 1

All of a sudden, the show season is starting. Every year, it seems to come as a surprise. My shows generally stop in October or early November, and then I have six or eight weeks to rest, to paint, to reconsider my booth, make applications to shows - and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, too.

At the start, it feels like I have a luxury of time, a huge expanse in which to imagine, experiment, discover. Time to try things, to work on projects, to devote myself to learning and growing - and to sleep, and rest, and not stress about anything.

Then, suddenly, it's time to start again! Such a surprise! And a good surprise, in a way. I do enjoy doing the shows, meeting the people, talking about art and life and all the other things I end up talking about with people at shows. But I always miss home, my little family, our little house in our little town.

My goal this year, my aim, is to do fewer shows, and earn more at them. Make better paintings and figure out better ways to earn this living. I have some ideas, and will spin them out here over the next few weeks and months - and I would love to hear your ideas! Nothing is too crazy, no idea too wild.

Meantime, that first show is the Englewood Bank & Trust Invitational Art Festival, Jan. 28-29, in Englewood, Florida. After that, I drive to Tubac, Arizona, to visit my dad and stepmother, and take place in the Tubac Festival of the Arts, Feb. 8-12.

***
A friend and fellow artist told me about his visit to the Katonah (NY) Museum of Art, and drawings he saw there by Matisse. I needed to know more, so looked them up, and found this photograph of Matisse, drawing with a pole. Pretty fascinating! 

***
Dog of the Day

It's Doc, who had the most stressful weekend of his short life this past weekend. Our daughter Erika came for a visit with Benny, one of her dogs. Benny, Doc and Lulu began their lives together, at the home of our friend Christine, a wonderful woman and animal fosterer, who is also our dog pusher (Abby, Koko, Doc and Lulu all came from Christine). 

Well, Doc and Benny and Lulu didn't remember each other, though I'd thought they might. More than that, they absolutely despised each other, especially the boys. 

When they met, we had Doc on a leash, and he was crazed with hostility, anger and fear. He snarled and barked and growled, slavered and lunged and pulled - he looked like a hyena, he was so full of primitive drive. 

After a night and morning of witnessing this terrible attacking behavior, we took the advice of our friend Cynthia and let Doc and Benny out in the yard together, without leashes. It was absolutely horrifying, with Doc attacking Benny and pushing him back, and then Benny coming at Doc and pushing him back, and all the while, they were barking and kayyaying and snarling and snapping their jaws. The hair on Doc's whole body was standing on end, making him look like he weighed far more than his 34 pounds, and was terribly ferocious. 

In spite of the horrible noise and behavior, there was no bloodshed, and after about 20 minutes, they just sort of relented. There were flare-ups when the other dogs came out, and the next morning, when Doc and Lulu had apparently forgotten that Benny was still here, but the horrible, primitive, ferocious fighting was over. By the end of the visit, they were even beginning to play. 

So Doc has truly earned his Dog of the Day designation - and Benny has, too! 


***
A Final Thought

"...expectations based on the work itself are the most useful tool the artist possesses. What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece. The place to learn about your materials is in the last use of your materials. The place to learn about your execution is in your execution. The best information about what you love is in your last contact with what you love. Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete, comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work. ... The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly - without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectation. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need." 

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











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. 



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


***
Dog of the Day

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

***
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

***
Yikes! Snow in Wachapreague! 

***
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. 

***
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
sold

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


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Double Four Time


Double Four Time
Oil on canvas, 36x48
sold
I made my first cow painting when we were living in Connecticut. I'd gotten a big canvas - 48x60, I believe - on deep clearance at Jerry's Artarama in Hartford, and I got it home and realized I had no idea what to paint on it.                                                                                 I'd been painting a lot of landscapes - but if I painted a big field and little house, well, what would be the point of working on a large canvas? 
The canvas stayed in the studio while I pondered. And pondered and pondered and pondered some more. 

Then, the idea of painting cows came to me. And why not? They're big, interesting, colorful. I'd made a couple small cow paintings, and enjoyed making them. So I set about it, and had a great time. 

But, I thought, I will drag this painting around with me for the Rest of My Life. No one will ever want to buy it. Who would want a painting of cows? 

Turns out, lots of people would. People like cows. For all of us who are not ranchers or farmers, cows are the familiar, but also The Other. They're such a huge part of America - in the fields, near the roads, as beef and as milk in all its forms. Much of the time - particularly in the East - when you stop to look at a cow, the cow stops to look at you. 
That one canvas, that one decision, opened a whole world to me, and it's one I enjoy, and am so grateful to have found! 

***

So Santa has a cool van now! Bet it cuts that carbon footprint...

***
Dog of the Day
Erika and Paul's dog Benny had his birthday on Christmas Day. He's a full year old now, 
but I'm pretty sure he will always act like a dippy puppy. 

***
A Final Thought
One of my favorite books in the world, and one that I've mentioned often in this blog and to fellow artists, is "Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking," by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I've received permission to use quotes from the book as my "Final Thought" throughout the month of January, so here goes: 

"Artmaking involves skills that can be learned. The conventional wisdom here is that while 'craft' can be taught, 'art' remains a magical gift bestowed only by the gods. Not so. In large measure, becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive." 

- David Bayles and Ted Orland