Thursday, April 9, 2020

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68 includes shipping

ALL OVER TOWN - and town is all I've seen - spring is flowering. My favorite trees are the pinks, from the palest weeping cherry to the vivid fuschia of the redbuds to the azaleas, screaming with color, just starting to come now.

The dogwoods - vivid, green-tipped white - are beginning to bloom. My daffodils have come and gone, but they are the earliest in town, and on other streets, the dogs and Liesl and I see other daffodils blooming in their cheerful way. And behind everything, the grass is green and thick and lush. 

Before long, the blossoms will have turned to leaves. The summer's heat and sun will thin and brown the grass. The daffodils will bend and wither and make room for the summer's heat-loving plants. And life, I imagine, will be back to normal. 

I sit outside in these warm spring evenings and watch the dogs run around the yard. I inspect the lilacs, which are weeks from blooming, and the hydrangeas, which are even more weeks from blooming, and I linger in the sweet, soft air. Of course, I think of Peter, and it is always with a sense of loss - mine and his, both - but I can see progress. My thoughts are not always colored by sadness. 


I AM GRATEFUL for Liesl, my Austrian neighbor, a dedicated and long-time walker. She has encouraged me to walk with her, and has the patience and kindness to suggest we bring the dogs, too. 

What are you grateful for today? You may add in the comments below, or drop me an email. 

For Today

"When I get to heaven, I'm gonna shake God's hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band
Check into a swell hotel; ain't life grand?"

- John Prine, who died on Tuesday from the corona virus

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Kingfisher on Branch

Kingfisher  on Branch / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


IN PAST SUMMERS, we festooned our front dogwood tree with hummingbird feeders. There's one out there now, and there are circles of fishing line hanging from a few branches, ready for when I fill up the rest of the feeders. 

This morning, a little wren tried over and over to pluck what she thought was just a bit of fishing line. I'm sure she is in the process of building her nest, and apparently, the fishing line looked like ideal material. 

After three tries, she gave up. I'm sure she will find better stuff around in the yard - but I felt a little sorry for her, and a little guilty, to have unwittingly tricked her with the fishing line. 

Painting Workshop

ON SATURDAY, AT 1 P.M. EASTERN, I'll be giving another painting workshop, Live on my Carrie Jacobson Artist Facebook page  ( . The workshops are free, you don't have to register, and they last about an hour. 

So, a little before 1 p.m. Eastern, put on your tie-dye and click on the page, then look for the Live thing to happen. I think it's easier to find if you follow or like the page first - it will probably show up in your notifications list. There's also an Event listing, and if you find that and click "Going," I'm pretty sure it will remind you. 

Get set up with whatever you like to paint with and whatever you like to paint on, and join in. It will be fun! 

Here's the photo we're going to use as the basis for our painting: 


TODAY, I AM grateful for the blossoming trees, and how they decorate my small world with their fragile, gentle beauty, and their lovely, tender colors. 

What are you grateful for today? Please use the comments below, or send me an email. 

For Today

"Strive not to be a success, but rather, to be of value."

- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Crow Landing

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


DURING THIS TIME of isolation and quiet, I've been painting a lot. 

For years, I've painted pretty much every day - but before this, my painting days were often broken up. Shopping, cooking, cleaning. Visits with friends, lunches out, meetings, trips to the Y, and to Virginia Beach, and heaven knows what else. I'd paint four or five hours a day. Now, many days, it's nearly twice that. 

I say "I paint," but of course, it's not all painting. I inventory and order materials and supplies. I blacken and wire canvases. I look for subjects to paint. But if I am in the studio for nine or 10 hours a day - and often, these days, I am - I'm painting for eight or nine of those hours. And I feel like I'm making progress, that all this time is amounting to something. Taking me somewhere. 

Looking for a blank notebook yesterday, I ran across a ledger from 2009. For the first few months of the year, I'd listed all the paintings I'd made, and there were 23 or 24 each month. They were mostly small - and cheap! 

I am cheered to see that I'm continuing that sort of pace. This year, I have photographs of more than 50 bird paintings I've made so far, and I haven't counted the other pieces I've finished. 

By the time I started out in this painting life, I had 25 years of newspaper experience. Twenty-five years of daily deadlines. When I floundered at Being an Artist, at the beginning of this journey, I sought success in what I knew, and set deadlines. I required myself to make at least one painting a day. 

Over the years, this sort of productivity has helped me develop my voice. It's helped me build the muscles I rely on to push all the crap aside right now and forge ahead. It helps me try new things when I am pretty sure I have the strength to do the lifting. And it helps me know when that is. 

A new painting I finished last week, the start of a series of people talking while they are walking their dogs, is one that I've been thinking of for a few years. At the time, I knew I didn't have the chops for these paintings. Last week, I thought, I do. And so I set out to make this painting - and I love the way it came out.

So if you are a painter, an artist, a writer,  musician, whatever - if you are seeking a creative outlet and want to sharpen your abilities - the best thing you can do, I think, is to produce. Good, bad, middling, whatever - the point is to make the art, write the sentence, compose the music, and go from there. Look at what's good about the piece - what you like about it - and what you'd change. And then, in the next one, which will happen today or this afternoon or tomorrow, change that thing. And then do it again. And again. And again. 

And again. 


In this time of loss and now of isolation, I work hard to be grateful. I thought I'd share a gratitude with you all each day, at least for a while. 

If you'd like to share things that you're grateful for, you can use the comments below, or email me... I'd love to hear what you're grateful for. So here is today's: 

Though Peter is gone, I am grateful, so very grateful that I found him, 
and that I had him as my husband since 1988.

For Today

"There is no word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal. I am an owl, and I am a happy owl. I like to make people happy and everything happy. I am the light of happiness and I am a dancing owl." 

- Kenojuak Ashevak

Monday, April 6, 2020

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping


I KEEP THINKING I see hummingbirds, but when I look again, nothing. The twitch of a branch, a wren flitting through the coming leaves, or just a trick of the mind. 

The 2020 hummingbird migration map does show one or two nearby, so maybe I have been seeing them - though it is unlikely. 

Still, like spring and summer and the end of this quarantine, the hummingbirds are coming. So today, I will make some nectar and fill up some feeders and keep looking. 

Have you seen any hummers yet? 

For Today


I catch the pattern
Of your silence
Before you speak.

I do not need
To hear a word.

In your silence
Every tone I seek
Is heard.

- Langston Hughes

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Blue Jay

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


IN THE EVENING YESTERDAY, Justin came and mowed the lawn. It was chilly and windy, and he was dressed like the Unabomber, in a dun-colored jacket with the hood pulled up, and a baseball hat underneath. 

My yard is tiny, but the grass was high, unmowed since October. Justin buzzed through in his huge lawnmower, finishing in moments, then whacked the weeds and blew the pine needles off the little back decking area, and then he was gone. 

As dusk lowered into night, the rich, deep smell of the spring soil, cooling after the day's warmth, underlined the fresh, bright-green smell of the grass. I stood in the nearly dark yard and watched the dogs race around, surprised and delighted by the short lawn, and I thought about Peter, and how he would have stood here with me, enjoying this simple, lovely moment. 


For Today


Loneliness terrific beats on my heart,
Bending the bitter broken boughs of pain.
Stunned by the onslaught that tears the sky apart
I stand with unprotected head against the rain. 

Loneliness terrific turns to panic and to fear.
I hear my footsteps on the stairs of yesteryear,
Where are you?  Oh, where are you?
Once so dear.

- Langston Hughes

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren / Oil on black canvas / 4x4 unframed / $68 including shipping

THE WIND WOKE ME Tuesday night, howling of limbs and branches and the tearing off of spring blooms. It screamed of winter's not-yet-ended grip on our nights and our mornings. It called to the dark and jagged places in me, where loss and sadness and anger dwell, and it scared me a little, reaching through the windows and the walls, through the blue metal roof, and into the sleeping warmth of the dogs, my only companions, curled with me in the too-big bed.


For Today

"Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark."

-Rabindranath Tagore

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Egret / Oil on black canvas / 8x10 unframed / $98 including shipping


STARTING FRIDAY, APRIL 3, I'M HOSTING a Spring Flower Show and Sale on my website,  To reach it, please click on the link, then click on the Flower Show and Sale. When you see a painting you like, click on the email associated with it, and send it to me, and I will send you an invoice, and put your painting in the mail as soon as it's dry enough! If you would like to pay in installments or by check or cash, please mention that in the email, and we will make it work! 

On Saturday at 1 p.m. on my Carrie Jacobson, Artist Facebook page, ( I'll host a live painting workshop. Please either friend me on my personal Facebook page, and/or follow me on my Carrie Jacobson, Artist page, then go there on Saturday, look for and click on the the Carrie Jacobson is Live  note in your notification list, and you'll be there. 

Get set up with whatever art-making medium you like, whatever tools you have, and whatever you want to make art ON. The workshop is free, there's no need to register, and it will last about an hour. Here's the photograph we'll be using: 

Thanks to Janet Gisleson Furst Vadon for the photograph. Please feel free to print it out. 

For Today

"I don't ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful." 

-Pete Hamill

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Northern Barred Owl

Northern Barred Owl / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping


I'VE LED TWO ONLINE painting workshops in the past two weeks, and they've been fun and successful, in that participants seemed to have a good time, and make paintings that they - and I - like. Even people who have never painted, or not painted very much at all, made cool pieces. 

I painted in my regular way, in oils, on a black canvas, and using a palette knife - but participants used all sorts of materials, from watercolors to pastels to acrylics to digital paints. 

There's another workshop scheduled for this Saturday. It will be on my Carrie Jacobson, Artist Facebook page, which you can reach by clicking here - here's the full-blown address, just in case - ( Go to that page and click Follow. Likewise, go to my personal page and put in a friend request. 

In the next day or so, I'll create an event, which should also make it easier to find the workshop. 

It will take place on Saturday, April 4 at 1 p.m. Eastern. The workshop is free, there is no need to register or sign up. Just set up with whatever you want to paint, and whatever you want to paint on, turn on your computer, find the workshop, and give it a go. The workshop will last about an hour. See you online! 


April Flowers

Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5, on my Jacobson Arts website (, I'll be hosting an online Flower Show and Sale. Fun! Paintings will range from $38 to $5800, and most will include shipping (or delivery). 

The sale will come online Friday morning around 7 a.m., on a special page on the website. You'll email me from a link beside each painting to make your purchase, and it's first come, first served. 

The paintings are fun, and bright, and cheerful, and full of springtime's hope and promise. I hope you'll find something you like! 


For Today

"I hope you love birds, too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven." 

- Emily Dickinson

Monday, March 30, 2020

Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

I GREW UP WITH GULLS, but as far as I can remember, I never heard a laughing gull until we moved to Wachapreague. Even here, they don't laugh all year - though I think they are here for most of the year. 

Their name describes them pretty completely. Imagine a Wicked Witch of the West laugh, but in a gull's high-pitched voice, and you'll have it. It's a sound I love - and a sound that makes me laugh - and one that also can be annoying, if you're trying to do something, and failing at it. There are the gulls, laughing their heads off at you. 

They were some of Peter's favorite seabirds, and we always listened for their return, much as we listened for the start of the peepers in the earliest spring days, and the hum of the cicadas as summer reached and waned. 
For Today

“My choice of color is dictated by tact and decorum stretched by an unholy desire to be outrageous. I’m trying to get color to the danger point where it’s too sweet or too noisy without actually making it too sweet or too noisy.”  

- Wolf Kahn

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Bluebird on Redbud

Bluebird on Redbud / oil on black canvas / 8x10 / $98 including shipping

HERE IN WACHAPREAGUE, the bluebirds are back. I've only seen two, and those were mere glimpses, but there's nothing else that is quite that particular blue.

My backyard feeders are full of seeds and full of hungry birds. No social distancing here! I am glad to see them back, eating their full, chattering, lighting the yard with color. No bluebirds have come to the feeder yet, but I remain hopeful and watchful.


For Today

The Dipper

Once I saw
in a quick-falling, white-veined stream,
among the leafed islands of the wet rocks,
a small bird, and knew it

from the pages of a book; it was
the dipper, and dipping he was,
as well as, sometimes, on a rock-peak, starting up
the clear, strong pipe of his voice; at this,

there being no words to transcribe, I had to
bend forward, as it were,
into his frame of mind, catching
everything I could in the tone,

cadence, sweetness, and briskneww
of his affirmative report.
Though not by words, it was
a more than satisfactory way to the

bridge of understanding. This happened
in Colorado
more than a half century ago - 
more certainly, than half my lifetime ago -

and, just as certainly, he has been sleeping for decades
in the leaves beside the stream,
his crumble of white bones, his curl of flesh
comfortable even so. 

And I still hear him - 
and whenever I open the ponderous book of riddles
he sits with his black feet hooked to the page,
his eyes cheerful, still burning with water-love - 

and thus the world is full of leaves and feathers
and comfor, and instruction. I do not even remember
your name, great river, 
but since that hour I have lived

in the joy of the body as full and clear
as falling water; the pleasures of the mind
like a dark bird dipping in and out, tasting and singing. 

- Mary Oliver

Thursday, March 26, 2020


Egret / Oil on black wood / about 2x5 / 
unframed with sawtooth hanger / $38 including shipping


SPRING HAS HIT ME with a wave of sadness, and like so many of these waves, it was one I hadn't expected or prepared for. 

Peter loved the springtime. It was his favorite, and he reveled in it. Always, when I was in Arizona in February, he would send me photos of the daffodils blooming on the sheltered, sunny side of the house, and tell me to have heart, that spring was coming. I knew how much he looked forward to it. 

As March turned into April, he would walk around the yard, drive around town, or to Quinby Bridge, or to the store, and he would notice everything, and report it all to me. Buds on the lilac bush, a spring bird at the feeder, the Burnhams' weeping cherry blossoming in graceful splendor, the forsythia everywhere about to burst - he loved it all, and loved living in a place where spring arrived so early. 

His love of spring and his constant descriptions of it instilled a similar awareness in me, and as the chilly days climb into warmth, I find myself noticing the most minute changes, and missing him in each one. 

Thought for the Day

The Middle

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead
So many I love were not yet born. 

- Ogden Nash

OK, I will quit with the Ogden Nash poems now, but I hope you've enjoyed them. He was one of my mother's favorite poets, and while purists will no doubt look upon these as doggerel, I have to say I love them, as I love any poem that makes me smile or makes me think. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tufted Titmouse (Tee Hee)

Tufted Titmouse / Oil on black canvas / 5x5 / $68 including shipping


LAST NIGHT, DURING of my many awakenings, I let the dogs out and in, and made my way back to bed. 

By the time I got there, Lulu had shoved herself between the bedspread and the blanket. I like to keep the dogs on top of the bedspread, but it was about 2 AM, and I just didn't have it in me to fight her, so I slid in between the sheets. 

And Lulu snuggled up. She pushed her hard little dogsbody up against me, and through the sheet and the blanket, I could feel her warmth and her joy, and I fell back to sleep easily. 

This morning, I was thinking about it all, and realized that Lulu has a special gift, and it is that she is a great snuggler. 

I went through the dogs, then, thinking of their special gifts - Doc's is loyalty, Koko's is love, Woody's is persistence. Then I turned to people - who are more complicated, and so, I think, it is harder to isolate their special gifts. Peter's was patience, I think. Mine, like Koko's, is love, I believe. 

What about you? What is your special gift? 


A Growing Flock

A lovely woman who collects my paintings has, like many of you, been very enthusiastic about the bird paintings. Here is her bird wall early in the process (above), and then later. 
Isn't it wonderful? 

Thought for Today

The Dog

The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state the dog is full of love
I've also found, by actual test
A wet dog is the lovingest. 

- Ogden Nash

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


Kingfisher / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

WHEN PETER WAS ALIVE, he would make pizza usually about once a week. 

When I say "make," I mean that he would take frozen gluten-free pizza, usually Udi's, and doctor it up, adding a variety of items, depending on what we had in the icebox and what he felt like making. 

Usually, it was regular pizza-type pizza, with pepperoni or soupi or sausage added, but often it was more exotic. Pesto and garlic and artichokes. Cheeseburger pizza. Taco pizza. Bacon and ham pizza. 

It was always delicious and always wonderful, but the thing about it was that it always took him FOREVER, absolutely forever, to make these pizzas - often upwards of 90 minutes from start to finish. 

Honestly, I never knew what took him so long, and now, will never know. Few people outside of me were ever treated to these pizzas, but on the rare occasions when he invited people in, they and I would wait in the living room, not very patiently, rolling our eyes and laughing at him while great pizza smells drifted in from the kitchen. 

I bought a frozen pizza last week, and last night, doctored it up and cooked it. The whole process took about 20 minutes, 18 of which were the pizza cooking in the oven. It smelled good, and looked good, but it tasted like cardboard. Tasted like loss and sadness, nothing fun, nothing delicious. I had one slice and threw the rest of it away. 

I have another one in the freezer, and I thought of throwing it away, too, and maybe I will - but maybe I will keep it and try it again in six months or so, and see if I can conjure up the memory of my sweet, deliberate, careful husband and our delightful and delicious and inexplicably slow pizza nights. I'll let you know. 


Thought for Today


Adam had'em. 

- Ogden Nash

Monday, March 23, 2020


Tern / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


RAIN PELTS THE AWNING over the kitchen window, as I sit at the kitchen table on this dark, windy morning. I am pretty sure the sun will come up, but in these mornings when night lingers - and lingers longer because of the storm - I sometimes, with a hitch in my throat, wonder: Will today be the day the sun does not come up? 

Of course not, I reassure myself - but I will keep glancing out, until I get the answer. 


For Today

The Germ

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place 
is deep within the human race. 
His childish pride he often pleases
by giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ. 

- Ogden Nash

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Green-Headed Tanager

Green-headed Tanager / oil on black canvas / 4x4 / $48 including shipping

THOUGHT I'D POST a bright little bird to start the week. This is a bird I've never seen - it lives in southeastern Brazil, in eastern Paraguay and northern Argentina - places I think I will never visit in my lifetime. 

I used to think I'd see all the world. Now, I know I won't. And I have to admit that that is OK. There are plenty of adventures to be had here - and in places just a bit away from here. And there is plenty of time to have those adventures. 

In my life, with Peter and alone, I've had lots of adventures. I've seen places, we lived places, we traveled together and apart - and in this art life, this post-Peter life, I will continue to stretch and travel and chase the world. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but sometime in the not too distant future. 

And that knowledge makes it easier to get through these very close-to-home weeks. 


Thought for the Day

"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work." 

- Emile Zola

Friday, March 20, 2020

Crowing - and Hatch, NM

Crowing /  Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


CROWS ARE SMART. When we moved in, here in Wachapreague, there was some sort of antenna tower sitting on a square of concrete in the back yard. 

One morning while I was out in the studio painting, I heard a persistent sort of cracking noise, and looked up to see a crow sitting on top of the tower, tossing pecans down through the center, so they would hit the concrete and crack. Then the crow could open them relatively easily. 

An article in a science journal in 2014 found that your average crow is about as smart as a 7-year-old child. The scientists gave six wild crows a series of tasks involving water displacement. The crows had to figure out how to get bits of floating food, by dropping heavy objects into a tube filled with water. The heavy things would displace enough water to bring the floating food up high enough that the crows could reach it. 

Seven-year-old child? I am not sure that this 63-year-old so-called adult would have figured out that I could get the food by dropping something heavy into the water. Sheesh. But sometimes I think the car is smarter than I am. 

Hatch, NM / Oil on black canvas / 16x20 / $435 including shipping

PLEASE REMEMBER my landscape-painting workshop, Saturday at 1 p.m., on Facebook. It's free, it will be easy and I think it will be fun! Set up with your computer, something to paint on and something to paint with. We will be painting a landscape a little like the one above.

Thought for the Day

"She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. 
And birds fluttered around her, writing 'yes' in the sky." 

- Monique Duval

Thursday, March 19, 2020

This Must Be Love

This Must Be Love / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


OF COURSE, IT'S NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE to ignore the economic calamity that this virus is forcing on so many Americans, including myself and so many of my friends and family members. 
But there are some positive aspects to the situation. Without all the airplanes, the air is clearer. Probably the temperature of the planet will drop noticeably - it did after 9/11, and it wouldn't surprise me if it did now.

I find that, for me, at least, it is OK to be not rushing all over the place all the time. Meetings I go to, gatherings I attend, they're just not happening.

I'm not shopping anywhere near as much as I usually do, and neither is anyone else. But when I am in the grocery stores, I find that people are talking to each other, and laughing, and living together in this shared new moment.

On the streets of my little town, the same thing is happening. It seems everyone is walking, and neighbors are stopping neighbors, just to chat, to discuss the virus - or NOT the virus - and to take a moment to slow down and really ask about life.

I know that this is a tiny Pollyanna-ish point of light in the middle of a terrible siege, but it is something to consider.

Thought for the Day

"You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - 
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things." 

- Mary Oliver

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Mama Cardinal

Mama Cardinal / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

MANY OF THE SHOWS I'd counted on for income this summer have been canceled. 

Unlike many of my artist friends, I already had a little bit of an alternative plan, just trying to get myself back on my feet after Peter's death. With the uncertainties of this new chapter of my life, with the sudden responsibility of single-person dog-care, I'd only applied to a few shows, and have been  building my commission base, painting to keep my galleries happy and building my skill and reach through projects large and small. 

Still, it's a blow that Art and Music on the Farm and Arts in the Park in Richmond, two of the major shows of my summer, have been canceled. 

In an effort to make up income, I'll be cooking up some online art festivals/sales, hosting some online workshops, and, when the virus has come and gone, doing some real-life workshops, farmers markets and the like. 

My next online sale will be my spring flower show, which will take place in a few weeks. My first online workshop - free! - will take place on Saturday at 1 pm on Facebook. I'll do a FB live presentation, and I hope you'll join me. We will make a nice landscape painting - so set up with your computer and your paints and brushes or knives or pastels or whatever you use, and paint with me! 

If you've been thinking that you'd like to own a Carrie Jacobson original - or add to your collection! - I have some wonderful new ones, large and small, on my website, ( And if you've been wanting a commission, now is an ideal time to talk to me about one. 

And of course, the Bird A Day project has taken wing once more! 

Thought for the Day

"Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them 
they somehow fly out past you. 
And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure." 

- Stephen King

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Little Kingfisher

Little Kingfisher / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

THIS VERY QUIET early-pandemic life, uninterrupted by people, by visitors, by society, this is the kind of life that Peter often lived, I realized this morning. 

When I was home, of course, there was the noise and the clutter and the colors and the TV and the music and the gabbing and squawking and tweeting that is me. There were the people I invited over and the events I dragged him to, but even then, even with me here, most of the time, he was in his quiet office, making art or tying flies or reading - without turning on the television or playing tunes or talking to anyone on the phone. 

And when I wasn't here, this was how it was. Like this day, today. Quiet. He was alone, but not lonely. He was not pressed for time or conversation. He filled the days with thinking and creating and being with the dogs. 

This morning, in the quiet of this small house, where I have been alone for days and days, I realized how much Peter loved his quiet, solitary hours, and how glad I am that he was able to have them. 

Thought for the Day

The Kingfisher

loud whistles at night
a kingfisher on the prowl -
river fish are still

- Tania Kitchin

Monday, March 16, 2020

Bluebird with Blossoms

Bluebird with Blossoms / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping



 Here's something Not Virus - a little painting of a little bluebird, enjoying a little bit of spring on a little branch. 

It might not seem like it NOW, but you will be enjoying a little bit of spring soon. Promise. 

Thought for the Day

"Art has many avenues; love is carried through many vessels. Your oceans are your colors, 
your ship is your brush and your treasures are in your heart." 

- Moncy Barbour


Friday, February 14, 2020

Road Runner Reprised

Road Runner / oil on canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping

I SAW TWO road runners the other day, in my dad's neighborhood in Tubac, AZ. They truly are ridiculous - running when they could fly! 

Apparently, there are reasons for this. According to American Expeditions, their wings are short, compared to the size of their bodies, and they can only stay airborne for a few seconds at a time. They fly only to escape predators, or when they're descending steep slopes. They can run as fast as 20 mph! 

For Today

I AM HEADING home to Virginia next week, a little earlier than planned. My dog-sitter is not crazy about my dogs, and that makes me sad and anxious. I am lonely - I am lonely all the time now - but I am particularly lonely for my doggies. And my friends, and my house and studio. 

So the Bird A Day project will probably be on hiatus as I make my way across the country. Or it might not. Either way, it will pick up again when I hit the Eastern Shore.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Raven / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping


THE RAVEN IS A STAR of Native American lore - here is a story published by Haida artist Bill Reid in 1984:

How Raven Brought Light to the World

At that time, the whole world was dark. Inky, pitchy, all-consuming dark, blacker than a thousand stormy winter midnights, blacker than anything anywhere has been since.

The reason for all this blackness has to do with the old man in the house by the river, who had a box, which contained a box, which contained a box, which contained an infinite number of boxes, each nestled in a box slightly larger than itself - until finally there was a box so small all it could contain was all the light in the universe.

The old man hides the box with the light because he's afraid to see whether his daughter is beautiful or ugly. In a ploy to steal the box, the raven shrinks himself to become a hemlock needle in a basket of water. The daughter swallows him, and soon, the raven is reborn from her as a raven/human child.

He begins to ask his grandfather to open the boxes, and the old man does, opening them one after the other after the other.

When he opens the box containing the light, the raven steals it and flies out of the house, causing light to spread throughout the world, and revealing the beauty of the old man's daughter.

As the raven flies away, the eagle tries to steal the light from him. The raven drops some, and in the story, this light becomes the moon and the stars.

For Today

"He painted until his cursive brushes were only whispers of rawness on the thin ivory. Only the walls and the ravens that watched knew the boy with the paint-stained palms 
weaved his art onto his sketchpad on the park bench at lunchtimes,
 and only the trees whispered it like a prayer." 

- Grace Curley, "The Light that Binds Us"

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Chickadee on Cherry Branch

Chickadee on Cherry Branch / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 unframed


ON THE DRIVE out to Tubac, Arizona, where I am visiting my father and stepmother, I peeled an orange and tore my fingernail back a little from my finger. It hurt, especially because I got orange juice in the ripped place. 

I began thinking about fingernails, then, and wondering - if it hurt so much to have just a teeny tear between the nail and the skin, why doesn't it hurt when your nails grow? They grow from the bottom, not the top, so they must be ripping away from the skin all the time. 

The only answer I've been able to find is that it happens so slowly, it just doesn't register. Does anyone have a better answer than that? 

For Today

"If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint." 

- Edward Hopper