Thursday, October 29, 2020

Cards and Calendars

OOOH! EXCITING!!! I had calendars and cards made from my bird paintings over this year, and they arrived this week. They're really wonderful, if I do say so myself - and I do! 

It's very different for me to see my pieces printed, and to see a bunch of them all together. I make them one at a time, and by and large, they fly away regularly. I rarely see them together, unless one of my collectors sends me a photo. 

So this is very exciting! 

The calendars - I had 50 made - are $20 each plus $2 shipping, if I have to ship. The cards are $10 for a group of six (with envelopes), plus $2 shipping. If you're here, and you pick them up, no shipping. 

To get yours, please email me at


Help the Twain House

MY BROTHER, RAND COOPER, is a big supporter of the Mark Twain House. 

Friday, Nov. 6, Rand will emcee a gala, involving an auction of some way cool stuff. He will be introducing David Baldacci, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult and others, and also introducing live performances by Brad Paisley and Jimmy Buffett!

Some of the items you can bid on include 
  • Having a character named for you in an upcoming David Baldacci novel (!!!)
  • Participate in a virtual meet and greet with NASCAR driver Corey Lajoie
  • A first edition of "Huckleberry Finn," or... 
  • A pet portrait by ME! 

To find out more about the Mark Twain House, click here, or go to



"Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one." 

- Stella Adler

Monday, October 26, 2020

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse / Oil on black canvas / 4x4 / $38 including shipping 


I HAD A ROUGH TIME last week, and it took me by surprise. 

I need a new laptop, and really want to see Peter's big desktop computer be gone. It took me a year to come to terms with that last fact, but I had. I'd looked for someone, anyone, who would want it, but though it was big and powerful and clear and bright, it was old, and nobody wanted it. So I decided to trade it in, to cut the price of my new laptop a little. 

I have backed up all the files (or at least, I believe I have), and I knew I wanted to cleanse the hard drive before I sent the computer off for credit. So I started the process, and as I sat there and watched it delete 14,000 files, my heart broke again. It felt like I was deleting Peter. Even though it was files, even though I'd backed them up, it still left me weak and weeping. All his art, all his writing, all his funny ideas and photoshopped pictures, all of it gone, in a long blink.

I called my counselor and she helped. Thinking about it and understanding it also helped. And I know there will be more moments like this, more surprise detours into the land of sorrow. I imagine they will continue to take me unawares. But I will get through. 

Dog of the Day

DR. COOPER AND I are starting dog school in a couple hours. This morning on our walk, we practiced with the nose leash. Doc didn't love it, but he tolerated it, sort of like all of us with our masks. 

He's a much better behaved dog now than he was a year ago, rarely snapping at anyone unless they have something in their hands or they are a golf cart or a truck with a trailer. Or another dog. And this last issue is the one I hope to solve at dog school. I will report back. 


From "The Weighing"

So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance. 

The world asks of us 
only the strength we have and we give it. 
Then it asks more, and we give it. 

- Jane Hirshfield

Thanks to my friend Heather MacLeod for sending me this. If you want to read the whole poem, please click here.

 from Jane Hirshfield’s splendid poem “The Weighing”:

So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Egret in a Tree

Egret in a Tree / oil on canvas / 4x12 / $88, including shipping

I WONDER, EVERY YEAR, about the purpose of fruit flies. Every fall, they show up, bothersome and difficult to control. They seem to come out of nowhere. They seem to have no reason for being. I can't imagine that they make anything better. 

I have the identical thoughts, every election time, about political TV ads. 

Dog of the Day

I hope this plays. I will also load it on YouTube, so click HERE if you can't play it right from the blog. Every morning on the walk, we take the dogs to the ball park, which is also sort of a dog park. Lulu, amazing, beautiful Lulu, races around the perimeter, just flying! Sometimes Doc goes with her, but lately, he's been staying in the infield and playing with Koko. 


"Color is my daylong obsession, joy and torment." 

- Claude Monet

Monday, October 19, 2020

Eastern Mockingbird

 Eastern Mockingbird / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68


YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, I cheered on the sidelines of a neighborhood bocce game, on Wachapreague's new bocce court, over by the firehouse. 

I have no interest in bocce, but it was Jeannie's birthday, and I like Jeannie, and also most of the Wachapreague women (Wachawomen) who participate in these bocce things. And it was a beautiful October day, with golden sunshine and that particular sweet warmth that seems to come only on the heels of a crisp morning. 

And I knew that my friend Liesl - Our Favorite Austrian - would be there. I had a pleasant time, chatting with Liesl and the girls, and as I walked home, I thought about how instrumental she has been in my healing after Peter's death. 

She was one of the first to come by, in those early, awful days. She came with another neighbor, Anne, and they didn't insist on coming in, just stood on the doorstep and told me how sorry they were, gave me a pretty bag, and went away. In the bag was a sympathy card, a bag of chocolates and a bag of dog treats that instantly became my gang's favorite. 

In time, Liesl began to visit, walking into the house, completely unafraid, even though at that point, the dogs were still wild and undisciplined, and Doc responded to his fear of everything by snarling and snapping at people. 

She offered to help with them, and to my amazement, and out of necessity, I agreed to let her help. 

Early in the winter - and it was this that I remembered yesterday - she invited me and a few others to her house for dinner. 

To back up a little, a thing that happened after Peter's death was that I really couldn't see people. For weeks after he died, I didn't let anybody in the house. I drove to Maryland to do my grocery shopping, so that I wouldn't run into anyone I knew. I avoided the post office for so long that the postmistress, a truly kind person, called and asked if I would like her to bring me my mail. I said no, and she volunteered to stay late one day so I could come over after the post office closed, and get my mail, cutting down on the chance of running into anyone. 

I don't understand the mechanisms of my need to see no one. I just knew that I couldn't, and that especially, I couldn't run into people unprepared. 

Little by little, I came out of it, and so, in the winter, I agreed to go to supper at Liesl's. But as the day approached, I realized I couldn't. I could not sit at a table and make conversation with several people I knew only slightly - and, crying, I called her and told her. 

She was as kind as could be, and insisted that I still come - but she would uninvite the others, who all were neighbors, and would understand. And so she did, and so I did. 

I had known Liesl mostly from seeing her walking. She walked pretty much every day, as far as I could tell, sometimes with people, sometimes with people's dogs, sometimes alone - but her walking was a constant. I would admire her, straight and slim, striding - always with very good posture - through town. 

When she asked if I would like to walk with her and the dogs, I said yes, and that, as much as anything, has changed my life, and helped speed and strengthen my recovery. 

We have walked nearly every morning. The dogs have learned some manners, and have started to be socialized. The walks have brought me daily exercise, and fresh air, and have helped me start to be socialized again. They give me a way to start every day. A plan, a task, something regular and manageable. 

They have brought me a friendship, too, which is perhaps the most valuable. Liesl is a good listener, an interesting person, and she makes me laugh. She is an inspiration, too, being helpful to people and animals and asking nothing in return. And she is 80! Often on our walks, I am out of breath and hurrying to catch up, and Our Favorite Austrian is just there, striding along, looking at this or that, laughing at the dogs, enjoying the morning. 

Here is Liesl in the springtime, with Lulu and Koko. We walk three dogs most days, 
and Liesl always takes two. 


Grace Note

I Didn't Go to Church Today

I didn't go to church today
I trust the Lord to understand
The surf was swirling blue and white
The children swirling on the sand.
He knows, He knows how brief my stay,
How brief this stay of summer weather,
He knows when I am said and done
We'll have plenty of time together.

- Ogden Nash

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sandpiper in a Clam Shell

Sandpiper in a Shell / Oil on gessoed clam shell / about 6x4 / $68 including shipping


A FEW WEEKS AGO, I went out to walk the dogs in the morning and found my Mexican sunflower plant simply flattened. A storm had blown in the night before, and it looked as though a downdraft - the kind that, in larger events, bring down planes - had hit directly on my pretty plant. 

A later inspection found that the center of the plant was hollow and dried out, probably because of drought and wind earlier in the year, and maybe overwatering, which seems to be my particular plant-related demon of the moment. 

Last week, I heard the something falling, and thought that maybe the floor had actually fallen in somewhere in the house. I looked in every room, and the floors were OK. (Charlie is working on them, and making progress. He has assured me that I won't fall through.)

Later, I found that half of a very old dogwood - one that I knew was on the way out - had broken off, just like that. Inside the tree, the heart was hollow, diseased. 

The metaphorical significance of all this keeps hitting me, though I am not exactly sure what to make of it. I choose optimism, believing that I am being shown that even though the foundation is rotten, even if the heart is sick and sad and broken, even then, there is hope. 

The house is not falling down. The Mexican sunflowers have continued to bloom. The dogwood probably has another few springtimes. And so, maybe I'm being shown that I will be OK, too. 

A Note on This Painting

THE PAINTING ABOVE IS AN EXPERIMENT. I don't know how you will display it. I think you might be able to hang it with those Commando sticky hanger things. A plate hanger might work? A small easel? 

If you buy it, I would not advise using it as a place to store things, like keys or earrings or paperclips. I don't think the paint would hold up to use like that. 

All that being said, if you buy it and you're interested in seeing what happens, go ahead and store coins or thumbtacks or whatever in it! Just remember that it's oil paints, not ceramics. 

A Last Thought

"There was nowhere to go but everywhere." 

- Jack Kerouac

Thursday, October 15, 2020


Cardinal / Oil on black canvas / 8x10 / $120 including shipping


DUSK COMES EARLY these days, a thin blue that sinks into orange near the horizon. 

Dawn comes later and later, the lightest purple today, with wisps of brighter clouds just above the treetops. 

The afternoons stretch into a joy of yellow sunlight, the rays low in the sky and warm. It is the perfect time to live here, along the Atlantic Ocean. The summer visitors are gone, and we who live here have the golden marsh, the golden sun, the golden light of October all to ourselves. 

My flowers are still blooming, some - gardenias among them - for the third time this year. There is no traffic; the dogs and Liesl and I walk in the middle of the streets. Cats rest, undisturbed, on sunny front stoops. Windows are open, and I hear someone mowing and smell the sweet scent of grass, for probably one of the last times of the summer. 

Surely, winter will come, with its gray sky and its bleak thoughts. But for now, the days are bright and warm and short enough to be treasured. 

A Last Thought

"Autumn... the year's last, loveliest smile." 

- William Cullen Bryant

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Crow in a Tree


Crow in a Tree /oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68, including shipping

this crow has flown! 

I'VE HAD TROUBLE READING since Peter died. Well, even before "trouble reading," I've had trouble picking up, starting or staying with normal-sized books. 

After Peter died, I gave away his mammoth World War II tomes, his collection of books about the Vikings, his huge library of giant books on poker. Sometimes I teased him that he bought books by weight - the bigger and heavier they were, the more he wanted them. 

He died and I couldn't even open books. Eventually, I began to be able to open slim volumes. A friend lent me her Winnie-the-Pooh books and they started me reading again. 

Poetry pulled at me, and I could handle poems, and books of poetry, in much the same way that I could handle bird paintings. These things were small and manageable. I could see the end from the beginning, and that felt important. That felt like a lifeline.

This weekend, I borrowed a small book - "Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart " by Gordon Livingston. Its subtitle is "Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now." Yes, pop psychology/philosophy, I know. It is small, and fascinating. 

Here is a thought I encountered that got me thinking this morning, and which I wanted to share: "The three components of happiness are something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to." 

And I guess that encapsulates my "A Last Thought," too. 

Dog of the Day

Last week, Doc decided that I was sad and needed a toy. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68, including shipping


Made it through a year of firsts, without Peter. From the first Halloween - his favorite holiday - to our first wedding anniversary without him, to my first painting without him, my first show without him, my first trip without him, and what felt like a million more firsts, I made it through. I am so very relieved that this horrible year of horrible firsts is over and done with. 

Many of you helped, and I am, and will always be, grateful. 

Thank you.

A Last Thought

"The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow 
when compared with the pain of never risking love."

- Hillary Stanton Zunin

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Morning in the Hills

Morning in the Hills / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68, including shipping!  


(I've been having trouble with the PayPal buttons recently, so if you want this painting and the button doesn't seem to work, please email me at - thank you!)

THE OTHER DAY, I HEARD MYSELF LAUGH, and I realized that I hadn't laughed since Peter died. I hadn't laughed in almost a year. The recognition of that fact shocked me.

And then I felt guilty for laughing, for feeling good enough and happy enough to laugh, when Peter was dead, and not here to laugh with me. 

And then I told myself that he would want me to laugh. He loved to make me laugh, and he did it better and more often than anyone in my life ever has. It's one of the reasons I loved him so much. He was gruff, and often, a curmudgeon. He was a Finn, and he had depression, and was often quite dark. But still, he was the funniest person I've met - partly because he was so smart. And so twisted.

And he could be so silly. Here's a photo montage he made of himself - for no apparent reason - just because it made him laugh, and he knew it would make me laugh, too. 

I've laughed a few more times since, and it feels awkward in my heart. But I will think of him in his pink tutu, in his many hats, in his white boots, making his dry, hilarious comments about people and the world, and I'll know that he wants me to live, to enjoy my life, to sing, to sleep well and eat well and probably most of all, to laugh. 

A Last Thought


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

- Robert Frost

Monday, October 5, 2020

Blue Jay

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

(I've been having trouble with the PayPal buttons, so if you want to buy this lovely little bluejay and the button doesn't work, please email me at!)

THE SUMMER'S HUMMINGBIRDS left on Thursday. I put new nectar out at the start of the week, and I saw hummers at the feeders through Wednesday, and then - none. 

They were my friends and companions here all summer, humming around my head, entertaining me with their antics at the feeder, amazing me with their speed and agility. 

How I miss them! 

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Peter's death. When the hummingbirds left, it felt like they took summer with them. When he died, it felt like he took everything with him. 

So I am going away, with my friend Carol and her mother, to a clean Air B&B where we stay every year during the show in Crozet. There's no show, but we had the reservation, and so we are going anyways. He would be proud of me. 


A Final Thought

 Thank You

If you find yourself half naked
and barefoot in the frosty grass, hearing, 
again, the earth's great, sonorous moan that says
you are the air of the now and gone, that says
all you love will turn to dust,
and will meet you there, do not
raise your fist. Do not raise
your small voice against it. And do not
take cover. Instead, curl your toes
ito the grass watch the cloud
ascending from your lips. Walk
through the garden's dormant splendor.
Say only, thank you. 
Thank you. 

- Ross Gay

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Hummingbird on Broken Branch

Hummingbird on Broken Branch / oil on black canvas, 5x7 / $68 including shipping

(I've been having trouble lately with the PayPal buttons. If this one seems not to work, and you want to buy this hummer, please email me at

SOMETIMES, WHEN PEOPLE BUY a serious number of paintings from me, I like to include a little thank-you gift. These run the gamut from interesting things I've found to interesting things I've bought. 

One of the latter is a book of postcards about missing President Barak Obama. I think these are wonderfully fun and funny - but, of course, should only be sent to Democrats. 

Usually, it's fairly easy to tell someone's political party - but not always! And the last thing I would want to do is send a thank-you gift that irritated the recipient. So if I really can't tell, I send something else - or I ask. 

The other day, I asked, and suddenly, it felt like an incredibly invasive question. In recent memory, it would have been a nothing question. A "what-did-you-have-for-lunch" question. This time, it occurred to me that it felt like something along the lines of asking whether the person was wearing underwear. You're pretty sure you know the answer, but what if you're wrong? Won't you wish you never asked?

A Last Thought

"Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create." 

- Roy T. Bennett

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Canada Goose Revisited

 Canada Goose / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


If the paypal button doesn't work and you want to buy this sweet goose, please email me at

FIRST, I'D LIKE TO KNOW when toothpaste tubes got so small. Toothpaste seems to be more expensive than ever, and the tubes are teeny! I know the same thing has happened to individual cups of yogurt, and to Chunky candy bars, and some soda bottles and heaven knows what else, but it was the toothpaste that got me going the other day in WalMart. 

Dismayed at the price vs. size ratio, I looked for maybe not the absolute cheapest, not some Toothless Abner's Dental Polish, but a known name, middle-of-the-road price. I chose Crest in a pathetically small blue box for nearly $4. 

When I opened it, the toothpaste was black! Well, maybe a deep, deep purple - but really, it was black. I thought it had gone bad. But, wait, can toothpaste go bad? I never knew it could. It smelled OK - and what would toothpaste smell like if it HAD gone bad? Pickles? Garlic? - so I used it. 

Turns out it is charcoal-based. Ugh. Really. Ick. It makes black foam in your mouth. Disgusting. 

Sometimes new is just not better. 

Coming Up

AN OCCASION FOR THE ARTS virtual show takes place this weekend, Oct. 3-4. I will be doing a live Zoom presentation each day at 11 a.m., and this will be re-zoomed on the AOFTA ( website at noon. You can reach my live sessions through the AOFTA website, which is probably the easiest way to see them, but if you want me to send you the link, please drop me an email at 

I'll probably be painting, and will give a tour of the studio, but mostly I'll be there to talk with you, to show you particular paintings you might like to see, and answer any questions you might have. 

Paintings on my website (Jacobson Arts - will be on sale during the show, and shipping or delivery will be free!  

A Last Thought

"How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go into the unknown."

- Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Monday, September 28, 2020

Hummer by Orange Flowers

 Hummer by Orange Flowers / oil on black canvas / 5x7, unframed / $68 including shipping

This bird has flown!

HERE ARE SOME FUN FACTS about hummingbirds, from 

  • They are the smallest migrating bird, but don't migrate in flocks. Typically, a hummer will travel alone for up to 500 miles at a stretch.  
  • The name comes from the humming noise their wings make.
  • They're the only birds that can fly backwards.
  • Hummingbirds have no sense of smell, but have great color vision. Different varieties prefer different colored flowers. The ruby-throated hummer likes orange or red flowers best - but red dye should not be used in nectar as it could harm the birds. Instead, plant naturally red or orange flowers or use feeders that have red coloring in their structure.
  • Your average hummingbird weighs less than a nickel. 
  • They use their legs only for perching and moving sideways on a perch. They can't walk or hop. 
  • A hummer drinks from a feeder by moving its tongue in and out - about 13 times a second. That hummer can drink double its body weight in a day. 
  • The female typically lays two eggs only. They're about the size of jellybeans, and have been found in nests smaller than a half-dollar. Some varieties, like the black-chinned hummingbird, make nests with plant down, spider silk or other materials that can expand as their babies grow. 
  • A group of hummers can be referred to as a flock, a bouquet, a glittering, a hover, a shimmer or a tune.
  • There are more than 330 species of hummingbirds in North and South America! 

For more, see


A Last Thought 

"If you have talent, use it in every which way possible. Do not hoard it. Do not dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke." 

- Brenda Francis

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Great Blue Heron


Great Blue Heron / Oil on black canvas / 4x12 / $88 including shipping


BENEATH THE FLOOR of my house, the beams and joists are crumbling. 

I found out a few months ago that this was happening, and I thought that the work I had had done had fixed it. But part of the living room floor started sagging when I stepped on it, and it turns out that the issue is far worse than I'd thought. 

The major load-bearing beams of the house need to be replaced, as do most of the rest of the joists and possibly even the sills. Ugh. 

For about a year and a half before Peter died, I had made a practice of being grateful. "In every thing, give thanks," is what I had aimed - and still aim - to do. At the beginning, it felt impossible, but I found ways. Saw glimmers of a new way to live. I lost the thread for a while after Peter died, but I have become grateful for many, many things about his death, including that it was as fast as it was. For me, perhaps, that was worse - but maybe not? Certainly for him, it was better than any lingering, awful demise. 

I am grateful that the house hasn't fallen down, and that I haven't fallen through the floor. I am grateful that I have the money to fix it, though it was money I was counting on having to live on. But I have some Social Security, and some savings even after I pay for all of this, and I am selling paintings. I have great faith that I will be OK. And I am grateful for that. 

After all, this heron doesn't know what the future brings, and he doesn't let it worry him. He just gets out there and goes to work. And that's what I shall do, too. 

A Last Thought

"Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. The the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle."

- Philiphs Brooks

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Kingfisher on Branch

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


I'VE OFTEN WISHED that I had just a little of the clean-house type of OCD that several of my friends have. Their homes are always sparkling. The downside is that messiness is a truly troubling stress for them, and one that takes a psychic and spiritual toll. But their houses always look great - and sometimes I think it would be worth the tradeoff. 

Recently, I've come to realize that in addition to being not talented at house-cleaning, and not really interested in it, I'm a little fascinated by the progression of dust and dog hair on surfaces in my house. 

There are places in the house where dog hair, particularly, collects. It must have something to do with the architecture of the house and the traffic patterns and the way the breeze comes through. I'm sure all of you with pets have places like this in your houses, spots where there is always, always dog hair. I sweep or vacuum or wipe with a paper towel, and 20 minutes later, dog hair. 

A friend gave me a pretty yellow chair with curved wooden legs, and I put it where Peter's couch used to stand, in the corner of the living room. The dog hair used to collect under his couch, but you couldn't see it, because the skirt of the couch cover came down to the floor. 

Now, there's only bare floor, and I find myself watching with fascination as the dog hair piles up beneath the chair, layer by layer. I left it for a couple weeks recently, just to see what would happen, and I ended up with a sort of pelt of hair beneath the yellow chair. It was wonderfully rewarding to clean it up! 

A Last Thought

"Tides are like politics. They come and go with a great deal of fuss and noise, but inevitably they leave the beach just as they found it. On those few occasions when major change does occur, 
it is rarely good news." 

- Jack Mcdevitt

Monday, September 21, 2020


Flicker / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68, including shipping!

this bird has flown! 

TODAY WAS A BUSY DAY in Wachapreague. Dredging that has gone on for months has finished, and today, cranes and flatbed trucks showed up to haul the dredging equipment and pipes away. 

This excitement was amplified by the fact of an extremely high tide, which washed over the marsh, and over Atlantic Avenue, and over the docks. The dredging-exit men ended up standing in water pretty much the whole time they were working. 

My friend Carol is visiting again, and we were watching for the high tide. Lots of folks in town were. People were out walking and driving, looking at the water being where it shouldn't be. 

Peter and I always went out to see this stuff, and he would have loved today's sights especially. 

The photograph above is actually from Sunday. The tide was so high it covered the dock! 
Below, the dredging operation 

A Last Thought 

"The great tides and currents which engulf the rest of men 
do not turn aside in their course and pass the judges by." 

- Benjamin Cardozo

Sunday, September 20, 2020



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

AUTUMN MOVED IN on Saturday, and just like that, summer is over. The south wind has become a north wind. The garden seems to be done. Birds are flocking up, and already, some are gone. 

The summer weekenders seem to be not interested in Wachapreague any more, in spite of the covid and the work-from-home mentality. I guess this is not home to them, any more than it is to the birds. 

But I have new chairs for the back yard, and the lawn guy has fixed the fallen branch that had crashed over and through the fence. I've found my long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and am painting with renewed vigor. 

I love the fall, and always have. Peter did, too. He is all that is missing. 

Dressed for the season, in what my friend Kevin's mother would call three "fancies." 

A Final Thought


We mourn the broken things, chair legs
wrenched from their seats, chipped plates, 
the threadbare clothes. We work the magic
of glue, drive the nails, mend the holes.
We save what we can, melt small pieces
of soap, gather fallen pecans, keep neck bones
for soup. Beating rugs against the house,
we watch dust, lit like stars, spreading
across the yard. Late afternoon, we draw
the blinds to cool the rooms, drive the bugs
out. My mother irons, singing, lost in reverie.
I mark the pages of a mail-order catalog,
listen for passing cars. All day we watch
for the mail, some news from a distant place. 

- Natasha Tretheway

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Two Waders

 Two Waders / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping 


A FRIEND IS TRAVELING the country, and sent a photo of a lake near Glacier National Park, and it made me remember traveling with Peter and seeing that glacial water for the first time. It is an astonishing and very particular color, a thin and light turquoise, as in the photo below. 

According to NASA, the color happens because the glaciers, as they move and grind up the earth over the millenia, create something called glacier flour, a fine powder of silt and clay. When the glacier melts, the glacial flour is so fine that it  hangs suspended in the water. 

When sunlight hits this water, these particles absorb the purples and indigos, the colors with the shortest wavelengths. The water itself absorbs the longer wavelengths, the oranges, reds and yellows. The blues and greens are left, and that's what we see in these lakes and ponds. I think that the absence of any vegetation also adds to the luminescence. 

I remember, also, stopping by streams in northern Idaho and southern Canada, and being amazed that water that looked like it was 6 inches deep was often 3 or 4 feet deep. It was so pure and clear that you saw straight through. No particulate matter. No algae. And it was cold! 

Peter knew so much. He knew all of this, and he knew more. He knew about glaciers and the history of the Rocky Mountains, and who settled the land here and there, and fought over it, and why. He knew the dry and dull stuff, and the interesting stuff, too, and his knowledge enriched our travels and my mind and heart, as well. 


A Last Thought

Ashes of Life

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;
Eat I must, and sleep I will -- and would that night were here!
But ah! -- to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike! 
Would that it were day again! -- with twilight near! 

Love has gone and left me and I don't know what to do;
This or that or what you will is all the same to me;
But all the things that I begin I leave before I'm through, --
There's little use in anything as far as I can see. 

Love has gone and left me, -- and the neighbors knock and borrow,
And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse, --
And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
There's this little street and this little house. 

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Monday, September 14, 2020


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


IN THE MORNING, the sky is the exact blue that it was on 9/11, 19 years ago last week. It is an  arcing blue, between cerulean and turquoise, tender, not rich, not deep, not thin or fragile. A distinct blue that I will always think of as 9/11 blue. 

That day, on a television that a reporter brought into the small Oxford, Maine, office of the Lewiston Sun Journal, I watched as the planes and the buildings exploded and fell beneath that inescapably blue sky. After we had put out two papers, an afternoon edition for the day and the paper for the 12th, I drove home to Peter. 

On the way, I watched a bulky bearded man get out of his truck and cross the yard in front of his trailer, heading for the door. He held the hand of his small daughter and talked to her as they walked, and she looked at him with love that I could see, in the deep-blue shadows of the pines in their small yard. 


A Last Thought

Click here to hear a marvelous conversation with poet Mary Oliver, from the radio show "On Being."  (

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Blue Jay

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

SATURDAY WAS MY MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY, and I have thought about her even more than usual these past few days. 

And in this thinking, I've come to realize how the quality of her love defined her, and set her apart from nearly everyone else I've known in my life. My mother loved fiercely, courageously, and entirely. When she loved - and she did it easily though not indiscriminately - she loved with total abandon, and total lack of restrictions or conditions. 

She did this even though she knew that sooner or later, love would most likely end in pain. Friends would die. People would leave. Pets would pass away. 

Even in the small things, she loved with passion, though she knew that restaurants would disappoint, gardens would wilt and dry, books would end, cars would finally be unfixable. 

Love would turn to sadness or hurt or disappointment, nearly every time - but my mother loved in the face of all that, and never timidly. Never with a thought to protecting herself, or saving her heart from breaking.

I hope every day to love with at least some of the spirit and the generosity that marked my mother's heart, and to remember her with joy and, always, with gratitude. 


A Last Thought

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

- Wendell Berry

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


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

This bird has flown! 

AT HOME THESE MANY MONTHS, I think of what I am not seeing. I imagine that azaleas glorified the woods near Richmond in May, and that springtime dogwoods blossomed, bright angels in the dark groves of western Virginia.

I imagine that cornflowers sang their summer songs at the edges of the roads in Pennsylvania, and that in July, hydrangeas shone blue and pink in the shady gardens of Rhode Island. 

I imagine that all my friends and all the people who usually go to the shows are safe at home, maybe a little bored, maybe a little stressed, maybe digging in their gardens and planting their own landscapes. 

I imagine that the summer has gone on, with cats sleeping in the sun on front stoops, and children learning to ride bicycles on quiet, dead-end roads. With skiers dreaming of winter, and homeowners wondering how the lawn could look greener and more lush, and everyone enjoying the sweetest peaches in years.

I imagine that even now, the West is alight with the brilliance of aspens and cottonwoods, blazing in yellow and gold along the silvery rivers and the fields of soft green sage. And in Wisdom, Montana, I imagine the snow is already shining on the mountains, and maybe even on the streets at night. 

I imagine that soon, the leaves in Maine will start to turn yellow and red, and fall from the branches. The ground will harden, the birds will fly south, and soon enough, the snow will fall there, too. 

I imagine, from the quiet safety of my little house, that the world is going on, more or less unchanged, without me. 

A Last Thought


There's the thing I shouldn't do
and yet, and now I have
the rest of the day to make up for, not
undo, that can't be done
but next time, 
think more calmly,
breathe, says here's a new
morning, morning,
(though why would that 
work, it isn't even
hidden, hear it in there,
more, more, 

- Lia Purpura

Sunday, September 6, 2020


Gulls / Oil on black canvas / 8x10 / $88 including shipping

I'VE PROPPED OPEN THE BACK DOOR this morning and the dogs are celebrating by running in and out, just because they can. 

It's the first cool morning of the summer, and I am enjoying feeling the chilly air wash in. There are not many days in which I can prop the door open. Not many days in which the temperature is right and the bug quotient is right. So I celebrate with the dogs. 

It's 61 degrees and I am dressed for our walk in shorts and a T-shirt. I know I will be cold, but I haven't been cold for so long that it feels like a luxury. I will have all fall and all winter to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, so I shall sail through the open door and continue the celebration a little as I shiver. 
A Last Thought

September Tomatoes

The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.
Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.
It feels cruel. Something in me isn't ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I've carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.
My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.
- Karina Borowicz

Friday, September 4, 2020

Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 unframed


LAST WEEK, I RECEIVED an email from a  jeweler friend (Hillary Burkett, whose website is announcing that she was holding a Labor Day sale. 

What a great idea! 

I sent her a note, thanking her for spurring me on, and she told me that she'd received an email the day before from an artist friend of hers, announcing a Labor Day sale, and so she, Hillary, had done the same thing, decided, on the fly, to hold a Labor Day sale. 

So there was Angel No. 1. 

Angel No. 2 was all of you, who got online and bought paintings from me. My down-and-dirty one-day Labor Day sale was a big success! Thank you. 

Angel No. 3 was a couple who are very dear to me, who, out of the blue, sent me a check for $1,000 to help me pay for the $6,000 heat/AC unit, which I had to replace last week. 

Angel No. 4 got my son-in-law Paul to have a stress test with a cardiac camera somehow looking at his heart. Turns out he has a big blockage, and is scheduled for a cardiac catheterization and stent procedure on Monday. They found the problem before the problem found him, and I am thankful. 

Angel No. 5 is my galleries, many of which are selling my art like it's going out of style. I couldn't be happier or more grateful. 

Last and most, Angel No. 6 is my family and friends, all of you who support me with your love and kindness, your visits and phone calls and cards and letters, your help and laughter and walks with the dogs - and most of all, with your belief in me. Two of the most prominent members of this group, Mom and Peter,  are gone, but I know they are with me, maybe one on each shoulder. 

Yes, I have had a terrible loss and a bleak, difficult, depressing year. But we all have had a difficult year, and we are getting through it together. I am grateful for all the angels, for my higher power, and for the good fortune I have had throughout my life. 

My angels help me daily, and inspire me to be a better person, more generous, kinder, more forgiving - and remind me to be grateful every day. 

Second Friday

I AM SOMEWHAT AMAZED that we are already the second Friday in September, but apparently, we are. And that's important, because I'm the featured artist at Red Queen Gallery, during Onancock's Second Friday walk. It's Sept. 11 (gulp), from 4-7 p.m., at the Red Queen, 57 Market St., Onancock, here on the Eastern Shore.

Some of my art at the Red Queen
A Last Thought

300 Goats

In icy fields.
Is water flowing in the tank?
Will they huddle together, warm bodies pressing?
(Is it the year of the goat or the sheep?
Scholars debating Chinese zodiac,
follower or leader.)
O lead them to a warm corner,
little ones toward bulkier bodies.
Lead them to the brush, which cuts the icy wind.
Another frigid night swooping down -
Aren't you worried about them? I ask my friend,
who lives by herself on the ranch of goats,
far from here near the town of Ozona.
She shrugs, "Not really,
they know what to do. They're goats."

- Naomi Shihab Nye