Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crandall Field, Take Two

Crandall Field, Take Two. Oil on cradled gessoboard panel, 16x20

Honestly, I'm not sure about this painting. I began it in February, on a relatively warm Rhode Island afternoon. Crandall Field in Ashaway was oddly green for a midwinter day, though snow stuck in gullies and shady spots.

The sun shined very brightly, with that clear, sharp light it gets sometimes in New England in the winter. People and dogs crossed the field. A man used a radio controller to fly a toy airplane. The shadows stretched along afternoon's flank.

I painted some of this piece in plein air, and most of it in my basement studio. I like parts of it - the houses along Route 3, near the top of the painting, the way the light slips through the bare branches of the trees. I like that I put people in the painting. But somehow, it feels more like an illustration than a painting. I am not sure I can explain the difference. Can you?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 30, 2009


Skylar. Oil on gessoboard panel, 6x6, by Carrie Jacobson.
To be donated to the Ledyard, Conn., animal shelter.

I don't know much about Skylar, other than that he looks like an older dog, and was up for adoption in our local shelter last week. I didn't find him on my first search. I found him on my second. I couldn't find him on my third. So who knows? Maybe Skylar has found a home. Would that they all were so lucky.

Chez Jacobson is veritably abuzz with art energy this week. As I type, Peter is framing the last of 29 eye-stopping photographs for his show, which opens Friday at the Lighthouse Gallery in the Groton Shopping Center on Long Hill Road in Groton. I spent much of the day getting my canvases ready for my trip, collecting materials, and ironing out details.

If making art could generate heat, this house would be scalding. And if making art could generate money - just like that - well, we'd be rolling in it.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A three-painting day

Outside Montgomery. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10, $75

It's been a while since I've had a three-painting day. They are rare and they are special, and I treasure them.

Yes, painting comes from inspiration. It comes from the muses, and the heavens and the time before time. But I have to be ready for it. I feel it's my job to prepare myself so that when inspiration lopes in, I have the strength and agility to leap up and ride.

Yesterday, I grabbed a hold and rode for all that I was worth.

I made this painting as the sun was setting. I'd seen this field 200 times, and I knew there was something in it for me. I set up and began painting, and right from the start, I knew it was good. Then, Ricky from Con-Way freight pulled his car over, got out, introduced himself and asked if he could look. He was on this way to work, he said, and he'd seen me painting and just had to stop. He was a happy man with a big smile and strong hands, and he helped round out a day of pleasure and sustenance for me.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The long view

Outside Westtown. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10

We lived in Cuddebackville, N.Y., for more than five years. And I always explored. It's my nature. I like taking roads that I think might come out in a place I know - or might come out in a place I don't know. I hate going to a place on one route and coming back on the same one. I enjoy getting myself lost and finding my way out again.

That's why I was so amazed to find, virtually in my own backyard, the road from Minisink to Unionville to Westtown - a painter's paradise of a route, with lovely long views, and plenty of shoulder to pull off on, and even, if I'd been in the mood, horses and cows to paint. I can't believe that I didn't find this road while we were living here.

But today, it was just what I wanted. I was looking for fields with that March mustard yellow, fresh from under snow, still wet and dark, and maybe just beginning to green up. And on this road, I found them.

Later in the day, I took special pleasure from showing my paintings to my realtor and my new attorney. I feel a little bit like a pusher when I do this, bring people to the back of my car, and open my trunk and make them look at still-wet work.

I don't think either liked them, and that's OK. I've known from the start that my paintings aren't for everyone. But this one, I do like this one.

A new day

Minisink. Oil on Pintaur panel, 8x10

The day dawned sunny and warm, and so did my spirit. I am grateful for my underlying optimism, and also for the friends and family members who reached out to me with such love and such support.

Also, some heartening events took place. We have an offer on our house here in New York, and while it's not the greatest offer in the world, it's an offer, and we're happy to have it and accept it. Now to see if it gets to closing. They say the third time's the charm - and this is the third offer we've had.

I've spent much of this day painting. It was warm enough that I was able to take off my jacket and my sweatshirt, and I'm feeling just the hint of sunburn on my arms and face. How great is that!

It's a little hard to read this painting, and I might go back and paint the foreground trees out, or try it again, and just leave the trees out. I was high up on a hill, and the branches and limbs there in the foreground are just the tops of the trees growing up from the steep hillside below.

I really like the sky in this painting, and the far hills. So even with the foreground issues, I'm pretty pleased.

Thank you all for reading, and for being so supportive.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Courage enough?

Montgomery Afternoon. Oil on stretched canvas, 4x12

This adventure, this sometimes terrifying, sometimes reviving, always enlightening journey might be coming to an end.

The truths of the world and our position in it are, today, gobbling up my little batch of courage. The demands are too great, my resources too small, my store of courage too meager.

I have not given up, not yet, but the possibility of giving up has lurched into my landscape and refuses to be denied.

The reasons are numerous and obvious. Our home in New York that hasn't yet sold. The outlay of funds for the new car. The cost of insurance, the mortgage, groceries, heat, pets, everything, and only the most meager fraction of any of it is offset by what I'm earning from my painting.

Recently, too, I have had rejection after rejection after rejection. I know I'm just starting out, and that I should expect rejection, but in all honesty, I don't. I don't expect it and I don't accept it - or at least not with any grace.

There can be no halfway about this. Painting is either my life's work, my life's mission, or it is just a hobby. Doing what I am doing now takes every ounce of my energy. It takes more than newspaper work ever took. And while it leaves me with less time than newspapers did, it leaves me - usually - with optimism and strength, imagination and verve and a rollicking desire to see more and to live better and bigger and more brightly.

I am hoping that I will pass by this low place. I am hoping that in writing this, and sharing it, I will dissolve it. I am hoping.

Meantime, I am in New York, getting estimates for work on the house. My postings are likely to be sporadic for a couple days here, as there is no internet at 20 Grove St.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Moxie. Oil on Pintaur panel, 5x8. To be donated to the Connecticut Humane Society, Waterford branch.

For those of you who read my most recent post, here's the real thing. This painting not only looks like Moxie, but - far more importantly in my book - captures the exquisitely gleeful deviltry with which I am sure Moxie approaches life.

Mox is a female chow-German shepherd. She's 5 years, 6 months and three weeks old - and that specificity makes me think that whoever gave Moxie up loved her still. Another thing that makes me think that is that in her photo, she's wearing a bright yellow bandanna.

Growing up, I'd always thought chows were dangerous. They had curly tails, a sure sign of a dangerous dog, in my mother's book.

But then, our daughter Erika went to the Connecticut Humane Society to adopt a Pekingese. She took Peter with her, and he came home smitten by Frank, a big black chow.

We went and got Frank, and he soon showed himself to be a dog among dogs. He was serious and solid, but he had a sense of humor. After we'd had him for far more than a year, we found out that he knew "speak." We also found out that squeaky toys turned him into a huge and ungainly puppy.

Frank could shred a toy faster than any dog I've ever seen. Once, I gave him a toy while we were still in the Wal-Mart parking lot. By the time we'd reached the road, the toy was in pieces.

And when Samantha, our cat, had kittens, Frankie fell in love with Puffy. He watched her and watched her, wagging his little tail so hard that his whole huge body shook. He whined little kitty whines. We were pretty sure Frank thought Puffy was a squeaky toy, and that disaster was looming. But we were wrong. Frankie just loved Puffy, and took care of her, mothering her, playing as gently as could be.

Frank is dead now, but I miss him every day. He was a great dog, and taught me about the nobility and the grace of chows.

Not quite...

Chow-shepherd mix. Oil on Pintaur panel, 5x8.

Jill, a friend from newspapers, told me in passing that another friend of hers had, like me, quit her job to make her way as a painter. That friend, Jill said, works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. painting. Romance, Jill said, is not a part of her friend's life.

Her friend's life sounds much like mine, except that I start around 7 in the morning and end around 7 in the evening.

I don't paint the entire time, but I work on my painting business the entire time. I paint, yes. I enter shows. I do research on shows and upcoming events. I answer email. I do squeeze in freelance writing when I have the chance. I post to this blog, and to the new Art for Shelter Animals blog (click here to see that one!)

And just as I'd have days in my newspaper life that would waste away to nothing, I have such days in my painting life. Yesterday was one of them, cut up by demands on my time. Everything I did was worth doing, but it pulled me away from my mission.

So, cold and hungry and disgruntled, I finally got home and took a few hours to paint. I went down into the basement with a teeny photo (the only one available) of Moxie, a chow-German shepherd at the Conn. Humane Society shelter in Waterford.

What I came up with was a painting of this devilish-looking dog, something like a cross between a chow, a German shepherd and Cerberus.

I don't know what I'll do with this painting. Probably, I'll donate it. Somewhere, there's a dog that looks like this one. Just not the dog I was painting!

Monday, March 23, 2009

To each, his own

Spring Field. Oil on stretched canvas, 11x14

There are lots of ways to get from our house in Gales Ferry to our daughter's house in Westerly, R.I. One is to drive up Route 184, go around the rotary, and pick up Route 2.

For lots of reasons recently, we've been taking that route. And I've noticed, time after time, a field beside a small house just south of the rotary. It's backed by trees and a stone wall. Its small hill and rippling undulations are covered with a dark moss and bright yellow grasses. And in the middle of it, a stand of thin trees is tipped now with springtime red, the buds pushing toward the sky.

And so, Sunday afternoon, I headed over to paint it.

When I arrived, I realized there was no good place to pull over close to the field. So I pulled up in a parking lot across the street, farther away than I'd like, but safe.

I set up and began painting, and in about 10 minutes, an older man made his way across the street. Would I mind if he looked over my shoulder? No, I said, of course not.

We talked a little, then. Turns out he owns the field I was painting, and he, too, thinks it's beautiful. He invited me to pull up in his driveway and paint whenever I want.

Then he came a little closer, took a look at my painting, a look that lasted about a half a minute, and said "Nice to meet you!" and headed back to his home.

Well, my painting is not for everyone.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ocean Beach Park

Ocean Beach Park. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10

When I was a kid, we lived about a mile from Ocean Beach. We'd go there a few times a summer, not for the beach, but for the rides.

One of my earliest memories is riding the horses on the carousel, leaning out, stretching out my long arms and grabbing a ring as I passed. I can still hear the carousel music, and feel the movement of the horses, and see the blur of faces as I concentrated on that ring.

Beside the carousel was the dodge car rink, a dark, cool, place with a screen all around it, and the smell of oil always hanging just above the slippery floor. You'd get in the car, drive like a maniac and make it your business to smash into as many other cars as you could. The cars were small, and spun easily, and were somehow powered by long poles with little metal flags at the top that must have pulled electricity down from a grid in the ceiling. The poles and flags would spark sometimes, and crackle, and, often, the power would flash out for a moment, stranding you mid-crash.

In time, there came a ride that I think was called The Flying Cages. These were closet-sized cages built of heavy open metal work. You'd stand in them, alone or with a partner, and bend your knees, swinging from side to side, using all your body weight and all your strength to make the cage swing higher and higher. When you built up enough momentum, the cage would swing over the top of the fulcrum and plummet down, and then up, maybe swinging over again, maybe making it almost to the top and then swinging down the way it came.

Farther from the merry-go-round was a Ferris wheel, a small but terrifying roller coaster (Mighty Mouse, I think) and a scary ride whose name I can't remember that turned people upside down (we would find change beneath it). There was the Octopus and the Tilt-A-Whirl, and some other baby rides, and they all made noise, and had music and got people to laughing and screaming.

On sunny summer weekends, Beach traffic would be backed up past our house. Sometimes, the parking lot would fill right up, and people would park on Ocean Avenue, as far up as our house and sometimes, beyond.

Sometimes, in the evenings, we could hear the music of the rides on the wind. Sometimes, a band would play. Sometimes there were fireworks.

Ocean Beach has fallen on hard times. The beach is still there, and the arcade. There are still rides, and you can walk on the boardwalk and, in the summer, play miniature golf, and eat cotton candy and popcorn. Traffic never backs up on Ocean Avenue, and my bet is that no one who lives on Ocean these days has seen Beach cars parked past up past Woodlawn.

Ocean Beach just isn't what it used to be. Then again, what is?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Where's Natasha?

Boris. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10. To be donated
to the Connecticut Humane Society animal shelter in Quaker Hill, Conn.

Boris is an 8-year-old hound mix who can be adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society animal shelter in Quaker Hill. According to his biography, Boris "enjoys the company of adults and older children who can provide him with a lot of exercise."

Any dog lover in the world will be able to translate that. And the translation is OK. Not every home has kids, and there are plenty of adults who would love a dog with the energy and desire to walk or run with them.

If you're interested in adopting Boris, or any of the other dogs or cats at the shelter, call them at 860-442-8583, or go visit. The shelter is at 169 Colchester Road, Quaker Hill, and is open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (dog adoptions begin at 10:30 a.m.). Sunday, the shelter is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

These past few days have been so filled with errands, exercise and new cars that I haven't been able to make the time to get outdoors and paint.

The business of trading in my mom's old VW for a minivan proved to be an amazingly stressful and, at times, excruciating business. But in the end, we got a lovely Toyota minivan, which is going to prove to be an excellent car for painting, dogging and lugging all kinds of things around.

That includes framing materials for Peter's photographs. These images are so spectacular that I barely have words to describe them. They are abstract, and yet suggestive. They are minimalist and yet rich in detail. Truly, they're astonishing.

And you can see them, live and in person, starting April 3, at the Lighthouse Gallery on Long Hill Road in Groton. Yup, my show comes down and his goes up. The one-two Jacobson punch.

The reception on Friday, April 3, begins at 5 p.m. and continues to 8 p.m. You're all invited! His show will be up for the month of April. You can get an idea of his work by clicking here. And you'll be able to see his entire catalog soon at jacobson-arts.com, our webpage. Some of his pieces are there now, but I'm redesigning the whole thing. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the weekend.

But first... off to paint!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Scotty. Oil on gessoboard panel, 8x8. To be donated to the Westerly, R.I., animal shelter.

Scotty is a good-looking guy, indeed. The animal shelter in Westerly, Rhode Island, an enthusiastic recipient of paintings from the Art for Shelter Animals project (click here to check out our blog!) is Scotty's current - and former - home.

The description on Petfinder.com says that Scotty is an extra-large neutered male who has returned to the shelter because of an illness in his human family. "He is a big rugged boy," the shelter writes, "and would love a new family to spend his life with."

Scotty is 11. He's up to date with his shots, and, yes, he's house-trained.

In my book, there's something extra-special about the old ones. Their eyes might be a little clouded, their hearing a little muffled, their snouts a little gray. But through those old-pet eyes, they direct a lifetime of love at you, whether you're their first human or their 10th.

A couple months ago, when I was out in the cold, painting in Watch Hill, a man about my age walked by. Twenty feet behind him, and old golden retriever ambled along. His whole face was white, and he was creaky all over. An hour or so later, they came back, man first, dog plodding along behind, taking time to sniff whatever he wanted.

Kaja, our 12-year-old chow-German shepherd, spends most of her day sleeping. It's hard for her to get up. She doesn't run and lope as she used to. But she greets me every morning with a bright expression and a wagging tail, and I welcome every day I can share with her.

Scotty is up for adoption. The Westerly Animal Control office is located at the transfer station. You can call it at 401-348-2558, or find it on the web at http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/RI06.html


Groton Family Farm sheep. Oil on stretched canvas, 10x10. sold

Picture this: You're driving north on Route 95, and you've just crossed the Thames River on the Gold Star Bridge. You decide to get off the road to get some coffee.

You take the first exit off the bridge and, soon enough, find yourself in a pretty typical commercial strip. There's an Applebee's on your left, a Burger King and McDonald's on your right. There's an unusual number of banks. A TJ Maxx. Oooh, right next to Arrow Party and Paper, there's an art gallery you'll have to check out on your way back. You can see some pretty nice-looking paintings through the big front windows.

You keep driving, and you find a Starbucks on your right. You get a coffee, then, as you're leaving, you see the 95N sign, pointing to your right. OK, you say, you'll keep going.

You pass a series of lower-level commercial sites, drive past a beautiful New England church, a bakery - you're getting hungry, you realize. You pass stores, a gas station, a pizza joint and then, suddenly, there's a farm.


You pull in. It's the Groton Family Farm, run by Warren Burrows. Yes, that's his real name; I didn't ask if he raises bunnies.

The farm sells fresh eggs. Chickens roam all over the fenced-in fields. And there, in the far pasture, is a little herd of Shetland sheep.

They're just the greatest sheep, as sheep go. They're fat and dirty and tremendously wooly. They have skinny little high-heeled legs and dark, knobby heads. They're a little bit interested in me as I begin painting, but as soon as they see that I don't have food for them, they go away.

The Groton Family Farm, according to its web page, is a small, sustainable farm that's been in the Burrows familly for generations. The family hopes it will be a place where the community can buy fresh produce and learn about local, organic, sustainable farm practices.

I think it's amazing that it exists at all, there on the strip, between a Sunoco station and a lawyer's office.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm pinging in the rain...

Harkness Park. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10, sold

Every day, after I write my blog, I go to the feedburner site, sign in, and "ping" my blog. Pinging is what submariners used to do to find other subs underwater. They'd send out little blurts of sound, and when it bounced - or pinged - off another sub, and returned to the sender, the sub that had done the pinging could tell where the other subs were. At least, that's my concept of it, from "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

Well, feedburner pings my blog and then sends it out to everyone who has subscribed by email. As it does this, it tells me how many people are subscribed - but not who they are.

Last week, I had 30 subscribers. I celebrated when I hit that 30 mark, I tell you! It was exciting. This from someone who, for 20 years, followed circulation figures as though my life depended on it - and, in fact, my professional life did.

Well, sad to say, I have lost two of my subscribers. Yesterday, I went to ping my blog, hoping I'd find that I had 31 subscribers - and two, yes, two, were gone.

I've asked myself why this matters. Heck, hundreds of people could be reading every day, just not subscribing. Yup. They could be, but chances are, they're not. Chances are that the subscribers - and perhaps my 19 followers - are the only ones who are reading this.

And that's fine. Circulation growth is a slow business, I know. I only wish I knew why those two people left! So, if you're one of them, let me know, would you? I am as curious as can be.

If you're reading this, and you're not subscribed, why don't you take a moment and sign up? The posts, and paintings, will arrive in your mailbox daily. You'll never have to remember to check in again. And you'll make me mighty happy.

To all of you, subscribers, followers and visitors alike, thank you for reading. You are why I write this blog!

Check out artforshelteranimals.blogspot.com, too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring is springing!

Michael's Dairy. Oil on canvas, 11x14. First of a series

I'd looked forward to today for most of the week, being a person who trusts weather forecasters. And then, the day dawned cool and cloudy, and seemed that it would never hit the predicted high 50s. No wonder, either. The water in the Atlantic, just up the road, is a brisk 34 degrees.

So I plunged into computer work and, hours later, uncurled my creaking limbs and noticed that the sun had come out.

I headed off to paint, and found myself in New London where, wonder of wonders, Fred's Shanty has already opened. It was too windy along Pequot Avenue to paint, but I began to wonder whether Michael's might be open - and so I found myself on Montauk Avenue, looking at the closed, but surely soon to open, ice cream parlor.

Michael's and Fred's (nee Mar-Gra's) are touchstones of childhood for my brother and sister and myself, and probably every other kid who grew up in New London. Sure, they've changed, in some ways. But in the essential ways, the ways that mean summertime, they're the same. And when we go there, in some ways, we're the same, too.

I'm not truly thrilled with this painting, and intend on trying it again - and again and again, if need be. But the subject matter made me happy, so I post it for all who were lucky enough to have lovely, happy childhoods.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Doggy Re-do

Pumpkin (top) and Patch, looking much friendlier. Commissioned painting.

Feels like animals have taken over my life -- though that's not a new sensation, here at Chez Jacobson.

The Art for the Animals project to help shelter animals is taking off at pretty close to full speed. The blog you reach when you click on the link (http://artforshelteranimals.blogspot.com) is already rich with images and stories - and it's only a few days old. I have the feeling this project is going to appeal to lots of people.

In short, Sheila Tajima and I are asking all artists everywhere to paint a painting or two or 12 of animals in their local shelters, and then give the paintings to the shelters. Artists with time or energy could find ways to enlist other artists in the project, and approach newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio stations, anyone and everyone you can think of who could spread the word.

Make the painting, take a picture of it, send the picture to me at carriebjacobson@gmail.com, and then donate it to the shelter. The painting need not be large, or framed. Just full of love. I'll post it, along with your contact information, and a story about your experience, if you feel like writing one, at the Art for the Animals blog. There, you'll find directions for shooting and sending jpgs, and a sample letter to send to media contacts.

The dogs in the painting that heads this blog are not shelter dogs. They belong to a friend who works at an assisted-living center. I started this painting at the center a few weeks ago, and my friend wasn't happy with Patch, the lower dog. So I patched up Patch. I like it much better.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nothing but blue skies

Reservoir No. 4. Oil on stretched canvas, 10x20

This painting is part palette knife, part brush, part reality, part imagination. I love the deep blues, the violent sky, the sense of life and air and seasons moving.

Speaking of things moving, the Art for the Animals project is zipping along rapidly. The blog (http://artforshelteranimals.blogspot.com) already has half as many followers as I have here. Sheila Tajima, my partner in crime, has posted a bunch of her shelter animal paintings, and they are just wonderful. I've written a piece for Art Calendar, and am going to approach the local papers with the project, and so I expect a burst of attention and enthusiasm. It's exciting!

Meantime, my trip to Arizona is postponed for a little bit while we figure out our car situation. We need to replace the VW before I drive it across the hinterlands. I can use the time to get the AFSA project underway.

Thanks for reading! Why not check out the AFSA site, and join up? Make a painting of a shelter animal, give the painting to the shelter, and send me an image for the blog.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Spring. Oil on masonite panel, 6x6. Sold

No, I haven't lost my mind. I've been experimenting with the palette knife, and honestly, this just popped out of the experimentation. I like the colors, I like the pattern, I like the brilliant, tactile sense of this piece - it feels like spring to me.

My brother and sister and I met yesterday at the Lighthouse Gallery, where the show of Laura Maiolo's work and my work is hanging until March 30. Rand and Laurie had not been able to come to the opening, and so this was a small, personal, family opening. It was fun and enlightening for me to watch them take in my work. Fun, too, to see which pieces they liked. Interesting to me how they gravitated toward the framed pieces. They both bought paintings, and then took me to lunch. How's that for a couple of good siblings?

Don't forget to check out the new blog and project, artforshelteranimals.blogspot.com! If you're a painter, why not contribute a painting or two?

Here are some interesting opportunities for all:

Deadline: March 23
"Wild Things" call for entries
-- The Annmarie Garden Sculpture Park & Arts Center in Solomons, Maryland, announces a call to artists for "Wild Things", a national juried exhibition May 31 - August 30, 2009. $3500 in cash awards. All media; must be 18 or older. Theme: works inspired by animals - extinct, extant, real, imagined. $20 entry fee. Jurors: Donald Moore, PhD, Associate Director/Animal Care, Smithsonian National Zoo; Prof. Sue Johnson, MFA, Dept. of Art & Art History, St. Mary's College of Maryland. Deadline:
March 23, 2009. Download prospectus: www.annmariegarden.org. Information: gardenevents@chesapeake.net.

Deadline: March 29
The von Liebig Art Center Juried Awards Exhibition
-- The von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida, announces a call to artists for a juried awards exhibition, May 16 - July 12, 2009. A total of $3,000 in awards ($800 Best of Show, $500 Award of Excellence, $400 Juror's Choice Award). Juror: Dahlia Morgan. All artists residing within any of the 50 states in the U.S. are invited to submit entries of original artwork created after Jan. 1, 2007, and not previously exhibited at The von Liebig Art Center. Prints produced from original works of art are not eligible. Two-dimensional works: maximum width 110 inches and height 96 inches (including frame if artwork is framed). Three-dimensional works: maximum dimensions 60 x 60 x 60 inches with a maximum weight 80 lbs. Ceiling suspended artwork not to exceed a total weight of 5 lbs. Enter online at www.juriedartservices.com. $50 payable online by credit card. Questions? Contact Jack O'Brien at jack.obrien@naplesart.org or call (239) 262-6517 ext. 106.

Deadline: March 31
Museum of Northern Arizona Artist-in-Residence Program.
Three-week residencies for visual, literary, and performing artists at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona. Contact: Alan Petersen 928-226-4322 | www.musnaz.org | alan.petersen@coconino.edu

Deadline: April 1
Creatures Great and Small - open call for art using animals as metaphor, Murray State University Animals, both real and fantastic, have always been compelling subjects in art. Many artists todaycontinue to use animals to examine a wide range of issues including: spiritual, ethical, social, political, environmental, and personal. This exhibition aims to explore how art depicts animals as a way to confront humanity in all its complexity. Open to all media.
For complete information, please visit our website (www.murraystate.edu/artgallery) and look under "prospectus." Or contact Becky Atkinson, Gallery Director, 270.809.6734, becky.atkinson@murraystate.edu

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Big Blu

Big Blu. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10, donation to Ledyard Animal Shelter.

When President Obama was inaugurated, he called for all of us to give to our communities. I can paint, and I can write, and those are wonderful skills. But in the greater scheme of life, alas, they just aren't that useful.

But, I was thinking, maybe I could gather like-minded individuals and we could paint or write about dogs, and somehow raise money and help our local shelters.

Then, on line, I met Sheila Tajima, (http://sheilatajima.blogspot.com/) a former police officer and wonderfully vibrant painter. She had an idea like mine, but better. She wanted to paint give the paintings directly to the shelters. Elegant, simple, straightforward, a great idea.

I climbed on board, we began to work things out, and lo and behold, Art Calendar wants 400 words on the project, and so we are off and running.

If you're an artist, and you're you're intrigued - and why not? - you might approach your local shelter with the idea. The shelter will, no doubt, love it, but it's thoughtful to alert them beforehand.

Most shelters post photographs of their animals on petfinder.com. If they don't, you can take your own pictures, or ask the shelter manager to take pix for you. Or you can work live, though I don't recommend it.

Make your paintings small, easy and fun for you. If you've been wanting to try a new technique, a new color, a new idea, this is a great opportunity. There's no need to frame the painting, and no rules against framing it. The point here is to start and finish the project, and make the donation happen.

When you finish the painting, send a jpg of it to Sheila (aoitombo@gmail.com) or to me (carriebjacobson@gmail.com) and we will post it on our new blog, Art for Animals (artforshelteranimals.blogspot.com). A 72-dpi photo, not too big, would be ideal. Please include your contact information, website, blog, whatever.

This painting of Big Blu, a pit bull at our local shelter, is my first piece for the project. I downloaded the photo from petfinders, printed it and painted from the photograph. And I really like it!

Sheila and I hope you join us in this venture. It's fun, it's valuable, and it will help.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Cows. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10

Saturday, the day after the opening of "Places You Know," I set out to find some places I didn't know. It started off as a warm day, and I put the top down in the Miata. Heavenly!

I came upon a scene that really intrigued me. Across an open field, at the top of a wooded hillside, was an open field, still with some snow on it - and a tractor sitting, silhouetted, at the very top of the hill.

I made two paintings of this, and neither one captured it. Dismayed but undaunted - failure is OK. It's tiring, but it's a precursor of learning something new, I've found - I set off and drove around the back roads of Preston. The sun went in, and the day grayed.

And just as I was about to head for home, I saw these cows on this gentle, sodden hillside. I think they look like cows, but it's tough to paint a cow at a distance and have it not look like a horse or a donkey. At least they don't look like monkeys.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Autumn on Route 82. Oil on oil on canvas, 10x20

I painted this one in the fall, on Route 82, heading toward Colchester. It was a stormy October day, and there wasn't much light in the sky. The leaves beneath the trees on the far hillside were bright, and the grasses in the foreground were bright, but even those spots were more burnished than brilliant.

This painting has been sitting in the living room since October. I knew there was something in it, so I didn't paint over it. I just didn't know how to find whatever that something was.

Last week, I traveled to the blog of Loriann Signori - http://loriannsignori.blogspot.com/. Loriann is a pastel painter who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. She paints every day, lovely, soft pieces of great depth, often of bodies of water, particularly a specific reservoir. From her site, I wandered to the blog of Brian Eppley - http://brianeppley.blogspot.com/ - who paints mainly with a palette knife.

I was drawn to the work of these artists, and to a conversation I had with Dov, my brother-in-law, at the opening of my show. We were talking about the difference between painting and drawing, and how painting really sort of fails when it becomes drawing.

I took the autumn painting down into the basement, and picked up a palette knife and went to work, using the original piece as an underpainting, and slathering the paint on, richly and thickly. It felt liberating, and I felt strong, painting that way.


Chris Rose, curator of the Lighthouse Gallery, asked for 30 pieces and hung all 58 that I brought him. The gallery, an intimate and friendly place, is filled with small, brightly colored pieces by Laura Maiolo and myself. "Places You Know," continues through March 30.

From the outside of the Lighthouse Gallery, looking in.

A visitor to the opening of "Places You Know" looks at some of the teeny pieces I painted - 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, on tiny easels, beneath some of my other small paintings.
Photographs by Peter Jacobson

Friday night's opening of "Places You Know/ small pieces" was, by my standards, wildly successful. For starters, Chris Rose, the gallery curator, did pretty much all the work. He made the postcards, sent them out, hung the art, bought the food and drink for the reception, and made the price list/bio sheets - and dreamed up the concept in the first place.

In my limited show experience, this was unusual. And while I have never minded the work or the control of setting everything up, Chris's participation and leadership made the opening reception feel more like a celebration to me. I actually had time and energy to paint, right up to the opening.

My other shows have been wonderful, and I've loved them. But by the time the doors opened and the reception started, I've been stressed out, spent and exhausted. Chris shouldered the burden for Laura and myself.

Of course, I was worried that my work wouldn't hold up beside Laura's. She's been to art school, after all. She has a degree, and her paintings are beautiful and careful and patient and wonderfully inviting. But my art looked just fine beside hers, and in so many ways, our paintings worked well together.

Many friends came to the opening. Peter was there, of course, offering all the help a husband can offer. My dear, close friends and supporters, Carden Holland and Anne Ilsen and Ann Stewart came, bringing enthusiasm and joy and friends of their own. My stepdaughter Erika came, with her beau and his daughter. Friends from the past showed up. Sculptors and clay artists and painters attended. And strangers came, too. Laura's friends spilled into my end of the gallery, and my friends spilled into her end, and everyone talked and smiled and met, and looked at the art and clearly felt joy. There was much happiness, many congratulations, and a healthy amount of buying.

I hope that it continues throughout the month!

The Gallery at Lighthouse is located at 744 Long Hill Road in Groton, in the Groton Shopping Plaza, beside Arrow Party & Paper. Chris Rose, the curator, may be reached at 860-445-7627, ext. 108, or chrisrose@lighthousevocedcenter.com. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturdays by chance or appointment. I'd love to go through the show with you. Email me at carriebjacobson@gmail.com, or give me a call.
The show is open through March 30.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cownting down

Two small paintings of cows, each 2.5 x 3.5, on teeny easels

My show in the Lighthouse Gallery in Groton opens in an hour and a half, and so I have to skedaddle! But I wanted to post these two tiny impressionistic cow paintings first. I made these on the last warm day we had, a week and a half ago, in Clark's Falls. The cows all stared at me for a time, and then, once they figured out that I had no food, went about their bovine business.

Tomorrow should be warm and sunny, a fine painting day! I will post photos from the opening, for all who can't attend.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Autumn in Colchester. Oil on stretched canvas, 16x20
please contact me for price and shipping/delivery info 
Somehow, I lost this painting in the mix. I found it last week, stacked behind a couple other paintings, on top of one of the dog crates in the living room, and I took it down into the basement studio and finished it for the show in Groton.

This was an achingly beautiful day, a Sunday, I believe. I'd traveled down Route 82 from Route 395, never dreaming that I'd end up in Colchester. I set up in the driveway to a big, old working farm. Hay bales filled a couple of sheds. A barn looked to be nearly falling down, but still housed a herd of cows, and tractors and other farm equipment stood, rusting, in a muddy low spot. The sun shone as bright and clear as I've ever seen it, and the rush of autumn colors could have blinded me.

This painting makes me happy. And seeing it hanging in the gallery in Groton makes me even happier. It's a dynamite show , if I do say so myself. The work of my compadre, Laura Maolo, is lovely. It's primarily paintings of buildings and streets, mostly in watercolors, and mostly small. It's brightly colored - and there is our shared vision - and is careful, neat, thoughtful and enchanting. Our paintings work really well together!

You're all invited to the opening, which is tomorrow night - Friday - from 5-8 p.m. The gallery is in the Groton Shopping Plaza, on Route 12, next to Arrow Party & Paper.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's a beautiful world out there

Where Are the Horses? Oil on stretched canvas, 8x8
please contact me for price and shipping/delivery info
Two Internet friends, Sheila Tajima (http://sheilatajima.blogspot.com/) and r. garriott (http://rgarriott.blogspot.com/) left comments on yesterday's post about my energy, my production, and their comments got me thinking.

I spent 22 years working inside, hurrying, making deadlines, pushing all sorts of limits and urging others to do so, too. And for what? As one newspaper friend said recently, journalism is literally killing the people who love it the most.

So now, in what might be my own version of basket-weaving, painting outdoors sustains me. Yes, I paint in awful weather. I get cold, I get hot, I get sweaty and thirsty and hungry, cold and lonely and bug-bitten and sunburned. I paint quickly, happy to exchange thought and deliberation for passion and urgency.

Painting outdoors feels like life to me. It seems to supply me with much of what I need to live what feels like a meaningful existence. It's not that I live to paint. It feels, at least now, that I paint to live.

"Places You Know / small pieces" opens Friday at the Gallery at Lighthouse, 744 Long Hill Road (Route 12) Groton. That's the Groton Shopping Plaza. The gallery is right next to Arrow Party and Paper. The show opens with a reception Friday, from 5-8 p.m., and will be up for the month of March. Please come!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Just beneath the snow

Spring Field, North Stonington. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10
This is what's beneath the snow. Fields yellow and green and wet, not ready for planting or even driving through. Last fall's leaves, sodden and solid in the treed spots, and at the edges of the fields and hillsides. This snow will melt soon enough, and bring us back to what we had last weekend.

Here are some calls for entry that looked intriguing:

Deadline: Tuesday, March 10
24th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition 2009
-- Agora Gallery (Chelsea, New York City) announces a call to artists for The 2009 Chelsea International Fine Art Competition, Aug. 14 to Sept. 2, 2009. Awards valued at $38,000 distributed as follows: exhibition at the Chelsea gallery, cash awards, Internet exposure and publicity in ARTisSpectrum magazine. Juror: Ira Goldberg. Open to all visual artists over 18 years of age. $35 entry fee. For more info, visit http://www.agora-gallery.com/competition/art_contest_main.aspx. Questions? Please contact Evelyn at Evelyn@Agora-Gallery.com or call 212-226-4151.

Deadline: Friday, March 13
Jasper Arts Center, Jasper, Indiana.
Public art gallery reviewing portfolios for solo and group shows, 2010. All media. No fees. Professional, non-student artists only. Artwork must be presented in a professional manner. Gallery provides invitations, press releases, honorarium, insurance coverage on-site, and reception where needed. Artist is responsible for framing, shipping and/or delivery. 30% commission. Send 10 slides minimum for solo show, more for group show, artist statement, curricula vitae, or digital images on CD(preferred), less than 1MB each. No online submissions. Paid opportunities for workshops/gallery talks in conjunction with exhibit. Deadline March 13, 2009. Mail materials along with SASE to: Amy Laakman, Visual Arts Coordinator, Jasper Arts Center, 951 College Ave., Jasper, IN 47546, www.jasperarts.org .
Contact: Amy Laakman, Visual Arts Coordinator | | www.jasperarts.org |

Deadline: Sunday, March 15
RAP Gallery, Central Wyoming College
Reviewing portfolios for Fall 2009 through Spring 2011. Open to all artists worldwide. Any media, except installation. Insurance. Work must fit through a standard door. Interested artists may send digital portfolio of 20 images, resume & artist statement via e-mail or USPS. RAP Gallery, Central Wyoming College, 2660 Peck, Riverton, WY 82501.
Contact: N. Kehoe, Gallery Director, email: nkehoe@cwc.edu

Deadline: Sunday, March 15
11th Annual Fields Project Residency Program
(Posted: 7/22/08) -- Oregon, Illinois - nine-day residency program, 11th Aannual Fields Project in the heart of the Midwest, June 20-28, 2009. Plein-air painters, photographers, field sculptors, two/three-dimensional artists. Recipients will create artwork inspired by the scenic Rock River Valley landscapes while experiencing rural life residing with a working farm family, bringing art and agriculture together. Prospectus online at www.FieldsProject.com. Email: FieldsProject@yahoo.com

Monday, March 2, 2009

Remember when?

Shady Path. Oil on stretched canvas, 8x10

I was putting the finishing details on paintings for the "Places You Know" show when I realized that the bulk of the work I'm exhibiting is wintry and snowy. That makes sense, really, since the idea of the show - small pieces from this place where we live - came about a couple months ago, in the depths of winter.

Those of you who know me well know how I love big canvases - so I didn't have a bunch of small non-winter pieces hanging around.

As I stared out the window at the blizzard that's covered our finally ice-free yard, I caught a glimpse of this piece, hanging on my office wall. I painted it in August, and I always have liked it. It was a brilliant, sunny day. I was back from the West with a body of exciting work, and I'd made leaps and bounds in my painting. I painted with zest that morning, and a new-found sense of possibility.

The day was still and bright, and even in the shadows, the morning nearly crackled with heat. I can hear the bugs and the birds and I can summon the scents of hot grass and rising, sun-warmed dust.

Last night, a foot of snow fell, and more is on the way. But soon it will be summer. The grass will grow, the flowers will push up through the warming earth, and we will walk down shady paths and feel hopeful and free in the August heat.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Finishing the details

Reservoir No. 3. Oil on panel, 8x8. 
My show with Laura Maolo opens Friday at the Lighthouse Gallery in Groton, and Chris Rose, gallery curator, would like my work there on Tuesday. There's an awful lot to do between now and Tuesday, and some of it won't get done. Oh, well!

For reasons I do not understand, I seem to be incapable of signing a painting while I'm painting it. And then, of course, I forget. So tonight, one of my tasks is to sign a whole bunch of paintings and hope hard that those signatures will dry quickly!

I do wish I had a shorter name. I always envied my friend and fellow copy editor Ev Hu, who has the shortest name I've ever heard. Perfect for a painter! I tried initials, but the c and the j either end up looking like a lollipop or something rated X. I tried many capital Js, too, and they all just looked dumb. So I have settled on a lower-case "jacobson."

In the distant future, when I'm world-famous, collectors will fight over those capital "J" "Jacobson" signatures. Prices will double and triple for the few paintings with that big letter. Maybe I'll throw in a few capital-J signatures in the next five years, just to confound the universe.