Monday, May 30, 2011

A Superb Second Day

Mill Valley Road, Hadley - sold

The second day of the show was as fabulous as the first, or maybe even better!

I went out early and made this painting, as the clouds and fog and humidity rolled in. This is a gorgeous area - with bustling little urban villages, strip malls with good stores, and a half a mile outside, gorgeous farmland.

It was a pleasure to set up early and paint, smell the grass and the sky, the scent of cows not so far off, and then go into the hot and crowded Paradise City Barn and talk art with people all day.

Three paintings sold Sunday, including this fresh, local plein air piece. So how GREAT is that?

I am tired today, but I am hopeful and optimistic. I continue to feel blessed. The people who are buying my paintings are not just buying things to decorate with - they love these paintings, and are feeling them deep in their souls. It's tremendously exciting, tremendously affirming - and FUN!

The Paradise City Art Festival runs until 5 p.m. today, here at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, Mass. So come! I'm in the Morgan Barn, Booth 317. 

My booth, the second day     

Jacobson Arts is located in Gales Ferry, CT, a village in Ledyard

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Fine First Day

 Paradise City booth

I had a fabulous first day at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, Mass. I think my booth looked good and inviting, my neighbors were friendly, and attendance at the show was excellent. It was sultry, but that's life. And in the Morgan Barn, the smallest of the three venues at the Three-County Fairgrounds, it was cooler than anywhere else.

Throughout the day, many people came into the booth. They loved my paintings, wanted to know about them, shared their own stories with me, talked about the place of art in life, about beautiful places they'd seen and wanted to see - and of course, talked about their dogs and cats.

And near the end of the day, a young man and his girlfriend came into the booth, fell in love with my paintings, and bought the two largest - the cow painting that you can see in the photo above, and the Fat Guy at the Diner painting in the second photograph.

It was great to meet this couple, and it was wonderful to have a big sale on the first day. But the best of all is how much these two loved my work. There's nothing quite as soul-assuring, quite as joyful as selling a painting to someone who is going to treasure it, look at it every day and smile, and feel happy. I am so glad these paintings that I love are going to a good home.

 Paradise City booth

Friday, May 27, 2011

Harpswell Harbor

Harpswell Harbor
Oil on canvas, 11x14

Oh, I love this painting! I love the red house, especially, and the way the buildings are tucked together, close and tight, facing the setting sun. I can imagine them in shadow in the mornings, and with yellow lights shining out in early winter dusks.

I can imagine them in snowstorms, and with the heavy icy Maine-coast rains pelting and slamming them in November.

There's something about a village, a cluster of houses, a small gathering of buildings close together that always appeals to me. I loved Bolster's Mills, in southwestern Maine, where we lived on and off for 10 years. There were about 40 houses there, and while not everyone got along all the time, when you drove through, you'd think - in this village, they all are friends.

I hope you come see me this weekend at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, Mass. I'll be in the Morgan Barn, Booth 317. Please stop in and say hi!

jacobson arts world headquarters are in gales ferry, CT

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Overlooking Provincetown

Overlooking Provincetown
Oil on canvas, 16x20

It was a cold, gray day when I painted in Cape Cod a couple weeks ago - but the lack of direct sun made for an interestingly harmonious landscape. The houses strung along this neck of road looked tiny and regimented from the bluff where I painted, and the water was the color of steel.

I am a sucker for salt marshes and the weedy reeds that grow in them. When there's sun, I love how warm they become, how golden. Even on a gray day like this, though, they were lovely.

There's a different challenge to painting something like this, full of corners and a million small things. I'm more comfortable with a few big things, with a painting that's really of nothing - but I do like this one, and the challenges and opportunities it presented.

Hope to see you at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, Mass., this weekend! I'll be in the Morgan Barn, Booth 317. Please come and say hello!

jacobson arts world headquarters is in gales ferry, CT

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Training Sheepdogs

Training Sheepdogs
Oil on canvas, 24x30
Please contact me for price and delivery options

I was trolling around the backroads between Fryeburg, Maine, and North Conway, NH, when I came upon a small group of people, a small group of dogs and a harried-looking clutch of sheep.

It was a sheepdog clinic. The canines were young and inexperienced, and a stocky farmer guy was training dogs and owners alike.

It was pretty fascinating. For the most part, the dogs clearly have the chasing gene - but have to learn the commands. One of the dogs was reluctant to chase, and the farmer guy dragged him over near the sheep and exhorted him, and he took off, as speedy and determined as any of them. My guess is that that dog's been yelled at for chasing...

The rest, though, got a gleam in their eye right away, as they went after the poor, overchased sheep. It was great fun to watch, and I'd have stayed all day, were I not supposed to be at a wedding.

It's such a miracle when any of us, humans or animals, finds his true purpose in life. I can tell you from experience that it feels like nothing else. The whole world seems to open up and shine with life, and possibilities seem endless.

Hope to see you at the Paradise City Arts Festival this weekend! I'll be in the Morgan Barn, Booth 317. Please come and say hi.

jacobson arts is located in Gales Ferry, CT

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wetlands, Maine

Wetlands, Maine
Oil on canvas, 16x20
Please contact me for price and delivery options.

The Maine trips were quickies, this past month, but I still had a chance to paint. This one was just outside of Harrison, not so far from where we used to live.

There are wetlands like this all over Maine. You get used to them. It's easy to forget just how beautiful they are, how full of color, how full of life.

While I was painting, the man who lives next door to where I was standing stopped by. He said the wetlands change color daily, with the seasons, with the sun, with the time of day. He has seen many deer here, and some moose, and beavers, too.

I go so fast these days that sometimes I forget to look for the marvelous in the ordinary. Usually when I stop and look, I find it. It is always a joy when I do.

This painting and others from Maine and Cape Cod will be on display at my booth in the Paradise City Art Festival, May 28-30 in Northampton, Mass. I'll be in the Morgan Barn, Booth 317. For more about the show, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jersey Girl

Jersey Girl
Oil on canvas, 16x20

Today, I turn 55.

I'm not sure how I feel about it, really. I mean, of course, it's just another day, and I am no older today vs. Sunday than I was Sunday vs. Saturday. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of the passage of time, and the passage of my time in particular.

On Friday, I had an assessor come over and look at the stuff of my mother's that's been in our garage for the past two years. Today, I gave my daughter my mother's old spice rack, with spices intact, that I'd been using - even though it didn't fit at all in the spot we have for spices.

These days, all these days lately, I've been watching the ebb and flow of what must surely be the last weeks of my ancient and beloved dog's life.

And today, I turn 55.

There was a time, not so long ago, that the thought of dying terrified me. Life felt like a corridor lined with doors, and I could hear them slamming shut behind me as my choices decreased, day by day.

Sure, the doors behind me are shut - but the ones in front of me are open.

While death is surely approaching, I can say that if I died today, I'd die happy with the life I've led.

And that is saying something.

The world headquarters of Jacobson Arts is in Gales Ferry, CT

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cape Cottage

Cape Cottage

During my vacation, I had one day without obligation or constraint. So I got up at 4, left the house at 5 and headed to Cape Cod.

For the most part, my week off had been warm and springlike, even summery. Not a lot of sun, but the gray days were fine with me.

On the Cape on Thursday, is was 42 degrees and blowing like a hurricane. I'd felt like a dope, taking my scarf and sweatshirt with me, but I tell you, I was glad I had them, and wished I'd brought a hat.

My plan had been to spend the day painting dunes and surf, but that was just not possible. I did one painting at the edge of the ocean - I'll post it soon; it needs a little work - and honestly, it was a battle just to get paint on canvas. I hung my heavy bag from my easel, I clamped the easel down onto the canvas, but it's only by a miracle that the whole shebang didn't go over.

I took dozens of photos, though, over the course of the day, and found a bunch of places I'll revisit after summer.

Inland, in Truro, I found this lovely cottage, tucked in behind protective dunes on a bend in the road. The owner was opening it for the season, and you could tell that the place was loved.

Unless this painting sells quickly, I will have it framed and in the Paradise City show in Northampton, Mass., over Memorial Day weekend. Click here to read about the show; it's an excellent high-end art and craft show, and I'm thrilled to be in it again. I'll be in the Morgan Barn, Booth 317.

Thank you for reading, and for all the support. I appreciate it every day.

My painting in the scene, in Truro.

The world headquarters of Jacobson Arts is in Gales Ferry, CT

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Museum Village

Museum Village
Oil on canvas, 16x20

I am really not nuts about painting buildings.... because it's hard for me!

But when the Wallkill River School plein air group announced that its opening day painting outing would be in Museum Village, I said what the heck, and took it as a challenge.

I had a painting to deliver anyways (yay!) and the first outing of the year is such a celebration. Also, Bruce Thorne, the first person I ever saw use a palette knife, was the demonstrator, and it is always a joy for me to watch him paint.

And so I went. And I struggled. I painted this yellow building eight or nine times before I got it close to being something I like. I was going to smear the whole thing out afterwards, but I am looking at the painting more and it is growing on me.

I do not mind buildings when they are in landscapes. But when the building sort of forces itself to be the focus of the painting, that, I resent. I am just not into paintings that are about buildings. Give me a dog or a cow any day!

Heather and Joe's Wedding

Here's a video I made of Heather and Joe's wedding, at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds on April 30. Heather MacLeod is the wonderful artist who accompanies me to Canada in June for a painting trip.

You can find her paintings and mine from the trip if you look back to June 2010. Click here for the start of our adventure. Click here to see our paintings of a tidal marsh. Click here for Miscou Island... and there are plenty more!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Edge of the Salt Pond

 Edge of the Salt Pond, Misquamicut
Oil on canvas, 10x20, please contact me for price and delivery options

There is something in a gray day that frees the soul to feel. There's not the forced smile of a sunny morning, the necessary cheer of a brilliant afternoon.

On a gray day, if you're feeling happy, it's a bonus. If you're feeling gray, well, it's expected.

To find color and movement in a gray afternoon is a treat for me as a painter. The wind was blowing yesterday near the breachway in Misquamicut, and there was little color in the field, or the winter-drained reeds or the tonal marsh. The tide was out, the sun was in, and the clouds scudded quickly on the wind.

By the time I finished, the sun had come out a little - but just for a peek and a wink.

I painted this one with just a few colors - an experiment in a compressed palette.

My painting in the landscape
Here are the colors I used... Blick Lemon yellow, Holbein Naples yellow, Holbein gray/green, Rembrandt transparent orange oxide, Rembrandt indigo, Holbein light red bright, and Classico turquoise.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nobody Lives Here Any More

Nobody Lives Here Any More
Oil on canvas, 12x48
Please contact me for price and delivery options

I remember this farm, from when we lived in Maine and from visits to the area since. It's near the Center Lovell Inn, on a high stretch of Route 5 that looks out over the White Mountains. This farm has the view, the fields, the barn, the stone walls, everything that makes a Maine farm.

And yet, nobody lives there.

At least that's what one man said, who stopped to talk while I painted.

Sometimes these encounters are charming and fun. Sometimes they are not. This man scared me a little, with his haphazard and repetitive sentences that started nowhere and ended nowhere else. I was glad I was on a major road, and shortly after he left, promising to come back, I packed up and left, too.

That unsettling encounter aside, the farm is serene and gorgeous and simple, and beckoning, and I feel I got a lot of those feelings into this painting.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Harpswell Sunset

Harpswell Sunset
Oil on canvas, 11x14
 Please contact me for price and delivery options

This weekend, the plan was for me to be off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Heather, the wonderful woman who went to Canada with me, was getting married in Maine, at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds, on Saturday, and I was invited.

Another friend in Maine wanted to see paintings, with the thought of possibly buying one.

And I needed a break. I needed a break more than any time I can think of in the past 20 years.

Since September, I've been working steadily. Many weeks, I've worked upwards of 100 hours. Every week, I've worked six or seven days. I'm tired. Mushy-headed. Dull.

On Friday, I was up at 3:30, writing a story from a meeting the night before. It took me until 9 to get everything done. But then it was done.

I readied my paintings to be shown. I packed them into the van. I packed my painting supplies, I packed clothes, I packed my computer. I left the house, got the oil changed, went to the bank and then finally, lusciously, exuberantly, I was free!

Five hours later, I reached the house of my friend who wanted to see paintings.

No one was home.

I nearly left, but hung around long enough that her husband and kids showed up. My friend was in New Hampshire, helping a friend of hers who has cancer.

So I left my paintings and went out to paint.

I found this scene at the very end of Harpswell, on a finger of an arm of land that sticks out into the Atlantic. I painted FAST, I painted wild, I painted before the light faded, and the God-rays vanished, and  darkness surrounded me.

I felt as free and as happy and as utterly connected as I ever have.

How I miss that feeling!

The wedding? The rest of the trip? Stay tuned.