Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wachapreague Sunset

 Wachapreague Sunset 
Oil on canvas, 20x20
Please contact me for price and delivery information

I was driving on Route 13, the spine of the Eastern Shore, when I saw a sign for "Wachapreague, the little city by the sea."

Intrigued, I decided to visit. And I fell in love.

This teeny town has 236 year-round residents. It has a main street and a few side streets. It has wharves, a hotel, a restaurant, a fire station, a town hall and about the friendliest people I've ever met. And it has a breathtakingly gorgeous salt marsh, which apparently accounts for its becoming "The Flounder Capital of the World."

I stood outside William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science to make this painting, but I could have stood pretty much anywhere along the seaside road. Every direction I looked, there was something gorgeous.

Wachapreague has a number of other outstanding virtues, including this one: It didn't snow there on Saturday.

I set up my easel next to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marsh, Ocracoke Island

Marsh, Ocracoke Island
Oil on canvas, 24x48
Please contact me for price and delivery informaton

The triumph of this painting is not only the painting - which I really love - but also the fact of the painting.

A year or more ago, I had a great idea. I'd find a way to fix some clamps to the side of the van so that I could do big paintings in plein air. Maybe with velcro, or something like glass guys use to carry around those huge panes.

 I talked to people, I thought about it, and at long last, I figured a way to make it work! I bought three suction-cup things that attach GPS devices to the windshield. They have big enough clamps to grab onto even deep-sided canvases. I set them up on the side of the van, two holding the bottom of the canvas, and one holding the top. And it worked like a charm, even in a veritable gale!

I still have to work out some kinks, though. For instance, it hadn't occurred to me that my back would be toward the scene I was painting - so I turned the van around, opened both doors and got the view that way. Attaching the clamps to the back window would solve this problem, mostly, but the curve of the back window means I need to do some more figuring.

Here's what it looks like:

Here's the painting still attached to the van. 

Here are the suction cups without the painting. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dunes, Ocracoke

Dunes, Ocracoke
Oil on canvas, 18x24

This was the first painting I made on Sunday, and while I was making it, I began to understand some things about myself and what attracts me - or at least, what is attracting me this trip.

You think "Outer Banks" and you think water and waves and beaches - or at least, I do. But on Sunday, I realized that for me, it's not that. It's the dunes and the sky.

Beaches and waves, I can get in Westerly.

Dunes - backbones of the earth, raw and rhythmic, dunes are what calls me. Long skeins of dunes, under a huge and unbroken sky, these pull at my eye and my heart and all my senses.

I don't pretend to understand this. But seeing them, and painting them makes me happy. And so, on this narrow, windswept island, I am painting dunes and not questioning my soul.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Big Wind, Hatteras

Big Wind, Hatteras
Oil on canvas, 10x10

My easel blew over even before I put the canvas on it, that's how windy it is here! And the wind comes from all directions, since Cape Hatteras is surrounded by ocean. Surrounded! Just when you think you've figured it out, the wind starts puffing up from the other side.

But I know the wind. I've painted in Nebraska and Wyoming. I've painted in Prince Edward Island and in Iowa. I've painted on days so windy that no sane person would think about painting.

I sling my paint bag from my easel, and tape the canvases right to the easel if I have to. I use the van as a shield, and put my palette inside the back of the van, in part so the palette itself doesn't blow away, and I can use my hands to hold the canvas down.

I know the wind, I love the wind, I love painting the wind, and so I've learned. And it's great!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Outside Hatteras

Outside Hatteras
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

Finally, Friday, I finished the work I had to do. I finished the chores and errands. Peter helped me pack the van. And then finally, finally, around noon, I headed out.

I got through New York without problems or traffic jams. Got through New Jersey the same way. And in southern New Jersey, I started seeing beautiful things. Rich, tawny fields. Trees just starting to turn. Light gold and round with October.

Delaware was even more beautiful, flattening out, the land soaking up the sun, a beautiful golden dusk. This morning in Virginia, I crossed from spreading, rich farmland with its buttery light, to the thin bright afternoon light of the Outer Banks, the sun sparkling and dancing over the water on each side of this narrow isle.

And I got nervous. Nervous! The first painting of a journey, it is nerve-wracking. I've made such noise about going on a painting trip. I've made such purchases, announced such plans, gathered such hope.

What if I can't paint? What if I get down here and it all goes away, as suddenly and completely as it came?

Nerves had me. But finally, I reached Hatteras, and the perfect place to paint leapt out at me.

From the first stroke, I knew I would be OK. I knew I would be able to paint. And so I did this piece, loving every instant, every stroke, and I felt the joy unpin the nerves. The wind blew, the sun shone, and for the first time in a long time, I felt free, and truly happy.

Here's my painting in the scene, above, and the van, packed and ready to go, below. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Black Dirt Overlook

Black Dirt Overlook
Oil on canvas, 18x20
Please contact me for shipping/delivery options

Since my job at the Record was eliminated, I’ve been able to take a lengthy painting trip every year. This year, I haven’t had the chance. The others have been three to four weeks, marathons of painting and discovery, exhausting and exhilarating and filled with energy to last me through the year.

This won’t be as long, but my hunger for it will give me in depth what I will be missing in length.

I do feel a little odd leaving New England at the height of autumn — but the colors aren’t bright enough to hold me — and I have seen this before. My eyes need something new.

I think all our eyes need something new, even if it is just for a glance, just for a moment. We need to look away, go away, see afar or microscopically close — and then, the middle distance looks fresh again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dawn, Northampton

Dawn, Northampton
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

My boss told me yesterday that I am too anxious, too wired, that I overthink my job and make mountains out of molehills. She is probably right. But in the workplace, I've always wanted to excel. I've always wanted my work to be perfect, or as close to perfect as possible, and there's a lot of pressure in this.

Some of it - probably most of it - is self-inflicted, although some, of course, comes from the very definition of work. Do a good job, do the best job possible, earn your money. Give value for value.

I think that one of the reasons that I love painting so much is that it frees me from my own demons. When I am painting, I don't wish to be perfect. I don't want my paintings to be perfect. I don't even want to know what perfect is. What I want to do is communicate a mood, a feeling, a sense of place - something that you I can make my own and you can make your own.

There is no perfection in this. In fact, to some degree, I delight in the flaws and the imperfections. I think that they are where the interesting things happen, and where change and growth begin. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inlet, Route 214

 Inlet, Route 214
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
Everyone says the colors aren't going to be so great this year. I disagree!

OK, maybe they are not going to be as crazy gaudy, as eye-burningly brilliant as they sometimes are (and I do love them that way) - but they have this golden, glowing, bronzy, burnished tone to them this year that I am really enjoying. It's made even more sultry by the low gray skies we seem to be having, nearly every day. Those clouds do something wonderful to the colors.

In a week - less than a week - I am heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to get away, to see something new, to paint. I am so excited, I can barely contain myself. Man, do I need this!

I will be posting new paintings from the road - also, I am trying some new stuff, some paint that dries more quickly, some gels and other goo that I can add to speed the process. So we'll see how it all works out. However it does, I am sure I am going to have a great time.

jacobson arts is in gales ferry, CT

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sunday Morning Fog

Sunday Morning Fog
Oil on canvas, 10x10,

I'm back from the Paradise City show, where I met a bunch of wonderful people, sold a few paintings, and all in all broke even. It would have been a better show for me if I'd been feeling healthier, but it was what it was, and I am glad to be over the icky illness that everyone I know seems to have - even my co-workers at Patch, who all work in their homes (and cars, and restaurants and town halls) - so it must be something in the air, that's what I think.

I'm changing the whole subscription idea of the 10x10 project. I've been in touch with the people who have already signed up, and they're cool with it - organizationally, I realize, it is beyond me.

So the little paintings (and truly, I am loving them, absolutely loving them) are up for sale as I paint them. If you want one of the ones already up on the blog, please let me know. I will be putting the paypal purchase button up on the new ones.

I am not sure why this series is propelling me forward so surely, but it is, and I am grateful!


While I have no shows on the schedule for the near future, I do have the window at Center Framing & Art, 56 LaSalle Road, West Hartford Center, and I will be painting there this saturday, from about 10 a.m. to 2 or 3 in the afternoon. If you're in the area, please come and say hello!

Thank you, everyone, who sent me notes wondering if I was OK. I always appreciate your support and your concern. I could not do this without you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Deep in the Black Dirt

Deep in the Black Dirt
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

It was great to paint with old friends and new on Sunday, with the plein-air group from the Wallkill River School.  We painted at Scheuermann Farms in Warwick, a gorgeous place that, like all the Pine Island farms, was hit tremendously hard by Tropical Storm Irene. 

Usually flush with pumpkins, Scheuermann Farms has had to bring them in from Canada. Few onions survived the flood; fewer potatoes made it through. But the pumpkins are beautiful, the farm has a fantastic collection of fascinatingly shaped gourds, and it is a beautiful place. 

I got to the area early and started a large painting before moving down to the farm to do my demonstration. That big painting, 18x36, I did on a bluff overlooking one of the farms up the road; I am hoping to finish it here this week. 

The Black Dirt region is one of the most beautiful around, in my mind. I love painting skies, and here you have fields, and lines, and greenery and some of the biggest skies you'll see. 

Choice No. 2 has been taken, in my ongoing 100 by 100 series. Yippee! And I think more refinements are coming. I think I will sell the first 40 (or maybe even 20) by subscription, then put the rest of the paintings up for sale at the end. I am going to build a webpage for these paintings soon. It is great fun to see them all together! 

Don't forget about the Paradise City Arts Festival this weekend in Northampton, Mass.  I will be in the Morgan Barn II, Booth 407. 

p.s., those black dots on the painting are bugs. They can be removed when the paint is dry. They're not birds. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Roger Foote Road

Roger Foote Road
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100 

The first subscription has been purchased! My friend Bonnie Brankey (check out her beautiful underwater - and above water - paintings at Ocean Colors) has broken the ice. Yay!

I think this is kind of a cool idea, really. The first 40 people who shell out the $100 get their choices in order. Bonnie gets the first choice of all 100 paintings. Person No. 2 gets the choice of the remaining 99. Person No. 3, 98, etc. The remaining 60 people - yes, I am being hopeful! yes, I am being capitalistic! - will be entered into a lottery, and will get to choose in the order that I select them.

Or should I just put these up for sale the regular way? I am not going to sell any of them until the 100 are finished (well, a friend bought one before I had the whole idea worked out, but I am going to replace that one with another of the same scene) - and so far, they are all coming out really well, I think.

I am going to bring the lottery idea with me to the Paradise City Arts Festival this weekend and see if people sign up.

Of course, to sign up, you have to believe that I am going to make 100 gorgeous paintings - and honestly, I do. I am absolutely loving the project, and each painting is making me happier than the one before.

So if you want in, let me know. The list has started!

Here's my painting in the landscape