Monday, December 31, 2012

Taking Flight

Taking Flight
Oil on canvas, 10x10
not for sale
Some of you might not know how I started painting, so here's the story:

It was the fall of 2006, and I was 50. My mother had died in July, and I was still a total wreck. Truly devastated. When I look back, I really don't know how I managed to go to work, go home, talk to people.

I was driving to work one day when I was struck by the idea that I should make a painting of our dogs to give to my husband for Christmas.

I'd never painted. As a girl, I'd drawn houses and horses. I'd doodled all my life. I'd made pottery, I'd done a lot of writing, but that was it. And so, if I'd have been my normal self, the self that easily said "I can't," I wouldn't have listened to the voice with that crazy idea. I'd have dismissed the notion, or maybe I'd have hired someone to do it.

Instead, I bought a canvas (it was 24x48 - huge! But we had six dogs, so I figured I needed a big canvas). I bought white paint, black paint, brown paint and blue paint, since one dog has blue eyes. I bought a big brush and a small brush, and I set out to make a painting.

From the moment I began, I loved it. And that first painting was fabulous. It was as if I'd been painting my whole life - I just hadn't picked up a brush.

I took a drawing class, and I took a beginning oil painting class. I joined a plein-air group. And I painted. I painted and painted and painted and painted. At every opportunity, I painted. I looked at my paintings, stared at them, tried to figure out what worked and what didn't. I pestered painters and artists and friends and family members to look at my paintings and critique them. When I painted with the Wallkill River School plein-air group, I asked endless questions - and those wonderful people answered them all.

In January of 2007, a heart attack killed my boss and dear friend Mike Levine, the editor of the Times Herald-Record. In April, the paper eliminated the job I'd thought I would have for the rest of my life.

These events, the death of my mother and Mike, and then losing my job, and all in the course of 10 months, this could have broken me.

I have come to believe that painting was given to me as a way to cope, and I have been grateful every day since.

Here's that first painting:

Next: The transition from painting as a hobby to painting as a profession.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Oil on canvas, 12x12

I was painting before Christmas in West Hartford Center, CT, in front of Center Framing & Art, when a woman came up and started ooohhing and aaahing over Rae, which I was painting at the time, and also over another dog portrait I'd done earlier (to come in time here on the blog... it's a surprise for someone who, I think, reads this blog).

We got to talking, and after a time, she asked if I ever donated work to causes. I told her yes, thinking that she was probably working up to asking me to donate.

Did I ever donate to the Montessori School in West Hartford? I said that yes, in fact, I had - donated a certificate for a dog painting.

"It's me!" she said, laughing and clapping. "I'm the one who won!"

The donation and silent auction had taken place months earlier, but it wasn't until that very week, she said, that she'd been able to get a good photo of Colby, her little dog.

Truly, this is an amazing world.

If you want a portrait of your pet, please contact me! I work from photographs, and they don't have to be great ones. A 12x12 painting is $350; I can include any colors you like, in the animal or in the background. The process takes four to six weeks from the time I start to the time the painting arrives at your doorstep. If the painting is to be a gift, I can send a gift certificate to you to give for any occasion!

Here's the painting of Colby that I worked from:

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Oil on canvas, 12x12

Here is my prayer for the new year:

Let me wake every day in gratitude and with faith. Let me find courage to overwhelm my fear, and vision to overcome my blindness. Let me forgive myself and others. Let me choose generosity, take risks, and act with the power and the glory of love.

Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Light Beneath the Clouds

The Light Beneath the Clouds
Oil on canvas, 36x60
This is why we moved here, so that we could live up the road from this marsh, and I could see it a hundred times a week, and get to know its swirls and colors, the way the birds fly over it and the streams run through it.

We moved here to be in this light, to learn to see it, to learn to paint it, to live in its brilliance and its sparkle, its deep reds and light pinks and clear yellows and its many blues.

We moved here so that I could make this painting, and many more to come, and share them with you, and sell them to people who can't live here on this marsh, but want to feel its beauty every day.

We moved here so that I could make the most of the blessings that have been given to me. I am grateful every day, for them, for the courage to do this, and for the help and support you all give me, each and every day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Oil on canvas, 12x12

On Christmas Eve here in Wachapreague, VA, Peter and I set luminaria around our house and up our steps. It was a warm night, and we lighted the candles and watched them burn, glowing and twinkling, lighting the path to our home.

No one drove by to see them. No one was home across the street or next door. They were for us, and for us only.

For me, setting out and lighting the candles was an act of faith, of remembrance, of belief. The lights burning in the dark of Christmas Eve marked hope, and spirit, and reminded me of all that is good, and all that is possible.

I am in a new place here, in all senses, and I want all senses to be awake to that. And in the dark, warm night, my senses, my heart, my soul all were awake, and I was grateful.

Our house with luminaria burning

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Oil on canvas, 20x20

Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down, and sometimes you get both in the same package. Such is the case with Roy!

I arranged to trade paintings with a fellow artist, who is also a good friend. I'd get a painting of hers (to give to our daughter for Christmas), and in return, I'd do a portrait of this artist's dog.

She sent photos, she pulled aside the painting for me, and we were off and running. I decided to take a chance with her piece, do one of my minimalist paintings, and see.

Here's what I saw: She doesn't like this piece.

But I do. I love it. It's one of my favorite dog paintings ever. I love the sketchy, minimalist approach. I love Roy's eyes. I love the green above his left eye. I love his goofy tongue and the way the painting slides off the side of the canvas.

So I'll do another piece for her - and keep my Roy, or sell him, depending. She will be happy, in time - and I already am.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunflower Triptych

Sunflower Triptych
Oil on canvas, 12x48, 48x48, 24x48

On Saturday, the fabulous Ronet Noe and I painted on the sidewalk in West Hartford Center, in front of Center Framing & Art, the gallery that represents both of us.

I've often painted there, and have done so several times with Ronet. It is always fun, with lots of people out shopping, lots of kids and dogs, folks meeting and greeting on the sidewalk, very much like a small town, back when downtown was the place to be.

We made an extra effort on Saturday, not only because it is the holiday season, but in response to the terrible, horrible death and devastation that was visited on Newtown, CT, on Friday.

I mourn for those families, and I pray for them in the chasm of grief and despair where they must find themselves. I think nothing will ever be the same for them - and really, for us. If grade school is not a safe place, what is?

But we must go on. To change things, to alter the trajectory of this country, we must pick ourselves up and go on. And so Ronet and I painted, and did our best to bring some joy into what was, for many, a very dark day.


This large piece is going to a home in the Berkshires on Monday. It's going to hang on a wall that has been empty for years, waiting for the right piece of art. I am honored that one of my paintings will fill this waiting wall.

If you would like a custom piece for your home or office, please click here to email me, or call me at 860-442-0246.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Oil on canvas, 12x12

I loved painting Julius. His expression captivated me, and his eyes just pulled me in entirely. If you click on the photograph, it will enlarge, and you can see the colors and the textures up closer. I really like this painting!

This Christmas season, like the past two, I am making a lot of animal portraits. Many of them are memorial portraits. Like Julius, the pets have died.

I'd encourage all of you, if you think you want a portrait of your pet, to find an artist to make the portrait now, while the animal you love is alive and loving you back. Always when people have me do memorial portraits, they wish they'd done it when their treasured friend was living.

So think about that, for yourself, for your spouse, for your parents. If my style doesn't work for you - and it doesn't work for everyone, I know that - find a painter or a photographer or a collager or a sculptor whose art makes you happy - and make a resolution to get that portrait in 2013.


The December painting sale will continue through the end of the month, but in all likelihood, if you buy something now it won't arrive in time for the holiday, since I am leaving for a week on the road on Friday.

But if that happens, I'll be happy to send a Christmas email with a photo of the piece to the recipient, and let him or her know that it's coming!

On Saturday, I'll be painting in front of Center Framing & Art, 56 LaSalle Road, West Hartford Center, CT, with the fabulously talented Ronet Noe. Stop by and say hi! There will be lots of Christmas cheer, and some fun painting, and who knows what else? We'll be on the sidewalk from 10 a.m. to at least 2 p.m., weather permitting.

Now to go hunt down my winter clothes....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Church

The Winter Church
Oil on canvas, 10x10

Last week, I met with Joe Skelly, who is, as far as I know, the world's only prosperity coach.

And what, you may ask, is a prosperity coach? Just what it sounds like! Joe is helping me raise my income and lower my fear while I do what I love - paint.

His fee is $100 an hour, and we are going to meet once a month or so for an hour. Our goal is to double my income the first year, then redouble it and re-redouble it. He has a track record of success, and I am game to try. 

I think that the whole idea of prosperity coaching is a fascinating concept, and the first session was energizing and exciting.

One of the broad ideas he shared with me was the notion that words - and your subconscious - create your reality. If you find yourself thinking negatively - "Florida was a bust for me, " for example - my subconscious will do everything it can to make that statement true, and make me right. 

So Joe's answer is that, if you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, add "up until now."  Florida was a bust for me... up until now. And just like that, everything changes! 

He gave me dozens more great ideas, and already they have opened up my future and given me a taste of the very real prospect of increased prosperity. 

Joe does his work in face-to-face sessions, and also over the phone, if you live out of the area. If you want to get in touch with him, you can call or text him at 757-675-6569. He has not paid me for this - I am truly excited about it and wanted to share it with all of you!


The December sale is going nicely! Three paintings have sold - Blue Sunflowers, Center Street Scene and Majesty.

I've found a couple bumps on the road - PayPal buttons are probably not the way to do this, but for the time being, they are there (two people tried to buy one painting at the Exact Same Moment, and PayPal has no solution for that...). I am going to do another one of these in January, and will probably do it some other way. But for the time being, the sale is still going on, and there's still time to get your presents before Christmas.

If you'd like to buy a piece for someone, but you don't know what they would like, I can sell you an Accidental Artist gift certificate in whatever denomination you want. Just click here to email me at and I'll get one in the mail to you or to your friend or relative!


One final note! I'll be painting with the fabulous Ronet Noe on Saturday on the sidewalk in front of Center Framing & Art, 56 LaSalle Road, West Hartford Center. We'll be there from about 10 a.m. to about 2 p.m., depending on weather. Hope for sun and warmth!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Farm

Winter Farm
Oil on canvas, 20x20

The crows are at it again, with the pecans, and today, I saw what they're doing.

I wrote the other day about our antenna and how the crows are pelting it with pecans... This morning, I saw them doing what they do.

There's a pipe that runs from about halfway up the antenna to a spot near the top, where there's a sort of platform. One of the birds was using the platform as a place to set the pecans while he tried to smash them with his beak.

But others were tossing the pecans down into the pipe, where they rattled and clanged, in the pipe and against the antenna as they fell.

I watched for about 15 minutes, and no bird ever flew down to the ground to retrieve a pecan, so I can only assume that they're doing this for fun. Crow basketball? Crow drumming? They are funny birds, and so who knows!

Here are a couple photos of the antenna, and a little video of the crows and pecans...

Our house, and the antenna

Near the top of the antenna

Well, I can't get the video to load correctly, but you can click here to go to my YouTube channel and watch it! 

Monday, December 3, 2012


Oil on canvas, 12x12

It was warm enough today, and bug-free enough, that we left the back door open so the dogs could go in and out at will, for the first time in their lives.

Clearly, it was liberation for them, and they spent hours running in and out - just because they could. Then Smokey sat in the sun in the open doorway, while Jojo lay in the sun in the yard, and we all soaked it up like the miracle it was.

Earlier in the day, when the door had still been closed, I'd heard the dogs doing something, again and again, making some metal on metal noise. I looked out of the open door of the boat-garage studio where I was painting, and though I couldn't see what they were doing, I thought it might have something to do with the gates, and a potential escape, so I took them inside.

When I came back out, I heard the noise again, and realized where it was coming from - the rusty 40-foot-tall antenna that the previous owner installed, and which towers frighteningly over our house. It's footed in a block of cement, and probably is stable, but still, it looks terrible, and if it ever toppled, would cause all sorts of trouble.

The noise, I realized, was caused by a bird, probably a crow, tossing pecans down inside the antenna, probably in an effort to break them.

Or maybe, just maybe, he did it just because he could.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Autumn Comes to Burton's Bay

Autumn Comes to Burton's Bay
Oil on canvas, 10x10

You people are so wonderful! So many of you have called, written and emailed me about my extended absence, your caring has made me feel loved and appreciated. Thank you so very much. 

For the past eon, or what feels like an eon, I have been mostly driving. The trip back from the disastrous, no-sales Florida shows took two days. I spent a day and a half here at home, then drove to Connecticut, and spent three days there driving all over the state, visiting family, collecting one show, dropping new paintings at Center Framing & Art in West Hartford Center, (go see them if you're in the area; they're really wonderful!), and stocking up on supplies. Then I spent one entire and expensive day getting new tires and new brakes on the van. 

Finally, happily, I am back on the Eastern Shore, and painting again. I'm working on some large commissions for mid-December delivery, and hoping to make time for some smaller paintings - and some projects. 

One of my projects is going to be a Christmas sale of paintings - an inventory blowout, if you will. It's time to start fresh, and so I'm going to offer some of my favorite paintings at very low prices. It's going to take me a few days to get this all together, so if you have favorites that you've been dying to buy but couldn't afford, please email me and we'll make it happen. 

So look for the sale next week, in plenty of time for Christmas! 

On another note, there's a serial arsonist operating out here on the Eastern Shore. He (or she) burned two buildings last night, for a total of 26, I believe, in about two weeks. Even though the arsonist is burning only empty and abandoned buildings, and even though there are lots of cops out here, it's still unsettling. 

When I was up in CT, there were no arsons down here, but there were two in Montville, and I did wonder if somehow, I was sleepwalking and setting these fires, and then remembering nothing. Peter says I'm not, though. So, whew! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Afternoon Storm in the Keys

Afternoon Storm in the Keys
Oil on canvas, 10x20, $200

What is it that drives us to continue, through storms, through rough seas, through struggles with fear and failure and doubts about the future?

For me, some days, it is as simple as the color of the sky at dawn. It is the first yellow leaves of autumn, the quiet of snow falling at night, the smell of dust in the early moments of a summer rain.

It is a warm dog close by my side, the spicy tang of marigolds, the scent of coffee brewing in a sunny kitchen.

Some days, what gets me through is a song I play again and again, or a quote I stumble over quite by chance, or the words of a friend, spoken in love or in comfort.

It is the thought of home, the memory of my mother, the sense of wonder and glory that I feel every single morning. What gets me through is love and faith and the knowledge that this day, this single dawning day, this day is the day that we have.

i'd love to know what gets you through the tough times. Please share, if you like, in the comments!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Everglades Sunrise

Everglades Sunrise
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
This was my first Florida painting, and I confess, I am becoming fascinated with palm trees. Who knew there were so many different kinds?

Here are some other things I've noticed about Florida:

People do not get up early here, at least in the Keys. Restaurants don't open until 7 a.m. The laundromat doesn't open until 8.

There are no Wal-Marts the entire length of the Keys. Wow.

A waitress at a late-opening breakfast place told me that the stretch of Route 1 from the top of the Keys to the bottom is the most dangerous road in the U.S. In a day and a half, I saw two wrecks in which the car that was hit ended up on its roof.

Alligators are bigger and darker and more solidly malevolent than I'd ever imagined.

The Atlantic is a different color here. Many different colors, actually.

Key deer really ARE the size of a medium-sized dog.

Cuban coffee is so sweet it makes your teeth ache. The first taste, you think, yuck - but then you find yourself wanting a second taste - or at least I did!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dawn in the Keys

Dawn in the Keys (in progress)
Oil on canvas, 24x48

I am not going to dwell on the fact that I sold no paintings at the show in Sarasota.

Instead, I'm giving a hearty thank you to all of you who have been buying paintings from me over the internet - and in real life. THANK YOU!

After Sarasota, I picked myself up, re-encouraged myself, looked away from self-doubt and from fear, and headed out to see and paint Florida.

I wanted to post my first Florida painting (a 10x10 I made in the Everglades,) but at this moment, I have good internet access and a lousy photo - so here's my second Florida painting. It's a plein air piece I did this morning, and I still have edges to finish and spots to tidy up.

I set up in the dark, and actually started painting in the dark. This was very interesting. I hesitated to begin, but plunged ahead anyways. It showed me how valuable it is to set up my palette the same way every time - and how valuable it is to really know how at least a few colors work.

I don't know all of them yet, but some of my favorites - indigo, Naples yellow, titanium white and Sevres blue, I do know. And I am close to knowing cadmium yellow.

Understanding how these colors work, in all situations, with all other colors, with all strokes and with all media helped me get far enough in the near-dark that by the time the sun came up, my painting was well on its way.

If you're in Boca Raton this weekend, come to Mizner Park Amphitheater for Art Fest Boca! Click here to find out more about the show. And wish me well, please! As my mother would have said, jingle your bells for me. I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friday Sunrise

Friday Sunrise
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

On Wednesday, I leave for Florida and shows in Sarasota and Boca Raton.

The Sarasota show is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 and 11, in St. Armand's Circle, and you can read more about it by clicking here.  The show in Boca Raton, in Mizner Park Amphitheater, is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and 18, and you can read more about that show by clicking here. 

In this world of art fairs, Florida is somewhat of a holy grail. "Oh, you should go to Florida. Your stuff would sell great in Florida," is a reaction I've gotten again and again, along with "people in Florida have money, and they buy art."

I have also heard that people in New England have money, and they buy art; and people around Washington, DC, have money and they buy art; and people in New York City have money and they buy art... and it is all true.

But what's really more true, I think, and more at the heart of this truth, is that there are certain people who are destined to own certain paintings. Certain people who fall in love with certain paintings.

When this happens - and it does; I've seen it and it is magical - the person will buy the painting if it is at all within their financial grasp. If it's a person with money, she doesn't even ask the price.

If, on the other hand, it's not the right person for that painting, there is nothing I can do to make them buy it. I can offer a $400 painting at $25, and they will say they don't have any space on their walls.

As all of this unfolds in this new world of mine, I have to say that I am finding it absolutely fascinating. So we will see what Florida is like! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Storm Before the Storm II

Storm Before the Storm II
Oil on canvas, 10x10

I've been watching TV of the devastation in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and have seen some photos of problems here in our area, and my heart goes out to the people affected. I remember clearly what it feels like to have nature destroy your stuff, your memories, your property. It's horrible. It changes everything.

Maybe, in the long run, it changes things for the better - but the people experiencing the disaster now can't begin to understand that.

In our lives, the flood that ruined our land in NY and took everything in our basement made us realize what's important.

The stuff is important, yes, but really, what is important is what it represents. Achievement, progress, goals reached. Memories. Moments. People you loved, people you miss, people you were.

Losing the stuff is heart-rending. It is. But you don't lose what the stuff represents. Losing the stuff brought the memories more sharply into focus. Made the achievements shine. No, I might never be able to replace that X - but I will never forget that I... earned the money to buy that X, or ran the race to win that X, or wrote the story or designed the page, or stood on that ski slope with my father, or, as a little girl, wore that pair of shoes.

It took a long, long time for us to recover from the flood that took our stuff, ruined our land, destroyed our driveway and made home feel dangerous. A long, long time. But in the end, I think, what nature took was ephemeral. What was left was what was important.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

House at the Edge of the Bay

House at the Edge of the Bay
Oil on canvas, 20x20
The hurricane swept in with its fists up, and pounded the Eastern Shore - but the barrier islands and the salt marsh protected Wachapreague, and our small and sturdy house protected us.

I was truly touched by the number of people - family and friends, customers, followers of this blog - who reached out to us, wishing us luck and wanting to know how we were, and whether they could do anything for us. I am grateful beyond words for your kindness and concern.

Parts of the shore not protected by barrier islands, not protected by the marsh, had much more damage than we had. Chincoteague Island was particularly hard-hit, I've heard. But nothing here compares, I think, to what happened in New Jersey, New York, and parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Misquamicut, one of my old haunts in Westerly, RI, was really walloped.

My "Storm Before the Storm" painting has sold, and while we really don't have much money at this point, I am going to give the $100 I earned from that painting to the Red Cross to help the hurricane victims. And if there's a place to give blood out here, I will do that, too.

I hope you are all OK today. Thank you again for your big hearts.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Storm Before the Storm

The Storm Before the Storm
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
With every blast of wind, every buffeting bluster, with the storm twisting the landscape, stirring up the autumn grass, with every moment of approach and every iota of intensity, my most primal being measures fight or flight, and comes more and more alive.

In New York, where we lived on the bank of a river that flooded, raging and dangerous, fear overtook me, and the only respite - after the first, terrifying, catastrophic losses - came in flight.

Here, so far, staying seems safe, with my fighting soul in full glory.

If the time comes to leave, I will know. We both will. We will recognize the overwhelming wave of fear, and get out before it crashes on our storm-swept shore. But for now, it is exciting, exhilarating, enlivening.

In storms like this, I meet my deepest self, and take the measure of my heart.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Foggy Morning, Wachapreague

Foggy Morning, Wachapreague
Oil on canvas, 10x10

A few summers ago, I spent about a week standing on Pequot Avenue in New London, CT, trying different ways to paint fog.

If you're doing a studio piece, I imagine you could make the painting and then let it dry, and then put a very, very thin skein of white over the foggy spots. But if you're working in plein air, and alla prima (in one session), the challenges are different.

The way I came up with is to put the paint on, and then run the knife over it and sort of pull it/smear it off. I think it works pretty well. What do you think? And if you're a painter, how do you do fog?


Several of the predicted paths of the oncoming hurricane show it making landfall pretty much on the road in front of our house.

So I've decided to stay home this weekend, pull out of the outdoor show on Long Island, and stick close. I can't leave Peter and six dogs with a hurricane and a Jeep Wrangler.

The Long Island show, far as I know, has not been canceled, though I suspect it might be. But I won't be there. I am sorry - but it seems the smart thing to do.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Green Bean Field

Green Bean Field
Oil on canvas, 24x48

I was about half-way through this painting when I saw a truck driving slowly up the road you can see on the left-hand side of the canvas. I was set up in the road, and so I stopped to see if the driver was going to need me to move.

As the truck neared, kicking up dust, the driver took it off the roadway and veered around the billboard that was behind me. He stopped there, and he and his son got out to see the painting. He'd driven off the road, he said, so that he wouldn't get dust on my wet paint.

He and his red-haired son liked the piece a lot. Conway, the son, did think that maybe I should put a lake in over on the left-hand side of the canvas, and I admit I did consider it.

The dad said that he and Conway had come over to get some green beans.

"Oh?" I asked. "Could I go up there and buy some beans?"

"Go up there?" he said. "Nah, just pick yourself some."

I hemmed and hawed. He knew the guy who owns the fields and the crop, and he was going to harvest  it all the next day, so if I wanted some, I should take them now.

I thanked him, but said I couldn't. It just didn't feel right to take another person's crop, even if it was just a few beans. If everyone took just a few beans, well, soon enough, the farmer wouldn't have any.

The man went to his truck, and came back in a minute with a big bundle of bean plants, stems and leaves and dirt and all, and gave them to me. This, I could accept. They were taken with permission, and he was sharing, and it felt OK to me.

We cooked them up that night, and they might have been the best green beans I ever had!

My painting in the green bean landscape

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Inlet at Gargatha

Inlet at Gargatha
Oil on canvas, 24x48

Off I went, one afternoon earlier in the week, looking for something to paint. Salt marsh, water, sky, I was looking for a scene that took my breath away. And indeed, I found it. 

Gargatha (accent on the first syllable - it's fun to say! Try it!) is a teeny spot on the map about 20 miles from our home. It's a lovely little inlet, with a couple of houses and a farm nearby. When I pulled up, the sky was a brilliant beautiful blue with pink and yellow clouds, and the sun was lighting up the marsh grasses so it looked like they shone from within. I painted madly, furiously, quickly - but still couldn't quite finish before I lost the light. 

The next day, I went back with Peter, and we spent time just taking in the beauty of the place, and watching a couple dogs play in the water. Shortly after the final photo here, the younger dog picked up the carcass of what looked like a small shark and the two began tugging at it and tossing it around. We left before they could get any of it on us. 


I spent an inordinate amount of time and psychic energy yesterday redoing our Jacobson Arts website, If you'd take a look and give me any comments you have, I'd appreciate it! (I see this morning that my name is in orange and Peter's is in white... so there's one fix to make).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October Cowscape

October Cowscape
Oil on canvas, 40x60

It's been a while since I've made a cowscape! This is from a photo I've painted before, one that I took in Wyoming, and one that I have always loved.

It was my first painting trip, and I'd gone to Wisdom, Montana, my favorite place on earth before finding Wachapreague. On my way home through Wyoming, I got off the highway at every exit. There weren't that many. On one, this group of cows - steers, probably - crossed the road in front of me and looked rather threateningly at me. I took the photo, stayed in my car, and didn't mess with them.


If all goes according to plan, I will be at the Nassau County Museum of Art this weekend, at 1 Museum Drive in Rosslyn Harbor on Long Island. The show is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. I'm in Booth T14, under the tent, so if there's weather, it shouldn't be an issue!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good Day Sunflowers

Good Day Sunflowers
Oil on canvas, 40x60

I've had a great time this week painting, both in the studio and out in the landscape.

Right now, plein-air painting here on the Eastern Shore involves a lot of exploring. I'm driving down roads that have tantalized me as I've passed them on my way to shows or to the store. I'm looking for vistas I've seen that seem like they'd make good paintings. I'm seeking scenes that people have told me about (sometimes these are fabulous, but more often, I get to the spot and wonder what they saw...)

And I am finding out things about our area, and finding oddities and orts and sights to ponder. It's fun, this process, though it does involve a lot of driving!

I've been enjoying the studio time, too, the sunflowers and other paintings I will post soon. These are destined for upcoming shows, this coming weekend in Roslyn Harbor, NY, at the Nassau County Museum of Art (click here for more info), and then in November in Sarasota and Boca Raton, Florida. Yikes!

Some people have asked about the colors I use. Below is a photo of my palette and a list of my colors. I use Res-N-Gel and Cobra Painting Paste as mediums.

Along the left edge, from top, are cobalt, indigo, sevres blue, king's blue, purple, alizarin crimson, orange and cadmium red. On the right, from top, is cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, naples yellow, transparent orange oxide and my new favorite and the only mixed green I've ever used, yellow green by Richeson. White at the top, medium at the bottom. I use a paper palette in a palette box.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Field Church

The Field Church
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
As I was painting this (standing in the driveway I painted in "Clamshell Driveway"), a guy came along in a big silver truck. He stopped when he saw me painting, and asked if I'd ever gone down to the end of the road and painted the salt marsh there.

In fact, I have, twice! I painted "On Marlin Lane," and "Back on Marlin Lane," from the back yard of the house at the end of Marlin Lane.

I told the guy that I had, and asked what he was going down there for.

"Checking on my ersters," he said.

"Your what?"

"My erster beds."

Ah! His OYSTER beds. Ersters. It will take my ears a while, I guess.

My painting in the landscape. You can just see the church - that white thing - in the background! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chasing the Light

Chasing the Light
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

I love the exuberance of plein-air painting. I love being in the landscape, watching the clouds, feeling the wind, smelling the scent of earth.

I love that you have to go fast, paint quickly, to capture the scene as it in in the moment.

One of the things that makes plein-air painting hard, (aside from the wind, the bugs, and the uneven ground) is  the temptation to "chase the light" - change your painting to reflect the day as the sun moves across your horizon.

As I was making this painting, I thought about chasing the light. About chasing a feeling, an experience,  a person? A speed? A sensation? A taste? An accomplishment? - that makes me feel great, about myself, about my life, about my future.

Do we all do this, all the time, knowingly or unknowingly? When we take that job, or decide on steak, or buy that painting, or teach our children this or that, when we choose a home or pick out an outfit or speak for an hour in the parking lot with a friend, are we chasing the light? Chasing some feeling that we hope will bring us to that place of happiness?

People tell me they love my paintings but can't buy one because they have no room on their walls. Get rid of those old pieces, I want to say. Give them away, put them away - not just so they can buy one of my pieces, but so they can look at the NOW in their lives.

Instead of chasing the light, I want to race it. Run ahead of it. Let it light my way.

And so, for a moment or two a morning or two ago, I soaked it up. Breathed in the scent of the land, and reveled in the promise of dawn, and let the morning's tender pink light take my breath away.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dawn, Tuesday

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

Here in Wachapreague, the sun comes up in air as clear as any I've ever seen, and fills the land with colors that sing and light that shines true and clear through air with no haze, no smog, no pollution. Whatever it touches springs to life with a sort of bright glory that I've only ever seen in the land around Wisdom, Montana.

I can't count the opportunities that have passed me by. The doors that have closed behind me, never to open. The roads I didn't take, the chances I failed to see.

As life goes on, these line up behind me, a trail of failures and misses and could-have -- even, maybe, should-have -- beens.

And yet, it seems, the right things have happened. All that has happened has brought Peter and me here, to a place where we are happy, a place where opportunity seems as wide as the sky and as bright as Tuesday's rising sun.

Yes, I hear the echoes of those doors slamming shut, and yes, from time to time, I feel regret. But today, I turn ahead, and walk forward, and try, forever, not to look back.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tiffany's Iris

Tiffany's Iris
Oil on canvas, 10x10

At a show at the end of the summer, my friend Tiffany asked me to paint an iris for her. She gave me the photo (which she uses as her on-line icon), forked over the money, and wished me luck.

In all truth, I was scared.

I know I can paint sunflowers - but beyond that, my flowers rarely cut it. Friends have suggested that I try roses, zinnias, pansies, mixed bouquets - and from time to time, I have. For the most part, those paintings haven't pleased me.

After putting off the iris painting for as long as I could, I finally just dug in. And I love the finished painting. Love it!

So here I am, face to face with fear of failure. And what are the consequences if I do fail? A wasted canvas, some wasted paint, the proof of a self-proclaimed prediction. Big deal.

For me, and I think probably for most of us, the real failure is in not trying, not taking the chance, not facing the fear. The real failure is in listening to that voice that says "I can't."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back Room Blooms

Back Room Blooms
Oil on canvas, 36x36

I'm in Connecticut this week, in anticipation of my opening Friday at the Lighthouse Gallery. On Wednesday, there was a car fire on I-95, and Route 184 was clogged, so I chose a back route to get to Westerly.

It was all familiar, and it was all different. It was my back yard and not my backyard. I was driving with a resident's knowledge, the map clear in my head - but I am now an outsider.

I grew up around here, lived here more years - all put together - than I've lived anywhere else. My brother and sister and I went to school in New London, my grandparents moved here from Pennsylvania to be with us, my parents were known and were part of the community. We were from New London.

Now, none of us lives in New London. And while my brother and sister live in Connecticut, they don't live in the area we called home.

Now, I've found a home, a place of the heart, a place that calls out to me.  I love Wachapreague, and the Eastern Shore, but I am still discovering it.

Here, I find myself looking for the trees that autumn always singles out with color. I recognize the smell of the air. I know there will be deer at the edge of that field. I see things that I remembered and I see changes, too, even in this short time.

Soon enough, I will feel like an outsider. But this place will always be with me. It will always be in me. I will drive down a road and, like waking from a dream, I will remember something that no outsider could ever know - a family that once lived there, a tree that once stood there, a shortcut I discovered as a teenager.

This place was home, and now it's not home. But it will always whisper "home" to me.


"Back Room Blooms," the painting at the top of this blog entry, will be on display as part of "ColorFull,"  through mid-November at the Lighthouse Gallery, 744 Long Hill Road, Groton. The opening reception is tonight - Friday, Oct. 12 - from 5-8 p.m.

I have some new work in the show, as well as some familiar pieces, and have lowered prices on some of my pieces, hoping to sell them and make some commissions, too, for the Lighthouse Vocational-Education center.

So please come, and see my paintings as well as brilliant pieces by the fabulous Ronet Noe!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Come to the Lighthouse Gallery Opening!

Whose Boat This Is, I Do Not Know
Oil on canvas, 30x30
This painting is one of my new ones that will be on display through mid-November at the Lighthouse Gallery on Long Hill Road in Groton - and you're invited to the opening! It is Friday, from 5-8 p.m. The show includes paintings by me, and paintings by the fabulous Ronet Noe.

Ronet and I met at Center Framing and Art in West Hartford Center. Lori Chozik, who runs Center Framing, likes our work and does a great job showing and selling it in West Hartford Center. Ronet and I have painted together on the sidewalk in front of the store a few times, and have been in outdoor art shows together. This will be our first two-woman gallery show!

Ronet makes cool paintings in which the subject matter is often built up from the canvas with papier mache (I think - or something else) - and then she paints over the raised part of the design. So the limbs of a tree might be rounded like the limbs of a tree. A chicken might stick up an inch or two from the canvas, and then be flecked with bumps and feathery patches. One of my favorites has donuts rising  - and they are pretty much the size of donuts. Fun!

At any rate, since I am not living here, the opening will be a good chance to say hi, in addition to showing my new work. And the commissions on any paintings that sell will go to support the Lighthouse Vocational-Education Center programs, and that's fantastic.

Please come!


The Paradise City show in Northampton was very kind to me. I did well in the show itself. Most of my sales were of the 10x10 paintings, but Back on Marlin Lane also sold, and the person who bought it really, really loves it. That makes me very happy.

During the show, I met a couple who fell in love with my sunflower painting, and they have commissioned me to do a large custom piece for their amazing living room! And I got a call from a person who saw my sunflower painting in the Neptune Festival, and that person wants a custom piece also!

This is great not only for the income, but also for the opportunity. I am honored to make paintings for people's specific rooms. It's such a joy to know at the beginning that my painting will have a home in a particular place.

Here's the flyer from our show! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Big Square Sunflowers!

 Big Square Sunflowers
Oil on canvas, 48x48

I'd planned to spend all of June painting, stocking up on beautiful, juicy pieces for the summer and fall shows. But I had Lyme disease in June, and in between packing and moving, I've been doing shows virtually every weekend since - and selling work, too! 

So I spent last week painting, solidly, pretty much from dawn to dusk, to get ready for Paradise City in Northampton (click here for info and discount tickets - the show continues through Monday! I am in the Morgan Barn II, Booth 415), for my upcoming show at the Lighthouse Gallery in Groton, CT (that show has an opening reception this Friday; click here for info on that wonderful gallery and my show with Ronet Noe), and for a show next weekend in Newport News, VA (click here for information on that show...)

I painted and painted and painted and PAINTED. Then Peter and I loaded the van with tons of art, much of it wet (talk about a challenge) - and I set off for New England. 

As I drove up the Delmarva Peninsula, watching the fields and the trees and the always gorgeous clouds in the astonishingly clear sky, I realized that I am happier than I've ever been. I miss my mom, and wish she were here to share all this. But I am free, I am creating beautiful art, I am meeting wonderful people, and I am working hard and well. 

I am blessed, indeed. 

Here's my booth in Northampton! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tall Sunflowers

Tall Sunflowers I
Oil on bi-fold door, 14x80

When I was at the show in Leesburg, VA, the artist beside me suggested that I try using bifold doors as a canvas. They have the panoramic shape that I so like - and they are cheap and plentiful!

So the last time I was in Connecticut, I stopped at the Habitat for Humanity store and bought a couple. I  took them apart, gessoed them and went to town.

You can hang this painting vertically or horizontally. It is light and fun! And it will be at the Gallery at Lighthouse, in a show that opens with a reception on Oct. 12. Please come, if you're in the area. The reception runs from 5-7 p.m., and will introduce people to my work and work by Ronet Noe.

In the meantime, if you're looking for something fun to do over Columbus Day weekend, and you're in Connecticut or Mass or somewhere thereabout, please consider the Paradise City Arts Festival at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA.

It's a wonderful show, with work ranging from furniture to fiber to jewelry and, of course, painting. Be aware that there is a gate fee, but if you go to the Paradise City website, you can print out a discount coupon.

If you come, I'll be in the Morgan Barn. Please stop by my booth and say hello!