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!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sunrise, Tuesday

 Sunrise, Tuesday
Oil on canvas, 10x10

I walked into the yard this morning from my studio and saw again - as I do nearly every day - why we live here.

The farmer behind us had gone through his field a couple days ago and cut his corn - not to the ground, but to about waist-height. This morning, the stalks are a beautiful golden color, rich and dry and shorn. In the distance, the line of trees marks the edge of the field. Gray clouds rise above the horizon, and they are shot with light on a diagonal line stretching skyward.

Instead of going in to take the dogs out, I set up my easel and paint, quickly, furiously, trying to catch the sense of raw, beautiful morning.

This painting was inspired by the day and my sense of seeing this land again - and also by the work of Sandra Pratt, an artist my brother introduced to me. She paints with a knife and a brush, and pulls into the ground and the foreground the juddering swift strokes that I often have in the sky.


The Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach was an OK show for me. It wasn't great, and it wasn't awful. I met tons of very, very nice people, and got a lot of positive feedback, and I made a few hundred dollars over my costs, which is better than nothing, but not outstanding.

The show might hold some more promise for me, though, as many people who came into my tent were very interested in the big sunflower painting on the back wall. The piece sold on Thursday night, after I'd hung it, and I left it up and talked to interested parties about similar custom pieces for their homes. My challenge now is to successfully invite those people to order pieces from me. I am hopeful!