Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Day

A New Day
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

I took the dogs out into a dawn that was frosty and pink and stunningly beautiful. I put the dogs back in, got my paints and easel, and set to work, painting in my jammies, in the farmer's field behind our house. It was so cold that the paint thickened on me. It's been a while since I've painted in conditions like that. 

But it was a beautiful new day, and seemed the right painting to post at the start of a beautiful new year. 

Thank you for all you gave me in 2014, and for following me into 2015. I hope you are feeling optimism and peace, and feeling that these new days are full of hope and promise and abundance. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Galveston Cows - and Fun at the Five and Dime

Galveston Cows
Oil on black canvas 36x48

Galveston is one of the windiest places I've ever been. I had a week between shows in Houston and Winnsboro, Texas, and I got myself a campsite, and thought I'd be able to do some plein-air painting there. 

I did manage to do one small piece, but I did it sitting at a picnic table, holding the canvas down flat on the tabletop. Even at that, I had trouble with the wind blowing my palette and tools around! 

But I took a lot of photos. My favorite one was these cows, standing in a pond at the edge of a field. Just beyond the field, waves crashed onto the shore. 

And yes, the entire time I was there, the Glen Campbell song swirled around in my head. I've put it at the very bottom of this post, if you want to read it. I'm warning you, though, that once you see it and hear it in your mind, it's going to be there for a long, long time! 


I WILL BE LEAVING in about a month for the Southwest, on the Origins Painting Trip, and it would be great if you would sponsor me! I'll be making plein-air paintings in and around Ganado and Fort Defiance, Arizona, where I spent the first months of my life. It's a spectacular place, a gorgeous landscape, rich with color and amazing landscapes and the breadth of the Southwest. 


Dog of the Day


SATURDAY, ON THE advice of our friend Pat, Peter and I went to Parksley to check out Jaxon's 5 & 10, and, across the street, Jaxon's Hardware.  (You really should check out the link...)

Both stores were great! The 5 & 10 brought me back to my childhood, and in particular, to the Juvenile Shop of New London. That store had only kids' clothes, but Jaxon's not only looked like it had been built by the same people, it also smelled the same. Felt the same underfoot. Gave me the same feeling. 

The hardware store was a good one, too, with squeaky wooden floorboards, all sorts of stuff that's really interesting and inexplicable (to me) - and for an added treat, two dogs racing around and playing! The best was Marley, above, a crazy puppy who was happy and friendly and delighted to be alive. Her favorite thing in the whole world, apparently, is running up and down the aisles of the store with her pal, Harley, a chubby black Lab.

Harley and Marley

DON'T SAY I didn't warn you! 

Galveston, oh, Galveston, I still hear your sea winds blowin'
I still see her dark eyes glowin'
She was 21 when I left Galveston

Galveston, oh, Galveston, I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the cannons flashing
I clean my gun and dream of Galveston

I still see her standing by the water
Standing there lookin' out to sea
And is she waiting there for me? 
On the beach where we used to run

Galveston, oh, Galveston, I am so afraid of dying
Before I dry the tears she's crying
Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun
At Galveston, at Galveston

Friday, December 26, 2014

December Longhorn - and Erica's Wonderful Pet Portraits

December Longhorn
Oil on black canvas, 16x20

After a bout of indecision with a cowscape I made earlier in December , I decided to try another cowscape, and plan from the start to leave the canvas black. So here is December Longhorn, staring out of that darkness at you. I really like the expression on his face, and all the colors there, and on his hide, too. 

The black canvases continue to interest me. They change everything! What do you think? 

LAST YEAR, at a show in Chattanooga, I met a lovely couple who really responded to my paintings. They bought two of them, and when I delivered them to their house, I found that Erica was not only a painter, but also a palette knife painter. 

We clicked immediately, and over the year, I've watched her painting grow and develop. She does beautiful landscapes (I have one!) - and wonderful, fun pet portraits. She gave me permission to share them here. 

If any of you would like to find out more about Erica, or talk to her about a pet portrait, please click here to email me, and I'll get you in touch with her. 

Dog of the Day 

This is a lurcher (? who knew?) whom I met at a show this summer. Love her eyes! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas in Wachapreague

Christmas in Wachapreague
Oil on canvas, 10x10

Every holiday season, the Wachapreague Volunteer Fire Department strings Christmas lights over Main Street. 

After a quiet, lazy, lovely Christmas morning, and a fun Christmas afternoon working on a cowscape, I went over to Main Street and painted as the sun went down. I got the street and buildings painted in, then waited for the lights to go on. As I waited, I heard a dog puffing, and looked around, and there was Abby, pulling at the end of the leash, with Peter at the other end. 

Aside from them, two cars went by, one group of people walked by, and a dad and his two kids rode their bikes past me. 

And everyone said Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Season's Greetings to You All

Star Over the Marsh

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them, and they were sore afraid.

"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.'"

Whatever you celebrate - or don't celebrate - I hope that this holiday season finds you happy and healthy, and warm in the embrace of people who love you, and whom you love.

May the blessings of the season be yours.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Poppies - and the Origins Trip

Poppies on Black
Oil on canvas, 12x24

I love painting flowers, and I really love painting flowers on these black canvases. The flowers themselves delight me, with their colors and their depth and their movement. It's a challenge to capture these qualities and make them new.

The other thing that intrigues me is the tension between the background and the flowers. These backgrounds remind me of concrete. The play between the fragile, graceful flowers and the rough, tough background helps make these paintings work, I think. Add in the nod to stained glass, and then that's another level. 

What do you all think of these flower paintings I've been making lately? 


At the end of January, I will set out for the Southwest, to visit my dad, do a show in Tubac, Arizona, and go back to where I was born and paint. During the Origins painting trip, I'm going to spend time in and around Fort Defiance, Arizona, on the Navajo reservation in the northeast corner of the state. I lived the first short part of my life there, while my dad was in the civil service. 

It's an amazing, spectacular landscape, rich with deep colors and brilliant light. The rocks and buttes are red and yellow and pink and gray, and the earth seems to go on forever. I'm planning on spending a couple weeks in the area, painting, and I hope you will sponsor me on my trip. 

Sponsorships run from $50 to $1,000, and include access to a sponsor-only blog with photos and stories from the road, postcards from the road, the first look at all the paintings I make, a chance to win a painting - and my undying gratitude. For sponsorships at or above $125, you get all that plus one or more original oil paintings that I make on the trip. 

Sponsors have told me they not only love the art, but also really enjoy the blog. It's the next best thing to taking the trip yourself! A sponsorship makes a great holiday present - for someone else, or for you. I can email you a nice gift certificate that you can give. 

For more information and to sign up to sponsor me, go to the Origins Painting Trip page on the Jacobson Arts website. Click here to get to that page! 

Dog of the Day

This is King, and he needs a home! According to the Eastern Shore SPCA, he is about a year old, weighs 33 pounds, has been neutered, and is up to date on shots and vaccinations.

 If we didn't already have five dogs, I'd be at the SPCA this morning to bring this guy home. If you know anyone who needs a dog, please let me know! As an extra added benefit, you could spend the night with us when you come to the Eastern Shore to get King. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Longhorn with Bluebells - and a Cow Question for You!

Longhorn and Bluebells
Oil on canvas, 18x18

I absolutely love this painting! It is bright and colorful and full of life, and I was able to capture the intense and yet goofy expression on the cow's face. Though I worry that it is a little illustration-like (and why is that a bad thing, anyways?), I love the black lines and the brilliant colors. 

However, I think I love the painting below more. It's the above painting, before I finished the cow and added the background. I like it so much, I'm going to do another one, and leave it just like the one below. 

What do you think? Which do you like better? And does the top painting strike you as illustration? If so, is that a derogatory assessment? Yes? Why? I'd really love to hear your thoughts. You can email me, or use the comment area at the end of the blog. 

Busy, busy! 

Here's Jackie, our postmistress. She is the busiest person in town these days! 

Dog of the Day

Woody, the white dog, was curled up in the dog bed when Zoe, who is 14 and blind,
 decided she wanted to get in, too. I watched this. Zoe knew Woody was there, 
and I think she wanted to curl up against his fluffy warmth. 
Want your pet to be Dog of the Day? Drop me a jpg at

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Paintings, Calendars, Sponsorships, Books & More! Ho Ho Ho!

California Calling Book!  Filled with paintings, photographs and writing from my 2014 painting trip. Starts at $22.79; order two before Dec. 19, using the code 2PLUS, you will get 20 percent off. Order three or more by Dec. 19, use the code 5PLUS, and you'll get 30 percent off. Blurb says it can get the books to you before Christmas if you order on or before Dec. 19. 

California Calling calendar! $12.99 on Lulu. Twelve paintings from my California Calling trip! Lots of fun!

Sponsorships! Be a part of my upcoming trip, or give the experience to someone you love. Most sponsorship levels get you original plein air art from the trip. Click here to find out more

Gift certificates!  Drop me an email and I'll send you a pdf of a gift certificate for a painting, a sponsorship, or a pet portrait! My email is

Available Paintings! 

The paintings below are available directly from me. 

Paintings by me are also available at Center Framing and Art in West Hartford Center, CT; Current Reflections in Wachapreague, VA; Harbor Gallery in Norfolk, VA; J. Gallery of Fine Art in High Point, NC; and JWV Artists, Charlotte, NC. 

Order soon to get them in time! 

Calla Spiral
Oil on black canvas, 12x12, $200

Into the Hills
Oil on canvas, 10x30, $200

Blue Petals
Oil on canvas, 18x36, $200

Tennessee Afternoon
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

October  on the Eastern Shore
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

Blue October Hills
Oil on canvas, 10x30, $300

Blue Plate Special
Oil on canvas, 10x30, $150


Cheriton Cove
Oil on canvas, 8x10, $100

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Do - And Good Ideas for Presents!

"I Do"
Oil on canvas, 16x20

I had planned to finish all my commissions in November, and then take the month of December to relax, visit with friends and family, and experiment with some new approaches, some new content. Launch my people project. Start on paintings for a children's book a friend has written. Pursue some other ideas - make paintings that might eventually be for sale, but are not necessarily intended for sale. This, I'm finding, is a luxury. Who would have expected it? 

Being sick for three weeks in November and early December really upset my plans. I still am working on commissions. I'm still mailing paintings away. I'm already planning paintings for the spring shows, and for galleries that really want new work - work that right now, I just don't have. 

But I took time over the past few days to make this painting, one of a series of paintings of people at specific moments in life, some big, like this one, but most small. 

I saw this scene on a hot day in July, at the courthouse in Accomack. I pulled the car over and took a bunch of photos. Though I didn't even attempt the camouflage material, I hope you can tell that the groom is a soldier or a sailor. In my mind, I imagined him about to go off to to boot camp, or off to his boat, young and strong and just married. 

Still looking for that perfect Christmas present? 

BUY A PAINTING! Check out the available paintings on my website, jacobson arts.  If you find something you like, there's still time to get it in the mail. And I'm happy to make you a gift certificate in any amount you'd like. 

CALIFORNIA CALLING BOOK! It's 54 pages long, and starts at $22.79 for softcover. I got a note from Blurb this morning offering discounts, too. If you buy two books, use the code 2PLUS, and get 20 percent off. Three or more, use the code 5PLUS and get 30 percent off. These offers are good through Dec. 19. Click here! 

CALIFORNIA CALLING CALENDAR! They're 12 months, and $12.99 on Lulu. Each month showcases a painting from my California Calling Painting Extravaganza. It's fun and really pretty. Click here! 

SPONSORSHIPS! My next painting trip takes place in February, and will bring me back to where I spent the first months of my life - For Defiance, AZ. The town is on the Navajo Reservation in the northeast corner of the state, a gorgeous, amazing area that will be a rich painting subject. Sponsorships start at $50, and go as high as you'd like. Click here for more info and to choose a sponsorship. If you give one as a gift, I'll make you a nice gift certificate that you can print and give. 


The woman who bought this painting from me had been looking for a painting for that spot for years. It's the first thing you see when you walk into her house. I am honored that my painting is hanging in this special spot. 

Dog of the Day
Who would guess that this sweet-looking cat is a warrior? 

Last night, Abby (below), who weighs 70 lbs and stands 3 feet high, snapped at Puffy, the sweet-looking cat above. Puffy, who had been sitting on the arm of the couch, jumped off. She ran about 4 feet away, sat down and licked her paw, then jumped back up on the arm of the couch and proceeded to hiss and spit at Abby, and was going to attack her, until Peter stopped it. I was laughing too hard. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Autumn in Tennessee - and a Change in the Palette

Autumn in Tennessee
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
Please email me if you'd like to buy this painting! 

I'm in the middle of collecting an inventory of all the paintings I made in 2014. I'm up to June, and I'm in the 75-80 range. I have a whole bunch in a folder on my desktop that I haven't posted, and it's time to get busy with that! 

So here is one from November in Tennessee. The air was clear and yellow, and though the morning had been chilly, the afternoon bloomed with sudden warmth and brilliant color. I got off the highway and painted this, and then managed to get dreadfully lost. But I made it home. 

The paint on the yellow tree in the center is very thick, very bright. The tree shimmers in my painting just as it did on the side of the road there. I like this one. 

Sometimes I think I like autumn best of all. 

THERE'S REALLY NOTHING nothing I'd rather do than paint, and with each painting, I think I learn something. I try to try something new with each one, even if it's something small - and then I pay attention to see how that thing changes the painting, my outlook, the outcome. 

I listened to an online talk yesterday, and one idea that came up was that to save time, you should arrange your palette so that the colors you use most are closest to you. It might be only a fraction of a second that you save, but those fractions add up. So I did. It was a bit alarming to have a different arrangement of colors - but it made me think about them all anew. Interesting. 

And yes, I have thought about using fewer colors. Every once in a while, I do. But I love having all these colors! Love it! 

Dog of the Day

Here's Patch, the kitty who lives with the wonderful woman 
who cuts my hair. Patch is a riot! A smart, funny cat, 
Patch amuses me every time I visit.  
Want your pet to be the dog of the day? 
Send a jpg to me at

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Poppies on Black

Poppies on Black
Oil on black canvas, 16x16

With my penchant for leaving paintings unfinished, or to put it another way, leaving the canvas showing, I got to this point with this painting and I just fell in love with it. Several people urged me to "finish" it. The black was too much, too distracting, too dark - but I just couldn't. Well, I just didn't want to, that was really it.

So I hung it, like this, in the show in Houston - and it sold. A woman came by the first day, and then came back later. She couldn't get it out of her head, she said. And the black, the drama of it, was part of what intrigued her. 

Before I began painting, I thought I knew who I was. I mean, I was in my 50s, after all. I had a successful career, a secure marriage, a happy home life. I was intellectually, physically and spiritually active. I'd done some stuff, seen some things, been some places. 

Now, I see that while I might have known who I was for the situations I was in, I really had very little idea of who I was deep down. There was lots of stuff in the way. 

These days, I am on a journey of discovery. I'm clearing the stuff out, keeping what's important, tossing the rest. I have an increasingly clear idea of who I am, and am increasingly happy with the person I'm seeing. 

Paintings like this - and all the decisions that go into them - are part of the process. 

In Place

Here are two of my sunflower paintings in an incredibly beautiful display
 in the home of friends who are also collectors. One is 36x48, I believe, 
and the other is 36x72. I do wake up at night sometimes worrying 
that they will fall, but my friends insist that 
the paintings are safe and secure. Don't they look fantastic? 


Dog of the Day
It's Zeus, dog about town, at the Wachapreague 
Christmas celebration Saturday night.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spine of the Earth - and Me Vs. Target

 Spine of the Earth
Oil on canvas, 18x24

I've made this painting a few times now, and every time I make it, I think it gets better - and more interesting.

The original painting was a plein-air piece I made on Ocracoke Island, off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was on the way home from that trip that I stumbled into Wachapreague. That detour started a series of events that involved me quitting my job at, and ended with us moving to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

I went to the Outer Banks that October thinking that I wanted to paint the ocean, and the place where the ocean met the sand. Instead, I found myself mesmerized by the dunes. They rose and fell like breathing. Pulsed like the earth dancing. Shifted and churned like waves turned nearly solid. The wind blew hard the entire time I was on the Outer Banks and Ocracoke, and I could see it sculpting the dunes, carving them, moving them, grain by grain by grain.

I loved the wild romp of colors, the bright, sun-glinting sand, the deep maroon of some beachy scrub, a million shades of green and gold and tan in the grasses, and all of it churning and swirling and waving in the wind.

Every time I approach this painting again, I capture more and more of that feeling. I see more colors, feel more pulses, paint the wind and sky and rhythmic dunes with more verve and more abandon. Perhaps next fall, I'll go back to the Outer Banks and paint on site again.

LOOKING FOR INSPIRED Christmas/ Hanukkah presents? Why not buy them from me? I'll appreciate it so much more than Target or Macy's ever would.

For $12.99, you can get a really nice 2015 calendar showcasing 12 of my California Calling paintings. Click here to go to the Lulu site, where you can buy a calendar or 10.  

For $22.79 and up, you can get a book of my writings and paintings from the California Calling Painting Extravaganza. Click here to go to the Blurb site, where you can see all the options and buy a book or two. 

For $50 and up, you can sponsor my upcoming painting trip, the Origins trip. I'll be going back to Fort Defiance, AZ, where I spent my first couple years, and I'll paint the land in and around the town. There are a whole bunch of options, and I promise you will love the blog and the paintings I make! Click here to go to the Jacobson Arts website, where you can find out more, and become a sponsor.

And finally, you can always buy a painting from me, or give a gift certificate for a regular painting or a pet portrait. Check out the Jacobson Arts website, or drop me an email at, to find out more.

Dog of the Day

When I was in Winnsboro, TX, last month I went out painting early one morning. Afterwards, I drove around the neighborhood, just to see a little more. There was pretty much no traffic - just this one truck driving down the drive and out toward the road.... with the farm dog racing alongside. He went as far as the mailbox, then stopped, watched the truck drive away, and headed back toward home.