Tuesday, December 18, 2018

One More Wrinkle

September Song Reprise
Oil on black canvas, 10x10, $125
Please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com if you want this painting! 

So, to add another dimension to the musings in the most recent post, here's a "regular" painting of the same scene as the loose mosaic of "September Song."  Your thoughts? 

My thoughts have swirled around the concept of just painting, however I feel like painting on any given day, at any given moment, and if the one painting is completely different in style and approach from the one before it or the one to follow, well, so be it. I will do what I can to make my booth at shows look like a crazy person didn't set it up, and aside from that, just do what calls out to be done. 

I had another idea, too - I have a solo show in July at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, and I am contemplating doing three views of each scene that I paint - a "regular" painting, a mosaic and an abstract. I am pretty excited about this idea! I'll let you know more as the process progresses. 

Dog of the Day

Peter and I were heading out yesterday when we saw something in the road, down Bayview. A piece of newspaper? A box? Nope - it was Dave Shields's dog, whose name I think is Lola, though perhaps it's something out. Dave is working on a house down there, and the dog was tied to something, but loosely enough that she could lay in the sunshine out in the road. That's the kind of town Wachapreague is. Dogs can - and do - nap in the roads here.

A Final Thought

"Art is born of humiliation."

- W. H. Auden

Monday, December 17, 2018

Three Mosaics

"Map of My Heart"
Oil on black canvas, 36x36
Please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com for price and availability

I STUMBLED INTO "mosaic" painting early this year, and have spent a lot of time and energy on these paintings. A year later, I find myself loving - and questioning - them. 

What I love: 
  • They call to me.  I find myself seeing the landscape in bits and pixels, focusing on how to build these daubed landscapes, being drawn more and more to views that can be painted in this way (it is not every landscape, I'm finding). 
  • They contain some magic, in the making and in the viewing. I can look at one of these big pieces forever, and find myself drawn in by them, by the colors, the patterns, the repetition, the rhythm, the movement through the canvas. 

What I question: 
  • It takes forever to make them. 
  • It is physically difficult. My poor shoulder resents these paintings and the uncountable number of daubs and strokes required. 
  • I have to ask high prices for them (see above!) 

And... in the end... a little voice sometimes says - "Just Paint." Quit finessing, quit this focus on method, quit daubing, just load up the knife, make long, loose, free strokes, Just Paint. 

This is a serious quandary, and I would love any feedback you'd like to give me. 

I have started a further experiment, with these two smaller pieces. They are looser, faster, less involved, less planned. The strokes are larger, the margins less fussy, the effect - I think - entirely different. What do you think? 

Autumn Hillside, 10x10, $150

September Song, 10x10, $150

Dog of the Day

Saw this trio in Onancock last week. Ho ho ho! 

A Final Thought

"What is art? Nature concentrated."

- Honore de Balzac

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Windy Day on Assateague

Windy Day in Assateague, 12x24
oil on canvas
Please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com for price and availability

IT WAS A FREAKISHLY warm day in November, and my friend Susan McGuire and I headed out to Assateague to paint. 

When I was painting in the national parks out west, I bought a National Parks pass - $85 and I am in, for the rest of my life! 

If you are 62 or older, that's what it costs, and I think that's a great deal. It costs $35 to get into most national parks, so if you plan on going to three before you die, it's a smart purchase. Like a "duh" purchase. 

It was windy in Assateague, as it usually is, and we used my giant van as a mobile wind break. We had a great time, made a few paintings, and managed to leave town without stopping at the Creamery, for the best ice cream on Earth. Usually, I'd say the Creamery ice cream is worth every calorie, but this time, we were just too cold and wind-blown. 

I'll have this painting, along with 2019 Wachapreague calendars, a book of paintings from 2018, and some other Eastern Shore pieces with me on Saturday at the Historic Onancock School, 6 College Ave., Onancock, for a little show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Susan will be there with her beautiful paintings, and my friend Carol Baney will be there, too, with her steam-punk watch jewelry. I think we'll all have fun!  

New Mosaic Painting

HERE'S A DAY-BY-DAY, step-by-step view of how I make a mosaic painting. 

As you can see, it's slow going. Each day, I spent hours on this painting. I think it's going to be spectacular - but it's a slog, that's for sure. 

Sometimes, especially when I am rejected from show after show, as I have been in recent weeks, I wonder if the mosaic approach is wrong-headed, if it focuses too much on style over substance. 

But I think all art is, in the end, at least a little bit about style - otherwise, we would all paint the same, and would have all painted the same since time immemorial. 

These paintings call to me. They pull at my heart and my imagination, and so I think that they must be valid, they must be appealing, they must be as much about substance as style. 

What do you think? 

Dog of the Day

He came to my most recent show, and he was friendly enough, 
but a little scared - like so many people I know! 

A Final Thought

"Art, when inspired with love, leads to higher realms. 
Love art, and that art will open for you the inner life." 

- Meher Baba

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph
Oil on black canvas, 18x18 
Please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com for price and availability

THIS IS AN interesting time of the year for me, and probably for many painters. I have one, maybe two shows, coming up, but that's it until 2019. 

So far, I've only been rejected by shows I've applied for next year. That's daunting - but par for the course. A number of top shows, ones that I haven't cracked - YET - make their decisions late in the year. 

I am working hard on 101 Dogs project paintings, and am pleased to say that I can see the end of the project. 

But that's it. This is the one time in the year when I can experiment, try stuff that might or might not work, and paint without the pressure of immediate deadlines. It's also the one time in the year when I can kick back a little and maybe not work every single day. And I've been enjoying both paths. 

The Chief Joseph paintings are part of the experimental phase. So far, no one likes them except me, and Eastern Shore artist Bethany Simpson. Everyone else's responses run from "meh," to "Ick." But I love them, and am going to try one more before I move on. 

What do you think? 

Cool New Stuff! 

YES! THE 2019 WACHAPREAGUE calendar is ready, with 12 paintings by me. (You can see them all on the "available" page of the Jacobson Arts website.)

The calendars are $20 each, including shipping - or you can get them at Seaside Art & Antiques, Main Street, Wachapreague; or The Book Bin, in the Rose's shopping plaza, in Onley, VA. 

I will be at the Historic Onancock School on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., as part of the Eastern Shore Artisans Guild Holiday Tour - and I will have calendars and, I hope, books, with me. 

The books are $25 each. They are softcover books, 8 inches by 8 inches, and contain more than 40 of my 2018 paintings - from the Eastern Shore, Newfoundland and Utah. 

Dog of the Day
I want to go where they're going! 

A Final Thought

"Art is our memory of love. The most an artist can do through their work is say, 'Let me show you what I have seen, what I have loved, and perhaps you will see it and love it, too.'"

- Annie Bevan

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Red Canyon

Red Canyon, 10x10, road price, $110

I AM ON MY WAY HOME, with hesitations. A big snow and sleet storm was heading into Colorado as I was also heading into Colorado, and I thought that I could outrun it. So I skipped Canyonlands and Arches national parks, and headed east. 

Sadly, I didn't outrun the storm, and ended up spending Sunday in Limon, Colorado, waiting for the sleet, snow and 40-mph wind to end.                                                                        Even though I didn't beat the storm, I'm thankful that I left when I did. Interstate 70 from Utah to Denver is a scary road, climbing to over 10,000 feet, a couple times, passing Vail and Breckenridge and Copper Mountain, and feeling entirely too high for my comfort.                                                                            There was a time when I loved mountains, and snow and winter and cold, and now I am finding that I just don't. 

As a younger person, I skied, and loved it. Peter and I drove the mountains in Idaho, and lived in Maine, and skied in both places - and pretty much loved all of it, though that feeling was waning, during the final years of Maine. 

Now, I find I feel hemmed in by mountains, uneasier as the elevation rises, and unhappy when the wind is blowing bitter snow and ice at me. Maybe this is just me getting old, or maybe it's me getting wimpy, or maybe it's me turning into a Virginian. Whatever it is, I was glad to be out of the mountains and into the rolling wheat fields of eastern Colorado. 

And I am happy to be heading home. Canyonlands and Arches will be there in the future. 

This has been a great painting trip, and I'm delighted with my pieces. The paintings from the trip are all up on the Utah Painting Trip page of the Jacobson Arts website

Email me (carrieBjacobson@gmail.com) if you'd like to buy one! The prices will go up when I get home. 

Carl's Critter Garden
THE CRITTER GARDEN is in Hanksville, Colorado, one of those towns that leaves me wondering.  The population was 219 in the most recent census, and it is empty miles from anywhere. Where do they get their groceries? Do their banking? Buy nails and shoes and radios? 

Dog of the Day

I met this beauty while I was painting in Escalante, Utah. 
His mom, Jo Anne Lavender, is a wonderful artist, and we had a great time talking art and dogs and beautiful landscapes. You can see her work at her website, joannelavender.com

A Final Thought

"Art is about paying attention." 

- Laurie Anderson

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Stormy Morning, Capital Reef

Stormy Morning, Capital Reef / oil on canvas, 20x24 / road price $400

Another painter, hearing I was heading to Utah, tipped me to Capital Reef National Park.  I'd never even heard the name of the park, let alone seen photos or known the slightest thing about it. I am so thankful to that painter - Cynthia Rosen, whose work is amazing. 

Capital Reef is about 240,000 acres. It's 60 miles long and about 6 wide. Franklin Roosevelt dedicated it as a national monument in 1937, and it opened to the public in 1950. It was made a national park in 1971. According to Wikipedia, a president may name any land owned by the federal government a national monument; generally, the land will contain objects of historical, cultural and/or scientific interest. National parks are created by Congress, and the focus there is more on scenic and inspirational beauty.

In my painting trips, I generally stay away from preserved lands, but out here in Utah, I've gone in. Mostly, I've been delighted, though I find I rail against the proscribed views that prevail, particularly in Bryce and the southern half of Zion. A thing I like very much about Capital Reef is that I could pull off and set up and paint pretty much anywhere. 

Also, the land's beauty is not contained in the park. Some of my favorite paintings this trip, like all the ones in this posting, I made just outside the parks. 

All of my paintings from this trip are for sale, and at a discount while I'm on the road. To see them all, please visit the Utah Painting Trip page of the Jacobson Arts website (http://jacobson-arts.com).  If you want to buy one, please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com, or txt me at 860-442-0246. Cell service where I am is pretty much nonexistent; I'll get back to you as soon as I can! 

Morning in Teasdale, 10x10, road price $110


PEOPLE OFTEN COME up to me while I'm painting, and this trip has been no different. 

Outside Bryce, while I was painting on a canvas, with oils, a woman came up and asked if I was sketching. 

Outside Capital Reef, a couple Asian women came up and asked if they could look at my painting. "It looks very good from across the road," one of them said, standing about 2 feet away from the finished canvas. "Are you going to fix it all when you get home?" the other asked. Sigh. 

The two men above are a father- and son-in-law from Antwerp, Belgium. They rented an RV and are traveling the western parks for three weeks. They - like me - were astounded at the mind-blowing beauty of the parks. And they reminded me that there's nowhere else on Earth like the western United States. 

And that is my biggest takeaway from this trip. I urge you - go see these places! Yes, it is worth it. You will see mountains and valleys, heights and depths, soil and rocks and formations and animals, colors and places and scenery that you could never imagine. 


Dogs of the Day

I saw these cowboys and, I believe, five dogs, on the road at about 10,000 feet, between Boulder and Torrey. They were bringing cattle down from their summer grazing areas to the winter ones, and there were loose cows all over the road, the entire way. The dogs were working hard, and I bet the cowboys were, too. 

A Final Thought

"Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us."

- Roy Adzak

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hurricane, Utah

Outside Hurricane, Utah
Oil on canvas, 18x18, road price $300

I left Kanab on a rainy morning, and headed north toward Cedar Breaks National Monument.

As I drove, the road began to climb and the temperature began to drop. I knew that Cedar Breaks was above 10,000 feet - but it was 42 degrees. I would be OK. This rain would not become snow.

I was so very wrong.

Not only did it become snow, it became a raging blizzard, snowing so heavily that I could barely see. It piled up on the trees, the volcanic rocks that oddly are found at Cedar Breaks. It piled up on the road, my windshield, even on the signs warning me that I was about to start a sinewy, 10-mile downhill with grades running from 4 percent to 8 percent.

I gritted my teeth, went slowly and made it to Cedar City, where I stayed for three nights, until the snowstorm cleared the mountains. All the roads I wanted to travel went above 10,000 feet - and at those elevations, even in October, it was snowing like crazy.

One of the days, I ventured along a flat, low highway to St. George, where it was sunny and in the 50s. Just off the road, I made this painting, and enjoyed every warm, sunshine-filled moment of it.

Before the Storm
Before the Storm / 10x10 / Road price $110

I made this one on the road toward Cedar Breaks. It was raining and snowing and icing so heavily, though, that I had to finish it afterwards. I didn't get photos of this snow - I was too busy gripping the wheel.

If you want to buy either of these, please email me at carrieBjacobson@gmail.com, or text me at 860-442-0246. To see more paintings from my Utah trip, please check the Utah Painting Trip page on the Jacobson Arts website

Dog of the Day

It's Lily! 

A Final Thought
"It was an ever clearer and deeply moving experience of oneness with the spirit of the whole land. It was this spirit which dictated, guided and instructed us how the land should be painted."

- Lawren Harris

Near Best Friends

Near Best Friends
Oil on canvas, 6x12 / $75 road price, $100 gallery/studio price

This is the first Utah painting I made - at the junction of Route 89 and the road that goes to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

I loved the way the little building nearly disappeared into the rock face behind it, same colors, same reflections, same sense of solidity.
And I love the way the different layers of rock swirled through the face, their colors streaked in swirling strata of light and dark, all under a bridge of deep orange.

This is a small painting, 6x12, on a regular type of canvas, not the deeper gallery-wrap I usually use. I've painted around the sides, so it doesn't need to be framed, though it could.

Cowboy Up! 

I've been looking for cowboys as long as I've been coming out West, and I finally saw one! Well, I've seen them around - in diners, in Office Max, in the grocery store - but I finally saw one working, herding cows. It was so exciting! He was twirling a lariat, above the heads of the cattle to shoo them along. He was whistling, too, a high-pitched whistle to alert the cows. He had a small dog along, who was working hard to corral the strays - and doing a great job, too! I'm going to make paintings from these photographs when I get home. 

Dog of the Day

It's the little guy who was helping the cowboy. 

A Final Thought

"Paintings come out of themselves." 

- Lawren Harris

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Zion Lines

Zion Lines / oil on canvas, 6x6

This is a formation that absolutely fascinates me, and which I will probably paint again, in spite of the fact that I have made two paintings of it already. I love the sweep and curve of the rocks, the tension of fluidity and stasis - and the amazing colors, on top of it all. 

Zion National Park, which was where I was painting, seems to sort itself into two parts - one from the Kanab, Utah-side entrance to the big tunnel in the middle, and the other, from the tunnel to Springdale. The first part is filled with close-knit rock formations, patterned with stripes and swirls, layers of rock carved by wind and water and the passing of centuries. 

The second part of the park, with the Springdale terminus, seems to be more monumental, with incredibly huge cliffs, rock faces and formations towering hundreds, if not thousands, of feet above the roads. There is a third section, but you had to take a shuttle to see it, and I just didn't have the time. 

I liked the first part far better than the second, though both amazed me, both stunned my eyes, both left me speechless and in awe. 

My paintings from Utah are all for sale - and I will continue to post them as I go. They're cheaper if you buy them while I am traveling! I hope to start painting again Monday, when the snow stops falling and the roads are no longer icy (more on this, next posting). You can find the paintings by clicking here to reach the Utah Painting Trip page of the Jacobson Arts website! 

Cowboy Bunkhouse

MUCH TO MY surprise and disappointment, when I checked the hotels in Kanab, the town closest to Zion National Park, they were mostly full - and all, expensive.

Then I found the Cowboy Bunkhouse, which proclaims itself a Western hostel. Rooms go from $35 to $75 a night, depending on number of beds and whether there's an en-suite bathroom, toilet or nothing. Showers are shared, for the most part. Two kitchens are also shared. 

The price was right, and I've happily stayed in hostels before, so I thought I'd try it. 

The building started as a hospital, and then later was expanded to become a school for kids who needed an alternative to regular school. I admit, I was a little skeptical when I pulled up, but as soon as I went inside, I was charmed. 

The place was clean and neat and very fun. The cowboy theme is everywhere - but in this place, the regular cowboy is celebrated, more than the movie-star cowboys whose many films were made in and around Kanab. Rooms are named after towns where the cattle trails and railroads met, or  after real-life cowboys or cowgirls. 

I stayed in the Connie Douglas room, and I admit I'd never heard her name! She was thought to be America's oldest cowgirl, and led an interesting life. You can find out more about her here

I ended up spending three nights at the Cowboy Bunkhouse, and I recommend it highly. Most of the people staying there were Europeans - and all the people on the work-barter program there were, too. The others, generally, were senior citizens. Interesting. 

The staffers eat dinner together at the Bunkhouse, above. 
Below, one of the hallways, with cowboy-life decorations.

Above, some of the guests at the Bunkhouse. 
Below, the woman who owns and runs it, with her husband.

Above, the tail end of breakfast, which comes with the room.
Below, the building has that 1960s institutional look. 

Dog of the Day

Zara was staying at the Cowboy Bunkhouse! She's a two-month-old husky, who raced around, playing, biting fingers, greeting everyone - and then, wham, collapsed into puppy exhaustion. 

A Final Thought

"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." 

- Will Rogers