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 ( 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,

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 (  If you want to buy one, please email me at, 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, 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

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Zion Pines

Zion Pines / oil on black canvas, 14x14
$175 road price, $225 gallery price

I spent two days in Zion National Park, painting like crazy, and propping my jaw shut, again and again. It is an astonishing place, filled with beauty and power and color and pattern as I have never seen. I made lots of paintings and took tons of photographs, and truly, only ripped myself away because of the call of Cedar Breaks, Bryce, Canyonlands and Capital Reef.                                                                                                                                  Also, on the Friday I was there (Columbus Day weekend), the park was very, very crowded. Thursday, I had no trouble parking and setting up to paint. Friday, it was 10 times more difficult.                                                                                                                                            At one spot, a busload of Japanese tourists pulled in behind me, and more or less surrounded me. Too many people, too much talking, too much picture-taking, too close. 

My paintings from the trip so far are up on the Utah Painting Trip page of my website, Jacobson Arts. ( Four have already sold! The road prices are lower than the studio/gallery prices will be when I return. 

I'm working on connecting the page through PayPal, but am not there yet. So, if you see one that you want, please email me at, message me through Facebook, or call or text me at 860-442-0246. I am in places without much cell phone connection, just fyi. 

Best Friends

JUST OUTSIDE KANAB, Utah, stands one of the great testaments to human endeavor and heart. It is Best Friends, a large and beautifully run animal sanctuary, rescue and adoption center.  Find it online at

Peter and I have donated money to Best Friends over the years, and it's one of the recipients of my 101 Dogs project. My mother gave money to the group, too, and would call me up when the magazine arrived, and ooh and ah with me, and we'd discuss the dogs and cats and other animals and people profiled there. 

Visiting, I felt my mom was with me. That, and the mission of the place - Save Them All - brought me to tears. But I got through it, and on Friday morning, took a tour of Dog Town. The photos below are from that tour. 

You can give money to Best Friends, you can visit, you can even volunteer. It seems like a beautiful and purposeful organization, one that's well worth your time and energy, and maybe even your money. Please take a look! 


The dog above had just arrived, and was in the new registration building (I think that's what it was called). It's a state of the art shelter, with tempered glass doors instead of cages, natural light that comes in through skylights, individual temperature controls for each run, and tons of other features. I was paying more attention to the dogs than to the description, I admit! 

Above and below, Iggy. He is a deaf pit bull, who is an ambassador for Best Friends, and for the dogs in the difficult-to-adopt area. Iggy's handler works on understanding those difficult dogs, and training them to make them more adoptable. 

These three pups were allowed into a puppy play room to greet all of us on the tour. The room has pretty much everything you'd find in a house - but the couch is hard plastic and indestructible. There's a vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, mirror, stairs, refrigerator, coffee maker - anything a puppy might encounter in a regular home. 

Dog of the Day

Take your pick! 

A Final Thought

"I've been driven all my life by a spirit of adventure and a criminal level of optimism." 

- Quincy Jones

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

From White Sands to Red Earth

White Sands / 10x10 /  sold

It's Wednesday, and I'm in Tubac, AZ, where my dad and stepmother live. My brother and sister came out, and we celebrated Dad's 90th birthday at a very fun party on Saturday evening. Laurie has gone back to Connecticut, and Rand and I leave in a couple hours, him for Connecticut and me for Utah. 
I'm so excited about seeing the red mountains, the spires, the big open sky, and painting there! I'll post my paintings here on the blog, on my website - Jacobson Arts - and on Facebook - (                                                                                                  Just FYI, because of the vagaries of blog publishing and emailing, the paintings will probably appear here last. 
When you see the one you want, email me at, message me via Facebook, or text or call me at 860-442-0246. First one to offer to buy the painting gets it. The paintings will be priced lower while I am on the trip than they will be when I get home. And they will run from about $35 to about $500. 

I've never tried to sell more or less live, on the road, so this is an experiment for me, too! If you have ideas as we go along about how to make the process more efficient, more fun, more enjoyable, please let me know. 

Thoughts from the Road

I LOVE LOOKING at the landscape, the towns, the cities, the signs, as I travel and thinking about what kind of people live in these places, and how they view their lives and environment. 
I like "Will Rogers World Airport." It could have been "International Airport," 
but Oklahoma City chose "World." 

Below, Daylight Donuts in Atkins, Arkansas, where - thank heavens! - you can get expresso.

Turning 90

Above, there's Dad in the pink shirt, listening to my brother give a little speech, below right. Below left, Paula, my stepmother. 

Dog of the Day

It's Tanner, who lives with friends and collectors here in Arizona. 
He's a great dog, and usually walks around with a toy in his mouth. Adorable! 

A Final Thought

"The idea is more important than the object." 

- Damien Hirst