Thursday, January 30, 2020

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping

I LIKE HAWKS. And my maiden name was Cooper, so this seemed like a good hawk to choose as my first one. 

It won't be the last one. I have seen a bunch of hawks on this trip, big ones as well as kestrels, and I have fond memories of a red-shouldered hawk couple that nested - noisily - in the trees along our driveway in Connecticut. 

I loved hearing them squawk and grumble. Then, it was a delight to see and hear the young hawks in the nest, and watch the parents bring them food. 

Then one day, I was looking at the window and saw one of the hawk babies, down on the ground, sort of walking, or stomping. Worried that we had a developmentally disabled hawk baby on our hands, I called to Peter and made him come look. 

He knew that we were watching the baby hawk learn to hunt. And indeed, we were. In a while, he got a worm or a bug or something, and the next day, we saw him soar down from a tree branch and successfully hunt some little mouse or vole. 

For Today

BIRDS HAVE RELATIVELY large eyes compared to mammals. In general, birds' eyes are around twice the size (relative to body size) of those of mammals. 

The relative size of a bird's eyes varies from species to species. The birds with the largest eyes relative to body size are eagles, falcons and owls. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Roadrunner / oil on canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68, including shipping

AS I WRITE THIS, I am halfway through Texas. I've watched the landscape go from the flat, open plains of the Eastern Shore to the winter-scrubbed mountains of Tennessee, to rain-swollen, mud-filled rivers and bayous in Mississippi and Louisiana, to the still-green hills of eastern Texas. Today, I will find myself in dry, brown mountains and then flat, open plains, making some sort of a full circle before I see the mountains of New Mexico and the red soil of Arizona.

Two days ago, I found myself looking at a ramshackle, junk-strewn, chicken-filled yard of a trailer in a think forest near a stream in Mississippi, and wondering what life was like there, what it felt like to live in that trailer, eat eggs from those chickens, watch your dog drag mud into your house every day from that creek - and I realized that this is why I needed this trip so desperately. 

I needed to wonder, to think, to look outside myself. I needed this trip to wrench my focus off my own life, my own loss, my own circumstances. I needed to force myself to look beyond my own needs, and see something different, something new, something other than my world. 


For Today

Born Again

You can't trust oblivion.

In the Serious Mountains,
a hidden lake, utterly still
is swept suddenly by rain. 

Crow hops out of no crow
and eats the diamond -
countless births, countless deaths.

Sky brims over with sky,
Wind harrows the grasses,
River narrows and quickens,
stronger than the strongest swimmer.

It's only March, and already
the pear blossoms are falling.

Just remember this -
you weren't the one 
who wanted a separate being.

You are the frail wing, rescuing love
from love's faceless mirror. 

- Michael Hannon
From "A Bird Black as the Sun"

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Raven / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68


I AM MAKING MY slow way west, driving toward Arizona and a few weeks with my father and stepmother. By now, I have friends around Tubac, also, and am looking forward to seeing all these people - and some other friends, too, from the east - jewelers going to the big gem show in Tucson. 

Mostly, I am looking forward, honestly, to escaping my life for a little while. I will never escape the memories of Peter - and I don't want to - but he never visited Tubac.

 I will not walk into the kitchen and see the ghost of him there, looking out the window. Never lie down on the couch in the evening and look over, expecting to see him on the other couch. In Arizona, I will not walk out into the yard and see him - almost visible, almost palpable - playing with Doc, or sitting in the chair petting Koko, or puttering with his potted plants. 

Meantime, I am missing my dogs terribly. The dog-sitter is there, and making friends with everyone - walking them and playing with them and snuggling with them - and they've probably forgotten all about me. But I am missing them. 


For Today

"If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there might be something wrong with your life." 

- Roger Caras

Monday, January 27, 2020


Flight / oil on canvas / 5x7/ unframed / $68


IN THIS GRAY, dark time, I have found myself seeking anything that looks like hope. Reaching for anything that feels like a promise. Grabbing onto any shred of light and calling it sunshine. I know I am doing this, transforming what might be into what could be, what must be. I know that I have been trying all sorts of things, searching for answers and peace in all sorts of places, assigning them importance and then leaving them behind when they turn out to be just something shiny. 

But a few days ago, early in the morning, when dark was just softening into dawn, I heard the song of a spring bird - I don't know what - I didn't try to figure it out - didn't try to nail it down - I just listened and let the sweet, short song raise me with it, and let me think of spring and colors and the brightening of the days. 

For Today

"Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again, fairer and stronger." 

- Hugh Macmillan

Fancy Cardinal

Fancy Cardinal / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68, including shipping

I PAINTED THIS fancy cardinal a few weeks ago, on one of the few warm and sunny days we had this winter in Wachapreague. Friends gathered on the back porch of Seaside Art and Antiques, the store my friend Pat Hart owns in Wachapreague, and painted together, and talked and laughed and shared the afternoon.

At one point, I knew the name of the fancy cardinal, but I seem to have forgotten it. The name that came up when I googled it was pyrrhuloxia, but my brain says that's not it. Do any of you know? 

For Today

I AM ON my way to Arizona, and enjoying watching the landscape and the towns and all the funny signs. Here's one I saw near Birmingham, Alabama. The small print reads, "We repair what your husband fixed." 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing / Oil on black canvas / unframed / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

WHEN WE LIVED IN MAINE (Bolster's Mills, in southwest Maine, near Bridgton), we had tons of birds all year round. Peter and I loved watching them, and that was where he started his life list. I found his field guide the other day, and there was his list of all the birds he saw during his life. 

One of his favorites, and mine, too, was the cedar waxwing. We'd get them in the fall, and not many of them, but they were reliably perennial, lighting on some tree that had orangey-red berries. They always looked like robber birds, with those dark masks across their faces. They were greedy and funny and noisy and brash, and they made us laugh, every time.


I AM DELIGHTED to let you all know that I now have three patrons! These are folks who've gone to my Blue Sky Patronage Page on the Jacobson Arts website, and enrolled in a program to give me money every month, much as patrons of the arts did in times gone by. 

A couple years ago, The New York Times had an interesting article on a small re-emergence of the patronage concept. Working with my prosperity coach, Joe Skelley, I'd already started my program, but I was happy to see that I was in good company. 

My patrons get some rewards for this, but none of these folks is doing this for the rewards. They're doing it because they believe in me and want to help make it possible for me to continue to make art. Isn't that amazing? I am grateful beyond measure. 

For Today

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show." 

- Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Peter's Birthday Crow

Peter's Birthday Crow / Oil on canvas / unframed / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

TODAY, PETER WOULD HAVE TURNED 73. We would not have had much of a celebration, because he never liked parties. But I would have bought and wrapped presents for him, and set them out on the coffee table, probably with a vase of flowers from the grocery store, our favorite (and only) florist.

I'd have been up since 5, and he'd have gotten up at 8:30 or so. I'd have waited a couple hours for him to be awake enough, and then I'd have made a fresh pot of coffee, and he and the dogs and I would gather in the living room, and he'd have opened his presents, a little embarrassed - yes, even after all these years - at being excited by the whole process. 

Then he'd have gone off and done whatever he did during the days, and I'd have done the same, then I'd have cooked him whatever dinner he wanted, and probably made some gluten-free brownies to stand in as his cake (he always wanted me to be able to share in the food celebrations). And then, tomorrow or the next day, I'd have left for Arizona, and watched him waving goodbye as I drove off. 

It's been 105 days since he died, and today, I celebrate his life, his living, his beautiful spirit and huge heart. How he loved me! And how he loved our daughter, and her family, and our dogs, and our life together. I celebrate his art, his humor, his writing, his constant reading and learning. I celebrate that he lived the life he wanted to live, and chose to share it with me. 

Today, to celebrate Peter, I hope you will celebrate your own love. Husband, wife, child, parent, dog, fish, whatever. Honor him, or her, or them, and the life you have, the path you're walking,  smooth or rough, flat or steep. Rejoice, just for today, just for a moment, that you are walking it together. 

For Today

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." 

- Chinese proverb

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Crow on a Post

Crow on a Post / Oil on black canvas /  5x7 / unframed / $68


I USE A DAILY PLANNER, a paper one, in addition to Alexa, a wall calendar, emailed reminders, notes to myself, etc. And now that Peter has died, I am relying even more on my planner. 

So I bought a special one this year, a vision-board kind of planner made by Inner Guide. It is quite a tree-hugger-zen-hoo-ha-Birkenstock kind of thing, and I really love it. Each week's two-page spread has an area to list priorities, a reminder to stay on track, a place to write gratitudes, etc. There's a monthly intention area, as well as a look-back and assessment of the previous month. 

And at the start, there's a series of questions to answer, intentions to set and decisions to make. The first question - and it stopped me in my tracks - was "What do you value most in life?" 

It took me days to answer - and I answered "My family." 

Friends had other ideas. One said "art," another said "God," and another said "health." 

What do you value most in life?  

For Today

YEARS AGO, MURDERS of crows (big flocks) roosted just outside of towns. Now, they often roost in cities. To find out why, and more about their roosting habits, click here. 

Here is a poem about crows roosting. I found it in a piece on "A Bird Black as the Sun," a collection of poems about crows and ravens, by California poets. 

Black Birds

When the crows come
black against the darkening sky
their wings obscure the sun
and small sounds drown
in their strident caws.

They storm the walnut tree
snatch the green fruit
drop it from great heights
retrieve the cracked kernels.

Again and again they dive
From tree to ground
feathers gleaming
where stray sunrays touch.

And when the mountains turn blue
with the haze of eening
the crows life off in ebony formation
head toward some secret roost 
where they blend into the night. 

- Lisl auf der Heide

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Sparrow / Oil on black canvas / unframed / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


AS I AM SITTING HERE in the kitchen, posting this painting of this plain little sparrow (who I think is adorable), The Today Show folks are talking about the no-longer-Prince Harry and no-longer-Princess Megan. 

For some reason, I begin to wonder if maybe, at one point, sparrows were the royalty of the bird world, and then they turned it down, walked away, leaving the glory to the eagles and cardinals and the other big, flashy, famous birds. 

And now, they are just happy to be sparrows. 

Seems possible, doesn't it? 


FOR THOSE OF YOU who receive this blog by email, I apologize about the illegibility of the  Martin Luther King Jr. speech yesterday. If you want to read it - and really, it's worth it - please go to my actual blog - - and you should be able to read it there. It took me forever to get it right on the site - never occurred to me that the emailed version would not change the type and background. Sorry! 

For Today

"Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark."

-Radindranath Tagore

Monday, January 20, 2020

Stern Mr. Cardinal

Stern Mr. Cardinal / oil on black canvas/ unframed / 5x7 / $68

THIS MORNING, MY STOMACH is rolling, and aside from that making me unhappy on general principles, it's making me unhappy because I have so much to do this week, to get ready to leave on Saturday for Arizona.

So instead of fighting to put my own rolling words on the page, I will copy over the beautiful and powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr., whose life we honor today and whose message I hope we honor every day.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. 

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?"

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only."

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Friday, January 17, 2020

Bluebird on the Wing

Bluebird on the Wing / Oil on black canvas / unframed / 5x7 $68


I MYSELF WILL BE on the wing soon, heading to Arizona to spend a few good weeks with my dad and stepmother. I am hoping to encounter sunny days, and warmth - and I know I will be in a landscape I love, and with people who are dear to me. 

I will be posting a bird a day on my trip, if I can find good, safe internet - and will be painting birds while I'm out there. Also while I'm there, I'll be showing and selling my paintings during the Tubac show, Feb. 6-9. I'll be on the patio at Sweet Poppy, near Shelby's on the Tubac Road. 

You, my faithful blog readers, have probably already figured this out, but just in case, the Bird A Day birds show up first here on the blog, if everything works right. Then, I post them on Facebook and, then, if they're still available, on my website, Jacobson Arts. I try to get the blog to SEND at specific times, so that the birds appear in your inboxes before they show up anywhere else, but that seems to be beyond my control. So if you want to have first dibs on the birds, check this blog in the mornings. 

For Today

"Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature - if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you - know that the morning and spring 
of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse."

- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Goldfinch, Oil on black canvas, 5x7, unframed, $68

AT THE HEIGHT OF SUMMER, goldfinches are brilliant bits of color, flitting around the yard. But they're not always that color. In the winter and the spring, they are a dull yellow, almost olive, a color no one would ever describe as "gold." 

Of course, this winter is an especially dark one for me, but truly, I feel that I am much like the goldfinch. Dull in winter. Sapped of color, of energy, of drive. I don't flit, I plod. 

In a week or so, I head to Arizona for a month, to see my dad and Paula, and to do a show - in a different way than usual. During the Tubac show, Feb. 5-9, I will be set up on the patio at Sweet Poppy, 19 Tubac Road, near Shelby's. 

I am hoping that by the time I drive through Texas and New Mexico and Arizona, and spend a week or so in the sun, that I will start to get my golden goldfinch color back. 

For Today

"Fortunately, however, birds don't understand pep talks. Not even St. Francis'. Just imagine, he went on, preaching sermons to perfectly good thrushes and goldfinches and chiff-chaffs! What presumption1 Why couldn't he have kept his mouth shut and let the birds preach to him? "

- Aldous Huxley

Note from me, Carrie - I am a big fan of St. Francis, and I believe that he did let the birds preach to him. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse / oil on black canvas, unframed, 5x7, $68 including shipping





Deep inside, or maybe not so deep, I am 8 years old. 

For Today

Wind is a part of weather we experience all the time, but why does it actually happen? The air will be still one day, and the next, powerful gusts of wind can knock down trees. What is going on here?
The main cause of wind is a little surprising. It’s actually temperature. More specifically, it’s differences in temperature between different areas.

How would temperature differences make the wind blow?

The gases that make up our atmosphere do interesting things as the temperatures change. When gases warm up, the atoms and molecules move faster, spread out, and rise. That’s why steam coming off a pot of boiling water always goes upward. When air is colder, the gases get slower and closer together. Colder air sinks.

The sun warms up the air, but it does so unevenly. Because the sun hits different parts of the Earth at different angles, and because Earth has oceans, mountains, and other features, some places are warmer than others. Because of this, we get pockets of warm air and cold air.

Different temperatures lead to different pressures

Since gases behave differently at different temperatures, that means you also get pockets with high pressure and pockets with low pressure. In areas of high pressure, the gases in the air are more crowded. In low pressure zones, the gases are a little more spread out.
You might think that the warm air would lead to a higher pressure area, but actually the opposite is true. Because warm air rises, it leaves behind an area of low pressure behind it.

Here comes the wind!

Now we’re getting to the part where wind happens. Gases move from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas. And the bigger the difference between the pressures, the faster the air will move from the high to the low pressure. That rush of air is the wind we experience.

But why does the air move at all?

You might be wondering why the air would move from high pressure to low pressure in the first place. This is something that happens in nature all the time: things always try to even out. It’s called diffusion.

Even people do it! When people get onto a bus, do they all sit on the same side of the bus first? Do strangers sit next to each other when there are plenty of open seats? No way. People want to spread out as much as possible.

Next time you feel the wind blow, think about where it’s going, and what temperatures and pressures are causing it to do that.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Crow on Red

Crow on Red / Oil on black canvas, 5x7 unframed/ $68


WHEN PETER WAS A BOY, his father brought home all sorts of animals. Most were babies, many were wounded. Some, Peter thought, had fallen out of their nests, or been pushed out, as they were often not quite right. But Peter always thought his dad was not quite right, and Peter sometimes wondered whether the elder Jacobson had stalked the nests and dens and burrows and stolen the babies. There was not much love lost in that relationship.

All that being said, when Peter was 15 or so, his father brought home a crow. Sam was smart, in the way of crows. He learned that the neighbor lady was afraid of dogs, and Sam learned to bark and would bark at her whenever she came out to hang the laundry.

And Sam collected things, bright things - wooden clothespins with the clamping mechanism still shiny, coins, bits of tinfoil, pieces of costume jewelry. After Sam left, Peter looked inside a tire in the garage and found where Sam had stashed his shiny treasures.

The other day, I found myself across the highway from a Cabela's store, and I started weeping. Long ago, before Cabela's had stores everywhere, I drove to Wisdom, Montana, on my first painting trip. In Nebraska, Chappell, to be exact, I saw the original Cabela's and I got off the highway to visit.

I went around the town and the store, talked to people, took photos, bought stuff, and then called Peter to tell him about my adventure.

I didn't stop because I was personally interested in Cabela's. I really didn't care. But the catalog had come to our home as long as we had been together, and Peter had always received it with excitement. I knew this stop would make him happy. And that made me happy, making him happy.

And so, I sat in the parking lot across the road from the Cabela's and I understood for a moment who I was and who I am, and what I've lost, and I wept.

Then I dried my eyes and I set off, on my way, watching the landscape unfold. I am a seeker, an adventurer, a gatherer of bright and shiny things - paintings, experiences, a bit of jewelry, a shiny sun-filled dawn, a sparkly promise of new horizons.

For Today

The crows in your neighborhood know your block better than you do. They know the garbage truck routes. They know which kids drop animal crackers and which ones throw rocks. They know the pet dogs, and they might even play with the friendly ones. If you feed them, they probably not only recognize you but your car as well, and they might just leave you trinkets in return. These birds live their lives intertwined with ours, carefully observing us even as most of us barely take note of them. That’s how they survive, and they’re good at it: In recent decades the American Crow has taken over our suburbs, and even moved into the hearts of our big cities. As we’ve reshaped the landscape, we’ve created an ideal environment for an animal that is canny and perceptive enough to exploit our riches.
If you have time to read the entire article, please do. It's fascinating! 

Chickadee on Cherry Branch

Chickadee on Cherry Branch / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 /  $68 including shipping


THE LITTLE BIRDS - the chickadees and wrens, the sparrows and titmice, the little brown and gray guys - the little birds seem cheery, going about their business without bustle or fuss.

I know this is me anthropomorphizing, but I do watch them, I do pay attention, and really, the little birds have their quiet ways. Some flit up to the feeders and eat there, but most eat on the ground, feasting on seeds the bigger birds toss aside.

The little ones generally don't squawk or fight like the jays, though I've seen them steal plenty of seeds from each other. They don't insist like the cardinals, though I've seen them push and shove and barge their way in. They don't collect devouring clouds like the starlings and crows, though I've seen gangs of them fluttering at the base of a feeder.

They flit and perch, shake their mundane feathers, tip their often drab heads and stay mostly in the background, as important as all the others, but staying quiet about it.

For Today

"Little flocks of Black-capped Chickadees enliven the winter woods with their active behavior and their cheery-sounding chick-a-dee callnotes as they fly from tree to tree, often accompanied by an assortment of nuthatches, creepers, kinglets, and other birds. This is a very popular bird across the northern United States and southern Canada, always welcomed at bird feeders, where it may take sunflower seeds one at time and fly away to stuff them into bark crevices. "

- From the Audubon Guide to North American Birds

Friday, January 10, 2020

Cardinal on a Snowy Branch

Cardinal on Snowy Branch / Oil on black canvas, unframed, $68


Sometimes, I miss the winter days, the way the sharp cold light drains the color from the sky - or adds it, either way, shifting it, reminding me of growing up, winters in Connecticut, the sky so close, a part of the day in ways it wouldn't be again for years, until I started painting. Until I started looking.

The cardinals are as jewel-like in Virginia's gray mornings, though there is something to be said for the way they strut their color in a New England winter morning, and shake the new snow from a thin branch, announcing their flashy beauty.

For Today

Wild Geese
Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Roadrunner / Oil on black canvas, unframed, $68 including shipping

WHEN I WAS a kid, and through until today, the roadrunner cartoons were always among my favorites. On one trip out west, I saw an Acme brick company. Wish I could remember where that was.

At any rate, I laughed out loud when I saw a real roadrunner for the first time. They really DO run.

For Today

By Angelina Sarsficio

Roadrunner, roadrunner
Where are you running to?
Fast you are, but I've seen you.
What did you do? That's why you're looking around.
Are you looking for me?
. . . I'm standing over here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

What Are YOU Looking At?

What Are YOU Looking At? / Nuthatch / Oil on black canvas, 6x12, $135 including shipping


THERE IS SOMETHING to be said for the little birds, brown and gray. Not flashy. Not vivid. Not iridescent. Nothing that invites you to look twice.

There is something to be said for the small, quiet way they go about their business, blending in, flitting, chirping. Thriving. At the feeder, there will be dozens of the little birds to one of the brighter one. Numbers of them feeding on the ground while the bright blue jays and queen-red cardinals push the food aside, tossing down clouds of seeds, to find the one bit that pleases them. And then the little birds on the ground pick up the leavings, happy to have them. 

I love the little birds the way I love gray skies, color-drained winter fields, the smart and shy and quiet people in my life. 

As I pack Peter's clothes to be donated, or given to my family and my friends, what I find is mostly colors that aren't bright, that don't draw attention. Browns and grays, the colors of the small birds that we both watched and fed and loved. 


Winter Field / Oil on black canvas, 16x16 (?) / Please contact me for price, size, availability

I WILL BE IN ARIZONA during the Tubac show, Feb. 5-9, and will be exhibiting, but not in my regular spot. Instead, I will be on the patio of my gallery there, Sweet Poppy,  19 Tubac Road, near Shelby's restaurant. 

This is a gamble for me, not exhibiting at the show, in the space where I have always shown and sold my work. But it is a simpler set-up and offers me some freedom and flexibility. This is the year for me to try different things, and so I am giving it a go. 

If you are in Tubac during the show, please come to Sweet Poppy and see my new paintings. 

For Today

Sonnet 97
William Shakespeare

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness every where!
And yet this time removed was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
   Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
   That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Little Wing

Little Wing /  oil on black canvas, 5x7, unframed, $68 including shipping

available - please email me at

LAST NIGHT, when I let the dogs out, I heard Canada geese calling, their cries ululating, thin, eerie, wavering loudly through the wintry air. They call me to the past, to other cold nights, in Idaho, in Montana, in Maine, nights that could not have been darker, more strewn with stars.

We picked out the easy constellations, watched the greenish dances of the Northern Lights, marveled at the distant glow and blur of the Milky Way, and counted dozens - or hundreds or thousands? - of meteors shooting across the black infinity.

And I thought that it would never stop. That these shared, clear nights would be as regular as the comings and goings of the birds, as typical, as predictable, as unending.


A Thought for the Day

GUY WILKINS WAS an artist who lived here in Wachapreague. He died just about the same time we moved here, and I have always, always been sorry that I never met him, never painted with him.

Friends on the Shore here have paintings of his, and I wish I did, too. His paintings are bright and colorful, cheery and different and unusual. I have a postcard of one of the general store here in town, and I look at it almost daily, loving its color, its attitude and its odd perspective.

Guy Wilkins also wrote poems, and I'd like to share one with you here. It is from his book, "Day Moon."


What a full blown beauty you were
That day we first set sail
We had lavished every spar and every rail
With the best in varnish
And the brass we thought would never tarnish
And the gloss would never pale

Now look at you
Warped and twisted
Like the rest of us
With the brass we thought would never tarnish,
And the luster somehow vanished
Oh I wish they could have seen us
You and I, when we were young

To see paintings by Guy Wilkins, please visit