Thursday, April 30, 2020

Owl in Flight

Owl in Flight / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


IF YOU'VE EVER seen an owl in flight, you know how freakishly silent its flight is. 

Apparently, their wing and feather structure make this possible. According to the National Audubon Society, a part of this is the fact that their wings are huge, in comparison to their bodies. This means that they can fly slowly, gliding more than flapping. And if you've been around birds, you know that that flapping is surprisingly loud. 

The leading edges of owls' wing feathers are serrated, and this apparently breaks up the turbulence in the air streams around them. 

Their quiet flight helps them sneak up on their prey, and also safeguards their ability to hear their prey - less distraction from their own wings. 



We will be painting a vase of lilacs this Saturday, at 1 p.m. Eastern on my Carrie Jacobson Artist Facebook page. I hope you'll join us!

Find me on Facebook Live around 1, and set yourself up with something to paint with and something to paint on, and off we'll go. The workshop is free, and will take about an hour. I'll be using a palette knife and oils, but you can use whatever you like.

Good colors to have will be a blue, a red, a white, a yellow, and to make life a little easier, a purple - or you can mix your own purples, if you like.

If you wear tie-dye, you'll have extra fun!

Here's my Carrie Jacobson artist page - and here is a page with most of the workshops I've given since the isolation began -

See you online!

For Today

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. 
If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - 
and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it." 

- Rabbit, created by A.A. Milne

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mama Cardinal with Dogwood

Mama Cardinal with Dogwood / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


IN MY LIFE AFTER PETER, in my art, and in my heart, I find I'm drawn to light. To lightness. I want to feel that I am treading lightly on the earth, am free of heaviness, of obligation, of burden, in my body, in my art, in my home. 

I want to be light, paint light, stretch for the arcs and the arches, paint the reaching and the striving, the colors, the sunshine, the open spaces, the promises and the hopes. I want to paint this, and I want to be this, as if I could blow away, as if all that is holding me here or anywhere is love and desire - not obligation, necessity, possession. 

Isn't this how we all want to live? At least deep down? 

With Peter, I did. Yes, I made the promise, way back, to stay forever - but every day, I chose to say "Yes" again - and isn't that what made the promise so valuable? Not that I made it in the first place, or abided by it, or took it for granted, but that every day, I chose him over everyone, everything, everywhere. 

And now, he is gone. And I make a promise to myself. I choose this life, this light, this love. 

For Today

A note to my agnostic and atheist readers: Long before I came to believe in a power greater than myself, I had this prayer up on my wall. I thought about leaving out the God references, in hopes of not putting you off, but left them, hoping that you will just get by them, to find the beautiful, resonant center of this prayer.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
Toe be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sunflower Landing

Sunflower Landing / oil on canvas / 4x12 unframed / $88 includes shipping

SO OFTEN, LULU BARKS - and it is almost always her - and she barks and barks and barks until I get up and go to the window and look ... and see nothing. Just nothing. No one. I can look up the street and down, across yards to the next street, and still, see nothing. 

Maybe it was a squirrel, or the glint of a bit of sun on a wire, or a piece of something skidding along the street on a gust of wind - or maybe it was nothing. Maybe Lulu simply likes to bark.

I know she can hear things I will never hear, and smell things I will never smell. Who's to say that she can't see things that I will never see? 

I'd give almost anything to be a dog for 5 minutes. 


ALMOST EVERY DAY, I find myself being grateful that when we humans greet each other, we don't have to sniff each other's butts.

For Today

"When an 85-pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, 
it's hard to feel sad." 

- Kristan Higgins

Monday, April 27, 2020


Sanderling / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


IN MY WORKSHOP Saturday, we painted chickens. We were on the legs and feet when I mentioned that I'd never felt chicken feet (or eaten them, though here in the South, you can buy them in a package in the meat section of the grocery store). 

Diana Davis, a friend, a superior chicken painter, and a woman who apparently knows her fowl, said that chicken feet are soft. I had always figured they were bony and hard, and heavy, so I was surprised. 

I have felt birds' feet on my hands, and what I remember is pointiness and spring, and my amazement that something that weighs so little could have so very much life. 


SINCE WE HAVE BEEN shut in and isolated, I've been giving painting workshops on Saturdays, on my Carrie Jacobson Artist page on Facebook. 

The workshops are free, and last about an hour. It is what I can give to help people find some creativity, some color, some joy in a dark and difficult time. You don't need to be an artist, though some terrific artists paint with us - and some very much beginning artists do, too. All experience levels are welcome, and all, I think, feel welcomed.

So, please join us! This Saturday, at 1 p.m. Eastern, set yourself up with something to make art with and something to make art on. I'll be using a palette knife and oil paintings, but you may use whatever you like. People painting with the group have used pencils, charcoal, pastels, crayons, watercolors, acrylics and who knows what all else. 

The workshop is on my Carrie Jacobson Artist Facebook page - . Go there a little before 1 on Saturday and look for me Live. You'll find me at or near the top of the page. 

The videos are archived after we finish, and you can find them all here -

I'll post a photo during the week of what we are going to paint. I think it will be a vase of flowers, perfect for spring! 


TODAY, I AM GRATEFUL for the lightning that flashed Saturday, off in the distance, when I awoke past midnight. It was exciting, and brilliant, and made me know that summer is coming. 

For Today

"Art is who we are. It facilitates self-realization in everyone."

-Philippe Benichou

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird / Oil on black canvas, unframed / 5x7 / $68 includes shipping

I HAD A LOW WEEK last week. It was nothing big. But given Peter's death, I've felt pretty buoyant during these weeks of isolation and virtual quarantine. Last week, I felt lonely. 

Then a friend called, someone I hadn't heard from in a while, someone whose husband had died far more recently than Peter, and she mentioned that she had made a list of people to call regularly, and I was on it. 

That prompted me to make a little list myself, and start calling and writing to my friends and my family, and it helped. 

Drinking more water seemed to help, as did adding more protein into my diet, and sleeping a bit more. I've been walking pretty much every day, and I know that that helps. 

I lightened up on myself a little. If I don't have a bird for every single day this week, it's OK. I have a couple that haven't sold, and I can bring them back for another go. Or I can skip a day, or two, or a week - or just stop (but I don't want to do this). 

I want to have an online sale in time for Mother's Day, and I will - but it doesn't have to start today. It can start tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. 

If the house isn't exactly as clean as it could be, well, too bad. Same with the studio. Same with the dogs. And the bathroom. And the laundry. 

So I thought all this, and did all this, and realized all this, and I began to feel a little better. A little bouncier. A little more like myself, whatever that is in this post-Peter world. 

I guess my point in all of this is that this is a tough time for everyone. We would do ourselves good, I think, if we remembered more often that we are fragile, and fallible, and that we need friends and family and contact with people, in whatever ways we can get it. 

No matter how I may welcome the quiet of this time of isolation - and I do - I know I need to hear another voice, read another person's words, listen to someone else's thoughts and heart, if I am to know and accept my own, and go on with some light and some hope. 


I AM GRATEFUL to have realized all of this, and particularly grateful to the friend who called and reminded me to reach out for my own good mental and spiritual health. 

For Today

Percy Wakes Me

Percy wakes me and I am not ready.
He had slept all night under the covers.
Now he's eager for action: a walk, then breakfast.
So I hasten up. He is sitting on the kitchen counter
   where he is not supposed to be.
How wonderful you are, I say. How clever, if you
   needed me,
      to wake me.
He thought he would hear a lecture and deeply
   his eyes begin to shine.
He tumbles onto the couch for more compliments.
He squirms and squeals; he has done something
   that he needed
      and now he hears that it is okay.
I scratch his ears, I turn him over
   and touch him everywhere. He is
wild with the okayness of it. Then we walk, then
   he has breakfast, and he is happy.
This is a poem about Percy.
This is a poem about more than Percy.
Think about it.

- Mary Oliver
from "Dog Songs"

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Mrs. Bluebird

Mrs. Bluebird / Oil on black canvas / 5x5 unframed / $68 includes shipping


IN THE YARD, the lilac bush is just about to bloom. Already, its aroma scents the air, catapulting me back to childhood, and springtime in New London, Connecticut, and the lilac bush in our front yard. 

I think it was three bushes, actually - a stand of lilacs - which my mother pruned annually, until they were graceful and willowy, the blooms fairly high, the bases of the bushes mostly branchless. 

That's how I remember them, anyways, though that does conflict with another memory - my brother and I being allowed to take our dinner of stuffed peppers out into the yard, so that we could sneak around behind the lilac bushes and hide the hideous, fleshy stuffed peppers there. I'd rather go hungry than eat them - then, and now. 

At any rate, here in Wachapreague, the lilacs will bloom tomorrow or the next day, and I will set up in the back yard and paint them. I will cut the blooms off and put them all over the house, and for days or a week, or however long the magic lasts, I will rejoice in this deepest, sweetest, most tender taste of spring. And I will watch for the bluebirds.


Today, I am grateful, so grateful for the sunshine. The day was cold, the wind was cold, but the sun was out, and lifted my heart and spirits. 

For Today

"The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song."

- John Burroughs, naturalist

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


 Nuthatch / oil on black canvas/ 5x7 unframed / $68 includes shipping


A FEW YEARS AGO, PETER looped a length of fishing line around one of the branches in the white dogwood tree, and hung a hummingbird feeder from it. 

In the fall, I took the hummingbird feeders in, but left the twine. For the past few days, a wren has been yanking at this loop of line. She must think she has found the treasure trove of nest-building materials - but then, she can't loosen it from the branch. She will try two or three times, then move on. And then she comes back. Or maybe it's a different wren. 

I've thought about draping some bits of fishing line from the tree for her, but I can't imagine that fishing line is good for birds. So I will look around the house and see if I can find some yarn, or string, or something. She is so intrepid, so intense. I'd be happy to help her. 


ON SATURDAY, AT 1 p.m. EASTERN, I'll be giving another painting workshop, Live on my Carrie Jacobson Artist Facebook page. ( We will be painting a chicken! 

It would be good to have one or two blues (ultramarine and cobalt or turquoise, if you want a second blue), a cadmium yellow, a cadmium red, alizarin crimson or alizarin permanent, a titanium white and any other colors that you like. Set up by your computer with something to paint with and something to paint on. 

The workshop is free and will last about an hour. We will be painting from the chicken picture above.


Today, I am grateful that I have a house already made, and not of fishing line. 

For Today

Pathological Puzzle

There are so many diseases
From rabies to the wheezes
That people can contract
Till it's hard to understand
How any man
remains intact. 

- Langston Hughes

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


AS I WATCHED A WOODPECKER do his business on the white dogwood in my front yard, I began to wonder why woodpeckers don't get concussions. Or maybe they do, and one never hears about it? After all, I have few chatty woodpecker friends. 

Apparently, according to Samantha Hauserman, a biologist with Arizona State University, woodpeckers' hyoid bones (all you detective-fiction fans know what they are) are arranged more or less like seatbelts inside their skulls. These bones protect the woodpecker's brain, and help its skull absorb the shock. 

Though it looks like your average woodpecker is hammering away at the same spot again and again, he is really varying his pecking pattern in a way that spreads the force of the blows around. 

And finally, Woody has a sort of overbite to his beak that helps distribute the force of the pecking blows. 


Today, I am grateful for the love and the warm snuggles that my dog friends share with me. I am grateful for their good cheer, their buoyant celebrations, their delight in pretty much everything. In their own ways, they are models of behavior for me. 

For Today

The Dog

The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state that the dog is full of love.
I've also found by actual test
A wet dog is the lovingest.

- Ogden Nash

Monday, April 20, 2020

Rufous-Sided Towhee

Rufous-sided Towhee / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 includes shipping

AROUND TOWN, which, of course, is about the only place I've been in what is starting to feel like forever, the trees are in bloom, bringing color and light to a landscape that, in this spring of rain and virus, is tending toward the drab. 

The dogs and I have been walking with our friend Liesl, and I am finding that when you walk every day, and it is spring, and there is no such thing as "not here," "here" becomes something to examine minutely. A little bit more of a bloom one day is exciting. The coming of the lilacs in my back yard vs. the already flowering lilac over by Dave's house raises questions. Does his lilac get more sun? Is it a different variety? 

It is a daily delight to watch color come - and a little sadness to watch it go. 

But I can paint the moment that the color is at its height - and in my paintings, it will stay that way forever. And there is some joy in that. 


AT 4 THIS MORNING, I let the dogs out. The world was completely, totally, utterly, eerily silent, in a way it never is here in Wachapreague, where, if nothing else, the wind blows nearly all the time. 

I let the dogs back in and we all went back to sleep, and when I got up again, the birds were singing, the wind was blowing a little, and the world, it turns out, had not died overnight. And I am grateful for that. 


For Today

Passing Love

Because you are to me a song
I must not sing you over-long.

Because you are to me a prayer
I cannot say you everywhere. 

Because you are to me a rose - 
You will not stay when summer goes. 

- Langston Hughes

Sunday, April 19, 2020


Puffin / Oil on black canvas / 5x5 unframed / $68 includes shipping

I REALIZED RECENTLY that I write about my life, events, feelings, thoughts, in this blog, but rarely make the connection between the stuff I am writing and the painting I've posted. 

They always are connected, even if it is ephemerally, as is often the case with the birds. 

I started the bird project after Peter died because I wanted a project with paintings that were small, bright, contained. Manageable.

Overnight, my life had become so unmanageable, so untenable, so completely uncertain, I couldn't handle anything larger, really, than 5x7. I couldn't contemplate starting something whose end I didn't know, right at the start. I couldn't tolerate any more unknown than I had in every 24 hours. 

So the little bird paintings became a lifeline. They gave me a place to start my day. I knew that they would sell, and so they gave me hope. I knew I could ship them easily - shipping is often a challenge for me - and that most of them would fit in free, fixed-rate boxes from the post office. The little bird paintings became a flutter of optimism - and they became a refuge. 

So when I write about my feelings, or whatever I'm going through, and it doesn't seem connected to the bird painting, please be assured that it is. Please know that whatever I was painting that day allowed me the space and time and emotional security to think whatever I needed to think, and write whatever I needed to write. 

In the case of the puffin, well, it brought me to a very happy time, a trip to Newfoundland several summers ago, with my friend Carol Baney. We set out to see whales, moose and puffins, and saw them all. And I painted the rich, rough landscape that Peter and I had both known we would love, from the books we'd read, movies we'd seen, history we'd learned. One of my deep regrets is that Peter never got to see Newfoundland for himself, and I never got to see it with him.

If you'd like to see photos and paintings from that trip, you may - click on this link - .

I know I took photos of the puffins, but it looks like I didn't post them and no longer have them - they were pretty far away from where we were, and though we could see them, we used binoculars to really get a view. They just looked like dots in the photos I took. But it was pretty amazing to see a big colony of them, building nests, diving, catching fish, making lots of noise.


I'm grateful to have had the chance to visit all the places I've visited, 
and grateful that I have the desire to keep discovering. 


For Today


Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep. 

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth. 

But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I'm traveling
a terrific distance. 

Stillness. One of the doors 
into the temple.

- Mary Oliver
"A Thousand Mornings"

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Cardinal on Corn

Cardinal on Corn / Oil on black canvas / 8x24 unframed /$195 including shipping

TODAY  - APRIL 16 - WOULD BE OUR ANNIVERSARY. We were married on this day in 1988, in the house where I grew up, on Ocean Avenue in New London, CT. 

At the time, I thought it was the happiest day of my life - and at the time, it was. But compared to the days and weeks and months and years that followed, it was a whisper. A promise. A threshold to a different kind of happiness, one that could never happen on the first day.

I think that what defined our marriage  - and what brought us both the deepest days of happiness - was a sort of steadiness that came from love, trust, respect, shared ideas of right and wrong. A love of art. Of dogs. Of music. A love of the natural world. Of good food. And of course, a deep and abiding love of each other.

We made a home for each other, a place to grow our hearts and our ideas, to shelter our ventures and obsessions, launch our dreams and heal our wounds. In our marriage, I had more happy days than I could ever count, and of a quality and depth that on that day in 1988, I could not begin to imagine.

So what do I do today to honor all of this? I don't know - other than to write this missive, and send it out to the world, and remember how young we were, and how we never could have known how lucky we would be. 


Of course, today, I am grateful for the many years of marriage I had with Peter. 

He is gone. My best friend in the world is gone. But I was as lucky as a human can be 
to have shared so many years with him. 

What are you grateful for today? 

For Today

"If I had a flower for every time I thought of you... I could walk through my garden forever." 

- Alfred Tennyson

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Little Chickadee

Little Chickadee / Oil on black canvas / 4x4 unframed / $38 including shipping


IT SEEMS LIKE A LIFETIME AGO that I drove to Arizona to visit my dad and stepmother, participate, in a way, in the Tubac show, and see my friends out there. (It was the end of January). 

A jeweler friend from Pennsylvania flew out to spend some time in the sun, go to the big Gem and Mineral Show, and take some workshops there. 

She stayed for a week, and when she left, packed some stuff in my van for me to bring home. We usually see each other once every six or eight weeks, at her place or mine, or at one of the many shows we do together.

Today, I packed her stuff in a box and sent it off to her in Pennsylvania. Honestly, it feels like I might never see her again. Today, for whatever reason, the quarantine/isolation got to me, and for a while it felt like I would never see anyone again. Or hug anyone again. Or be hugged. 

So I did chores, and I cleaned the house and then I hugged the dogs and held them close and reminded myself that it's all going to be OK. And then I went out to the studio and painted this sweet little bird, and felt myself fly off a bit, toward the sun. 

TODAY, I AM GRATEFUL for my friends, who pull me up when I am down, who point out the beauty of the world to me, who take time out of their days to reach out to me, and make me laugh, and assure me that yes, I will see them again someday. 

And you? What are you grateful for today? 
For Today

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number 
through the neighborhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary. 

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

- Father Richard Hendrik, Ireland
March 13, 2020


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Cardinal with Swirly Sky

Cardinal with Swirly Sky / oil on black canvas / 57x unframed / $68 including shipping


I WAS FEELING OVERWHELMED the other day by the magnitude of the task of clearing out this house, the studio, the garage and the shed, and my friend and former baby-sitter Ann Stewart offered up a solution that intrigued me. 

Spend five hours a week, all on one day, doing whatever it is that needs to be done, she suggested. That's 20 hours in a month, which is enough to finish nearly anything - but it breaks even the most unmanageable task into do-able segments. 

The simplicity of the idea attracted me instantly, and the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like genius. Five hours is not a whole day. It leaves enough time so that even if you do the five hours, you still have a day. And yet, it's enough time to really dig in, to really make headway - but long enough to allow a break or two. 

On Saturday, I spent five hours working in the Caribbean House, a brightly painted shed in our backyard. I had thought it would take the rest of my life to clear it out - but in five hours, I made Big, Visible Progress. Yay! 

So I share this idea with you, in hopes that it will help you tackle some task that might seem insurmountable. Good luck! Or, as Dan Rather might say... Courage. 


TODAY, I AM GRATEFUL that I have several life-long friends. Ann is one of them, and I have a few more. I've known these folks pretty much all their lives, and they've known me pretty much all of mine. There's great comfort in that, and I am indeed grateful. 

What are you grateful for today? 

For Today

"It is impossible to explain creativity. It's like asking a bird, 'How do you fly?'"

- Eric Jerome Dickey

Monday, April 13, 2020

Roadrunner Redux

Roadrunner Redux / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


AS I SIT HERE at the kitchen table Sunday evening, the wind is blowing in hard from the ocean. I feel like it's blown last week away - and honestly, I'm glad. 

The six-month anniversary of Peter's death was Friday. That was his formal death. His death-certificate death. I've come to understand that he died, truly, in the ambulance. In our road. Long before he got to the hospital and was hooked up to the drugs and machines that kept him alive into another day. Another awful, sad, day. A day that should never have happened to him. 

John Prine's death dragged me over the edge last week. Prine more or less provided the background music to our marriage. Not that we played his stuff constantly, but it was always there. A basted stitch, not a solid seam. We saw him at the Newport Folk Festival. We learned some of his songs on the guitar and played them together. And we sang along and marveled at his humor and genius and simplicity. 

I do believe in God and in Heaven, and I do believe that Peter is there, and John Prine is, too, and that, with any luck, they are playing together. 

So it is OK that I don't remember last week too well. That the wind blew it away. This is a new week, and I will put one foot ahead of the other. I will make the bed, empty the dishwasher, walk the dogs, paint some birds, and remember. 


I AM GRATEFUL to have made it six months without the man I love, and made it more or less intact. Cracked, changed, marred but not broken - or at least not past repair. 

What are you grateful for? One faithful friend and reader sent me a list of 10 things she is grateful for. You can put your gratitudes in the comment area below, or email them to me. Or just remind yourself that you have things in your life to be grateful for. 

For Today

"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, April 12, 2020

Mockingbird on Dogwood

Mockingbird on Dogwood / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


IN THE SPRING, WHEN WE LIVED in Portsmouth, VA,  a mockingbird sang outside our window. It was a virtuoso, with more than a dozen songs in its repertoire. 

All well and good - except that this mockingbird insisted on singing at night. And he favored a branch of a tree right outside our bedroom window. For a month or so every year, probably during mating season, he kept us awake, night after night after long, exhausting night, repeating his 13 or 14 or 15 songs again and again, never in the same order, so every time you thought you might be able to fall asleep, he'd start a different pattern, a different path, and draw us in again. 

It was maddening. But the songs were beautiful, exquisite, and made a memory that still makes me smile today. 


This morning, I am grateful for the beauty of the huge, nearly full moon, shining so bright in the middle of the night that it made the trees cast shadows on the lawn. Its beauty took my breath away. I'm grateful for anything that stirs me so deeply. 

What makes you grateful today? 

For Today

The Mockingbird

All summer
the mockingbird
in his pearl-gray coat
and his white-windowed wings

from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing, but it's neither
lilting nor lovely,

for he is the thief of other sounds -
whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges
plus all the songs 
of other birds in his neighborhood; 

mimicking and elaborating,
he sings with humor and bravado, 
so I have to wait a long time
for the softer voice of his own life

to come through. He begins
by giving up all the usual flutter
and settling down on the pine's forelock
then looking around

as though to make sure he's alone;
then he slaps each wing against his breast,
where his heart is,
and, copying nothing, begins

easing into it
as though it was not half so easy
as rollicking,
as though his subject now

was his true self,
which of course was as dark and secret
as anyone else's
and it was too hard - 

perhaps you understand - 
to speak or to sing it
to anything or anyone
but the sky. 

- Mary Oliver,  in "A Thousand Mornings"

Thursday, April 9, 2020

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68 includes shipping


ALL OVER TOWN - and town is all I've seen - spring is flowering. My favorite trees are the pinks, from the palest weeping cherry to the vivid fuschia of the redbuds to the azaleas, screaming with color, just starting to come now.

The dogwoods - vivid, green-tipped white - are beginning to bloom. My daffodils have come and gone, but they are the earliest in town, and on other streets, the dogs and Liesl and I see other daffodils blooming in their cheerful way. And behind everything, the grass is green and thick and lush. 

Before long, the blossoms will have turned to leaves. The summer's heat and sun will thin and brown the grass. The daffodils will bend and wither and make room for the summer's heat-loving plants. And life, I imagine, will be back to normal. 

I sit outside in these warm spring evenings and watch the dogs run around the yard. I inspect the lilacs, which are weeks from blooming, and the hydrangeas, which are even more weeks from blooming, and I linger in the sweet, soft air. Of course, I think of Peter, and it is always with a sense of loss - mine and his, both - but I can see progress. My thoughts are not always colored by sadness. 


I AM GRATEFUL for Liesl, my Austrian neighbor, a dedicated and long-time walker. She has encouraged me to walk with her, and has the patience and kindness to suggest we bring the dogs, too. 

What are you grateful for today? You may add in the comments below, or drop me an email. 

For Today

"When I get to heaven, I'm gonna shake God's hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band
Check into a swell hotel; ain't life grand?"

- John Prine, who died on Tuesday from the corona virus

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Kingfisher on Branch

Kingfisher  on Branch / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68


IN PAST SUMMERS, we festooned our front dogwood tree with hummingbird feeders. There's one out there now, and there are circles of fishing line hanging from a few branches, ready for when I fill up the rest of the feeders. 

This morning, a little wren tried over and over to pluck what she thought was just a bit of fishing line. I'm sure she is in the process of building her nest, and apparently, the fishing line looked like ideal material. 

After three tries, she gave up. I'm sure she will find better stuff around in the yard - but I felt a little sorry for her, and a little guilty, to have unwittingly tricked her with the fishing line. 

Painting Workshop

ON SATURDAY, AT 1 P.M. EASTERN, I'll be giving another painting workshop, Live on my Carrie Jacobson Artist Facebook page  ( . The workshops are free, you don't have to register, and they last about an hour. 

So, a little before 1 p.m. Eastern, put on your tie-dye and click on the page, then look for the Live thing to happen. I think it's easier to find if you follow or like the page first - it will probably show up in your notifications list. There's also an Event listing, and if you find that and click "Going," I'm pretty sure it will remind you. 

Get set up with whatever you like to paint with and whatever you like to paint on, and join in. It will be fun! 

Here's the photo we're going to use as the basis for our painting: 


TODAY, I AM grateful for the blossoming trees, and how they decorate my small world with their fragile, gentle beauty, and their lovely, tender colors. 

What are you grateful for today? Please use the comments below, or send me an email. 

For Today

"Strive not to be a success, but rather, to be of value."

- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Crow Landing

Crow Landing / oil on black canvas / 5x7 unframed / $68 includes shipping


DURING THIS TIME of isolation and quiet, I've been painting a lot. 

For years, I've painted pretty much every day - but before this, my painting days were often broken up. Shopping, cooking, cleaning. Visits with friends, lunches out, meetings, trips to the Y, and to Virginia Beach, and heaven knows what else. I'd paint four or five hours a day. Now, many days, it's nearly twice that. 

I say "I paint," but of course, it's not all painting. I inventory and order materials and supplies. I blacken and wire canvases. I look for subjects to paint. But if I am in the studio for nine or 10 hours a day - and often, these days, I am - I'm painting for eight or nine of those hours. And I feel like I'm making progress, that all this time is amounting to something. Taking me somewhere. 

Looking for a blank notebook yesterday, I ran across a ledger from 2009. For the first few months of the year, I'd listed all the paintings I'd made, and there were 23 or 24 each month. They were mostly small - and cheap! 

I am cheered to see that I'm continuing that sort of pace. This year, I have photographs of more than 50 bird paintings I've made so far, and I haven't counted the other pieces I've finished. 

By the time I started out in this painting life, I had 25 years of newspaper experience. Twenty-five years of daily deadlines. When I floundered at Being an Artist, at the beginning of this journey, I sought success in what I knew, and set deadlines. I required myself to make at least one painting a day. 

Over the years, this sort of productivity has helped me develop my voice. It's helped me build the muscles I rely on to push all the crap aside right now and forge ahead. It helps me try new things when I am pretty sure I have the strength to do the lifting. And it helps me know when that is. 

A new painting I finished last week, the start of a series of people talking while they are walking their dogs, is one that I've been thinking of for a few years. At the time, I knew I didn't have the chops for these paintings. Last week, I thought, I do. And so I set out to make this painting - and I love the way it came out.

So if you are a painter, an artist, a writer,  musician, whatever - if you are seeking a creative outlet and want to sharpen your abilities - the best thing you can do, I think, is to produce. Good, bad, middling, whatever - the point is to make the art, write the sentence, compose the music, and go from there. Look at what's good about the piece - what you like about it - and what you'd change. And then, in the next one, which will happen today or this afternoon or tomorrow, change that thing. And then do it again. And again. And again. 

And again. 


In this time of loss and now of isolation, I work hard to be grateful. I thought I'd share a gratitude with you all each day, at least for a while. 

If you'd like to share things that you're grateful for, you can use the comments below, or email me... I'd love to hear what you're grateful for. So here is today's: 

Though Peter is gone, I am grateful, so very grateful that I found him, 
and that I had him as my husband since 1988.

For Today

"There is no word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal. I am an owl, and I am a happy owl. I like to make people happy and everything happy. I am the light of happiness and I am a dancing owl." 

- Kenojuak Ashevak