Posts Tagged ‘mike levine’

Carrie’s Painting of the Week: 01/10/13

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Field of Flowers

By Carrie Jacobson

Some of you might not know how I started painting, so here’s the story:

It was the fall of 2006, I was 50, and we were living in Cuddebackville. I was working at the Times Herald-Record, as the Sunday editor, and one of a four-person group that ran the newsroom.

My mother had died in July, and in October, I was still a total wreck. Truly devastated. When I look back, I really don’t know how I managed to go to work, go home, talk to people.

I was driving to work one day when I was struck by the idea that I should make a painting of our dogs to give to my husband for Christmas.

I’d never painted. As a girl, I’d drawn houses and horses. I’d doodled all my life. I’d made pottery, I’d done a lot of writing, but that was it. And so, if I’d have been my normal self, the self that easily said “I can’t,” I wouldn’t have listened to the voice with that crazy idea. I’d have dismissed the notion, or maybe I’d have hired someone to do it.

Instead, I bought a canvas (it was 24×48 – huge! But we had six dogs, so I figured I needed a big canvas). I bought white paint, black paint, brown paint and blue paint, since one dog has blue eyes. I bought a big brush and a small brush, and I set out to make a painting.

From the moment I began, I loved it. And that first painting was fabulous. It was as if I’d been painting my whole life – I just hadn’t picked up a brush.

I took a drawing class from Shawn Dell Joyce, and I took a beginning oil painting class from Gene Bove. These are two of the folks who founded the Wallkill River School, which is now in Montgomery.

I joined the Wallkill River School plein-air group. And I painted. I painted and painted and painted and painted. At every opportunity, I painted. I looked at my paintings, stared at them, tried to figure out what worked and what didn’t. I pestered painters and artists and friends and family members to look at my paintings and critique them. When I painted with the WRS plein-air group, I asked endless questions – and those wonderful people answered them all.

In January of 2007, as some of you probably remember, a heart attack killed my boss and dear friend Mike Levine, the editor of the Times Herald-Record. In April, the paper eliminated the job I’d thought I would have for the rest of my life.

These events, the death of my mother and Mike, and then the loss of my job, and all in the course of 10 months, this string of blows could have broken me.

I have come to believe that painting was given to me as a way to cope, and I have been grateful every day since.

Here’s that first painting:

Six Dogs