Posts Tagged ‘oil painting’

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 7/18/2014

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014


By Carrie Jacobson

I am learning to love sweating.

As the spinning of the seasons has brought us to the height of summer, I am sweating with a passion. Sweating with a vengeance. Sweating so that the sweat runs to the tips of my curls and drips off my hair and onto my cheeks and shoulders. I sweat so hard these days that my nose runs.

I vowed, when we moved to Virginia, that I wouldn’t complain about the heat. It’s not as if I didn’t know we were moving to a hot place. We lived in the South before, and that time, I was stunned by the oppressive depth and seemingly endless length of the torrid summers.

This time, I was prepared.

Still, it is in our nature to complain, and I can not count the number of times I’ve opened my mouth to talk about how darn hot it is (I would use other words) – and have stopped myself in time, remembering my promise.

It was only to myself, that promise, but it was a true and solemn one, nonetheless.

And so, instead of complaining about the heat this summer, I glory in it. I live shiny and slick with sweat, my T-shirts ringed with wetness, my neck and forearms salty with it. I revel in its cooling power, and what I believe is its cleansing power. I no longer apologize for my sweatiness. We are all sweaty. We are all hot. We are all under the same summer sun. The trick is in learning to love it.

And remembering winter.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 01/24/14

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
Blue New Mexico Mountains

Blue New Mexico Mountains

By Carrie Jacobson

Out here in the West, the open skies call to me. The huge empty spaces speak my name. When I am up in the high desert, I can feel the elevation, feel the rush of height and the pleasure of knowing that I am nearly in the sky.

Out here in the West, you can see the future coming, as you stand solidly in the present. You can watch the storms move in. You can hear the train whistle before you see it. You can watch the cars and trucks on the road for miles and miles before they hit the horizon.

Some people would find it lonely, I think. It is easy to feel solitary, easy to feel alone. But I don’t find it lonely. I find it simple and spare and open.  A place for short sentences, long stories and solid truth. I love being here. I love painting here.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 01/10/14

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Kicking Up Dust Oil on canvas, 30x30

Kicking Up Dust
Oil on canvas, 30×30

By Carrie Jacobson

Like Jeff Page, I find it impossible to escape the pull of the blank calendar. I’ve tried not making resolutions – but truth be told, I like making them. I like the idea of a fresh start, no matter how artificial it may be.
But I’m determined to make resolutions that matter – and which I can keep. So I have three for 2014.
1. Focus on gratitude. I am grateful every day, and I can, should, must and will bring that gratitude to the front of my being. The days in which I do focus on gratitude are inevitably more interesting, more rich and more fulfilling.
2. Stop leaving the recyclables next to the sink, where I’ve rinsed them out. Walk the 20 steps to the recycle bin whenever I rinse, and put the clean cans, jars and bottles in it right away. This is one of my most annoying habits. It is one I detest in myself, and one that I can change easily.
3. Make more soup.  Soup is great on all sorts of levels, the spiritual, the culinary, the metaphorical. It makes me shop differently. I buy different – and cheaper! – cuts of meat and poultry, because it will be delicious today, and then will go to great use in soup.
Soup uses all the leftovers, too, turning stuff I used to throw away into stuff that’s delicious and healthy and smells great all day.
This week, I made soup with the bones of our Thanksgiving turkey, which I froze after Thanksgiving. I also used a couple of chicken carcasses, one from a chicken we cooked, one from an already-bought chicken. I’d frozen those bones, too.
I added some roasted vegetables I froze from our Thanksgiving dinner, and the remaining vegetables and pork from our Christmas dinner. We had some odds and ends of this and that that – sausage from Sunday breakfast, the tail end of some ham we had last week, and a turkey kielbasa I found in the meat drawer.
In the afternoon, while I was painting, I cooked potatoes and carrots and onions in the oven, and added them, too. Tossed in some beans, some canned corn and some broccoli I froze this fall, from a neighbor’s garden, and we have an icebox full of fabulous soup.
I love making something from nothing – and especially, making something delicious from nothing.
If that’s not a resolution to treasure and to keep, I don’t know what is!

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 12/27/13

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Cowboy Up! Oil on canvas, 6x6

Cowboy Up! Oil on canvas, 6×6

By Carrie Jacobson

In the spirit of the season, and with inspiration from Marc and Angel  and, yes, I admit it, tags from my Yogi tea, I’ve come up with a list of five things you can give yourself, now that Christmas is over. These are all free, and when you’re in the right place, they’re easy.

1. Believe in yourself. What you feel, what attracts you, what inspires you, this is all legitimate. If you’re drawn to a person, an idea, a pursuit, go with it. If you can’t make time for it, if doing it seems difficult or insurmountable, whatever it is is probably not for you. Do what you’re good at, and what feels good.

 2. Tell the truth – or as my mother would say, tell your truth. Whenever you can, no matter how scary it is, you’re better off telling the truth – especially to yourself. If telling the truth is going to hurt someone else, and you don’t want to do that, then stay silent. Do anything but lie.

3. Forgive yourself. Whatever you did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, promised or didn’t promise, it was then. It was in the past. You can’t change it. What matters is this moment. What you can change is this moment. What you can participate in is this moment.

4. Forgive the other guy. Forgiveness is liberation. It frees you from the bad feelings. It keeps you from living in the past. Forgiveness lets your forget, or at least minimize anger, hate, bad feelings. And without them, believe me, today looks much better.

5. Accept who you are and where you are in life. You are perfect. It might not seem so, from time to time, but you are. The things you think of as failures, they are learning experiences. They are growing pains. The things you think of as shortcomings, they are motivating opportunities. The things you don’t like about yourself, someone else loves. So today, take this moment to accept yourself.

What would you add to the list? What gifts are you giving yourself today? Please use the comments below.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 7/4/2013

Thursday, July 4th, 2013


By Carrie Jacobson

Land of the free, home of the brave.

Sometimes, I get really frustrated with America. I want this to be a better place, more like what it could be. More like what it should be.

Peter and I talk sometimes about moving to Canada, but we always end up remembering how cold it is there.

And so we stay here, and when I am not sulking that I don’t already have government-sponsored health care, that Fox News exists at all, and that the roads around Norfolk are about as good as in a third-world country, I do rejoice.

Government-run health care, for better or worse, is on its way. While I don’t agree with Fox News, I do relish its right to exist. And if the roads around Norfolk are in terrible shape, it’s because the people of Norfolk have voted on tax issues that result in those roads.

I rejoice, most of all, in the fact that I have had the freedom to leave my steady job and take up life as an artist. And that as an artist, I have the freedom to make new kinds of paintings – like the one above – to experiment, to try, and to fail or succeed, with all that each possibility entails.

Today, with all the bravery and confidence I have, I shall celebrate every inch of my freedom, and cheer a silent – or maybe not so silent – cheer for all that is good about America.


Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 01/31/13

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

On Deep Creek Road

By Carrie Jacobson

While I might be the founding member of the Big Field, Little House school of painting, I doubt that I am the only member – though, who knows?

I have wondered for a long time about this focus of mine. This scene, the archetypal big open space with a solitary house, has always attracted me. Even as a teenager, I remember loving the sight of the single house at the edge of Harkness Park, sitting alone at the edge of the pond.

A psychologist would probably have interesting things to say about this – but I think I love this view because I imagine what it would be like to be in that house, snug against the trees. You would feel sheltered and safe, but have a huge, open expanse in front of you.

And isn’t that what we all want?

I made a video of me making this painting… You can see it on YouTube by clicking here. I’d love to know what you think about the video!

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 1/15/2013

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Silver Beach

By Carrie Jacobson

This, then, is winter in Virginia.

It is gray. Dark. Rainy. Raw.

But it is not snowy.

It is not icy.

I am not shoveling.

I am not skidding.

I am not warming up the car for half an hour, and then leaving home an hour early, seeking routes that have no hills. I am not scraping windshields, losing gloves, finding frozen sodas on the floor, worrying about ice-melter and the back steps and the dogs’ paws.

For decades, I loved winter, and I loved the snow. I loved the way white outlined everything, cleaned it all, purified it. I loved the howling blast of a blizzard and the deep quiet of a gentle snow. I loved the sharp air of winter, how the coldest days would freeze the inside of your nose, and bring tears to your eyes. I loved the brilliance of the sun on the snow, and the way it caught the moonlight, making night look like some kind of shadowed day.

I loved skiing, and hiking in the snow and, later, painting it.

But for all that, I don’t miss it. Winter has been painless, here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It has been gentle, and soft, and gray.

And if I want real winter, I know where to find it.

Here's my painting in the landscape


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

Carrie’s Painting of the Week: 01/03/13

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Snow Geese Taking Flight

By Carrie Jacobson

Here is my prayer for the new year:

Let me wake every day in gratitude and with faith. Let me find courage to overwhelm my fear, and vision to overcome my blindness. Let me forgive myself and others. Let me choose generosity, take risks, and act with the power and the glory of love.

Happy New Year to you all!

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 12/20/12

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012


By Carrie Jacobson

Darkness creeps in early on these short, thin days, wrapping its fingers around the thin afternoon light and trying to squeeze the joy from our souls.

How do we celebrate the birth of Christ when children are being shot and killed? How do we find the joy of the season and the blessings of family and friends when our leaders are focused on the argument instead of on the solution? How do we share our happiness when it seems to be in such short supply?

I think we just do. I think we just decide to share whatever we have, whatever we can muster. A smile is as welcome a gift as any. Laugh with me and we will feel the wonder of the season. Sing a song together and we are celebrating the birth of Christ. Touch my heart and you will multiply your own joy.

So let’s sing songs tonight. Let’s light candles in the dark, and smile at strangers and hug the people we love. The darkness can not win if we decide to triumph.