Posts Tagged ‘pet portrait’

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 11/22/13

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 48x48

Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 48×48

By Carrie Jacobson

One of the reasons that I love to paint is that I love the way it makes me feel. I love where it takes my head, where it takes my heart.

When I am painting, it seems that the world goes away. Well, that’s not really right. My surroundings recede. My worries recede. Whatever is dark and sad in my life recedes, and I am left with what is joyful and full of promise. I am left with color, and with light, and with faith.

I paint – and especially with something like this piece, this big, bright, heavily textured sunflower piece – I find a rhythm that helps transport me, helps bring me to that transcendent place, that place where sorrow is something just out of the frame, just off of the horizon.

We euthanized our 15-year-old Pekingese on Monday. He had had trouble walking for a couple of years, and his back legs pretty much gave out a couple months ago. This weekend, one of his front legs seemed to be on the way out. It was arthritis, the vet said, and Looie would not get better. He would not come out of it.

Loo had a good long life. He was the top dog for a long time, and one of his major roles was to stop all playing, whenever possible. We called him the fun police. Kaja, a German shepherd/chow I loved dearly, is also dead. Kaja spent many joyful afternoons in Maine running into Looie at full tilt, knocking him ass over teakettle. He would roll and tumble, and then get up, barking, and chase Kaja until she’d do it again. To see photos of Looie and Kaja, please click here.

 I understand when people say they can’t think of having another dog, because of the pain at the end of their too-short lives. I understand. But I wouldn’t change a moment of this awful pain for a moment less of life with Looie or Kaja or any of the others.

And so I painted, and painted, painted beautiful, bright, rhythmic sunflowers. I let myself get lost in the colors and the light and the promise, and the healing.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 08/09/13

Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Chance Oil on canvas, 12x12

Oil on canvas, 12×12

By Carrie Jacobson

I donate art to charitable causes on a regular basis, and at the Paradise City show in Northampton, Mass in the spring, the winners of a pet portrait were the mothers of a young woman whose beloved dog Chance had died earlier that day.

Their story made me cry, and through the photos they sent me, I could tell what a great dog Chance had been.

I made the painting, and we agreed to meet at a show in Old Saybrook, Conn. in late July.

The day came, and one of the mothers stopped by my booth early to make sure we were on track. I put the painting up right over my little desk, and below it, put “To Carly, Love, Chance,” on a postcard.

Soon enough, they all showed up. The daughter walked by my tent and turned to look. She saw the painting and stopped in her tracks.

“Oh my God,” she said, “That looks like Chance.”

Her hand went up over her mouth when she realized that indeed, it was Chance. She started crying, the mothers started crying, her grandmother started crying, I started crying – and then we all were laughing, hugging, crying, and remembering the dear dog who had meant so much to Carly.

To see the series of photos showing all of this, click here to get to my own blog, The Accidental Artist. 

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 6/26/13

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
African Gray Parrot

African Gray Parrot

By Carrie Jacobson

So how DOES one paint a parrot? Well, after dancing around the question for a long time, and being scared about trying, I finally just dove in, deciding to paint a parrot the way I paint everything else.


And this brings up an interesting question: Is it harder to paint some things than others? An artist I respect greatly told me that it was just nonsense to think that way. If you can paint a dog, she said, you can paint anything.


I am not so sure. I can paint a dog, but I can’t really paint, say, a Victorian mansion – at least not in any way that looks – to my eyes – like a Victorian mansion, with all that makes it Victorian and lovely.


The issue, at least to me, is one of detail and complexity, and my skill and interest in those aspects of painting. I’m just not interested in finding and taking on the most complicated thing I can paint. To a large degree, I’m interested in finding and taking on the most simple.


In my paintings, I am forever editing things out – windows, porches, chimneys, trees, bushes, telephone poles, collars, backgrounds, roads. I try to paint the simplest part of what is. The core of the thing, not the fancy edges.


Once, I tried to paint a falling-down mill building along a river in Rhode Island. I’d known the building when it was more or less whole, but by the time I painted it, the roof had fallen in, and parts of the building had disintegrated. My painting, to my eyes, was a failure. I painted what I saw – but what I had loved about the building, what had attracted me to it all those years ago, was its wholeness, its proud and simple stance at the very edge of the river. And that was no longer there.


So for me, I guess, at least now, I seek the iconic, the unchanging, the core. And in that regard, painting a parrot is much like painting a dog.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 3/6/13 (and more)

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Oil on canvas, 18×18
not for sale

Around Christmas, my friend Ronet Noe, who is a fabulous painter and a delightful person, gave me a painting that I gave to our daughter as a Christmas present. Erika, said daughter, had fallen in love with the painting at the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival. Ronet wanted a portrait of her dog, Roy. So we traded, one for one.

Roy was one of the paintings I was determined to finish before leaving on my painting trip to Tubac – and so here he is! I really love this painting, and as so often happens to me while I am painting a dog, I lost my heart a little bit to Roy.


SPEAKING OF DOGS, I was accepted again this year into Paws for Charity, the fabulous pet-art-book project by Sara Harley. Sara says that there are 90 participants this year! You can check the project out at, and also on Facebook at

The books are not out yet, but I encourage you to buy one when they do come out. They’re not cheap, but they are beautiful, and all the money raised goes to help a shelter in Canada. The artists get no money, Sara gets no money – but the animals do, and that’s why I do it. (Also, it’s great to see my paintings in a book!)

Here’s a copy of my page:

I am well on my way to being prepared to leave on Saturday on my painting trip to Tubac, AZ. I am thrilled and thankful to have 20 sponsors – and quite the painting challenge!
I’ll be driving out along the coasts of North and South Carolina, across Florida and Alabama, then into Louisiana, going through Houma and New Iberia. If any of you are familiar with the books of James Lee Burke, you’ll know that his great character Dave Robicheaux lives in New Iberia, so I am particularly thrilled to be headed there!
Here’s a photo of the van, with the beginning of shelving and internal structures for storing stuff and hanging wet paintings:
and here’s a photo of my happy helper:


Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 2/25/2013

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Red. Donation to the shelter in Onley, VA

Where the HECK have I been?

After a daunting trip to Florida, I traveled to Hartford, CT, and participated as a vendor at the King’s Foot Guard Dog Show – and had a great time. I got one big commission – and an abstract one at that (check out Roy and Bert to see what I mean), which makes me so happy.

I love painting these, the abstracts, but making them is terrifying. There can be no mistakes, none. You put a mark on the canvas, and there it stands, naked, without coverup or background. No changing your mind! No second guessing!

So much like the very best moments in life, yes? Those moments when you have the courage to jump, the strength not to look back, the serenity not to question yourself.


Followers of my blog, The Accidental Artist, will remember the Art for Shelter Animals Project, which I started years ago with my friend Shiela Tajima. ASAP has languished for well more than a year now, as I got too busy with Patch and with life to give it the attention it deserves.

It’s time to start it up again, and I’d like to invite any and all of you who make art to consider joining me in relaunching the project.

Here’s how it works. You make a portrait of an animal in your local shelter or with a local rescue group, you send me a jpg of the portrait, and then you give it to the shelter or rescue group. They can do whatever they want with it. Anything. Once you give it, the piece is theirs. The more creative the shelter, the more uses they will find.

And more than anything, the shelter will be grateful. They’ll be thrilled to have the painting and happy for the attention.

It was making paintings for ASAP that liberated me in terms of using colors, and using the palette knife, really. The shelters are so happy to have the pieces that there is No Pressure At All. Making these portraits showed me that dogs can be painted in shades of green and purple and still be recognized.

Please join me! Make a portrait of an animal in your local shelter, or with your local rescue group, and donate it. Send me a jpg before you give the piece away, though! You can go to the shelter and take photos, or do what I do and use

This is a great way to help your community, to help some dogs and cats and rabbits and whatever else is in your shelter, and to do it without involving money. If you teach art classes, it’s a great topic for an art class, too!

Thank you for considering it!

I leave in about 10 days for my Arizona journey, To Tubac and Back. This is going to be such a fun trip, for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is I get to visit my dad and his wife in their beautiful home in Tubac, an hour or so south of Tucson.

I’m in a show in Tucson, and have found out that an old friend of mine lives there, so that’s an extra added bonus!

Also, I am going to drive out through Mississippi and Alabama, places I’ve never been, and am so excited to see – and paint.

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.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 12/6/12

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012


By Carrie Jacobson

It was warm enough today, and bug-free enough, that we left the back door open so the dogs could go in and out at will, for the first time in their lives.

Clearly, it was liberation for them, and they spent hours running in and out – just because they could. Then Smokey sat in the sun in the open doorway, while Jojo lay in the sun in the yard, and we all soaked it up like the miracle it was.

Earlier in the day, when the door had still been closed, I’d heard the dogs doing something, again and again, making some metal on metal noise. I looked out of the open door of the boat-garage studio where I was painting, and though I couldn’t see what they were doing, I thought it might have something to do with the gates, and a potential escape, so I took them inside.

When I came back out, I heard the noise again, and realized where it was coming from – the rusty 40-foot-tall antenna that the previous owner installed, and which towers frighteningly over our house. It’s footed in a block of cement, and probably is stable, but still, it looks terrible, and if it ever toppled, would cause all sorts of trouble.

The noise, I realized, was caused by a bird, probably a crow, tossing pecans down inside the antenna, probably in an effort to break them.

Or maybe, just maybe, he did it just because he could.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 7/31/2012

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012


By Carrie Jacobson

Here are a few things I have learned while moving:

1. If at all possible, do not have an art studio on the second floor of a building. It’s nice to feel closer to the sky, but it’s really very much not nice to move All That Crap down several flights of steps.

2. If at all possible, do not be married to someone with ADD when you move. That person will simply not see that a closet is full of stuff, or that the basement is really nowhere near empty, or that, oh, yeah, I guess I did leave some of my fly-tying materials behind.

3. If at all possible, do not run your well nearly out of water while attempting to shock it to improve the water test you need to pass to actually close on the sale of the house. Especially do not do this during a drought.

4. If at all possible, do not schedule an art show in the middle of your move.

5. If at all possible, do not move in the middle of a sweltering summer.

6. If at all possible, just burn everything you own. Then move.


Want a portrait of your pet? It will look great in your home! Pet portraits make excellent presents, too … email me at for details.