Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This is the first original oil painting that I ever did by myself, after buying my oil paints back in January of 2006. I have never offered it for sale before for sentimental reasons. To celebrate
a New Year of painting opportunities, I have decided to offer this painting for sale.
I would be happy to honor payment plans; please email me if interested in this painting, or use the PayPal button below!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Pansy Party, 16x20 oil on wrapped canvas
"Purple flowers of velvet so suffering From your soft eyes the color of pansies."
John Antoine Nau
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Thursday, December 04, 2008
"Painting the Memories"
It's been over 10 years now since I staged my last Nutcracker production, but the memories are still there, as vivid as yesterday. Below is a story I wrote a while back about the Nutcracker years. As I look back, I realize that they were very happy albeit hectic years- filled with energy, creativity and excitement. I hope all of my students are doing well, and that life is good for each and every one. Every now and then I hear from a past student, and it's always a treat. I hope to hear from more this year!
The painting above can be purchased framed and ready to hang for that special ballerina in your life. The cost unframed is $395, which includes free holiday shipping. If you wish to purchase it framed in a wooden gilt frame, please add an additional $45.00 to total $440.00.
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It’s that time of year where it is literally impossible for a person to shop without hearing them! They are the diversely beautiful and evocative strains of music from Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker score.
The spirited March, the hauntingly strident Dance of the Reed Flutes, the erotic Arabian Duet and the elegiac Waltz of the Flowers seem to follow us everywhere as we search for gloves, hats, wallets, scarves, books, and perfume in the malls, Wal-Marts, Talbot’s and Macy’s across the country.
For me, a seemingly average shopper, those sounds are enough to evoke such powerful emotions within me that I sometimes need to leave the store entirely rather than experience the roller coaster ride that that music invariably provokes.
While my three sons were fairly young and I was at the prime of my life, I was given the wonderful opportunity to direct a performing arts center and Ballet Company for nine years.
Those years will always be remembered as some of the happiest and saddest times of my life.
Happy-because I now realize that I touched the lives of the children and people around me in a very profound and positive way. This I know because of the many letters of gratitude I have received over the years from former students and their parents.
And sad, because the inherent nature of any artistic endeavor, including running a non-profit ballet company, must center around raising capital for future productions. The enormous responsibilities attached to my position of Director produced a tremendous amount of guilt and stress from being unable to devote myself totally to my family at Christmas time. In addition, the tremendous amount of effort that I expended produced endless depression in me, as a result of what I perceived as a lack of appreciation by the people and children that I was working so hard for.
As Artistic Director of the company, I always knew that getting funding for any ballet company is invariably difficult. But for myself and the board members of my young inexperienced company, the challenge was sometimes daunting.
Unfortunately, the technical quality of our performances was a huge issue to grant-writers, who often judged our projects with a critical eye to the dancers’ level of accomplishment. As a result of this, a huge weight was placed around my heart whenever it came time to cast a performance.
For me, the second week in September was the most dreaded week in the entire year. This was the week when I would invariably have Nutcracker auditions. These auditions were a time of incredible excitement for the kids in the studio who had ballet company aspirations, or just dreams of being cast as a little angel in the Nutcracker.
For many of the tiny children, being cast as a cherub in the snow scene, was a dream come true.
But these were also times of heart-wrenching disappointment for the dedicated older girls in my school who had dreams of being cast as the charming heroine of the ballet, Clara, or the magical Snow Angel with her breathtaking pas de deux , perhaps the exotic Arabian enchantress, or the beautiful, technically proficient Sugar Plum Fairy.
In fact, every one of those young women and their vigilant mothers were convinced that they alone were up for the technical challenges of those roles and most deserving of the part!
With over a thousand students in the school, there were usually about a hundred dancers who came out for the annual Nutcracker auditions.
The auditions lasted about four hours. But for me, the hapless decision-making Artistic Director, the repercussions of those auditions usually went on for months.
I try to look back on that time philosophically.
I know in my heart that I did the very best I could to cast every single ballet dancer fairly. I looked at the dancer’s abilities, and attendance, as well as a pure love for the art that I felt should be inherent in a committed dancer’s attitude.
I tried not to look at body types, or monetary contributions from wealthy parents, or pressure to keep a talented dancer disappointed in the role in which I might cast her, from defecting to one of the many other prestigious ballet schools in the area.
But despite a week of sleepless nights, and mathematical formulas that would perplex an engineer (if the company could only allot x more dollars to purchase a couple extra angel costumes… that would be two less kiddies that would be disappointed, I reasoned), the day that the cast list went up was always a day of reckoning for me.
In the end, I would follow my gut instincts and then question my decision for weeks afterwards, as the grenades kept going off under my feet.
In truth, there were times that I had to sneak out of the studio through the back door, in order to avert the minefields of parents who were lying in wait to stone or crucify me for intentional favoritism or imagined grievances.
I know now that there was no way I could ever have satisfied everyone with my casting choices. But still I tried.
One year I even decided to double cast the entire Nutcracker production so that there could be two Clara’s, two Sugar Plums, two DewDrop Fairies and two Snow Queens.
My good intentions turned into a disaster. The Sugar Plum with the larger bra size could simply not wear the hand-jeweled bodice that had been sewn together for the other Sugar Plum, who had a much smaller bosom.
Not to mention the problem of the endless rehearsals, since every scene had to be rehearsed twice.
The board members were angry with me for the additional costume expenses. The parents were angry with me for keeping their kids in rehearsals far too long. Homework suffered, tempers and bunions flared, and the performance of the two Claras became close to a vaudeville act in their over-zealous attempts to outdo each other.
I still remember the last dress rehearsal before the weekend performances on that particular Year of the Double-cast, as I now affectionately call it. I ran into hiding in the shadows at the back of the theatre and slunk down in my seat, just hoping that no one would come near me with any more problems or temper tantrums.
The rehearsal was already running way behind schedule, the kids were all tired, and yet now it was necessary to run the entire show with the second cast.
I felt angry and bitter. I had tried so hard to achieve good results, but instead of a feeling of accomplishment, I just wanted to jump on a plane and escape the pressure I was feeling. Tears of frustration ran down my cheeks as I watched the beginning of a very beautiful performance.
On the stage, costumed guests were traveling down a snowy street on their way to the Christmas party at Clara’s house. Children with muffs were skipping along gaily and carrying presents and dolls, and an old feisty granny was wheeling a cane-wielding grandpa across the stage in an old-fashioned wheelchair that I’d picked up at a junk store.
The street scene had been created with a special stage curtain called a scrim. The scrim was made from a loosely woven cloth and then hand-painted, which created the illusion of a charming Dickens-style village at Christmastime.
While I watched, as the last of the guests were making their way across the stage, the rows of little Tudor houses began to subtly fade and change. As if by magic, the street scene slowly became translucent and began to disappear before my very eyes and as it did, another scene came into focus at the very same time. Suddenly I could see an old-fashioned parlor decorated with Victorian furniture and a huge Christmas tree. Children were playing in front of the tree and adult guests in gorgeous gowns and handsome waistcoats were drinking a toast.
As the narrow snow-covered street completely dissolved, the audience floated gently into the warmth and coziness of little Clara’s lovely home. The festivities were in full swing as the scrim finally flew out and the interior scene was revealed in full effect.
The transparent effect created by a scrim while changing scenes within a performance is achieved with proper lighting. It’s that simple. If the scrim is lighted from the front and outside the stage perimeter, the scene that is painted on the front of the curtain is all that the audience will see.
But if the lighting is changed so that the cloth is lit from the back and within the confines of the stage itself, the transparency takes effect and a whole new backdrop is revealed to the eyes of an entranced audience.
The "melting" effect of passing seamlessly from one scene into the next is accomplished in less than 10 seconds, and although it’s just a simple stage trick, the dreamy effect created in the transition is utterly magical.
As I sat in the audience and watched the performance take shape and form in front of me, I realized that my life was like a scrim cloth.
I knew I was feeling miserable in spite of the beauty I had created because I was allowing my heart to be affected by outside lighting, or influences, so to speak. I had allowed the criticism of the parents and the trivial rivalries of the dancers to affect my spirit to the exclusion of all else. I was unable to see the good I had created, which I know now was substantial.
I had wanted all of the dancers and their parents to be happy and to have a feeling of accomplishment. That was a major reason why I had spent weeks and months of my free time working hard to choreograph and design a lovely production for the delight of everyone who came to see it.
Suddenly I realized that I needed my life to become lit from within, rather than without. My happiness should not have been predicated upon a need to please everyone. Yet unwittingly, I focused only on those around me whom I could never possibly please, rather than the many that were charmed and satisfied with the lovely production that I’d created.
Unfortunately for me, the satisfaction of birthing something heartwarming and beautiful for an audience to take away with them, had alluded me completely because I had allowed those outside influences to affect me so negatively.
Watching the ballet unfold before my eyes in the back of that theatre cheered me. It was the first time I had ever watched one of my productions from the perspective of the audience, and it was a revelation.
I really had done something worthwhile!
The impression the performance would make upon the audience was unmistakable. I knew that people would be uplifted when they came to see this performance, because I had placed it in God’s hands for guidance and direction many, many months before, when I had first questioned whether or not to undertake such a huge project.
A tiny light began to glow from somewhere inside of me. I was allowing myself to be lit from within, rather than without. It was a subtle transformation, but it was unmistakable.
The gift of that revelation would stay with me whenever I began to doubt myself. I knew from that moment on, that I needed to continue to allow an Inner Light, the light behind the scrim, to light up my life and guide me.
"Panacea", 6x8, oil on canvas
In my opinion , flowers are a panacea for whatever ails ya! I painted this little impressionist floral with both brush and palette knife.
If you would like to purchase "Panacea" for $54.00, (plus $5.00 shipping) please use the paypal button below.
Have a happy day!
a Painting a day, Daily painters, original art , affordable original art, home decor art, colorist art,contemporary impressionism, art blogs, abstract floral paintings,paintings of roses,Maryanne Jacobsen paintings, impasto paintings.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
"Antiquity", 8x 10, oil on linen panel
I was really pleased with the way this came out. It started out as a landscape and turned into this! So it was one of htose nice accidents!
If you would like to purchase "Antiquities" for $150, which includes free shipping, please use the PayPal button below.
a Painting a day, Daily painters, original art , affordable original art, home decor art, shabby chic art,contemporary impressionism, art blogs, abstract floral paintings,paintings of roses,Maryanne Jacobsen paintings, impasto paintings.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Key West Conch House #2, 11x14, oil on linen panel
As I have received numerous requests to do another Key West Conch House, I finally obliged. This painting is on an archival linen panel and can be placed into a standard frame for easy hanging.
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