Friday, September 30, 2011

"The Old Springhouse", 16x12, oil on gessoboard, by Maryanne Jacobsen, palette knife landscape, Pennsylvania springhouse, old buildings, impressionism

"The Old Springhouse", 16x12, oil on gessoboard by Maryanne JAcobsen

This is a painting of an old springhouse that was up the road from my last house in Chester Springs, Pa. The building may be old but it has a tremendous amount of character, and with the dappled light cascading over it, I knew immediately that I wanted to paint it.

In case you are not familiar with what a springhouse is, here's a definition from Wikipedia: A spring house, or springhouse, is a small building used for refrigeration once commonly found in rural areas before the advent of electric refrigeration. It is usually a one-room building constructed over the source of a spring. The water of the spring maintains a constant cool temperature inside the spring house throughout the year. In settings where no natural spring is available, another source of natural running water, such as a small creek or diverted portion of a larger creek, may be used. The main use of a spring house is for the long-term storage of food that would otherwise spoil, such as meat, fruit or dairy products.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Rue de la Fontaine, Roussillon", 10x8, oil on linen

"Rue de la Fontaine, Roussillon", 10x8, oil on linen

Roussillon, the ochre-colored village in southeastern Provence has dramatically different architecture than other villages in Provence since its buildings are derived from ochre colored rock rather than the limestone we are so used to seeing associated with Provence. Its history is fascinating as well, and you can read about it here if you are interested in the Moors, and Catalans and the Crown of Aragon, since it's after midnight and I am too tired to write about it myself!

If you are interested in this painting, please send me an email at

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Ice Plant Season" 14x11, oil on linen board by Maryanne Jacobsen, California landscapes, ice plants, leaning cypress trees , Monterey

" Ice Plant Season" 14x11, oil on linen board

We drove up the California coast a couple years ago all the way from Santa Monica north to San Francesco, and the beauty of the California coast was truly an amazing thing to behold. The ride was long but we broke it up by stopping at Cambria to visit with my husband's brother and his wife and we stayed at a beautiful Inn right on the Pacific ocean. Cambria was a small Western-style town with a couple art galleries on the main road and even some adorable Victorian buildings!

The next day we were back on the road and traveled the coastal highway all along Big Sur and the Santa Cruz mountain range where the scenery was beyond spectacular. Since I hate heights, I was a little freaked out by the highway, but I managed to catch some great views nonetheless. We had a late lunch in Fisherman's Village in Monterey right before we got to San Francesco. I think I caught this scene somewhere near Monterey or Santa Cruz, but we hit so many spots during that trip that it's kind of a blur.

The scene was clearly spectacular. There were these weird icy pink-purple flowers all over the place and the trees there were so wind-swept it was as though the winds had bent their frail backbones for centuries! I think these were cypress trees and I must confess that between these Cypress trees and the California eucalyptus trees, I could move to California just for the trees alone!

Since then I have returned to California quite a few times, and I have seen these ice plants all along the southern coast as well. The first time that I saw these ice plants I think that my mouth dropped open and I gasped out loud. They were grouped in mounds of gorgeous vivacious pink flowers and you can find them clustered together on hilltops and in valleys and wherever the eye can see. Sometimes you'll catch them mingled with the California blue lupine and that is truly a scene of paradise on earth!

In this painting, I decided to combine two treasures of the Monterey Coast- the ice plants cascading down the beach right along the leaning cypress grove. Such drama is second to none if you are painting landscapes!

I have been painting my favorite places on earth recently- from Maine to Provence to the coast of California. We are truly blessed to live in an age where trips to these wonderful places are just a fingertip away!

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Mission Capistrano Warmth", 14x11, oil on canvas panel

"Mission Capistrano Warmth", 14x11, oil on canvas panel

I often find myself envying the artists who live in southern California. Although I know envy is not a very pleasant trait to possess, I would move to California in a heartbeat if I were younger. It is one of the loveliest places on earth with its dramatic seacoast, beautiful mountain ranges and unusual trees and flora. It is no wonder the American impressionist movement took a firm hold there!

I've done quite a few paintings of Mission San Juan Capistrano. So although this one is sold, do put Mission Capistrano into the keyword search and see what else is available. There's a couple good ones left!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Provencal Skyline-Brantes", 5x7, oil on board by Maryanne Jacobsen

"Provencal Skyline-Brantes", 5x7, oil on board I must confess that after working for two days on that lackluster painting of a dreary garden in Denmark, I needed a pick-me -upper. So I went back to the place where my heart has always been from a very young age- Provence.

I won't bore you with the details of why my heart is most likely as French as truffles, but in truth I suspect that it is, was and always will be.

I must also give credit to Deborah Lawrenson, British author extraordinaire and art collector for tugging my heartstrings with the recent reading of her book, "The Lantern". Her vibrant imagery of the Provencal landscape re-awakened my desire to paint more paintings of this incredibly medieval, mystical, captivating and majestic place.

"Cottonwood Trail-Colorado", 9x12, oil on Raymar panel

"Cottonwood Trail-Colorado", 9x12, oil on Raymar panel

In contrast to yesterday's rather somber Scandinavian palette, this painting reflects my joy for all scenes autumnal. Maybe it's that I was born in October, or maybe it's because I adore color- whatever it is, I just love painting autumn landscapes because it allows me to really push the colors:0)

I painted this two years ago in October after returning from a trip out west after one of my paintings was juried into The American Impressionist Society's show at the Saks Gallery in Denver. We took some extra time on the trip to enjoy the beautiful Western scenery, and one of the high points of the trip was visiting Rio Grande country.

I have always been a little intimidated about painting mountains, because it's not scenery that I grew up with being from the east coast. So in this painting, i decided to just have fun pushing the colors and not worry too much about defining the mountains perfectly. I used some of what I learned from Edgar Payne's book on composition to play around with the scene to create a more pleasing composition, adding complimentary colors on the right and extending the trail to eliminate the boring empty road space in the lower right hand quadrant.

I wanted to push the warmness of the scene and I think the painting ended up having a happy feel to it, with warm lights and cool shadows.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumn's First Blush, 7x5, oil on board

Autumn's First Blush, 7x5, oil on board

Notes of raspberry, lime and orange infuse this small piece with light and color reminiscent of autumn's first blush. Painted with both brush and palette knife, this scene could be Tuscany, Provence, or virtually anywhere in the world where the kiss of early fall makes her first appearance.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Blue Door-Provence", 5x7, oil on board-by Maryanne Jacobsen, paintings of Provence, blue doors


"Blue Door-Provence", 5x7, oil on board

What's not to like about Provence?

Old medieval villages perched on mountainsides like teetering wedding cakes bask in the golden sunlight all year long- the limestone turning from orange to soft pink as the sun sinks lower into the horizon at sundown. Bright blue doors and shutters provide just the right impressionist vibration against that orange glow of the old walls, and the various mountain ranges (Alps, Vaucluse and Luberon) fade to soft purples and grayish blues as they recede into the distance of the backdrop.

I recently finished Deborah Lawrenson's beautiful book, "The Lantern", and I have wanted to do another painting of Provence while her vibrant imagery of the region is still fresh in my mind. The setting for this modern Gothic romantic novel is Provence, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves all things Provence! Please check out the book here, and take a moment to visit Deborah's lovely blog here.

I hope to do more paintings of Provence in the future, and Deborah was generous in sending me some photos of that glorious golden light falling into bewitching patterns across her lovely property in Provence. The scene above is typical of the little villages that can be found throughout Provence, each having their own distinct personalities. As an impressionist painter, I am very envious of that lovely soft, diffused light quality that pervades the Mediterranean region.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"David's Sunflowers", 24x24, oil on board

"David's Sunflowers", 24x24, oil on board

This was a commissioned piece and is not for sale. The person requested these "muted" colors and based upon my mood lately, I can appreciate the subtlety. I used a limited palette and omitted the warm reds and greens entirely. It's rather Van Gogh-esque, I suppose.

Please contact me if you would like to commission a painting. My email address is

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Harvest Time", 12x16, oil on canvas panel by Maryanne Jacobsen


"Harvest Time", 12x16, oil on canvas panel by Maryanne Jacobsen

"Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine."
- Rainer Maria Rilke

It is harvest time in many of the world's most productive vineyards. I used the reference photo below from a Tuscan vineyard to create my painting, which won an honorable merit award at an exhibit at The Venice Art Center :

From the photo, it appeared to be a "cool temperature" sort of day, overcast, with soft shadows , diffused light and lots of grays. In the underpainting, I used permanent rose for my lights and ultramarine blue for my shadows to keep the light temperature cool. The monitor cannot capture the subtle lavenders and violets sufficiently in this piece and I held on to it for a long time because I enjoyed it and did not want to sell it. I have finally decided to sell it, so if you are looking for a painting with lush impasto and shades of lavender and magenta, here it is!

Please contact me at if you are interested in purchasing this painting.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

"View of Ram Island Lighthouse from Ocean Point", 10x8, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

"Ram Island Lighthouse from Ocean Point", 10x8, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

A funny thing happened while I was in Maine. I met a fellow artist Roger Milinowski while visiting his gallery, Head of the Harbor, in Boothbay Harbor. We got to talking and he asked me where I was from. I told him I lived in southwest Florida and he said, "You know, I have a friend that I visit in Venice Florida and to be perfectly honest with you, I didn't see much to inspire me there."

I burst out laughing because Roger had no idea that I lived in Venice, Florida! I told him to tell that to my hubby , a non-artist, who doesn't quite get it when I complain that I don't have any inspiration here. At any rate, the reason that I have been painting New England scenes non-stop for the past month, is simply because Maine has a painting to be painted around every single corner!

Today I went back to my color studies and decided to do something that I knew would be easy- a triadic study using the three primaries. So I used a cool and warm blue ( cobalt and ultramarine) as well as a cool and warm red (Permanent rose and cadmium red) and a cool and warm yellow ( cad yellow medium and lemon yellow). Man was this one easy!

If you are a non painter reading this, let me explain.

There are three primaries- blue, yellow and red. From the three primaries you get all of the other colors on the color wheel. So thus I can mix a violet from blue and red, or a green from yellow and blue or an orange from red and yellow! Thus my choices of colors are unlimited when using the three primaries! Using 6 colors is even easier because I had a cool and warm of each, which when mixed together give you a pretty pure primary as well!

This was a huge difference from my struggles yesterday to paint with violet, viridian green and orange. You can make secondary colors from primaries, but you can't make primaries from secondaries. Hence all the grayish blues, reds and yellow in the last piece that I did.

Anyway, this painting is a view of the Ram Island Lighthouse from Ocean Point, which is just about a ten minute drive from Boothbay Harbor, Maine. You can see this lighthouse by boat if you are cruising to Monhegan Island and other islands in the area.

I hope that you have been enjoying all of my painting of Maine scenes. Please let me know if you are sick of them yet!

This painting is available through Lorica Artworks in Andover, Ma.

Monday, September 05, 2011

"Morning Tryst-Bar Harbor"-16x12 , oil on board by Maryanne Jacobsen

SOLD"Morning Tryst-Bar Harbor"-16x12 , oil on board by Maryanne Jacobsen

Today I decided to try a different approach to the schooner that I'd photographed in Bar Harbor Maine.

If you have been following this blog, you'll know that I've been working on limiting my palette to create a more cohesive painting.

The last time that I painted this scene, I used an analogous palette, meaning that I took colors that were adjacent to each other on the color wheel. In my last painting, I used reds, blues and greens to create an analogous color study, making the warmest color on my palette a very cool red (magenta).

Here's what it looked like:

In this new painting (above) I decided to go with a triadic color study, meaning that the colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel. I decided not to use primaries, and instead went with complimentaries, using orange, violet and viridian green, while completely omitting blues, yellows and reds from my palette.

I must confess that this was hard for me, just as the analogous study was!

I cheated a little bit and towards the end I added magenta, which is either a very warm violet or a very cool red, depending what you are thinking. I decided to put it in the purple family and thus make it legit for my study, and I must confess that the painting kind of needed that little pop of red!

I was pretty happy that I was able to get through this process.

The hardest thing for me, was to be without blue in a seascape. I had to keep adjusting the viridian and the violet in order to get my blues, and that was very challenging for me.

On the positive side, I was happy that the end result looked unified and yet still colorful!

Let me know what you think of my triadic color study.

Friday, September 02, 2011

"Blue Hydrangeas and grapes", 18x24, oil on canvas

"Blue Hydrangeas and grapes", 18x24, oil on canvas

Note: this painting received the Juror's Award, in the "Harvest of Art" exhibit at the Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda.

I decided to do another painting with cool colors and a limited palette. I figured that blue hydrangeas would make for a good subject and so I went to Whole Foods and found what I was looking for. I had a little pink and yellow-colored hydrangea in my garden, and decided to add that to the set-up, since the tea cup had pink in it. I'm happy with the way that the painting came out, and for the first time I woke up the next day and decided not change anything.

I am one of those people that has been known to futz with a painting too much, ultimately destroying any spontaneity it ever once knew. I am beginning to realize that when a painting turns out less than successful, it's better to put it away for awhile, rather than beating myself up over it. Then, often I'll take it out months later and realize exactly what I had done wrong. Which tells me that I've improved! I decided that if I try to fix every unsuccessful painting, how will I ever see my progress? (assuming that I'm actually able to fix it!)

I like my new philosophy. Artists tend to be too hard on themselves, and I am no exception. That's what makes us improve, however, the need to be better than what we were.

Here's the set-up that I used for the painting:

If you have any interest in purchasing this painting, please send me an email at Have a happy holiday!

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