Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Just Leaving", 48x60, oil on board by Maryanne Jacobsen, great blue heron, Florida beach paintings, large paintings, beach path, impasto, alla prima,

SOLD"Just Leaving", 48x60, oil on board by Maryanne Jacobsen (Note: You can click on the image if you wish to see it better.)

This painting of a great blue heron on a Florida Beach was a recent commission that I rec'd from an agent, which had been requested by a large luxury hotel chain that I had worked with in the past. With a very short deadline requirement, I knew that I had to do something out of the ordinary in order to speed up the drying time of oil paint. So I decided to use Gamblin's Fast matte alkyd white and mix the white with all the other colors on my palette in order to get the painting to dry quickly. I don't really like the tacky consistency of the fast matte paint, but it does work really well for plein air paint-outs and if you are traveling and need the painting to dry quickly. So I decided it was the best route to take, as long as I remembered to mix all my colors with the whites! (Guess what, I didn't.)

Unfortunately, right after I rec'd a verbal approval from the company to proceed with the commission, I hurt my back pretty badly. In retrospect I think I should have realized that my back was more important than the commission, but being the conscientious individual that I am, I loaded up on Advil and tried to think positive thoughts as I climbed up and down on a footstool and tried to paint the top portion of the painting. Next I was afraid to adjust the easel when I needed to paint the lower part of the painting, since the board was quite heavy, so I sat on the footstool instead while I painted the lower third.

I must say that I have absolutely no idea how people sit while they paint! To me it is next to impossible. So with the restrictions that my back was imposing on me, and the bubble gum consistency of the fast matte paint to deal with, I was not a happy camper. In addition, I could not mix color the way that I normally do. Technically I knew that I need to keep my paint vibrant and pure in the foreground and then add white gradually, in order to make the landscape recede as I go into the background. But this rule could not apply now, since I needed to mix everything with white! It was a pure nightmare- painting this!

In the end, the painting came out just fine, but I'll never do a painting this large again. I am an alla prima artist, and there is simply no way to get a painting this size done in one session! Period. I struggled for the better part of a week which meant that the painting could not possibly dry in time for the required deadline! I learned a lot of valuable lessons from this experience, and I think that is a good thing. Here is the process that I used to complete the painting- the largest that i have ever done, by the way.

First I sketched out the composition and basic values on a sketch pad, making sure that I used the same ratio required in the finished painting- in this case 8 inches by 10 inches.

Then I primed the board, using three coats of gesso followed by a light sanding and then a coating of premium acrylic house paint on both sides of the board. The reason that I painted the back side of the board was because I knew a board this large would tend to warp if there was nothing to balance the weight on the front side. Although it will still warp, that can be controlled somewhat in the final framing. Next I applied a very thin glaze of Permanent rose and Indian yellow to the board, let it dry and then sketched out the design with a pastel pencil.

Knowing I needed to work from the back forward, I added the sky and the bird, working hard to keep the paint layer thin, but still vibrant. Using a thin glaze of ultramarine blue, I also added the shadow mass to the would-be foliage.

Next I added the water , which in this case happens to be the Gulf of Mexico. Since I was somewhat limited in terms of impasto, I had to be very careful in my creation of waves, which was pretty stifling to my palette knife style! I discovered a few days later that there were some areas of the water in which I had forgotten to add the fast matte white. Bummer. It wouldn't dry!

Then I worked on the foliage, which was very challenging with all the restrictions that I had.

I waited until the painting had been dry a few days and then I went back in and added the things that it needed- depth of color and some additional natural growth to the foliage.

In the end, I am glad I attempted this in spite of all the difficulties. We always learn from new experiences, and working this big, with a fast-drying white, really showed me that different sizes and different types of paint require different techniques that can be quite challenging!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"North Jetty Sea Grapes-plein air study", 14x11, oil on board, by Maryanne Jacobsen

"North Jetty Sea Grapes-plein air study", 14x11, oil on board

After almost two weeks of back pain, I woke up today feeling wonderful! Praise the Lord!

My fellowship group prayed for me last night and obviously the Lord heard my prayer because today I was out there painting with my friends from Florida's Sarasota County plein air group at Venice's North Jetty.

The light was awesome when I arrived around 8:45 but as soon as I set up my easel, and knocked out the bright light temperature in my first notes, the light disappeared and I was under a cloud for the next hour. So I stuck with what I had in my head and kept trying to remember the light. By 10:15 I was totally disgusted, when low and behold the sun made another appearance! Wow! Such drama!

The shadows were different but I kept at it for another 20 minutes. I shot a picture and went home and finished it up.

Nothing like painting plein air. The homeless kitties were meowing under the trees, the sunbathers were there in their various apparel and I even had a visit from a very nice Jehovah's Witness. I could hear the soft pounding of the waves of the Gulf against the shoreline just a dozen yards ahead. Here's a view of the seagrape trees that I painted today.

This painting is not for sale at this time.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Fish Beach Road-Monhegan Island", 20x16, award-winning paintings by Maryanne Jacobsen

"Fish Beach Road-Monhegan Island", 20x16, oil on board

It's been a bit of a difficult week, what with my back injury, stress from painting a large commission with a very short deadline, and the passing of two friends yesterday. So I was happy to hear the good news today that I had won a second place award for my painting of Monhegan Island's Fish Beach Road in The Englewood Art Center's "Memory Lane" Exhibit. The Englewood Art Center is a division of The Ringling College of Art and Design.

Thanks to juror Judy Malbuisson for her nice comments about the painting: "Wonderful use of glowing colors. Good perspective and brush technique." Judy is the Executive Director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Blue Cap, 14x18, oil on canvas

"Blue Cap", 14x18, oil on canvas

This was my first time back to the Venice Art Center's life study group since June. We paint from live models for 2 and a half hours on Fridays and I don't really know why I took the summer off, but I did. It was good to be back today, and the model is an artist himself. He sat for us and painted the entire time we painted him. How cool is that?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crystal blue persuasian", 8x10, oil on linen, paintings of blue flowers, hydranges, crystal vase, wedding bouquets, blue, apple, red, white and blue

"Crystal Blue Persuasion", 8x10, oil on linen -

I've noticed that nowadays when young ladies get married, they all seem to pick the latest trendy colors for their bridesmaid's gowns and their flowers. Sage and chocolate and black and ivory are all wonderful colors for weddings. But I guess I am an old-fashioned girl, because i must confess that I'll always love baby blue.

I watch "Dancing with the Stars" pretty regularly and last week I was taken with how lovely Nancy Grace looked in a baby blue gown, dancing a waltz to "Moon River". Now no matter what you think of Nancy ( I happen to admire her tremendously for stepping out of her comfort zone to do DWTS), you have got to admit that the look of that soft blue gown on her, softened her look tremendously.

So maybe young ladies don't want to look soft and feminine anymore. I just don't know. All I know as I still love old fashioned blue and English cottage gardens, and mounds of hydrangeas and crystal. What about you?

In the meantime, I am off to go listen to some oldies, which includes the 60's hit, Crystal Blue Persuasion, which inspired the title of the painting. The song is by Tommy James and the Shondells, and I found an interesting interview with James about the meaning of the song. The song has a light ethereal quality to it, and although many people thought it was about drugs, it is actually about James having become a Christian and an image he had of a crystal blue lake, which was straight of the Book of Revelations, Chapter 19. You can read the interview here, and listen to the track here.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Just Pear-fect!" 5x7, oil on boardm paintings of fruit, pears, food, food art, Maryanne Jacobsen art

"Just Pear-fect!" 5x7, oil on board

I love painting fruit. Fruit is colorful, interesting in terms of shape, and falls beautifully into the simplest compositions. It is almost restful to paint fruit and pears are especially fun because they vary enough in size and color to ensure that every pear that is painted will be different from those I've painted before!

This type of thinking may sound a little boring to non-painters, but to me at least, it's interesting.

I painted this yesterday in the hopes I could find time today to do another pear painting. Then I would have had a pair of pears. Sigh. How delightful would that have been? Well, the second pear just didn't happen and with other responsibilities looming including an important new commission I don't think it will happen.

So I hope you enjoy my little pear, and please send me an email at if you are interested in purchasing this little painting. To visit my official website and learn more about me and my art, please go here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Thank Heaven for little Girls", 12x16, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

"Thank Heaven for Little Girls", 12x16, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

I went back to this today when I was feeling fresher and worked on some passages that I knew needed work. I could almost hear Maurice Chevalier singing in my ear as I signed this one, hence the new title.

I painted this on a sheet of linen that comes in a pad and I guess I should have stretched it first. I am hoping that when it is completely dry, I'll be able to stretch it without any problem. Since I've always used pre-stretched canvas or linen before, I'd appreciate any tips you all can give me!

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Friday, October 07, 2011

"Baby Ballerina", 12x16, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

"Baby Ballerina", 12x16, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

I've been working on this one all week, and although I feel that it needs a bit more development, I need to put it aside for now because of other responsibilities.

I was really excited about this painting earlier in the week, and I am feeling pretty good about the way that it is developing. Please let me know what you think as well! Hopefully, I'll get around to putting the finishing touches on it in the near future, but a new commission with a close deadline has my undivided attention for now.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

"Evening Path through the Park", 8x10, oil on linen

SOLD "Evening Path through the Park", 8x10, oil on linen

I've been working on a new figurative painting and I'm very excited about it! In fact, I don't think I've been this excited about a painting since "Renaissance Child"! It's going to take a while but hopefully I'll have something to show for my efforts in a few days and I won't mess it up.

In the meantime, I did this quick study afterwards to help me unwind after all that concentration!

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