Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The story of Mr. Clucky in Miami", 12x16, oil on wrapped canvas


"Mr. Clucky in Miami", 12x16, oil on wrapped canvas (Note: you can click on the painting to see a close up of the texture.)

I painted Mr. Clucky back in the summer of 2009. I had just returned home from a trip to Key West and had to laugh at the way the roosters just strutted their stuff in the streets as if they owned the place. Here's a picture that I took not far from Mallory Square and Duval Street:

When I got back I decided that roosters were the perfect thing for me, a colorist and contemporary impressionist, to paint, since they are so colorful! I painted a couple roosters which always sold quickly, and I found myself having more and more fun with each rooster that I painted.

One night I was tired after working on a landscape painting all day long. Still left on my palette were gorgeous bright globs of ultramarine bleu, manganese blue and cadmium scarlet. Although I was tired, I didn't want to let these beautiful blobs of paint go to waste. So I started enthusiastically globbing the left-over paint pieces onto a fresh white canvas with my palette knife. As I stepped back I could see the inkling of another rooster beginning to appear- or at least that's what I suspected it wanted to be. The rest was easy, I just had to work a little on his head to make it believable, and mix the blue and yellows on my palette to get the background greens in. Last but not least, I started slicing through the whole thing with my palette knife like Jack the Ripper.

Alright . Maybe I didn't need to do all that slicing, but after listening to Jimmy Buffet all afternoon and having a glass or two of wine in between paintings, I didn't care all that much about whether my rooster would be a masterpiece or not.

The next day I looked at the two paintings I had done the day before and I got angry. The Florida landscape that I had worked on for hours on end looked labored. But that darn rooster that I had done in about an hour looked spontaneous and effortless. I immediately knew he was a winner and decided to enter him into my first major art competition- The American Impressionist Society's annual juried show.

The next thing I needed to do was to figure out what to call my rooster. I took the painting over to Collector's Gallery and Framery in downtown Venice to have it framed and I asked my friend and gallery owner Leah Sherman what I should call him. Being from Miami, Leah was quick to tell me that roosters are mascots and harbingers of good luck in Miami and therefore I should consider calling him Mr. Clucky in Miami. According to Wiki:

The term mascot – defined as a term for any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck[1] – colloquially (informally) includes anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name.

So I said,"Bingo, I shall name my rooster, Mr.Clucky in Miami, and he shall bring me good luck!"

Sure enough, about two months later I was very happy to find out that Mr. Clucky had indeed been juried into the American Impressionist Society's 10th annual juried show at the Saks Gallery in Denver, Colorado, which ran from October 23rd through December 1st, 2009. The show was judged by incredible impressionist artist Quang Ho and I felt very lucky indeed to have been included in the show! I even was given a paragraph or two in American Art Collector's coverage of the event in Denver, with a prominent photo of Mr. Clucky included!

Around the second week of December my painting was shipped back to me from the Saks Gallery, since it had not sold and the exhibit was officially over. I immediately decided to enter Mr. Clucky into another prestigious competition, the Paint America Top 100 annual show, and I filled out the application, just meeting the deadline and sent it on its way. Then, just three days before Christmas, I received a voicemail from the Saks Gallery in Denver. Someone had seen Mr. Clucky in the AIS show and wanted to purchase it for a relative for Christmas. The voicemail said that if it was still available, I needed to let the gallery know ASAP and it would need to be shipped overnight back to Denver.

I felt a little overwhelmed by the voicemail. I felt happy to think my painting had a potential buyer, but since I had already entered Mr. Clucky into another competition and the AIS exhibit had ended a few weeks before, I was unsure what to do.

So I put the painting back into the big airfloat system box I had purchased for the event and rushed over to Fed Ex. I almost had a heart attack when they told me what it would cost to overnight the painting from Florida to Denver. Since the gallery had not indicated that they would cover the shipping charge in their voicemail, I called them back and told them that the painting was now unavailable. I felt sad for the potential collector who had been so excited to give Mr. Clucky for a gift, but I also knew that I was under no obligation to sell it to her, since the AIS exhibit had ended three weeks before.

Christmas came and went and my family told me that I should never sell Mr. Clucky. He had become part of the family and brought good luck as well. In January, I entered him in an art show in Sarasota, and to my delight he received a ribbon in the show.

A week later I was pleased to find out that my lucky Mr. Clucky had won a coveted spot in Paint America's Top 100 annual national competition! My family was a little annoyed to find out that Mr. Clucky was going on tour for a year, but I assured them that he'd have a loving home to come back to at the end of the tour.

Over the past year, I found myself sort of missing Mr. Clucky. One day I happened to google him just for fun and to my amazement I discovered that Mr. Clucky of Miami actually really exists and is a real rooster!
I avidly read his story.

According to building codes in Miami, roosters are not permitted to live in homes as pets in South Beach. Mr. Clucky had been rescued from death by his owner, Marc Buckley, and had subsequently become a beloved pet, but due to the city's code he faced eviction from his home!

At that point Mr. Clucky of Miami became a celebrity and a cause célèbre for avian rights! He evidently was already a fixture in South Beach, and could often be seen doing the Mango Strut in Parades in Miami, and even did a couple television appearances including the Travel Channel! There were actually rallies held in Miami to prevent his eviction, but plucky Mr. Clucky lost the battle and was not allowed to even testify in court!! I do not know if Leah Sherman knew all this when she told me to name my rooster Mr. Clucky, but I laughed out loud to discover that I was not the only owner of a rooster named Mr. Clucky in Miami! If you wish to read some of his stories, see his various charity causes, and visit his website, you can go here and here, and here.

At any rate, a collector in Mississippi discovered my own little piece of poultry last week, and promptly purchased my "Mr. Clucky in Miami" through Paint America Top 100.

Ironically, he had just ended his tour of duty with Paint America, but I am happy that he sold through such a worthwhile organization. My eldest son and his wife were a little upset with me when they learned that Mr. Clucky is not coming back home. For me, although I'll miss him, I am very happy that he has found another good home, just a short state away, where he will hopefully bring good luck to his new owner!

Au revoir, Mr. Clucky in Miami!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"The Magic Forest", 16x12, oil on masonite, paintings of forests, trees,boats and streams

"The Magic Forest", 16x12, oil on masonite

Yesterday, I gave a friend an art lesson. I was not really very enthusiastic about the idea of giving an art lesson.

First of all, please understand it's not because I don't enjoy teaching people things. It's just that I taught dance for about ten years- all ages and levels, and although it was a wonderful experience, it was also very demanding and stressful.

I am definitely too old for demanding and stressful experiences!

At any rate, I acquiesced and gave my friend her "lesson".

She was wonderful- made me a delicious lunch and could not have been a better pupil!

At the end 0f the lesson she politely asked me if I wanted her to make a copy of her reference photo so I could finish the demo. I said 'no', not because it wasn't a pretty photo, but only because it wasn't a scene that I felt I could paint well.

I went home and scraped down the Masonite board that I had done the demo on, and went to bed, convinced that I am not good for teaching or much else any more!

This morning I looked at the scraped down piece of masonite and because I am cheap, ( better word is a conservationist), I became convinced that I didn't want to waste a perfectly good piece of Masonite that still had some perfectly good paint on it. So I tried to figure out what I could paint, in order to use the colors that were already on the support.

What you see above is the result. My friend had a photo of a stream with a big tree on the left. So I tried to stay with the overall theme, and used my imagination. In the end, I just added a boat and took out the complex bridge structure that was in her photo- a little too much information for my simple taste!

I was kind of happy with the result. This is the first time that I really came up with a successful painting that came out of my imagination. It does kind look like a magic forest, I think;0)

I have not been able to put a price on it, for the simple reason that it is a bit of a "leftover".

If you like it, just email me at and make me a reasonable offer.

Thanks for looking and please come back again.

Please send me an email at for availability and purchase information about this painting. To visit my official website and learn more about me and see more results of my daily dance with paint, please go here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Mr. Snowbird", 12x16, oil on masonite

"Mr. Snowbird", 12x16, oil on masonite

Right before mom passed away I went to Venice Art Center's once weekly class, that offers the chance to paint for two and a half hours from a live model.

The fellow that sat for us that day was a newbie. He had never modeled for artists before , but he was a gem. He sat very still throughout the 20 minute intervals, and when it came time for his break, he was a regular "Chatty Cathy". He talked about his wife and kids and grand kids with obvious affection and I could not help but hope that his family appreciated what a good sport he was, since he seemed to be the butt of all the family's jokes and didn't seem to take it personally.

I loved his florid complexion and bright Tommy Bahama-type "Snowbird " shirt. I was only sorry that I had brought just a lousy piece of masonite for a support, since I had run out of good linen during Clayton Beck's workshop the week before.

I immediately set to work testing what I had learned in Clayton's workshop, putting down the big shapes with little regard to what was a nose or ear, but just looking at shapes and values.

Normally we have models for two consecutive weeks at the art center. I was unable to attend the second session with this delightful gent, but I pulled out the painting tonight and determined to finish it. Here's what I had accomplished in those first hours at The Venice Art Center:

My husband always asks me why I bother painting portraits of people, since I can't really sell them. He doesn't quite understand how rewarding it is to capture the essence of a person's character on canvas.

Mr. Snowbird.... thanks for modeling for us that day. I wish you well.

Thanks also Clayton Beck. Your workshop was hard, but I know that I learned a lot from it.

In a few weeks I'll be attending "The Art of the Portrait Conference" in Atlanta, Georgia. I was awarded a scholarship to attend the conference through The Portrait Society of America. I am very, very grateful for all of these opportunities to improve as an artist.

And if anyone knows the name of Mr. Snowbird, please send me an email so I can at least give him this humble painting!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Long Shadows-Provence"-10x8, oil on wrapped canvas

"Long Shadows-Provence"-10x8, oil on wrapped canvas

I have been having a hard time getting back into painting. Today I wanted to go paint outside in the sunlight, but a friend sent me a link telling me that there is a lot of radiation hovering over Florida, so I changed my mind. I tried to think about what I could paint that would make me feel happy again, and then I remembered Deborah Lawrenson's beautiful blog about Provence.

Deborah is a British author and her new book "The Lantern" is due out in the United States in September. I can hardly wait, and if I can't, I'll my order the British copy instead, which is due out in June. "The Lantern" is a modern Gothic novel about a crumbling hamlet in Provence. What more could any woman ask for?

Deborah and I met online not that long ago, and she was kind enough to grant me permission to use a scene from her Youtube video about "The Lantern" for a painting. With my mom's recent passing, I have forgotten about a lot of the paintings that I had planned on painting this spring. But as I revisited her hauntingly beautiful video this afternoon, I decided to try to do a quick study of the scene I found around 2 and a half minutes into the video, where lovely long shadows tucked across a weathered path meet sun-drenched passages that are sumptuously dripping in tangerine-colored notes influenced by a late afternoon sky.

This was my reference:
I painted this with a palette knife only and if I only had a better photo of the scene I might attempt a larger painting of the same image. Working from a screenshot was a little challenging, since the quality wasn't there, but I was intent on just trying to secure the light and shadow notes in a complimentary color scheme that would accentuate the drama in a simple scene.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Cloudy Day at Sharky's on the beach", 12x9, oil on Raymar panel

"Cloudy Day at Sharky's on the beach", 12x9, oil on Raymar panel

Another one sold recently through Collector's Gallery in downtown , Venice. Thanks, Leah!

I painted this scene of Venice Beach a while back on a cold windy day right after a storm had passed through.

As you can see from the photo above, the light temperature was very gray, with a cool light and limited value and contrast range. What was very cool about this day, however, were the whitecaps on the water, (an aftermath of Hurricane Ida), which are atypical for the Gulf Coasts' typically serene aquamarine waters.

When painting plein air, I happen to love days like this, when you don't have to chase the light every fifteen minutes, and deal with the enormous range in values that you can get in Florida on very sunny days.

If you are interested in this painting, please contact Leah Sherman at Collector's Gallery and Framery in Venice , Florida, or call her at 941-488-3029 .

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Dog Day Afternoon, paintings of dogs, beach umbrellas, the Gulf of Mexico


"Dog Day Afternoon", oil on linen

This is another painting that sold through the wonderful folks at Collectors Gallery and Framery in downtown Venice. I painted it about a year ago and right before the horrendous oil disaster struck on the Gulf of Mexico. I have been reading over the weekend that there are rumors that the so-called capped Deepwater Horizon well is leaking again. I certainly hope it is not true. There are way too many disasters hitting the planet these days, and I can only hope and pray that the Japanese disaster will be the last for awhile!

Speaking of which, if you have not checked out all the fabulous paintings at The Daily Paintworks' Challenge for Japan, please do so! Last I looked, about 150 paintings were being auctioned off for the benefit of the Japanese tsunami victims, including my own enty , "Bodacious Gossips". It's a wonderful opportunity to purchase an original work of art, while also supporting a very worthwhile cause! You can read more about my own entry here.

I have not been painting much lately. I lost my beautiful mother to brain cancer on the day of the Japanese earthquake. I believe that she is definitely now at peace and in a better place. I hope to resume my daily painting soon. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Bodacious Gossips", 12x12, oil on wrapped canvas

"Bodacious Gossips", 12x12, oil on wrapped canvas

I wanted to take part in this fundraising challenge to help the Japanese people who have lost everything in the recent multi-faceted disaster. As I have watched in horror over the past week, I have felt so blessed to be in my own beautiful home in southwest Florida, where all signs of the winter's harshness are long gone in my colorful garden. So I am donating my gossiping flowers in their happy pots to this cause, with a low starting bid of only $50 to the Daily Paintworks challenge to help Japan.

Here's how you can get involved! Please follow this link to the Daily Paintworks site, and browse the sale starting at 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 19th, and bid on a painting (including mine above) during the week's in-house auction. 100% of sales will go to a relief charity. If you win an auction, you'll not only be getting a painting to enjoy, you'll also be helping folks in very great need.

I am honored to be able to take part in this challenge to help Japan. Thank you Keiko Tanabe and the team of Daily Paintworks for making this challenge possible.

I will be donating the total final price for this painting to the American Red Cross Society.

If you are an artist, please consider contributing a painting on the broad theme of "home". Click here for more information.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Divertissement, 10x10, oil on linen

Divertissement, 10x10, oil on linen

I have been away for a week, but happy to find out that this painting just sold through Collector's Gallery in downtown Venice:0)

If you are interested in this painting, please send me an email at, or call Leah Sherman directly at Collector's Gallery and Framery at 941-488-3029.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sad Smile,18x24, oil on linen, portraits of women

"Sad Smile",18x24, oil on linen, portraits of women

Two weeks ago I attended a workshop with Clayton Beck at the Southern Atelier. It was hard work, but very good for me.

We had a different model in the morning, and a different model in the afternoon. We had 8 different models over the 4 days of the workshop, but this young women was my favorite of all. I have wanted to finish this painting for over a week, and today I finally had a chance to get back into it. I am not sure if it is finished, but it is progressing well and may just need a little tweaking.

I feel badly that i do not know this woman's name. The workshop was kind of a blur- very high intensity, and i was exhausted at the end. Anyhow, the amazing thing about this model is that she smiled the entire three hours that we painted her, in spite of the fact that her sister had just died very suddenly from cancer.

I wish I had this woman's spirit. She is so beautiful.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Green Bowl, apple and teapot-Value Study

"Green Bowl, apple and teapot"-Value Study-10x8, oil

Tonight I did this simple value study by squinting down to see the values in the subject better. There was no dramatic lighting in the room where I painted this, so the values for the most part lie in the middle range. That was one of the things that we studied in the Clayton Beck portrait workshop that I attended last week. So I wanted to reinforce what he talked about in the workshop since I generally go in the opposite direction and use a lot of contrast in my paintings.

There are benefits to both approaches, but I wanted to work on this a bit.

You can purchase this study through PayPal by using the button below. Please allow a week for the paint to dry sufficiently enough to mail.

See more of my original art at my official website at Maryanne Jacobsen Fine Art.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Ukrainian Girl in native costume

"Ukrainian Girl in native costume", 16x20, oil on linen

I was kind of sad to see this one go. It's weird how one can develop an affinity for a painting.

I hope the new owner enjoys this girl. She has a soft, sweet smile about her, that makes it hard to stop looking at her. I felt the same way about "The Girl with the Red Sash". I wonder if other portrait painters grow attached to their paintings?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

"Into the Light",16x12, oil on linen, paintings of grapes,cantaloupe, copper pot and old bottle

"Into the Light", 16x12, oil on linen

Believe it or not this was the very first still life that I ever painted! I'll never forget how proud I was of this painting! I took a workshop with a lovely man named Louis Tedesco, who studied for many years with David Leffel and his wife Sherrie McGraw. That was back in 2007 and I recall that I was a little intimidated at the time by all the talented people in the class.

Louis was a sweetheart, God rest his soul, and was very attentive to me in spite of my inexperience. I have messed around with the painting quite a bit since I first painted it. It's not as tight as it was originally, and I suppose that's not a bad thing.

I'll never forget Louis and what a nice man he was, as well as an incredibly talented artist. Louis, I hope you are painting in heaven with Michelangelo and company!

I need to stop holding on to paintings because I am attached to them for one sentimental reason or another.