Friday, June 29, 2012

"Afternoon Light-Mission Capistrano", 16x12, oil on board by Maryanne Jacobsen

This is a painting of the church courtyard at Mission San Juan Capistrano that I painted last year. I just love that old mission! You can click on the image to see the painting better. I painted it with both brush and palette knife. It was a complex scene for a couple reasons. The old adobe part of the mission where the bells are located is definitely unusual in terms of architecture. (See photo below) So I always feel challenged when I try to capture the complexity of the structure. The wall of the courtyard was more straightforward, but the combination of contrasting colors and perspective of the three adjoining buildings challenged me a bit. I had fun with the bougainvillea and the aloe plant in the foreground though.

Mission San Juan Capistrano is located in southern California in Orange County, about an hour north of San Diego and just south of Laguna Beach. I have visited it three or four times and never grow tired of that beautiful place. It is a national treasure and historic monument, and most people have heard the beautiful legend about the swallows that return there every year to nest. To read more about the mission and the swallows , please go here.

If you would like to see more of my Mission San Juan Capistrano paintings, just insert the word Capistrano into the search box located in the left hand sidebar.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Morning Whale Watch", 8x10, oil on canvas by MAryanne Jacobsen

"Morning Whale Watch", 8x10, oil on canvas.

This scene was inspired by last year's whale watch in Bar Harbor Maine. The whales were absolutely amazing and so was the scenery.

I've painted this schooner twice before, both times with a limited palette, but today I decided to use a full range of colors, which was fun.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"That's Amore", 6x6, oil on panel-small still life, roses, apple, love, by maryanne jacobsen


"That's Amore", 6x6, oil on panel

So today I set a still life up in my kitchen and painted this little guy.

The only reason it is named as such is because that is the song that was playing in the background when I put my final monogram on the painting.

Now can't you just see the lady and the tramp eating spaghetti with this fanciful bouquet on their table?
A special thank-you to Terry Mason who convinced me to get out of the dark closet I've been painting in for 5 months where I couldn't see a danged thing, and go back to painting in my bright, happy kitchen. It really DID feel better.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Painting Intuitively- "Lake Path", plein air, 9x12, right brain, alla prima

"Lake Path", 9x12, oil on canvas.

I have been reading the book, "Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain" and doing the exercises in the book so that I can better see "Like an artist".

I know all about the right brain/left brain phenomenon and indeed an art teacher did her doctorate paper on our family back in the 1980's, deeming  that myself, my husband and three sons are all extremely right brained.  It certainly explains why none of us can put a toy or appliance together by reading the directions!

Yesterday, after painting "A Familiar Path" I decided to go home and use that plein air painting as a study for a more 'accomplished' painting in my studio. I believed I could improve upon it tremendously, since after all, I wouldn't be chasing the light, swatting mosquitoes, sweating like a hog-wart in the 90 degree heat and humidity, and fending off the red ants in the grass at my feet.

So I went home with my painting and used the same identical palette of color, the same identical support of the same size, and then proceeded to work on it for three and a half hours.

Since it took me only an hour and 15 minutes to paint "A familiar Path", one would think that the new painting would be clearly superior, right?

Well, I'll let you decide:
The painting on the left was the one done outdoors in  about an hour and 15 minutes. The one on the right was done in over three hours, working from the photo I'd taken of the scene as well as my plein air reference painting. Here's the photo of the scene:
So what did I learn from this little experiment?

I think I realized that painting outdoors is much more intuitive than analytical and for the most part requires a deep connection to the right brain lobe. When painting en plein air in full sunshine one has no time to think in depth about color selections, mixing, values or brushwork, it all just becomes an intuitive exercise in laying down the collective knowledge that you have accumulated throughout your years of painting and drawing.

The studio piece for me, was much more of an analytical exercise. Back home, I had the luxury of time to think about values, color mixing, underpainting, temperature and even whether I should use a brush or palette knife on a certain passage.

Was the outcome  of the second painting much different from the first even in light of the fact I was not dogged by heat or bugs?

Well, I don't think so. My husband actually told me he liked the plein air painting better than the studio piece. He felt it more accurately depicted the scene which he knows well.

In addition, as I worked on the studio painting I could see subtle changes that I could not correct in spite of the advantage I had in the studio. For example, I knew I had nailed the color of the path when I was out there in the field, yet back in the studio I just could not quite get it right because it was no longer there in front of me for me to mimic.

I am enjoying the book "Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain" and it has given me some insight into the way I learn and some of the problems I have encountered in my 6 years of painting. Hopefully, by the time I have finished reading it and doing the exercises, I'll at least "see like an artist".

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 15, 2012

"A Familiar Path", plein air, 9x12, oil

I have spent a lot of time this past week thinking about my life as it relates to art. What I have discovered helped me realize that taking time for introspection can be a good thing once in a while.

First off, I could not believe how many people went out of their way to contact me out of concern for my doldrums. Collectors, friends, family, fellow artists, and church members all took a piece of their own precious time to write to me  or call me and try to help me sort out my feelings. Many said prayers. I was totally overwhelmed by all the love and support!

I realized many things over the past week, not the least of which is the fact that most of the people I know , even casual acquaintances, are beautiful, caring and love-filled people brimming with gifts to overflowing and giving of themselves when others are in need, either mentally, physically or spiritually.

I also realized after a week without a paintbrush that I would miss art tremendously if I gave it up altogether!

Most imprtantly, I realized that God has given me a gift, and He expects me to USE that gift!

First off, let me just say that I don't consider myself gifted. One of the reasons that I felt I should stop painting is because I feel extremely mediocre as artists go. That being said, no matter what you think of yourself it is not a good thing to underestimate how your art affects others! I found that out this week, and some of the messages from collectors literally brought me to tears. What I think of my art is irrelevant. If my art blesses others, than I am blessed, and that's the main point that I have been missing.

We all have different gifts. Some people have the gift of giving, others, the gift of music, others the gift of conversation. Still others have the gift of perseverance, writing, prayer, comedy, joy, hospitality, cooking and the gifts go on and on and on!

We are all created as individuals and if that were not the case it would be a boring world indeed!

Today, I picked myself up, went out into the heat and humidity and painted right down the street from my house. I painted for an hour and a half and felt very happy afterwards that I had made the effort. I also resolved to not change one single thing about the painting I had done when I got it home, something I am apt to do after painting plein air.

I am taking my painting journey a step at a time, but for now it was definitely a good day.

Thank-you friends for lifting me up. I love you all, and especially Diana and Carol, who know me even better than I know me!

Friday, June 08, 2012

"Elegy", 8x10, oil on panel

"Elegy", 8x10, oil on panel

I finally finished this today. I've painted this scene before but never this small.

I've really been struggling with my painting  for a while now. Thinking maybe it's time to stop, at least for awhile until I decide if I should continue. I decided to paint a very familiar scene to see if it would still be a struggle.

It was.

I remember the days when I would go to bed anticipating tomorrow's painting. I remember awakening in the morning and eagerly anticipating a new day of painting opportunities.

All that is past, like a long-lost lover. Lately, it is all just a big struggle- finding inspiration, trying to improve, getting motivated to start, etc.etc.

I don't know if others have gone through this or not, but I'd love to hear from you if you have.

Have a good weekend, folks, and sorry if I sound morose.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

"Seeing Double in Arles", 5x7, oil on gessoboard, Provence, Arles, shutters, flowers, stripes, small original paintings, awnings, window box, shutters

"Seeing Double in Arles", 5x7, oil on gessoboard

I decided to paint something fun today and that's when I noticed that there is "Stripe" Challenge going on this week over at Daily Paintworks.

If you are unfamiliar with the site, it has a great deal of lovely art for you to purchase, or just look at:0)

Every week, Carol Marine and other artists come up with a new "Challenge" designed to keep us all painting whether we want to or not! Sometimes the challenges are educational, and sometimes they are just plain fun.

I couldn't resist painting these double windows with striped awnings, and blue shutters with striped wooden planks!

Friday, June 01, 2012

"September Sonata", 24x18, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

SOLD "September Sonata", 24x18, oil on linen by Maryanne Jacobsen

This painting sold through a gallery  a while back , but if you are interested in a similar painting, please email me at

This is a smaller version of the scene at French Creek, Birchrunville that was the inspiration behind some of my best-loved paintings, including "God's Palette" and "Autumn's Last Hurrah". It is available for purchase through Gallerie Unique located in the beautiful Bell Tower Mall in Ft Myers, Florida. Please visit the gallery to see as well as many more beautiful pieces of original art, or contact Shelby Ward at (239) 332-2121 for purchase info.

To see more of my work, please visit my official website at Maryanne Jacobsen, Fine Art.