Monday, November 25, 2013


"First Snow-Big Cottonwood Canyon" Julie Jacobsen

You might not see much difference between this step and the final but it does have some subtle differences.  In order to keep pulling the eye back into the distance I had to dull some of the oranges on the right side of the road.  Bright colors come forward and duller ones recede.  That's due to the atmosphere-the air-that layers over things.  Da Vinci was a master at this.  If the rules aren't followed then you'll have a flat painting.  I even dulled the pine trees in the upper right corner so they would recede.  It's a little hard to tell from this but I even dulled the road the same way.  That helps to 'lay it down'.  Now you might think that it's not as perfect as a photograph.  But do you really want a photograph on the wall as a painting?  Paintings are interesting because they have that 'painterly' feel to them.  That's what makes it inviting. 

I think this is why paintings stand the test of time.  Otherwise when photography came out paintings would have been dropped.  Same comparison to electronic books and regular ones.  There's just something about the real deal.

I hope you agree and I might have taught you something about creating distance.  I'm sure I taught about this in a much earlier blog.  Anyway want to know more?  Let me know and I'll post some other great ideas that will help.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

THE PROJECT CONTINUES......creating distance and movement

The latest step in the new painting

If you had seen yesterday's post you would see that in the step below I've started adding the pine trees and snow.  I also put in an underpainting of blue as a base for the foreground snow on the side of the road.  Notice the blues are different.  The one closest to the front is a brilliant blue and the one towards the back is cerulean blue.  The brighter color will bring this forward and the duller will push back.  A careful plan to lead the eye the right way when I put the snow on top of the blues.

I used a natural sponge to swoosh in the purple/brown on the hillside.  It's preparation for the bushes to go on top.

I've put another layer on top of the underpainting for the road.  The road is not really an exciting element but it will help to create distance and lead the eye back.  

Notice the mountain in the back recedes because I layered a veil on top of it.  This is just a semi opaque milky wash (with some other colors mixed in) to layer the atmospheric air on top-more creating distance.  I want to create movement as if one is traveling down the road-which we were-and the scene is flying by.

 It's been such a nice Sunday and now it's time for bed.  How wonderful it is to get painting again!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MY NEW PROJECT plus the usual fixes of other paintings

It's just time to begin a new painting.  I've been fooling around with the markers-just like I did with mosaics-but there comes a time when I realize that I'm neglecting my biggest talent and that is painting.

"Julie - Kauai 10th Anniversary"  Julie Jacobsen
But let me back up.  So for the last month I've been redoing some of my paintings.  I'm just one of those perfectionists and can't stop until I have things done satisfactory to myself.  So first I started out by repairing my mouth.  This is part of a set of 2 paintings that I did of my husband and I on our 10th wedding anniversary in Kauai.  We went for a hike on Makana Mountain-made famous in that it was superimposed out in the middle of the ocean to be the mysterious Bali Hai in the movie "South Pacific" .  I love that movie.  So when we started hiking the trail I had tears in my eyes.  We took pictures and years later I did these paintings.

"Chris - Kauai 10th Anniversary"  Julie Jacobsen

Then I had to fix a hand on another painting-which I'm not going to post because I don't like it that much-but I'm satisfied for it to go back on the shelf (see what a perfectionist I am!)

"Mackintosh Apples" Julie Jacobsen

In this painting I brightened the sky through the window in the upper right corner so it will say 'sky'.  I pushed back the yellow tile into the shadows more because the bright yellow was competing with the apples for attention.  I could still push them back into the shadows more but I think it dulls the painting.  This painting is only 5" x 7".  Very small and I'm not satisfied with the frame.  It's just a temporary one but I do like this painting.  It's very homey.

Now back to the original idea of what I'm starting.  There's nothing better to get me going than to have to do a wedding present for one of my nieces and nephews.  In this case it is for Ali.  Here are the first 2 steps:

Note:  I just finished a wonderful book called "Heaven is Here" by Stephanie Nielson.  She is the creator of  It is a wonderful true story about the plane crash she and her husband survived and their difficult recovery.  Reading about how she finally was able to get back to blogging I realized that I've neglected my blog.  She inspired me to be more consistent in posting.  I guess I just realized in the past that I could spend all my time blogging and not painting.  But I guess that's not really true because I waste time doing other things.  So I might as well start posting more.  I hope my readers will get something out of what I post.  Please let me know if you are interested in my postings as it really is fun for me to hear what you think.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


 "The Earth Tumblers 1"  Julie Jacobsen
This has taken me a while to complete-this little project.  I wanted to do another fanciful composition.  So I opened my old sketch books, again, and looked for a fun image.  Once I figured out what I wanted to do I started in with the Sharpies but I didn't really like how it was turning out (the second image in this post).  I didn't like the girl in front of earth because I felt she looked too dark.  Plus it looked to me like people playing with a ball-sort of.  I wanted it to be more of a galactic imagery (Chris' word: galactic).  This one is called "The Earth Tumblers 2".

These are the Earth Tumblers and I wanted them to appear as almost invisible when viewed from earth.  They cause a lot of good and sometimes not so good-depending on how they want to tumble things.  The Earth Tumblers come from their own planet, Tumbletest, and they are constantly being produced.  As soon as they mess with earth then they quickly evaporate into outer space-only to be created again and again.  So, no wonder our world is constantly in an uproar.  There are other Tumbletest planets in the other galaxies but this is the most active one.  Earth is so fun to upset.

If you look hard out into the night sky you might see the outline of a Tumbler.  They are there but hard to see.

This is the original drawing. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Probably about 20 years I submitted an idea for a writer for his fictional children's book.  He didn't accept it.  I thought he was really picky but, oh well, that's life.  So I threw the drawing into a drawer.  Who knows what ever happened to his book.  I just looked him up and he died this year!

Anyway, I have pulled that thing out of the drawer many many times thinking it was a fun drawing.  I've always loved Arthur Rackham's illustrations.  If you have never looked at them you should.  Just Google and enjoy to your little heart's delight. I keep getting sidetracked but I really have been influenced by those wonderful early 20th century illustrators-that's why I mentioned him.  My drawing has a kind of Arthur Rackham feel to it-although his are darker in their mood.  About  a year ago I decided I was going to actually doing something with this.  So I put colored pencils in front of me while I'm working and if I have some down time for a few minutes I put a few marks on this drawing.  It's been slow, careful, going but fun in a satisfying way.  If you look at how the 'Mona Lisa' was painted you'll learn that that was a 'picked at painting', also,-for many years.

I just thought I'd show some of the progress and then again in a while. It's going to look a lot different when I'm finished.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


 "Perky Petals"  Julie Jacobsen

Well, here's another of my doodles that I did in church.  I love patterns and, I guess, that would be an Asian influence in my art.  Plus I love flowers and drawing them.  Good combination, I think.  What do you think?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More Sharpie fun!

 "Ivy's Midsummer Daydream"  Julie Jacobsen

I am just loving Sharpies!  I wanted to do a fun picture for my granddaughter and I went back to my old sketch book from quite a few years ago for inspiration.  I hope you enjoy this.  It was very fun!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's done! THE TABLE PAINTING (well it's really marker)!

"Breathing Colors" - Julie Jacobsen

Okay.  I had sooooooo much fun with this!  I was in danger of "eating my painting".  Meaning overworking it.  I could have gone on forever.  I just loved the malleable aspects of the Sharpie pens.  If you do it on unfinished canvas cloth then you can get all sorts of dry brush effects, along with the think applications that you associate with markers.  Plus!  They're transparent and you can layer them!  What more could you want?  Well, I'm hoping for permanence.   I did a test a while back with them.  I drew a marker on a scrap of canvas and left it out in the brilliant sun for a few days and I couldn't see any difference.  So I feel like it should be great in the house.  Plus if it does fade I can paint over it with paint.  It's canvas, right?  Why not.

What I like about this is that it almost gives a stained glass quality to it.  Flipping it on the wrong side it looks pretty interesting too.  

I have to do more of these!!!!!  Hope you like it!
Now, I find that honesty is the best policy.  I found a photo of the birds on the internet.  So, if I wanted to make a million dollars on this design I would have to get permission from the photographer.  I'm not planning on doing that.  But if I did want to do that I would have to just redo this and use a photo of some birds that I took myself or get the required permission.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Table painting (marker) - Julie Jacobsen

Ooooooh!  Now the very fun part!  I love working with Sharpies on canvas.  By the way-this is just unprepared canvas material that I bought at the fabric shop.  There's no sense using expensive prepped stuff.  Anyway, I love doing this and I think Chris likes it too.  I was sure to include lots of his favorite color, yellow, so he'll enjoy having it on the table for a while.  Then when I'm sick of it-I can do another.  I know.  It would be easier to just go buy some material with a print on it but it wouldn't be as fun, would it?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My New Project....a TABLE PAINTING!

Original Drawing - Julie Jacobsen

The new project!  Have you ever heard of a painting that sits in the middle of the table?  Neither had I.  I Googled it and I can find fabric on the table but no actual paintings.  So this will go in the middle and I'm going to do it with Sharpies, again-just like my calendar and shoes I did a few years back.  So imagine a vase, plant or something in the center.  It will have a protective finish-just in case.  I'm playing around with this and intend on having fun!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Finished "Fix"!

"Pink Lilies" Julie Jacobsen

So, if you look back a few posts you'll see this painting as I was starting to fix it.  I sure like it a lot better now and I'm calling it done-finally!  I could still pick at it but I think I'll be "eating my painting" as my mom used to say.  It just feels a lot better to me.  Now for my next one...........

Friday, February 1, 2013


"Young Chris and the Rocket" - Julie Jacobsen

Here it is!  This is the painting that I gave to the garbage man!  I am so mad at myself!  Remember I said I tried to fix it after too many years and I messed it up.  Why, oh why, didn't I just cut out the part with Chris and the car?  Better yet-why didn't I just stick it in a corner and let it be?  But nooooooo-I just couldn't leave it alone.  I should have ignored the fact that the landscape didn't fully match the cabin area.  Dummy!  I really like it.  "Garbage Man, wherever you are, I would love to get this painting back!"  Well, that's not going to happen.  Do you think there's a website for all the garbage men that ever was?  Probably not.  

So, let this be a lesson to all of you out there.  Don't pitch a painting that has sentimental value and good elements in it!  
close up "Young Chris and the Rocket" - Julie Jacobsen

Well, these pics aren't very great because I just couldn't get this to focus right but I'll have to get a professional to do it or something.  Anyway, this is the part, at least, that I should have kept.

By the way, this is Chris in high school, I think.  It's a photo I borrowed from his friend.  See his red hair!  The Rocket was an old car that was his dad's.  I just can't believe that they drove this thing into the Uintah Mountains in the winter time!  He said the tires were so bad they had to load the trunk with spares because they would get so many flat tires on the way there.  The hand gesture was a typical "Chris mannerism".  I haven't seen him do it for years but he used to all the time.  By the way-this is a composite composition.  That's why I didn't know how the landscape looked.  I just had 2 separate photos of the cabin and Chris.  I had only been to this cabin once years before and couldn't remember what it all looked like.  I painted this for him as a surprise when we were dating.  Here comes another lesson:  never give someone a surprise party when you're dating and don't really know how they feel about these things.  He was not a happy boy at all....ha ha!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


"Pink Tiger Lilies" - Julie Jacobsen

Just like I talked about yesterday:  Here's the first painting that I'm fixing.  Actually it looks pretty good because I didn't want to post a pic of how it looked before.  I'll tell you how it looked.  It looked flat and dullsville.  See the purply looking flowers at the bottom?  Those are the ones that I was too lazy to paint right 7 years ago.  But I liked the colors and general feel of the painting-so I framed it and hung it on our bathroom wall.  So for 7 years it's been bugging me!  Just last week we decided to rip off all the wallpaper in the bathroom (a huge job) and the painting came down.  Now's my perfect opportunity to do something with this painting.

I'll post another pic when I do some more.  I know I should have shown you the "before pic" but just look at the bottom and you can imagine how it looked without that.  You've got a good enough imagination, right?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Okay. I think it's fix it time!

 "The Beauty of Literacy" - Julie Jacobsen

This painting has nothing to do with my post.  I just thought I'd add a picture.  It makes it more fun to read.  Right?  Right.

Well, I have a few paintings on the wall that I've been struggling over what to do.  They just aren't exactly the way I want them to be.  So I'm going to do some fixing.  You do have to be very careful about going back and working on a painting after it's been a long time.  Your style can change and you'll ruin it.  I have, personally, done that.  I did a wonderful painting of Chris, my husband, when we were dating, of him at his favorite cabin.  It really was great, except he didn't like it.  That's because the landscape didn't match the area where the cabin was.  I had no idea what it looked like.  So I made it up!  Not a good idea with something so specific. 

So we got married and the painting was hung over the mantle for quite a while and I decided to fix it.  Very bad idea.  I had no idea what I was doing and ruined it!  I was so disgusted I threw it out on the trash can.  Another big big mistake (dummy dummy me!).  I should have just cut the portrait part out-along with the cool old Rocket car (they really were great, I have to say) and put it aside.  Now a garbage man has a semi nice painting of someone that doesn't even mean anything to them.  Dang.

Sooooo.  There's a few lessons to be learned here:

1.  Don't go back on a painting to fix it after it's been too long
2.  Don't give the garbage man the whole painting
3.  Don't paint a made up landscape, etc.-trying to make do.  It never ever works

That being said-I still want to fix a little bit on these and I'm going to be careful. 

Also, remember, in a much earlier post I told you all it's OKAY to throw a painting away if it's absolutely a dud.  You don't have to keep it and mope over how unsuccessful you are about problem solving. 

And, no, I don't have a picture of these fixer uppers yet.  I'll post when I get them done.  I have a photo of the "Chris and car" painting some place.  When I find it-I'll post.

Friday, January 25, 2013

So this is how I'm doing it now.....

Austin DeuelAustin Deuel

Austin Deuel is an artist noted for his sculptures and paintings.  He's also featured in a book that I love called "Being an Artist" by Lehrman.  I may have written about this book before.  Anyway, it's a book that is so great to read if you're feeling discouraged about producing art and in a rut.  All these successful artists, at one time or another, have struggled to become successful.  They also impart little pearls of wisdom to give any creative person a shot in the arm.  I love what Austin says about what makes a painting sell:

"1.  Tell a story.  Like that Andrew Wyeth painting.  A water pump, a board, and an old bucket.  The bucket is the story.  Because it puts the human touch to it....Smoke out of a chimney, light in a window.

2.   Create a dramatic mood.  Fog. Snow. Rain. Sunset.  Even the heat of day with all the shadows burned out.

3.    Dramatic composition.  Every painting has to have a strong vertical in it.....every artist from Michelangelo to Tiepolo...they all used strong verticals.  It's what draws you across the room, and it has nothing to do with style or subject."

I agree with Deuel's concept 100%.  I may have told this story before but here it is again.  Years ago when I first started my house paintings I was dang proud of them.  Then one day a coworker of my husband's came over and took a look at my portfolio.  He was a real character, this guy.  The kind of person that could be quite blunt.  After looking at my glossy pics he asked me, "Why?"  I asked him what he meant and he asked what was the point of all the paintings.   I said I had done commissions for people and that's what they wanted:  photographic paintings.  I, honestly, was a tad peeved about his comments but through the years I'm glad that Brent said that to me.  I needed someone to get me thinking about truly becoming creative.  Deuel's theory is part of my reasoning.   

I hope when you all look at my paintings you'll see a story.  In "Julie's All About Blue 1" you'll notice the wind blowing through my hair.  This adds just a hint of atmosphere.  It's obviously Spring and that's why I put in the tulips.   You don't see my face but I'm very deep in thought.  Here's the story about how I made this a more meaningful composition.  Years ago I was in church and feeling sort of alone, I guess.  I must have been going through a moody phase and did this drawing.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned this but I've always said to keep any doodles and sketches you do because someday you might want to use them in some way.  Here's a perfect example.  I remembered this when I was getting into this little house painting and I asked myself, "why?"  I needed to put the story in.  Now I don't have a dramatic angle but there is somewhat of a tilt to the bench and that helps create a different perspective to draw the eye in better than just straight on.

As I said in my title-this is how I'm doing it.  What I mean is that I'm going to post to Facebook after I post as I think more people will see my blog that way and I love sharing about my art (as well as other things).  I hope this is successful and I can spark something in someone.  Even if it's to go out and carve a totem pole or something.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Getting Back into the Swing of Things!

This is just terrible.  I haven't posted since April!  I did have a busy last year.  I traveled a lot to see our kids and new grandchildren.  Plus my mom passed away in September.  Before I knew it- Christmas was here and I had to get stuff done with that.  Now I am getting back to my art and other creative things.  I'll have more free time now that I don't have to go to the care center several times a week.  After 12 years I am relieved-even though I miss my mom.

I finished 3 paintings that are quite small.  Having only done wrap around canvases a few times before I thought it would be fun to try again..  It sure beats framing but harder to carry the colors and perspective around the edges.  Here's what I came up with.

As you can see from the beginning of this post I did a painting of a blue house that we saw when we visited Boston last year.  The front yard was very bland-so I recreated it to add a better feeling of spring by putting in several colors of tulips.  Then added a figure.  That girl is me when I was young. Originally I was dressed in my favorite dress from junior high.  It was navy blue with florescent green piping and tights.  It actually was a mini skirt because it was the '60's and that's what was in style.   But it was too dark and didn't stand out.  So I changed the color scheme and I think it's much more successful.  Actually it could easily be my daughter, Gracie, because she looks a lot like me.

Here's how it looks with the wrap around sides.

This painting is entitled "Julie's All About Blue 1" because-as all who know me-blue is my favorite color!  I also used my creative license and added a red door.  When I looked at blue colonial houses they often had doors this color and I really liked the idea of a door that's totally unique-apart from the blue.   It's quite small 6" by 12".  I wanted it to be part of a small grouping.  Here are the other 3:

"Julie's All About Blue 2" and "Julie's All About Blue 3".  #2 is a picture I took of a beautiful sky last summer on the way to our cabin and #3 is of a flowering dill weed.  These 2 paintings wrap around also but it's not anything too different form the blues.  So I didn't take a picture.  They're both 4 3/4" by 4 3/4".

Of course these paintings just make me feel so happy when I see them because of all the different blue shades.  I wanted them too convey a feeling of peace and contemplation.  I feel that has been achieved.  

It just feels so good to finally create something on canvas.  Now I have a new art project to begin.  So I'll start posting a step by step as soon as I get that going.