because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

WAIT FOR THE TRUFFLES

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WAIT FOR THE TRUFFLES is a 6×6 original multimedia painting featuring acrylic paint, vintage paper, colored pencils, oil pastels, one adorable gemstone, and a gold hamsa attached to the side. The sides are finished and the canvas is signed and ready to hang. $70.

For the last 18 months, I’ve been trying to buy a house. I know what I want, and I know where I want to live. I’m comfortable doing a little bit of cosmetic work, but I’m not willing to take on an enormous project. I just can’t. I know what I can and cannot afford.

Meanwhile, the housing market in my area is positively crazy these days, and houses are flying off the market at top prices because there is so little inventory. . . which is extra crazy because some of these houses are actually in disrepair.

There’s a lot of pressure to act fast and it’s tempting, sometimes, to just launch and buy something that doesn’t feel quite right.

It is in those disappointing moments that I try very hard to remember NOT to settle.

(No, I don’t want to pay over asking price for a house in a crappy area that needs a new kitchen, new bathrooms, new flooring, new mechanicals, a new roof, and a new septic system because the backyard smells like poop and when you open the windows the scent comes wafting in ~ thank you very much.)

I’m fortunate to have a lovely apartment in which to live and work.

I choose to believe the right house – one that has been loved and maintained – is just around the corner, and that it is coming.

Often, I have to remind myself to be patient and let things happen the way they are supposed to happen. Because sometimes…

YOU HAVE TO WADE THRU A LOT OF MUD TO FIND THE TRUFFLES.

And everyone knows that truffles are rare culinary gems worth waiting for.

WAIT FOR THE TRUFFLES would be a meaningful present for someone who has been trudging through the gunk, patiently waiting for good things to happen. If you’d like to see other more detailed images of this piece, message me or leave a comment, and I’ll track you down.

(SIDEBAR NOTE: I’ve had to learn this lesson in relationships, too. As much as I’d like to have a partner, I don’t need to take on any major fixer-uppers in that department either. One of my friends uses the term “slugs with furniture” to describe unenlightened men who populate this planet ~ and if you are observant, you’ll notice a tiny, blue guy sliming his way across the bottom of this canvas. He’s a lot cuter than the real life version, trust me!)

Here is a video of this piece as I built it.

What are you having to be patient and wait for these days?

Rochester Magazine, May 2018

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You’ve heard the BIG news. And the BIGGER news.

But the BIGGEST news?

Y’all . . .I made the cover of Rochester Magazine this month.

I. Cannot. Even!

When I was initially approached to be the focus of an article, I was thrilled because – if nothing else – I try to use my art to reach people who have been damaged by benzodiazepines. I want them to understand that it does get easier; it just takes a very long time. If I’m remembered for nothing else, I hope it is in the area of advocacy for reform when it comes to psychotropic drugs.

But you know what else I want to be remembered for?

Being a super model at the age of FIFTY?!

Thanks to photographer, Jamie Germano, for a great photoshoot… and for airbrushing away all my wrinkles; to Sandra Parker for writing the copy; and to Mark Liu for having faith in my story. Copies are available at Wegmans and Barnes & Nobel starting today!

PS: I hope you will check out my story and share your reaction with me here and/or on Facebook.

Thank you all sooooo very much for continuing to support me on this crazy, magical journey that is my life.

 

 

xoxoRASJ

The 411 from 585: BIG news from RASJACOBSON, Part I

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Remember, the poor, little, red-haired orphan who held onto hope, always believing “the sun would come out…tomorrow?” Yeah, well…I’ve been clinging to Annie’s words for the last few years, and I’m happy to report that I finally, FINALLY seem to be coming out of it.

This week, the sun appears to be seriously shining.

First off, I’m participating in the Mayday! Underground art & craft show at The Village Gate in Rochester this Saturday, April 28 in the Atrium between 10-4PM.

Mother’s Day is coming up, and I want to encourage everyone to support your local small businesses owners.

I’ll have lots of affordable reproductions and original work, too. And there are soooo many talented vendors at this thing.

Can’t make it? You can always make purchases directly from my website at www.rasjacobson.store.

PS: I’m curious. What kinds of things are your prone to buy at these kinds of festivals? 

Stay tuned for PART II…

 

 

 

xoxoRASJ

The 411 from 585: BIGGER news from RASJACOBSON, Part 2

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Yesterday I told you some BIG news.

Today, I’d like to share some even BIGGER news.

I was recently featured in a beautiful photo essay created by local photographer, Jess Kamens. Jess and I met at an art festival this winter, where we immediately enjoyed an easy connection. I hope you’ll CLICK HERE to see the amazing job she did documenting my creative process.

There are over 30 photographs in which Jess capture photos of “little vignettes” that I didn’t even know existed.

(My fave photo taken by Jess Kamens Photography – www.jessrk.com/blog/reneetheartist)

If you’re looking for a photographer to do something different for your upcoming event – of it you’re a business owner who’d like to be featured in her blog (like I was), check in with Jess at jessicakamens@gmail.com. If she could do this for me, just imagine what she could do for you.

xoxoRASJ

 

In Search of Creative Community: My First Art Linkup

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For years, I thought of myself as a writer, and I used my blog to link up with other aspiring writers.

I don’t know why but, for some strange reason, I hadn’t thought to try to do the same thing with art.

This morning I stumbled onto Art Journaling monthly, ~ which I hope will connect me to a whole community of artists (and maybe art collectors, too).

This month’s challenge is SPRING, and I thought I’d share this painting.

I wasn’t ready to sell this piece right away. Different from most of my artwork, it features a whimsical landscape, rather than a portrait. Normally, I sell my work fairly quickly after completing a project, so I was surprised when I found I was having trouble letting this one go. A dear artist friend suggested that I not be so quick to sell it. “It’s like a baby,” he said. You made it. Why don’t you enjoy it yourself for a while?” And so I hung it up over my computer desk, and I looked at it every day for nearly a year. Then one afternoon, I looked up and was like: Time to let this one go now. And so I did.

I’m thrilled to announce that MOODGARDEN is on its way to Israel. I hope to be able to visit it (and its beautiful owner) one day.

MOODGARDEN is available in a high resolution 12×12 print. Click on the photo to be transported to my online store.

Like all my artwork, this piece features layers of thin paint in some areas and heavily applied in other areas.

Have a beautiful day, everyone. Spring is on the way!

Art Journal Journey

(It’s been a while. I hope I did this right.)

 

Unapologetically Ambitious

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This 9×12 multimedia original features acrylic paint, vintage papers, colored pencils and oil pastels. Click on the photo to see more of my work.

A few months back, my son came home, and I had him to myself for seven glorious hours.

I reserved time at Radio Social, a cool local club where we bowled and played Jenga with oversized rectangular blocks. I took him to get a haircut and non-essential provisions at Target. Over flautas and a brisket burrito, we smiled and laughed – and I was just so thankful to be alive.

“I’m proud of you,” my son said. “You never give up.”

After he left, I thought about his words. When I was bedridden and suffering from the prolonged symptoms of post acute withdrawal syndrome, I wanted to quit. I didn’t think I would ever heal.

Four and a half years later, I am so glad that I held on.

It stuns me how the trajectory of my life completely changed when I got sick. When I was cognitively scrambled ~ unable to read or write or do very much at all ~ I had to dig deep and find something to pass the hours.

I continue to be amazed that people are buying my art, that the things I do and say influence others ~ and most importantly, that I have people in my life that I care about and who care about me.

And yet.

There’s still so much I want to accomplish.

Now that I am mostly healed from my iatrogenic injury, I’m aware that time is short and I want to make a difference.

I’ve always been ambitious.

When I was a wee thing, I painted rocks, put them in a bag, and set out to show them to my neighbors. One woman was particularly kind. Mrs. Silverman turned over each painted rock in her hands and insisted in paying me a quarter for one of my creations. I remember being shocked about being offered money ~ and also feeling proud. Feeling confident, I wandered up and down the street, trying to sell my wares. My efforts were partially motivated by a desire for financial independence ~ my parents wouldn’t buy me that Tiffany Taylor doll, and I had to figure out how to get her somehow. But more than the doll, I had a profound need for people to see what I’d done.

I wanted the recognition.

I needed it.

These days, little has changed.

As one of my former students said in one of his recent blog posts: “I just want to make stuff and I want people to see it.”

Thank you for putting it out there, Kurt Indovina.

I’m internally motivated, yes.

But I also like a little validation.

That’s a lie.

I like to receive a lot of validation.

Creating art in isolation gets lonely, which is why I’m so appreciative when people leave a comment or hit LIKE, or interact with me when I am LIVE on Facebook.

So I’m owning it unapologetically.

I’m a creative.

An artist and a writer. A teacher & an activist.

And a wanna-be superstar.

I want my family to be proud of me.

And I want to be remembered as a prolific artist who made the world a little more beautiful, one painting at a time.

What do you want to be remembered for?

2017: Professional Goals In Review

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Confession

I’ve never been a particularly “goal oriented” person.

Don’t get me wrong. I get shit done.

But it’s not always intentional.

It’s always been more like: I want this and I go after it.

(I usually get it, too.)

This last year, I decided to be more intentional about everything.

Partially born out of a need to track my progress after an iatrogenic brain injury, I’ve found that writing things down has helped me to realize that I accomplished a lot of personal and professional goals this year.

I set quite a few goals for myself this year, and I’m pleased to see that I’ve met every single one.

2017 Goals In Review

Make 200 sales. In 2017, I sold more than 400 pieces of art to 207 individual people, including over 50 original paintings.

Grow my social media engagement. I’ve increased my presence on Instagram, Twitter and even LinkedIn. Facebook is still my preferred site. I started the year with just under 300 followers on my RASJACOBSON ORIGINALS FACEBOOK PAGE, and I’ve grown to 690 followers as of today. More important than the numbers, my followers are quite interactive: helping me create titles for new artwork, giving me opinions, and helping to gauge general interest of particular products. I started producing short videos and have taken a liking to painting LIVE thanks to everyone’s kind comments and sense of humor about my lack of professionalism when things don’t go as planned.

Develop a website with a user-friendly interface. Did it and it changed everything. Sales increased 200%. People really want to see and buy in the fewest number of clicks possible.

Have a curated gallery show. In September, I showed at Whitman Works Company. It was well attended, and I felt validated. Owner, Derek Darling, went the extra mile to help me realize my vision for the opening.

Participate in First Fridays at The Hungerford Building. I was in attendance for 11 out of 12 of them, when I couldn’t be there one of the women with whom I share space handled my sales. The Collective in Studio 254 is comprised of eight deliciously collaborative women, and I feel lucky to know each of them.

Get featured in traditional media. I made it into CITY NEWS in print and online, right before my gallery opening. I’d still like to be interviewed for Rochester Women Magazine and I’m hoping that one day artist Cordell Cordaro will notice me and feature me in his beautiful magazine ARTHOUSE PRESS, available now in Barnes & Noble stores all over the country.

Post one blog a month. Phew. (((wipes brow))) I did it, but it wasn’t easy. Not all my posts were art related, but that’s not all I’m about. I mean, I live in this frickin’ crazy-ass world so how can I not comment on what’s going on right now. Oy.

Use my art to raise attention to the dangers of benzodiazepines. The side effects associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal are horrifying and hard to articulate. At 52 months off, I’m grateful to have improved. I don’t know what the mechanism is with these drugs, but when a person takes Valium or Klonopin or Ativan or Xanax, that person behaves much as a functional alcoholic would. Initially, you’re productive enough so no one says much. But after a while, the drugs stop working, and then you have a secondary problem on top of whatever reason you started the drugs in the first place. And that is everything that is wrong with the world today.

(I could go on and on about this. And I will. In 2018. )

Outside of my artwork, I’ve continued teaching memoir classes at Writers & Books; organized & hosted several public readings ~ there’s one tonight at Writers & Books at 7pm-9pm; and I’ve continued to help people edit and publish their own stories and prepare them for publication.

I joined a gym. What? I eat eat right. I work out.

What I Didn’t Do

I said I wanted to find a boyfriend  join a networking group. I did. I attended two meetings. And then I fell off the wagon. That being said, I connected with so many local artists in real life and folks online, too. So technically, I was networking…just in a different way. This is one of the things I plan to be more diligent about in 2018. I’ve even rescheduled my art classes so that I can attend Marketing Mondays.

Thank you all from sticking with me as I figure out my new normal.

For celebrating my successes and helping me remember everything is happening the way it’s supposed to happen. Slowly, organically.

That I don’t have to know everything right now.

That the sky isn’t falling.

That I’m going to be better than okay.

What’s ONE thing you accomplished in 2017?

Want to see my work, click HERE

Never Too Late To Make a Wish Come True

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A few weeks ago, I traveled to New York City and had the opportunity to catch up with an old college friend. We lose touch with each other from time to time, but she always makes it easy to reconnect. So I’m sitting in this little cafe sipping artisanal hot chocolate, when JD shows up carrying this bundle.

“Sorry I’m late,” she says setting the bundle on the chair. “You been here long?”

I reassure her that she’s not late. She isn’t looking at me. She’s unwrapping and unzipping. And she’s kind of doing this sing-songy thing that I’ve never heard her do before, but y’know, we haven’t seen each other in a while, so what do I know. But then the bundle turns out to have arms and legs and a precious face. And I learn that my friend has adopted this baby. At fifty years old, my friend is finally a mother.

JD lets me hold her daughter.

Y’all, it’s been forever since I’ve held a baby.

And she smells sooooo good.

And she falls asleep in my arms.

When my friend goes to the bathroom, I take several million photos of her daughter and I just know that eventually I will paint something to honor this amazing thing that my friend has done.

Inspired by the visit with my friend and her new daughter, I’ve been working on something since Thanksgiving and this morning I woke up early to finish it. and I wanted to share it with you. The writing in the background is an excerpt of a poem that I wrote while JD and I were students together in college. I think it was written in response to something I’d read by Lucille Clifton or bell hooks or some other feminist poet. It reads:

dandelions

stand proud & tall

cover the lawn

when they come

stand tall.

dandelions be proud flowers

stubborn too

dandelions

always grow back.

Some See Wish is a 24×36″ multimedia piece featuring acrylic paint, oil pastels, colored pencils, vintage papers, antique stamps, and a few strategically placed gemstones. If you’re interested in this piece andwould like to see it in greater detail (or if you’d like to see any of my work), you can find me on my website at RASJACOBSON  or shoot me a message. (Prints are just $10 + S&H.)

It’s never too late to make your dreams come true.

In 10 words or less, tell me what baby-step you’ve taken to keep moving in the direction of your dreams?

***Help me to continue my work as an independent artist by sharing this post!***

 

RASJACOBSON $20 ART GIVEAWAY 2017

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I’m celebrating the one year anniversary of my website! Seems like a good time for a giveaway!

To receive $20 in credit towards any inventory currently in my shop ~ and, believe me, I’m stocked for the holidays, just follow these simple instructions:

To enter:

1) LIKE RASJACOBSON ORIGINALS on Facebook or FOLLOW me on Instagram at @rasjacobson
2) On either/both pages, LIKE this photo
3) TAG 2 friends

Giveaway ends November 25, 2017 at 11:59PM PST. Winner will be announced by November 26th on IG, Facebook and on this blog. Winner will be chosen at random. Fake or giveaway accounts will not be considered. Giveaway open to residents of the continental US & Canada only.

This giveaway is not sponsored, administered, endorsed or associated with Facebook or Instagram. By entering you confirm that you are 18+ years old, releasing Facebook and Instagram of any and all responsibility & agree to Facebook and Instagram’s terms of use. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary.

 Have fun!
Every time you share my post, you help me spread my reach! I’m so grateful to all of you!

Show Your Teacher Appreciation

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Teachers LURVE this one!

I loved teaching at Metairie Park Country Day School.

Especially in November.

By November, my students had finished reading the first novel of the year. They’d written their first five-paragraph essays and finished their first creative projects, (which were always amazing). By then, they had a pretty good understanding of my expectations, and I knew enough about their individual personalities to feel a wonderful kind of connectedness in the classroom.

CONFESSION: The other reason I loved November in New Orleans is a little more selfish.

Starting around Thanksgiving, MPCDS parents and students started leaving gifts for me on my desk.

Pies and brownies, cookies and baked hams. Gifts cards. Once, I even received a handmade sweater!

These shows of appreciation really mattered to me, especially since my salary was a little light on the green back in the day.

My fave gifts were always the ones that paired a little yummy somethin’ along with somethin’ that came from the heart.

When I became a parent myself, I remembered the generosity of my students and their parents. And while I was committed to giving my son’s teachers great gifts, I often found myself scrambling to get something at the last minute… and not loving the gifts that I gave.

Teachers LURVE this one, too!

Sound familiar?

I have the perfect solution.

The teacher gift bundle.

Let me hook you up with SEVEN of my most popular 6×6 reproductions… paired with fabulous high quality chocolates, all carefully packaged. (I’ll even include handwritten notes, if you tell me what you’d like me to write!)

And did I mention FREE SHIPPING?

All for $120.

Click here to place your order and take the stress out of holiday gift giving for the teachers in your life.

Order by November 30, 2016 to receive this offer.

You’ll be glad you did.

 

XORASJ

Obviously, my 6×6 wall art can be given to anyone, not just teachers. They also make great gifts for mothers, sisters, wives & daughters! Collect them all!