because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

QUARANTINE WATERCOLOR ART

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FLY GIRL is an original 9×12 multimedia on 160-pound, cold-press watercolor paper, and she is looking for her forever home. Click on her left eye for information on how to make her yours.

Friends!

I’ve finally uploaded a whole bunch of new artwork to my website.

If you click on my new category, WATERCOLOR ART, you’ll see pieces I’ve created since March 6, 2020.

Since we’ve all been physically-distanced from each other.

For those of you who have been with me since 2014, you know I’ve moved through different stages with this art stuff.

First there were hearts.

Then monsters.

The the critters showed up.

Then the girlies were born.

And now my artwork is changing again.

There is an emphasis on lines and movement and connection.

Because I am sooooo missing connection!

As always, if you are looking for a special gift, please check out my website because now — in addition to magnets & prints & masonite tiles & original acrylic work — I am also offering affordable original watercolors.

And when you click over, you’ll notice that I have included the story of how each piece was created!

So that’s new, too!

I hope you are all safe and well.

And I hope to see you all very soon.

xoxoRASJ

GO HARD or GO GNOME

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A friend from college contacts me to tell me that my gnome paintings resonate with her. “I want one,” she tells me via Instagram.

I tell her I am flattered – and that there are several incarnations of my “punny” gnomes, each with its own saying.

You know.

Things like:

There’s GNOME place like home.

Make yourself at GNOME.

Take me GNOME, country road.

Oh, give me GNOME where the buffalo roam.

For the Buffalo Bills fan…who also likes gnomes.

The chickens have come GNOME to roost.

Boldly go where GNOME one has gone before.

For the Trekkie…who also likes gnomes.

(I could go on for hours, but you get the idea.)

Anyhoo, we go back and forth for a while – and while I’m waiting for her to respond to me, I sell three of the paintings.

Concerned that she won’t get the one she wants, I decide to send Lizzie a quick text.

‘People are snatching up all my gnomes. Which one do you want?’

I include several photos, including these.

and

An hour later, I receive a response.

‘You’ve got the wrong person, but those gnomes are cute. How much are they?’

Long story short, my friend got a new phone number last year.

(She forgot to tell me.)

But that wrong number text?

It turned into a sale to a complete stranger down in North Carolina.

How cool is THAT?

So while I doubt texting random wrong numbers will always result in sales, today’s ooooops moment was definitely something that deceased artist, Bob Ross, would have called a ‘happy accident.’

I’m often quick to focus on all the ways it seems the Universe is out to get me, but today I recognize that sometimes my mistakes work out to my benefit. Probably more than I realize.

Soooo what’s going right for you these days?

PS: If you’d like a gnome of your own, original paintings are $40 shipped anywhere in the continental USA.

The gnomes above currently reside in Florida, North Carolina, New York & Pennsylvania.

 

ZOOM ART CLASSES DURING COVID-19

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As you probably know, all festivals in New York State have been cancelled thru the end of July due to COVID-19, and I assume more cancellations will follow.

One thing I knew before COVID-19 that has become even more obvious during this weird time is that I really miss having daily contact with people in real life.

To cope with the isolation, I started painting LIVE on Facebook.

Having people watch & comment while I paint has been a lifeline for me, and so many people started following along with my lessons that I decided to offer individual & group online painting classes via ZOOM, which have been surprisingly enjoyable!

I’ve developed an eight session curriculum which includes:

BASIC COLOR STUDY (1 session)

BASIC FACES (1 session)

WHIMSICAL CRITTER (1 session)

WHIMSICAL HUMAN (2 sessions)

SQUIGGLE PAINTING (2 sessions)

COMBINING PAINTING WITH LETTERING (1 session)

And, once we get thru those lessons, we can continue to create together or you can go off-roading yourself!

Soooooooo if you are interested in:

• gifting a class to someone

• scheduling a class for yourself

• scheduling a ZOOM party/group gathering

 — all you have to do is respond to this post and we’ll figure something out.

(And, no, you don’t have to commit to all eight sessions. You can just try one and decide from there.)

Most classes are 1-hour, but I also offer ZOOM parties!

Email me for pricing & a recommended supply list.

This masterpiece was created by 6-year, Gavin, from Houston, Texas. PS: Those gray things are anteaters. Duh!

Finally, my WEBSITE is stocked, so click over to see if there’s anything you’d like to purchase.

And for free intermittent lessons FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

I’m so very grateful to each and every one of you!

xoxoRASJ

MY RECENT COVID-19 DYSTOPIAN DREAM

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COVID DREAM
While I don’t usually share my darker paintings, I have many. This one was painted after my most recent bad dream. It’s not for sale. If you’re interested in transforming your dreams into art, email me and we can talk about doing a ZOOM art class together.

From the moment lifestyle restrictions were deemed necessary in an attempt to “flatten” the infection curve associated with the COVID-19 virus, many people began reporting experiencing dystopian dreams.

I have suffered from nightmares for decades, and it is not unusual for me to awake in the middle of the night terrified.

I’m sharing a most recent dystopian nightmare here to maintain a record of what I’ve been dreaming about, and also as a way to encourage others to share their own scary dreams so that we can process them together.

In my dream:

I’m on the way to the Home Depot, to pick up a few small items — some wood trim and a big box of air filters for my furnace.

The parking lot is completely full, so I follow a red truck all the way to the back where there is one empty spot adjacent to a big, open field.

I mean to park alongside the field on the pavement, but I accidentally hit the gas and end up rolling onto the field.

But the field isn’t a field.

It’s a muddy bog — and my car immediately begins to sink.

In a moment, cold, heavy mud pours in from atop my open sunroof, burying me.

It’s dark and I can’t move or breathe.

I think of my parents and my son — and realize no one will even find me, lost in the bottom of this muddy bog.

 • • •

I wake, gasping for air, and unintentionally call out the name of someone who used to hold me when I had nightmares.

But he’s not here.

Where I used to turn to a partner for emotional support, now that I alive alone, I’ve had to learn strategies to calm myself after a night terror.

So I wrap my arms around myself and allow myself to feel the feelings: the fear, the sadness, the surrender, and finally the gratitude.

I am alive.

I am safe.

I’m doing the best I can do.

While many people believe dreams are meaningless, I know dreams are powerful medicine, evidence of the night mind trying to make sense of what the conscious mind cannot understand during the waking hours.

There is so much confusion right now.

So much change and so few answers.

So many conspiracy theories and so much cognitive dissonance

We’re being told this is our “new normal” and learning how to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

What kinds of weird dreams are YOU having during this pandemic?

 

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE 2019 + A FLORIDA APPEARANCE

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For those of you who live in Western, New York, below is a list of my last festivals of 2019.

If you can’t make it to any of these events in real life, I can also take credit card orders via my secure website.

NOTE: Order by December 7, 2019 to ensure receipt in time for the holidays.

November 22-24, 2019 • HOLIDAY BAZAAR

Rochester Museum & Science Center• 657 East Avenue, Rochester

Friday -11/22 •  5pm-9pm

Saturday – 11/23 & Sunday 11/24 • 10am-4pm

• • •

November 30, 2019 • TINY TRUNK SHOW JUBILEE

Sylvan Starlight Creations • 50 State Street, Building C, Pittsford, NY

10am-4pm

• • •

December 7, 2019 • HANDMADE HOLIDAY IN THE SOUTH WEDGE

St. Boniface Church • 330 Gregory St, Rochester, NY

10am-4pm

• • •

I’ll be in Florida in January 2020, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to show some of my work at Gallery 2924 in St. Pete! During ArtWalk Night, galleries & studios on Central Avenue extend their hours into the evening. Special events include exhibition openings, live demonstrations, meet-the-artist evenings, charity events and special sales. The Central Avenue Trolley, Looper Trolley & a special art trolley connect many of the galleries. Free and open to all. I’ll have a selection of snacks and I’d LOVE to see local peeps (including any and all my snowbird friends) who are inclined to stop by!

January 11, 2020 •  SECOND SATURDAY ARTWALK

Gallery 2924 • 2924 Central Avenue • St. Petersburg, FLORIDA!

5-9 pm

Can’t make it to any of these venues in person? No problem! Check out my website and use a credit card to make a secure payment.

THE CUDDLE CONUNDRUM

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I know that from the outside it looks like my life is back on track.

And for the most part, it’s true.

Professionally, I’m checking all the boxes, attending shows, teaching art classes, and taking on projects that speak to my heart. Intellectually, I’m feeling challenged again – reading, writing, teaching memoir classes and handling independent editing clients.

I have a good relationship with my parents and a few close friends upon whom I can call if I’m struggling.

But, the one thing that’s missing — the void that cannot be filled so easily — is in the area of physical touch.

Y’all, I can go for days, weeks, even months without anyone touching me.

And for a girl who thrives on touch, I can tell you, it’s really hard.

Sometimes I actually feel like I’m losing my mind because of the lack.

(((thank goodness I can afford occasional massages!)))

I know people will say: “You should get a pet…,” but having a dog or a cat or a ferret is not the same as having another human close to you.

Luckily, these feelings only seems to overwhelm me at night, so my solution has been to stay out as long and as late as possible after dinner, but not really a great solution.

Anyone have any suggestions for this conundrum? How do you handle the void, the loneliness that comes from wanting something you don’t have and may never have?

 

ON MENTAL TOUGHNESS

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At Corn Hill Festival, the vendor in the space next to me is a Chinese man who spends most of his time sleeping and smoking. While I am packing up, he steps into my tent for the first time to look at my work.

Seeing my photograph on the cover of a copy of Rochester magazine that I have displayed, he scrunches up his face with confusion.

“What is this word? ‘Courage?’“ he asks in broken English.

I try to explain that courage is a kind of mental toughness. “It’s strength on the inside,” I say, pointing to my heart.

The man makes a guttural sound, a grunt of sorts. “You not look strong to me,” he says, pointing at my face in such a way that indicates he isn’t talking about my face so much as my personality. “You just look. . .  tired.”

It’s an odd moment.

Because he’s not wrong.

Wearing crazy pants, space buns on my head, and a big smile, I’m sure I don’t look like the most courageous person in the world.

But the truth is I’ve survived some really difficult times: rape, a brain injury, the loss of my marriage, my home, my neighbors, my community, the people I thought were my friends.

For many years now, like an ant in a storm, I’ve worked to rebuild.

I know that people see me as creative and resilient. They see my house, my car. They see me pushing myself to meet new people and try new activities. They see I’m making money and running a business — and they assume I’m ‘fine.’

And most of the time, I am.

But the truth is I am exhausted.

Exhausted by a lifetime of trying too hard, of not letting go, and too much looking back. Exhausted by the stupid things I do — the accidents I cause, the poor choices I make. It weighs me down.

It’s tiring having to be strong all the dang time.

I know everyone is going through something, that I’m not special.

But I’d gladly trade all this mental toughness for a good long cry, followed by a nice long nap in the arms of a lover.

If you ask me, courage is overrated.

What’s got you feeling weighed down and what would make you feel better?

xoxoRASJ

JULY WINNER OF FREE PRINT GIVEAWAY

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To see the July Free Print Giveaway Winner announced, check out the video below.

Wanna be entered in next month’s free giveaway?

Send your contact information, HERE.

PS: You can also enter in person on August 3, 2019 at Jack Craft Fair at The Outer Harbor in Buffalo, New York — 225 Fuhrmann Blvd. I’ll have all the things — prints, masonite tiles, magnets and coasters — there for you to purchase.

xoxoRASJ

 

THE TALE OF A TRAVELING ARTISAN: THE BACK STORY

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“How can you justify charging $20 for a print,” a lady asked me last weekend at my first outdoor festival ever. “Seems like a lot,” she added.

I know this woman probably doesn’t deserve an answer, and I certainly don’t need to justify my prices — but I thought people might be interested in knowing what exactly goes into one of my $20 reproductions at a festival.

1. Create the artwork.

That means coming up with an inspiration, and then turning that inspiration into reality with paint, vintage papers, colored pencils, crayons, oil pastels and other ephemera. I don’t know how to put a price on creativity, but I can tell you that part alone takes between 20 and 30 hours, no matter the size of the canvas.

2. Convert the original artwork into a high-resolution photograph.

To do this, I set up a photo session in my house. Because my house doesn’t get the best light, I use three white poster boards curved in such a way as to accentuate the colors without throwing any shadows. The lighting has to be just right.

3. Email the high res image file to my printer across town.

4. Pick up prints. Check quality.

5. Hand slice each individual print into the appropriate size.

6. Inventory & order additional magnets, coasters & masonite squares from another out-of-town vendor.

7. Slide all reproductions into individual cellophane wrappers. Remove the plastic strips that protect the adhesive tape and seal each envelope individually. This does not take into account any of the marketing I do (which I do by myself), or the fulfilling of orders (which I do all by myself), or the packaging (which I do by myself) or the trips to the post office (which I do by myself).

8. Many months in advance of any show, I have to apply to be juried in & pay the application fee, which ranges in price from $45 to over $300, depending on the venue. I have to remember to bring and display my Certificate of Authority, which I applied for and paid for. This allows me to legitimately collect taxes (which I pay someone to file).

9. Purchase/create a display & practice setting up — tables & tablecloths, tent & tent weights, banners & racks, signage & business cards — the list goes on. I have to make sure I have duct tape & binder clips & clamps & pens & scissors & bandaids & all kinds of other random things that I might need. I even pack my own lunch!

10. Make sure the card reader is working and set up pricing for each individual item. Research and apply the local sales tax in every county in which I plan to show.

11. Go to the bank to get change.

12. Enlist help. I don’t have any single designated person to assist me, and my tent weights are 40 pounds each…so I need peeps with stamina. At this last show, I was helped by my father & an old friend from high school! I am beyond grateful to them both!

13. Set up tent & display. At this particular show, my load-in time started at 7AM. Which means I was up waaaaay before that.

14. Sell. Stand for roughly 11 hours  — in any kind of weather, rain or shine. Be professional & fully present while talking to anyone who wanders into my tent. Answer questions, take orders & hold down the fort.

15. Handle unforseens. On the first night of this particular show, there was a torrential downpour. Many tent canopies had not been weighted properly, so they toppled over or — literally — blew away. My tent was okay, but the high winds toppled my tables, soaking my tablecloths, signage & some of my merchandise, which I hadn’t thought to put away. I had to make an executive decision to close-up show, packing everything up in the middle of the night in a heavy downpour.

15. Tear down. At the end of a show, I do everything in reverse: box up, tear down, pack up, drive home, transfer everything back into my garage until the next festival.

So yes, lady in the white leggings. My prints are twenty dollars. And, now that I think about it, it doesn’t sound like near enough.

How would YOU respond to a comment like this? What do people not know about the work YOU do?

RASJACOBSON ART FESTIVAL SCHEDULE 2019

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(NOTE: I will NOT be wearing these socks & I promise to brush my hair.)

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE 2019

JUNE 1 & 2 • Syracuse, New York – CRAFTED in Armory Square

JULY 13 & 14 • Rochester, New York – CORNHILL FESTIVAL

AUGUST 3  • Buffalo, New York  – JACK CRAFT FESTIVAL

SEPTEMBER 15 • Rochester, New York – ARTIST ROWROCHESTER PUBLIC MARKET

SEPTEMBER 21 & 22 • Macedon, New York  – PURPLE PAINTED LADY

SEPTEMBER 28 • Lakeshore Community Church • Greece, NY • MOPS AUTUMNAL FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 2 & 3 • Village Gate, Rochester, NY • MAYDAY

NOVEMBER 21-24 • Rochester, NY • Rochester Museum & Science Center • HOLIDAY BAZAAR

DECEMBER 7 • Rochester, NY • South Wedge • HANDMADE HOLIDAY

• Magnets • Coasters • Prints • Masonite Tiles • Original Art •

Free Gift with Purchase While Supplies Last!

• • •

WANT TO SAVE $1.00?

On festival day, post a PUBLIC photo of yourself in my booth on social media & tag me

@RASJACOBSON (on Instagram) or RASJACOBSON ART (on Facebook)

and use the hashtag#RASJACOBSONart & SAVE $1.00 on the spot!

PS: I’m looking to expand my venue to other areas of the country. What’s the best art festival in YOUR area?