Sunday, March 14, 2010


As of this very moment I won't be posting to this blog any more. My new URL is Please come visit and join my followers. I would love it! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Sign it right

This part is for women only-not anything too tricky- but have you ever wondered if it matters whether you sign your whole name on your creation or not- as far as marketing goes? Well, it does as proven by a female artist that I read about probably about 15 years ago. She did an experiment to see if it mattered whether she signed as a woman. She tried her full name, just her last name, and a made up man's name. Guess who sold the most? Well, you guessed it, ladies. Of course, the man. Not fair. After I read that article I decided that my best bet- if I didn't want to misrepresent myself all together- was to sign just my last name. I don't know, for me, if it really helped a lot as I didn't try her experiment but I thought it couldn't hurt, right? Dang. It's no fair that we can't be a woman all the way in this man's world. But, I just hate to break it to you, ladies, but from what I've learned in my "Human Heritage" class at the University of Utah-there has NEVER been a woman's world. That's right. I said it. NEVER. Never has there been a true matriarchal society. The Iroquois came close but still no banana. The women in the tribe could decide the leaders of it but the men could STILL veto her. So, we better go with the flow somewhat and that means we women have to be a little crafty. Therefore...the last name, only, is your best bet.

Okay men-you can get in here now. Your signature shouldn't ever be the only thought you put into your creative signing (because it is original to YOU only). If you want to protect your rights on your work you must put a visible date (yes, out in front pretty much-I guess a sculpture that is viewed with a 360 degree view would be an exception here) on the front AND the copyright symbol. Even though you haven't applied for a copyright-put it on there. From what I read- the copyright office takes forever to process claims and such. So, it would be a good bet that you would have plenty of time to apply for your copyright before the trial date, etc. Now this could be a Wickapedia fact as I haven't read up on copyright laws for quite a while but don't completely take my word for it.

While we're at it on the signature business-unless your signature is a world wide prize (like Van Gogh, etc.) you want people to look at your art work and say to themselves, "That's such a great work of creativity! Oh, who is it by? Julie Jacobsen". Get it? The name is less important than the work of art unless you are-repeat after me-Van Gogh or some other big time art whosit. You don't want your viewers to say, "Julie Jacobsen did this work. Now how about the art? Nice. But Julie Jacobsen is the artist". Do you get it? You don't want your name to be blatant. That brings up a whole other can of worms-framing. Let's hit that another day because it is, oh, so important.

Now, look at my examples of my signature. Notice something? The colors blend into the color scheme and yet they stand out ENOUGH. Of course they are really standing out to you as I magnified the view but if you go back in my blog you'll see many of my original works that were very successful marketing wise. If you look for the signature you can find it but you have to hunt a little. Sometimes I have changed the painting beneath my signature to have it stand out just a little more as it was too wimpy.

P. S. I forgot that today we were going to talk about drawing the viewer in. Alright, you people that looked at Dore. Hold that image/images in your mind for a day. I wrote myself a note to be sure to do it tomorrow.

Art History Moment: Okay. I heard this rumor. It could be another Wickapedia fact but I heard that Van Gogh lost a lot of marbles in his head because he would actually eat the lead paint that he painted with. Just a little here and there but nowadays you know what eating lead paint can do to you. That's right. Brain damage. Maybe I should Google that and see what the consensus is on that info. Interesting theory, isn't it.

Remember it will be in about 1 week or less.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Art tip for the Day...Get it moving

What makes an image inviting? Often it's the movement involved that will pull you in more than what the subject is. As I said before-our doodles say a lot of what we are thinking deep down-how we're feeling. There is a wonderful site called They have contests each week and I'm showing you my very first entry for the topic "circus". I started out drawing a ring with elephants in it and it just was a dud. I tore it up. Then I just let myself go with the flow and things developed. A lot developed in fact. 3 drawings and I used some watercolor on one of them. All 3 are filled with movement and turmoil. What have I gone through this week? Turmoil. There you go. Reflected in my drawing.

Anyway, adding movement makes things so much more intriguing. I'm going to talk about what will make for a successful painting-bringing the viewer into a place/space where they will want to remain a while and study things-tomorrow.

Art History Moment: Have you all heard of Gustave Dore, an illustrator from the 1800's? I want you to Google his Dante's Inferno illustrations to see how Dore pulls you into the story by creating drama, etc. Dore goes along with tomorrow's tip. So keep him in mind.

Remember next week, most likely, my address will be changing to

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Basics about creating distance

I have this really nifty chart that will help you so much with creating distance in your paintings/drawings. There are so many little tricks that create the illusion that things are receding besides just normal perspective rules. If you use these you will be successful at it. It's self explanatory, really. I think you will understand. The only thing that puzzled me a bit was where it says overlapped and overlapping. What this means is that in the foreground the object will overlap something. That shows it is in front. The object behind and , therefore, further back will be overlapped. I had a small copy of this chart that I just put on my table next to my easel that I could refer to from time to time until I fully understood it. I hope this is helpful to someone.

Art History Moment: For any of you that are interested in the history of art you will find that when you study it you can't do it without learning about the art itself (of course), politics, culture and religion. That's what makes it so very interesting!

Remember my new blog address will be Changing probably the beginning of next week. It's partially up but not in complete working order as of yet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Let's do something different and low stress

Okay. I'm back. Yesterday was an extremely hard day. Just can't get over that my cat is gone. It helps to keep busy and not mope as this only makes it worse.

So, I'm moving on with more artsy stuff. When I get depressed I get busy! Do you all have a dark mug? I want you to hold it at an angle so you can see your reflection. It's going to be funky but that's half the fun. I did this years ago and you can tell by my drawing that I had a drink in the cup. This isn't necessary unless you want the reflection to blend from the mug to the drink. Anyway, get out your drawing paper and a pencil or colored pencils. Now draw what you see. Don't try to make yourself look your best. That's not the point. It's a lesson in forgetting about your nose, etc. and drawing the shapes and negative space + fluidity. Loosen up. The drawing I did was centered on the paper but you don't have to do that. Let it go off the edges but be careful about that dirty little devil, the tangent (see older posts to learn about that).

That's all there is to it.

Art History Moment: Eugene Delacroix, a French Romantic painter, was a master in the painting technique of fluidity. In looking at "Arabs Skirmishing in the Mountains" you'll see his paintings are alive with movement. Not only are the brush strokes fluid but the composition sings with motion-one element moves to another and so forth.

In keeping with the "fluid" theme go back a few days in my posts and look at the natural arch painting I did. Notice that my first attempt at it is so static. Harsh. The second painting has so much more movement and flows.

By the discussions of art history are not going to follow any sort of order. This isn't a class. This is just discussing what inspires me at the moment.

Remember that my address is changing to Most likely the beginning of next week.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Sad day for me....

So sorry to not have any tip today. I'm going to have to put my cat down this morning. She's been sick with diabetes and urinary tract infections for over a year. It's been a battle trying to get her through it and I am at the point where I just can't go through this any more. I don't need to tell all of the pet lovers (especially cats) how I feel. For those of you that don't know-well, I feel awful. Back with a more cheerful tip tomorrow.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Don't sell your best/most meaningful work

First of all I just want to say that today's samples are little "quick" paintings that I did of Gracie, my daughter, and Charlie, my son. They have helped me so much in my endeavor to get my new blog site going. It's almost done and I think it will look a lot better. After all-this page, now, is part of my maiden voyage. Anyway, Gracie works at a place called in the web page and marketing department. She looks at 100's of blogs every day and writes the online blog for their company. Quite a clever lady. Charlie is Mr. Computer Know it All around our house. He's fabulous also. I just want to say a huge thank you to both of them for all their help!

Back to the main topic. As artists we are constantly trying so hard to make a buck here and there. This I have done. I mean-who wants to live in a hovel? Not me. So, it's tempting to sell or give away/donate all your original work if someone wants it. Now, I do have to say that it would be hard to turn down a million dollars but you get my point when I say that you'll be sorry if you can't look at the originals any more. This is especially true of subject matter that is near and dear to your heart. These paintings above of Gracie and Charlie were sold and I miss them but I have a lot of paintings of my kids. So I thought I could spare a few. Plus I take pictures of everything before it leaves my house. Let me repeat that-I take pictures of everything before it leaves my house. That way I have an image of them for occasions, like today. I know it's tempting to donate your best work always but that's a mistake as you won't have anything to show (and this will happen) in your home when the time comes to show off your work.

Maybe I should go into the picture taking in more detail. That's for another day. Wow. I could do this forever. I never run out of ideas. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share them.

Many of you know that I'm back in school after many years getting my Art History degree. I'm a senior. Well, pretty soon I've got to take "Senior Seminar" and it's been so long since I was really in the art history world. Of course I remember quite a bit but there's a lot I don't. I think, starting tomorrow, I'm going to add a "Art History Moment" comment to my blog. This will help me and help all of you to become a more well rounded artist. I've got to start reviewing everything, guys.

*****Blog address change reminder*****
emember my address will be changing very soon to

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...The almost chain saw massacre

This was one of those sagas that went on and on for about 3 years. I'm not kidding. Chris and I wanted to have a painting for our living room. So we searched for ideas. This is what we came up with. It's a natural arch in Utah. I can't remember the name. Anyway, it's a very large painting and those can be so tough. I got it all finished and decided that it needed some animals. The photo I did it from actually had some sheep in it. Now, since I did this a lot from a magazine photo I could not claim this as original, at the time. In the photo there were some Navajos herding sheep. I was so happy with it but felt it was a tad harsh. I exhibited it at the Black Diamond Shop in Salt Lake City. One of the guys that worked there, his name is Conrad, told me that you would never see sheep in Southern Utah like that. We had an argument and I was quite ticked off. Conrad became a real star in the mountaineering world as he's the one that was up on Mount Everest and found Hillary's remains in the 1990's, I think. That's besides the point but, even though he made me so mad I learned a valuable lesson.

Back to the painting. During the space of 3 years I nearly drove myself crazy trying to paint this and that while it was on the wall. One day my husband came home from work and I was desperate. I told him to PLEASE get the chain saw and destroy it. I was going to the store and wanted to come home to the loss of a headache. Half way to the store I thought about what I could do to fix it and called in a panic at a pay phone to ask if he had. Fortunately for me he was too tired and sitting down for a while before he was going to get out the chain saw. I told him to stop and not do it!

Then I got it down and recreated the whole thing in many ways. As I said yesterday a dragon formed in the rocks slivering down the right side. There's a screaming face (probably reflected my stress over the whole thing) too. Plus other fun hidden objects. I felt that it needed some kind of framing and brought in the foreground. This was from my imagination completely. Then I decided that I wanted to put burros in it. As I worked and worked I decided to put oils on top of the acrylics to soften and add drama (lighting). I feel it's a much better painting now and it hangs over our fireplace.

The big lesson I learned from that little twerp, Conrad, is that it's so important to research everything-including the plants, animals, etc. If you don't then there is always going to be a "Conrad" that will make your blood boil. We artists have a hard time taking criticism from people that we feel don't know art. My husband has made me mad on a regular basis throughout all the years but, you know what? He's usually right and it's mostly about structures and perspective. Darn him. Good thing as I would have made a fool of myself many times over.

So, there you go. The famous Chain Saw Story! Ta da!

P. S. Notice something else weird? The sheep were too big. See. I told you. Lots of lessons from this painting.

Incidentally there are some other great lessons in this painting but that's for another day.

Changing soon to

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...You can make blaa items fun

My husband and I just celebrated our 26th anniversary! It was on Wednesday. To celebrate we spent the night at Sundance Ski resort (you know where the Sundance Film Festival originated) that is up Provo Canyon in Utah. No, we didn't see Robert Redford. It was so beautiful. Loved the restaurant and our room was to die for. We didn't want to leave. It had all the extras: fireplace with wood to light, lovely natural soaps, woodsie smell inside all the time, and etc., etc. Then we went snowshoeing right below Mount Timpanogos. It was glorious and we didn't want to come home but here we are now.....

So, after that little ditty I will proceed with the Tip of the Day. I love to hide things in my paintings. It's especially nice when you feel the shapes are a little boring. I don't know about you but some of them I see all the time on my walls and it's so entertaining to look and see where I've hidden something. Added bonus: it's fun for others and they like to hear the stories behind them. The painting at the top is of our cat that died. It was so sad but she hung herself from her collar. If you look really close I've written "buy break away collars" right on the collar in the painting. Under closer examination you'll see that my leaves at the top are in the shape of cats and there's even one being teased by a dog.

Do you have this happen? There are some days that I have to put my hand up on the side of my face so I won't see my paintings. That's usually when I'm tired. I see all the parts that I think aren't successful. If it goes on long enough I will even get out the paint brush and fix it. Even with it still hanging on the wall. I almost fell backwards down the stairs once trying to fix one. Pretty scary. Did I ever tell you the story about my painting and the chain saw...........? Tomorrow.

For all of you that don't like cats or think this is a dumb bell subject matter-then so sorry. Tomorrow's painting has a scary dragon in it.

*****Another reminder of URL change coming up*****
My new address will be I'll just keep posting this until I can get the transformation finished.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Art Tip for the Day..."Working" tools

When I say working-I mean that they WORK well. They work great and I've been using these tools for years and years. The item on the left, as you probably already guessed, is a palette. This is the one that I use for my ACRYLICS and works soooooo much better than a throw away or reusable white one (that is hard to clean, you know). It's essentially a piece of glass that my husband cut for me and good 'ol duct tape to keep it safe. You can tell by how shabby it is that I use it a lot. It's not very big-just about 8" x 10". That way I can carry it around and put it in an art bin so easily. Now, here's the great part-the glass is so easy to clean. All you have to use is your palette knife or razor blade after it's dry. Or you can just squirt it with water and let it sit while you're washing your brushes (yes, EVERY TIME or the acrylics will eat the bristles and it must be with a cleaner). I even lay paper towel on it and squirt the water on top. Then all I have to do is just swish it around and throw it away. Then it usually takes one more quick wipe. Love it. Love it.

The other is a cut piece of levis used to wipe off my brushes. This is how I thought of this: my son was throwing away a bunch of pants that weren't even worth giving to the good will. But he thought they would be great for me to use with my art. I told him that I usually used t shirts but he said I could at least wipe off most of the paint on the denim. So he cut them all up for me and they have lasted a very long time. I'm giving Kip the credit for this brilliant discovery. They're great because of the rough grain of the material. It takes off more paint than a cotton rag and I always use it when I'm done and want to get off most of the paint before I wash the brushes.

Just some simple ideas that make the painting process so much more enjoyable (I always despised trying to clean off those stupid reusable palettes and they never got very clean).

Oh....Last point about the palette. Why do I have a gray piece of paper underneath it? Because gray is the perfect mixing background. The colors are more true if you use that. I'm always very careful to try and keep that part dry but it does need changing every once in a while (not very often).

*****PLEASE NOTE*****

I will be changing my URL (blogger address) fairly soon. My daughter, the computer wizard, deemed it necessary as juliesjabber doesn't fit into what I'm doing these days. So, it's going to be It makes more sense since that's my logo and it makes me smile just to look at it. I hope it does for you also!

Remember if you have a great tip...won't you please share it with all of us? That is if you feel you can. All of us in the creative world just love to learn new things because a good artist/creative person should never stop the learning process or their creations will become stale.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...I can see the forest for the trees

Now that I've posted so many of my blunders I thought I would display and talk about one of my successful paintings. I know it's not an original concept but it was a commission for someone. This is a painting of Deseret Livestock Ranch in Utah-the largest ranch in the state. One of my best friends' family used to own it and I spent many happy hours riding horses there. We stayed in the little white house.

Enough of that nostalgia. After painting for many years I discovered the great attributes of a filbert brush while working on this painting. In fact I had to have several sizes. I liked the filbert so much. As you can see I had a lot of leaves to do. Two things I want to talk about here.

The first is-when you mix up your paint for the leaves don't mix it to an even color. Let little bits of different colors appear throughout. Also you can have small sparkles of light (different brightnesses). This is especially true for leaves in the foreground. Also, grass and whatever you paint that is alive. It can apply to other things but today I'm really talking about leaves. So, when you apply the paint let the different colors peak out somewhat. It adds life to the painting.

The second is-try to hold your brush as loosely as possible and stand back. In fact-way back if you can. You can attach a stick to the end of the brush and get very far away. If you are close and tight you won't be able to see the leaves for the trees (get it-like the forest, etc.-too close and involved when you should relax and detach some). You might want to get tight on a few leaves that are really close to give more of a feeling for what kind of tree this is but not necessarily.

Okay. Go out and pick your switch-I mean stick.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...As promised-Sometimes you have to ruin it!

Just making good on my promise here. One of the things I like to do from time to time is show you how I CAN fail. No artist really wants to do that. We want to show the world that we are fully capable but I don't know any artist that really feels that way. A lot of us feel like impostors and the world will find out about it if we aren't careful. I'm just getting it out there now. I can't do everything possible in art-but I'll try my best to be successful.

Well, onto the tip. What I left off yesterday is: sometimes you have to ruin a painting/art venture to make it work. This really applied to yesterday's painting. Remember I said that it was getting to the point that I really just didn't like it. At the worst point (where I was ready to ask my husband to take out the chain saw-another story, another time) I decided to put a veil over it. For those who don't know what a veil is-it's a kind of cloudy wash put all over the area you want to change or create atmosphere, more layers to work on, etc. It's very useful for pushing things back, like mountains. In the case of the my painting it helped me to get rid of the stark tightness that was developing and that I couldn't see beyond. It helped me to look at it in a new way and try different things. Let me just put it this way-IT HELPED A LOT. At the bad stage I showed the painting to a neighbor and she probably thought what an idiot I was. I wish I could have gotten her back to see how it was transformed. Too bad I can't show you how it looked at the bad stage.

BUT I can show you one that is like that and it's the star painting for today. This is a painting of me at Lake Powell. We hiked into the most beautiful side area called Moqui Falls (not sure of the spelling now). I did this painting quite a while ago and have never been satisfied with it. I worked and worked on it. The other day I remembered the old mantra: sometimes, etc. Another little ditty by Bob Rumel, again, by the way. So, here you go. What I have done is globbed on a thick veil....well, just, actually colors-lots of cool dark colors-on the rocks in the foreground and middle ground. It's hard to see the difference as this photo didn't turn out that great but you get the idea, I hope. It might be a while before I can get this painting to the successful point. But remember what I said before-it's okay to throw it away or cut it up and use it for an interesting under painting for smaller paintings or whatever. The point is-it's okay to fail and learn.

What did you learn today? Sometimes you have to ruin it to make it work! Have courage. Be brave. Throw that veil on or whatever you have to do. That reminds me of something else you can do.........

Oh, by the way-sorry for the extra poor photo of this unsuccessful, as yet (see I have hope still) painting.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Art Tip of the Day....So your portraits/people look like Martians

One of the best tips I got from my great teacher, Robert Rumel, is about the eyes. You know, I never even thought about the fact that eyes don't always show a reflection of light until Robert pointed it out to me. Think about a bathtub when it's in low light....say you have lit candles around it. Now, do you see a big shimmer of white light? Not a chance. The reflected light, if any, will be gentle and probably have some color to it. Now take away the candles and let the very low natural light be observed and you really don't see much, if any, reflections.

It's the same with our eyes and that's why I am showing you, today, the portrait I did of my daughter with her friend when they were 3. This was a very difficult painting because in the photo I took I could hardly see their eyes because of the shadows. In fact that's where the charm lay in the whole composition. The contrast of going from deep shadow to bright sunlight makes it very intriguing. In fact one could say that it is a use of the technique called chiaroscuro-made famous by such masters as Rembrandt and Caravaggio (they differed in that Rembrandt's light dissolves into the form-whereas Caravaggio's hits something solid). But I digress. Back to the point I'm trying to make by showing you my painting.

As I was coming towards the end of this painting I kept wanting to perk these little girls up by bringing life to their eyes by way of reflections. Every time I did that I would stand back and think, "Yuck. I just don't like this painting at all." Finally I gave up and let the composition as a whole bring the much needed life to this painting. In my diligence to put in the eyes so they would be recognizable I forgot all about the charm of the painting-the drama created by light. That's when I gave in and only put in the reflections that would actually happen. Then it became a success and only then.

ALSO, it's not going to be the same reflected light in both or all of the eyes. Remember that as that's another key to making this person come alive. Plus the shapes of the light and placement on the eyes will be different. This means you really have to observe and if you can't get it from your photograph then have someone stand in similar light and observe what's going on.

Part of the problem I was having was being too tight. I just hated the painting and then a little thought came into my mind......which will be the topic for tomorrow's tip of the day. Now you will just have to wait until then.

Now, of course, if you are doing something in a more illustrative or abstract style these rules need not apply. All of this goes out the window. But if you want realistic people you should, definitely, follow these rules.

Oh, I should add that if you could see the original painting you would see that the light in the eyes are not matching.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Art Tip for the Day....BORING-This drawing is BORING!

I don't even want to have this be the main drawing for my blog today because it is, well, BORING. I just want you all to see the difference between a tight, boring, drawing and some loose and "dig deep" drawings. These drawings have a lot going for them. One, the bag lady, isn't exactly fashion magazine worthy but it has heart and interest. I would much rather gaze at her all day than the boring bird drawing that I did from one of my own photographs (remember? keep it original even if it's boring). The drawing of the angel and the little girl on the school steps has plenty of "dig deep" in it. It came from the depths of my memories of feeling like an outcast, often, in grade school. I'm sure many of you can relate to the feeling of having someone be on your side. Especially we artsie types (bad English, I know, but I didn't say I was an English major either). My couple that has the middle eastern flavor (I say flavor because I know it's not a correct's just what came out of me that day) has personality and movement. The composition is definitely one that keeps the eye moving back to what is important-i.e. the soul of the drawing as represented in the eyes).

Now, don't you agree that the birds are, well, you know. I did that in 1997 and it still stops me when I look at that sketch book. I always say what a cruddy one it is. Plus I didn't even bother to spray any "fix" on it. So, it's all smudged.

The main point of today's entry is that letting it flow, letting the muse in side take over, is what it's all about in art. Our audience is not dumb. Intuitively they seek something that they can connect with. Even if you never show these drawings to anyone you will know, yourself, if you have dug deep each and every time you come across them. DON'T rip them out as they are a constant reminder of what you have and have not been successful with. Well, unless they are too embarrassing for words. I mean, after all, we don't want the world to realize that we actually have the most bizarre thoughts sometimes or can't, actually, draw a nose.