Monday, March 30, 2015

just a little light

"Eternal rest grant unto them, Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen." 

Anyone who has been to a Catholic funeral has heard these words. Since I was raised Catholic (and my parents took me and my siblings to a lot of funerals when we were kids), I've heard these words a bunch of times, but they never really registered until recently. 

“Neither time nor distance can break the bonds that we feel.”

Anyone who has seen "The Big Chill" has heard these words. Unlike a prayer said in a monotone, those words registered the first time I heard them. I bring up these quotes because both are related to a painting I recently completed, entitled "Perpetual Light". 

My oldest and dearest friend, Julia, lost her dad just before Christmas. Victor Villacara (or "Big Vic," as we liked to refer to him) lived a long and full life, filled with love, purpose, and service to others. Victor was a lot like my dad, Frank: large in stature, large in presence, and large in personality. They both had big, booming voices, and neither man was shy about sharing their opinions. Both enjoyed driving giant cars (naturally, Julia's dad's car was referred to as "the Vic-mobile"), and both were active in the community. When my dad passed away in 2009, I found out about some of the kind things he had done for people on the sly...this is another quality that Victor and Frank shared. 

Many people attended Victor's wake and funeral, and quite a few of them had stories of kindness to tell that Julia had never heard before. The quote that Julia had chosen for her dad's "in memoriam" card proved to be apt: "We cannot do great things. We can only do little things with great love." The story I found most moving was told by Bernadette, an elementary school classmate of Julia's. Bernadette hadn't seen Julia for many years, but she felt compelled to attend Victor's wake to pay tribute. She said to Julia, "When my sister and I were little, we lost our dad...and your dad took us to the Father-Daughter Dance at school that year." Naturally, Julia was floored, as was everyone who heard the story. "Little things with great love," indeed. 

Riding on the ferry on my way home to Maine after the funeral, I pulled out my sketchbook. The experiences of the previous several days were fresh in my mind and in my heart, and I started drawing. On the left is the sketch I did on the ferry that day, and on the right is the completed painting. It's a 3" x 3", and it's only now that I'm realizing that the size is fitting: "little things with great love". May perpetual light shine upon you, Big Vic. By the way, you raised one hell of an awesome daughter. Nice job. 

"Perpetual Light"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

my kind of march madness

Good things have been happening lately! Allow me to share my version of "March Madness" with you...

It's official: my painting, "Prentiss' Owl," has been accepted into the Ekphrastic Poetry Cafe show at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick! Yay! This show runs from April 1st through April 30th in The Collaboratory. Come celebrate National Poetry Month! Curious about this show and ekphrastic poetry in general? Click the link for more information:

I'm happy to say that both of the paintings I submitted to this year's Maine Open Juried Art Show were accepted! If you're not familiar with the Maine Open Juried Art Show (otherwise known as MOJAS), it is a same-day jurying process: artists drop off their work in the morning, and the results come out mid-afternoon. This is a great opportunity to explore Waterville, so Terry and I took the day to hit the spots we enjoyed visiting last year: Mainley Brews, The Colby College Museum of Art, and, of course, Holy Cannoli! If you find yourself in Waterville during the next month, please stop by to see the Maine Open Juried Art Show (it runs from March 22nd through April 24th). While you're there, do a little exploring for yourself, too! 

While we were driving to Waterville on Saturday morning, I got a call from Robin at Mister Bagel in Brunswick to say that I had sold another "El Camino" print! I told Robin I wouldn't be able to stop by with a replacement until Sunday because I knew we wouldn't be back from Waterville until after Mister Bagel had closed for the day, which she was totally fine with ("No rush!"). So, before we headed out of town to celebrate Maine Maple Sunday, I dropped off another "El Camino" print. 

me on Sunday...

On Monday morning, I received another call from Robin: the replacement "El Camino" print I dropped off on Sunday had already sold! Thankfully, I had another copy and another frame on hand, so I was able to drop off a replacement on Monday afternoon. My solo show at Mister Bagel will be up through the entire month of April, and it looks like the next artist will be hanging their work sometime the first week in May. If you're in the Brunswick area and you'd like to see my show, please stop by! Mister Bagel makes fantastic bagels, and their staff is super-friendly, too! 

...and me on Monday!

Here's something kind of cool...I got the following text from Walter (my boss) yesterday afternoon: "Just retweeted something from @sethalanjacobs. Check out the link, your picture is under photos." WHAT??? Sure enough, the picture of me with my "El Camino" print at Mister Bagel on Sunday made it onto "The 207," an online publication focusing on all things Maine! I guess that's what happens when you have a public Instagram account! 

Another cool thing that happened recently as a result of having a public Instagram account: on Monday, I shipped out an "Old Fat Boy Sign" magnet to a guy who had been scrolling through Instagram while he was AT Fat Boy, waiting for his food! He came across one of my photos, and left a comment saying, "I HAVE to have one of these magnets!" I directed him to my Etsy page...and, sure enough, he placed an order! Hot dog! #hashtagsreallywork 

It has been a busy March, indeed! What will April bring? Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

more library love

I am happy to report that I was able to finish my "Curtis Creative Spaces" painting by the end of last week as I had hoped! I didn't want to go into too much detail regarding this project because I didn't want to spoil the surprise...but now, the cat is officially out of the bag! Please check out Mike Gorzka's wonderful blog post outlining the entire process...he did a great job!

woo hoo! 

I am thrilled and honored to have been chosen to re-design the "Curtis Creative Spaces" logo, and I am hopeful that everyone at the library is happy with the finished product. I had fun working on this little assignment, especially since "Curtis Creative Spaces" is such a wonderful way for local artists to easily show their work to a large audience. If you're reading this and you are an artist living in Brunswick, I encourage you to consider submitting your art to "Curtis Creative Spaces". It's beautifully done, Mike is easy, professional, and pleasant to work with, and it's FREE! What have you got to lose? Click the link to see for yourself.

art + the workplace = a boost of positive energy!

Speaking of libraries, my paintings from the "Joy of Art" show at Topsham Public Library ended up in last month's issue of The Cryer and I didn't know it until just the other day! What a nice surprise! Don't you just love libraries? I know I do! 

The Cryer, page 10, February 2015 issue!