Tag Archives: art

Do you BREATHE deeply?

It’s Monday again, and – like last week – I’m back to offer a new 4×4 mini-canvas and share a little anecdote.

One of the things I’ve become good at over the last 15 months is meditation. Seriously, I can sit quietly for a ridiculously long time. That’s not to say that my mind is always quiet, but sometimes I actually get to stillness. When I first started my meditation practice, I was instructed to take 3 deep breaths. I was all, “Whatever. How can this possibly help me?” So I inhaled and exhaled and inhaled and exhaled.

I was hardly in a Zen place.

My teacher put my hand on my stomach. “Breathe so your belly inflates like a balloon,” she said.

Apparently, I’d been breathing backwards all these years.

Once I mastered inhaling and exhaling, I was able to relax more fully.

BREATHE is a 4x4 mini-canvas featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium. Just $20. Interested? Type SOLD in the comments or email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com

BREATHE is a 4×4 mini-canvas featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium. Just $20. Interested? Type SOLD in the comments or email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com

Who would have thought it was possible to breathe wrong?!

So how do you begin a meditation practice? It’s easy.

1. Sit or lie comfortably.

2. Close your eyes.

3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.

4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage and belly. Make no effort to control your breath; simply focus your attention. If your mind wanders, simply return your focus back to your breath. Maintain this meditation practice for 2–3 minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.

Sounds easy, right?

Mindful meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each thought as it arises.

Through meditation, I’ve been able to see how my thoughts and feelings move in particular patterns. I have become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge experience as “good” or “bad” (“pleasant” or “unpleasant”). With practice, an inner balance develops.

In our hurry-hurry-rush-rush world, we sometimes feel guilty when we aren’t doing something.

I’ve soooo over that. Some people pray and some people meditate. Sitting silently is one of the greatest gifts I give to myself each day.

I encourage each of you to try it. Go ahead. Do it right now. Sit quietly and feel the chair beneath you. Feel your feet pressing against the floor. How long can you sit quietly without opening your eyes?

It’s important to take a few moments each day to let go of stress and, to that end, I’m offering BREATHE today for $20.

Have you ever meditated? What was your experience like? What was the biggest surprise for you? What was the biggest frustration?

tweet me @rasjacobson

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LOVE inspires art

I’ve received plenty of positive feedback regarding my art work over the last few months. What started off as a distraction – something to help me get through the days while I was in physical and emotional pain – has turned into a wee business. It’s hard for me to accept the idea that it’s okay to make money doing something I like to do, probably because I’ve always had to work ridiculously hard for the few dollars I’ve made. I think I feel a little guilty when receiving money for my canvases because I genuinely enjoy making them.

But that’s a blessing, right? To genuinely feel passionate about one’s work?!

As I heal, I see now how LOVE is the most important thing we can offer others in this life.

A heart connection.

When one operates from a place of LOVE, all of our connections are enriched.

As a way of giving back, each Monday from now until the 2015, I’ll be offering one 4″x4″ mini-canvas. For just $20, everyone can afford to have an original piece of art. (If you live in the United States, I’ll waive shipping & handling fees.)

Featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium, LOVE, a 4"x4" canvas is just $20.

Featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium, LOVE, a 4″x4″ canvas is just $20.

If you’re interested in purchasing this piece, email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com or, if you prefer, type SOLD in the comments. I’ll contact you as soon as possible, and you can have LOVE in just a few days.

Interested in customizing a piece? Drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do.

If you’d like to see other things I’ve done, check out Rasjacobson Originals on Facebook.

Thank you so much for sticking with me, y’all. Your comments mean the world.

What’s something you do that you would feel strange accepting payment for?

tweet me at @rasjacobson

Morphing From Writer to Painter

One year ago today, I swallowed my last dose of a medication that was prescribed to me by a doctor, a medication I believed was helping me with a “chemical imbalance.”

Almost immediately, I began to experience severe benzodiazepine withdrawal, a horrifying syndrome associated with stopping this class of medication. Nearly a year later, I still have symptoms, but my mind and body are definitely healing.

Over the last few months my creative muse has reappeared, pulling me away from writing, away from my busy mind, which  likes to think and dwell and ruminate. These days, my muse wants me to paint, which is cool because when I paint, I can turn off my mind and have fun getting messy with color.

And for that I am grateful.

Truly, there are no words to express my gratitude to G-d for allowing me to find a creative outlet during this ordeal.

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that folks like and are willing to pay for my work.

Since I was (and continue to be) too debilitated to hold down a traditional job, being able to earn money by doing something I love has been fantastic for my self-confidence.

It is with great joy that I share my most recent piece with you.

ROAR, an unframed 12″x24″ acrylic painting on canvas, is ready to ship.  I’ll accept payment of $225 (+ shipping & handling) via PayPal. Leave a comment if you are interested in purchasing this piece, and I’ll contact you as soon as possible.

I completed ROAR this morning.

And it feels perfect.

Because I’m coming back to life.

I am.

It’s happening slowly.

And while I’m not quite ready to roar, I’m reconnecting with old friends and making new ones along the way, like Dorothy Gale did on her journey to Oz.

I’m healing old wounds and learning to forgive myself and others.

And I’m growing, learning to say: “I’m an artist,” the way I once said, “I’m a teacher” or “I ‘m a writer.”

It still feels strange, the way I imagine those ruby slippers felt to Dorothy when they magically appeared on her feet. This painting thing is shocking like that. I didn’t choose to become an artist; the images simply reveal themselves to me in dreams and visions and I do my best to realize them with paint.

And buttons. And ribbons. And texturizing medium. And other found items.

If you like what you see, follow me on my Facebook page, RASJacobson Originals. I post new work as it becomes available. These days, I’m doing things slowly and with great intention so I don’t become overwhelmed.

Thank you for continuing to stick with me as I heal.

What’s something you can do that no one (or very few people) know about? I wanna know!

tweet me @rasjacobson

Showing My Colors To The World

Some of you are waiting to hear my next report about how I survived the horrors of benzo withdrawal.

I know you’d like to read that I’m 100% well again.

I’m not there yet.

But…

An amazing thing has come out of this horrifying experience.

About 3 months ago, while healing in Arizona, I had the opportunity to hang out in an art room again.

I was astounded by how good it felt.

To create.

To play with colors.

Because I’d forgotten.

When I got back home, I started painting three-dimensional hearts on 4” x 4” canvases.

At first, I didn’t show my stuff to anyone.

I figured if they were good enough, I could hang them in the bathroom.

Or something.

Eventually, I got brave and posted a few photographs on Facebook.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, so I decided to try my hand at larger canvases, too.

To my surprise, people liked my weird whimsical paintings, too.

It never occurred to me that being able to create something out of nothing is one of my super powers.

All I know is that I’m committing art again.

And I’m having a great time doing it.

And people are buying what I make.

Here are a few examples of my 4″x4″ mini-canvases:

hearts

I also have greeting cards.

Based on original pieces that have been sold.

Based on original pieces that have been sold.

And here is one of my paintings.

LOVE UNBUTTONED, c. 2014

LOVE UNBUTTONED, c. 2014

If you’re interested in purchasing greeting cards or original art, or if you’d like to commission something special for someone you love, I’d be honored to make something for you.

More about the events that brought me to where I am now. Eventually.

But not today.

{This post is written in memory of Blaine and dedicated to my friends from Wickenburg, Arizona: Missy, James, Julie, Joan, John, Paula, Anthony, Jesse, Riley, Abel, Grant, Carlos, Nyki, Kris, Rob, Scott, Lauren, Frankie and Darcy.)

Adolescence: Learning Shame

One of the many life-like sculptures created by John De Andrea

I hadn’t wanted to go.

Parents pulled me

from ants and pebbles, the solidity

of bark, leaf and wall

to hear breathing statues,

the silence of paintings, and

Perhaps.

To three sculpted boys, nude

and playing soccer. They looked

so real, their knees

eternally bent, mid-kick.

My green eyes wandered

around the dark curves of body,

thin fingers reached

towards the smooth skin

the color of wet clay, and

I remembered sarsparilla

gingersnaps, fresh licorice

chocolate cakes.

Short fingers seeking

shapes and shadow-colors

caught in mid-air

in father’s hand trap,

No no, he said,

Don’t touch.

NOTE: I wish I had the actual image of the “Three Boys Playing Soccer” by John De Andrea. Seeing his sculpture is my earliest and most vivid memory of going to a museum. And while I searched everywhere to find a photo of it, I cold find none. It is spectacular and I urge people to see this lifelike work at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York.

What is your first memory of visiting a museum? How old were you? Who were you with? Were you inspired? Bored? Something else? What is the best museum you have ever visited?

Tweet Me @rasjacobson

Can You Give Good Head(er)?

As you can see, I pushed the button and have a new & improved theme.

Squeee!

Thank you, Coraline.

Meanwhile, you probably notice that very boring prominent picture of dewy grass under my name.

Clearly, that has absolutely nothing to do with my tagline.

This is because I am technologically challenged when it comes to creating things like headers, and it will take me infinity years a while to create one.

Meanwhile, Tech created an awesome header for me.

In under 30 minutes.

You’ll notice, he emphasized the fact that I am a mother, a writer and, of course, my hotness.

According to my son, now I can write about all the things that I think are hot.

Like the sun and my boots and summer.

*ahem*

And while that may be be true, I’m still not convinced the header he made is doing it.

Let’s be clear. I am grateful my son made a header for me. It astounds me that my 13-year-old was able to figure out how to create a header in the first place, let alone one that flashes.

In under 30 minutes.

And while I totally appreciate that he believes that his momma is hot (that’s called the power of repetition folks), it doesn’t exactly go with my new hoo-ha.

Or maybe it’s that it looks like he is advertising my hoo-ha.

It’s kind of porny.

I mean, seriously.

It’s pretty flashy.

{As in: Nay Nay, your header is giving me a seizure.}

Not really what I was going for.

And then it occurred to me.

There are a lot of really creative people out there who are not technologically impaired the way I am. Why not ask my friends and readers, my peeps on Facebook, and my tweeps on Twitter to see if they want to take a stab at it?

I mean there are actual graphic artists out there who might be interested in whipping something up in exchange for some street cred.

Here we go.

The Rules.

Design a new header for my blog incorporating something that you think represents the concept of my blog — Because Life Doesn’t Fit in A File Folder. So if you are new here, you might want to read a couple of posts.

Here are some things to know about me:

  • I have sparkly reading glasses.
  • I like words. Especially double-entendres.
  • I am a mom.
  • I am a teacher.
  • I hate clutter.
  • I am hot. (It’s a delusion, but go with me on this.)
  • I love Canada Dry Ginger Ale. (“It’s not too sweet.”)

Specs.

Your design needs to fit on into a Coraline header: 990 x 180.

And I’d like you to integrate my avatar into the header in some way.

Please put this in the header somewhere.

Submit your images via email in .JPG or .PNG files. When you submit, please be sure to identify yourself and let me know if you are attached to a particular blog or Facebook page, so I can link up to your fabulousness. (If you would prefer your submission to be anonymous, just let me know.)

Multiple submissions allowed.

The Deadline.

Thursday, November 1, 2012, 12 MIDNIGHT EST.

The Grand Prize.

Prominent linky-love on my blog on a tab called Header Credit. That’s right, every time someone clicks to see who made that header, they will know, you did.

And a $25 gift card to any place of your choice. As long as I can get the gift card at my local grocery store. But seriously, they have everything. (And just in time for the holidays!)

Why Don’t I Just Hire Someone?

Some folks might say I’m crazy to put something like this into the hands of the people. Well, it’s an election year. And I have faith in the people.

Faith that people will want the best header to represent my blog. Faith that no one will do anything too wonky so as to damage my new & improved platform. Faith that people will do near anything for some linky-love and a $25 gift card.

As this is an election year, I believe it is only fair to listen to the people…

But seriously. This is my header, people. I can’t slap anything up there!

Entries will be shown during the month of November and a I will announce the big winner on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 22, 2012, 6 am EST) because I will be filled with so much gratitude.

Spread the word. Tell your friends who are graphic artists or professional artists know how to do something awesome with Adobe and Photoshop and Picnik and Gimp and all those other cool programs about which I know absolutely nothing.

I have no idea what kind of magic folks might come up with.

But I have faith in some of you.

I’m already peeing a little from excitement. Sorry, that happens sometimes. That probably shouldn’t be in my header. Maybe.

Do you have what it takes to make a header? Or are you all about the words? What kinds of words/images would you like to see included on my header? Is all that flashing giving you a migraine yet?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Post-Museum Trippy Lessons on Drugs

art by Will Goodan

I like museums. Monkey and I have been visiting them since he was very small. When he was around 5-years old, we brought sketch pads and colored pencils and, together, we would roam around local museums until one of us found a piece of something or other that we particularly liked and then we both would sit down and attempt to sketch it out. These days, we leave our paper and pencils behind, but we still like to go to the museums and check out what’s going on. Together, we’ve seen lots of good stuff.

Recently, Monkey’s middle school art club took the students on a field trip, which I had to cut short as he was double-booked and had a conflict.

“I never even got to see the special installation,” he complained as he climbed into the car.

I didn’t know anything about the “special installation,” but I promised him that we would see before it left the museum.

Last Sunday was our last chance to see the show before it left town.

So I inadvertently took my 11-year old to see “Psychedelic Art: Hallucinogens and their Impact on the Art of the 1960s.”

I could hardly have been less prepared.

Space Chase (2006)

For those who might not know, “Psychedelic Art” refers to any kind of visual artwork inspired by psychedelic experiences induced by drugs such as LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin (i.e: “magic mushrooms”). Inspired by the 1960s counterculture, psychedelic visual arts were a counterpart to psychedelic rock music. Concert posters, album covers, light-shows, underground newspapers and more reflected not only the kaleidoscopically swirling patterns of LSD hallucinations, but also revolutionary political, social and spiritual sentiments inspired by insights derived from these psychedelic states of consciousness.

In the museum, little laminated placards set next to each piece of art explained what inspired the artist and the materials used to create it.

“Look,” announced Monkey pointing to one multimedia collage. “That one has red pills set into it. And little leaves.”

I said little, wondering if, in fact, I should have been saying more.

“What’s that smell?” Monkey asked, sniffing the air.

Somebody had clearly smoked a doobie or two before coming to the museum. It seemed obvious that the scent was coming from the dude standing behind us. I glanced at him as he looked dreamily at the canvas that listed the materials as acrylic paint and hemp.

“Ohhhh,” said Monkey as he read the information card. “Those leaves must be dried out marijuana. ‘Hemp’ is another name for marijuana.”

And weed and blunt and spliff and reefer, I thought to myself, smelling the pot that lingered in the air around the dude’s coat. And ganga and cannabis and a million other synonyms that you don’t need to know about yet.

art by Stella

On the way home it happened.

It always happens in the car.

Monkey always asks the big questions in the car.

“Mom,” Monkey asked. “Everyone says drugs are really bad for you. That you should never do them. But the art people created while they were on drugs was really interesting.”

I braced the wheel, white-knuckled.

“What am I supposed to do with that?” he asked.

I explained to Monkey that the drugs of the 1960s were much weaker than today’s drugs. Since he had recently seen about two minutes of a disturbing episode of Intervention where a man was smoking crystal methamphetamine followed by an OxyContin chaser, I made a point of telling him that neither of those drugs even existed in the 1960s: that in the 1960s, drugs were kind of “home-grown” and meant to mellow people out, while today’s drugs have been designed in laboratories to get people hooked.

I know this is not 100% accurate. LSD was manufactured and (initially) distributed not for profit, but because those who made it truly believed that the psychedelic experience could do good for humanity, that it expanded the mind and could bring understanding and love.

I did not tell this to Monkey.

I did tell him that the art/music/drug experiments of the 1960s went along with the whole counterculture movement that was going on at the time. We discussed the Vietnam War and the Hippie movement. I explained that the people who chose to use the drugs were attempting to enter a kind of mystical world to explore a new kind of art, and – in many cases, they were successful as the drugs helped them to see a different dimension, a world where space was filled with multi-colored geometric shapes and surreal images.

I told him that while some people had good experiences with these drugs, drugs could be dangerous as well. I told him that some people who used hallucinogenic drugs had “bad trips” and that things that were bothering them became exacerbated and all they could do was wait for the drug to wear off – and that sometimes that took up to 8 hours.

Monet's Waterlilies

“I can’t deny that psychedelic art is interesting,” I stressed, “but to me it’s more culturally interesting than artistically interesting. I’d rather look at a great Monet. There is a lot more going on in a Monet than in, say, that random piece of plexiglass we saw on the floor. You know, the one with the piece of wood coming out of it?”

Monkey was quiet. “So just because a few artists made cool art while on drugs doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use drugs.”

“I’d go along with that,” I said breathing again.

I’m not sure I said the right things.

What do you say to your 6th grader when he or she asks about drugs?