About Me

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Paramus, New Jersey, United States
No, this in not a blog about gardening in any way, but a journal of my journey to become a professional landscape painting artist. For years, I’ve given my paintings as wedding gifts without thinking of profiting in some way from it. I worked for 18 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC as a computer programmer. I have been a painter since 1990, coincidentally, when I started working at the Met. I watched Bob Ross do his thing on Channel 13 in New York and decided I could do this, too. I have no formal training. I incorporate Bob's wet-on-wet technique for sky and water. My subject matter is covered bridges, lighthouses, fishing village scenes, barns, etc. Maine, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Nova Scotia and Spain are some of the places I have painted. My style is detailed and sometimes people think a photo of the painting is an actual photo of the scene. I hope to continue and grow in this medium. I also like to cook & dance. I am also a committed Christian. I am taking commissions - painting your landscapes style photos or your vacation home. Prices on request. contact me - Jackmck@juno.com my website is www.artofjackmckenzie.com

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Painting and new library show - Hohokus

Well, I finally finished The Goat Island painting painting with the Pennsylvania Barn painting not far behind.

Today is the 31st and the end of the Maywood Library show. I gathered the paintings and the head librarian said it got a lot of good comments. but no sale interest. I kept the bio plaque that they made.
Tomorrow I set up at Maywood. I'm going to do a different mix, but have not decided what yet.
Heres the site with the Library info - http://www.bccls.org/members/hoho.shtml . There's no parking lot

I will be in Franklin Lakes in May. I get to do an opening reception there. I will get an idea of what that is like when I go to Denise Frawley's reception for her Photo display on April 9th. Go check her show out!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interesting article - "25 ways to spread word about your art" , foreign interest and other stuff

Came across this on article on Artbistro, a site that any artist really should know about. Its a sub site of the job search site Monster.com. The article has some really interesting ideas, like artists getting together and having a home show, for one


Blogspot has a traffic feature that tells you where your traffic is coming from. I seem to be getting regular traffic from Russia, Poland, Nigeria and China. Just thought that was interesting.

I am almost done with several paintings. The Goat Island Light is done. There's a Pennsylvania Farm in Fall painting thats almost done. It has a large field of Fall corn stalks that I did a surprisingly good job on. The Lavalette Sunrise is 1/3 done. Have to finish the ocean, which is a large part of it.

As for the library shows: Maywood ends this week and I go on to Ho-Ho-kus. May is two shows, Franklin Lakes and New Milford. By May I should have enough "stock" to do two good shows at once. Secaucus and Hillsdale are in June.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

works in progress - Newport Lighthouse and Pennsylvania Farm

I've got 3 in progress but these two are the ones getting the most of my attention now. I also have to start on the Lavalette Sunrise.

Newport Lighthouse - the basics of the lighhouse itself are on canvas, just have to work in the details.

Pennsylvania Farm - This is a picture I took of a farm along Rout 202 going from Allentown to Lancaster. The blank area is where the dried corn stalks go. I want to do all the barns and silos first before blocking in the corn

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An artist has got to eat - GREEN TEA LACQUERED SALMON

I am a great fan of salmon. This is a must add to my collection

This was posted in the North Jersey Bergen record


This recipe was created by chefs at Starwood Hotels. I have adapted it slightly from the original as published in "Culinary Tea."

1/2 cup boiling water
4 teaspoons loose-leaf green tea leaves
4 teaspoons honey
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, preferably with skin on
4 tablespoons (approximately) extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 bag baby spinach
1 medium shallot, minced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock
Pinch of fresh or dried thyme

Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves in a small bowl and add honey; stir to combine. Steep, covered, for 2-3 minutes, strain, and discard the leaves.

Place salmon in a glass or ceramic dish. Brush with the honey tea and pour any remaining tea around the fish. Let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

When ready to cook, preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet or broiler pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Place the salmon fillets in the pan skin-side down and broil until golden – the interior will not yet be cooked. The exact timing will vary, but it will not take long, so keep a careful eye on the salmon.

Remove the salmon from the oven and lower the heat to 350.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes and sauté until golden, 6 to 10 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the garlic and spinach to the pan and sauté quickly, until the spinach is just wilted. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a separate bowl.

Return the salmon to the oven and bake until just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and the shiitakes and sauté until shallots are translucent and the mushrooms have begun to release some of their juices, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the white wine and the lemon juice and stir over medium-high heat, scraping any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and simmer to reduce by half again. Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Place a portion of spinach on each of four plates and distribute the mushroom-shallot mixture over the spinach. Top each portion with sweet potatoes and a piece of salmon and serve immediately.

Serves: 4.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sorting out the library shows

As I said previously, I'm going to try the library show route for a year and see what happens, plus a few coffee shops and other things.

I've been emailing various libraries in the BCCLS system and figuring out which ones to display in and when. After reviewing my current stock and works in progress, by May I should be able to do two shows at different libraries at the same time, unless paintings start getting sold. For now, I'm going with the two show possibilities.

I will be in New Milford in May and the Franklin Lakes library offered me May, so I'll take that, too. When the woman in charge, Paula, compliments your work by saying - "Your work has a dreamy, idyllic feel to it..after the hard winter, I think folks will love it!" it seems like a very right thing to do. My photography friend Denise will be in Franklin Lakes in April which includes a reception, so I plan to go to the reception and scope out the scene. She's been in Secaucus and a few others

The current schedule is as follows

HoHokus - April
New Milford ,Franklin Lakes – May
Hillsdale – June –
Secaucus - June
Old Tappan - July Formal Contract
Cresskill - August

Bergenfield – in the Fall

Both Glen Rock & Oradell – said they will have the person in charge call me

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Interesting article - Tips for painting water and reflections

I like posting article I come a cross and article that help me and may help other artists

This is from Lori McNee's Fine Art Tips site. For you Facebook users, she;s on there too. I like doing paintings with water this is a good article on how on doing water.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Works in progress and library shows

I have 3 works in progress, one I've just painted in the sky and grass so there is not much to show. The two paintings are :
Newport's Goat Island Lighthouse: got all the background and foreground almost done. Just have to block in the lighthouse in black and then do the details.
Cape Anne Fishing Boat : Need to put leaves on the trees and more detail in the background hills and work a bit in the reflections.

I have another one I'm about to start. Its a photo a classmate from Paramus high School posted on the PHS Facebook site of a Lavalette sunrise. For those outside Jersey, its a quiet Jersey Shore town.

I'm continuing my quest for free exposure by displaying in several more libraries in Bergen County. The Maywood one is over at the end of this month. So far, nothing for April but I have New Milford in May, Hillsdale in June and Old Tappan in July. I not sure how long I want to do this, but I'm thinking maybe a years worth of free shows should do it.

Each library has a different way of handling these shows.
Paramus - here's a wall, if you want to fill it, go ahead with no effort on their part.
Maywood - their publicist does on interview and makes a bio for be displayed with the paintings. There a microscopic mention in the local newspaper.
Hillsdale - a online entry form that needs to be coutersigned by a local resident and will put a couple of picture in their newsletter. I do know several people in Hillsdale.
Old Tappan - is sending me a contract. Don't know all thats involved yet.

The adventure continues

Quote: Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

article in the Paramus Patch about the Maywood show

Here's the article from the Paramus Patch that I mentioned in a previous post. I'm not sure if I like it, especially the over emphasis on my 2 years unemployment, but here it is. It speaks to the fact that for interviews you need to have fact sheet prepared of all the points you want to make and will help you not to ramble like I did and a bio sheet to give out. I did post my blog with the article and I did check this blog's traffic status and I did get a number of hits from it. Good can come from anythong


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An artist has got to eat! - Milk Truck's 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Glazed Onions & Sautéed Mushrooms

Since I am a foodie besides being a painter, I will be posting an occasional series on great recipes I come across.

I am a great fan of grilled cheese sandwiches, especially with tomato and bacon. This takes it to a whole new level. This recipe was in the NY Daily News from Keith Klein of the Milk Truck, one of the many gourmet food trucks that prowl the city of New York. Check the info at the end of the posting for the actual article and the milk truck's web site.

Milk Truck 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Glazed Onions & Sautéed Mushrooms
Serves: 4


1 medium yellow onion
6 tablespoons cultured butter
Olive oil
3 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
4 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ lemon
8 slices of rosemary Pullman bread
4 ounces aged domestic Gruyere
4 ounces aged cheddar
4 ounces creamy blue cheese


Remove skin of the onion, cut in half and slice into ¹/8" slices.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 T. butter and a little olive oil. When the butter has melted, place the onions in the pan, and sauté until they soften and begin to caramelize, 3 or 4 minutes.

Stir in the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook until the onions are syrupy and there is very little liquid in the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and cool.

Clean and slice the mushrooms. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1 T. of butter and 2 T. of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes until browned. Season to taste and remove from heat. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the mushrooms and set aside.

Heat a panini maker or a ridged, cast-iron pan over medium heat. Put a thin layer of butter on the outside of the bread slices. On the unbuttered side, add 1 ounce of Gruyere, cheddar and blue to four slices of bread. Spoon a generous amount of onion and 1 T. of mushrooms on top of the cheese. Cover with the remaining bread slices so that the buttered sides are facing out.

Place sandwiches on the grill and cook until the bread is crisp and the butter is melted.

If using a cast-iron pan, place another slightly smaller pan on top of the sandwiches to weight them down. Turn after a couple of minutes and repeat.

Find Milk Truck Saturdays at the Ft. Greene Brooklyn Flea, 176 Lafayette Ave., between Clermont and Vanderbilt. Sundays at the One Hanson Brooklyn Flea, One Hanson Place. The hours vary, but the truck is usually there between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. See milktruckgrilledcheese.com.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2011/03/15/2011-03-15_big_cheesy_grilledcheese_faceoff_top_honors_go_to_milk_trucks_keith_klein_with_o.html#ixzz1GhDxX3nJ

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jack's Artist Spotlight - Niki Gulley - Texas Bluebell Paintings

One site I'm following in Landscape Artists Interntional, which every day posts recent paintings from is many registered artists. One artist's work I've come to enjoy is Niki Gulley, especially her Texas Bluebell paintings. Bluebells are these wonderful blue flowers that are native to Texas. She does so much more, but I appreciate these the most. Check her out!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Newest painting - Odd Maine Barn, painting of houses commissions and other stuff.

Okay folks, heres my latest painting thats more or less done. I'm titling this one "Odd Maine Barn" While visiting my brother and his family in Albion, Maine we went for a back roads drive and came across this barn with a store silo and a small barn on top of it. Took a few pictures and ended up painting this.

I'm becoming more convinced that the professional painter route is the God-given way to go. So many little things are popping up. A number of people in different places have suggested that I do paintings of people's houses. Ive checked with a couple of small real estate people who were rather un-enthusiastic about the idea, but enough other people have mentioned it that I will seek to offer it and asked the suggesters to be my sales people on the idea. We'll see.

As to the artistic interview thank you notes - NADA! NOTHING! It was an idea to try out and see what happens and nothing did.

Want to have a little fun with your images? Check out photofunia.com

Friday, March 11, 2011

blog spotlight: Bent objects, Paramus Patch Interview and new painting

Every once in a while, I like to spotlight blogs, websites and artists that I find interesting. Heres another one. http://bentobjects.blogspot.com/. Takes common objects and anthropomorphises them. Really Cool! I came across it when I checked out my friend Denises photography blog denisekeeganphotography.blogspot.com for her daily entry

I met Myles of the Paramus Patch at the Maywood Library for an interview, which lasted about 20 minutes. He took a picture of me next to the Fishing Boats Tarifa picture. Should be out next week sometime.

Finally started another painting of the Newport Harbor Lighthouse, also know as the Goat Island Light. Its a white hexagonal-shaped stone lighthouse on a white store platform. My computer is acting up and wont take in pictures, so you will have to wait!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Northjersey.com article on my Maywood, NJ painting display and Paramus.Patch.com interview

This is the result of the interview amongst friends post. Sadly there are no pictures but its a pretty good article.


I will be having an interview Thursday with the Paramus Patch editor Myles Ma at the Maywood Library. There are Patchs for many towns, highlighting all events in that town. I had heard of them but never accessed them. Again the Ridge Diner group was the source of this. One of the men there, David, is a relative of the man doing the Paramus Patch, Myles Ma, so he contacted him and Myles was interested. I wish I had know this with the Paramus show!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Merchandising my paintings – interview thank-you cards

This is going to take a bit of your time. So get a cup of tea or coffee and relax.

This needs a bit of explaining. I was “retired” from the Met 2 years ago. That was the beginnings of the Great Recession that idled millions. Out of that grew a cottage industry of job coaches, networking groups, recruiters, etc to try and help the newly unemployed navigate the incredibly confusing and dangerous waters of the new ways of job hunting and selling various services. The whole concept got turned on its head, with constantly moving/evolving targets. One of the strategies that arose was to send thank you notes to all your interviewers, reminding them of who you were, what was discussed and how you’d be perfect for the job.

My art is my Plan B, as its called. As I was setting up Zazzle, Fineartamerica and other sites to sell items with the images of my paintings, it occurred to me that the note cards in Zazzle would make distinctive, artistic interview thank notes that would impress the interviewer. It might also generate interest in the interviewer in buying some of my items. A series of events occurred to allow me to give this a try and it goes something like this-

I attend several of these networking groups as an unemployed computer programmer – The CIT in Short Hills, NJ which usually attracts 60 to 100 people give 30 second “elevator pitches”, professional relationship building, etc. The Ridge Diner Group is a more intimate Monday morning gathering, sort of an accountability and advice session. The BCNC is a once a month cocktail party type gathering, again for networking and speaker presentation, meeting in alternate venues. There is a group of people who run these things and make them happen. One is named John R.

I have mentioned my idea to John a couple of times, thinking the BCNC would be a great place for this, but was put off, since if I started trying to sell stuff, other people trying out their Plan B’s would want to do the same thing and could quickly turn into a mess. So this Saturday at the CIT, John comes to me about pitching my cards at the BCNC which was the following Monday. Seems several of the job coaches would be conducting book signings of their respective publications and I would fit right in.

Problem was I did not have time to get the note cards from Zazzle, but I did have greeting card size samples using 3 images I had printed from Fineartamerica. I had also made business cards and magnets via Vistaprint using the Tarifa Fishing Boats image, so combining these various items and a little personality would do the trick. I would send people thru my blog to the merchandising section of the blog.

Monday I got to Ridge Diner Group and mentioned this. I’ve been getting great ideas from them on not only the programming job hunt but the art side of it, too. One of the women there, Barbara Blumhof, is an events/conference planner and she offered to make a nice placard for the event, for free!. She just needed a few picture of my paintings and some details on how to get them and could have them ready by 5. I left there at 11:15 & got home around noon and sent the information. I spent the afternoon making sure the cards were easily accessable with a couple emails back and forth with Barbara on format.

I get there John gives me a table to set up. Barbara comes in with the placard and it looks marvelous, a nice stand alone piece (check picture below). I’m next to Abby Kohut, also known as Absolutely Abby, a very popular career coach, recruiter and speaker so I’m in a good spot. I know most of the people there, but there are many new ones. I get some traffic and lots of compliments on my artwork. My magnets are all gone, so that will keep me in the peoples minds when they look at it as well as the cards I handed out. I’ve gotten no sales so far but lots of good notice. As they say a lot in these events, ya never know!
Thanks Barbara. Here’s her info. She needs a job, too.

Barbara Blumhof
Tradeshows, Meetings, Events
845-300-8041 (cell)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Color mixing article from Empty Easel

I will be posting articles I've found that help me and I hope will help anyone reading this blog. Empty Easel is one site that a great resource for all sorts of helpful info for the artist on all levels. This one is about color mixing for oil painters. Its not as intuitive as you'd think.


An artist has got to eat! - Spinach Salad Flambe - the recipe

Last post was about the spinach salad flambe from the flambe class my friend Hannah went to in Bozeman. I search the store's site for the recipe and it was not there, so I posted what I could find on the 'net. Hannah was kind enough to send me the actual recipe from that class, so here it is. Mange! Looks yummy!

Spinach Salad Flambe Olivelle
8 cup fresh spinach leaves
4 eggs, hard boiled and sliced
3/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 lb bacon, diced small
2 shallots, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, diced small (or cherry toms cut in 1/2)
fresh ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 TB "series 7" Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup caramelized garlic olive oil
1/2 cup brandy OR bourbon (80 proof)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

arrange spinach on a plattter
top with goat cheese and sliced eggs
set aside until dressing is ready

in a saute pan, cook the bacon until crispy
add shallots, tomatoes, salt and pepper
cook until shallots are translucent
add balsamic vinegar and allow to reduce
add the olive oil and heat through

in a separate pan heat the brandy until small bubbles start to form around the outside
light the liquor on fire and pour into the hot dressing
while still lit, pour the dressing over the salad
sprinkle on the pine nuts

Friday, March 4, 2011

An artist has got to eat! - Spinach Salad Flambe????

A friend on FB, Hannah, is working at a Christian kids camp outside of Bozeman Montana and also has ablog. She posted that she had gone to a flambe cooking class at a rather sophisticated sounding food shop in town - http://www.olivelle.com/cooking-classes/. When I checked the site it listed spinach salad flambe as one of the things being taught. New to me. The store's site did not have it (but lots of other great recipes, check it out!) Found some recipes on-line, but few reviews. So for you daring souls out there, here is one recipe I found. A flaming salad dressing. Hot!


The "Our Town" "article" about my Maywood Library exhibit

When I asked about showing my paintings in the Maywood Library, one of the things that happened was the library's publicist did an interview 1) for a profile to be put up with the paintings and 2) that the exhibit would be in the local newspaper "Our Town". The paper came out today and I have a total of one sentence, a half a sentence actually at the bottom of the Maywood Library column on the 2nd page. The thing is I DO get mentioned!!!! Its a start!!!! Now just need the good people of Maywood to find it!

My friend Susan's article about Denise and i should be out soon and I hope its more than a sentence.
Here's the mention. It on the left hand side just above "Computer Classes":

An impatient fellow blogger, Tumblr and my sister-in-law's painting suggestion

I have a old grade school friend Bob Lanotte doing a food blog. He's been posting great stuff on FB and was finally persuaded to start a food blog. His blog is cookingwithocdhelpslol.blogspot.com Well, theres a bit of OCD here (a part of the blog title) and was getting impatient that only 2 people had signed up to follow in 2 days. I think he was expecting a flood. I told him People need to discover you. Food attracts! The I posted this article from Empty Easel on getting your blog recognized. Good article.


I have a another blogger friend Victoria who's a wonderful cake and pastry baker and has her blog on Tumblr. I tried to follow it, but the site wants me to sign up for a Tumblr blog.Not about to do that.

as to my sister-in-law's painting suggestion. She lives in Maine with my brother & 3 children and there's a load of talent in this family. She is a photographer at heart and takes a lot of great pictures. When I post on FB pictures of trips I take, she has an uncanny knack for picking out the ones that I would be painting and is usually right.

She posted some of her photos of the snow around the farm and posted the picture below. I saw it and knew right away it needed painting. I then notice her caption that she thought I should paint it. Indeed I will. The bark texture will be tricky, but do-able

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Accountability 3/1/11 - update on the Maine Barn Painting

This is to show the progress in the unusual Maine barn painting. It also shows how I do the painting - a canvas board on an easel with the picture (printed on normal paper) clipped above it. Those containers to the left are just for decoration. Brushes that are no longer usable go there. What I find interesting is that in the picture, the stone silo looks like its tilting but looking at the painting itself, I don't see it.
You can see how I block things in in black and let it dry before I paint it.

My friend Denise in her blog is doing a picture a day and chose to put up a pic of a MacDonalds McShake. Gotta go get one. An artist does have to eat!

An artist has gotta eat, too. Butternut squash tart

In the midst of try to lay paint on a canvas so it looks like something recognizable, an artist has to eat,too (which may be the name of my food blog when I do that) I like to cook. Some friends & I go on a bike Trip around Marthsa Vineyard in June and Nantucket in September and I play chef, usually doing seafood, with other people acting as sous chefs. I'm known for being good with the recipes in other places. So I decided to include in this art blog the occasional ramble on food and a recipe or two. My friend Bob Lanotte just started a food blog for a whole host of reason that you'll find in here - cookingwithocdhelpslol.blogspot.com and has got me thinking of doing the same thing.

Today I was at Maywood Library taking care of some questions on my show there and had to wait. I went to the magazine section and started looking thru Science News (I'm a science geek, too) and various magazines with recipes mentioned. I came across this beauty in Women's Day - a Rustic Butternut Squash Tart.


and here is the picture of this recipe! Yummo!