About Me

My photo
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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Painting - Boothbay Harbor: Church and Lobster Boats.

Another of my favorite places is Boothbay Harbor in Maine. Very picturesque and full of tourists. One of the major vistas is the Catholic Church right at the edge of the harbor. There are docks with lobster boats right in front. I have not come across many paintings of this scene, which to my mind should be iconic, so I did two of them. This is the first one. Its a view from the harbor tour boat. I am not totally pleased with the results of this one, but it just feels finished. Enjoy, and check out the my two places to buy items based on the painting.


Interesting Article - from Wordpress - How to get more traffic and end of Old Tappan Library show

First the end of the Old Tappan show. Nothing came of it terms of sales, but the Libray's yoga class meets in the communnity room where most of the paintings were. The Saturday librarian participated and said it lent a nice peaceful atmosphere for the yoga class. At least some good came from it! And since I don't have a library for August, I suggest you go and check out my friend Denise's photography and Kermit the Frog collection at the Hillsdale library!

I know, I know, Wordpress is a rival blog hosting site than the one I use, but they do have good articles. Here's a good one about how to get more traffic on your blog. Check it out.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My name is now on the Pascack Art Association website and library show faux-pas

I joined the Pascack Art Association in June and my name is now on their website with a link to my blog. Check it out.


As to the monthly library shows, it looks like I'm taking an un-expected break. I thought I was supposed to go into Cresskill this month, but either I forgot to send confirmation (most likely) or the email got overlooked. I have re-scheduled for January. So looks like my paintings will be home for a month.

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interesting article - From Empty Easel - should artists duplicate paintings to sell again

Blogger Sharon Weaver has a good article here


This is an idea that I've had personal dealings with, only difference was I did not sell them, but gave them as wedding gifts. It was a lighthouse picture & since the people did not know each other, there was not an issue of seeing the painting on each other's walls.

For selling purposes, I'm okay with doing the same scene as long as there is some difference in it. When you read the article, you'll see the two paintings in question. While its the same scene, one has more detail and a different feel to it. My opinion is that what the artist paints is his/her right and everyone else is along for the ride. They may like the scene and feel they could do it better or their technique has changed, or something like that. Like Bob Ross always said, its your world and you can do whatever you want with it. People will either appreciate the difference or feel cheated. No one's forcing them to buy.
Its the same with story telling. The prime example is the TV show "LOST". TV writers & producers are story tellers. We gather around the campfire of the TV set and watch them. Its their story they are telling and the TV audience is along for the ride. Many complained about things that happened in the story, but the story belongs to the storyteller. You can leave the campfire any time you want.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Interesting Article - Lori McNee on traits of a successful artist and starting 2 new painting - Boothbay Harbor

I took a little vacation from painting last week. Went to visit relatives who live near and work at Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, NY. So, to keep you all coing back, I'm posting some items I've found on other blogs.
While up there, I had discussions with a family friend who is also an artist about our craft. I'm heavily into computer and social site usage and he wants nothing to do with it. We did have some interesting talks.

Lori McNee has another good article: this time on traits for a successful artist.


I'm starting two new paintings, both of the Catholic Church in Boothbay Harbor Maine from pictures taken from the harbor tour boat. Both show fishing boats in front of it. I've checked the 'net and there does not seem to be many paintings of this scene. Probably because many painters like to do "plein aire" style, which is difficult from a boat, whereas I take pictures and paint from that. Its also a cloudy day in the photo and I;m changing them to sunny day pics. Happily, thee are photos of the church on a sunny day, so I can get the shadows right. Here's one of the pictures.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Outstanding Article from Lori McNee - The importance of being an artist in today's modern world

Another great article by Lori McNee, I think her best one yet. Her son is studying 3d animation and as she says "This got me thinking about the subject of the possible irrelevance of Art in this computer driven day and age". She doesn't think so, of course and then makes two good points:
1) 'the worse things get - the more indispensable Art becomes."
2)"Art records the footprint of all peoples, cultures and the world around us:"

then she launches into a brillaint recitation of art thru the ages. You really must check this out.


Quote: "The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." Aristotle

Friday, July 8, 2011

New Painting - Cherry Trees - The Reader

Here is my latest painting July 8th 2011

Official Title: Cherry Trees - The Reader
A woman peacefully read a book in a grove of cheery trees in NYC's Central Park

This is from a series of photos I took of a grove of cherry trees on the west side of the Central Park Reservoir in NYC's Central Park.

Here's the picture I used

and here's the painting.
as you can see I modified the colors of the reader and her things. Wanted a little more color besides pink here.
As always here is the Zazzle site containing items based on this image for sale (mugs, postcards, etc)


and the Fineartsamerica site

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interesting poem - Have a ____ Day by Lou Lipsitz from Writers Almanac

I know, I know, this is supposed to be about my art, but sometimes I gotta post something that I find interesting and this poem is one of them. I will someday post some Christian material but not now, later.
I heard this poem while listening to the podcast of Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac. First, if you don't know who he is, Google and find out. He's worth your time.
His Writers Almanac is a daily thing talking about birthdays and deaths of significant artists and other things and usually a poem. Here's the podcast site


The poem in question is an odd little piece Entitled "Have a ____ day" by Lou lipsiz. It starts with "Have a nice day" and then goes into many variations, both bad and good, of that phase. A sample:

Have a ____ Day
by Lou Lipsitz
Have a nice day. Have a memorable day.
Have (however unlikely) a life-changing day.
Have a day of soaking rain and lightning.
Have a confused day thinking about fate.

Have a day of wholes.
Have a day of poorly marked,
unrecognizable wholes you
cannot fathom.
Have a ferocious day, a bleak
unbearable day. Have a
riotously unproductive day;
a grim jaw-clenched, Clint Eastwood vengeful
law enforcement day.

The rest of the poem can be found here



* Rembrandt van Rijn -
+ Practise what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.

Interesting article - Lori McNee' s Finearttips - ways to negotiate and set you art prices

This article Lori reposted from Artbistro. This is a big issue with we, since i'm just starting out. How do I know what my art is worth. I kinda go for the a gut-feeling type approach. Good article here.


Quote: Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mourn the death of Cy Twombly

While Cy Twonbly and I do not do the same kind of painting, I mourn the death of someone who was able to make his artistic voice heard. He was friends Jasper Johns (one of my favorites) and Robert Rauschenberg.


New Library Show starts today - The Art of Jack McKenzie at Old Tappan Library.

Today I moved my art to Old Tappan library. I'm only doing one show this month and will probably do only one a month from now on. Its nice being in two places, but they need to be far apart geographically, so keeping up with them is a chore.

Old Tappan is in the Northeast corner of Bergen County, NJ. Getting in that section requires a lot of twists and turns to get to, but tends to be upscale. Old Tappan is one of those upscale communities. The town at the top of the upscale list is Alpine.

When you first come into the library, there's an easel by the main desk with the announcement of the show. Theres a picture of one of the paintings on top, hopefully to draw attention to it.
The show is divided into two spaces: the Main Room, which has about 10 paintings and the Community Room with about 16 more, It is also where my "artist setup" is: My bio, artist business cards and a guest book. Hopefully, despite it being Summer, that room will get a lot of use.

Here's the Old Tappan Library

and what you see as you come inside

Here's the res of the pictures of the show from my Facebook album http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150305786576474.390803.729976473&l=60af7f195f

I added the show to Northjersey.com's events calendar

as well as other online sites - Fineartanerica and Artfairinsiders. Hopefully this will generate some sales. We shall see!

Quote: Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C. S. Lewis

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Recipes for the feeding of a starving artist - BBQ's bananas with chocolate

All that painting makes an artist hungry and since I like to cook, its a perfect combination.

Since this is BBQ season (4th of July in the US is an semi-official start date) people are looking for interesting things to do that will wow the guests but are rather simple. BBQ bananas with chocolate is a great item that will do just that. Its seems un-usual but I've seen many versions of this and here's the one I use. I found it in a Weight-watchers magazine. Google this for other versions.
Bananas - 2 per person, maybe 3
chocolate chips
Peanut butter chips

Take a banana. Cut along the inner curve, making little flaps. Sprinkle the insides with cinnamon and stuff the chocolate chips or peanut butter chips, or maybe both. Wrap in foil and put on BBQ about 3 min per side. Open. You have a banana/chocolate custard with the skin and the container. Very delicious and addicting. As I said, Google this for more variations. You will get you guests saying - gee, I never would have thought of that!

Quote: “To make people who have no appetite eat, to make the wit of those who have it sparkle, to enable those who want these qualities to find them -- this is the supreme science of a gastronome-host.”
Lucien Tendret, French lawyer and gastronome; great-nephew of Brillat-Savarin (1825-1896)