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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Comments from George the Janitor at Cliffside Park Library

So, today is that last day of my Cliffside Park Library display. I usually leave a comment book and got some nice comments, but no sales. The head librarian mentioned that many poeple made positive comments to her about them, but of course no sales.
As I'm lugging my paintings to the car, there's a couple of maintenance guys working on something and one of them, George, call out to me and starts giving a very positive critique of my work. He especially liked by blue (ocean) and pink (Central Park) paintings (see examples below). He said for him, they reached across the room and grabbed him. His final comment was, someday people will find you and realize what great stuff you do.
Nice to hear.
Tomorrow, the West Elm / Etsy event.

Quote: The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel. Piet Mondrian

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My muse has taken a vacation

The painting flow seems to have stopped, temporarily I hope. The paintings were just pouring out of me for almost a year, but the flood is stopped up. Maybe the West Elm / Etsy event will turn it back on. We will see!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More on the West Elm / Etsy Holiday Market on Dec 1st (Paramus)

This event is coming up quickly and They just sent me the event poster and the link to the Facebook page. I also found the mention of this eevnt in Boston in the Backby.patch. One wrinkle in the ointment for me is that my church scheduled a very important special meeting on that day, so my friends from 1st Baptist Hackensack won't be able to be there.
So don't know it I'll be selling anything, but it wil be a step up in my art career and I will get to meet some more fellow artists.

Etsy link

FB Link

Boston event listing

Quote: The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery - Francis Bacon

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My new Zazzle store - Bagsbyjackmck

The online merchandising site Zazzle has a new line of bags and I've created a store for those bags with images of my paintings on them. Here's the link and I will post it on the merchandising area on top of the blog. I wish I could post a picture of a bag, but can't.


Quote: One of the best things about paintings is their silence - which prompts reflection and random reverie. ~Mark Stevens

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today is 11/11/11 & Veterans day.

1st Veterans Day - I want to honor my mother - Evelyn Machold Mckenzie - who was in WWII as a captain in the Nurses corp with Pattons Third Army as they dove into the heart of Nazism. She worked 36 hours during the Battle of the Bulge and was almost sent to the Pacific to be part of the Invasion of Japan, but The Bomb stopped that. We have all her equipment. My brother uses her foot locker as a coffee table and I have her helment and mess kit.

Now to 11/11/11. Chinese call it Single Day. Spinal Tap fans call it Nigel Tufnel day because he was always turning his equipment up to 11. There are some who see cosmic significance in that 3 11's look like 3 doors to give you more possibility of success, sort of like a cosmic Price is Right. eThere are Mayan Calendar references but one of the oddest is National Corduroy Day. Check this New Yorker Article.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

I've been chosen to be part of an Etsy/West Elm store art show Dec 1st in Paramus

This is a really big deal and shows my art work is getting noticed. Etsy is a online art store for all kinds of items, including my paintings. West Elm is an artsy kind of furnishings store and they are collaborating for a series of Holiday art shows in the West Elm stores. I am including the emails sent to me so you can get the full idea of whats going on. There is a link to a Picasa album of a similar event in Toronto.
As I say with long posts, get a cup of tea and a piece of cake and have a great read!

I've got some exciting news about an upcoming national holiday event from Etsy's Marketing team. We've been working closely with West Elm (www.westelm.com) on a few projects, one of which being a one-day holiday event showcasing local Etsy sellers in each one of their 37 stores. Along with several Etsy artists selling their wares in each store, a local Etsy Team will be leading a holiday craft which benefits a local charity.

Your shop was hand selected by Etsy and Paramus's West Elm as a great fit for the collaboration if you are interested. We'd like to introduce more folks in Paramus to Etsy, and your shop is a great example that showcases the talent, and local to boot!

The event would be very similar to a craft show or gallery opening set up, completely hosted, and catered by West Elm. The location you're invited to participate in is the West Elm Paramus store at 380 Route 17 NParamus, NJ 07652. It would be free (no fees) for you to attend, set up, and sell your wares during the event under your own Etsy shop name. You would be responsible for all transactions and all of the sales would go to you. It's a great promotional opportunity we hope you'll consider.

The date for the event is Thursday, Dec. 1, from 6-9 p.m. If you are interested and think you can make it, please let me know as soon as you can or before Monday, Oct. 31. We'll be sending the list of vendors (who responded with interest) back to your local West Elm store so they can get in touch directly (within a week) with additional info and answer any questions you may have.

Please take a look at these photos from the Etsy pop-up event at West Elm's Toronto location, to get a feel for the event (*note: this was not a holiday event, but set-up will be similar):

Thanks for your consideration and please let me know if you're interested in participating! When responding to this email, please include your shop name.



More info from west elm:

Event Details
* Date: Thursday, Dec. 1
* Time: 6-9 p.m.

* Location: Your local West Elm store (see address above)

Store Set Up
You will be assigned a designated area within the store to sell your product during the event. We would prefer to have you use the items that are available in the store rather than have you bring in outside furniture, but we understand that some items may be necessary for display purposes (glass case, jewelry holders, easels, etc.). When you arrive to the store for the event, you’ll have an opportunity to borrow any of west elm’s visual props and merchandise for display (frames, baskets, trays, etc.)

Event Load In
We need vendors to arrive one to two hours prior to the event start time of 6 p.m. and be prepared for the event to last longer than the anticipated stop time of 9 p.m. All breakdown and clean up of your station must take place once the party is officially over and all product must be removed from the store immediately following the event.

Selling Merchandise
Each vendor is responsible for all transactions made during the event. west elm will not be handling any aspect of the sale of your goods during the event. In the past events, some sellers have brought gadgets to process credit cards, such as the Square, in addition to accepting cash. Please note this is not required, and whatever methods of payment you accept is up to you.

We also recommend bringing a friend to help throughout the event, in case it gets busy!

We will provide a framed sign of your Etsy shop URL (shopname.etsy.com) to display with your goods. Each vendor is responsible for additional signage about your Etsy shop and product that will be on display during the event. Please note that since this feature is a result of our partnership with Etsy, we require that you promote your Etsy shop, and not a personal website. Thanks for understanding!

Both west elm and Etsy will be promoting this event to their communities. We encourage you to also promote your participation in this event and will send you the invitation to share with your friends.

On behalf of west elm and Etsy, we are so excited to have you be a part of the Handmade Holiday Workshop and Mini-Market on December 1st at your local west elm store! Thank you in advance for participating in what we hope will be a fun and festive event for the local community.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Painting - The Wawatam Lighthouse in St Ignace Michigan

I painted this from a photo a friend (Ken Macgilvary) posted on Facebook. Its one of the newer lighthouses along the Straits og Mackinac in Michigan. More scenic than historic.

Ive included the a website for the lighthouse


Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Library Show - Cliffside Park, New Jersey

Well, another month another library show in an attempt to get my artistic name out there. This month its the Cliffside Park Library. They have a really nice setup. The display area is not in some room that you have to know about to get there, but in the area to the left as you go in the main door. There are wall displays, but most of it is on very nice metal easels on top of chest high book cases, by the windows and in a reading area. There is a table in the middle and when I was setting up ther was a knitting club knitting away.

Please check the links above this post to see the pictures and the library's website. Here's a picture of the library

Quote: The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
Francis Bacon

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recipes for the feeding of a Starving Artist - Butternut Squash Risotto

One of my favorite foods is butternut squash ANYTHING. This recipe looks marvelous! Saw this in The Record (a North Jersey newspaper) from a book "Cook This Now" by Melissa Clark and fell in love. I'm posting the recipe and the link. The article is a worthwhile read.

In “Cook This Now,” Melissa Clark suggests shredding the butternut squash, making it melt into the risotto. I wanted a different texture, so cut it into small cubes.
½ pound peeled butternut squash
About 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
2 rosemary branches
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped salted pistachios
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

In a food processor fitted with a fine grating attachment, shred the squash (Or use a box grater, but it will be harder to do. You could also just cut it into small cubes; it won’t dissolve into a sauce but will be differently pleasing.)

In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Melt the butter in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed, wide pot over medium heat. Add the leek slices and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook it until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice, squash, rosemary and salt. Stir until most of the grains of rice appear semi-translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. This means they have absorbed some of the fat from the pan, which will help keep the grains separate from each other as they form their creamy sauce.

Pour the wine into the pan and let it cook off for about 2 minutes. Add a ladleful of stock (about ½ cup) and cook, stirring it constantly and making sure to scrape around the sides, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Continue adding stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring almost constantly until the risotto has turned creamy and thick, and the grains of rice are tender with a bit of bite, 25 to 30 minutes (you may not need all the stock). Pluck out the rosemary branches and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed. Garnish with the pistachios and optional cheese before serving.

Serves: 4 to 6


Quote: “Happy and successful cooking doesn't rely only on know-how; it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”
Georges Blanc, Ma Cuisine des Saisons