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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year to all my followers - a review

Well its been a about a year since I started my attempt to become a selling artist. I've tripled my inventory of paintings. I've done a number of local library shows with lots of good comments but few sales (3 in all). I've sold a few products mugs, bags and postcards) on Zazzle with my images but nothing spectacular, except for someone in France buying a refrigerator magnet with a picture of my Spanish Cafe - Gaucin painting on it. My attempts to enter some juried shows at the Ridgewood Barn and the Art Center of North Jersey cost me the entry fees but not a place in the shows. Hopefully the New Year will turn out better. I have a new painting in progress of the Menemsha fishing port in Marthas Vineyard. As soon as I get a new camera, I will get that on.
In the meantime, I came across this image from the http://abcitsme.wordpress.com blog that is a nice represenation of the year 2013. So happy new year to everyone -

Thursday, December 13, 2012

on 12/13/12 support your local artist - Buy your Christmas gifts from us!

I know, I missed posting this on the 12s, but 12/13/12 has a cool look, too! And, the 13th makes Christmas is 12 days away! I should have done this weeks ago, but there is still time to purchase gifts based on my images and the images of my other artist friends. For me, check out my merchandising area on top of this blog. You may want to particularly look at my  Mugs and bags stores on Zazzle.  

I have several artist friends, besides myself, who would appreciate you buying from them. I am probably missing a few here, but I'm sure I will hear from them and will do a part 2 if necessary.
For painting - Check out Anne Piombino. She's had great things happen in the past year
Anne Piombino

For photography friend, Denise Keegan Frawley, you can shop for printed framed photos including metal prints at Fine Art America:http://denise-keegan-photography.artistwebsites.com/?tab=artworkgalleries

For printed photography items  such as mugs, bags etc. please visit her Zazzle storehttp://www.zazzle.com/denisekphotos

You might also want to check out Amy Salter
Amy Salter Photography

For Graphic Design Art please visit my friend Laura Snith's website: Images by Laura Smith

& shop http://www.zazzle.com/imagesbylaurasmith

For Music, here are several of my friends who do it very well
Mary Taylor - Mary Taylor for both Christian and Standards and makes a great DJ and is a fabulous paiuter.
Mark Caplan - Oracle - for some great Christian Music
Terry Boch - Terry

Monday, December 3, 2012

My paintings as wedding gifts - Mark and Kristin this time

When I started getting good at painting, I did not have the thought of going professional, so I would give them as wedding gifts. Since I was working at the Met Museum at the time, I would hang them on the wall of my cubicle for a week so I could say they hung in the Met. When the Met had employee art shows, I submitted mine which made it even more true.  Now, despite my attempts to sell them, I still so this. The last wedding i went to was a couple of weeks ago for Mark Miyamoto and Kristin Willis.
Each of my paintings has a business card size id card that I stick on for library shows. When I give the painting, I add a line, in this case - Collection of M & K Miyamoto. The paintng is my Smiling Barn - Maine
work. Hope they enjoy it!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Paramus Library show over & a secret to driving traffic to your blog

Welll, its the end of November and my little show at the Paramus Library is over. I got some good comments, but no sales. As far as I know, I have to future library shows. I'm not sure if I want to continue them, but we will see,

In a previous post, I posted a Bob Ross for President poster I found somewhere on the 'net. That post has gotten the most hits of anything else I've put on here, 190! Thats one of the secrets of getting a lot of traffic to your blog: post something alot of people are looking for. Find some artist you like or a recipe that appeals to you and post it. It'll get you traffic you are seeking. Some of you veteran bloggers know this already, but for any newbies out there, try it! The 'net has become sort of like the old card catalogues in the library: you start looking for one thing and end up finding something ompletely unexpected. 

quote: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso
“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celebrating Monet's birthday - Nov 14th

Claude Monet's is one of my favorite painter and, since its his birthday today,  I just had to do a post on him.. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (where I worked for 18 years) has a large collection of his work and I spent many a lunch hour there (when I wasn't in the Chinese and Japanese galleries. Here is the link to the Met's bio of him Monet . Given that he's known for the bright colors of his paintings, one of my favorites is a winter scene called "Ice Floes".

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest artist - Chen Chun Hao - Traditional Chinese Landscape using nails

One of my favorite styles of painting in the traditional Chinese landscape painting - the large mountainous landscape with small figures almost lost in it. When I worked at the Met, I spent a lot of time in the Chinese art galleries. On FB, the Artify It page posted pictures of the work of Chen Cun Hao who "paints" these traditial Chinese paintings using mosquito nails, thousands of them! Very impressive. I'm always excited to see artists doing things in new ways! Check out the link and the pictures provided

Chen Chun Hao

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guest artist - Carl Warner. Makes scenes with sweets, cheese & chocolate

A friend posted this artical from the London Daily Mail on-line on FB and I've been looking for a delcious artist to post and Carl Warner qualifies! He uses sweets, cheese, chocolate and other food to create wonderful scenes from all over. Beautiful! This combine my artist/foodie inclinations to a T! Heres the link
Carl Warner

and here's a sample. Since I love painting sea village scenes, this one is a favorite - And one ingredient is fish!
Fishscape: This coastal view is made out of of fish, along with lettuce leaves and a small boats transporting peas .

Yellow Oasis: Carl Warner's artwork is based around food photography - this one uses cheese for pyramids, pasta for palm trees as well as lemons and peppers

Yellow Oasis: Carl Warner's artwork is based around food photography - this one uses cheese for pyramids, pasta for palm trees as well as lemons and peppers

For those of you seeing this in England, Mr Warner is exhibiting some of his work at Westfield - Stratford City, London until November 11.
He will be giving talks from 1-5pm between Friday and Sunday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Library Show for November - Paramus Libray

Well as I said before, back to the beginning. My first library show was at Paramus Library and here we go again.
This was delayed for almost a week because of power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy, but my Paramus Library show will be up and running by this afternoon. Here's the library's website Paramus Library to check for operating hour. Come and check it out and, if you see anything you like, buy one for 200 dollars. If thats too much, check back here to my merchandising section and buy a mug, bag,  postcards or prints. Hope you enjoy it. Check out the pictures.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Google celebrates Bob Ross's 70th birthday

From my previous posts, you know I'm very partial to painter Bob Ross. Watching his painting show those many years ago was the push I needed to get my painting started. Well, he would have been 70 today and Google has a doodle celebrating that. You just know I had do a post about it. So here's to all the happy little trees and clouds  that have been painted by many people, thanks to him (and to his pet squirrel)

and a friend, Dave Muller (a fellow painter) posted this picture  on Facebook

Bob Ross Quotes :
Little raccoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit.
We tell people sometimes: we're like drug dealers, come into town and get everybody absolutely addicted to painting. It doesn't take much to get you addicted.
When we teach people to paint this is the one they fall in love with. It works so well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New painting: Bradley Wharf - Rockport Mass II ( Motif #1)

This is a much painted building in the New England coastal fishing and tourist village of Rockport, Mass. Its officially called Bradley Wharf but its know by the local artist community as Motif #1. I have done 2 paintings of this building. The first one is the new one. As always, check my merchandising section
 to purchase items, such as Mugs and other items based on this image.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Library booking I forgot about - Paramus Library in November

I just got a call and an email from the Paramus Library. Apparently I was booked for January but the artist for November cancelled, so they called me to fill it. I'm going full circle here since my first library show was Paramus.  Gotta keep better records! Stay tuned

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lego Bob Ross

A friend, Susan Joy Clark, passed this amusing picture of a Lego version of Bob Ross. As I said in my last post Bob Ross is a seminal figure in my art life. Speaking of that last post, another friend suggested I get a t-shirt made out of the Bob Ross poster, I may just do that. My friend Susan mentioned at the beginning is a writer of Christian novels and I posted links to her blog and her first book "And The Violin Cried". Gotta help each other as much as possible!

Susan's Blog
And The Violin Cried

quote - At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important. - M.C.Escher

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bob Ross for President poster - He's my choice

Some out there may think he's a joke, but Bob Ross is the one who got me started painting. He was a happy guy who enjoyed life. A favorite Far Side cartoon shows a house with a Bob Ross type on the TV saying "we can put this happy tree anywhere we want" and we see a tree has fallen thru the house and crushed the painter.So I saw this poster and just had to pass it along! We could do a lot worse, especially with the lot we have now!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Montclair Show ends - everyone loved the paintings, but....

Today I took down my paintings at the Montclair Librray show. I talked to Linda Welch, the woman I worked with there, that every loved the paitings. The local arts editor seems to have liked them. When I was taking the paintings down, the HVAC guy said how much he liked the paintings. He also said he was working nearby one day and there was an accident, but fortuneatly "the accident" went down a wall with no paintings. My comments book was full of great comments. -
One praised the way I shaded the subject matter, iwasn't too harsh
Another said I inspired them to paint again
another complimented me on "Very sensitive capturing of the subject matter - wonderful color sense"
Anothe liked my Warwick barn paintings. Said they're from that area and know those barns
Also got advise on have to make gray - red, blue and yellow to make shades of gray
Very encouraging!
 I just wish someone would have bought something.  Hopefully that will come!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interesting article - 10 things an artist should not do on Facebook

Good article  from Artpromotivate. Many of us have art pages on FB and some great advise here. One that may be obvious but apparently not if its listed here: Dont delete you photos after posting on FB
Dont do on Facebook

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

new painting: Esopus Meadows Lighthouse - Hudson River

This is the second in my series of Husdon River Lighthouse paintings. This one is the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse also know as "Maid of the Meadows". Here's the link to the lighthouse's website Esopus Meadows Lighthouse.  I had some trouble with all the railing details, trying to get them to stand out, so I left the some of the black underpainting show to get them to stand out a bit. It looks sloppier than I want it to be, but I feel its finished. The mountains in the background are the Catskills near Kingston, NY. I go to a Christian family camp in the Adirondacks and when I see this particular section of the Catskills from the New York State Thruway, I know I'm half way there. This is from a photo I took while on a Hudson River Cruise with my church group. Maybe purchase from the Zazzle site a  Bag or a mug or check out my merchandising section at the top of the blog  for items from my other paintings

Monday, September 10, 2012

Reposting my 9/11 Poem - Paper and Dust

Paper and Dust

By Jack Mckenzie

Dedicated to Alan Jensen

 (in the beat poet format)

The planes flew in
The towers crashed
The steel piled high
Leaving clouds of paper and dust

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

The people gasp
The Towers descend
A cloud produced
rushing crowds hide, try escape from..

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

The lower city enveloped
In clouds of dust
And blizzard of paper
The lady in the river sadly watching...

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

The dust produced
By the crushing force
Of steel on non-steel
Concrete, chairs, desks, people

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

The heroes rush in
To do as trained
They save many, but
Only to become part of the rain of...

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

White leaves swirling
From a no-longer tree
sailing across the rivers
The coming of a deadly Fall of …

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

An invoice for stock
Locked in a desk
Now waving in a bush
A glimpse of someone’s end in..

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

Darkening the sky
Sifting into everywhere
A gray snowscape
the delicate destroyed, hard to breathe...

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

A gray snowscape
No snowballs formed
No snowmen built
Just madmen’s work, marked by...

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

The people trudge along
Wearing coats of gray
Vehicles race by
Raising clouds to be re-fought

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

New papers appear
Images of the lost
Posted all about
Have you seen them, or are they...

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

Some were late
Others in pain
But the too-many dead
Can sadly only be found in the...

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

Candles are lit
Prayers are given
Thank you’s are voiced
The stunned begin to shake off the...

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

A people attacked
A challenge given
A flag is raised
A determination to rise out of…

Paper and dust
Paper and dust

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Red Bubble site posts my Tire Swing painting on home page

Every  day or so, the Red Bubble web site posts a number of paintings from different artists on their home page to show the wide variety of works available there. My Tire Swing in Winter - Maine painting was posted this today. Check it out before it goes

and here's the painting itself

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Montclair Libray show in the Montclair Patch

A patch is an online newspaper dedicated to the town in its name. Montclair has one and I put my show in the library in its event section. Here it is - Montclair Patch events

Monday, September 3, 2012

Good article - how to handle, care for paintings

Came across this article by Graham Matthews on Artpromotivate on the care and handling of the artwork (in this case paintings) that you produce. I'm very guilty of a few of these tips. Check them out!
How to handle, care for paintings

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My September Show At Montclair Library is finally up

After a false start yesterday, I went to Blick Art Supply, got the picture hangers and  got the pictures up today!
First about the town of Montclair. Its a very artsy, student oriented town with Montclair State University nearby. There are many art galleries and restaurants. The Section the library is in is called Montclair Center. on Bloomfield Avenue with the Montclair Art Museum nearby.
The  Montclair Public Library reflects the attitude.
As you go in, turn to the left and you come to the Terra at the Isabel Rose Cafe (fair trade of course) and then next right is a long hallway where the paintings go. Theres an events dining room right next to it, so there.s a lot a traffic, not like some libraries that put it in a "Community Room" in the back. Again, Linda Welch was most helpful in setting this up. She did not have a display table available at the time, so I left my painters cards, comments book and bio with her to set up. We will see what happens. Check the museum's website for their hours. So make a day of it!
Check out the LIbrary,head for nearby Church Street and get a cappuccino, check out a gallery or have lunch or dinner.

and the ever helpful Linda Welch

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Getting into Montclair Library early - well almost

So I get this email from Linda Welch at the Montclair Library that their August artist left early for some reason and would I want to come in early? Nice idea, but my struff is still in Washington Twshp. I check with them and it seems besides closing for Labor Day Sat - Mon, they are closing on Friday for carpet cleaning. It all dovetails nicely. I leave a messsage that I'm coming early and go   get the the paintings.
Ms Welch calls back and we talk about all the publicity they are doing, even putting it in the events calendar of the Montclair Patch. I just have to put it in the Paramus Patch and some on-line sites and I'm done.

I get there and find they don't have a hanging system like most libraries, I have to bring my own hooks. It seems it is the emails they sent but I misinterpreted what they meant. I didn have much money on me so I go back home and use my Blick Art Supply gift cards to buy some. Linda was most helpful in trying to find the hardware in the library, but there was none.

A few missteps, but I go back tomorrow and put them up and suggest to Monclair that they get a hanging system like the other libraries have. Montclair has a beautiful library, its a very artsy town and maybe something good will happen here!

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Painting - Rondout Lighthouse - Kingston, NY

My church took a trip up to Kingston NY to take a Hudson River Cruise. The boat sails out of Rondout Creek into the Hudson and this is the lighthouse that stands at the confluence of the two. This is the first of my Hudson River Lighthouse series.  Here's the link describing it - Rondout Lighthouse . You may also want to check out a mug from Zazzle with this image on it - Mug

Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all. Leo Tolstoy

Monday, August 13, 2012

September Library Art Show - Montclair Public Library

The Monclair (NJ) show is another library show I set up a while ago, but did not forget about. Last week, I got a request from the library for the basic information and a few painting images to be used in publicity. Here's the library's webite Montclair

Meanwhile, the Washington Township Library show has generated little interest that Ive heard of. As I've written here, I've had a reception or two at these library shows and get little interest except from a few friends and family, so I'm don't bother with them any more.

quote : For the mystic what is how.  For the craftsman how is what.  For the artist what and how are one.  ~William McElcheran

Friday, August 10, 2012

When you buy from an independent artist.....

Came across this on Lori McNee's FB Fine Art Tips FB page. Soooo true! Would you please consider my offerings (see merchandising section on top of this blog)  and a few or my friends -

Sharon Gross - website  FB
Ann Babbit Piombino - website FB
Denise Keegan Frawley - website blog
John Dunic - FB
Rachael Picone FB

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gotta celebrate this one - National Lighthouse Day 2012

Since lighthouses are one of my main painting genres, It is only natural that I help celebrate National Lighthouse Day. I'm not sure what is is about them that draws me to them.  Being a Christian, we talk about Jesus being our lighthouse, ocean captains have long depended on them to steer them from dangerous rocks, they just look so majestic in their oceanside settings, men attempting to pierce the stormy darkeness to guide others home to name just a few reasons.
Here are a few of my lighthouse paintings - Enjoy!

And here's one of the links concerning this day - article/national-lighthouse-day-2012-events-celebrating-america-s-iconic-guiding-light

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Washington Township Library show is up!

Well, I got the paintings into the library's community/program room. Nice space and the staff could not have been more helpful. Nice people. The only usage for the room this month is a weekly movie, so at least some exposure will come from that. They let me put a painting in the front entrance with a sign and there's a sign in front of the room, so hopefully that will draw some traffic. I also added the show to the Patch's (in both Paramus and Westwood-Hillsdale) events page. We shall see what happens

Here are a few pictures

Quote : When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time.
Cy Twombly

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Patch article on my my August Library show

I posted yesterday that the editor for the Westwood-hillsdale Patch, which covers Washington Township, called and interviewed me about my art show. Well, it appeared today! Check it out! (note I made sureI mentioned the merchandising part of it - buy a mug!)


Quotes - Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.  ~Leonardo da Vinci

The artist uses the talent he has, wishing he had more talent.  The talent uses the artist it has, wishing it had more artist.  ~Robert Brault

Monday, July 30, 2012

Preparing for Washington Township show - the Patch interview

I've been getting ready for the Washington Township Library show. There's hangers for about 22 paintings, so I've been choosing and making cards, etc. Today, I get a call from the Westwood-Hillsdale patch correspondent for an interview about the show. Patch's are online newspapers for a particular town. Some have them, some don't. Washington Township is covered by the Westwood-Hillsdale patch. The WT library seems pretty much on top of things with their artist shows. The asked me for all sorts of info to give to the local media and apparently the local Patch needed more info. Check out the link below to this Patch. I put the paintings up on Wednsday. http://westwood-hillsdale.patch.com/

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Next Library show - Washington Township NJ in August (forgot about it)

I have not done a Library show in a while. I had forgotten I had scheduled one in Washington Township Library (this is the WT in Bergen Country, There are three in NJ). The Pascack Valley ArtAssociation somehow knew and asked for basic info on the show, which surprised me! Gotta go and set this up!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Blog viewers - US #1, Ukraine #2???

one of the interesting thing about this blog is the stats that Blogspot keeps on viewings: how many people accessed the blog today, this week, this month, what browers and websites they came thru and where they originated. This week was an interesting one. I posted my Lighthouse - Barnegat Bay painting. In the past Ive gotten alot of hits in China (notorious copywrite infringers) and Russia. This week I got quite a few from the Ukraine (once part of the Soviet Union) Interesting. Thanks to all you in the Ukraine. Maybe you'll buy something from my merchandising area! A mug of my latest painting, maybe! United States 95 Ukraine 70 Canada 11 South Africa 7 France 5 United Kingdom 4 Netherlands 2 Paraguay 2 Germany 1 Georgia 1

Sunday, June 24, 2012

New Painting: Lighthouse - Barnegat Bay

This lighthouse is on the Northern tip of Long Beach Island on the New Jersey coast. LBI is a great place to visit and this is one of the highlights. There's lots of shopping and a great old-fashioned ice cream parlor nearby!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Art Thoughts - Posters and a cartoon

A few interesting art thought posters and a cartoon I've come across recently. More to come.