The Blue Rabbit & Other Dog Affairs
by Michael L. Jacques
“Michael L. Jacques is one of those singular people whose very persona packs immense delight into the most common of experiences. And his art delivers the same experience along with a helping of vibrant color that in itself makes one smile. In The Blue Rabbit, this seems to be one of the many lessons that Michael is teaching us through the agency of his gifted brush: brilliant color orchestration, dramatic perspective, and a light-saturated palette. Yet he goes much further. Michael has taken the time to include small gems for those studying art with revealing thoughts on philosophy and aesthetics, illustrations of how he constructed a painting from concept to completion, and examples of initial studies alongside completed works. And he imbues his prose with the candor and humor for which he is known and loved! This book—like Michael’s persona itself—is straight from the heart!” ~ William J. Havlicek, Ph.D.
Airedales, dachsunds, German shepherds, poodles, Irish setters, labradors, collies…it really doesn’t matter what breed, I just love dogs. This is because they give you unconditional love, companionship, loyalty, playfulness, eagerness to please, and have a forgiving nature…all the things we look for in people.
During my life, I’ve created hundreds of paintings, drawings, and even wire sculptures of dogs of all kinds. It’s probably fair to say that I am almost as passionate about dogs as I am about art. I therefore decided to write this book to convey my enthusiasm for both. It contains my insight into how dogs console, play, delight, amuse, and live with their human companions. Drawing and painting allow me to share my way of seeing this relationship.
I also chose to include some technical advise on how to improve painting and compositional skills for aspiring artists. My hope is that both dog lovers and art lovers will not only enjoy this book but take away something of value. I’ve produced over 200 examples of how I have personally reacted over the years, and how I have felt towards man’s best friend. My approach has been to make quick studies on location and then make value studies in various mediums before completing a piece of art work.
For reference, I used photographs shot when I was on various painting trips abroad. I use the technique of turning them upside down which helps me see the abstraction of shapes, values, and edges in the scene. Once those abstractions are defined, I can then start adding color and thickness of paint, and of course the finer details. This I suppose makes me an abstract, painterly, realist.
In The Blue Rabbit, I include the ideas, techniques, and insights that I have shared with my painting, drawing, and printmaking students over my lengthy teaching career. In almost every painting, you will find a dog somewhere. The perceptive Malcolm Gladwell, in his excellent book The Outliers, wrote:
“Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.”
He also added a view with which I totally agree:
“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.”
It’s one thing to have talent, but it doesn’t stop there; success in anything we do also requires a great deal of preparedness as well as diligence and an indomitable spirit. If you have a strong work ethic, it will carry you far. I know this to be true from personal experience; I’ve made steady progress over the years by adhering to the work ethic my parents and teachers instilled in me, and have supplemented my talents with sheer hard work.
About the Author
Born and raised in Vermont, Michael Jacques began his formal art education at Boston University’s School of Fine Arts. In 1967, he was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree. After two years as an illustrator in the U.S. Army, he returned to New England, and in 1971 received a Master’s Degree from the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, Connecticut.
From Cambridge to Miami, and from Washington, D.C. to Santa Barbara, Michael Jacques’ paintings, etchings and serigraphs have been widely praised. While teaching drawing and painting as an Associate Professor of Fine Art at Boston’s Emmanuel College, Michael appeared in more than 40 one-man exhibitions. He has been represented in more than 125 national art shows, and his work appears in important permanent collections in museums such as the Museum of American Art and The Smithsonian’s National Collection in Washington, DC, Virginia’s Chrysler Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
In 1980, ABT Books of Cambridge, Massachusetts, published Michael’s Images of Age. Nominated for the American Book Award for Original Art, the volume is an unusual collection of Goya-like drawings that capture the solitude of aging among the elderly in New England nursing homes.
“Being an artist requires more than merely being a committed observer. It requires an ability to record the feelings that image awakens.”
Images of Age is now being revised and republished by Creative Storytellers, the publishing division of The Endangered Child Initiative, as a limited edition, signed and numbered by its author. Creative Storytellers also publishes Michael Jacques’ new book The Blue Rabbit & Other Dog Affairs.
Michael Jacques’ work continues to appear in art galleries on both coasts of the United States. For many years he has exhibited at the historic Laguna Beach Festival of Arts.
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