Essex Art Association

Established 1946

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Artist of the Month - Gray Jacobik


Gray Jacobik was lured to Deep River in 2004 by attending various art classes and workshops, and also by dropping off and picking up art from both the Lyme Art Association and Essex Art Association. She felt, and still is, enchanted by the landscape, the river, and the villages of the Lower Connecticut River Valley.

Gray is a poet, gardener and homemaker, as well as a visual artist. She spent her early working life in clerical positions and, in her late 30s, as an environmentalist in Washington, D.C. In her 40s she went back to school and earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. in 19th and 20th Century British and American Literature (from Brandeis). She wrote, published and taught poetry as literature and as craft at Eastern Connecticut State University and in the University of Southern Maine’s MFA Program in Creative Writing (Stonecoast).

She began painting at age 7, and only considered a future as an artist until that dream became too impractical and entirely out of reach. For lack of studio space and money for supplies, her creativity morphed into writing poems, which then became her sole artistic expression. She published hundreds of poems in literary magazines and journals, seven full- length collections, won numerous national awards (including nominations for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the National Book Award), and concluded her writing career when, at last, she had the time and space, and the financial freedom to ‘just paint’.

Only she hasn’t just painted . . . Having begun in oils on canvas, she painted landscapes in pastel, abstracts in acrylic and encaustic, geometric abstracts in acrylic gouache, and, at present has returned to painting in oil. The formats she’s used expanded, contracted and expanded again and her substrates have varied greatly as well. Her favorite definition of an artist is “someone who is easily bored.” Gray has painted realistic landscapes and still lifes, non-objective works, imaginary planetscapes, traditional Islamic patterns, geometric and optical abstracts, and, most recently has returned to classical realism concentrating on floral still lifes, object still lifes, and landscapes. For Gray, It’s never been about the subject, but rather about mastering the craft to such a degree that ‘something more’ has the possibility of showing up. For many years, her objective has been to create works that are beautiful and interesting in equal measure.