Chapter 15 – Manage & Travel

Artist Jackie Jacobson

Manage & Travel

Travel to New York CityMy life has become a series of trips to NewYork and managing 3 stores. Yes I had a manager in each of the 3 stores. My free time was buying trips to New York, 3-4 times a year. 


What happened next? My pal Al fell in love with a down comforter line he was buying for the stores. The company was in Japan and the comforters were manufactured in China. Al phoned the owner, who lived in LA and told Mr. Yano that he’d love to represent them nationally. And of course Yano was absolutely up for that idea. So Al took the job and left me a new inheritance. 


I inherited the 3 stores and the fun (that’s a joke.) I did go to market in NewYork at the same time that Al was showing his down comforters in NewYork. We actually stayed in different hotels. He was with his sales team at the Grand Hyatt, I was closer to the linen showrooms and the Art Museums at the Hilton.


Al and I did get to have dinner a couple of the nights he was in NewYorkbut of course with the Japanese enclave. Many of my first week nights I was entertained by the sales reps. Broadway shows and dinner. One year I saw the same broadway hit 2 nights in a row. (The reps don’t check with their competitors about what shows they’re taking me to.) I stayed on for a total of 10 nights, 5 for work and 5 for art. That was a bonus to myself. I visited one art museum and at least one gallery a day for those extra 5 days. And I ate in my favorite delis and pizza places (enough of that rich food.)



Manage & Travel with NewtonI was also a big hit in the showrooms with my new note taking device. Yes this started my technology fetish that exists to this day. It was the new Newton by Apple Computer. They introduced Newton in 1987, and I bought it instantly.  It’s an early device in the PDA category.

Personal Digital Assistant (the Newton originated the term) was the first device to feature handwriting recognition. 


The best part of my weeks in NewYork was also about my wardrobe. Considering that I no longer was willing to be dressed by professionals, and lose myself ever again, I chose 4 black dresses for my trip. Easy to pack, the “little black dress” (little is correct, I was skinny then) And my distinctiveness were the incredible scarves that I added to the little black dress. The scarves were an art piece, and made my look very unique. They actually were my jewelry. I was comfortable and traveling was easy. One medium suitcase for 10 days…not bad!!!


Al spent at least 19 days to 2 weeks a month in China working with the factories, and eating Chinese food????. It seems that Japan and China are really enemies, so Al became the company’s go between Japan and China.


Those trips to New York museums made me really miss the canvas, the paint, the paper and my first passion painting. But I had these stores and no time for art. 


On one of Al’s weeks home we planned a trip to the California wine country with friends. It had to be brief because I couldn’t leave the stores for more than ten days. On our way down we stopped at a small motel in Yreka CA. The owner was a woman who had just bought the motel with her retirement from a tech company in San Francisco. I asked how she was going to handle all the work of a motel. She said, “Oh I have a general manager. I only do this one day a week.”


The final wine country destination was a bed-and-breakfast in a two story restored old home in the center of Healdsburg.. The first floor was a jewelry shop, second floor was a B&B. The owner was an enthusiastic and energetic woman who was up at 5 am baking biscuits and then serving home cooked breakfast at 8am (she baked and made the incredible food) After breakfast she was changing sheets, cleaning rooms and more. There she was in the late afternoon turning down beds with the same energy that she had at 5 am.  And here I was, exhausted from owning these 3 stores. I asked her how she does this. She said, “Oh I have a general manager. I only do this one day a week.”


Well there it was. The big message and I got it. 

I went back to the shop and hired a general manager. Michael became the key to my studio. What a blessing that trip was for me. I’ll never forget those two ladies. They changed my life and my art career.


Meet Barbara Nechiswatercolor painting

PAINTING BY BARBARA NECHISbarbara nechis studioBarbara Nechis in her Studio

Here’s the first thing that I did after Michael was on the job for 6 months. I loved an artist who lived in Calistoga, California.  Barbara Nechis is a world renowned watercolorist. Once a year she teaches in her incredible architect designed studio, sitting on the vineyard she and her husband owned. The studio had views of Sterling Winery.  I phoned, signed up for both weeks, drove down, and left there very skilled in watercolor, and a new fondness for wine?


Barbara and I are definitely kindred spirits. I painted in watercolor for the next 10 years. Although I didn’t continue painting with watercolor, I certainly have great respect for those who do. My love for oil paints and the smell of turpentine won me back. But thanks to Michael I was back in the studio.

See her original painting on the link above. As a treat also check out Barbara’s book …. Watercolor from the Heart: Techniques for Painting the Essence of Nature by Barbara Nechis It’s in your local library or on Amazon. 


In the next chapter you’ll learn about the highlight of my art career. Stay tuned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *