New Jersey Tropicale 19″ x 13″ on 140# Arches Cold Press

One should never assume. That was the lesson I learned many years ago from THE ODD COUPLE when Felix showed Oscar that when you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME.

I never forgot that lesson.      (See mom, I DID learn something from watching 70’s sitcoms when I should have been doing my homework!)

Fast forward to 2011.  There is a Puerto Rican woman named Ceci in painting class whose husband works for one of the airlines. She can fly for almost nothing and frequently does, jetting down to PR for weekends, often returning with beautiful photos for classmates to use as reference.  The above painting was done from one of her reference photos.

As I completed it, a fellow painter asked where the photo was taken.  I replied Puerto Rico.  Ceci said, “No, It’s New Jersey”

NEW JERSEY????   The state that mocks me?   The state that is only there as a pass-through to Pennsylvania?  The State that is famous for the Thruway? Oil refineries?  No left turns?

I STILL remember the time when an audience member asked Johnny Carson to say something nice about New Jersey.  He thought for a minute and then replied “You can’t smell it from here.”

I ASSUMED I was painting a lush tropical scene in Puerto Rico, but in fact I was painting someone’s backyard in scenic New Jersey!  Lesson learned…again.