Linda Calvert Jacobson ’90 BA says she’s led a backwards life, but it seems to have taken her exactly where she wanted to be.
“Most people get a degree, then a job, then they open a business,” said Jacobson, a Floresville native who is best known for her Texas wildflower paintings. “I did mine backwards. I owned a business, then started teaching, then got a degree, then a master’s degree.”
She didn’t want to waste money in college without knowing what to study, so instead, she followed her love of art by opening Linda’s Ceramic Supply in Floresville with her siblings at age 19. She also taught oil painting and children’s and beginners’ ceramics classes. Her career as an artist blossomed from there.
An economic recession forced Jacobson to close the ceramics shop in the early 1980s, so she began teaching art part time at the high school and junior high levels. At the same time, she started taking classes at a local community college. When she was about 30 years old, it came time for her upper level credits, so she began searching for a school to attend full time. She found a fit at Incarnate Word College, now UIW.
“On one of the commercials, I saw an African American woman in her 40s or 50s giving a testimonial,” Jacobson said. “She said she had always wanted to study singing. It wasn’t until she found Incarnate Word that she had the opportunity after she raised a family. That commercial showed me I wouldn’t feel like I’d be out of place there. I found a home at Incarnate Word.”
Jacobson remembers in particular the support of the faculty and administration. On one of her first days as a student, she remembers university President Dr. Lou Agnese visiting one of her classes. She had chosen a seat near the back of the half-full room, along with several other students, and she can still hear Agnese’s words.
“He looked at us sitting in back of the room, and he said, ‘You’re spending a lot of money to get an education here. Why sit in the back of the room? Sit up here where you can get the most out of it.’ So I got up and moved up front. That was the last time I sat at the back of the room.”
Her dedication to her studies served her well, and she double majored in art and communication arts. After graduation, she followed both passions. For her journalism career, she worked at the Logos while at Incarnate Word, then as a newspaper professional at the San Antonio Light and the Canyon Lake Times Guardian. It was at the Guardian that she began painting again, and eventually realized she had to choose which career she truly wanted. So she walked away from her editor job in 2003 and began to develop her signature wildflowers series.
Today, when Jacobson is in the mindset to paint, she arrives at her studio around 8 a.m., well caffeinated, to spend three or four hours “splattering and experimenting.” Rather than working on location or using photographs, she lets her emotions and imagination guide her paintbrush.
“My husband, David, has been an amazing force behind the scenes and encouraged me to pursue it,” Jacobson said. “One thing he said when I got into this series—his background is horticulture—he said, ‘Those two flowers wouldn’t be blooming at the same time.’ And I looked at him and said, ‘In my world, they do.’”
Her customers appreciate her abstract style. “Whenever people see my art,” Jacobson said, “something I hear over and over—it’s happy.” She’s sold hundreds of wildflower paintings to art lovers around the world. These days, she continues to teach painting classes at Casa de Linda Art Studio in New Braunfels, Texas, and she and her husband also opened the Wildflower Art Gallery in Wimberley, Texas, where she sells her paintings along with other items printed with her artwork. She has also licensed her work to sell internationally.
For the past two years, Jacobson has donated a painting to the annual UIW Swing-In Auction Party, a fundraising event for student scholarships. Considering that each painting can take as long as two months between putting brush to canvas and being ready to sell, it’s a significant gift.
“It’s my sense of paying it forward,” she said. “I could never have gone to school there if it hadn’t been for people who make scholarships available. It’s my privilege and honor to contribute back to the school.”
By Ashley Festa