Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season's Greetings and Merry Christmas From Oregon!


It has certainly been a major transition living in the Pacific Northwest where rain, fog and lots of water are flowing after living in the dry and sunny California climate.

Since relocating to McMinnville, Oregon in August, I have not had the opportunity to paint plein air or to work much in my studio. It has taken months to unpack and settle in. Our new home (9 years old) sits high above the Yamhill River Valley and Oregon wine country where we also have magnificent views of Mt. Hood and the Cascades.  There is so much to paint just from my front porch!

We never grow tired of the sunrises or having 5 acres of land to cultivate and hike. Yes, it’s a hike to get from the house down to the mailbox. The 200 foot change in elevation requires hiking boots or an AWD vehicle.  My husband Peter has already planted a small organic garden with winter vegetables - lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and other hearty crops. We will also be getting chickens in the spring for eggs and to sell at the local farmer's market.

This is my first Christmas in the Northern latitudes of the Unites States since moving from Connecticut in 2009 to the Bay Area. It really feels like Christmas being surrounded by snow-covered mountains, forests of spruce trees and rushing rivers filled with fish. It motivated me to have a live Christmas tree and to make fresh wreaths and sprays from greens on our property. 

My creative brain has been enjoying living in nature and utilizing Mother Earth’s many gifts. My camera never sits idle. While "hiking" down to the mailbox in October, I spotted a Barred Owl in the trees. It had no problem posing some 10 feet away.

In 2016, I anticipate returning to watercolors with dedication and passion. Several artists in Oregon have signed up for the Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge sponsored in part by Artists Helping Artists.  If all goes well, I'll be posting 30 new paintings on my website in January. 

I also hope to work several hours a week in McMinnville so that I can meet more people. It can get a bit boring living outside of city limits on a country road. However, Youngberg Hill Vineyards is our neighbor and I have been given the green light to paint plein air with friends. If any of my artist friends from the Bay Area would like to visit and paint in Oregon wine country or on the coast in Lincoln City (an hour from my house), please email me.  Would love to have you stay for awhile at the Jacke Ranch. It's a short flight from SFO or SJC to Portland!

I have also been asked to teach watercolor art to several middle school children who happen to be neighbors. That would be a win-win for me and it would satisfy my longing to share my joy of art. In the meantime, I have become a member of the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County and made application to be juried into the Northwest Watercolor Society in 2016 (stay tuned on the outcome.) I am also looking to form a plein air painters group. I miss painting with the SCVWS Paintsites Group and POPS. 

Since moving to Oregon, I have only produced one new studio painting: On A Snowy Perch (above).   I love cardinals and how they stand out in the snow. Even though they are not native to Oregon, they remind me of my New England roots and their snowy winter seasons. There is so much to be grateful for just outside our door. Life gives us many blessings in the air that we breathe, the water we drink and the sun in the sky to grow the food on or tables. The love and support of family and friends are the most priceless gifts we can give this season. I am grateful for the many that I have here in the United States and across many oceans.


Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season and a prosperous, healthy and Happy New Year 2016.
Anna Jacke
December 24, 2015

McMinnville, Oregon

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Oregon Here We Come!

Over the past few years, my husband and I have been exploring the desert southwest, Northern California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona, keeping in mind where we would like to live after retirement.   This year, we visited Oregon between Christmas and New Year's, falling in love with this beautiful state.   

In May we spent another week exploring Northwest Oregon and the Willamette River Valley from Portland to Salem.  We also starting looking at property with the idea of relocating in a few years.  However, in our tour with a real estate agent, we found the perfect home situated on 5 beautiful acres of agricultural land with views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson, smack dab in the middle of Oregon Wine Country. 

Peter immediately had visions of plowing the land to create a much larger organic garden, building a chicken coup and having other grazing animals to fill the pastures below the house.   The property also has a large shop and barn that housed two horses and two llamas.  I had visions of a real art studio being constructed on the property with large southwest facing windows.  Our heads were spinning.  "What if we could live here now!"

We both believe that the Universe gives us exactly what we ask for.  Before we ever left on our trip,  we made an "Oregon" manifestation board where we posted photos of what kind of property we'd like to find.  We never dreamed it would happen so quickly and with a house, barn and shop --  a small ranch. 

On July 7th, we became homeowners in McMinnville, Oregon. We will be relocating in less than a month and soon after our California home goes on the market.

I will certainly miss the Bay Area, my trips to Half Moon Bay as part of the Coastside Land Trust art exhibits, being part of the Peninsula Outdoor Painters, the Pacific Art League,  but most especially the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society.   The members of the Paintsites Group have become like family to me since moving to California in 2009.     I leave California with gratitude in my heart for all the friends I have made and places I have painted. I will miss you all.   And if anyone wants to visit McMinnville to sample some Oregon wine and paint plein air from my front porch, send me an email.  We have 2 guest rooms!  

-- Anna Jacke

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Garden Treasures!

Over the past three years, my husband Peter has been cultivating and expanding our organic garden with his "special" soil formula.   This year, our two raised beds are already producing a cornucopia of delicious vegetables.  We had a full winter crop of swiss chard, kale, celery, cabbage and broccoli.  We now have yellow beans, carrots, lettuce and sweet beets to add to my vegetarian meals.  

While recuperating from elbow surgery in March, Peter made garden stakes from redwood with the idea that I might get around to creating something for the garden.  I was a bit skeptical that I could remember how to paint with acrylics after spending the last 5 years working exclusively with watercolor.   I still have 10 more to make!!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Springtime in Northern California

After a three month hiatus from painting plein air due to elbow surgery, I am finally able to pack up my equipment and head out into nature to enjoy springtime in Northern California.  It feels more like summer here in the Bay Area as the flowers and native plants have bloomed early after a very mild winter (if any).   

Despite the drought, several matilija poppy bushes on our property have bloomed already.  Our silver sage has delicate purple flowers and two Sticky Monkey Flower plants have tripled in size from the spring rain.  My patio pots are bursting with color!  I decided to get out my watercolor journal and paint a few before the heat of summer sets in.

Friday, January 30, 2015

50 Days - In Our Organic Garden

Not long into January, it seemed that our weather here in the Bay Area quickly turned warm.  The days have been filled with abundant sunshine (as usual) making me long for days outside with my brushes and paint.  I thought about the many vegetables we have grown and the fruit trees that fill our neighborhood.   Already, the Magnolia trees are in bloom.  Ripe oranges and lemons are falling into nearby yards.  My husband picked the last of the Trinidad Scorpion peppers in mid-December and the cherry tomatoes.  We still have broccoli, Swiss chard, celery, lettuce and beets to complete any meal.

Here are a few paintings I did in my home studio of the scorpion peppers and some persimmons given to us by a neighbor in the fall.  

Last week I ended my 50 Days of Painting in doors for Winter.   It's pretty clear that cold weather and rain is well past us here in the Bay Area.   Welcome to our early Spring!

--  Anna Jacke

Sunday, January 4, 2015

50 Days - In The Cacades

Between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day,  I spent all of my time exploring Southern Oregon, Northern California and the Cascade Range with my husband Peter, including picturesque Crater Lake and Lava Beds National Monument.  The timing of our vacation was perfect.  We had amazing weather, light snow and clear skies for most of our explorations.  The day we chose to visit Crater Lake, clouds had moved off leaving the lake with sparkling vistas of snow and water.   

Part of my "50 Days" was spent painting landscapes in Oregon.  The first was from the deck of our Running Y Resort in Klamath Falls before the snow came.  We had a view of Upper Klamath Lake and the nearby golf course.   That was the only day I could paint plein air before the temps dropped below freezing and stayed there.

The day after Christmas we visited Crater Lake. . . All  I can say is WOW!   I have yet to paint this breathtaking view from a reference photo.    We also enjoyed walking the trails near Crater Lake Lodge and along the rim of the lake.  Here are a few paintings completed from reference photos towards my goal.   My palette was limited and my paper size either a watercolor journal or 9 x 12 Arches Cold Press Block.  

Crater Lake Lodge- Close for Winter    9x 12

Heavy Snow in the Cascades   9 x 12

 A week into our vacation, our 2002 Outback Wagon needed repairs after the temps dropped to a -4 degree wind chill.  While the radiator and fuel lines were replaced at a nearby Subaru dealer, I spent a good part of the day working on a portrait of a grammar school friend who is a singer by evening.   I call this painting: A-Caroling We Will Go!   I will be sending it to him this week to hang in his study and to pass along to his grandson. 

A-Caroling We Will Go     9 x 12

Stay tuned for more of my 50 IN 50 paintings or check my website for additions 
to my portfolio.      -- Anna Jacke