Sunday, October 30, 2016

Whimsical Scarecrow Series for Fall 2016

During the month of September, 2016,  I made the commitment to be part of an artists challenge:"Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days."  I also had an art exhibit coming up in Downtown McMinnville on the 17th of the month.  My thought was to utilize this time to create something new for the show that would be fun and unique. Downtown McMinnville also hosts a scarecrow competition on Historic Third Street for local organizations and merchants.  What a great idea!

For eight days in September, I spent every waking hour and sometimes into the night, sketching and creating a new "Whimsical Scarecrow Series" in watercolor for my Colors of the Harvest Portfolio.  

In the process of painting them, I had fallen in love with all of these happy faces. Each scarecrow had a unique theme and name:  Leafy Lefty, Apple Annie, Jester John (named after my 17 year old grandson who is terrified of clowns), Gossamer Glenda, Arachnid Angelica, Rodeo Sam, Pumpkin Phil and Sunflower Lizzie.

When they were complete, I matted each original for an 8 x 10 frame and displayed them for sale during the September Art & Wine Walk.   So many people wanted greeting cards that I decided the next day to offer cards for sale at $5.00 each on my retail website at 


Prior to the exhibit, I made the decision to keep "Arachnid Angelica" and "Gossamer Glenda" for my private collection and put them on display only.  They are currently on the wall in my foyer for Halloween!  My daughter in Pennsylvania wanted the originals, but I said she'd eventually inherit them and give them to her grandchildren.  I sent her matted prints and she framed them.
In the meantime, the remaining six original matted watercolor paintings are still for sale at my studio for $45.00 each. If interested, send an email to Other unique gifts made from my "Whimsical Scarecrow Series"  are available at

Whimsical Scarecrow Series on the easel

Here are tote bags made for Halloween available from my retail website  

Whimsical Scarecrow Series matted and ready for framing!


These happy scarecrow faces along with "Rodeo Sam, Sunflower Lizzie, Pumpkin Phil and Jester John" make great decorations during the harvest season and Thanksgiving.  Please visit my storefront at to see them at full size and to order greeting cards, metal prints, shower curtains, throw pillows, t-shirts and other great gifts.   Enjoy!    

---  Artist Anna Jacke

Anna's Harvest Colors at McMinnville September Art & Wine Walk

On September 17, 2016, I had the honor of being the Artist of the Month during the McMinnville Art & Wine Walk.  It was my second time being hosted by Inner Oasis - Mind, Body, Spirit,  a popular gathering place for metaphysical workshops, meditation and energy healing along with a storefront filled with crystals, locally-made organic gifts and some amazing kitchen gadgets, cookware and accessories.

I spent most of August and half of September preparing for this fall-themed show.  The first thing on my list was to order 60 greeting cards made from my fall-themed artwork. Greeting cards are an inexpensive way to share the gift of art. I also created new paintings done exclusively in oil. Because we were approaching autumn and harvest season, I also created a watercolor series of eight whimsical scarecrows for the "Colors of the Harvest" theme.

Despite the fact that the first rain of the season happened the morning of the event, I was still able to set up my display and be ready to greet the public by 10:00 a.m.  Most people wanted to chat about the long-awaited rain after a very dry summer.  Until the wine pouring began at 4pm, I had the opportunity to do some watercolor journal painting.  Lots of people watched with curiosity and asked questions about what I was doing and if it was hard to paint with watercolor.  I had even dazzled the owner of Inner Oasis with a quick pen & ink watercolor of a gadget display.  

It was a fun time with lots of art & wine enthusiasts filling the streets and shops hosting the  artists.  Events such as these bring people together from all walks of life.  What is most important for me as an artist and as a human being is meeting people and having the opportunity to share my passion for art and listening to others talk about what brings joy in their life.   Isn't that why we are here?

--- Artist Anna Jacke

Artist of the Month at Inner Oasis - September Art & Wine Walk

My watercolor journal painting at Inner Oasis


A Watercolorist Reunites With Oil Paint!

For the past few years, I had been intrigued by advertisements for water mixable oil paint.  My brain kept telling me to forget it, that I would have to invest in a lot of new paint, canvas, brushes, a suitable easel and other supplies to add oil painting into the "mix" of my art studio.  I put that idea on hold indefinitely because my passion for art was firmly fixed in plein air painting and transparent watercolor. 

However, since moving to Oregon, my ability to paint plein air twice a week or more came to a screeching halt between the months of October through April 2016 because of rain, fog, mist and overcast skies. This was the shocking reality of my new life and the fact that not only did it rain for months on end, but the lack of the sunshine caused a Vitamin D deficiency that I never experienced in my life. 

So what was an artist to do?  My husband installed lots of bulbs in my art studio to create natural lighting on those dreary rainy days.  But it wasn't quite the same as California sunshine and oranges on the trees in December. I realize now what a spoiled artist I was for all those years.  During the Spring and Summer in Oregon, the air is not as dry but the sun is just as hot as Santa Clara County.  Our house and small ranch in  McMinnville is in the heart of Oregon Wine Country where the climate is similar to Napa, Sonoma and San Marco dei Cavoti in Italy where my grandfather's family made red wine and pressed olives for oil.

Living in wine country made me think of the reasons why I should start drinking wine while painting, but also why I don't like having to clean up after using oil. So where am I going with all this?   

PUMPKIN DELIGHT  5 x 7  Oil on Archival Linen Panel

In late August,  I made the decision to put plein air watercolors on hold to try something new.  I purchased water mixable paint - Lucas Berlin, along with all the supplies necessary to reunite myself with painting in this medium.  It was a bit challenging to wrap my brain around painting with techniques that were very different from transparent watercolor.  I admit that I was frustrated as it had been nearly 40 years (high school art classes) since I used oil paint. 

Nevertheless, I pushed myself to keep at it despite being confused about how to mix the paint with just the right amount of "special" water soluble oil, water, drying medium, etc. Even though I invested in videos on how to paint with water mixable oils, I know that it will take a least a year or more of practice and determination to be comfortable with it.  Bucket of Sunflowers (below) was my first oil painting in 40 years, and Pumpkin Delight (above) was the second.

BUCKET OF SUNFLOWERS   5 x 7  Linen Panel
On September 1st, I also started a painting challenge hosted by an artist from Southern California, the same challenge I took in January 2016 -- Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days!  My goal was to use one reference photo to create a finished piece of artwork in three different mediums (oil, pastel and watercolor) for three consecutive days.

RIPE FOR PICKING   8 x 10 Oil on Linen Panel

10 x 14 Transparent Watercolor

BUCKET OF SUNFLOWERS  10 x 14 Transparent Watercolor

PLUMS ON THE VINE   10 x 14 Transparent Watercolor

After only 10 days into the challenge, I started to rethink my plan to continue alternating between mediums.  I ended up painting exclusively in watercolors, ending the challenge with a series of whimsical scarecrows (a future blog post). 

As I write this today, the month of October has already set rainfall records in Oregon.  It has rained 26 days out of the last 29 days. My goal during the rainy season will be paint in whatever medium suits my mood.  Look for some abstract paintings with some wild colors in the future.

---  Artist Anna Jacke

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Creatures Great and Small -- Bears

Over the past few months, I have been focusing on painting from nature as my passion for art comes from the beauty of the Mother Earth and all her creatures great and small.

My oldest grandson loves bears and for his 17th birthday, I painted him a bear portrait in all transparent watercolor.  I named this painting "Bear Essentials." 

Bear Essentials   12 x 16

Not long after I painted the bear, my daughter and her family moved into a new house in Pennsylvania.  I shipped the painting to her new home already matted for framing.  Some of the other house-warming gifts I had made were through Fine Art America.

John and his bear!

Two throw pillows made of my animal paintings for John's bedroom.

To really add to the effect, I had a shower curtain made for John and Brent's bathroom.  Every morning they awake to the huge face of the bear.  However, during the middle of the night, a trip to the bathroom can be a bit scary.  I stayed at their new home for 3 weeks this summer and it was certainly an experience to shower with the bear.

This painting has certainly brought much joy to our family and my heart!  

Prints and gifts available at Fine Art America at this link: Bear Essentials

--  Anna Jacke

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Watercolor Artist from the Pacific Northwest in Southwest Art.

They say its generally takes one year to settle into a new life and routine when you relocate to another state, in this case from the sunny skies of California to the very cloudy skies of Northwest Oregon.

From November until nearly the end of March, it rained steadily over my new hometown of McMinnville, turning the dry fields below our ranch into emerald green vistas by the beginning of Spring. I spent most of my free time (there was a lot of it) in my studio, painting from reference photos.

In late March, the staff at Southwest Art Magazine contacted me about submitting artwork for their 45th Anniversary Issue coming out in May.  They were also going to have a special section for June, "Art of the Pacific Northwest." It seemed like the perfect opportunity to promote my latest artwork of the Oregon Coast, Yaquina Bay Light in the picturesque village of Newport.  The original painting is on Arches 140 lb cold press.  I took artistic license with this piece by removing a metal tower that was built adjacent to the lighthouse. This painting will remain in my personal collection, but prints are available at

Yaquina Bay Light   12 x 16 Transparent Watercolor

Even though this painting is not fresh off the easel,  Antelope Valley Poppy Fields was my choice for Southwest Art's 45th Anniversary (May 2016) Issue. Poppies are the most abundant native flower of California and the Southwest. This piece is available for sale at my artist website, Anna Jacke Fine Art.

Antelope Valley Poppy Fields   15 x 22 Transparent Watercolor

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pacific Northwest Lighthouses - Yaquina Head

In mid-March, we started having breaks in the winter rains that kept us indoors for nearly five months.  It was also whale watch season along the Oregon Coast in nearby Lincoln City, Depoe Bay and Newport, all within an hour drive of my home studio. 

My rain gauge measured 13.5 inches since the beginning of 2016, a very disturbing fact for a plein air watercolorist who had just relocated from dry and sunny days (years) in the Bay Area of California.

My intention in visiting these locations was to study and photograph the atmospheric skies of the Oregon Coast and to capture lighthouses in fog, clouds and mist. On March 19th, I sat on a bench near the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and attempted to plein air paint. The wind, mist and cool temperatures made it impossible to set up a plein air easel.  Instead, I used a Pitt pen and small travel set of watercolors. Later in the afternoon, there were breaks in the clouds with sunshine streaming on the lighthouse. I returned home and began studio painting the next day.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse  12 x 16 -Transparent Watercolor

Plein Air Pen & Ink

Yaquina Head Light - Springtime

I have always loved visiting the seashore and fishing ports of Gloucester, Rockport, Marblehead and Salem while living in New England. I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty and ruggedness of Newport, a thriving commercial fishing port in Northwest Oregon. 

My next endeavor is to create paintings from the many reference photos taken at Newport Harbor.

Stay tuned.

-  Anna Jacke

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

South Florida Sunshine - A Plein Air Painter's Paradise

During the end of February and early March, I spent 13 days in South Florida with my daughter Sophia who was having surgery. I saw this trip as an opportunity to support and care for her while taking in some much-needed sunshine.  It was a welcome change for an Oregon plein air watercolorist who has endured more than 14 inches of rain since New Year's Day. 

Part of the time we stayed in Pompano Beach with accommodations on the Atlantic Ocean. It was a short walk to the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier and Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse. While my daughter was sleeping and healing, I took morning and afternoon walks on the beach and out to the pier. I also spent a lot of time sitting on the beach or on the balcony with sunhat, water bottles, travel journal, Pitt pens and two plein air palettes. It certainly passed the time between doctor appointments.  Here are a few of my favorite journal entries:

Black Skimmer about 3 feet away

Portuguese-Man-O' War on the beach
Walk to Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

Wyndham Sea Gardens - Pompano Beach
My plein air set-up and lunch

Views of the Intercoastal Waterway from our balcony.

Beach Views  80 Degrees


Red Flag Warning - No Swimming
Pompano Beach Fishing Pier

Views from Wyndham Oceanside balcony

We changed buildings and resorts a few times (via our timeshare ownership in WorldMark). Our last two days were at Wyndham Palm-Aire near championship golf courses and lakes where I could observe some amazing reptiles and resort life.
Wyndham Palm-Aire view

After Bingo - Tiki Bar

South Florida is certainly an artist's paradise. Perfect sunny days and gentle breezes, just what I needed to jump start plein air painting in 2016.  Stay tuned!

-- Anna Jacke   March 30, 2016