Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thinking Spring!

During the past week, I thought about my family on the East Coast and the blizzard that buried nearly green grass and tender crocus under more than two feet of fresh powder snow.  I am fortunate to live in the Yahmhill River Valley of Oregon where the fields below my house are emerald green with black Angus grazing in the light mist that falls each afternoon. 

Daffodils  16 x 16

In the past two weeks our daffodils and other spring flowers have bloomed and the trees are budding. Robins are singing with other native birds who know the days are getting longer.  More natural light is streaming into my South-facing art studio. This has motivated me to paint new Spring florals using different brands of watercolor paint and paper. It is also the first time in years that I have used opaque cadmium yellows and reds to deepen the colors of my flowers. 
Simply Tulips  12 x 16
I also wanted to experiment with having the subject grow out of the borders.  Originally, I had framed Daffodils without a mat, but it didn't really give the painting the dimensional depth I had hoped for.  I used the same technique with Simply Tulips but with all transparent watercolor.

My latest piece, Daffodil Couple, was inspired by two daffodils plants that bloomed on my dining room table.  I chose to plant them in my painting.  Unfortunately, I had an "oops" with staining paint that nearly destroyed this piece.  The solution was to use some Daniel Smith watercolor ground and wait three days until it cured so that I could rescue it. 

Daffodil Couple 10 x 14

My next two paintings will have crocus, narcissus, hyacinths and some native birds.  

--Anna Jacke

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thirty Paintings in 30 Days Challenge - January 2016

In the middle of December 2015, I joined the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County located in my new hometown of McMinnville, Oregon.  I had read on their blog that artists from Oregon were making the commitment to participate in an art challenge called Thirty Paintings in 30 Days hosted by California Artist Leslie Saeta and Artists Helping Artists.  It was just the motivation I needed to get painting full time again in my studio.  Unfortunately, the weather here in Northwest Oregon has not been at all conducive to painting plein air. This has been an very wet winter in McMinnville and across the entire West Coast due to El Nino.  

With that being said, I was determined to be part of the Thirty Day challenge and formulated a theme of for artwork:  Oxidation.  

My very first painting was of the old barn that sits in the middle of Pevine Valley.  I can see it from my front porch when the weather is clear.  I admit that my watercolor skills had gotten rusty (love that oxidation pun!).

It took several paintings to get into the watercolor groove.  I used reference photos from the paintout at Cummins Iris Garden (with SCVWS)  for these next two pieces.  I remember how much rust was on the property and how intrigued I was by this eclectic form of art.

Not far from our house is an abandoned two-acre orchard where an old '38  truck body was buried beneath overgrown briar and blackberry bramble. This was the original White's Orchard truck used to transport bushels of apples and berries that was pulled off the acreage as few months ago before the property was listed for sale. 

My husband Peter, a geotechnical engineer, mentioned the fact that rock oxidizes as well as metal. I began scanning through dozens of reference photos from our trip to Monument Valley in 2011 and chose The Three Sisters as subject matter.

It seemed a bit strange to be painting hot, dry desert scenes in the middle of winter, so I switched back to winter and created two more pieces that included snow. This snowman has three rusty buttons and our native scrub jays usually perch on the old wagon wheel outside my art studio.

I created a few still life paintings involving old jars with rusty lids, an old copper kettle and a very antique mission bell that hangs at Mission Soledad in Central California.   

Unfortunately, due to dental appointments, doctor's visits, power being shut off for electric upgrades and trips to Salem for things you can't buy in McMinnville (COSTCO & Michael's), I didn't not complete 30 paintings. Even so, this challenge jump-started the battery in my creative brain.  Here's the photo collage of some of my paintings that was posted January 31st on the official Thirty Paintings in 30 Days blog.  
It has already been announced that next challenge will be in September 2016.  I am looking forward to it and to coming up with a new theme!   

 -- Anna Jacke