What Was I Thinking?

… also … What Have I Gotten Myself Into?
Ages ago, I created a blog on the Blogger platform and posted pretty regularly for a few years. I later joined Facebook and put more of my time into posting updates, works in progress, and random thoughts on my business page there. More recently, I decided to pull back from Facebook and put that type of content on my web site. You can read about that in my “Pivoting” post.

Over the past couple months, I’ve copied content from the Blogger posts and re-created them here, with the original dates, to preserve the timeline. I’ve focused on more recent posts or those that were pertinent to my current work and thought process.

Today, I moved another post, which also involves updating links from pages of this site to link to the new post here – not difficult, but I have to be methodical about it. THEN I made the mistake of scrolling back to see how many blog posts I had made on Blogger. This is where the “What Was I Thinking?” part kicks in. It was unsettling because that’s when I discovered posts went back to 2006. I ran away from Blogger to preserve my sanity and came here to post.

Now I’m contemplating what to do next: there’s no point in transferring some posts. They relate to events that are so far past, it doesn’t matter. But I do have to decide which posts are worth moving, from an “Ann’s growth chart” standpoint, and I think that is worth doing. For now, I’m going to take a break, post some art (because an art blog NEEDS art in the posts!), and go work on another drawing.


This is a 2″ x 2″ scratchboard drawing of a kitten. Click here to watch the 30-second reel I created on Instagram. You’ll see the all-scratched version just prior to adding color (watercolor), the final version (as seen above), and how I framed it.|

My current commission is this 6″ x 10″ portrait of Cassie & Bella. At this point, it’s ready for more scratching, which I’ve been doing, but I won’t scan that stage until I finish the entire pass of scratching.




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Chimp Art at ChimpHaven

My scratchboard drawing of Jacob the Chimp is now available as a print to benefit the residents of Chimp Haven. This is a project from a while ago that’s finally come to fruition: Allison Leigh Smith notified members of members of the Society of Animal Artists of a project to create art of CH’s chimps. CH provided the reference photos, we kept the original art, CH has permission to use the images for marketing & sales purposes. Two additional artworks (by other artists) will be available later this year when they promote the chimp art for the Holiday season.

The original drawing is still available, as are metal prints and some little goodies, in my own shop. I’ll donate a portion of the sale of the original or prints to ChimpHaven.

About Jacob

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Events & Workshops

I just sent out an eBlast with information about upcoming events & workshops – pretty much the whole enchilada for the remainder of the year, although I’ll send reminders as things get closer.
Click here to see the eBlast.

If you’d like to sign up to receive future announcements, please visit this page.

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Pig Art for SPCA Fundraiser


This scratchboard drawing of a bristly pot-bellied pig has been around a while. I still think it’s a great drawing, but since it hasn’t sold after all these years, I decided to donate it to help out the Sacramento SPCA. Find out more about SSPCA’s “Art Fur Paws” event and take a look at all the wonderful art that’s been donated.

And I’ll take this opportunity to mention the “Appeals for Art” collaboration with Gayle Rappaport-Weiland that offers art donation advice for both artists & charities.

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SAA Signature Status!

I’m thrilled and honored that I’m now a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists! With the acceptance of “Chromed Grace” into the upcoming “Art that Matters to the Planet” Exhibition, I’ve earned enough recognition points to be bumped up to Signature level. This is a live Exhibition that runs from August 14 – October 25, at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown, NY.

BONUS: this dog gets to travel. After closing at RTPI, the Exhibition goes to:
– The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell NJ, November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022
– The Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KS, February 5 – May 5, 2022


Read a previous post about this drawing and see work in progress images.

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Hanna in the AWA Online Show

This commissioned pet portrait of Hanna the harrier hound has been accepted for the American Women Artists’ Spring Online Juried Show. It’s an honor to have been selected! Competition is always tough in the AWA shows. This show was open to Associate & Associate Members with Distinction (I was promoted to “with Distinction” last year). Don’t know if I’ll ever make it to Signature status, but I’ll continue to try.

This drawing is a 5″ x 7″ scratchboard, with watercolor. The reference photo was provided by my client. See in-progress stages in this album.

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“Heart of San Pedro” – Accepted in “Animal Impressions” Exhibition

I’m thrilled to learn that “Heart of San Pedro” (Western Screech Owl) has been accepted in the Society of Animal ArtistsAnimal Impressions” Exhibition at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The show runs August 21 – November 7, 2021.

This drawing is an 8″ x 8″ scratchboard, with watercolor. I took the reference photo at the San Pedro River Preserve in Arizona a number of years ago, so it’s fitting that the drawing will debut in AZ.

I have a number of scans of this drawing in progress, but I still need to run a couple of them through Photoshop to clean up. Then I can create a short video of the stages. I also have video of real-time drawing on this piece. Once I get that edited, I’ll post it for subscribers on SubscribeStar. I’m trying to get that platform off the ground, but haven’t had a chance to create new content for it.

This post is part of my new strategy to share announcements & updates here instead of on Facebook, so I’m making a little progress on the “pivoting” strategy I discussed in my last post.

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Pivoting!

While not generally a fan of trendy buzzwords, I do like the term “pivoting” and I’m doing it! Sometimes it just feels like random spinning, but hey, I’m trying. I’m working on new ways to share content and generate income, and my News section will become a combo of blog posts & news, or it will be, once I migrate the pertinent posts from my off-site blog. I want to consolidate as much as I can here on my web platform instead of on the Facebook art page, Flickr, Blogger, etc. I’m moving my videos from YouTube to Rumble and embedding the video links on pages of this site. The art posts I’ve been sharing on Facebook, and Flickr photos, will be available in a self-hosted album here as well.

For the income portion of the pivot, I’ve jumped on a subscriber site for sharing content at various paid levels. You may have noticed I’ve also added at “tip jar” widget – that little cup o’ coffee symbol in the lower right corner, courtesy of Buy Me a Coffee.

I really do enjoy sharing my art process, but I have to be honest and admit that I can’t continue to share all of it for free, especially with quite a loss of momentum due to the COVID restrictions that affected so many of us, in all professions, last year. I do see better things ahead for this year, but that’s not going to happen overnight. Already, I know that many art shows are on-line instead of in-person, or greatly scaled back. Open Studios Tours and workshops are “iffy”. Fortunately, the local gallery where I’m a member is open again with regular hours, and has been for a few months.

While pivoting, I’ve also realized that though it’s mostly fun, Facebook is quite the “black hole of time”, with minimal tangible ROI, and I really should focus my attention elsewhere. I’ll stay on to help manage a couple of groups and pages, but that’s it. Part of that realization leads me back to sending out a semi-regular newsletter.

My in-person scratchboard workshops will return later this year, once I see how things shake out, probably in August or September. Those will be held at my home studio. On-line, Zoom-type things are in limbo, as internet in our rural location isn’t great. But I can (and plan to) record videos that I’ll upload to Rumble and the subscriber site, and I’m open to suggestions for specific techniques students want to see on video.

This is a multi-layered process, and it’s going to take some time to make the complete switch, but I’ve started and will keep chipping away at it. Of course, I also need to continue creating art and working on commissions, but being a self-employed artist requires me to wear a marketing hat as well. Art is a business!

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Video – Cottontail Rabbit – Pen & Ink Drawing on an Ostrich Egg

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When You Want Different Water

This post explains how I went about setting up a water background for a scratchboard drawing – a background that was different than what was in the reference photo.

Border Collie scratchboard in progress

I’ve been working on this scratchboard drawing for a couple of years. It’s been a demo piece, but now I’m in “finish mode” for submission to an art show. I took the reference at a dog play day where there was a pond, and all along I’ve debated whether to include the water or not. I decided today that I should include the water. But not THAT water… The ground and water in the photo doesn’t appeal to me.

My reference photo

Here’s where the artistic license and “fun with Photoshop” part of the process kicks in.

I’ve put water in two other drawings and was happy with the result, so I want the same effect here. I used the water reference from one of those drawings.

This is a portion of a previous scratchboard drawing with water. Part of the water has been colored after I scratched it.
The reference photo used for the water in the previous drawing.
Previous photo rotated, converted to greyscale, with the contrast pushed to create strong values.
A quick mask on the dog, existing background deleted. The water from the previous photo, scaled larger to fit behind the dog on the right side. “Right side water” copied and flipped to fit into the left side. You can still see a seam between the two sections above the ear on the right side.
Water layers merged and some editing done to remove that seam and make the top edge a little darker.
Here’s the drawing as of now. I haven’t added the transfer lines for the water yet.

And just for fun, here are a couple of IG videos of the scratching process on the Border Collie drawing.

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