K9 Ronin

Monday, September 14, 2015

Quite a bit more has happened since my last post, and I was lamenting to my Facebook friends how I haven't been keeping up with my blog. It's time consuming, but I really enjoy posting. So I headed over here to take care of some business!

I'll limit this post to the story surrounding this drawing of Ronin, a handsome and impressive K9 with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department K9 Division.

I had wanted to create a drawing of a working K9 for quite some time and the ball started rolling at the 2014 Kaleo Fun Run, a fundraising event. K9 Ronin was there with his handler for a meet & greet with the public. I was able to take some great photos of Ronin, and this one became the reference for the drawing. It was exactly what I had in mind.

I'll post some of the in-progress images here, but there are more that you can see in this Facebook album, along with explanations of the various steps. My concept for this drawing was to add color to Ronin only. Because I knew I could get the dog right in this drawing (since animals are my subjects of choice), I worked on the car first. I didn't want to put all the work into the dog and then not have the car & concept work out the way I wanted. When I was happy with the way the car turned out, I went to work on Ronin. The only "color" on the car is where I took a grey art marker to knock back the lines at the edges of the car and the lettering on the door panel. I used my go-to #16 X-Acto blade for everything except in a few places (the STAY AWAY lettering and a few other parts of the car), where I used a tattoo needle to knock things back a bit.

The "all scratched" stage, ready for color on Ronin

This is a detail of the section under the dog's feet. That area took a long time to do. It's a process of scratching, re-inking with stipples & scribbles, re-scratching, re-stippling, etc., until I achieve the smooth transition that I want. A section of fur that size would take less time to do. There's not much need for re-working, if I get the fur right on the first pass, with some refining, that's it!

For a "zoomable" version of the finished drawing, click here.

When the drawing was finished, I contacted Ronin's handler to give him a print. I found out he had been promoted and Ronin has a new handler, so the two of them worked things out so I could meet them, Ronin, and nearly the entire K9 Division. It was a great experience and an honor. Ronin's former handler was presented with a shadowbox commemorating his time with the division and I presented him with the print of the drawing. It was a fantastic way to spend a few hours, and they brought out many of the dogs for me to photograph. You can see some of those photos in this Facebook album.

Me with Sergeant Gregory, Ronin's former handler

Me with Ronin

And finally, I sent this drawing to the International Society of Scratchboard Artists' 4th Annual Juried Exhibition  in Frederick, MD in July and am thrilled to announce that it received an Award of Excellence in the Open division. It didn't sell there, so it's back here in my studio where it will be on display for our annual Newcastle Art Studios Tour in October.


"Jackpot!" - Tufted Titmouse Drawing

Monday, April 13, 2015

Plenty of artsy things have happened since my last post (long ago in November!), but for now, I'll share a drawing I finished earlier today. This is one of the two scratchboard drawings I've submitted to the International Society of Scratchboard Artists' 2015 exhibition. I'll find out next month if my entries are accepted. Update: the drawing was accepted and has since traveled to Frederick MD and back.

This 5" x 7" illustration of a Tufted Titmouse is titled "Jackpot!" I ran across the reference photo in a Facebook group: The Great Backyard Bird Count, where members post their photos. It's not that I don't have plenty of my own reference photos, but this particular photo really caught my eye - the bird on the jar with a mealworm made for a great composition. I also knew the jar would be an interesting subject to scratch. The photographer, Heather Sinon, graciously allowed me to use her photo. Heather feeds birds at her place in CT and sets out jars of mealworms for them. The birder in me feels compelled to point out that we have a Titmouse species here in CA, but not the Tufted, ours is the Oak Titmouse.

I scanned the drawing a couple of times during the process, below are those scans, along with Heather's photo (I cropped the background out), and 3 details of the final drawing.

This is the "all scratched" version, just before I added color.

Roughly 3X actual size

Roughly 3X actual size

Roughly 2.5X actual size


Sandhill Cranes

Monday, November 10, 2014

This weekend was the annual Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival - a celebration of the annual return of the impressive and beautiful Cranes to Lodi and other areas of the central valley of California for the winter. An art show is part of the Festival and I entered 3 pieces this year, 2 photos and a scratchboard drawing. I'm happy to report that the drawing won a 3rd place in the Fine Art - Crane division and it also sold! I didn't scan many stages in the process of this drawing, but what I did scan is shown below. "Grassland Grace" is 5" x 5", colored with ink. I will eventually make prints on metal of this drawing, but I have to do a thorough job of cleaning up the scan before that happens.

While in Lodi, I took a couple of trips to the Woodbridge Ecological Preserve, which is about 20 minutes away from the center where the Festival is held. The cranes were plentiful and I took some photos and video.


Some Stuff Happened Since July . . .

Monday, September 29, 2014

Time sure flies, and that time has been full of assorted creative and wonderful things!

Here's a list of some of what's happened since I got back from the ISSA gathering in NC (I wrote about that in the last post):

1) I completed a drawing I had just started and taken with me to NC. It was accepted into the Art at the Classic art show as part of the 2014 Draft Horse Classic and received a first place in the "Anything Goes" division. Below are some photos of "Fuzzdorable" in progress along with the finished board, it's a 5" x 5" board, colored with inks.

2) Three pieces of my dog art were in the "Dog Days of Summer" art show at Alpha Fired Arts. Velvet, the chihuahua painting sold. A portion of the proceeds benefited Front Street Animal Shelter.

3) I completed a number of mini scratchboard drawings, including this one of Pepper, who belonged to Carla Bratt, a friend of mine and a talent gourd artist. These mini boards are 2" x 2", you can see many more in this Facebook album.

4)"Show Goat" was in the Rocklin Fine Arts "Animal Kingdom" art show held in conjunction with Woofstock.

5) Six people attended my scratchboard workshop at University Art and we had a terrific time.

6) I'm gearing up "Sibling Hearts", an collaborative show with my brother (P.Y. Simpson) that's part of the Auburn Art Walk, and the 3rd annual Newcastle Art Studios Tour. Both events are on the horizon in October.

That's it for now, I have a few more things to share, but I'll wait for the next time I have the urge to write a blog post. Thanks for reading!


Award-Winning Burritos and Fun Times in NC

Friday, July 04, 2014

We had a wonderful trip to Cary, NC for the International Society of Scratchboard Artists' conference and 3rd annual juried exhibition. While my husband supports my artistic endeavors, hanging out with artists for days is not super fun for him, so he attended the opening reception for the exhibit with me on Friday night and then spent some time on the weekend with a friend who lives in nearby Raleigh. He also went birding, so it was a trip that had something for both of us. I went birding with him on Monday, after the conclusion of the ISSA event.

I had a fantastic time hanging out with my scratchboard compadres and a bonus is that "Cathy's Burrito Bouquet" received an "Award of Excellence". Because it's such a unique subject, honestly, I was happy it was accepted into the show; winning an award was icing on the cake and very much an honor!

The venue for the exhibit is the historic and beautiful Page-Walker Arts & History Center and the scratchboard work displayed there is amazing. Our opening reception was well-attended and the Page-Walker is a happening place, so many people will be introduced to scratchboard during the run of the show. Courtesy of Daniel Rode, here's a lovely video of the exhibit and the venue.

Here are a few photos from our trip. There are more in this Facebook album on my art page.

In the evenings after dinner, some of us gathered in the hotel lobby or one of the conference rooms to chat & scratch
I gave a presentation on composition & cropping
Explaining my process for the burrito drawing
Group photo of the ISSA conference attendees
Eastern Box Turtle at the Mason Farms Biological Reserve in Chapel Hill, NC
Coneflowers outside the Page-Walker Arts & History Center


Burritos and More . . .

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Cathy's Burrito Bouquet" will debut at the International Society of Scratchboard Artists' 3rd annual juried exhibition on Friday June 27th, when the 2014 ISSA get-together kicks off with a reception for the show.

You can see the reference photo and a number of in-progress steps in this Facebook album. The photo was taken at last year's event by Harold Farley and it tells the story of Cathy Sheeter's love for burritos. While I was not witness to this particular burrito incident, I did watch her devour a huge burrito at the ISSA event in 2012.

My bison drawing is also in the ISSA show. To see in progress steps of this drawing, start with this image and go forward.

In other news, both the scratchboard drawings that were accepted into the Women Artists of the West exhibit last month sold at the show. These were my first two entries into a WAOW show, so having both works accepted and then sold makes me a very happy camper!

More info about both drawings in this post. Reproduction prints on metal of each drawing are available, find out more about the metal prints here.

- - - All art and images ©Ann Ranlett, unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved. - - -

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