Saturday, September 16, 2006

Commissions and charity

Commission a professional portrait of your pet and support a charity at the same time!

I will donate 10% of the final fee from commissioned pet portrait work to Beagle Paws. Simply mention Beagle Paws when you place your order and know you are helping a local organization.

Jeanette Jobson
Tel: 709 437-6562 709-746-9968 (cell)


It's all illusion: the illusion of space, the illusion of mass, the illusion of light. The illusions go on and on, there is no limit to the number of illusions you can come up with. (Joseph P. Blodgett)

I had a person tell me recently that they enjoy my work and that they were in awe of what I could create on paper. I tried to explain the reality of the process, but they were firm in their belief that I have some internal gift that allows me to turn paper into art.

We all have the ability to draw and we have all drawn as children, but somewhere after childhood, the ability or interest seems to get lost or is dampened by unkind comments or comparisons by ourselves to others and we abandon drawing.

Yes, there is an illusion in art. It is in the eye of the viewer. They see, they believe. The blue of a bug's wing or the blue of a skyscape, where is the difference? The viewer sees transparency, or lack of colour, in an insect's wing. I see blue or grey or whatever colour the wing lies over. The finished result is transparency. Illusion and truth. It depends which side of the paper you're on.

There is no illusion in the image here. It is a northern goshawk that took one of the chickens in the yard. It had been around for months trying its luck and even flew right into the barn after the chickens at one point. This day, its luck was in and it caught a bird. The hawk is large with about a 3 foot wingspan. They are beautiful birds, even if it did take one of the chickens. It 'cloaks' its prey when eating, to hide it from others. The photo was taken with the zoom on the camera so its a little out of focus, but does show the size and strength of the bird.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Giving back

Sometimes life has a way of picking up speed and moving ahead as if a secret plan that you didn't really know about starts falling into place. That is what it feels like this week.

The start of the drawing class, building my portfolio and today a chance to make some more contacts through a dog-related event on Sunday. There is a rescue organization that I wrote about awhile ago called Beagle Paws that I know of and have, indirectly used, having found a few beagles wandering into my land. They have a no kill policy and rehouse beagles to good homes. I will set up a table at their event on Sunday afternoon - Pooches in the Park - and display some of my animal portraits along with the usual brochures and information. I will also provide coupons that, if presented at the time of commissioning a portrait, will ensure that Beagle Paws receives 10% of the proceeds. I haven't decided on the final timeframe for this venture, perhaps a couple of months leading up to Christmas.

I work for a charity and know how hard funds are to come by, so doing this, even if it may be a small amount of money that is generated does provide something and I know it goes to a worthy cause.

To amuse myself between talking to people on Sunday I will be drawing a portrait in either derwent drawing pencils or coloured pencils on site. It will highlight beagles - the stars of the show and people usually find it interesting to watch the progress of a portrait and I DO need to do something while I am there.

I have completed the line drawing for this image and will transfer it onto Stonehenge paper tomorrow, then start the sculpting on Sunday. The photograph of the master drawing is awful and its dark and I couldn't be bothered to start up the computer that has the scanner attached. Next scan will be better - I promise!

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Thursday, September 14, 2006


We can think of ourselves not as teachers but as gardeners. A gardener does not 'grow' flowers; he tries to give them what he thinks they need and they grow by themselves. (John Holt)

Tonight I completed the first night of teaching my basic drawing class. I believe that it went well. Laughter, work and listening took place on both sides and to see the 'aha' moment when the concept is realized is magical.

The quote above is quite true. I simply provide the tools and theory, the individuals themselves, learn, absorb and create with their own style. So as a gardener and a teacher my aim is to continue to provide what I hope they need and sit back and watch them grow.

These columbines are likely one of my favourite flowers in the garden. To me they resumble 5 birds gathered round a fountain or feeder. The white against the green of the leaves of the sweet cicicely made a perfect image.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The name makes you think of a soft spoken female form in white, lingering over the beds of soldiers, but this Florence wasn't soft and thank heavens she didn't linger too long. Hurricane Florence which battered the Bahamas earlier this week, meandered its way up the eastern seaboard downgraded to a tropical storm and stopped for a little visit on the southeast coast of Newfoundland. Even the ducks didn't want to go out in the wind and rain this morning.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The art of education

There was a beautiful sunset tonight with the sky almost on fire. It is the calm before the storm literally as Tropical Storm Florence makes its way towards the east coast with heavy rains and winds up to 130kph predicted. The sky shows a very different picture tonight but I'm sure it will change before dawn arrives. While I'm not a sunset person, the drama of this one struck me as being unique and begged to be captured.

I will embark on my first teaching experience in a long time on Thursday as I take a small group of people through their beginning steps of drawing. It is exciting and frightening at the same time. I have so much information in my head that I hope I can get out the relevant points that will help them move towards their goal of seeing, and producing art.

I was browsing online and in my reference books to provide the best information and exercises that will provide interest, test skill levels and increase their understanding of the theory and practical aspects of making marks on paper as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable, addictive experience.

While looking for specific education sites on line I found the following which were beneficial and are geared to answering questions and providing information on teaching art.

TeacherArtExchange, is an online community of teachers and learners. You'll take part in conversations through e-mail about art education with colleagues from across the United States-even around the world. The archive can be accessed without subscribing to the Art Exchange.

The Incredible Art Department has a list of forms, templates, lesson plans and ideas for art classes. Many are aimed at school levels but can easily be adapted to adult classes too.

Yahoo Art Sites

Discovery School. This site hosts a list of links to all sorts of art related sites.

Teacher Tap: Internet Resources for Fine Arts

There seem to be as many resources as there is time to search for them. For now I will take my own experience and ability and feed it to those who are willing to learn. It is an exciting time.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Creatures of habit

The turkeys were given ears of corn to amuse them. As well as a big red ball. Turkeys, while not the brightest creatures, are very curious and love to peck at things. In their enclosure they now have a feed sack stuffed with newspaper that hangs up and they love to peck at it. The large red ball is pecked and pushed around all day and now the corn is the curiosity of the day for them. It is viewed with suspicion at first, but soon becomes the flavour (literally) of the day. Creatures of habit do enjoy change if they are confronted with it in close quarters.

In a conversation with my mother tonight the conversation rolled around to her living alone and the approaching winter and the price of oil and home maintenance, etc., etc. So I broached the subject of her moving into an apartment to remove the more stressful elements maintaining a house alone at 82.

She is interested but we have gone down this road before and she always changes her mind once I have some appointments set up to view places. She doesn't like change in any form and the prospect of living in a supervised apartment building doesn't appeal to her for reasons beyond my understanding.

My mother has decided that there is an apartment buiding close to where she now lives that she would like to go. Again, there is no logic in this as she doesn't have a great love of the area or even have many friends in this area of town. Even shopping that she does is at the other end of town. But she's a creature of habit and we will go through the dance of talking and looking and thinking and then most likely she'll bow out once more.

I understand wanting to remain in your own home as along as possible. But what I don't understand is not wanting safety,security and peace of mind that comes with someone else looking after the day to day details of living. Then there are her two cats which she won't be parted from, no matter what. She can barely look after herself let alone them, yet resolutely hangs onto that thread of independence - and the cats.

So I will enter the dance once more of finding apartments, setting up appointments, coaxing this woman as I would a small child, with bribes of treats, to go visit the apartments and most likely she will refuse again.

She is the ultimate creature of habit and never ventures outside her comfort zone. Not even as a child can I remember her doing so, not in a work setting nor on a personal level. But dancing the dance is part of the habit too, so I'll indulge it. It might be my turn one day.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006


I brought some grain to the wild birds at Quidi Vidi lake this mornings. As I stood at the edge of the water and threw a handful of grain onto the shoreline, it was like a wave of humanity moving towards me as first pigeons, then seagulls and finally ducks swarmed towards me. It reminded me of Trafalger Square in London where I had taken my daughter when she was small. The birds there literally covered us trying to steal a piece of grain. Quidi Vidi was like this, but with the addition of seagulls who are loud and aggressive.

The pigeons were agile and completely covered the ground, mixed into the water's edge with ducks of all sizes and shapes. A lone goose patrolled the shoreline staying out of the fray and not interested in any food offerings, preferring to herd smaller ducklings into order.

My luxury find of the day was fresh figs. Its so rare to find them here that I snapped up a box of them then took them home to play with light and colour for future drawings and painting and ate 3 in a row! These are Brown Turkey figs from California and they taste divine.

Finally, I added more layers to the dog portrait and tried to adjust the nose level which was off a little. I'm still working on the it and the background as well as building the fur. Coloured pencil isn't a fast process but this seems to be moving along.

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