Saturday, July 28, 2007

The power of music

My grand daughter, being mesmerized by the sound of music. Now why didn't I think of a guitar when mine were babies??

Today I went for a 3 generational lunch that had good and bad aspects. Aside from my nearly 83 year old mother wearing a pink plastic 'bride to be' necklace' and complaining about service in a restaurant I came away unscathed. The fact that I'm now on my fourth glass of wine has no bearing on the day whatsoever.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Drawing fur and commissions

Tiger fur Study
4 x 4, graphite
copyright Jeanette Jobson 2007

One of my favourite things to draw are animals and of course they are covered in fur. Drawing fur or hair is another of those perceived difficulties that make people steer away it. But like most areas of difficulty, its more a matter of closely observing how the hair grows, the subtle changes in values and colours and how the individual hairs create the dense coat and follow the form of the animal.

I have been studying how to draw animal fur and animal's component parts for as long as I have been drawing them. It seems there is always something new for me to learn from another artist who's talents enthrall me. I love realism in animal portraits and the fine detail intriques me and keeps me interested up until the very last pencil stroke.

Close up crop - The Artist's Cat
copyright Jeanette Jobson 2007

There are some creme de la creme animal artists that I refer to constantly when drawing animals. Each person has their own style, and I learn something from each of them when I view their work or read their words.

Drawing animal portraits is as fraught with concerns as is any other commissioned piece of work. Dealing with clients, achieving the likeness and spirit of the animal and feeling happy that you have provided the best that you can produce are all things artists struggle with for each commission.

Top 5 tips for pet portrait artists - from Rebecca at Art Dog Blog. Visit Art Dog Blog for the expanded list.

#1 Remember that the client is always right.
#2 Listen well
#3 To proof or not to proof?
#4 Project Reports
#5 Ask your clients to help you

Additional tips were provided from Karen Weller:
#1 More information is better than not enough.
#2 Treat each customer like gold.

From Linda O'Neill

#3 "Take great care in packing and shipping
#4 " Gladly offer to do some minor revisions once you present the final
#5 "In addition to that...include something extra

Rebecca has also put together 5 tips for commissioning a pet portrait. Oh such sage advice to those who want a portrait of their animal. Visit Rebecca's blog to see the full details.

#1 Remember that in most cases you do not pay an artist by the hour.
Faster does not equal better.
#2 A question of decor, will it match the sofa?
#3 A good photograph makes all the difference ...shoot, shoot and shoot again
#4 Choosing an artist
#5 Order your holiday gift giving pet portraits in the summer

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Number 1A

"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself... You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. "
Gibran, Kahlil Lebanese-American author (1883-1931)
My eldest daughter is arriving today for a two week visit with her partner. Because of the far flung nature of families these days, I only get to see my daughters perhaps once a year, sometimes more. This daughter lives in Saskatchewan which is geographically distant from Newfoundland. But we never know where life takes us, so I support and encourage adventures and forays into other cities, provinces and countries. I believe that nothing helps you grow and develop more than immersion into something that is completely out of your comfort zone.

This daughter - Number 1A - (the younger is Number 1B) will have a birthday on August 2nd and my mother, her grandmother, on July 31st so we will have a joint 'do' this weekend to tide them over for another year. My daughter will be 31 this year. I wonder how on earth this happened. It seems literally only moments ago when she was a small baby, a toddler, a school girl. Time moves too quickly and the passage of time makes me face the fact that as fast as the girls have grown, I have moved forward too.

This is a sketch of her that I found in an old sketch book, circa 1988! Now if I can just get her to sit still long enough while she's here, I'll get a chance to do a decent portrait of her.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Working Artist

Inaction breeds doubt and fear.
Action breeds confidence and courage.
If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.
Go out and get busy.

--Dale Carnegie

I struggle daily with a full time job, life on the farm, art, a blog, teaching and writing that I sometimes don't get time to draw. It is then that I must remind myself that part of the "Working Artist" phrase is "working". I need to make time every day for art so that it becomes part of me, the pencil is an extension of my arm. And I know when I haven't drawn for awhile that it affects me and makes me anxious to abandon life and get back to the drafting table again.

Another step in my journey to make art more of my life is to market my art and my services. Now this in itself strikes fear into the heart of most artists, me very much included. I hate marketing my art, as its part of me that I put on the line whenever I do. But its a necessary part of reaching my goal of having work compete less and less with my art.
Good enough isn’t good enough, because now everything is good enough. Our expectations of quality are unrealistic—and are being met every single day. We don’t just want to be satisfied, we want to be blown away.—Seth Godin, The Big Moo, page xi.
One part of my marketing has been completed, and that's the production of a brochure for animal portraiture, but that's not always convenient to carry or present so I want another smaller form of representation. A business card or postcard that will represent my art, my life, my work - me.

If you Google 'online business cards' you can find offers for cards from $5 to $500 depending on how flashy you want them to be. Here is a wonderful blog from Wendy Gonick about designing an artist business card from conception to print.

So I'm busy setting up designs and researching places that will print to my specifications at prices that don't bankrupt me. Business cards or postcards? I like the postcard option more as it gives me a larger canvas to make a statement. I'll play with some designs and layouts and see what I come up with. Any suggestions from those who have created cards or postcards is more than welcome.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Portrait Update

“The idea of full dress for preparation for a battle comes not from a belief that it will add to the fighting ability. The preparation is for death, in case that should be the result of conflict. Every Indian wants to look his best when he goes to meet the great Spirit, so the dressing up is done whether in imminent danger is an oncoming battle or a sickness or injury at times of peace.” -Wooden Leg (late 19th century) Cheyenne

I've added more layers to this portrait and its coming together. The headscarf is a little problematic with the patterning but I'll conquer it eventually. Its been ages since I did any portrait work with coloured pencil and I'm quite enjoying the process and the colours in this piece.