Saturday, January 05, 2008


Derwent drawing pencils, 11 x 14 on Canson
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Today I did a sketch of Woody who is 90 years old. He married 10 years ago at the age of 80 and is currently nursing his 88 year old wife who has Alzheimers.

There is such character in an older face and it is such a pleasure to draw an older person. The faces of youth, while lovely to look at, really hold little interest to me in terms of drawing. They present challenges to define smooth skin and that bloom of youth. It is a fleeting moment and gone in a blink of an eye. Just as well you don't realize it at the time.

However, it is replaced with something much more valuable.

I dug out my set of Derwent drawing pencils as I hadn't used them for awhile. They are the perfect pencils, in my opinion, for portraiture. They have such soft earthy colours and lay down so well and quickly on paper, that they are pleasure to use.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I am alone almost all of the time, but I am rarely lonely... it is those days where I do not paint or write or create something, that I am lonely, when I've generally been too busy with people of unlike mind and interests... (Vicki Easingwood)

Because I like sharing ideas and seeing what other artists are producing I have a list that I share on my blog of other artist's blogs and websites that interest me and which I read regularly.

Blog shelf life seems to be dwindling in some areas lately, so I've been whittling my list and shopping around for new artists to add to the list. If I have taken you off my list, it isn't a personal thing. It is because you haven't posted to your blog regularly i.e., at least two or three times a week. I know we all get blog fatigue from time to time and life also kicks in which makes posting difficult, but I need my fix of art from other sources and if you're on my list, then you're it.

If I've missed a great blog or you are willing to admit that you know me and would like to be added to my blog roll, please leave me a comment.

Its too big a world to be alone in.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Art and stress

The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.
As and artist and a herbalist, I find holistic approaches to life have a deeper meaning to me than to some others sometimes. Now I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool lobbyist for alternative practices, but I do believe that they have a place in life alongside Western medicine and consistantly debate the use of herbal remedies against Western pharmaceuticals whenever I see my own doctor.

Its a natural progression to look to art for a calming influence and see how its original origins can spill over into the 21st century in the form of mandalas. The creation of a mandala is a class that I will offer later this year for adults. It will be an exploration of self, almost a symbolic self portrait for each individual and to serve as a stress reducer and relaxant.
Representing the universe itself, a mandala is both the microcosm and the macrocosm, and we are all part of its intricate design. The mandala is more than an image seen with our eyes; it is an actual moment in time. It can be can be used as a vehicle to explore art, science, religion and life itself. The mandala contains an encyclopedia of the finite and a road map to infinity.

Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes "a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness." It is "a synthesis of distinctive elements in a unified scheme representing the basic nature of existence." Jung used the mandala for his own personal growth and wrote about his experiences.

It is said by Tibetan Buddhists that a mandala consists of five "excellencies":

The teacher The message • The audience • The site • The time

An audience or "viewer" is necessary to create a mandala. Where there is no you, there is no mandala. (from: You Are the Eyes of the World, by Longchenpa, translated by Lipman and Peterson).

Have you created a mandala? If so, what was the experience like and how to you and others view the completed mandala? I will be creating my own personal mandala and look forward to the process of drawing and adding colour to it.

Here is a good starting point to learn more about mandalas

The Mandala Project

And a great sample of the relaxation factor in this virtual mandala or labyrinthe.

Online Finger Meditation

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Visualizing with words

Peppers (in progress)
Coloured pencil, 9 x 12 Canson paper
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I have to go back to work tomorrow so I'm fitting in some of the things that I still need to do to keep my mind at rest. One of those is a demo for a class, so I've made a start on it over the last 24 hours.

One of the things that I want to achieve this year is to put my lessons and tutorials in written form for possible use as lessons/kits for sale. I'm just not quite sure of the format at this early stage, but I'm making myself start as I mean to go on. I will put the drawing processes down on paper, at least in a basic format for my use, and perhaps expand some.

It really is much easier to just draw than to put the process of drawing into words. The steps in choosing colours, pencil pressure, layering, etc., etc. is monumental at times and sometimes I find myself skipping scans as my hand continues to add colour to the paper without thinking about it. Then I realize what I've done and its too late to turn back then, so I try to make up for it in additional word pictures and hope the reader can understand what I'm trying to say.

I'll do a 'test drive' on some artist volunteers once I have this process in place to see how it reads, if it's understandable and the user can create something pleasing to them using the instructions and images. If there are readers out there who are interested in being testers of this process, please let me know. Once I develop testing criteria and the final draft of the tutorial, I will contact a number of testers to try it out.

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Review

Willie May
graphite 11 x 14 Canson
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Last year I studied Alyson Stanfield's searching questions as a review of my year artistically. I'd like to do the same again this year as they covered a broad range of topics and activities on both artistic and personal levels.
* How many works did you create?
I haven't kept count - approximately 15-20 saleable pieces and a number of smaller pieces and sketches

* What trips (local or far away) did you make to nourish your art?
The Rooms locally for art exhibitions, visited art galleries in Laguna Beach and Regina in reality. Online I wander in art galleries and museums daily to fulfill my imagination and curiosity.

* How much money did you make from your art?
About $1,000. Its a meagre amount hardly worthy of putting on paper, but it is clear money and will grow as my efforts to expand it do too.

* What classes (business or creative) did you take?

* What did you invest in that will help you to run a more profitable or streamlined business?
A new cell phone. I'm rarely at home these days. I sleep there which makes me wonder why I pay a mortgage sometimes for this permanent bedroom with rooms attached. So the easiest way to reach me is by my cell phone which is with me all the time. Investing in a new one added more bells and whistles to my electronic world and some features I still don't understand, but the little built in camera serves as an instant sketch for me to capture light, a scene, a colour. People still look at me strangely when I photograph piles of fruit or veg or toys in stores.

* Whom did you hire so that you can spend more time on your creative career? (framer, virtual assistant, housekeeper, lawn mower, bookkeeper)
I didn't hire anyone, but ignored some of the above in order to create and market. So my house looks lived in, not a pristine palace, like most people. Houses that are perfectly arranged and look like magazine covers scare me.

* Whom did you meet that has turned out to be a mentor?
Ed Roche

* What books did you read? What magazines?
Beautiful Landscapes; Colored Pencil Solution Book; From Line to Life; Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market 2007
The Artist's Magazine

* What movies did you see that inspired you?
I'm not a movie watcher. I occasionally watch clips on YouTube on drawing or painting demonstrations

* How many names did you add to your mailing list? (Note the exact number so you can evaluate your progress this time next year.)
Twenty people with access to more through art related organizations if I need to get out information.

* What habits or routines did you put into place?
More efficient planning for classes. I'm a procrastinator by nature and can be writing or drawing demos for my class in the carpark before the class begins. I have to plan a month in advance for course content and need to have those classes planned at least a week before they begin.
Timely review of upcoming exhibition submission information. I seem to either come upon submission information just before or shortly after the closing date. I need a calendar and a plan.

* What habits or routines did you eliminate?
None, I just seemed to add more!

* Where did your name or artwork appear in print? Where did it appear online?
In print on a drawing tutorial, programs for drawing exhibitions, media releases.
Online in WetCanvas, Drawspace, my blog and email signatures.

* How did you improve your website or Web presence?
Continuation of regular blog entries; signature line on emails, forum postings including blog and contact information on a number of art sites

* What new marketing materials did you add or improve on?
Information and marketing sheets for drawing classes
Postcards and business cards printed
A website has been drafted but not yet published. In 2008.

* Where did you speak about your work?
At art demonstrations, drawing classes

* What new materials or techniques did you experiment with?
Oil paints, soft pastels, colourfix paper, ampersand pastel board, Sabretooth and Canal papers

* What organizations did you join?
Art Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
Realist Artists of Newfoundland and Labrador

* What projects did you initiate?
Became a drawing instructor teaching adult and children's classes 3 times a week.
Created a written drawing tutorial.
Creation of a written drawing lesson for online classes.

On a more personal level:

* How did you care for your health and well-being?
Well....things could be better. Health wise I'm fine generally, but drawing has taken over from exercise. Drawing also leads to cups of coffee and biscuits. Back to the treadmill and basic food for a few months so clothes fit well again.

* How did you strengthen your personal relationships?
Concentration on those that are useful and elimination of those which are not. Communication.

* What vacations did you have?
A week in California, a week in Alberta and a week in Saskatchewan.

* What parties did you attend?
I really do hate parties and only go when absolutely necessary. I did go to an art association Christmas potluck and a variety of cocktail/dinner functions during the year.

* What new hobby did you take up?
Rock carving, jewelry created from beach stones

* Where did you volunteer?
Moderator/teacher for Drawspace
Board member for provincial Art Association
I have also exhibited at the following:
Spring Art Show AANL April 2007
Fall Art Exhibition AANL October 2007

Women in Art Exhibition RANL October 2007

Health Care Foundation
Art Fundraiser November 2007
City of St. John's Art
Procurement Program November 2007
Small Works Exhibition AANL December 2007

Best of Show Award 'The Artist's Cat' RANL April 2007
Make Me Think Gong - Katherine Tyrrell, Making A Mark - December 2007
Writing down accomplishments brings them into sharp focus. The black and white words make me realize where I need to focus for the coming year and helps me understand shortcomings of the previous year that I could have worked harder on.

So, what do I want to achieve in 2008? There are a number of things that I want to do, but first I need to manage my time more effectively to avoid burnout. I work full time, teach 3 times a week, take on commissions and create my own art as well as volunteer on the board of the Art Association. It spreads me a bit thin and becomes stressful sometimes.
1. Time management - I want to continue doing what I ENJOY doing and eliminate the things that cause stress. I need my creative time to be productive.

2. Organization - This goes hand in hand with time management. I have done a lot of writing which is scattered over computers and files in the house and it needs to come together in a couple of different formats. One electronically so I can find it easily and two, in logical written, bound forms for filing and reference.

3. Marketing and promotion - I have made some inroads into this in 2007 but not nearly enough. It is an area that fills me with a fair bit of dread. I hate selling myself and my work. But I know that I have to do it to succeed. Both electronically and in person.

4. Craft Council Membership - I believe that this membership will open more options to me in terms of potential customers and exhibition/promotion options. As well they have a juried process of entry which gives more credibility to my work.

5. Exhibition submissions - I want to try my hand at some juried competitions to see where my work sits in the eyes of others who are not local.

6. Development of prints and cards - The market in this province doesn't bear a lot of high end purchasing power when it comes to luxury items such as original art, so I have to work around that. I will still have originals, but will invest in prints and cards to target new markets. This then ties into #3 - the scary marketing and promotion...

7. Local painting and drawing - I have lived in Flatrock for 8 years and haven't really painted or drawn much that is local. I hope to change that in 2008. I want to create an art piece at least once a month of a local scene. Flatrock isn't the most beautiful town in the world, but I will find areas of interest, cropped images, different mediums and colours to bring it to life.

8. I want to face my drawing fears face on. Flowers and landscapes. Some of that may be tied into # 7.
There are many more things that I want to do, see, experience and try out, but I know from experience that if I cast my net too wide, I'll miss and not get anything. So I'm trimming the list a little, to hopefully do-able, items. I'll review these things again mid-year and see what needs adjusting.

Newfoundland will be the first to see the New Year into North America, having the most easterly point at Cape Spear, so I'll take advantage of this to wish all those westward of me Happy New Year and know that those east of me have already toasted the New Year and are likely tucked up in bed by the time it reaches these shores. As for me, I'll likely be in bed too when it arrives. I've gone past the time when staying up, partying in the next year, was fun. Now its just plain old hard work and bed is a much more desirable choice. Yep, I must be getting old.