Sunday, April 06, 2008

Tools of the trade

# 1 Kneaded eraser
charcoal 2 x 3
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I idly doodled on an envelope today with some charcoal pencils that were nearby and drew my kneaded eraser. You need to make sure you have another eraser handy when you draw your eraser as its difficult to use the one you're drawing and remember just where you placed it so the light was the same!

It made me think that it could make an interesting little series of drawings of different drawing tools. I also like the idea of drawing on unusual supports - found supports perhaps which could range from envelopes as today's drawing is, to something as organic as stone or perhaps to reuse another paper form, such as a newspaper sheet. Possibilities are endless. The implements that we use without even thinking become very different when we take time to examine them carefully as we draw.

I will try, over the next seven days, to post a new drawing each day and see if I can achieve that goal. There is no shortage of subject material to draw if my studio is anything to go by and I need the discipline of forcing myself to complete something. I've become lax about disciplining myself to complete things lately and need to get back into finalizing drawings before being sidelined.

Rose Welty's post in Rose's Art Lines about finishing a series is very timely and provides food for thought for everyone attempting a series, whether large or small.

By stating my goal here, it makes me accountable as well, if only to myself, but I hope if I slack off some of you will give me a nudge and 'remind' me to keep going. Seven days is not an inordinate amount of time so I don't set myself up for failure before I begin. The subject matter is familiar and relatively simple so I don't have to go too far outside my comfort zone unless I want to experiment. The pay off is that I gain back my ability to complete a series then move on.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Starts and ice

Icy forest at the edge of the meadow

Path to the back door

Bending under the weight of ice

Iced rosehips

Living on the edge of the world - or at least on an island in the North Atlantic - one of the heralds of spring is freezing rain. I can't begin to tell you how much I hate freezing rain. Chipping it off your car, sliding across every outdoor surface, trees bent to the ground and branches snapped with the weight of it, power disruptions, the list goes on and on.

But despite its treacherous nature, it does have a positive side which is very interesting pictures of the objects that it coats. These images were taken a week or two ago after a night of freezing rain. I had the forethought to have my car in the barn that night or it probably would have taken me 20 minutes to get the ice cleared from it.

I have a thousand ideas in my head for drawings but can't seem to settle down to one, so I end up with lots of starts. In their own right, they're good in that they keep my drawing hand in practice, but I really need to put some thoughts into action.

This sketch is of a reference image I have of a chimpanzee at a rescue sanctuary. The sadness in the animal's eyes is evident already. The eyes were what attracted me to the image and I should pursue this one. But first I must put it onto some decent paper.

Friday, April 04, 2008

New designs

I've played around with more wire and am trying to keep the organic shapes that I want and that the wire seems to find naturally. I'm considering putting some of the jewelry on Etsy and see what happens.

If anyone is interested in purchasing these, please contact me for final shipping costs which are very reasonable.
Fiddleheads - 12.00
Sterling silver, hand formed earrings, hammered and polished, these earrings are 1.5 inches long. These are a reminder of the little fiddlehead ferns that herald spring in Canada.

Copper Frost - 8.00
Polished copper coils with hammered ear wires are topped with frosted glass beads like little icy caps. The earrings measure 1.5 inches long.

Meanwhile the carrot drawing continues. I've added more colour with my Derwent Coloursofts and like the results. They're not too bright and still keep that earthy tone that I want. My complaint is the paper the drawing is on. It started out as a sketch and I got carried away and didn't transfer it to decent paper. This is in a Canson sketchpad 11 x 14. The paper has enough tooth, but leaves a fairly grainy texture to the pencil work. Its something you either like or you don't and I have mixed feelings about it.

I'll let it sit for awhile and see if I want to continue to spend time on it or not.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Carrots and seed packages

Here is an update to the carrot drawing that I started. Its at its 'ugly' stage now and I have to keep reminding myself that it will get better.

This is the point where a lot of beginners start to doubt themselves and abandon their drawings. Looking ahead, in your head, to the final piece helps keep the focus and knowing that this is just a phase to go through, all help not to trash it at this stage.

The colours in Derwent Drawing pencils are very muted, earth tones and I'm wondering if I need to add a little punch to them with some of the Derwent Coloursofts that I bought. They're in the same family as the drawing pencils, with thick, creamy cores, just not as creamy as the drawing pencils. I don't want the final image to have bright colours. I want that soft look to it, but just want to enhance the colours a bit.

Jubilee Collection of Mammoth Butterfly Pansies
New York, NY

The seed catalogues are still trickling in even though most orders have been placed and received for the coming season. Seed packaging these days is quite ordinary compared to the works of art that were produced on seed packages from the 1800s to early 1900s. Now there are generic photos of the plants or plain packaging with contents and instructions on them. Back in the day — before four-color photos became the standard — many seed mailers kept an artist/ engraver on staff to create fancy lithographs for the catalog and the seed packages. I guess that doesn't happen any more unfortunately. But there are a lot more varieties of flowers and vegetables around now so its likely not economical to create and print.

I'll just have to create my own packages for the heirloom vegetable seeds that I grow and restart an old tradition.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Drawing a rainbow

I'm an armchair cook most of the time. I like to watch cooking shows and read cookbooks and ferret out food blogs. It just seems it doesn't often translate into actually hauling out ingredients and pots and pans. I used to do a lot of cooking, but my days are long and incentive limited, so it only seems to happen at weekends these days.

However, it still doesn't stop me from wandering through good food sites such as Haalo's at Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once. This is my kind of blog. Its full of great recipes and fabulous photos. One of Haalo's images caught my eye the other day and I knew it was a match made in heaven for my Derwent Drawing pencils. I asked Haalo if I could use it and she kindly agreed. (Thanks again Haalo!)

The image was of a bunch of rainbow coloured carrots. Last summer I had used some of these colourful carrots that come in shades varying from cream to burgundy and the regular old orange! The colour fades out of them a bit in cooking, but they are wonderful to use in salads for a real contrast. This year I have seeds for the coloured carrots and will grow them along with the regular ones in what will be my new vegetable garden (if the snow ever melts).

Last night and tonight I made a start on the drawing. Its 11 x 14 done with my full set of Derwents, as I wanted some colour to pop in this drawing, yet have it remain fairly subtle. I'll update this image over the next few days and hope to have it finished at the weekend.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Mother Goose
Graphite 9 x 12
copyright Jeanette Jobson

This is the final image that was chosen to be used on AntiDull. This is an online art magazine that features artists & art photographers from around the world. Their aim is to provide a high quality publishing opportunity to artists and photographers who want to get more exposure to their artistic works. And who doesn't want that in the art world? The AntiDull website has received up to 650 unique visitors / day.

I was approached the other week by AntiDull (love that name!!) to ask if they could use one of my images for their Fine Art Issue # 2. I agreed and we worked out the arrangement and this is the page that was created to go into the online issue which was published today. Have a look at their magazine online. There is an amazing display of artists and art pieces in this issue.

Today I also received my first royalty cheque from an online tutorial that I did for Drawspace. Its not a huge amount, but as I did the tutorial without the expectation of receiving any money, its a bonus. Now that I have a little time back to myself again with the tri-weekly drawing classes gone, I may have a chance to produce some more tutorials.

I became friends with Brenda Hoddinott, the site owner and author of several drawing books and she convinced me to become more involved with the site initially as a moderator and now as a teacher. The site is for complete beginners to drawing and provides online lessons from the basics up to more advanced technique and subjects to a global audience.

Life session

I'm just getting time to catch my breath and regroup after a busy few days with the exhibit and a last formal teaching class, so this post will be brief.

Last night I got to the life class which I haven't been able to attend for a couple of weeks. We had a new model which turned out well and I enjoyed drawing her.

Here are a few of the sketches from last night. The first pose was 20 minutes, the second five minutes and the third 1 or 2 minute gesture sketches. All are done in charcoal on newsprint.