Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cat & mouse

Black cat

Cat & mouse

I've had this idea of drawing a black cat in my head for ages and have finally gotten around to putting it down on paper. I used Artagain paper, white charcoal and Prismacolour pencils. As today is Drawing Day, it seemed a good time to tackle this idea. This is the original study for the piece. I will create this on a 22 x 30 sheet and see how it turns out.

Originally it was intended to be just the cat, then the mouse sort of came into being. It could have a macabre ending - or not - depending on how the story plays out in your head.

Today I bought a new laptop as my old one was getting slower and slower. This one has all the bells and whistles as well as a 17 inch high resolution screen which is much better for viewing art on. I've spent most of the afternoon installing programs and updates and re-finding links and sites.

I also woke with a horrible cold today and feel awful so I spent the afternoon in bouts of sorting the laptop, sneezing, napping and drawing. I've been trying to get a good image of this drawing without a lot of success. They all come out a little blurry or too light. Black paper......ahhhhh

Friday, June 06, 2008

Art grants

Laguna arch study

I have been mulling over several larger scale ideas for art in my mind recently and wondering how I can fund them. Grants spring to mind, but I've never applied for one personally before. I've done scores of applications for grants for non profit work, so the transition shouldn't be too different right?

Well yes and no. The implication of writing a grant proposal for myself puts the onus on myself to perform. Grants are given not out of the love of providing money to starving artists. The grant foundations want proof that you've done what you said you'll do. That will take a bit of planning on my part to achieve any of the project ideas that I have in mind.

As the funds aren't sustainng grants, it means that I would need to still work and produce a body of work. I do work full time and draw now,but not at the level that I want. There are few demands for performance aside from some commissions now and then. A project grant would mean accountability and performance, neither of which are bad things depending on whatever else is happening in life at the same time.

However, if I can get an art grant it will provide me with funds to concentrate on my project, buy materials, market, frame, etc. etc. I don't want to share my ideas at this time as I don't want to influence anyone or encourage anyone else to beat me to it! A few secrets are always a good thing.

So where to find an arts grant and what type of grant do I want? I'd like to hear from other artists who have received project grants to find out what the process was like, how the project progressed, the evaluation and overall experience.

Here are two links to grants that are both local and national and may be useful to other Canadian artists besides me.

Deadline September 15, 2008 - NL Arts Council - Project Grants

Deadline December 1 2008 - Canada Council for the Arts - Assistance to Visual Artists - Project Grants

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Knitting and art

Sock and cookie
copyright Jeanette Jobson

"knitting as a means of expression in fine art has become a global phenomenon, appearing in galleries all over the world. No longer is knitting pushed into the realm of being ‘a suitable pastime for the ‘aged and feeble-minded!''

I started knitting a sock the other night and also was drawing some chocolate chip cookies that I'd made that same day. I was getting torn between the two pursuits as well as listening to a knitting broadcast on my iPod. Sensory overload! (Just in case anyone wants to know, the yarn used here is Patons Kroy Socks 4ply - colour Stained Glass. 75% washable wool, 25% nylon. Knitting on 4 doubled pointed needles size 2.75mm)

I haven't knit for years despite a penchant for buying good yarn when I see it and stockpiling. I think I have the makings of a small wool store in my utility room. What is it about supplies? Its the same with art supplies. I keep buying them, even though I know I don't need them sometimes. It must be that squirrel tendency to store things away for a rainy day - just in case...
Of course living on this island I can justify some purchases as there are things here that I can't buy locally which must be mail ordered or I buy them when I travel.

Knitting small projects is quite manageable and I may make a dent in the Christmas list if I apply myself to it. Knitting is another creative pursuit that has many similarities to drawing and painting. Knitting can also become sculptural like this.

Knitting as an art form and as the revival of a tradition is increasing in popularity. Brigette Cameron's article The Knitting Train delves into knitting as art on the Craft Culture site.

Finally, a unique music video that was knit! The group is Tricot Machine from Quebec (tricot means knit in French). Over 700 of the frames were knit. Its quite amazing really.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Looking for inspiration

Study of Moose
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I was looking for a reference photo of a black cat, as I wanted to try something dramatic on black paper. While I was looking, I came across an image of Maggie Stiefvater's cat, Moose in the WetCanvas library and while I was at lunch today, I sketched it. Eyes always appeal to me and this one was no different.

I've been in a bit of a drawing slump this week, likely because work has been over the top in terms of busy and by the time I get home, I end up collapsing on the sofa not doing much of anything else.

I have snippets of things that I've done this week, but nothing significant. But I hope by this weekend I will have started a larger piece Inspiration hits in strange ways and I never know when it will or what will trigger it. It seems there are a number of artists who are going through a slump right now. Maybe its the change of the seasons. So what do I do to find new inspiration? Here are a few things that usually provide me with something to sketch:

1. Visit other artists blogs. Leafing through pages of other art blogs often provides inspiration for drawings and sparks off ideas.

2. Visit a local art gallery or museum.

3. Looking through drawings that I haven't finished. I am often tempted to go back and finish them or redo them in a different medium.

4. Go for a walk. As I like detail in my work, walking gives me a chance to explore the world at my feet. I bring a camera with me and take a few shots of whatever strikes my interest.

5. Wander through the barn. There are dark hidden corners and lots of animals ready to pose. If you haven't got a barn, go to the zoo or an animal sanctuary or even the animal shelter or explore someone's garden shed.

Rust and iron in the barn

6. Go to the supermarket. Aside from buying groceries, you can find interesting fruits and vegetables, shiny displays, glassware - a artist's treasure trove.

7. Look through old photo albums. Old photos of relatives and friends from when they were children or portraits from the 30s or before make wonderful reference images. That's where I found an old photo of myself as a child and did a drawing from it.

What do you do to break out of a slump?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nothing and something

Pulsatilla flowers

Usually, throughout the day, thoughts come to me that I can use in my writing in this blog. But for the last couple of days nothing is coming. I've sketched and seen compositions as I drive or walk or drink coffee at the local coffee shop, but nothing has made me pay enough attention to devote time to putting it into cohesive thoughts.

So here I am. Writing, but not writing. Why do I feel a sense of guilt almost if I haven't written here for a day? I created this blog as a motivation for me to continue to draw and it has achieved that.

Am I at a stumbling block or have I run out of things to talk about after 2.5 years of writing?

I started a little knitting project yesterday that took me away from drawing for a night. Its been years since I've knit and I'd forgotten how it feels. There is the same creative element in knitting as in drawing and it has similar abilities to take me away from the world for awhile as I get lost in rows and patterns as the wool and needles do their magic almost on their own.

Today I received an order of some more art supplies. I had wanted to try the Derwent Inktense pencils so bought a tin of 12 to play with. I like most Derwent products and will post my experiments with these new pencils. I also bought some carbon pencils, which, for some reason, I couldn't access here. Sometimes the simplest things become inaccessible on this island. Finally, I added some Linetex 3000 illustration board to my order. This is a smooth plate finish on 15 x 20 inch boards. I like the very smooth surface for drawing, even if it has both advantages and disadvantages.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Vulture update

Vulture - update
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Today has reverted back to cooler temperatures again, but my gardening and the feel of sun against skin helped rejuvenate me yesterday. I also added to my store of images both physically and in my mind with a wealth of colours and light and compositions and I am busy creating compositions with.

As I wake so early lately, I added more layers to the vulture and decided that feathers, or at least this bird's feathers, are a pain to draw. They are fluffy and very much like drawing messy hair, so may take a bit of time to conquer. It makes me wish I'd played around with this on drafting film, as its easier to erase mistakes on!

The duck pond

Another duck disappeared mysteriously. He is no doubt food for another fox or perhaps a mink. 'Abe' was a mottled dark duck that was hatched out here on the farm and he continuously paired up with another male - a white Pekin and they were inseparable. Once spring arrived, they decided that they didn't want to go back into the barn with everyone else at night but wanted to stay on the pond and play. I wasn't about to chase them all over the marsh to herd them reluctantly back in so they got their wish and have been doing so for a month or more. Then the other morning Abe didn't turn up at the barn and the Pekin (known as 'New Guy' even though he's been here more than a year) was there looking subdued and nervous.

Its frustrating this cycle of life. I've come to accept it more but never will do so completely and I resent the eyes in the woods watching, waiting for their turn to pounce.