Saturday, September 06, 2008

Tabby study

Tabby study
Coloured pencil 9 x12
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I started doodling a cat early this morning on some toned paper and kept elaborating on it, so here is the current version. Its in its early stages and I'm just starting to build up some layers of fun and create values.

Although coloured pencils are one of my favourite mediums, I haven't used them for awhile and didn't realize how much I missed them until I had them in my hand again. I used Prismacolor pencils for this piece but may try some Derwent Coloursofts on another image later. I use them interchangeably, but do find the Coloursofts creamier, however I seem to always revert to the Prismacolors. I'm a creature of habit perhaps.

Friday, September 05, 2008


I would like to explore light in painting over the next few days, specifically twilight.

Often confused with dusk, twilight is specifically defined as the period before or after nighttime during which it is possible to conduct outdoor activities without the aid of artificial light. Due to the unusual, romantic quality of the ambient light at this time, twilight has long been popular with photographers and painters, who refer to it as the "blue hour", after the French expression l'heure bleue.

The light in this photo of the Sonoma desert is subdued and dimming fast, taking with it a lot of the colour and sharpness out of the detail. I would like to understand the palette that can be used to capture the light during twilight. So many of us want bright sun and dramatic shadow for our paintings, yet the diffused light of dawn or dusk can as easily be as dramatic and make the viewer want to linger and see more in the muted colours and shapes.

When light disappears and is replaced by moonlight, a whole new and more limited palette comes forward. I am so near the water, yet haven't painted a similar scene to this before. I need to visit the water at the next moonlit night and capture how it lights the landscape and the ocean.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Art and technology

Fog blanket - Torbay

My art has taken a backseat again this week due to other commitments. However, potential does catch my eye as I pass through places. This was Torbay the other morning on my drive to work. The weather was very warm and muggy and the heat hit the cool water. The resulting fog lay like a blanket over the cove, seeping inland, competing with the sun.

I didn't have my camera with me so took this photo with my cell phone camera. It gives me the basics that act as my memory for values and colours if I want to recreate the scene in a painting.

The little cell phone camera acts as my instant sketchbook. The photos that it takes don't have the level of detail that my digital camera does, but it gives me enough information to allow me to be able to work from it if I want to create a drawing or painting.

Thunderclouds - Torbay

I have an attraction to the water and have taken lots of photos of this scene as I pass it every day morning and evening. This is another scene of thunderclouds just starting to roll back after an early morning storm.

Technology in many forms enhance my ability to produce, show and share art and information. From a scanner and computer to digital camera or graphics software packages, they all provide services that I have come to rely on. Yes, I can still produce art traditionally without any technological interference and classic pieces are produced and have been produced with way for hundreds of thousands of years. I think the trick is to not rely on any one thing too much and risk forgetting that the rest of the world is out there waiting to be explored - and drawn.

How does technology help you in your art?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Cranes and labels

Charcoal and graphite 8 x 10
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I'm not sure of the official name of this crane, but its a rather interesting bird. I came across the image on WetCanvas's Weekly Drawing Thread and played around with it last night. I should have made the crown of feathers lighter but the charcoal took over a bit.

As an artist I often use Google and other engines to look for images, but the results don't always match my search. If the image titles or tags don't have the relevant information that you need, you won't find what you're looking for. Google has developed a new research project that may help. The program asks users to help improve overall search functions by adding labels or descriptive tags on specific images. You're paired up, in real time, with an unknown user, and you're presented with the same pictures. The object is to come up with as many words as possible to describe what you see. See what your labeling brain comes up with if you get a chance.

Google Image Labeler

Double portrait update

S & S
Master line drawing 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I freed up this afternoon to dedicate to some drawing and completed the other half of the master line drawing for the double portrait that I started last week. This is a portrait of my eldest daughter and her fiance.

I draw freehand in 95% of my portraits, so often have to go back into my initial sketch to do some measurement of major facial features to make sure everything lines up and a reasonable likeness is achieved.

I use a large sketchpad to create the master line drawing as I spend time going over lines or correcting placement so in the end the paper can look a little scruffy at times. I also draw the values to use as guidelines so that I have a complete map of the lights and darks to use as I draw.

I always transfer my line drawing onto another sheet of paper, in this case, Bristol 400 11 x 14. I wanted a smooth paper but need some good darks in here and they aren't as easily achieved on the plate Bristol. I can then keep my master line drawing and use it in the future if I want to paint the same image or if perhaps my initial attempt doesn't work out as I want it too. Yes, its another step and a delay before I can reach the shading portion of work, but it pays off to take the extra time.

This scan is of the rough paper, not the transferred drawing and will be subject to minor changes as I go along. Just seeing it online lets me find areas that I need to tweak to get the likenesses that I want. And all those teeth will be a challenge to draw...