Friday, October 17, 2008

Virtual Sketching

Its that's time again. Virtual Sketch Date is here for October!

The numbers of participants have grown a lot from its initial concept by Rose Welty when we decided to pick a reference out of the air and we both used it to draw the same piece. Now around 40 participants are taking part and providing an amazing range of talent and media.

Perhaps the idea is spreading, as Karin Jurick started another blog a month or two ago - Different Strokes from Different Folks inviting people to draw or paint an image that she chooses. This too has been very well populated by artists.

Belinda Lindhardt is this month's photographer. You can visit her blog here.

Participation in the Virtual Sketch Date is easy. Draw the reference piece, post it on your blog before the final deadline and let the world come view your masterpiece.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Toronto skyline

I will be out of town for a few days as I go to some business meetings in Toronto. A little post or two will crop up, provided the gods of technology smile fondly on me in my quest to conquer Blogger's ability to enter the future.

My sketch book will go with me as always, but finding time to sketch is a challenge unless airports or planes decide to make me sit still for awhile.

Blogging will resume on October 20th.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty in my (and your) backyard

Today is Blog Action Day 2008 and this year’s topic is poverty. Blog Action Day tries to raise awareness about a specific issue by having thousands of bloggers blog about a single chosen topic on the same day. This is my rant.

The average person who reads this blog doesn't really know about or has been touched by poverty personally. Have you ever had to make the choice between food or heat? Have you ever had to go without medicine because you couldn't afford it? Yes, I'm talking about 2008 here and North America.

We all whine about not being able to afford the latest technology toy, new car or designer clothes, but we have a roof over our heads, food to eat, heat to warm us and are fairly safe from physical harm in our day to day lives. We can buy goods and services that want, we don't need to work at hard manual labour unless we choose to; we don't need to collect water from a well 3 miles away from our residence or stand in line for basic food rations.

Often poverty is thought of as the problem in underdeveloped countries, but you don't need to go far to see poverty in your town or your neighbourhood. We just often choose to ignore it and are touched by the expensive marketing ads to support doe eyed children in other countries, when the same problem is under our noses, but we either are not aware of it, or choose to ignore it.

Poverty takes many forms, from physically not having enough to eat, inadequate housing, poor working conditions, minimum wages below the poverty line, etc etc. I was once in the position of being classed as 'poor'. I was young with two small children, recently divorced and had just applied for social assistance as I had no other source of income at the time. It is a stressful position to be in and one which many people find themselves and many struggle to get out of. I was lucky to get out of it quickly through hard work and effort. Of course that doesn't mean that those in that position don't work to get out of it. I was just lucky I think. Sometimes the system that acts as your safety net also serves to drag you down and prevent you from moving ahead. I've seen first hand the action and inaction of poverty and how it binds people's hands and wears them into apathy through work with women's shelters.

The issue of poverty is HUGE and far reaching. It impacts all of us whether we are the working poor, comfortable or well off. Poverty impacts both mental and physical health. The concept of 'child poverty' doesn't sit well with me. Children aren't poor. They don't have the ability to earn income or change their status in life. Their parents are poor. Government needs to look at the economic and environmental factors that create low income families, and address those issues instead of labelling it as 'child poverty'.

A lot of research and information is held in the Poverty In Canada website. Interesting that in the federal election which ended yesterday, the addressing of poverty in Canada was not a strong point in any of the candidate's platforms, though some answers were provided to questions asked.

Make Poverty History lobbies government constantly with the anti-poverty message in Canada.
Visit the Make Poverty History blog to read what others are doing and saying.

So how can you make an impact? Get involved. Do something! Volunteer and donate at a food bank, lobby government to increase living wages, or lower taxes for low income people. Find a need in your community and help fill it. A school breakfast program, school supplies, coats for winter, the list goes on and on. Yes these are drop in the bucket ideas but if they can make one family happier, more comfortable and more able to cope, then it is worth it.

Everyone knows that all artists are the original poor, starving in cold garrets, creating work that never sells, don't we? Its a myth that also has some truth to it too. However artists are also the most caring and generous of souls who willing give time money and product where possible to causes that help communities. Why not donate a piece of art to a local cause that helps assist low income families? You do a good deed, you help raise funds for a local organization to do their work and you also will receive some publicity for your art out of it.

Stand up and take action against poverty and inequality!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

View from the other side

Fort Amherst Lighthouse
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Last weekend I posted some seascape photos and yesterday I took some more photos as I hiked out to Fort Amherst in St. John's. The first photo in my October 8th post shows the entrance to St. John's Harbour and these images show that view close up from the Fort Amherst side of the hills.

WWII Gun Batteries - Fort Amherst

Fort Amherst is a small community is located on the southern side of "The Narrows", the entrance to St. John's harbour. Apart from some family dwellings, Fort Amherst consists of a man-made harbour, a lighthouse and the remains of gun emplacements built during World War II to defend against German U-boats.

The walk to the lighthouse at Fort Amherst is paved but cars are not allowed. The drop off on the cliffs on the side makes me uneasy. It is fenced but not what I'd call securely. Old railway ties and steel ropes didn't leave me with a sense of comfort, so I hugged the cliff side on the way up and back. Yes, I'm a wuss. I don't do heights well. I couldn't make myself go to the fence once I reached the lighthouse. The wire fence was perched right on the edge of the rock face with a drop of several hundred feet to the ocean below. I tried, but my feet wouldn't go there. Too scary...

The Battery
copyright Jeanette Jobson

The Battery is a small residential area within the city of St. John's, Newfoundland. It sits on the entrance to the harbour located on the slopes of Signal Hill. The Battery is noted for its steep slopes, colourful houses, and its importance as a battery for the defense of St. John's harbour in both World Wars.

The Battery is home to Chain Rock, a land outcropping to which a large chain and anti-submarine boom were attached connecting to Fort Amherst in order to prevent the entry of German U-boats into the harbour during World War II. Chain Rock is one of two rocks located on opposite sides of the Narrows, Chain Rock on the battery side and Pancake Rock on the opposite. The space between the two rocks is 174 meters. Chain Rock and Pancake Rock were used as early as 1770. A chain was stretched between both rocks by means of a capstan at nightfall to prevent illegal entry of enemy ships. During World War I the chain was replaced with anti-submarine nets.

The view back into the city of St. John's from this place makes it look so different. I rarely see it from this perspective which is usually the domain of ships sailing through 'The Narrows' or for those who live in Fort Amherst.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Study for The Reader

Study for The Reader
11 x 14 coloured pencil
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Its the Thanksgiving holiday Monday today and I spent some time playing with the concept for this drawing. I think I'll call this one the study as I'm working out placement, composition, colour and figures in it.

In the next drawing, I will de-emphasize the cartoon creatures to bring forward the reality piece - my grand daughter and let the creatures become almost ghostlike in the background.

Often the journey is more appealing than the destination.

One never goes so far as when one doesn't know where one is going. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fantasy and reality collide

I started doodling this morning with some coloured pencils. It was an image of my grand daughter 'reading' her book. I like the intent look of concentration on her face and the drawing expanded as the day progressed.

Of course, as is the way of life, when you start a doodle that then shows promise, it is always on the wrong paper and always composed incorrectly on the page so you run out of paper.

I decided that I would carry on the theme of the book with some characters from it coming to life and interacting with her. I'm playing around with composition and characters on tracing paper to see what fits, colours, backgrounds etc.

I also have some tinkering to do with her features. The mouth is too low so must be adjusted and the eyes are too bright. This is done in a Canson sketchbook 11 x 14. The paper isn't bad so I'll see how it holds the coloured pencil. If it doesn't work well, I'll simply use it as a study and start a new piece on better paper.