Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo or scanner?

Portrait 2 - update
coloured pencil on Colourfix 9 x 12

This is an update of the second portrait I am drawing for the portrait swap. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. I have a stack of art work backlogged and I take on another portrait. What can I say? I love it!

I always have a dilemma when trying to choose the best way to represent my drawings or paintings for online consumption.

Some media are better on a scanner, such as pencil or charcoal, if you're using white paper. The scanner gives a clean crisp image against a pure background. Coloured pencil I've found rarely scans well for me. The closeness gives a very grainy image that I can never tweak into perfection, so I usually use a digital camera for cp work. Colourfix paper, in particular, never seems to scan well, perhaps the texture fights with the colours too much, and the end result is never to my liking.

At this time of year when its dark as to go to work virtually and dark when I come home, I need to address my ability to take photos using artificial light. This update image was taken with a digital camera under 3 100 watt bulbs, but the colour isn't at all representative of the reality of the piece. Ok, I didn't tweak it in Photoshop which perhaps I should have to reach a closer match. But I hate adjusting photos of images. It never looks quite the same afterwards.

I wish there were a course locally on how to photograph and scan art, I would be there in a shot. Or would I? I'd like to absorb the information, but part of me shuts down when faced with technology. I swear I have no left side of my brain intact as someone only needs mention the technical aspects of how something works and I shut down.

I need an image expert to come live in my studio and create a digital portfolio of my work as I present it. The right side of my brain remains in creative mode and I become more productive! Image experts who expect no pay, but regular supplies of coffee should apply.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More portraits

Self portrait
oils 16 x 20
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I have many projects in my head and some in progress and I'll spread myself out a bit more to fit them in. Sometimes I am bursting at the seams with ideas and there's not enough time or enough of me to go round to even put a hint of them on paper.

I offered to tackle another portrait in the swap, as I'd finished the first. The second I've decided to try with coloured pencil on Colourfix paper. I haven't done a lot on this paper, but the surface is interesting and I like the graininess that it gives the image. This is the start of it and I'll build my layers from here.

I've also worked off and on with my self portrait. Its giving me grief. I paint the eyes. I remove the eyes. I adjust the mouth. I remove the mouth. And on and on. At times it pleases me, at other times I want to paint a big X through it. But I will complete it. I'm out of practice with oils and now I wish I'd staying with them. Years and years ago I worked so much in oils. I think my children grew up on the fumes of turps and oil paint when they were quite small. But now I need to practice it more and when really frustrated, retreat back to pencils, charcoal or coloured pencil.

There is something very satisfying about conquering a medium and seeing the stages that a piece goes through until it succumbs and does what I want it to do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


charcoal and chalk 9 x 12
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I'm calling this portrait done, but have a craving for colour again so I may try my hand at this portrait again or something similar in watercolour or CP on some colourfix paper.

I often wonder what makes me decide that the drawing or painting is completed. Is it when all the information that I see in a reference is replicated as best I can do on paper? Is it when a likeness is achieved through modelling?

There is a point where you can overwork a drawing or painting and turn it into sludge. So when or how do you decide when the last pencil or brush stroke is the final?

For me its a combination of these factors and some intuitive knowledge that its time to stop. Then I put it aside for a few days, not even looking at it, before I take a second assessment. If something catches my eye, I'll adjust it then, spray and its final.

What's your stop point?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Charcoal portrait

JF - in progress
charcoal 9 x 12
copyright Jeanette Jobson

As I've mentioned, I'm participating in a portrait swap in WetCanvas and have been working on mine for a few days. Its in charcoal on mi-tientes paper. This is a little glimpse into what is emerging from my paper.

I'm considering doing a piece in colour, but I'll see how this turns out. I was initially not completely happy with the likeness tonight, but it came around after I tweaked it a bit more This image is the second stage, I've added more definition to it tonight.

I'll let it sit for a day or so and see what I think. I also love being able to stand back from it in my studio and contemplate angles, proportion, etc.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oils SP update

Self portrait
oils on canvas 16 x 20

I've been fighting with this oil self portrait, but its starting to come together a little now. The eyes, oh the eyes...they're still not right, but I'm working on it. I think I've discovered a whole new set of Anglo Saxon phrases while doing this. I need to tweak some things, such as the hairline which is too high and to adjust the values of the lips. I haven't done much to the hand yet so its like a big blob there right now.

Getting a decent image of this is proving difficult too. If I turn on lights, it yellows, if I leave them off, it washes out. If I use flash, the wet paint just reflects the light. I haven't tweaked these photos, its natural light, or as best as it gets on an overcast November day.

I know what I have to do with this and progress is being made. Its just a little frustrating at times.

I'm taking part in a portrait swap at WetCanvas and have decided to work in charcoal for my contribution of my partner. At least for now. The drawing is going well and I do have four weeks to complete the piece before its shipped off, so I may have time to tackle a painting if I'm feeling especially brave.