Saturday, February 13, 2010


I'm flitting between cat portraits and a watercolour.  The change of medium and subject makes a nice break in concentration.

I haven't drawn many detailed tabby cats and forget just how much detail is in their fur.  All that ticking makes me a little cross eyed after working on it for any length of time.  But its coming together, as long as my pencil sharpener holds out.  To create realism in fur, a very sharp point is required and my coloured pencils are sharpened frequently.

I never understand why some people are so reluctant to sharpen pencils.  Its as if the act uses needlessly some horribly expensive commodity.  I'm not a person to deliberately waste materials, but when they are needed to produce a piece and, in the case of coloured pencils, pretty inexpensive to replace, why not sharpen and have the best instrument at your fingertips?

Here's Lucky, with what I interpret as a look that could only say 'It wasn't me who broke it.'

Friday, February 12, 2010

Living in between


There are advantages of getting up very early in the morning.  Winter sun creeping over and through the bare trees creates a whole new world of images on the wall.  

This stark landscape in reality is a gold sun rising, silouetting a dried stalk of a orchid on the windowsill.  The roughened hill is a cosy blanket on the back of a sofa.  The clouds against the golden sky a network of branches from the maple outside, framed on the right by a tied back curtain posing as a cliff face in the foreground.

Each day at dawn, the light is so perfect.  I wish I could make it stand still and live a day in dawn or twilight.

And one of my favourite songs by The Weepies - Living in Twilight

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pre-order giclees

Its been a crazy busy week for me and when it gets like that at work, it tends to make me lose sleep.  Instead of tossing and turning and trying to blank out my mind so I can get back to sleep, I usually just give up and get up.

When the world is dark and quiet I can accomplish a lot.  Early this morning I was up and tackling cat eyes.  I have a number of commissions and need to be fairly productive to get them completed.  Deadlines push production too and while its not good to be over taxed with work, it is good to have a few pressing demands to keep me moving.

Current commissions will keep me attached to the paper until mid April, depending on what else comes in.  I also have some other projects that I will be working on as well and a grant application.  I won't go into that right now in case it doesn't pan out.

So for now, here's a peek at another cat, a Persian this time, called Starr. 

I will be having open edition giclee prints  made of two of my watercolours in two sizes and am offering a discounted price for pre-orders until February 28th.  Frozen Door to Dawn  and Koi Pool will be available in 8 x 10 and 16 x 20 sizes.  I am offering the 8 x 10 prints for $22.00 and 16 x 20 for $45.00.  After February 28th, the price will be $35.00 for 8 x 10 and $60.00.

If you would like to pre-order a copy of either of these prints at the discounted price, drop me an email at jeanettejobson at gmail dot com and provide your name, the print you want to reserve and the size.  I will contact you as soon as they are ready to ship. March 1st is the anticipated date for availability.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


 Macro ice

This little watercolour was a procrastination result.  All week I have been working on projects about ice and its properties for work .  Some scientific studies and microscopic images of ice structure stayed with me as well as colours and shapes of shards of ice with dark water beneath a pale surface.

As I sit here, checking email, looking at blogs and thinking I should be making master drawings, this article hit a chord and made me want to share it with you as well as get back to what I am here to do - create art!

People who say that procrastination is about laziness are probably the same people who think that anorexia is about not eating enough.

Procrastination isn't about laziness. It's about fear. It's about perfectionism. It's about overwhelm. We all experience it, and there are some tricks to help you get moving again.

Here are 9 ways to break the procrastination habit:

1 - When you get an idea, do some little thing to begin.

When I read Stephen King's book On Writing, I noticed something. I noticed that when Stephen King gets an idea, he writes it. Immediately and imperfectly.

Most people get an idea. Then they sit there. They wonder if it's a good idea. Then, they wonder if it's a good idea some more.

Got an idea? Begin it now!

2 - All hail small chunks of time!

Lots of us complain about having no time. My guess is that we all have lots of time. It just doesn't happen to be all at once.

Are you waiting for many hours of spare time to begin your idea, your project, or your taxes? Stop waiting! Learn to use the spare half hour that comes up here and there. (I gave myself 45 minutes to write this article just to take my own advice.)

3 - Agree to do it badly.

Set a goal to do it badly. Set a goal to show up. Let go of doing it ALL, or doing it WELL.

Some of my coaching clients' biggest victories have a lot more to do with getting over perfectionism and fear, than they do about getting it all done perfectly.

4 - Commit aloud.

Call a friend and say something like this: "I'm going to spend the next half hour working on my Law School Essay." Then go do it.

Call the friend after the half hour and make her congratulate you. Repeat daily.

5 - Define quantities.

Nebulous goals make for nebulous results. "I'm gonna get my office organized" is a lot like saying, "We oughtta do something about Global Warming."

Most procrastinators have a hard time defining quantities. We think everything needs to be done NOW.
When are you going to do it? For how long? Which part of your office? The file cabinet? Or your desk?

Define the goal and acknowledge its completion.

6 - Install this System Upgrade into your Mental Hard Drive: Less is More.

Have fewer goals. Have no more than three priorities for a week.


Because you're not lazy. You're just trying to do too much.

Find out what it feels like to accomplish one thing instead of not quite getting to everything. Wow - what a difference this makes!

7 - Do it first.

My first coach made me write songs first thing in the morning. He told me to schedule the 2-hour chunk as my first activity upon waking.


"Because you're telling the universe that this is your priority. And then the universe lines up everything to align with your priority."

Action grounds your priorities. It makes them real. It also makes your day easier because you're not wasting energy thinking about this thing you're supposed to be doing.

8 - Avoid nose-bleed activities.

Email, voicemail, web stats - any activity that bleeds itself into your whole day becomes a non-activity. It becomes a nose-bleed.

When you do it all the time, you never complete it. You just let it slowly drain the very life force from you. Define times for these activities. Then, turn off your email, your cell phone, your web stats, until that time comes.

9 - Don't ask how you "feel" about doing the activity.

Have you ever committed to getting fit? And then when the alarm goes off, you lie in bed thinking, "Do I really feel like going to the gym?" (Like you even have to ask!)

Change this pattern. Make your decision the night before. Commit to getting up and going right to the gym, the computer, the blank canvas. Don't have coffee and sigh and think, "I'll probably feel more like it at lunch time." You won't!

If it's a priority, don't waste time asking yourself how you feel about doing it. Feelings are an easy out.

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FREE subscription to LiveCreative at

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Cats, cats, cats, cats

Four cats to be precise.

I am working on some pet portrait commissions that have  come from some marketing I've done at a pet groomer's.   I do pet portraits off and on throughout the year and late last year put a couple of portraits in a groomer's along with some information to generate interest.

This month I provided a 'Valentine Special' which placed a number of commissions my way, including this one for the cats.  Finding time to fit in all the commissions is challenging and I think I'll be working on a couple at a time.

I'm drawing these in coloured pencil , confirming composition and the colour of the toned paper I will be using as well as some value studies.  I will share them here in snippets so over the next few weeks you may see a cat face appear now and then.  For tonight, meet Katie or part of her anyway.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Batik-like effects with masa paper - the demo

A tangle of capelin  11 x 15 

I did promise that I would take readers through the process of this batik-like technique to the finished watercolour, so bear with me.  Photos are taken under artificial light so most htings have a yellowish cast.  One of these days i really will invst in a white light, honest!

I started with a half sheet of masa paper.  There is a smooth and a rough side to the paper and I drew my image on the smooth side.  This will be the side that I will be painting on.


I then lightly crumpled the paper into a ball and wet it under warm water for about 20-30 seconds til it was thoroughly wet.  I squeezed the excess water out and very gently unfolded the masa.  Be gentle!  When wet this paper becomes fragile and tears easily.

Masa back

I laid the wet sheet of masa onto a layer of paper towel which was placed on a large drawing board making sure the rough side was facing me.  I used very wet, strongly pigmented washes of watercolour and a large brush and randomly added them all over the sheet.  As the drawing is face down at this point, there is a certain hit and miss to knowing whether or not the colours and lines will be quite where you want them. You can`t use masking fluid on masa, but low tack tape may be an option for leaving areas white.  That experiment comes later!   I like the surprise element of how the pattern emerges.

Masa front

The paint on your piece of paper will appear very bright and start seeping into the cracks in the paper to the other side.  This is good.   The paper towel will absorb the excess paint and becomes a painting in its own right almost. 

I left this to dry completely then cut a piece of 140lb watercolour paper that the masa would fit on, leaving about a one inch margin on each side.  I used general purpose white glue that I squeezed on the rough side of the masa.  Using a wet brush, I made sure the entire surface of the paper was covered with a light layer of diluted glue.

Glued masa

I laid the masa onto the watercolour paper and used my brayer to roll  the paper, taking out any wrinkles and leavingn a smooth surface to paint on.  A baren would work, even a rolling pin, anything to ensure contact with the glue and to create an even surface.


I left the paper overnight to dry.  It bends a little, but not significantly enough to be a problem.  It can easily be flattened under a weight.  Once dry it is ready to be painted.  My pencil lines were still intact but a little bound up in the batik pattern.  I started adding light layers of watercolour to the surface, following my pencil guidelines.
Masa is more delicate than watercolour paper and you can`t manipulate the paint on the surface so knowing what you want to put where is important.  As well as having patience in allowing it to dry completely before adding additional layers.  Too much water and too much rubbing will cause pilling on the surface of the paper and it will tear.  Believe me.  Not fun.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A tangle of capelin

I'm moving ahead on another fish piece using masa paper and a batik-like technique again.  I like the texture it provides and it seems to enhance all things piscean.  Or perhaps its just a phase I'm going through.

This images is from a reference photo taken during the summer of some capelin caught on the beach in Middle Cove.  The little fish come to the shores around the province every summer to spawn and many people like to eat them.  I find them a bit strong tasting so keep a few for photographs freeze some for use in gyotaku prints later in the year.

Either way, they're one of my favourite fish for painting.  They have a wonderful irridescence with silver and turquoise and pink.

This piece is a half sheet of masa glued onto a half sheet of Bockingford 140lb watercolour paper.  I created the colours in the background hoping to reflect some of the colours found in the fish.  It seems to work so far.  I'm working on the form of the fish as they lay all jumbled together in a bucket and hope I can do them justice.  I'd say its about half done by now.

I've added a little detail to the mouths and gill covers with pen and ink and am playing with a little bit of silver leaf paint to add some highlights.  I don't want it to overpower the fish, but hope that it will be a subtle flash of light within the painting.  I am toying with trying some real gold and sterling silver leaf gilding in some of these fish paintings, but I know I can't access it here easily and am not sure if i can manipulate it enough to be subtle or not. 

Something else to experiment with...