Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Review

Willie May
graphite 11 x 14 Canson
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Last year I studied Alyson Stanfield's searching questions as a review of my year artistically. I'd like to do the same again this year as they covered a broad range of topics and activities on both artistic and personal levels.
* How many works did you create?
I haven't kept count - approximately 15-20 saleable pieces and a number of smaller pieces and sketches

* What trips (local or far away) did you make to nourish your art?
The Rooms locally for art exhibitions, visited art galleries in Laguna Beach and Regina in reality. Online I wander in art galleries and museums daily to fulfill my imagination and curiosity.

* How much money did you make from your art?
About $1,000. Its a meagre amount hardly worthy of putting on paper, but it is clear money and will grow as my efforts to expand it do too.

* What classes (business or creative) did you take?

* What did you invest in that will help you to run a more profitable or streamlined business?
A new cell phone. I'm rarely at home these days. I sleep there which makes me wonder why I pay a mortgage sometimes for this permanent bedroom with rooms attached. So the easiest way to reach me is by my cell phone which is with me all the time. Investing in a new one added more bells and whistles to my electronic world and some features I still don't understand, but the little built in camera serves as an instant sketch for me to capture light, a scene, a colour. People still look at me strangely when I photograph piles of fruit or veg or toys in stores.

* Whom did you hire so that you can spend more time on your creative career? (framer, virtual assistant, housekeeper, lawn mower, bookkeeper)
I didn't hire anyone, but ignored some of the above in order to create and market. So my house looks lived in, not a pristine palace, like most people. Houses that are perfectly arranged and look like magazine covers scare me.

* Whom did you meet that has turned out to be a mentor?
Ed Roche

* What books did you read? What magazines?
Beautiful Landscapes; Colored Pencil Solution Book; From Line to Life; Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market 2007
The Artist's Magazine

* What movies did you see that inspired you?
I'm not a movie watcher. I occasionally watch clips on YouTube on drawing or painting demonstrations

* How many names did you add to your mailing list? (Note the exact number so you can evaluate your progress this time next year.)
Twenty people with access to more through art related organizations if I need to get out information.

* What habits or routines did you put into place?
More efficient planning for classes. I'm a procrastinator by nature and can be writing or drawing demos for my class in the carpark before the class begins. I have to plan a month in advance for course content and need to have those classes planned at least a week before they begin.
Timely review of upcoming exhibition submission information. I seem to either come upon submission information just before or shortly after the closing date. I need a calendar and a plan.

* What habits or routines did you eliminate?
None, I just seemed to add more!

* Where did your name or artwork appear in print? Where did it appear online?
In print on a drawing tutorial, programs for drawing exhibitions, media releases.
Online in WetCanvas, Drawspace, my blog and email signatures.

* How did you improve your website or Web presence?
Continuation of regular blog entries; signature line on emails, forum postings including blog and contact information on a number of art sites

* What new marketing materials did you add or improve on?
Information and marketing sheets for drawing classes
Postcards and business cards printed
A website has been drafted but not yet published. In 2008.

* Where did you speak about your work?
At art demonstrations, drawing classes

* What new materials or techniques did you experiment with?
Oil paints, soft pastels, colourfix paper, ampersand pastel board, Sabretooth and Canal papers

* What organizations did you join?
Art Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
Realist Artists of Newfoundland and Labrador

* What projects did you initiate?
Became a drawing instructor teaching adult and children's classes 3 times a week.
Created a written drawing tutorial.
Creation of a written drawing lesson for online classes.

On a more personal level:

* How did you care for your health and well-being?
Well....things could be better. Health wise I'm fine generally, but drawing has taken over from exercise. Drawing also leads to cups of coffee and biscuits. Back to the treadmill and basic food for a few months so clothes fit well again.

* How did you strengthen your personal relationships?
Concentration on those that are useful and elimination of those which are not. Communication.

* What vacations did you have?
A week in California, a week in Alberta and a week in Saskatchewan.

* What parties did you attend?
I really do hate parties and only go when absolutely necessary. I did go to an art association Christmas potluck and a variety of cocktail/dinner functions during the year.

* What new hobby did you take up?
Rock carving, jewelry created from beach stones

* Where did you volunteer?
Moderator/teacher for Drawspace
Board member for provincial Art Association
I have also exhibited at the following:
Spring Art Show AANL April 2007
Fall Art Exhibition AANL October 2007

Women in Art Exhibition RANL October 2007

Health Care Foundation
Art Fundraiser November 2007
City of St. John's Art
Procurement Program November 2007
Small Works Exhibition AANL December 2007

Best of Show Award 'The Artist's Cat' RANL April 2007
Make Me Think Gong - Katherine Tyrrell, Making A Mark - December 2007
Writing down accomplishments brings them into sharp focus. The black and white words make me realize where I need to focus for the coming year and helps me understand shortcomings of the previous year that I could have worked harder on.

So, what do I want to achieve in 2008? There are a number of things that I want to do, but first I need to manage my time more effectively to avoid burnout. I work full time, teach 3 times a week, take on commissions and create my own art as well as volunteer on the board of the Art Association. It spreads me a bit thin and becomes stressful sometimes.
1. Time management - I want to continue doing what I ENJOY doing and eliminate the things that cause stress. I need my creative time to be productive.

2. Organization - This goes hand in hand with time management. I have done a lot of writing which is scattered over computers and files in the house and it needs to come together in a couple of different formats. One electronically so I can find it easily and two, in logical written, bound forms for filing and reference.

3. Marketing and promotion - I have made some inroads into this in 2007 but not nearly enough. It is an area that fills me with a fair bit of dread. I hate selling myself and my work. But I know that I have to do it to succeed. Both electronically and in person.

4. Craft Council Membership - I believe that this membership will open more options to me in terms of potential customers and exhibition/promotion options. As well they have a juried process of entry which gives more credibility to my work.

5. Exhibition submissions - I want to try my hand at some juried competitions to see where my work sits in the eyes of others who are not local.

6. Development of prints and cards - The market in this province doesn't bear a lot of high end purchasing power when it comes to luxury items such as original art, so I have to work around that. I will still have originals, but will invest in prints and cards to target new markets. This then ties into #3 - the scary marketing and promotion...

7. Local painting and drawing - I have lived in Flatrock for 8 years and haven't really painted or drawn much that is local. I hope to change that in 2008. I want to create an art piece at least once a month of a local scene. Flatrock isn't the most beautiful town in the world, but I will find areas of interest, cropped images, different mediums and colours to bring it to life.

8. I want to face my drawing fears face on. Flowers and landscapes. Some of that may be tied into # 7.
There are many more things that I want to do, see, experience and try out, but I know from experience that if I cast my net too wide, I'll miss and not get anything. So I'm trimming the list a little, to hopefully do-able, items. I'll review these things again mid-year and see what needs adjusting.

Newfoundland will be the first to see the New Year into North America, having the most easterly point at Cape Spear, so I'll take advantage of this to wish all those westward of me Happy New Year and know that those east of me have already toasted the New Year and are likely tucked up in bed by the time it reaches these shores. As for me, I'll likely be in bed too when it arrives. I've gone past the time when staying up, partying in the next year, was fun. Now its just plain old hard work and bed is a much more desirable choice. Yep, I must be getting old.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Coloured pencil on Stonehenge 9 x 12
Copyright Jeanette Jobson

I have come to the end of the commission and the final image is shown here. Now I have a couple of demos to do for classes in January and a lot of organizing to complete.

Tomorrow I will tackle a personal review of 2007 and share some plans for 2008. I just need to put them all on paper first. I like the reality of words on paper sometimes over typed words. There is something comforting about putting pen to paper, no spell check, no delete button. A quiet corner by the fire, a glass a wine and some reflections of the year past and the year to come.

Katherine Tyrrell of Making A Mark blog has awarded her 'Make Me Think' Gong jointly to me and Tracy Helgeson. I'm thrilled to receive recognition from Katherine and honoured to share this with Tracy whose work is energetic and writing always brings me straight into her life.

Katherine says:
Strong contenders in this category - which means people whose blogs I enjoy reading for the narrative as much as the images - are:
All three frequently refer to the wider aspects of how we live our lives, difficulties we have to deal with and approaches which seem to produce good results. They all speak about both everyday matters and bigger concepts in an everyday way. They often make me step back and think about what I'm doing and how I relate to what they are talking about. In other words they take my perspective out for a spin!
Of course no pressure now to write something thought provoking!

On top of that, Katherine also offered the wonderful Tripod up as a contender for "The Moose" Award - Best Animal in an Illustrated Blog. Tripod, my cat, is the character that captured attention both in photographs and drawings in 2007 and earned me a Best of Show as well for this drawing. Contenders for "The Moose" were varied and all excellent artists. Gayle Mason of Fur in the Paint was the winner of this year's award and so well deserved. Her animal drawings are superb.

Recognition from your peers is something that does several things. It provides confirmation that you're heading in the right direction. It provides an ego boost. It makes the hard work worthwhile and it makes the friendships forged in this unnatural environment real. It also removes geographic barriers and allows sharing of thoughts, resources and lives.

Thank you Katherine and to everyone who reads my blog, shares their thoughts and helps me learn. Perhaps we all need to start these end of year awards, based on personal criteria and input from other artists. Lots of creative little banners could pop up on blogs full of 'feel good' emotion and support.


I digressed a little from my commission work and started a portrait. It was more of a doodle to begin with then I got more involved in it. I haven't slept well lately, so early (4am) mornings seem to be a good time for me to draw. Fueled by coffee and a warm fire, I get a few hours of drawing in before daylight strikes the tops of the trees.

I liked the challenge of this image, trying to draw realistically yet sympathetically. I also find the length of this particular commission I am doing a bit monotonous. There are nine pieces, each have a similar shape, but with different expressions and colours. Its good to break away from it now and then and do a sketch or quick drawing.

Yesterday I cocooned on the sofa with chocolates and a movie while a snowstorm raged outside for most of day, dumping 32 cm of the white stuff. Of course, snow here is rarely the picture perfect stuff that falls straight from the sky. No, this stuff is horizontal snow, driven by 100 km an hour winds. It is often mixed with ice or rain so that if you venture out, it feels as if a thousand tiny knives are cutting into you. Hence the hibernation mode on the sofa....

I'm amazed at how quickly my time has gone by. Three more days then I'm back at work again and I haven't accomplished a quarter of what I wanted to. Its funny how I seem to need a deadline at my heels to spur me into action. I'll fill these next three days with some painting and a start of some demos for classes in January. As another 10-15 cm of snow is due tonight and tomorrow, there shouldn't be too many other distractions brewing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A cat's Christmas

The main event of Christmas is over and done with now, leaving me, among many no doubt, wondering what all the fuss was about. However, there are some good aspects to Christmas and it brings pleasure to some, including Tripod, the cat who thinks he's a dog.

Tripod loves paper of any kind, so Christmas wrappings were his idea of heaven.

He also loved his Christmas present of a bed, even if it is a bit of a tight fit. He has an army of soldiers to watch over him while he sleeps.

While the cat amuses himself, I'm kept busy finalizing a commission which is nearly completed. Then I will have a chance to review my year and make plans for the coming year. Its amazing when you write things down, just how much you have achieved. I'd encourage everyone to jot down some of the highlights of your year and make plans to surpass them in 2008.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Exploring the world

Curiosity, fear, intrigue, belief, wonder, fantasy? Any or all of the above could be present in my 11 month old grand daughter's face at her first encounter with the old gentleman himself. They also need to be present in all of us to create art. Its unfortunate that we often forget to use those same emotions and expression that we had as children. They serve us well as adults and especially well in the creative arts.

You can see the baby explore this person's face with her eyes, absorbing every plane, shape and colour. Its something she has never seen before. Its the same way that an artist explores an object when drawing or painting it. You see it for the first time as you use your eyes and pencil or brush to replicate what is in front of you.

I hope the holidays find you healthy, happy and looking forward to a new year filled with wonder and art. And most of all, I wish that you can rediscover some of your childhood wonder and interest in the world and include it in your next creative challenge.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Handmade paper

Candy canes
Coloured pencil 8 x 5

copyright Jeanette Jobson

Today has passed in a flurry of activity, none of which was really essential and it took time away from drawing and painting which I wanted to start. But there's always another day, but likely not tomorrow as Christmas takes over. But I hope to take some time to play during the day between meals and gifts and people.

I was sorting out my art cupboard today and found a pad of quite expensive St-Armand paper that I bought in Regina last month. It was my splurge at the time and its been sitting in the cupboard ever since while I find something interesting to use it for. Its classed as 'panoramic' size which is 9" x 20". I liked the sizing and thought it would make interesting landscape views. It was also available in a 9 x 10 block format as well. It seems like a fairly strong paper and the salesperson at the store said that it can be used for a variety of mediums, dry and wet. I'll experiment a bit with both and see how it holds up.

I already have some of the St-Armand Canal paper and Sabretooth paper. I love unique, handmade papers and they are a rarity these days, so accessing something when I am off the island is always a treat.

I have made paper myself several times and its an interesting activity. It takes practice to obtain a smooth surface to draw on and most of my efforts have come out as fairly sturdy paper. I often include herbs or flower petals to the paper or essential oils to provide fragrance to the finished product. It is really a summer activity as it involves lots of water and mess, so I do it in the garden on a nice warm sunny day which dries the paper fast on the frames.

For those interested in creating their own paper, there are lots of instructional sites online or contact some of the companies which provides supplies and finished products.

Paper Trail
The Paperwright
La Papeterie

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Good drawing days

1950's Reindeer Ornament
Graphite, 8 x 5
Copyright Jeanette Jobson

You know when you have times of good drawing, when things you try just seem to roll off the pencil or paintbrush without effort? These last few days seem to be like that, so I'm trying to fit in as much as I can while the moment lasts. I know there will come a time soon when I try to draw or paint something and it will not work, no matter what I do.

Its a strange phenomenon as it seems effortless on my behalf . I realize of course that this revelation may be simply subjective on my part and the observer may have a totally different viewpoint. Productivity and willingness combined with time availability may play a role in how drawings or painting progress. Whatever factors come into play, I'm enjoying it.

This morning I tackled one of final pieces that go on my tree. This is an old ornament, almost as old as me, that I had as a child. Its a simple plastic 1950's reindeer that I remember being filled with tiny red and green candies. It was in a box of old ornaments that came from my mother's house and is probably one of the last remaining ones from that era still intact. The plastic is yellowing and brittle with age, but it still goes on the tree each year and now I have captured it on paper. I may add some colour wash to it to give it a bit of life. But its currently in a sketchbook and that means I'd have to transfer it.

That will have to wait while I take advantage of the good drawing fairy's visit first!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Marketing and creativity

Pen, ink & coloured pencil 8 x 5
copyright Jeanette Jobson

My mind, like that of other art bloggers, turns to introspection this time of year. A review of what I have accomplished, what succeeded, what didn't, all come in for scrutiny. And I'll write a more in-depth post about that once I've had more time to sit back, relax and consider it for awhile.

I know I've broken new ground this year and will continue to push myself forward into 2008. I, like most artists, find it difficult to be the marketer of my own work. Is it fear of rejection, or the uncomfortable feeling that comes with putting a personal part of my visual expression out for judgement? Perhaps its a bit of both, but I know I hate doing it, but it is an integral part of an artist's life if sales or recognition is wanted.

In reality, I am an introvert. I hate crowds of people and being engaged in meaningless conversation with total strangers, no matter who they may be. Oh, I can hold my own in conversation in these situations but the 'fight or flight' instinct is kicking in big time all the while as I look for an escape route.

Creativity mean I need to spend time away from people and with people. I can't produce well if I have a crowd of people around me. I do draw around people when I do demonstrations. I find it easy to tune out people to some degree in that situation until someone asks me a question and brings me back down to earth.

So marketing always feels strange to me and I do everything I can to avoid it. I would simply like a manager to deal with all the one on one negotiations with buyers and exhibitions etc to let me just produce.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this feeling and others find it odd that I don't want to be busom buddies with the world. Its part of my makeup and what I need to create. However, I don't have a manager, so I still need to deal with the world to market my art and believe me, its a painful process at times for me.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I haven't had much time lately to do any more than sketches here and there for personal art. I've been busy working on the masks and tinkering with slight changes to them. I've been waking early in the morning likely because I have a lot on my mind with work and other things, but it gives me a chance to draw at that time of day, so this sketch of a 1920s mother and baby fit the bill the other day.

I find it difficult to allot time for my blog these days and feel guilty if I haven't made an entry for a day or two, so I try to get at least three entries a week. I remind myself of why I created the blog initially. It was to make myself accountable and in that accountability, productive. Well the latter works, but often interrupts the accountability process in that I don't have time to write down thoughts or share processes all the time.

In a couple of weeks it will be my blog's 2nd birthday. That's a lot of writing and drawing and photographs - more than I ever thought I had in me. Its interesting to go back over entries and see life events unfold - illustrated life.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Band Aid 1984

Twenty three years ago in London Do They Know It's Christmas was created and performed to draw attention to world hunger. And it still has the same impact today as it did in 1983, at least to me. I was living in England at the time and remember the concept, the music, the musicians and the flurry it caused with the press and the government at the time when they insisted that the VAT be paid on any sales of this record. Bob Geldof went head to head with Margaret Thatcher's government and won. The government allowed VAT to be donated to aid the cause.

Wikipedia has a lot of information on the event and the players involved:

The original 1984 Feed The World logo was based on a pencil sketch by Bob Geldof after watching a BBC television news report by Michael Buerk from famine-stricken Ethiopia, was so moved by the plight of starving children that he decided to try and raise money using his contacts in pop music. The news report itself has become famous, being voted among the greatest television moments of the century, and it remains Buerk's definitive work, even though most of his career was spent as an anchorman.

The name 'Band Aid' was chosen as a pun on the name of a well known brand of adhesive bandage, also referring to musicians working as a band to provide aid and alluding to the fact that any help stemming from their efforts is likened to a band-aid on a very serious wound.

The group has reformed on three occasions, each time from the most successful British and Irish pop music performers of the time, to record the same song at the same time of year. Co-writer Midge Ure once commented: 'Every generation should have its own version'.

I did a quick sketch of Bob Geldof, just for fun. Office pen and grid paper aren't the ideal mediums, but art is art. I tweaked it a little to remove the grid lines - or most of them. For those old enough to remember the original music and the original players, have a look at the video for some memories. See who you recognize now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Portraits in oils

I've decided to tackle a serious oil painting in the form of a self portrait. Its been awhile since I've done much in oils though I have completed a few small ones and even sold one of my new efforts recently.

I have always loved oils and used to work a lot with them. There was then a lean time when I didn't produce much with oils as there was nowhere to keep them out, small children wanting to get involved, fumes, etc etc. But now I want to revitalize my skills with them but in a looser form perhaps, a more painterly form.

I have completed a line drawing and will enlarge this onto a gallery canvas I think and see what I can come up with.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Rowdy does Christmas
pen & ink, coloured pencil on Canson
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I've been working on a commission lately as well as teaching so haven't had a lot of time to make any new starts on major drawings or paintings. I've done a few sketches this weekend, trying to fit them into small time slots where possible. These will be the basis of future, more elaborate drawings and I want to try my hand at a portrait in oil. I'll likely try a self portrait first, then I don't have to apologize to anyone for screwing it up.

Early this morning I did a little pen and ink sketch and added some colour to it. It was from the Weekend Drawing Event at WetCanvas and took me about an hour to complete. Its whimsical and could hold the potential for a Christmas card. I used a Nexus pen in sepia with touches of coloured pencil. I like mixing media and the results are always interesting.

This afternoon I taught a drawing to some children. Its amazing sometimes just how quickly the time goes by when we all engage in something that captures their attention. That happened today and its wonderful to see the concentration and those 'aha' moments when they understand a concept or technique. Teaching children always held a bit of fear for me, but the more I understand how to keep their attention and with what, the more fun it becomes.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Drawing time

Christmas Present
Pen and ink, 7 x 5
copyright Jeanette Jobson

My internet connection at home has been sporadic over the last week or so and getting a service man out here seems to be a challenge. However, this morning someone arrived and the problem seems to be fixed - touch wood. Its amazing how much we depend on the internet connection to keep us in touch with a variety of things. Email from friends and colleagues, research, price comparison, shopping and art are just some of things that compete for attention.

The good aspect of not having access is that it enables me to work on my drawing uninterrupted by 'must dos' that always seem to be electronic. And getting sidelined into other sites and losing track of time!

Last night I sat down to watch the news and the old rocking chair across the room was filled with the remains of wrapping material from the previous day's wrapping frenzy to get a package off to my sister. The light was dim, mostly illumination was from the open kitchen door and the television, so I decided I'd tackle the wrapping chaos. I did a quick pencil sketch to establish shapes then tackled it in pen and ink. I used a Micron pen in what looks like burgundy ink but I believe its classed as sepia.

Pen and ink is a little daunting initially to many, but I find that especially in 'busy' pictures like this one, it becomes a very forgiving medium and I enjoy the effect that can be produced with it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Sketch -- garlic and jar
8 x 10 graphite
copyright Jeanette Jobson

You know how sometimes you try to get organized and you get too organized and it screws everything up? I did that this year. In the summer I decided I would be ready for Christmas. There would be no big rush, no spending huge dollars at the last minute, no stress. I would be organized. Hmph. Doesn't quite work like that, does it?

I spent last night looking for gifts that I bought for people during the summer. Unsuccessfully looking for them. I searched in all the places I usually stash things. The bottom of the art cupboard. My closet. In the back of the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom. The cold room. I found a couple of things which weren't Christmas presents. Like the Baci chocolates I bought in Regina last month. (they're not bad and you get a little saying in each one). I found a gift left over from last year that was edible at some point, but likely stale by now. But not the things I was looking for.

So tonight, in the snow, I ventured into some stores to 'refind' some gifts. Why is it that when you don't want something or haven't got the money to get something, things literally jump off the shelves screaming 'buy me, buy me!', but when you want something and have the money there isn't a thing in any store anywhere that looks remotely interesting? I came home tired and with some things.

Likely on Boxing Day, the gifts I was looking for will turn up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Turkey day

On Thursday, the Christmas turkeys go to the processor. The date was changed and is earlier than anticipated, so it means they'll be popped in the freezer for a week instead of fresh. It makes no difference to the texture or taste of the bird as there are no accelerrants used in the freezing process. When you are dependent on the schedules of others, dates and times get changed so it causes a flurry for a few days to coordinate it, but usually works out.

The turkeys are rather strange looking birds, quite prehistoric but have their own charm. They are so curious about the world around them and people who come to visit them. They love to be amused with a big red ball and feed bags stuffed with newspaper and hung from the ceiling act sort of like those punching bags in a boxer's gym.

But they must go - 94 of them this year and all sold - most prior to them even arriving here as day old poults. I always feel sad when they go, but they've served their purpose in life. I like to ensure that people know where their food comes from and are aware of the process and those who care for it and help it grow. These days we take it for granted that everything comes on a sterile tray or bag in a supermarket or for those who still have butchers, hanging from a rack there.

Raising animals gives you a new respect for their life, and our life and view of the world.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A star is born

Iridescent Star
Coloured pencil on cardstock
Copyright Jeanette Jobson

When I wake up early, I'm usually very productive. And waking early is a by-product of getting older - at least for me. So this morning I was up at 5am, well before dawn, wrapping Christmas presents, making lists, drinking coffee and drawing.

There was a little iridescent star on the table that started as a sketch then kept evolving then turned into a Christmas card for someone. I don't send a lot of Christmas cards so a few sketched here and there act as surprises for those who receive them.

This star isn't symmetrical and isn't perfect, but its a star and considering it was created at 5am, not too bad.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


It snowed again today and as I left the house, the contrast of the red berries with their snowcap caught my eye, so I went back in to get the camera and capture it.

The birds make short work of these berries once the weather turns cold and crows carry off bunches, sitting in the tops of trees, eating them like grapes.

The tree is the mountain ash, but locally it is known as a dogberry. I don't know how it got this name as the tart berries definitely wouldn't be the food of choice of dogs. However, the lovely colour against the snow makes beautiful in-built Christmas decoration for the trees.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


My work days seem to get longer and longer lately, at least for the job that is the main earner. My art work is still trying to catch up and not doing too badly this month. But tonight I didn't get home til around 7:30. I had a late conference call then out into traffic and snow.

When it snows, mystery traffic seems to materialize. A person without snow tires or an accident, and everything comes to a grinding halt for what seems like eternity. There wasn't that much snow on the ground, perhaps 5 -10cm but it made driving slick in places especially when you hit the snow outside the furrows left by other cars on the road. I do dislike winter, and especially dislike driving in snow.

On weekends I teach drawing to children and have to have something - or things - up my sleeve to keep their interest, so this weekend it will be anime/manga drawing. I don't have much experience in drawing these kind of figures, but the concept seems pretty straight forward and the techniques of drawing anything is still the same, so this is what I'll be tackling. They're strange creatures, these doe-eyed figments of imagination, but children and teens seem to think they're wonderful. Everything goes through phases and this no doubt will be the same.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Name change

Colored pencil on Stonehenge 9 x 12
Copyright Jeanette Jobson

My surname is Jobson. A very simple name. J O B S O N You'd think it would not be difficult to read, write or remember in the English speaking world, wouldn't you?

But it is apparently. I have received mail, government forms, cheques and documents all bearing variations of my surname on them. Today was a new variation. Gobson. It would be funny except that it was on three separate cheques from an organization that I spent two hours with filling out forms with my name and other personal information in order for them to get it all correct! Sigh. I'm going to change my name to something more simple. Smith? No....too complex....I think I'll go for X. I'll become the new Madame X, just without the controversial gown. That's a bit too chilly in the snow.

Rant over. Now on to more interesting things.

I'm heading towards half way through a commission of the 9 emotions of yoga - the rasas. I'm doing them in coloured pencil and each mask will be a different colour. There is a fine line between depiicting some of the emotions. The tilt of an eyebrow or eye can make all the difference. So far I've completed Joy more or less, which is shown here, Calmness, Disgust and Sadness.

Those emotions sort of sum up my day so far.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Seasonal show

The little oil painting of figs that I did sold at today's show. It was one of the first of my re-emergence into oil paints after a long period of working mostly in dry media. I did a few small oils and am still playing with the medium and trying to find time to do more pieces as well as familiarize myself with the painting process.

I quite liked this little piece and was toying whether to keep it myself or let it go. The play of light and the colours of the figs was one of those happy accidents almost. Sometimes paintings just fall off the brush onto the canvas, other times they need a lot of thought and work put into them. This one was the former. It just seemed to flow without much assistance from me.

Oils on canvas board 5 x 7
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Today's show did remarkably well considering that the weather was atrocious. Rain, snow and wind dampened spirits and peoples' ability to get around. However, there was about a 30% sell rate which is remarkable considering that it definitely wasn't from passing foot traffic today. The setting was lovely and overlooked St. John's Harbour, pretty, despite the horizontal snow.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Silver bells

I would rather teach drawing that my pupils may learn to love nature, than teach the looking at nature that they may learn to draw. (John Ruskin)
I was teaching a class and needed something reflective for them to draw so picked up this silver bell. I love reflections and how they distort their surroundings. While class was drawing, I sketched the bell and if you look carefully you can see some of us in the drawing.

Tonight I'm finalizing my pieces for tomorrow's show. I'm actually on top of things before a show for a change! All I need to do is pack everything into my portfolio and drop it off in the morning. I promised to do my volunteer stint tomorrow at the show. I firmly believe in giving back in terms of volunteer time. Volunteerism is dying - not slowly, but quickly and many I speak to, cannot understand why I give my time without any money attached to it. Its just inbuilt at this point I guess. And you get back in many other ways that can't be reflected in financial terms.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Burning match study
Coloured pencil on black mi-tientes paper

copyright Jeanette Jobson

I saw this little reference and realized that I'd never tried drawing flames before and there was no time like the present. There are successes and weak points in it, but I enjoyed working on it and rather like the overall effect, even if cropped a bit.

Its a weekend and they don't seem to exist much for me anymore. My schedule on the weekend - well every day - seems to get busier and busier. As long as I don't think too far ahead, it works out fine.

I spend Saturdays prepping for drawing classes on Sundays and during the week and making sure I have lessons in place and demos in hand. This weekend I also have an exhibition that I'm putting some pieces into and I'll have to spend some time 'show sitting' as a member of the board. I don't mind that, in fact, its rather fun to people watch and get a chance to really look at the drawings and paintings that people have produced. The only spanner in the works is that its supposed to snow on Sunday. The first snow of the year so it could make driving a bit of an adventure. We'll wait and see.

I do have a commission for a set of nine drawings in coloured pencil, depicting the nine emotions of yoga. I've started on the first one and its a little eery with a eyeless face looking back at me, but with a calm expression. I'll work my way through the emotions and use a different colour for each to try to tie them into the emotion being drawn.

I've also picked up another private lesson to teach which I'm fitting in between a strategic planning meeting and life. I'm considering offering some additional private lessons to see how much demand there is for it locally. If there is enough demand and commissions arrive, I may reach the point where I'l have to make some decisions about the levels of my regular job and my art job and how they overlap. But that's the future. Right now I'm just drawing and wishing for more hours in my day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I started this sketch of my daughter's dog Jessie while I was in Saskatchewan. Jessie wants to play. Always. 24/7. Her favourite game is 'pullthistoyoutofmymouthandmakemegrowl'. This becomes a dangerous game when its a little toy, as fingers get mistaken for toys.

Jessie can destroy any dog toy that's ever been invented within 30 minutes. Huge rawhide dog bones, indestructable dog pull toys, ropes, 'guaranteed not to break' toys, anything. She methodically dissects them like a little boy dismantles a clock to see how it works.

The room is littered with dog toy corpses soon after she gets one. Christmas consists of Jessie sitting whining next to her 'present' til she gets to chew it to bits. More toy corpses.

I guess someone needs to tell the dog toy manufacturers that their indestructable dog toys aren't quite so indestructable after all. Hey, perhaps they could use Jessie as a dog toy tester!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Study for cat's face
graphite 5 x 5
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I can never resist doodling eyes while waiting for inspiration to hit. This expanded a little past the eyes, but still has the therapeutic effect of small strokes making an image arise out of the paper.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mother Goose - complete

Mother Goose
Graphite 9 x 12
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Here is the final image of Mother Goose completed and framed (the little spots of white are the reflection of the camera in the glass). There were a few more tweaks to get it right after digging it out from the pile of unfinished drawings in the cupboard in my studio.

Some things are worth salvaging and this image had the 'awwwwww' factor in it so it was a keeper. I'm not sure of its final fate quite yet, most likely on a wall somewhere in my house - unless I get a better offer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Still life

This is the start of a possible still life drawing that is needed for a demonstration. I always love the line drawing part best. I love the clean simple shapes and there is always the fear that adding values will change it into something that I won't like. Of course the values will give it a different illusion, and that is always interesting too. It rarely becomes something that I dislike, it just changes it into something different.

But I still love line drawings.

I do most of my drawings freehand and only use a grid if I really really have to get a perfect likeness. It means that I have take more measurements and really observe carefully to ensure that proportion is correct. There is no shame in using tools to help achieve the final result. A grid or even tracing simply provides the framework for a drawing. Its down to the artist to make it all come together.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Psychedelic Designs

Psychedelic Designs
Marker, ink, coloured pencil
copyright Jeanette Jobson

This is the demo for the design class that I taught the children today and they lapped it up. Freedom of expression, colour and creativity brings out the best in kids it seems and the soar on possibilities. Its very reminiscent of the 1960s psychedelic designs. There are a number of designs created either under the influence of a mind altering drug of the time or stone cold straight. Mine was the latter by the way. Check out Psychedelic Artists for some interesting pieces of art.

Though it had little influence on the mainstream, the Psychedelic movement in design represented a surge in innovation and experimentation that was in keeping with a larger post-war artistic renaissance of the 1960s and 1970s. The backdrop for the movement (which was preceded by the Beatniks and followed by the Punks) is popularly imagined as a whirlwind of drugs and hippies, rock 'n' roll and love-ins. While this may seem a romanticized generalization, it is indeed impossible to extract the movement from the startling developments in the youth culture of the time. Its aim was simple: mind-expansion through visual representation.

As it spread throughout the U.S. and Europe, Psychedelia pilfered from past art movements such as Art Nouveau, Op Art, and Pop Art. Many designers borrowed from ethnic clothing styles with layered colors, patterns, and textures. The result was a synthesis of vibrant colors and exuberant typefaces, which were distorted and warped until the images almost appeared to be fueled by their own movement. Designers, including Peter Max, Victor Moscos, and Wes Wilson, infused their work with a cool and groovy vibe, combining bright and garish colors straight out of an acid flashback. Images trailed off the page, as if mimicking the curling tendrils of marijuana and incense smoke. At the heart, Psychedelic designs were not meant to be viewed, but experienced. The designs sought to capture a vivid moment in time, a certain flash of the mind's consciousness. Rules were made to be broken -- and they were.

There are aspects of teaching children that I find daunting. I'm searching my memory to remember what my girls liked and disliked at the 8 - 12 age range and that memory is limited. So I experiment on friends children and research and read a lot about those age groups, find out about their limitations and expectations.

The kids that come to the class are more precocious than I remember mine being and talk about everything and anything. The kids I have taught talk to me about personal things that sometimes surprise me, sometimes not.

Kids are exposed to so much these days - something I never let my kids do until the age was right. I was the strict parent. Standardized meal times, bed times, monitored television and film watching for age appropriateness - that seems to have all flown out the window. However, I'm not there to judge, simply to show them drawing techniques and make it fun. So far so good. The crows of 'cool' seem to reflect that I'm doing something right with that age group.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


graphite 8 x 5
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I've been writing my 'to do' list for this weekend and it is longer than my weekend. I've made some progress however, despite an afternoon nap which lost me an hour or so. This little drawing wasn't on my list, but just happened from a reference in a weekend drawing thread that I found interesting.

Getting that jumble of lips and noses in the right position was fun. The boy's mother took the photo and his girlfriend obviously wasn't impressed at being spied upon, therefore 'the look'. I always say that you never really see something until you've drawn it stays true for me. The exploration in detail of a kiss makes the process seem rather strange. I wonder who ever thought up kissing?

Despite thoughts of kissing, I've managed to complete the prep for my kids drawing class tomorrow and the adult one and made a start on prep for the December classes. Already I have to turn my mind to January as they want my schedule for that month.

Tomorrow's children's drawing class will be all about design with some interesting explorations into imagination, colour, values, depth, etc. My demos are turning into 1960s pop culture pieces or else I'm reverting! The clear, bright colours are an interesting change from my usual graphite.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fortune cookies

My business life is being controlled by fortune cookies. Yes. Shocking I know, but true. I did a strategic planning day a couple of weeks ago, then went for Chinese food afterward. We each laid out our 'fortunes' and they seemed so appropriate that perhaps there just was something in them. Or we simply wanted them to be that way, more like. I like to think these three phrases will guide my business work in art over the next few months - or until the next meal of Chinese food!

Actually I had an ulterior motive for this image too, I thought it might make an interesting drawing, despite its poor lighting. Something may come of it if I can squeeze in some time. I have a whole day to myself tomorrow and I'm almost giddy with the thought of it. Oils, drawing, coloured pencil, watercolour, what will I tackle?

What's in a name? Perhaps not a lot, but the concept is the same with a provincial art procurement program. So I'll submit a piece and hold my breath to see what becomes of it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'm still working on a symbolic self portrait for I class I was doing with Armin Mersmann awhile ago. I became a bit unstuck trying to figure out what to put into the right side of the drawing, but I think I have figured it out now. Or I hope so. I've been looking at the work of Vija Celmins lately and becoming inspired. If you don't know her work, please go and look, you'll be glad you did. She is an extraordinary artist with exquisite drawing ability.

Province Announces Newly-Renamed Art Bank and Submission Deadline for Purchase Program

Tourism, Culture and Recreation November 16, 2007

In keeping with national and international practice, the Provincial Government today announced the Art Procurement Program has been renamed the Provincial Art Bank. "The term Art Bank better reflects the nature of the collection and the purchase program associated with it," said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. "This program is of considerable significance to artists’ careers and livelihoods, and it is appropriate that its name be aligned with similar programs in other jurisdictions." No other changes have been made to the annual program, which is open to visual artists residing in the province. The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery will continue to administer the program and care for the works purchased.

Artists are advised that January 15, 2008, is the deadline to submit work to be considered for purchase. After the submissions have been collected, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery will assemble the jury and manage the selection process. The results are expected to be announced by the end of April 2008. Submissions can be made through an artist’s commercial art gallery or
dealer or, if an artist is not represented by a commercial art gallery, submissions can be sent directly to The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery,
addressed as follows:

Attn: Collections Technician, Art Bank
The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery
9 Bonaventure Ave
P.O. Box 1800, Stn. C
St. John’s, NL A1C 5P9

Artists are reminded that they must provide images of the work to be considered in either digital files or 35 mm slide format, as per the submission guidelines. Detailed submission guidelines and submission forms are available at, or by calling 709-757-8047. "The Provincial Art Bank collection includes significant works by both well-known and lesser-known artists," Minister Jackman said. "Displayed in Provincial Government offices and public spaces, these works reflect the cultural expression of visual artists, over time, and are a lasting legacy for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."

The Provincial Arts Bank budget for 2007-08 is $125,000. Established in 1982, the Art Bank has more than 2,500 pieces of artwork.The Provincial Art Bank Program recognizes and promotes the works of Newfoundland and Labrador’s visual artists by exhibiting original art in public buildings. This program offers visual artists a chance to showcase their work to a wide audience, while also increasing the public’s general awareness of the importance of arts and culture in our daily lives. The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery manages the submissions and adjudication process, as well as providing ongoing support and care for the acquisitions. The art bank jury is made up of representatives from the arts community.

Media contacts:
Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
709-729-0928, 697-5061 Deanne Fisher
Director of Marketing and Development
The Rooms Corporation
709-757-8070, 691-5681

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You are invited

My local art association is holding another exhibition on December 2nd and it would be wonderful if you could join in. These will be small works, no more than 130 square inches for the image itself. It should make for some more affordable pieces to tempt Christmas shoppers in the downtown core. I have one piece earmarked for the show but haven't got much further than that yet. I have a deadline looming to make a decision, so should do so by the weekend or before.

Today I'm nursing a slightly bruised ego. None of my pieces were chosen in the City's art procurement program. Sigh. I sort of figured they wouldn't, but there's always that sliver of hope, isn't there? It seems rejection and art life go hand in hand. I try to never let take it personally and even if nothing sells, I still have my art and name exposed to a whole new market, which is a very good thing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The kiss

Study for The Kiss
Charcoal and conte
Copyright Jeanette Jobson

I saw the photo for this piece on Maggie Steifvater's blog. Its two of her dog's seven (!) puppies. The lighting was perfect, the colour was wonderful and I knew as soon as I saw it that it would make an amazing drawing or painting, so I asked if I could use it. And Maggie said yes.

She had named the photo 'The Kiss' and it is so appropriate, it will stay as the title. Its funny how we create a story in our heads when we see an image. This one seems sweet and innocent but the reality is more like this:
I was out playing with the puppies in the yard and they were romping and suddenly my eye was caught by the pumpkins and the light on the step. Must put puppy on stair. So first it was just one. But oh no, one's not enough. Up went the second. Snap snap snap the kiss! Which turned into a bite, and then the one jumped/ fell from the stair and took off. ;)
See how you went 'Awwwwwww' as you looked at the image and now I've ruined it for you. Sorry. But its still cute.

Thanks Maggie!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


These days people on planes are so engrossed in those little television screens built into the backs of seats, they are oblivious to anything anyone else is doing so sketching is usually undisturbed, except for comments by attendants or passengers on their way to the washrooms.

I've reached the end of my 'red' sketchbook and filled it with more images from traveling. I'm considering what the theme of my next sketchbook will be - colour again? More ephemera to add interest? Altered paper? I love the little stack of sketchbooks that appear in my art cupboard. They are proof of production and I like to take them out and thumb through them, remembering places, people and subjects. I see themes throughout them and understand how I have moved and grown as I progressed in time.

Today I taught a class but was still tired from my trip and rushing around ever since. I wasn't in the best of moods for a variety of reasons but had been asked to attend my god daughter's confirmation tonight. I really didn't want to go, but knew if I didn't she would be disappointed and I had obligation in my role as god mother to do so. So I went. The last time I was in a church was when my god daughter was christened, nearly nine years ago. So not bursting into flames as I entered the door was a good sign!

I don't have any religious leanings in me. For the most part, I find religious centres and leaders rather hypocritical. I enjoy learning about religions and how they are structured, their rituals and traditions, but I have no desire to become actively involved in one.

I had similar feelings tonight as I went with my god daughter for her to kneel before the bishop and be confirmed. He was a kind man and the ceremony itself brief. There was the child's usual giggles and chatter that covered up some worry about a first communion. "I have to drink wine! Will it taste funny?" There was that doubting, cynical part of me that sat through the service and read through the prayers and thought 'Someone prove this to me. Someone show me why I should buy into any of this ritual?' Who can get a degree in theology, then claim their calling was from 'god'? Which god?

However, the children were happy to have it over with, the adults equally content and all dispersed to the church hall for cups of tea and left over cakes and cookies from the previous day's fall sale. Another milestone in life safely tucked away, recorded on digital cameras and filed in memories.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Black Christmas

Buying art is the same thing as falling in love. - Nohra Haime

I was given a great 2008 calendar from an art gallery that I visited in Saskatechewan. SPAGA produced a very popular 2007 calendar apparently, so they're doing it again. And its free from SPAGA member galleries! The prints in the calendar are large and well printed and this is one calendar that won't disappear into a drawer or worse.

The little glass snowman is one of my favourite Christmas ornaments. I had produced a pen and ink drawing of him a year or two ago and thought I'd try my hand at him again for a class on hand drawn Christmas cards that I'm giving. The drawing is done in coloured pencil but not completely finished, just the scarf and some smoothing out left to do. Its drawn on black card stock, that comes with matching envelopes. Black Christmas?? Just another unique twist on a bizarre season already.

Using black paper has its drawbacks and the colours change and seem to sink into the paper. Its a challenge working on it, but rewarding when it does come together.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Home home on the range...

I've spent the last week on the prairies Saskatchewan, both in Regina and Moose Jaw. I've been fitting in both business and pleasure, visiting my daughter and trying to catch up on writing some course curriculum and the inevitable drawings that accompany it. And today I got to see some bison, albeit from a distance. I do enjoy my time on the prairies and have a love affair with the land and sky which expands and surrounds you and is unlike any other landscape. I always go out of my way to find grain elevators too. They are so evocative of another time and stand as monuments to farms and farmers.

I'm creating a course on drawing animals in coloured pencil which will go public in the near future. I'm honing my writing skills and hope that what I put on paper in word form somewhat matches expectations from those taking the course.

I've had a couple of days to unwind and this mid-week break is my 'weekend' as I'll be doing a demo on Saturday and teaching courses on Sunday then back to my 'real' job on Monday. I was emailed by one of the organizers of the Health Care Foundation's fundraiser that there was some interest from a couple of people for possible commissions. Commissions are starting to come through now and I may be in the position of putting people on a waiting list if it continues, depending on schedule. Or I'll just see how fast I can produce work! For the work that I do, which is usually high realism, speed usually isn't a factor. But it depends on the size of the piece and exactly what an individual wants.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Blog posting may be more sporadic for the next week as I'm in Saskatchewan for meetings and to spend a couple of days with my daughter. I'll try to fit in some sketching and some photos when I can to share and keep for the future. I love the old grain elevators here and they are more a rarity now with farms closing.

I'm in the process of writing some lessons for an online class. I've done this before, but its always a challenge as the left and right sides of the brain compete for attention at the same time. I have to separate the two tasks and its usually the drawing part initially and I draw a bit then explain what I just did in language that I hope people will understand. I've been doing snippets in planes and airports today as I try to play catch up on the backlog.

I did get three pieces into the City of St. John's art procurement program and will have to wait til the 21st of November to find out if any were chosen. Even then, I have to check online as they don't contact individuals who have applied as there are too many I'm told. At worst, they will reject them all and I'm ok with that. It gets my name and work out there and you never know who is on the jury.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Paying it forward

I was browsing Vivien Blackburn's blog and came across a new blog meme - Paying It Forward. The concept of this is karma - you get what you give. Vivien will provide 3 individuals with a piece of her art work on the promise that they make the same offer on their blog. How could I resist the opportunity seeing one of Vivien's beautiful little watercolours or sketches in person? So I left a comment and hopefully will be lucky enough to have been one of the first three individuals to do so.

So often we guard our knowledge in art in the hopes that it gives us an edge either on drawing or painting techniques, materials, where the latest sale of art supplies is or imparting knowledge to students. I have been trying hard to dispel that trait in my life by sharing what I know and what I possess with others. It can be something small such as sharing tools with an budding artist or sharing the latest news about an opportunity to enter an art show. Or it can be more elaborate such as taking the time to create a personal gift of art or spend time to show someone how a drawing is produced.

Karma does come to those who give. So I, thanks to Vivien's (and many others) posts I am offering some of my work to those who will, in turn, do the same on their blogs and in their lives.

I will provide an art piece - I don't know what size or medium at this point - to the first 3 artists who leave comments on my blog. This time of year being busy, so the work may not go out til later in the year or in the new year, but it WILL go out. Those who do sign up must promise to share their abundance with others and do so publicly on their blogs.

For those who were not in the first three to comment, consider doing something for someone to make their road to art easier. It doesn't have to be a big thing, even a random supporting message is often what someone really needs to help them over the hump of a particular day. Share your good ideas and deeds with me. We can all do with inspiration to help others.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pareto's Principle

I'm deciding on an image to use for a class on drawing animals in coloured pencil. I'm toying with using Tripod as the model and am just working out the final lesson plans now. I have a lot of it in place in various forms from other classes. I just need to pull it all together in 4 blocks to make up the sessions. Sometimes the curriculum development becomes trying and I'd rather just draw!

Years ago in a business management class at college we were taught about Pareto's Principle The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule and the law of the vital few) states that in many things, 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist is credited with it. He observed that 80 percent of the land in Italy (and every country he subsequently studied) was owned by 20 percent of the population.

Over the years, he and many others observed this rule in action in different spheres. Some examples:

  1. Relationship: Twenty percent of the people you know (friends, colleagues, family) provide you with 80 percent of nurturing support and satisfaction.

  2. Business: Twenty percent of customers will account for 80 percent of profit.

  3. Productivity: Twenty percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your success.

  4. Gardening: Eighty percent of garden peas are produced by 20 percent of the peapods.
The value of the Pareto Principle is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 percent that matters. Of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent produce 80 percent of your results. Identify and focus on those things. When the fire drills of the day begin to sap your time, remind yourself of the 20 percent you need to focus on. If something in the schedule has to slip, if something isn't going to get done, make sure it's not part of that 20 percent.

I've discovered in building the art side of my life that it seems to involve everything except art itself. There is marketing and promoting, planning, scheduling, developing curriculum, teaching, critiquing, framing, travelling, schmoozing, art shows and all the other things that take place for a piece of art to seem to appear out of the ether. I spend about 20% of my time devoted to the art of drawing or painting. I fit it in whenever I can as I know that my art production is the key that drives all the rest.
Pareto's Principle, the 80/20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on the 20 percent of you work that is really important. Don't just "work smart", work smart on the right things.