Saturday, September 01, 2007


I've made a start on Ruby, the boxer in coloured pencil. I can't say that boxers are my favourite dog, but there is a certain interest in drawing such an unusual face.

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

Friday, August 31, 2007

Medicinal herbs

I have been neglectful of my medicinal herbs since re-immersing myself in art. What was a glorious expanse of orderly patches and rows of plants has become somewhat tangled and overgrown with unwelcome volunteers springing up between the original plants.

I am a trained herbalist and had over 50 varieties of medicinal herbs which has now dwindled to about 25 with the pencil being more active than the garden fork these days. Of course that isn't counting the wild herbs that grow here such as dandelion, clover, yarrow, etc. The comfrey has exploded and I think I have enough to supply most of North America right now. Comfrey has deep roots that tend to be invasive. You can dig it out, but if you leave a small piece of root in the ground, a new plant will sprout from it.

Someone had run the tractor plow over the comfrey patch one autumn day to cut it back and chopped up and spread the there is a forest.

There is a giant group of elecampane plants sitting on the edge of the manure pile and loving it, if the size of the leaves and height of the plants are anything to go by. Its flowering now and is one of my favourite herbs. Its a wonderful plant for stubborn coughs and respiratory problems as well as aiding digestion and having antibacterial properties for topical use.

I think that during September I will try to incorporate my art and my herbs and try my hand at some botanical drawings of them. A herb a day for September? It may be ambitious but you never know til I try.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Black and white or white and black? Its the age old question about zebras' colouring.

My thinking was, do I draw the stripes first and then start modeling the structure or create the form then add the stripes? As you can see I started with the stripes and am now adding some form to the body.

I've never drawn a zebra before. Its another of those perceived difficulties, like glass or water - or flowers in my case. All those stripes! Its methodical and very graphic but an interesting exercise.

"From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. but all I have done before the the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy five I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokosai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.' " ~ Hokusai, The Drawings of Hokosai.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Mother Duck
11 x 14 watercolour
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I played with watercolour for the sketch done a few days ago. I still need more layers and of course the scan doesn't look anything like the original.

Watercolour works so beautifully sometimes and other times can turn into a muddy mess. Overworking is a big challenge and keep the colours pure and fresh. I'm using a 24 set of Winsor & Newton half pans that I bought too many years ago to remember, which shows just how frequently that I use watercolours.

Each time I use them I say that I need more practice and love the process even if I am a little impatient in the drying times. What I would like to do is take a watercolour class with a good teacher that would push me in the right direction and undo some of my bad habits in the medium.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I am doing an ATC swap with another artist, Jeanne Grant, even though I'm in the midst of a trade online right now. Jeanne mentioned that she'd like to to have something of mine, especially my cat Tripod, so I agreed and did this little card yesterday. It's watercolour and a touch of colour pencil. The blue ear? Well, let's call it artistic license and the unpredictability of watercolours.

Tripod likes to get involved when I draw, making it near impossible to do much when he is around, so I retreat to my studio upstairs and he gives me a little space then - well sometimes.

Jeanne has done a beautiful card for me in return of one of her dogs, Friday, as a puppy. It will be wonderful to receive this ATC and see it in real life.

I'm still practicing with working in such small sizes and do find it difficult to be accurate and realistic. I think the more practice the better for these, but I don't think I could constantly do them, the tiny size would become too frustrating and my need for space would overcome. However, it is an interesting challenge to see what I can fit into the 2.5 x 3.5 space.