Saturday, January 12, 2008

Weekend art

I don't know which are worse; week days or weekends. That is in terms of trying to stretch the time of the day into longer hours. I end up with such a long 'to do' list that I end up achieving little purely because the scope of the list is overwhelming at times. Tripod, as usual, tries to help but success is out of his range.

This morning I sketched out the beginnings of a couple of oil paintings, but got no further than that before the realities of day to day functioning took over - i.e., housework, errands, cooking, etc. So now its evening and I'm prepping for some classes tomorrow. I know the subject but find that teaching drawing can be wearing or will be until I get the curriculum to a place where I can revolve it. Its getting there and perhaps in another month it will be fine. The night before a class is always a scurry to ensure the class prep and demo is in place to my satisfaction.

My thoughts of some plein air sketching were dashed by rain before noon, but I may try tomorrow after class if I have any energy left by then.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Winter landscape

This is the view from my bedroom window in the morning. Although I'm not a great fan of winter, I love the pristine look of a new snowfall when everything is coated with white and all that can be seen are new tracks of animals to break the expanse of snow.

Even on a day filled with heavy snow clouds, there are still so many things to inspire art in this landscape. I need to be brave and get out there and take some photos and braver still, wrap up and settle into a snowbank for some sketching or painting.

And I will. The only problem in this province tends to be the wind. There nearly always is a 'breeze' which to most others means windy. So you fight against the cold and keeping paper, hair and scarves out of your eyes while you draw. But I will persevere. I still have my monthly Flatrock landscapes to make a start on and this may be the weekend to begin.

Watch this space!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Absence

Self Portrait
graphite 8 x 10
copyright Jeanette Jobson

While I was looking through some photo cds tonight, I found this image. It was the first self portrait that I drew after The Absence. The Absence was from art and seems to have happened to a lot of people for varying times from months to years. Mine was years.

When I lived in the UK, I did a lot of drawing even when the children were small, and was heavily involved in the art world and worked on both sides of the easel, as artist and model. I also worked a lot more in oils and watercolours then, something which I have to get involved in again. Sometimes life gets in the way of creativity. With smaller children around and no dedicated space to leave art supplies and active drawings out, it becomes easy to get out of the routine of making art. I still did occasional drawings and sketches, but nothing serious and most of my art supplies were stored away in boxes and baskets, waiting to see the light of day again.

Encouraged by a friend and wanting to fill that creative void, I started drawing again about 3 years ago and now it kind of takes over my life. My first images were hesitant and it took awhile for me to get back into my stride again. There are still mediums I am rediscovering and I always have lots to learn. My only regret is that I let so much time lapse before returning to the craft.

But I am making up for lost time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


For me there is something very satisfying about drawing spheres. So when I saw the reference for this image of shiny chrome spheres, I knew I had to draw it. In pen.

Its been awhile since I've used pointillism in ink and while time consuming, it is very soothing and relaxing. I'm using a .25 nib in a Rapidograph pen and black ink. What I have produced so far has taken about 4 hours.

I don't mind drawings taking time to complete. I enjoy the process and the slowness ensures that mistakes aren't made, especially in this medium. However, drawing time is a real stumbling block for beginning art students who want quick results, yet become dissatisfied when they can't achieve what they envision in their heads in a one or two hour time frame.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Liquid centres

Baby and doll
coloured pencil on Canson sketch pad 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I'm feeling virtuous tonight. I've just put in a couple of miles on the treadmill, deprived myself of leftover mince pies, ate salads all day,downed 2 litres of waters during the course of the day and found a liquid graphite pencil at Walmart.

Some things are meant to be. At work this morning it was quiet, peaceful, then punctuated by what sounded like firecrackers going off. Close enough. It was the power bar that the printers and router were plugged into. It decided that it was time to stop and wanted to do so in a dramatic way, with sparks and loud bangs.

After my heart stopped racing, I unplugged the thing, then headed off to find a new powerbar - or two. These things never go alone. So I headed to Walmart and picking up a few more things for the office I passed the pencil aisle. Well, I figured I'd have a quick look while I was there and found liquid graphite mechanical pencils. Are these new only to me? The brand name is Pentech under the trademark Liquiphite and are produced by Jakkspacific in California.
I grabbed a package and will give them a test run over the next day or so. A quick try showed that they apply like pen but are erasable. The graphite line is dark and feels a bit greasy to the touch - perhaps the binder that is used for the graphite - but it erases very easily. Online reviews are mixed, so it will be interesting to compare and see how it performs.

At Pencil Things there is a huge selection of pencils of all types for sale, some of which I'd never heard of before like the Chattahoochee pencil.
You can use it to write, draw and mark on most surfaces. You can erase. Yet it's not like any pencil you ever held. The unique composite won't suspend in paint, so you can sketch and paint over the lines. It won't smudge or rub off on on your hands, either. Builders' marks won't smear or wash away. The unique shape and different planes allow you to make lines of varying widths, while the curved back lets you do shading and rubbings.
On the same site, I found another form of liquid graphite pencils under the same brand name - Pentech, called Ultrasharp. These have liquid graphite cartridges enclosed in a wooden casing, so they look like ordinary wood pencils.

In yesterday's post, I had discovered liquid graphite from an Australian company and have found out that it is available in the USA from Jerry's Artarama only it seems. I can't find a Canadian stockist (surprise, surprise...) and haven't heard anything back from my email to Matisse Derivan, the Australian manufacturer.

Perhaps these will satisfy my curiosity for the moment til I can get the real thing.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Liquid pencil

I read about a newish product today (it was available summer 2007) and am intrigued with it and would love to try it. Liquid Pencil. this is produced by an Australian company - Matisse Derivan.

The video above shows Sue Raccanello using the product in a drawing/painting.

Matisse Derivan describes the Liquid Pencil properties:

Derivan Liquid Pencil is an innovative new product that allows you to create authentic graphite pencil effects and pencil sketches using a liquid. It has been formulated to be easily thinned with water or MM9 Acrylic Painting Medium (to maintain permanency) and allow for the softest of colours to be applied with a brush, nib, or other art tools. With a consistency of cream, and a different rheology, artists now have a wider scope for creating sketches.

Derivan Liquid Pencil is available in six graphite shades each with a permanent or rewettable formula.

Due to a precisely balanced formulation another great benefit of the Permanent liquid pencil is that it will “burnish up’ in a similar manner to traditional graphite but it will not smudge.

The rewettable formula will also allow you to remove areas using water – in a similar manner to watercolour techniques, or it is possible to use with a traditional eraser. Another advantage to using Derivan Liquid Pencil is that large areas can be built up and covered quickly and easily.

Each of the shades have a definite graphite colour, however, there are distinct undertones such as blue, yellow red, sepia and neutral in two different strengths to allow a great range of options for artists.

Free samples of the product were being distributed worldwide, but the offer has now ended, as I presume there was high demand, as there often is when samples are provided. I wonder what the success rate of samples are in terms of buyers of the final product. I'm sure that there are lots of 'freebie' seekers with kitchen drawers full of samples that are never used.

You can view the colour chart for the liquid pencil here.

I have emailed Matisse Derivan to ask if there is a Canadian distributer or if I can buy directly from the factory there. According to their website, it seems there are only Australian distributors so far.

If anyone knows any North American distributors of this product, please let me know.