Friday, January 18, 2008

Genuine Progress Index

My head has been filled all day with health information and statistics having attended a number of sessions at a conference held by the Wellness Coalition, of which I am a member of the steering committee, injury prevention committee and member at large.

The guest speaker today was Dr Ronald Coleman. Dr. Colman is founder and Executive Director of GPIAtlantic, a non-profit research group that is constructing an index of wellbeing and sustainable development for Nova Scotia as a pilot project for Canada. Dr. Colman previously taught for 20 years at the university level and was a researcher and speech-writer at the United Nations.

The Statement of Principles of GPIAtlantic are:

The Genuine Progress Index is based on the fundamental understanding that social, economic and environmental realities are inextricably linked. Although we conventionally measure prosperity by material gain, the GPI recognizes that true long-term prosperity and wellbeing are ultimately dependent on the protection and strengthening of our social and environmental assets. If these deteriorate, we are not living "sustainably" and we leave a poorer world to our children.

The Genuine Progress Index also recognizes that any index of progress is value-based and must answer the question "progress towards what?" The use of the Gross Domestic Product as a measure of progress is also value based, and assumes that "more" is always "better." By contrast, the GPI adopts a set of broader consensus values in which "less" may sometimes be "better," as in the case of crime, pollution and sickness.

As I listened to him speak, the GPI concept transferred over to the artistic side and, while his presentation was based on health, it could easily be applied to art as well. And, of course, I had to sketch Dr. Coleman as he spoke....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


My drawing class was cancelled tonight so I got a chance to do a little sketch of a baby that I may push further. The eyes and gaze caught my attention so I'll try to build on that and see if I can capture that soft clear skin as well.

At long last, I've lucked into a life class that will run on Monday nights. I missed the first one as I had to work late, but hope that I can make it to the others. Its been a long, long time since I've attended life classes and I'm looking forward to getting back into it again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Its in the mail

Ground cherries
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Or will be in the next day or so.

Tonight I'm finally getting my PIF (Pay It Forward) pieces ready for the mail. Back in November I participated in a PIF by offering pieces of my art to the first three people who responded to me. And now, after holidays and commissions are gone, I can concentrate on getting those pieces out to individuals.

Those receiving art will be:

Shirley - Shiri Me!
Rose - Rose's Art Lines
Connie - ArtFair Calendar

and because of a technicality, a fourth person. One of the individuals sent her response to me on a different post so I couldn't refuse Paulette as the official # 3.

Paulette - Becoming a Renaissance Woman

I hope everyone enjoys the art that I send and that your own PIF ventures are satisfying. I know I have enjoyed the process. I may institute something similar on my birthday in March.

I grew these Ground Cherries last summer. They're unique little plants which are also known as Cape Gooseberries, seem to be almost a weed is some parts of the country. The small fruit is golden when ripe and is encased in a papery skin. The taste has a hint of pineapple to it, sweet and very pleasant. These were my irresistable plants as I seemed to eat them constantly and always searched for the fruit when I was in the garden or greenhouse.

This is an unripe and ripened version. I love how the gold of the fruit shows as a shadow of colour through the creamy paper skin.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Watercolour pencils

I bought a couple of Derwent Aquatone pencils in my continuing quest for the best drawing experience. Aquatone pencils are solid sticks of colour that can be sharpened like a pencil. They don't have a wood casing, but simply paper. It lays down well as dry media, but isn't eraseable. It behaves very similarly to other watercolour pencils, but I found that the washes are smoother and more like traditional watercolour. Watercolour pencils can be a bit grainy at times and difficult to manipulate into a smooth wash.

I chose burnt umber to do these sketches of a kitten (no Tripod doesn't have a new friend) and a study of an Embden goose. Seeing as these sketches were done at 5am, they are at least recognizable as animals. The kitten reference was foreshortened, giving it that wide eyed, slightly bemused expression.

My electric sharpener won't take the thicker Derwent pencils, and my hand sharpener wasn't cooperating (or was it the early hour?) so I couldn't get a decent point to the pencils and found that a little clumsy when trying to draw with the Aquatone. I think they're better for filling in with colour, however in small spaces you do need that sharp point, so its work experiementing the sharpeners to get one that works well with these pencils.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chrome balls update

I've been dotting away at this pen and ink drawing over the last week and am slowly getting to a point of completion. The technique is quite relaxing to me and I can get lost in it very easily, not noticing how time slips away.

I have to wrap my mind around some marketing for the drawing classes to keep up the flow of participants. The store where I offer the classes doesn't do anything more than generic marketing for the drawing classes, so it becomes a bit of a challenge to work around all the other things there to capture people's attention.

I'm planning a blitz this month and next in the form of bag inserts and brochures as well as displays to hang in prominent areas in the hopes of attracting people to the courses. There are a steady flow of people, but numbers vary from week to week. I'd rather teach on a larger scale, as its just as much work to teach for one as it is for ten people, and economically to my benefit if I have more participants in the classes.

By the time I did a double class today and got home it was 3:30 and had turned cold again, so Flatrock plein air wasn't a reality this weekend, even if my intentions were good. However, I may take some photos on my drive to work in the mornings this week. I love the light in the early morning and there are a number of interesting places to photograph for reference, even if I can't linger too long. There's always next weekend...