Thursday, March 06, 2008


Storm clouds
Charcoal on mi-tientes
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Insomnia seems to be present a lot lately and it has both benefits and drawbacks. In the predawn hours I can achieve a lot once I get some coffee and my head clears a little. The disadvantage comes later in the day when fatigue sets in early.

This is the result of this morning's early rise. I quite enjoy drawing with charcoal lately. The tinted paper fills the midtone nicely and allows me to create contrast with lights and darks.

Its been awhile since I've tried drawing clouds and the filtered light drew me to this. On my drive to work in the early morning, I often see these rays of light hitting the surface of the ocean and always wish I'd had my camera with me or the chance to pull over away from the traffic to take a photo and capture that fleeting moment.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Teaching observation

In life class my instruction is loose and relaxed. I go from easel to easel, encouraging, guiding and instructing less experienced individuals on how to construct the figure in front of them, but so much of that instruction is teaching the person how to observe.

I use a sketch pad and show angles of limbs and body contours, how to measure and judge proportion, using intersecting body parts as markers and invisible lines to measure angles. Each time, I find it interesting to see how much people really don't' see when they look at the subject. When a correction is pointed out, it becomes apparent and they can refine their drawing, while I try to remember what I observed in my very early days of drawing.

I'm sure I was the same. I didn't see the subtle changes of value representing shadow or the slight curve of the torso, the angle of the leg, how it intersected with the foot or calf of the other leg and so on.

After 30 years or more of drawing, I can capture lines fairly well, but if I did not practice daily, that skill would slow and limit my ability to draw effectively. Some individuals who attend life class don't do any drawing between classes. Something that I am trying very hard to change!

There are a few commonalities in those learning to draw the human figure.

1. There is little knowledge of human anatomy and proportion. Facial features are not symmetrical or in proportion. Torsos and limbs are either lengthened or shortened and generally not in proportion to the rest of the figure.
2. There is a habit of getting caught up in detail and forgetting the global view, especially in very short poses.
3. The habits of childhood are still ingrained in the adult and they flow forward into the drawing. Whether 16 or 60, the 10 year old's drawing still prevails until practice and ability grows.
4. The ability to observe the reality of the subject and translate that accurately onto paper is not suffciently developed and it can be a source of frustration for the individual.
5. Overall shape of hands and feet are challenging to draw and many individuals don't know how to block in overall shapes then refine the digits. (my mantra to them is 'think mittens and socks!'

charcoal on newsprint
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I didn't manage much drawing on Monday night, due to my attention being with those drawing. These are a few very quick sketches done mostly to demonstrate a line or form to another person.

Visual art is a way of seeing and expressing that thing seen in a manner not given to everyone. That statement could be misconstrued as prideful, but anyone engaged in painting as a profession knows that isn't true. (Ed Pointer)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cat scan

Tabby cat
2.5 x 3.5 coloured pencil on Stonehenge
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I have played with tiny drawings lately and am thinking of a small group of three or four in the same type of frames to exhibit at a show coming up at the end of March. These small drawings have impact in a frame that reflects their colour and gives impact to the piece. I'll be using a barn board frame in an almost khaki colour that is fairly deep, almost like a shadowbox in some ways for this piece. I just need a little mat to go around it and it will be complete.

The scan, as always, is disgusting and I'll take a photo if I ever arrive home or am at home in the hours of daylight. Work seems to capture most of my time lately and meetings are relentless an at all hours.

I did teach the life class last night, and didn't manage much more than a few lines in between doing the rounds of easels to help others. Next week, I'll be back on the other side of the easel and I can relax again!

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Sketches - kids drawing class
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Sketches - kids drawing class
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I love seeing the concentration on some of the kids faces when they're engrossed in the drawing process. That little tip of the tongue poking out from between clamped lips is the flagship for concentration. I don't know quite why that happens in some individuals when really concentrating. Its more prevalent in children than in adults and is an unconscious movement.

While the class draws, I take the opportunity to do a few quick sketches and their concentration usually lets me get away with it unnoticed. Spontaneous expressions and natural poses make for good sketches.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Shiny inspiration

When my muse decides to take a nap for awhile, I need to find other sources of inspiration and they turn up in strange places. Stores of all kinds inspire me. Especially supermarkets as they have piles of colourful vegetables and fruits and stacks of colourful tins or displays.

Today I was picking up some things at the supermarket and as I came around the corner of an aisle there was a self serve coffee bean display. The colours, shapes and reflections in the chrome made an interesting image, so I took out my cell phone which has a handy little camera in it and took a couple of shots.

People tend to give me odd looks when I take photos of supermarket displays but so far, no one has said anything. I still have niggling worries in the back of my head of being escorted from the supermarket...

What I'd love to know though is when you take images of highly reflective surfaces, how can the photo be taken without the photographer showing up in the reflections? I know it can be done as I've seen professional photos of shiny objects that don't reflect anything but light. But how do they do it???
In my wanderings, I also came across a little pair of rubber ducks with a life ring. Into the cart they went too and I played around with a sketch of one of them in coloured pencil.

Where does your inspiration lie? A store? A cupboard? An activity?