Saturday, March 15, 2008

Still life - food

Garlic, artichoke hearts & capers
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I made the mistake of going to the stores today. I needed a new microwave as my other has about as much power in it as a mouse's biceps. Of course, I didn't consider that its a week before Easter and people were hauling off loads of chocolate as if it were going out of style. That, coupled with the fact that yet another snow storm is due tomorrow, turned normally sane people into insane people.

I never understand that hoarding obsession that overtakes people at the thought of a holiday or impending house arrest due to a storm. Its only a day. ONE DAY! But people stock up as if its the end of the world.

In the end I got my microwave, despite jostling crowds and no staff assistance, to get the monster box into a trolley and then into the car. So now I'm playing with food again. I had a couple of jars and the sun was coming through the window so I experimented with reflections and colours. I'll see how they translate into drawing soon.

And yes, you see into my tastes - literally - in food, but not necessarily eaten at the same time.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Cherry Spring
6 x 6 Canson
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I so often work in monotone and as a rule I love it. But I craved some colour. Perhaps it was the snow day yesterday that flattened my vision of spring for another few weeks but sparked my need to put something bright on paper.

This is a 6 x 6 piece done in coloured pencil on Canson paper. The cherry is my throwback to realizm and the background - well I'm not sure quite what the background is or even if it is finished yet. The background has an abstract feel to it, which is far removed from what I usually do. But the colours pop and create my own version of spring.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Baby portraits

graphite, Canson paper 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I've had this start of a portrait of Kiora, my grand daughter, on my drawing board for a couple of months. So last night and tonight I decided it was time to see if I can make a go of it.

Ninety percent of my portraits are done freehand, with the other 10% being gridded if they are complex or commissions where I know an exact likeness is very important. This was freehand and I'm not 100% sure about the eyes just yet. Kiora had just woken up from a nap in the car seat and was staring balefully at the photographer with a serious look.

I still need more practice on drawing babies and she's a good way to get this in. It also forms a lasting memory of passing time in her life. This portrait commemorates her first birthday which was in January.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Comfort zone

At my life class last night I was able to draw instead of monitor and instruct as needed, so it felt good to get back into it again. I am always itching to draw at the classes when I teach. Its ingrained.

I was determined to come to grips with broader sweeps of charcoal as well as a more detailed sketch of the model's face. I resorted to pencil for my face study. Graphite is my comfort zone and I distinctly relax when I use it. Its like sinking into a comfortable chair. I know what it does and what to expect from it. I know the same from charcoal, but I tend to use it in a tighter way on a smaller scale.

Going large, 18 x 24, let me experiment and puts me outside my comfort zone. Its always good to be stretched outside that zone and see what comes of it. Sometimes its good, sometimes the results are less than wonderful.

As always we start out with one minute gesture drawings. They're never my favourite, but like broccoli, you have to do it cause its good for you. I tackled some 20 minute poses in charcoal, using the side of it to achieve shading without a lot of line.

Finally, I rewarded myself with the last 20 minute pose in graphite. I wish I'd had longer with the face, but there's always another time.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Older artists

Office interior
Graphite, Canson sketchbook
copyright Jeanette Jobson

"Age gives you the freedom to do some things you've never done before. Great work can come at any stage of your life." (Will Barnet)

There are a number of individuals who have discovered or rediscovered art at 50 plus - including myself. The benefits of aging upon creation are interesting. Having lived longer means that you have been exposed to more life experiences, both visual and emotional and this can impact how you translate concepts into visual form.

How does your work change as your get older? Or does it? Do physical frailties affect artistic practices? Is your style recognizable over time?

Photoshop Recreates Aging Impressionists' Eye on the World

There are also some interesting articles and projects specifically for and about older artists which give a greater insight into the joys and challenges of being an older artist and can be translated into any population anywhere in the world I believe.

The Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York released a 210-page report on December 3, 2007 titled Above Ground: Information on Artists III: Special Focus New York City Aging Artists.
Claiming to be the first-ever study to examine the lives of elderly artists in New York, the report is based on information gathered from 213 New York-area artists, ages 62-97 (146 of these were professional artists), on everything ranging from health insurance and legacy planning to identity, satisfaction and professionalism.
Dale Copeland is creating a 2009 calendar created from 12 images selected from artists aged 65 and older worldwide. Offer up your work and your bio and your image may be chosen.

Robert Genn's article in The Painter's Keys: The Aging Artist

Sue Smith's blog - The Ancient Artist

Random Thoughts of an Aging Artist

The National Center for Creative Aging

Aging through the Eyes of an Artist

Visual Artists Research Unit - Artists are ill-prepared for getting old

Aging, Creativity and Art: A Positive Perspective on Late-Life Development (The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging) by Martin Lindauer explores the relationship between aging and creativity among artists .

Aging Artfully by Amy Gorman.
The book challenges stereotypical perceptions and expectations, and documents that old age can be gratifying and filled with creative expression

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Supply source

charcoal, conte, pen & ink
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I justify my stash of art supplies by the fact that I live on an island and have problems accessing some of what may be basic art supplies to others who may find them in an easy trip to a local art store. Yes, I can find the basics here and the variety is growing, but then I read about or see other types of paper, paints, pens, etc. online or when I travel and I realize that there is a void in my supply source locally.

I use mail order a lot to get art supplies, both in Canada and the USA or when I travel, I do my homework beforehand to make sure I know where the best art supply stores are and ensure that I'm within easy distance of getting to them.

There are challenges in shopping online. I can't soak up the atmosphere of the store. I can't browse and touch and see the supplies. I can't touch the paper to feel its weight. I have to trust the colour on my monitor not my eyes when choosing paints, coloured pencils or pastels. I have no impulse purchases, no bargain bins, I don't see the 'specials'.

With the Canadian/US dollar being pretty much on par now, I can can cross border shop more easily, but savings are often negated by shipping, duties, and brokerage fees. However, the USA often has supplies that I just can't access in Canada. Or not at a price I want to pay in Canada. So I usually do some American shopping a couple of times a year and suck up the fees that go along with it just to enable myself to access a wider variety of supplies.

I have a number of art supply stores that I mail order from and the list could be endless if I had the time to track them all down. But I wonder where are the REALLY good ones? Where are those little backstreet gems that you whisper about to others as you don't want to spread the word too far in case the exclusivity you've created becomes the norm?

Its time to share what you know with others.

  • Where is the art supply store that you frequent locally?
  • What is your online source for art supplies?
  • What makes them unique and what keeps you going back?
  • Do you have a wish list of art supply stores anywhere in the world that you'd like to explore?
I have some of the sources that I use on my Squidoo lens, but that will be growing as I find more and explore their possibilities.