Saturday, May 17, 2008

Juggling art

Fallen Fairy - value sketch
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I'm currently juggling five drawing projects.
  • I'm trying to finish up the drawing for the Virtual Sketch project that is due tomorrow.
  • I started the background for a cosmos flower in coloured pencil
  • I'm still working on the 1460 self portrait - nearly there.
  • I'm on stage three of the glass tutorial
  • I've completed the value sketch for a portrait of a friend's daughter, which is above.
I love this last pose. The child is three and loves to dance. She was whirling around, wearing a floaty chiffon dress - her 'princess dress' as she likes to call it. She collapsed in a heap on the floor with the dress billowing around her and sunlight highlighting the dark shadows around her. It was perfect, so I took some photos. I will see what medium I do this in. It may end up as pencil or perhaps coloured pencil. I never seem to know until I turn my attention to the piece what it will become.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Art in the garden

Line drawing - White cosmos 8 x 10
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I am determined to get past the fear that I have of drawing flowers. Well not so much fear, but a dislike of the subject matter. So why don't I just draw what I enjoy drawing and not stress myself? Because I get lazy within my comfort zone.

Being comfortable doesn't:

...test my ability to observe.
...push me into an uncomfortable place and make me figure out how to get out of that place but keep the quality I want
...improve my ability to expand my technical expertise
...inspire me to try different subjects

I have drawn flowers off and on, mostly off over the last few years and am never really pleased with the result. Some are pleasant, but none outstanding. Today I did a line drawing of a white cosmos and buds. The shape is simple and I will do it in coloured pencil with a fairly strong contrasting background to make it stand out. Cosmos are one of my favourite flowers for growing in the garden. They aren't popular here as they are tall flowers -3 feet and more - and the wind tosses them around. I put them up against a fence in a sheltered spot and they are glorious.

Memorial University's Botanical Garden in St. John's has reopened for the season. Its still too early to enjoy blooms as spring, or the Newfoundland version of it, drags on with gloomy weather, making everyone depressed, cold and miserable. However, the Gardens are planning their 31st Annual Garden and Nature Art Exhibition and I may pluck up my courage and enter a couple of pieces. Perhaps one photograph and one drawing.

Submissions for the 31st Annual Garden & Nature Art Exhibition are welcome from local artists. Entry forms are available from their website or the Garden. Art exhibit submissions will be accepted at MUN Botanical Garden between June 3 - June 24, 2008, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The exhibition will be on public view Friday, July 4 - Monday, September 1 in both the conference room and display room of the field centre of the Botanical Garden, 306 Mount Scio Road.

The Botanical Gardens rambles over 110 acres of land within the boundaries of Pippy Park in St. John's and I drive past it each day on my way to work. I can glimpse signs of life in the perennial border and if the weather would only clear and dry up for awhile, I would chance a hike on one of the trails to get some photos and sketching done. The gardens expand regularly with plants that are hardy in Newfoundland and they also make seeds available at times which I have grown successfully. The best being a hardy clematis that took off like a rocket last year and has beautiful fluffy seed heads after the bloom has died.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Art manikins

Meet my new friend. She hasn't got a name yet and is a bit stiff, but is warming up nicely for her role in my what will be my new studio downstairs. I came across a sale on good quality manikins in an art store in Ottawa so decided I'd buy this 16 inch one. I used to have one years ago but with travels, kids using it for playing and just general over use, it became firewood.

Manikins are built in proportion to the human figure with flexible joints, allowing them to be posed in a variety of ways. Manikins are so useful for figure drawing from elementary to advanced artists and are great problem solvers when you haven't got the model in front of you. Besides human models, you can also purchase hand or foot manikins, even animal manikins.

I found this feather from one of the Embden geese as I got out of the car. It was so pristine and fluffy I had to pick it up and now the manikin holds it, waiting to be drawn. This may be the next drawing project...

Finally, a video of drawing an artist's manikin using geometric forms.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Drawing glass

Line drawing - broken glass
12 x 6 - mat board

For people learning to draw, the prospect of drawing glass, metal or water seems daunting and it is a question that I get asked over and over again.

This piece is the basis for a tutorial that I am creating for drawing glass. I love drawing glass or another other reflective surface. To me, its like a jigsaw puzzle. There are many pieces, consisting of light and shade and they only work when placed next to each other for contrast. Only then does the beauty of the surface appear as if by magic.

I start out with a detailed line drawing that can take quite some time, depending on the complexity of the piece. From there, I start putting the puzzle together, starting with the lightest values and working up the layers until I reach the darkest, leaving the white of the paper for the brightest highlights.

Establishing initial values - broken glass
12 x 6 - mat board

Drawing reflective surfaces demands patience and keen observation. If you take your time and slowly build your drawing, you will be rewarded. Drawing metal, glass or still water are all very similar in technical skills as they are all reflective surfaces. If you can successfully render one, you can render any of them.

I am using mat board for this drawing. I scrounged some samples from a framing shop as I wanted to test it as a drawing support. I quite like it! The surface is very similar to the Bristol Illustration board that I have used and is pretty forgiving. I will be using this again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

White on black

Broken egg
White charcoal on artagain 9 x12

I wanted to play with some dark paper today and this was the result. Drawing on black paper brings surprising results and each type of paper brings its own challenges. Some seem to just 'eat' the white and need several applications before it makes any impact.

The other problem with using white on black paper is that its difficult to erase cleanly. It erases fine in small areas that you'll be going over again, but for larger sections, there is a ghost left behind that doesn't disappear and too much rubbing will mar the paper's surface.

I'll keep working on this one and bring the smudged areas under control. I used some coloured pencil for the exposed yolk in this and like the touch of colour it adds. I'm not happy with the overall texture of the egg shell and will try to blend it to a smoother surface if possible.