Saturday, July 26, 2008

Virtual Sketch Date image

Carbon pencil and white charcoal on mi-tientes 5 x 7
copyright Jeanette Jobson

* I've changed the original image here as it was a digital photo and didn't truly represent the paper colour. This is the scanner version and is much closer to the real life image.

Sunquats was the subject for the July Virtual Sketch Date and the reference was supplied by Leslie. I had never heard of sunquats before this but a llittle research shows that they are a cross between a lemon and a kumquat, with edible rind, like a kumquat. Somehow I doubt I'll ever see them here.

I have to say I struggled a bit with the image, starting out with coloured pencil then abandoning it. Still life subjects don't usually hold my interest, especially fruit and flowers, but in the spirit of the VSD I thought I'd have another try.

This time I did a tight crop of the photo then using the smooth side of an orangish toned Mi-tientes paper I used carbon pencils and a touch of white charcoal to complete the piece.

It really is good for me to go outside my usual genre. I know I can do it, I just choose not to most of the time as the subjects don't interest me as much as people or animals do. However, once I have done a piece outside my comfort zone, it is satisfying, as if I've crossed another hurdle.

We never stop learning.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The stash diet

This moose track was found in the field after some rain we'd had. The moose have been so frequently wandering across the planted field that barriers and electric fences have had to be erected to keep them from trampling/eating plants.

My art cupboard is burgeoning under the weight of art supplies. Papers that I haven't touched, well, except to fondle in passing. New sets of pencils that have barely been sharpened that sit in pretty tins waiting to be used. Canvases, paints, gesso, brushes, books, magazines, the list goes on. And I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation.

I draw regularly - daily - and I use mostly a few sketchbooks and some larger stock paper. My main tool for drawing is a mechanical pencil (and yes, I have a half dozen of those too) yet I go to an art supply store and come out with something else. Or I see something new in an art forum or online supply store and I want to try that.

So I've decided that I'm going on a diet. A stash diet.

From now until 2009 I will not buy any new art supplies, but only use what is in my stash. The only exception will be if I run out of a staple, such as basic paper or a sketch book (like that will happen she says). I will make a dent in the supplies in my cupboard. I wonder what's in there these days? Let's see....well a quick look shows me what's there in paper.

4 pieces of smooth Illustration board
Bristol plate 500 & 400 pads
A pad of Canal paper
At least three pads of Bristol vellum and smooth
A roll of white Stonehenge paper
Somerset paper
A pack of Colourfix paper
Ampersand panels
Sanded Sabretooth paper
three watercolour pads
scads of canvas panels and stretched canvasses
and more......

I think I have some work to do - or hold a garage sale? Confession time. Do you dare reveal what's in your art supply stash?

Does anyone else want to join my stash diet? The rules are simple.

1. Work only with the supplies you currently own until December 31, 2008.
2. Do not buy ANY other art supplies between now and January 2009.
3. The only exception to rule # 2 is if you are COMPLETELY out of basic supplies such as general drawing paper (or whatever your main support is), your favourite pencil has died or the dog crunched up the last of your only Alizarin Crimson oil paint tube. (but I suspect you have another tube stuffed away somewhere don't you?)
4. You may wander in art supply stores in real life and online, but you cannot buy anything. Remember you are reducing your stash. Doing this, of course, can be a form of mental and physical torture so wander wisely.
5. As an added incentive, you can put away a little cash each week so that by the time January rolls around, you can hit the sales for new art supplies! I'm aiming for about $10 a week. That would give me about $220 to play with in January. And a much reduced art supply stash at home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sport and art

This is a quick line drawing of a Canadian international lifesaving sport competitor in a beach race events. I love the lines and movement sketches of athletes provide. With the Olympic Games coming up in a couple of weeks, its prime sketching time, sitting watching the competitors in various sports and trying to capture the motion.

The work I do deals with both humanitarian and sport aspects of non profit work. The sport is lifesaving. Lifesaving sport is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and is unique because it is the only sport in which skills are learned for humanitarian purposes and only then applied to competition.

Lifesaving sport is divided into six different disciplines including; pool events, ocean events, Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC), Stillwater boat competition, surf boat competition and the inflatable rescue boat (IRB) competition. With this type of diversity it is easy to understand why this sport has been deemed the most demanding multi-discipline sport in the world.

This week - July 19 - 27, 2008 - is National Drowning Prevention Week in Canada. The week is designed to draw attention to the drowning problem across the country and to encourage Canadians to stay safe in, on and around water.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Revisiting a portrait - 18 years later

Draft portrait - Robert William Barber
16 x 20, oil on panel
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Ok, I have that watercolour/self portrait thing out of my system for the moment. Now I need to concentrate on some other projects, one of which are some test illustrations for my daughter's wedding invitations.

I haven't been given a lot of direction in what they want as the backdrop for the invitations, except for ideas for an old sepia map of Newfoundland or coastal scenes in blues. I'll work on a few test pieces and see if anything appeals to them.

I found a 16 x 20 oil portrait that I started of my father before he died, which was 1990. I had the bones of it in place, but then he died and it got pushed to the back and I had more or less forgotten about the portrait until I unearthed it last weekend.

I would like to finish it, but haven't got the reference image that I used for the original piece. I'm hoping that with what I have done so far and some other photos or him, I can make it work. The background was toned with black - I need to lighten that and bring in some other colours so it won't be so stark. Its also difficult to get a good photo of the portrait with that very dark background. I'll try again tomorrow with better lighting to capture the composition and overall feel of the piece as it currently exists.

Monday, July 21, 2008

First cuppa

First Cuppa (adjusted)

I adjusted the shadows in this piece as the scan below just didn't reflect the depth of values and was washed out. These colours are now very similar to the real life version of the sketch. I also adjusted the hairline, bringing it further down the forehead. Its still not perfect, but its better.

First cuppa
watercolour pencils, 9 x 12 140lb watercolour paper
copyright Jeanette Jobson

This is the last watercolour of the early morning trio. My cup of coffee to start my day in a giant anniversary Tim Horton's mug.

I'm not happy with the scan of this and can't seem to tweak the colours into good behaviour. I've also muddied the colours a bit. I wanted pure simple colours without too many adjustments but that didn't quite happen, so this may be a do over some other time. Watercolour can be one of the most difficult mediums to master and I am definitely no expert in it, but I enjoy seeing what I can coax out of the paper.

I rushed putting this together and the proportion isn't quite correct. I don't like the hand position and the shading isn't right in a lot of areas. But its only paper and always good practice to keep on trying.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Watercolour pencils, 9 x 12 140lb watercolour paper
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Another sunny morning and another self portrait. And no, I still haven't found my set of watercolours. I used the watercolour pencils once again and added a few graphitint pencils too.

Every portrait that I do of myself seems to look entirely different but I enjoy the process, even if I am not always entirely pleased with the end result. I'm in the mood to experiment with colours in portraits and see what I can get away with but that will still be representational.

Its quite amazing how viewer's eyes 'read' unorthodox colours and accept them as representing the form they expect to see. Is it shape that is recognizable and the colours are ignored or is it the values not the colours that create the form?