Saturday, August 16, 2008

This little pig went to market...

The pigs went to the processor last Friday and I was sorry to see them go. I become over attached to some animals on the farm and the pigs are one of them. I know they are intended for food, but I still treat them as pets, going to see them and rub their noses which they love. I felt more guilty than usual when this group of five went. I had secretly given them names and their personalities came through as they grew.

They were loaded into specially made crates and put on a trailer for the trip. At least the day was warm and sunny and they seemed to enjoy the warmth. Even the trip from the barn to the trailer, sailing through the air via a forklift on the tractor didn't faze them.

I won't go into my rant about animal treatment, except to emphasize once more, that the world needs to know where their food comes from and demand humane treatment for raising animals.

Goodbye piggies...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Starving artist sales


My holiday in part is taken up with remodeling my kitchen. That task is moving ahead but does take time - and money. To top it off today, a new refrigerator had to be purchased, as the old one is on its last legs and keeps weeping onto the floor, looking for sympathy. With that dent in my bank balance, I'll be the original starving artist, just one with a new fridge.

I've done some thinking about art sales and how they are sold and have branched out into a couple of areas to see if they will work. I have put some of my jewelry and art pieces on Etsy and have also started a new sales blog - The Starving Artist's Daily Sales. The purpose of the second blog is for art sales only which cover a range of prices, making art affordable for everyone. Daily sales is not so much the time frame in which I should produce, but more the fact that individuals can find something on sale every day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More local sketches

Pouch Cove - First to see the sun
8 x 5 moleskine sketchbook, Pen & ink
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Today was another lovely day so I took a little time off from my kitchen renovations to do some sketching and soak up some sun. I headed northeast to Pouch Cove, where I once had a house overlooking the ocean. I sat on a bench at the edge of the cliff and watched the waves crash against the rocks and felt the sun warm me while I sketched this scene.

Pouch Cove (pronounced "Pooch" Cove), is one of the oldest settlements in Newfoundland. The exact date of its settlement is unknown but it is documented early as 1611, only 28 years after Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed the island for England. Pouch Cove's dangerous harbour was the primary reason for its early settlement. Although this sounds paradoxical, keep in mind permanent dwellings were forbidden by law in the 17th and 18th centuries. A dangerous harbour kept away Royal Navy ships seeking the illegal settlers, as well as the pirates who preyed on them.

I then drove through the backroads and ended up in St. John's, where I headed towards Bannerman Park. This park was opened in 1891 by Sir Alexander Bannerman who donated the land for a park.

The Bandstand, Bannerman Park
pen & ink, moleskine sketchbook
copyright Jeanette Jobson

The park was busy with people today, as many inner city people come there to sit in the sun or take their children to the park to play. The ink was running out on my pen and I did a hurried sketch of the bandstand in the middle of the park. I hadn't had many people comment today but in the park a less than savory person, who probably was fairly harmless, kept hanging around striking up a conversation and picking up old cigarette butts so he 'could have a puff later'. "What can you do when you don't have no money?" he said, perhaps hoping that I would find something in my bag for him. I decided it might be a good time to move on.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gummi bears

Gummi bears study

carbon pencil
copyright Jeanette Jobson

Gummi bears scare me. They also taste disgusting, more the texture than flavour, all rubbery. You don't so much chew them, but mash the rubber into a form that you can swallow.

Have you ever really looked at their little faces, if you can call them that? They look like a cross between aliens from outer space and those little pottery Inca god statues. They're quite creepy...

Despite their drawbacks, they are fun to draw and this study was a warm up for a colour drawing I will do of some gummi bears. I took some photos today on one of those rare moments when some sun broke through the clouds and it made the little aliens glow with light. Or maybe they do that anyway.

The decision now is what medium to do a colour version in. Coloured pencils, oils, pastels....

Other facts about gummi bears:

From Jason Freeny at Moist Productions, a little lesson in gummi bear anatomy...
  • The Gummi Bear originates from Germany where it is hugely popular under the name Gummibär.
  • The traditional Gummi Bear is made from sugar, glucose syrup, starch, flavouring, food coloring, citric acid, and gelatin. There are also some types of Gummi Bears made with pectin or starchgelatin, making them suitable for vegans.
  • Gummi bears, and other gummi candy, stick to teeth and may cause tooth decay. However, gummi bears containing the cavity-fighting additive xylitol (wood sugar) are now being tested.
  • There has been some concern that gelatin, a key ingredient in most gummi bears, may harbor prions. Prions are misshapen proteins that cause BSE / Mad Cow Disease in cattle and CJD in humans. Based on studies, the United States FDA and various other national organizations and countries consider the risk of BSE transmission through gelatin to be minuscule as long as precautions are followed during the manufacturing process.
Finally, oddest of all, gummi bear art.

Monday, August 11, 2008

WIP portrait

I've attempted to show a work in progress of a watercolour self portrait. As usual, I got over involved in the creating process and forgot to take all the necessary images that are needed to understand just what I did to get to the final image. This is painted on Canson 140 lb paper 11 x 14.

The bottom image is my trusty box of watercolours, well used and well loved along with the line drawing.

I then did a wash of yellow ochre and burnt sienna to cover the flesh.

I started the background, using loose washes of cadmium orange and ultramarine blue, then added some basic value shapes to the hair.

I continued to add layers, working all sections of the portrait. using similar colours. My palette consisted of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, cadmium orange, sap green. Its there where the stages got lost to my creative instincts.

I continued enhancing shadows and refining shapes til I reached the final image. There are parts of it that I like and several parts that I don't like. The colours aren't as transparent as I wanted - I know I worked it too much and muddied it in places. I also know that passages aren't as dark as they need to be. I am aware that is a constant challenge for me, to increase the darker values in watercolours. But each piece brings me a little closer to where I want to be.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Watercolour portraits

Self portrait - line drawing
copyright Jeanette Jobson

.Its been another grey wet day so I've been practicing some portraits. This is the start of yet another self portrait. I'm trying this in watercolour and this is the initial line drawing. I've had to darken it a lot to be able to show it here, so the edges are a little greyed too.

I've done a few watercolour portraits over time and though I prefer dry media, I like to paint from time to time. Watercolour does take some planning and I probably spend more time thinking about where I'll place my next stroke, what the dampness of the paper should be or if I've chosen the right colour or value.

I have an ancient set of Windsor & Newton watercolours that I bought when I lived in the UK. That in itself shows how infrequently I use watercolours! Ancient or not, they work beautifully and when I haul out my old brushes, it brings back memories every time.

I've been asked what palette I use in my portraits and I find that very difficult to answer as it varies so much for each subject. However, there is a base of 'flesh' that I tend to use which consists of yellow ochre, burnt umber and burnt sienna applied in varying strengths, depending on the subject and the lighting. I keep adding layers trying not to overpower the piece or muddy it. I've been playing with different colours in shadows and hair, trying more intense blues, greens and purples that look a little unorthodox, but the values work.