Saturday, October 11, 2008


coloured pencil 9 x 12

I'm calling this drawing done but I'm not happy with it at all. Its one of those that will be relegated to the 'bin drawer' where images that don't measure up to expectation go. I don't throw out bad drawings. Sometimes I try to revitalize them at a later date or I review them months or years later to gauge progress and remind myself of past faux pas.

I'll put it down to a variety of environmental effects that came together to ensure that this didn't work to the level that I wanted.
  1. A new support - I used Colourfix for this and it was the first time I truly used it to build an image. I need more practice on the surface and how it accepts coloured pencil
  2. A hectic schedule - I've been trying to fit this into snatched moments here and there without having a block of serious time to sit down with it.
  3. Self doubt - I'm still working my way out of a serious lack of inspiration and have found it difficult to get involved in any piece in any medium for the last couple of weeks.
  4. Bad photography - I've found it is near impossible to get a good photo of this piece. The light at either end of my work day is impossible and today was dark and damp so the light didn't improve a lot.
Its good to go through the process of analysing drawings or paintings and accepting that not everything goes as planned. Its also good think about the external and internal factors that may play a role in the success or failure of a piece and just move on from there, not dwell on the mistakes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Entertainment or Learning?

I did a quick search on YouTube for drawing videos. The return that came back was 249,000. For painting videos, a search came up with 324,000.

I get requests to make drawing videos from students and have declined to date because I am not sure just how beneficial they are to the learning process. Yes, some learning is achieved through demonstration, but I wonder if any research has been done as to how many people actually learn and retain information from art related videos or are they simply entertainment?

I know I am old school and learned the traditional way from practical theory, life demonstrations and hands on practice. So yes, I did have those demonstrations but done in addition to books, lectures, professors, art instructors and my own self discipline in practicing the skills I learned.

I've watched several videos, professional and amateur that show drawing specific subjects and I have to say I have not really learned anything new. I have enjoyed watching someone else's technique or say to myself, 'yes, that's how I approach it too'. There is usually a basic shape or gesture drawing that is then refined through accelerated frames to a final product, making the process look very easy. For the beginning artist, it may make it look almost too effortless in some ways.

Is there a difference in how an individual learns a drawing skill from a written form with illustrations a demonstration in real life or a series of 5 minute videos? And what about retaining that information or honing the skill from each of these methods? Done in isolation, videos do make it look easy - and quick. That is just what today's society wants and expects from everything. The populace wants skills that should be effortless and without a time commitment involved but be professional looking as well.

I have been looking for any research that has taken place on the use of video in teaching art techniques, drawing in particular but haven't been too successful to date. So I'm turning to my experts, the readers of the blog to see if they can shed some light, or at least their two cents worth, on this subject.

Is video demonstration simply a trend that is used for entertainment or is it a valid learning tool?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Entrance to St. John's Harbour

Rocky ledge - Logy Bay

Kelp and white rock reflections - Logy Bay
Savage Creek Cove

Even though I live on an island surrounded by ocean, I seldom draw it.

I love the water. I love its ever changing colours and movement. I love the sound of the waves hitting the beach and tumbling the rocks. I love that 'seaweed/fishy' smell that is only there on certain days. I love the power of the water, knowing it is strong enough to take me away forever in an instant and my respect for it grows each time I am close.

I see the ocean everywhere I go here. I drive less than five minutes from home and I can be on the flat rocks that lead to the water. I pass the sea on my way to work each morning and always check it to see the colour, assess the tide, and check the weather as if the water were a barometer. But I haven't seriously drawn the coast here. And I should.

Vivien Blackburn does heavenly images of seascapes that always inspire me with their colour and movement. Each time I see them, I swear that I will try my hand at capturing that light and colour and rocks myself.

For now I will share a few photos of the ocean that I took at the weekend. It was very windy on the day I took these photos, especially the one of the entrance to St. John's Harbour, I nearly blew over the side as I was high up on Signal Hill.

The waves and wind's movement over the water are as mesmerizing as were the mermaid sirens that lured sailors to their death in legend.

I must go down to the sea again....and this time paint it!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Art & volunteers

The Thinker
Pen & Ink, coloured pencil 8 x 10
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I have worked for most of my professional life with volunteers and for volunteers. I also am a volunteer myself in the art world. I worked on the board of directors of my local art association and am a volunteer teacher/moderator on an online art forum and have done for the last two years.

For those who don't work in the non profit industry - or the art industry for that matter - volunteering is a foreign and often dirty word to them. 'Why would you work for nothing?' I hear over and over again. 'What? A meeting at night?'

Volunteers are simply staff that aren't paid for what they do. I treat them the same way I do staff and as a volunteer, I expect to be treated equally well. And I also expect that the effort that I put into volunteering does not cause undue stress or that I am used or abused in that position.

In the world of art online, people expect a lot from an art forum. They never consider that what they are getting is some of the finest instruction from experienced artists for free. And often they come to expect - or demand - it and more without fully realizing the work that behind the scenes to make the finished product come to them or the fact that these individuals also have jobs and lives besides their volunteer roles.

So try to understand what volunteers do in your community; the impact they make; the work that is carried out by them and the dollars that are saved by local and federal governments through the work of volunteers.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Comfort curls

Shannon I
line drawing 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I'm taking a little break from the tomatoes and spent the weekend sketching, photographing scenery and starting the line drawing for a new portrait.

Weekends for me are full, too full usually as I try to cram in things I can't accomplish during the week. Sometimes things fit, many times they don't but I still try to do what I can between getting some R & R.

This line drawing is of a friend's daughter who is three. I love how when she sucks her thumb for comfort/habit, her other hand immediately goes to her hair where she twirls a curl. She has lovely red hair, a lively personality and is adorable. I took some photos of her when I visited earlier this year and finally am getting around to actually starting a drawing. I haven't decided on the medium for this one yet and I have another image of her that may translate into an oil painting.