Monday, December 31, 2012

Dreams for 2013


New year boat sm

I’m not a resolution maker.  They are far to easy to break within days of being made and then I feel all guilty and less inspired to produce or reform and so on goes the circle.  So I call them dreams.  

We all dream.  We dream of practical and impractical things.  We dream in our sleep and when we’re awake.  We are also in complete control of our dreams (well, except the one where the dark shape is waiting under the cellar stairs…) and choose to make them become reality or not.  Yes, we are in charge of the outcome.  When we are unsure of the unknown or afraid of failure we throw up many obstacles to put in our path as to why we ‘can’t’ do something, but never seem as enthusiastic about tossing out solutions about overcominb those very obstacles and making dreams happen. 

Many of our obstacles fall into one or more of these categories:

Obstacle # 1:  I haven’t got enough time.  My whole day and evening is accounted for.  Every    single     minute.

Obstacle # 2I haven’t got enough money.  Insufficient funds for _______ (supplies, framing, marketing, travel, you fill in the blank'.

Obstacle # 3: I don’t know how to do it. Lack of technical skills

Obstacle # 4: They’ll say noFear of rejection.

Obstacle # 5:  I can’t be bothered.  Apathy.

Fear is often the culprit, hand in hand with rejection behind the obstacles. These are the bad boys who bully artists constantly, push them around and control their lives.  They list in mocking tones all the reasons why we won’t succeed and how we shouldn’t even try. They smirk in satisfaction when we fail.  But just watch them retreat like scalded cats when we push ahead!

Lack of time and money are excuses too.  There are always ways to find both. Get up earlier, go to bed later.  Ignore the housework.   As for money, you will find a way if you really want this.  Art grants, cheaper supplies, bartering, sell other things you own. How badly did you say you wanted this??

Apathy.  Art is hard work.  And its not for whiners who are unwilling to put in the hours to make it succeed.  Yes, that sounds pretty mean, but its true.  No one’s going to come knocking on your door and discover you.  No one’s going to introduce you to others at an art opening.  No one’s going to produce your paintings for you.  If you don’t care, neither will anyone else.

As a visual artist, some of my dreams are loftier than others.  Some I know I can tackle and win, some I know will be more of a challenge and I’ll have to be creative to get around obstacles.

Think about how you can get around each obstacle.  There are ways.  NO EXCUSES!  If you make excuses, you’re feeding your fears.  Push them back and keep heading for your dreams.  You WILL get there.

Some of my dreams for 2013 are:

Produce a new body of work

Representation by a new gallery

Deliver an online workshop

Update my gyotaku book to include more technical information

Produce a minimum of three short information videos and ebooks

Create a series of reproductions of gyotaku prints

Experience an art retreat

Produce a minimum of three significant drawings in dry media

Of course, other things will come into the picture as the year unfolds and I will need to prioritize which of these goals become my top three through analysing marketing, opportunity, timing, etc., etc. and be prepared to stick with them, no matter how enticing A, B or C are when they show themselves.

However, all of them are achievable.  And I have all the obstacles ready, just as you do, to throw into the path of success.  The key is to really think about how badly you want to achieve a goal; what exactly is needed to achieve a goal, and to work out a plan to reach it.

What obstacles get in your way?   What are your dreams?  Make them happen in 2013!   Dream big and step outside your comfort zone.  Take the boat out of its safe harbour and find a new adventure.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review of 2012


Swell – oil

I haven’t looked back over my year until this month, or really made a lot of concrete plans for 2012, except to keep doing what I was doing, so it was interesting to delve into the year and see just what I was up to.

Am I pleased with progress?  Yes and no.  I have produced a reasonable body of work this year but still am not quite where I want to be in terms of a strong, unique style.  A retreat or grant project may be needed to push my concentration down a single stream.  However, considering that I also have a full time job that often is more than full time, I have managed to squeeze a lot into my time and I believe I have made progress.

Early in the new year, I will share some plans for 2013.

My plan for my art business is based on most business strategy – production of product, in my case, art and visibility of brand, which is me. Sales becomes a by-product of these two activities. These are the main goals and  activities fall  into one strategy or the other or both.



I concentrated on waterscapes, but also moved into other areas, such as printmaking and portraiture and experimented with a palette knife which opened new territory and freedom for me. 

Abstraction found itself creeping into my work, but also switching with realism.  I found the abstraction a great release when I couldn’t or didn’t want to think, but just paint, almost letting the painting find its own path.

Jobson_abandonedinthegarden02    marbles2sm

Abandoned in the Garden                                Glass Marbles

The aquatic theme remained throughout the year with boats and waves catching my eye.  I started experimenting with stronger colours for water late in the year. A trip to PEI inspired Heat Wave with the red sand and a very hot day. 

Heat Wave

Heat Wave


In early summer, I worked on developing some prints using gelatin and acrylic plates, creating monoprints and monotypes. There are a lot of possibilities for these techniques, but I haven’t had time to really get into them yet.

Back pasture    Polar Star

Back Pasture – Monotype, oil based ink                Polar Star – gyotaku monoprint


I started work with encaustics in 2012. Its a fascinating, but time consuming venture and the supplies are not inexpensive. However, the results can be amazing and I enjoyed my venture down this path. Now the supplies and equipment in the studio, I will be producing more pieces in the new year.


Fissure – encaustic


I promised myself that I would draw more in 2012, but didn’t achieve that goal with any significant drawings produced.  However, I did sketch fairly profusely, which helped hone my drawing skills and created many thumbnails and ideas for paintings.

hotel 1-1

waiting 1

Eye issues caused some challenges in the fall and still are not completely resolved, so it was a bit of a setback.  The last thing in the world that an artist needs – vision problems!  However, long waits in specialist offices left lots of time for sketching with no pressure for perfection.



Gallery Representation

It is here that I made the most progress and the progress has a foot in both priorities. In March I was accepted by Spurrell Gallery for representation and in June by House of Diamonds. These emptied the studio of pieces, mostly water related, and exposed my work and name to a broader audience and also increased my need for additional production as well as impacting pricing.


Flight Path – Spurrell Gallery

Weekend Warriors Final2
Weekend Warriors – House of Diamonds

Silent Watchers

Its interesting to understand just who is watching you, even if you don’t realize it.  At least half a dozen times this year, I’ve been in conversation with someone in the local art industry who has said, “Oh, ‘you’re’ Jeanette Jobson, I’ve seen your work.”  It is an incentive and a compliment to continue producing and marketing when you know that people do see, even if you are not always aware of it.


In July I took part in an exhibition on the  20th anniversary of the cod moratorium at Five Island Gallery where I entered three gyotaku pieces.  They stayed at the gallery after the exhibition and I have been invited to provide new work for that gallery in 2013.  The gallery is seasonal,  open from May to October.


Fisherman’s Cut


Art group

Arts Northeast, the local art group that I am part of, took on a more cohesive structure with members settling in and making plans for the future.  A domain name and blog site was created for the group that is slowly coming together and we had a spring group exhibition in May and took part in a fundraising art auction for Children’s Wish Foundation in November.  The group continues to evolve and grow through opportunities for networking, critiques and workshop sessions.

group photo Nov 1 2012 ANE

Online Sales

I took a foray for about three months into Daily Paintworks to test the waters for sales there.  There are a lot of artists selling mostly small pieces there and varying degrees of expertise, so competition to be seen is a challenge.  I did sell a couple of pieces but seemed to have more success on Etsy, where I stayed.  I may return to DPW in 2013 and see if the monthly fee is worthwhile to try to sell there.   Like all places and all pieces, the quality of work is what sells, as well as longevity in the market.


I switched over to MailChimp from Constant Contact for my mailing list production.  It provides the same features more or less but without cost.  The switch of mailing lists was fairly seamless.  I reduced my communications to quarterly with occasional emails on specific events or sales.  Numbers to my mailing list continue to grow and signup is simple from my website or Facebook page.

I changed website providers and had a fairly soft release of the new site in late November.  The hosts FASO design specifically for artists and managed the switch of domain name for me as well.  Paintings are well laid out in categories and available for purchase direct from the site, still at the same name

I reduced the number of posts to my blog, Illustrated Life, to once a week as I really didn’t have time to keep up with it as well as social media and art production and administration/marketing.  Occasionally posts appear more frequently, but the once a week timing seems to work well for now.   Yes, comments and readership slow to some degree with a reduction in posts, but the spread of information over various outlets ensures all readers have information in a form that they are most comfortable with receiving.

Thank you

My sincere thanks for reading, commenting and your friendship and interest over the past year.  I wish you a healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


8 x 8 oil

Like most things, repetition can improve skills.  Its no different with paintings and there are some pieces that need a second look.  This is one of them.

A couple of years ago I did a painting of Tripod, called The Stalker, which sold fairly quickly.  I liked the position and lighting and came across the image while looking for other reference pieces and thought I'd try it again. 

This piece is higher key, and perhaps his attention is more to the sound of a can opener for his favourite food, tuna, now.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We are not amused...

Not all of the time at least.  After a particularly gruelling week leading up to Christmas the beginnings of a self portrait show the mood.  This study for a portrait shows a toned orange/red background that I quite like as the colours show well against it and the warmth of the tone shows through in places as well.

Here are a few progression shots. This study is on a 12 x 12" panel in oils.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

The shadow of Christmas
 I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.  ~Charles Dickens

Let this time of year renew and relax you, as you enjoy time with family and friends. 

Merry Christmas and every good wish for the new year.  Let me share one of my favourite pieces of Christmas music, In the Bleak Midwinter.  This piece was based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner's Monthly for a Christmas poem. It was published posthumously in Rossetti's Poetic Works in 1904.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Festive 50 sale

Merry Christmas!

I am clearing out the studio and will be pulling a lot of pieces from Etsy to make way for new work in 2013. On December 24, 25 and 26, 2012 I am offering a 50% discount on ALL work available in my Etsy shop, both reproductions and originals. This is a one time opportunity, then the pieces will be gone.

Enter FESTIVE50 at checkout to save 50%!

Jobson Fine Art

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twelve for 2012

After reading a similar post on Casey Klahn's blog, The Colorist, I thought I'd borrow his idea of choosing 12 of my favourite paintings that I produced this year.   The process of curating and jurying your own work gives you a more critical eye for composition, value and colour.  It can be difficult to step back from your own work and be objective, but whittling down the pieces through a series of slide shows, the same way as any juried work would be selected, helped me make my choices.

So here is my selection, not in any ranked order.  Its a bit of an eclectic bag, but aquatics seems to push its way to the front somehow.  As always, there are other pieces that didn't make the grade, but that I enjoy on various levels. Its a good exercise to go through and I'd highly recommend it.  What you thought may be your favourites may not be once you've really examined them.

Do you have a favourite among them?

Straight Sailing


Weekend Warriors
Dragon Gate

Heat Wave

Lucie Rose

The Edge of Freedom


Capelin Season

Fisherman's Cut

 N'or Easter


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Disguise

7 x 11  watercolour

This year, four other members of Arts Northeast and I worked on a Christmas challenge to provide a seasonal image that could be used as a note card or decorative pieces.  A collaborative effort got it all together and with some technology the first of what I hope will be many challenges is on the Arts Northeast blog.  Take a moment to visit the ANE site and see what the other artists have produced for the challenge.

'Disguise' was inspired by some wrapping paper I saw in a shop in late November.  The fairly 'unChristmassy' look of the colours appealed to me and I thought a little fish could fit right in, just floating over the surface.   The colour in the goldfish worked beautifully with the amber in the paper and against the teal background.   I may not want to work quite that much detail in for awhile, but a masking pen is a godsend!

The original for this piece is available for purchase from my website.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Strung Out

Salted cod has been a winter staple in Newfoundland for hundreds of years.  Passed down from Portugese fisherman, the 'bacalhau' is as much of Newfoundland's heritage as fishing itself was.  Small coves were skirted with fish flakes, built of stripped saplings with hundreds of cod lying out on them drying in the sun, brined in salt to preserve them first.

Even now, salt cod is easily found in stores in whole fish, split and packaged.  Rehydrate and eat, it was the original convenience food in that respect.   With the high salt content is has fallen from favour as even with several soakings in cold water, the salt remains to a fairly high degree in the flesh.  A bit of an acquired taste perhaps.

Still some people dry their own cod and although the flakes are rarely seen now, there are other ways of drying, as I came across in Pouch Cove one day.  A clothes line holding cod instead of washing.  Well it does the same job I guess and was unique.

This painting is in oil on a 12" x 24" panel.   Its still a work in progress so you'll see more of it again as it evolves and the colours more accurately reflect the fish and the surroundings.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


"But the gray and the cold are haunted
By a beauty akin to pain, --
By a sense of a something wanted,
That never will come again.” 
 - William Wetmore Story

There are endless stories, images and paintings about angels in varying forms from benign to sinister.  For me, I like stone angels, usually those found in cemeteries. My favourite angel is the Angel of Grief, also known as The Weeping Angel, which is the 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story  which marks the grave of William and his wife Emelyn in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.  Wetmore was an American lawyer who abandoned law to become a sculptor, moving to Rome in 1850. The Angel of Grief statue was the last work created by Story, in memory of his beloved wife  and which he had finished before his own death in 1894. Since then, the memorial statue has been replicated numerous times throughout the world, but none as beautiful as the original in my opinion.

Like most Victorian statuary, symbolism plays a strong role and the use of a wreath is associated with someone who has attained distinction in the arts, literature, athletics or the military.  Quite apt in this case and lucky for Story that he recognized his need to jump horses from law to the arts before it was too late. Ornate cemetery statuary is not commonly seen these days.  Cost of production no doubt, as well as lack of stone mason skills are likely culprits, as well as the predominance of simple grave marker - perhaps a trend in fashion over the years.

So not having such a dramatic angel to draw inspiration from, I settle for a charmingly serene angel, not quite so grief stricken as the angel in Rome. The effects of time and weather is showing on her face in the form of moss as it traces lines along curves of the face and hair and into nooks and crannies of clothing.

There's great appeal in the aging of stone and how nature begins to claim back and change the appearance of shapes and colours, creating its own sculptures. Capturing this is challenging and I used several pastes in the initial layer, aside from the face, to provide texture before applying oil paint over that.  Its not at completion yet, but is heading in the right direction.  A little drying before a new layer can go on the perhaps she can go up on the wall to watch over the goings on in the studio.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Heat Wave - progress

I've appreciated the warmth of this painting during the last week when its turned colder and we've had wild wind and the first snow of the year. The colours in this piece surprise me in that they work, or I think they do. But its all about values isn't it, not colour.  If form can be recognized, the colour is irrelevant and the eye fills in the memory. There may be a few more water pieces in a similar palette before I'm through with this yet.

Of course the season and the powers of work and weather all have worked wonders at keeping me away from this painting most of this week, but I've pulled a few minutes here and a couple of hours there and its coming along and I'm happy with it so far.

I'm calling the background or top half done, now to let it sit for a day or two and then continue on with developing the foreground.  That subtle sheen of wet sand along with colour and value changes that are minimal are important to capture to make the piece cohesive.  The shifting sand in the immediate foreground has the basic values in place and will be refined more too. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Heat Wave WIP

One of the interesting parts of being an artist is how your craft evolves with you over time.  When I was in art classes and learning, I was led down traditional paths with an emphasis on drawing. 

Since then I've moved from the tighter realm of realism into a more abstract feel at times and I have to say that its something I enjoy doing.  I still fall easily back into the soft armchair of drawing as it was, and likely will always be, my first love.  I am grateful for the years of drawing that I did as it gives me a solid ability to structure the underside of a painting.  I am also ceaseless in promoting drawing as an essential tool for any artist in any medium.

Water is also one of my more current mainstays although I stray into other subjects as the mood or commission takes me.  When I was in PEI this past summer and walking the soft red sand on the beaches I took lots of photos and always was interested in how the red showed through in the clear, warm water.

Another wave called me and this time it had to be red.   This still contains all the traditional underpinnings of any painting, I've simply changed out the colours and bumped them up, letting the warmth show through with intense pigment saturation.  I toned the canvas with a cadmium red/cadmium orange mix and am letting it show through the paint layers.  The undercoat helps give warmth to the painting and is a good surface to see the colours against.

This may take a couple of weeks to complete depending on how much time I have, but I'll keep working away at it and show you the results.  This is on 12 x 24" gallery canvas.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wetland Rain

 Wetland Rain
5" x 7"  Oil on canvas panel
Available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Last weekend I was driving home across a barren wetland and the rain was following as a dark band across the sky.  As I went further east, I could see a band of turquoise sky sandwiched between the dark and pale clouds.  The sun was highlighting the hills in their fall colour and little glimpses of shining water in the wetlands caught my eye.

A combination of memory and the ability to walk just down the road from my house and see my own wetland, gave birth to this oil painting.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


4" x 6"  oil on canvas panel

 The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.   Remembrance Day.

I was brought up in a knowledge of war and how it impacted families.  A great uncle died in World War I in France, whose body was never found.  22 years old.  My great grandfather was a soldier in the British Indian Army and served in South Africa, the UK and Canada. My grandfather served in World War I, discharged after injuries and events he never spoke of.  My father served in World War II and the Korean War.  Aside from humourous stories, we never knew of what happened during those times. All the horror was locked up in their memories and taken to their graves.

The world today knows nothing of hardship and sacrifice except for the military who currently fight in wars.  Even now, technology removes many barriers and remoteness from a soldier's life and make serving in the military very different than in the first two world wars.   Food is available, shelter and the tools to do your job.

When my great uncle died on October 11, 1916, he died in a field in Gueudecourt, France under asurprise shelling attack by German soldiers. There was no internet, long distance telephone calls were expensive and often inaccessible during war time and his parents struggled with the news, trying to piece together information about his death.  How, why...why, why, why?

We need to remember the horror of war.  Unfortunately we don't seem to learn from it and continue to repeat the past in varying degrees as more families ask why and how when they receive this heartbreaking news.  In Canada red poppies are worn around Remembrance Day to represent the battlefields of the past and the more than 100,000 Canadians who died there.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Will you be a Johnny today?

I think this phrase has been my mantra for the last month, perhaps two or three months, so I figured I may as well wear it on my phone!   Speaking of which, I have made a few pieces available as phone covers and other merchandise on Zazzle.  So if you want to sport a fish on your iPhone or as a new iPad cover, check out the options available at JobsonFineArt.  If you use the code STANDARDSHIP on orders over $39 up to November 11th, you'll get free shipping.

I'm revisiting how I market my art, brand myself and service my collectors, both past and future.  Each day this month, I've written down an idea on how to improve what I'm doing, how to find new markets for my paintings, how to make my work and my brand more appealing.  It can be little things that we consider inconsequential.  But often the littlest things are the ones which have the most impact on others and in our lives.

In the world of art and marketing there is a common denominator.  It is story telling.  That story telling is something that hooks people's memories, needs and inner thoughts.  The story, whether it rolls out before their eyes effortlessly or whether it comes from the viewer's own interpretation is what envelops a viewer and turns them into a buyer.  They want to have that piece of their dream as a tangible visual reminder of something that provides pleasure to them.

How do you create a story around  your art?  

You can describe the method of creation.  To some it is a magical concept, this creation of art.  Elaborate on the thought behind it as well as the technical process.  Provide views at various stages of completion.  Let the viewer peek over your shoulder in your studio either in photographs or a video clip.

You can write about the inspiration behind a painting.   What or who inspired it?  How did the piece evolve from an idea to a finished painting?  Include the viewer in the thought process that goes on in your head.  Encourage them to think like an artist and see like an artist.   If a piece is partially finished, ask for ideas for direction in terms of colour perhaps.  "should the boat here be red or green?"  Personal input helps create a stronger connection between the artist and the viewer.

One idea can change the world.   Watch the video below then tell me how will you change your world today.

Video from KarmaTube

Sunday, November 04, 2012

What do you do?

oil on canvas   4 x 12

Whether right or wrong, our raison d'etre seems to be defined to some large degree by our occupation.  Most gatherings involving drinks and nibbles where you meet strangers and grasp for some common ground to get a conversation started often begins with "What do you do?"

How comfortable are you with your role as an artist?  Do you have a short and sweet 'elevator speech' of a sentence or two that succinctly sums up what kind of artist you are and paints an image in another person's head of the type of art you produce?

An elevator speech should be restricted to a couple of sentences and should roll easily off the tip of your tongue in conversation. Think carefully about what represents you as an artist and what defines your style - what makes you stand out from the crowd?  Use clear, simple, conversational language then practice your pitch on friends, family and in every situation where you have an opportunity to tell people what you do.

What's my elevator speech?  Read the sentence below and tell me if you think this sums me up.

I'm a visual artist who creates images of fish and water through Japanese printmaking and traditional painting techniques. 

Depending on the situation and audience and what impression or action I want them to take, I can increase the amount of detail required to cover how my work evolves in different areas, mediums used, teaching, etc. etc.  Different people will have different levels of interest in what you do, from polite conversation making talk to gallery managers and other artists.  Be prepared to go into detail or retract detail.  And always have a business card ready to present to cement your role as an artist to others.

What's your elevator speech?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween sweetness

Happy Halloween!

I hope your day and night are filled with fun and treats and nothing too scary comes your way.  This cupcake was one from a wedding that my daughter went to on Sunday.  The theme was Halloween, of course, being so close to the event.  Perhaps there's a painting in there eventually.

And a quick reminder that the Wish Kid's fundraiser concert and silent art auction is tomorrow!   Ahhh, am I ready??  I hope so.  If you're in the St. John's area, pick up a ticket for the concert or just come along to the art auction and place a bid.  I'd love to meet you there, along with the other members of Arts Northeast!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Finding the vision

Tashafinal sm
I’ve worked on portraits, both human and animal, for many years, but portraits of children are always ones that pose big challenges for me.  Soft curves and often poor lighting in references that are presented are a problem for all portraiture, but more so in children.
I struggled with this child’s portrait for a week or more in oils, and with a deadline looming, switched over the watercolour to ensure that at least it would be dry in time, then I can go back and tackle the oil again at a later date.

I switch back and forth between mediums as it gives a good break and allows me to refresh the skills for that particular medium.  For studies, watercolour is perfect, fresh, loose and quick drying and it insists that I put my drawing into use as the framework.  I have a couple of project ideas in my head and will be working out some ideas for them in watercolour studies.  One involves marbles and I played around with a small study – without drawing I should add, that’s why its wonky! 

marble sm
Today I’ll be working on more studies, video, photographing compositions, etc.  For art to work, often there is a lot of preparation behind the final image that people never see or think about.  From initial idea, thumbnails, drawing, composition, studies, etc. it can take days, if not weeks before a final piece is even sitting on an easel as a blank canvas.

This is where costs come from in art.  Its not a simplistic formula of material and artist painting time.  It is the cost of all of the above.  You pay for a vision and the process to reach that vision is complex.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

N'or easter

 N'or easter
5 x 7  oils


When I was learning to draw and paint I thought I was the bees' knees.  I knew it all.  I was the next Rembrandt waiting to be discovered.  I had 25 years of life behind me and many years of drawing and painting.

My work was crap for the most part.

I learned the hard way to hone my budding abilities, through repetition and slow transitioning from one skill to the next.  Colour wasn't allowed intially, drawing was considered the backbone of art and had to be mastered before even considering a move into colour. While I protested at the time, I learned to understand why drawing was so important and why the theory behind each step vital before moving into a different area.  Small exhibitions were held and work was carefully reviewed to see if it could pass scrutiny.  There was a moment, and still is, where  something is put forward, but you know it isn't your best.  You know the piece I mean.  You know the values aren't right, the drawing is off, the colour isn't correct, but you can't be bothered to fix it.

You wanted to jump right into painting without thinking about composition or an accurate drawing and it shows.  You rushed the stages of painting, thinking ahead to the final result instead of enjoying the journey.  And you pretend it doesn't matter, but you know it isn't good enough and you cringe when you see it next to other pieces that are more competent. Or you fit in with others of a similar skill level and never move further ahead.  While training, an instructor will make the decision for you and pull a poor piece as well as make you redo it.  You learn to develop a thick skin, at least on the surface, as some instructors weren't as kind as others. But what do you do when there is no instructor looking over your shoulder at your work? 

Art is, of course, very subjective.  You either like something or you don't on initial glance. Some pieces grow on you over time, others remain repulsive while the person next to you has a completely different perspective.

But the work I'm taking about is that which is technically lacking.  It is fed on myths and inexperience.  Training, whether formal or informal, can make or break an artist, depending on the choices that you make.   Training through ineffective teachers who don't have the skills themselves, perpetuates poor technical skills and only serves to hold back a person.  Buying every instructional book or dvd and taking every workshop that appears without a sound knowledge of why you are taking it holds you back too.  Educational resources in the form of books and dvds are good, but vast libraries of information without technical practice often just confuses.  People flit from one subject and one medium to another without knowing what they want to do and without enough guidance to push them into a corner to make a decision.  All the workshops and books in the world are useless unless you are willing to put in the time to practice.  Nothing comes easy unfortunately, nothing that you want to be proud of anyway.  Finding your voice, your style and building on that will lead you to make wiser decisions about what you need and want to learn and how to perfect what you paint best.

We all know when our work doesn't make the grade.  To compromise and let it out the door when it doesn't meet your own seal of approval harms you more than you know.  Taking time to build a piece based on good technical skills and knowledge, knowing how and when to correct and knowing when to release a piece and when it hold it back are vital to the process of creating quality art.