Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day Christmas Giveaway

December 26th is Boxing Day.  Its origins were rooted in giving, when richer landowners would provide 'boxes' of food or goods to servants and service people.  In Canada and the UK, it is a holiday, an extension of Christmas when relaxation, leftovers and visiting are on the cards.  In some parts of Canada, stores are open again, enticing people in with sales.  To be honest, there is little that could entice into a store me after weeks of shopping in preparation for Christmas.

But in true Boxing Day fashion, I am giving away something today.  Today is the final day of my Christmas Giveaway and I am giving two of my Fishy Bits original prints to a subscriber to my mailing list.  The Fishy Bits prints were created in 2013 in a year long series of monthly relief prints.  Two of the twelve prints will be mailed to Marlene Hamel.  Congratulations.

The series of Fishy Bits prints are still available on my website until January 31st, after which time they will go into archives. Moving into a new year, there are always changes and archives are added to, pieces destroyed or re-purposed and new work starts.  I will be offering the remaining original prints at discounted prices until the end of January.  Make sure you're signed up as subscriber to my mailing list so you don't miss details in the January Studio News.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day Giveaway

 I wish we could put some of the Christmas spirit in jars 
and open a jar of it every month.  Harlan Miller 
Merry Christmas.  I hope you find peace, hope and joy in the season wherever you are.

This is the third day of the Christmas Giveaway and according to the Random Number Generator, today's winner  is # 24, Geraldine Gillingham.  Geraldine will receive this original 5" x 7" oil painting "Hey, Sweetie".

This impressionist painting was completed using only a palette knife.  After working on large scale pieces, I often do a couple of small paintings to use up paint left over on my palette.  These wonderful big amaretto sweets were sitting in front of me, begging to be drawn.  They're almond based, more like cookies than candy I think and taste divine.  I'm never sure if I enjoy the contents or the beautiful wrappers more.

The final draw in the Christmas Giveaway takes place on Boxing Day, December 26th at 8pm island time.  To be eligible to be in the draw, you must be a subscriber to my mailing list.  You can easily do so by clicking on the link on the right or visit my Facebook page or my website

If you previously subscribed, but are not receiving my mailings, you may not have resubscribed after the Canadian Privacy laws came into effect this past summer.  I had to ask all subscribers to resubscribe to my mailing list and if you had not done so, your contact would not be still on the list.  However, you can click on the subscription link to add your name again and continue to receive my monthly Studio News and occasional updates.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Giveaway Winners

Elizabeth Joan Barber
July 31, 1924 - December 23, 2014

On December 23rd my mother passed away after a short illness, so life is disrupted at the moment. This Christmas hymn Hark the Herald Angels is one she knew and loved and seems appropriate for her and the season. I hope you enjoy it as well.

I had considered postponing the Christmas Giveaway, however I will continue with it over the 24th, 25th and 26th  as planned To be honest, that little bit of daily distraction takes my mind temporarily away from the surreal  feeling of dealing with a death of a family member.  And giving is the best part of Christmas, isn't it?

Six Purity Kisses Note Cards

As Christmas Eve is always my favourite day of the season, I will be giving art to two people, instead of one today.  The first is a set of six Purity Kisses note cards.  And the winner is Sheila Howell.

Merry Christmas Hares
8" x 10" giclee

The second giveaway is an 8" x 10" giclee reproduction of "Merry Christmas Hares".  This will be going to John Perry.

To be eligible to win in the next two Giveaway draws, you must be a mailing list subscriber.  You can join through the link on the right or on my website or Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tibb's Eve Winner

The first in the Christmas Giveaway takes place on December 23rd, also known as Tibb's Eve in Newfoundland. An 8" x 10" matted giclee of The Winningest Punt will be on its way to Julie Dunion.  Happy Tibb's Eve!

Tibb's Eve as a particular day on the calendar - the day before Christmas Eve - is specific to Newfoundland and Labrador.  As explained, sometime around World War Two, people along the south coast began to associate Dec. 23 with the phrase 'Tibb's Eve' and deemed it the first occasion it was acceptable to have a few Christmas tipples.

In many of the outport communities, it became a day where the men would visit each other's homes for a taste.  Because Christmas Eve was still a part of Advent, and that observance was almost as sober as Lent,  most traditional Christians would never consider taking a nip before Christmas Day prior to World War Two, which was even then perhaps a little early.

Tibb's Eve became a lighthearted means to extend the season - an idea not unlike when workers in the 19th century would lengthen their weekends by taking 'St. Monday' off from work.Tibb's Eve is sometimes known by several different names depending on the community. In some places, it's called 'Tipp's Eve' or 'Tipsy's Eve' - an evolution of the name in characteristic folkloric fashion.

On December 24th, the next draw will take place for two giveaways.  Just because I love Christmas Eve. :)  A set of 6 Purity Kisses notecards and an 8 x 10 giclee of Merry Christmas Hares.  Drawing takes place at 8pm island time on the 24th so you still have time to get in the running.  Simply join my mailing list and you're eligible!   You can do so through the link on the right side of this blog, on my Facebook page or on my website.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Apples

 7" x 10" mixed media

Christmas is speeding towards me, but I'm not ready on several fronts. This year the season will be low key as my mother is in the Acute Stroke Unit at a local hospital and the outcome is up in the air at the moment.

So between work and painting and daily visits to the hospital, Christmas has taken a bit of a back burner. I have some lights up on the property and inside and a tabletop tree, but no time to put up a large tree this year. And, to be honest, I don't really miss it.

I'm finishing up # 14 of the series of wooden boat paintings, which means just one is left! I hope to have some time over Christmas to work on the book that accompanies the series, which will be shown in a solo exhibit most likely in June 2015. I have to have the series and book done and dusted and the final grant report in by March 31st, so want all the ends tidied up before the end of February. It sounds like a long way off, but life has a way of changing focus, so I concentrate efforts where and when I can to get things done.

My breaks between large paintings are sketches and studies for paintings that I can work on after my boat series is complete. These are usually done in my sketchbook, and the medium used can be anything that takes my fancy, from oils to pastel, to pen and wash. I use Stilman & Birn sketchbooks with 100lb paper usually and that takes a lot of the abuse I give it without complaining.

These apples started life as a watercolour sketch, then soft pastel got into the party and this was the end result. As a number of people asked about availability, I made reproductions available through RedBubble on a variety of products.

Don't forget my Christmas Giveaway on December 24, 25 & 26th.  I've added one more giveway on December 23rd, known as Tibb's Eve in Newfoundland for an 8 x 10 matted reproduction of The Winningest Punt.  You need to be a subscriber to my mailing list to get into the draw for one of 5 giveaways - 2 on Christmas Eve and one on all the others days.  Each drawing will take place at 8pm Newfoundland time and I will email the subscriber and mail the art to them after Christmas.  Sign up is quick and easy through the link on the right side of my blog, or on my Facebook page or website.  Good luck!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Draw 5

Anyone who knows me, knows that I constantly reinforce the need for artists to have good drawing skills.  Often people want to jump right into painting without that rudimentary framework to guide a piece.  While not all paintings need a very detailed drawing, there are few that don't benefit from it.

Time is always a factor for people, especially in today's society where busyness is the order of the day.  Its almost as if people try to 'out boast' each other as to how busy they are and how many things they can juggle in the course of a day.  So drawing gets dumped into the "I'm too busy" category and becomes neglected.

To show you that it doesn't take a huge investment in time to hone drawing skills, I'm creating a series called Draw 5.  This shows how much you can actually put down on paper in just five minutes a day..  And you know you have five minutes a day somewhere in those 24 hours, don't you?  Add those captured minutes over a week, expand on them when you can and you'll see a difference in your drawing skills, I promise.

Monday, December 15, 2014

First Snow

 First Snow - SOLD
5" x 7"  oil on panel

After the first snowfall I drove to a rural gallery to pick up a couple of paintings that hadn't sold in the summer season.  The snow lay heavily in the trees and on the land and it was picture perfect.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw some boats pulled up on the grass for the winter and with their dusting of snow I knew there was a painting in there.

Registration is open as of today, December 15th, for my 2015 workshops in drawing and painting. I'm using a separate online registration system that provides one stop shopping for details, downloads and payment.  Full details of workshops and registration is available at the link below.

Book Online

PS Workshops make fabulous gifts!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2015 art workshops

After a busy year of teaching art in my home studio, I am continuing by offering a series of art workshops in 2015 which has something for everyone from beginners to experienced artists.  I have learned as much as students do by teaching and workshops are tweaked to provide the best experience for participants based on feedback and working in the classroom. The need for learning traditional techniques in a variety of mediums is always present and my workshops emphasize classical methods of drawing and painting, providing a strong grounding to help build good art. 

I am offering five workshops types with available dates throughout the year, from March to December.2015 workshops range from 4 hour intensives to 3 day master classes
  • Colour Theory - 4 hours
  • Introduction to Classical Drawing - 2 four hour sessions
  • Introduction to Palette Knife Painting - 4 hours
  • Drawing Pet Portraits - 2 days
  • Palette Knife Painting - Boats and Water - 3 days
I incorporated a new software package for registration which provides all the workshop information and registration details in one place as well as providing less work for me to create and monitor registration. You can search for available dates and workshops throughout the year, download supply lists and other required documentation all from the registration site.

Registration for 2015 workshops opens on December 15th, but if you're on my mailing list, you already have access to the workshop  link and can pre-register.  You can join my mailing list and receive monthly mailings of Studio News by clicking on the link on the right side of this page.

You can view the full listing of workshops on my website and the link to open registration will be posted here as well as on my website, Facebook and Twitter pages on the 15th.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Christmas Giveaway

My December Studio News will be distributed later today and it is packed with gifts for mailing list subscribers.  Its my way of saying thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last year.

I will be having a Christmas Giveaway just for mailing list subscribers.  Four people will win art prizes of original art and prints, art cards or a giclee.  Drawings for the first two giveaways will take place on December 24th, with another winner on December 25 and the final on December 26, Boxing Day.   All you need to do to enter is be a current mail list subscriber.  If you are not on the mailing list already, you can sign up at the link on the right or on my website or my Facebook page.

If you've signed up, you'll also receive a discount code for my 2015 series of 3 day Palette Knife Painting workshops - Painting Boats and Water and have a chance to pre-register before registration opens on December 15th.

There is lots of information jammed into this Studio News edition that I'd love to share with you - Draw 5, FAQs about my work, a special Christmas card just for you...oh and those gifts...

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

White Chameleon

 White and Silver   - SOLD
5" x 7"  oil on panel

White is such an interesting colour to paint.  The purity of it when examined is not pure at all.  There is no single blanket of white.  It is a Joseph's coat of many colours that reflect the environment around it so that the use of a pure white such as titanium white in paint is left as an accent rather than a predominant hue.

This still life of a ceramic and silver ornament is made up of many colour:  orange, yellow, violet, blue, grey.  But the ornaments still read as white to the viewer.  Try putting a white object on a plain white surface and see it pick up colours from its surroundings.  Put a sheet of coloured paper under the white object or sit it next to something colourful and watch it change again, like a chameleon. 

White can become warm or cool depending on its surroundings such as in this painting “The Two Sisters” by Joaquin Sorolla.  The sunshine gives a warm yellow cast to the dress which we instantly know is white, yet the blue of the sea provides cool whites depicting reflections and wave caps.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Traveller's tales

I've been travelling, which of course, interrupts painting progress. Even though I can't access my studio, my brain continues to plot and plan and paint and I find small vignettes of life to sketch in my journeys and available time.

Airports and airplanes are perfect for people watching and sketching and I always take out my sketchbook to pass time and capture faces and gestures.

Heading to Montreal, I had this unique combination of gate and airplane seat number.  For anyone superstitious, it could be worrying.  But a smooth, uneventful flight as expected.  


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gold Mercury

 Gold Mercury - SOLD
5 x 7   oil on panel

And still more mercury glass!

Its more about the challenge of painting reflections than the actual shape of a subject for me. The light is likely what draws me to paint water and boats.  Reflected light and shadow need careful observation and consideration before putting down a single palette knife stroke.  Using a fractured stroke in areas, I drag wet paint across the picture plane, pulling colour from one area into another, creating lost edges and movement.

I probably look more than I paint in fact - like the carpenter's saying "Measure twice, cut once."  Its similar for artists.  The longer you spend observing and taking in visual information on shape, colour and value, the better chance you have for success than if you just slap down paint then try to correct in on the support.  That's when mud and frustration happen.

You can find more of my work on my website Jeanette Jobson Fine Art, my blog, Illustrated Life and on Facebook and Twitter.  Stop by and say hi, I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mercury glass

Mercury Glass - SOLD
5 x 7   oil on panel
I inherited a number of mercury glass ornaments that were my parents and their parents before them which were hung on Christmas trees over the years. Its amusing to see manufacturers create replicas of original mercury glass, but as is said, what goes around, comes around.  It seems the world reverts to the classics in many areas.

Mercury glass, also known as silvered glass, contains neither mercury nor silver. It's actually clear glass, mold-blown into double-walled shapes and coated on the inside with a silvering formula.  There is a nostalgia associated with these decorative ornaments and they do have a special appeal that can't be found in ornaments created today.

These ornament sized paintings are a break for me between painting larger pieces in my current boat series, which is on # 11 out of 15 planned pieces.  I am on track, more or less, just need to really focus on painting, which is why this blog is a little sporadic over the last few months.  However, I can see light at the end of the tunnel.   Here's a little peek at what's on the canvas right now.  I can't reveal completed paintings until my solo exhibition opens in the spring, but I can provide little glimpses like this. :)

You can find more of my work on my website Jeanette Jobson Fine Art and on Facebook and Twitter.  Stop by and say hi, I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


French Poppy - Sold
5" x 7"  oil on panel

Pte. 2750     Bastow, Albert Chesley    St. John's  Fatality   11/11/17
Pte. 700       Bastow, Frederick Donald  St. John's  Fatality  12/10/16
CQMS  930  Bastow, Gordon Clarence  St. John's  Fatality   11/10/16

Three  brothers had three sons who joined the 1st Newfoundland Regiment and went to the Great War but never returned.  

Gordon Bastow was my great uncle.  Missing in action at the battle in Guadecourte, France. His body was never found.  Age 22

Frederick died of a gunshot wound to the head, buried in Wandsworth Cemetery in England  Age 22

Albert died of disease in Kriegsgefangenenlager, a prisoner of war camp in Germany and was buried at Conde-Sur-L'Escaut Cemetery, northern France. Age 22

Information on these men as well as many others are listed on the Great War database at The Rooms 

Last Post

CQMS 930 Bastow, Gordon Clarence St. John's Fatality 11/10/16
Pte. 700 Bastow, Frederick Donald St. John's Fatality 12/10/16
Pte. 2750 Bastow, Albert Chesley St. John's Fatality 11/11/17

Three brothers had three sons who joined the 1st Newfoundland Regiment and went to the Great War but never returned.

Gordon Bastow, shown above, was my great uncle. Missing in action at the battle in Gueudecourt, France. His body was never found. Age 22

Frederick died of a gunshot wound to the head, buried in Wandsworth Cemetery in England Age 22

Albert died of disease in Kriegsgefangenenlager, a prisoner of war camp in Germany and was buried at Conde-Sur-L'Escaut Cemetery, northern France. Age 22

Information on these men as well as many others are listed on the Great War database at The Rooms
Last Post…/organise_eve…/Documents/LastPost.mp3

Sunday, November 09, 2014


Wave demo
oil on paper

As I paint, there are voices in my head.  No, not a mental health issue, more an internal guidance system that help me make decisions on the fly.  There is a colour commentary going on as I paint, that goes like this:

"OK, what's the colour/hue that I need to mix?  Is it the right value?  Let's put some on the canvas...ok, that works/darn, that's too bright/dark/light/wrong colour etc.  I want to lighten it with some of the blue.  Add more white, pull some paint from the mix created previously, try it again.  Ok, that works, now leave it alone and go on to the next section."

It sounds crazy when I write it out, but really that's the conversation I'm having with myself when I paint.  Its a series of internal questions, verified by paint strokes on the canvas than pushes me to the point of my original vision for a piece.  Each impending colour, value, or stroke is preceded by a deliberate decision. Whether that decision takes microseconds or hours, its still a decision that is debated internally, and sometimes on canvas.  It is a comparison of what is there to what could be there to determine if there will be harmony or a clash that sends me off the path.

Making Waves
demo oil on paper

Developing this conversation takes time and practice and is essential to provide the series of internal checks and balances that are required to make art that I am happy to put my name to. 

Do others have those internal conversations when painting?  I remember hearing a similar painting thought process from one artist, Rose Frantzen, but not from other artists.  Perhaps its not something one mentions in public for fear of being considered altogether too strange.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Inspiration tantrums

 Plumb Tuckered Out
5" x 7" oil on panel
Available from Etsy - $50 plus shipping

Inspiration is one of those strange things.  There is nothing constant about, no predictability, no reliability either.  It can be as elusive as a needle in a haystack or it floods your head with so many ideas you don't know where to start.

What is inspiration exactly?  The Oxford dictionary definition is:
"The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative."
When inspiration evades us, it can be coaxed out of hiding by ignoring it completely and just carrying on in any creative vein.  Like a toddler having a tantrum, if ignored, it stops crying and thrashing around and becomes curious about what you're doing.  Curiosity is replaced by the "I want to do that too." phase and before you know it, inspiration takes over your hand and head and is slapping paint on the canvas like never before.

Each time I finish a painting, inspiration drains a little and that's where I pull out the small canvasses like this one and just play.  I can see inspiration poking her head around the corner, sniffling a little but curious too...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Autumn Pear

 Autumn Pear - SOLD
5" x 7"  oil on panel

Silence doesn't mean I'm not painting.  It means its head down mode and full steam ahead.  I'm trying to make up time in the boat series after deciding that one piece just wasn't working for me, and there was no choice but to restart it.

I think we all know when we don't put our best out there.  Sometimes its easy to let something go just because its the path of least resistance, even if we know something is not right with the painting.  Yes, I could have added the piece but, to me, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb in exhibition and niggled at me constantly.

So now its being redone and coming along nicely.  I've also got #9 on the easel and am pretty much on track again for time - or I hope so.

Of course with the end of one painting, the inevitable "end of palette" small painting was in order.  An autumn pear.  Pears are likely the most over painted subject in the world, some good, some bad and some very bad.  To give them their dues, the shape is simple and value can be complex depending on the lighting.  Its the perfect beginner's fruit to test painting skills with in all mediums.

When I finish all the boats in the series, it might be fun to see if people can match the end of palette painting with the actually painting, based on colours used.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Insomnia series

 Blue Christmas  - SOLD
5" x 7"
oil on panel

When I can't sleep, there is no point in me staying in bed tossing and turning and fighting with the  thoughts in my head.  I get up after about 10 minutes of trying to sleep and head to the studio.  Doing something, anything is the only way to quiet my mind.

The disadvantage is that painting or drawing takes over and before you know it, the night has gone and sleep hasn't come.  Then I must either go to work or start the day. Sleep usually is not the option that ever wins, at least not until late in the day, as morning primes my spirit and soul.

During my restless nights, I work on large paintings or sometimes tackle little pieces like this one, done around 4am this morning.  I should call these the "Insomnia series".  Where the Christmas theme came from this morning I have no idea.  But it made itself known there in the wee hours.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Paintings are like books

 A painting is like a book, there is a beginning, a middle and and end. But paintings seem to come with more twists and surprises along the way, although some books can do that too.

There is a beginning to each painting; this is where the planning takes place.  It involves subject, composition, sketches, value studies, colour studies and palette choices.

The middle can be no man's land where things can go very well or go very poorly.  That section rests on mindset and experience.  There is a point where every artist believes their painting is beyond disgusting.  They believe they should never paint, why did they ever believe they could paint and that they'll give it all up and start knitting.  With experience comes the knowledge that this is simply a phase of unfinished work and progress is not often pretty.  Knowing that fact and keeping in mind the vision in your head sees me through to the end.

As the end approaches, all that angst from the midsection is eliminated and you can see things coming together.  There are still moments of trouble, where those 'just one little stroke here' can be the death of a painting that you spent hours on.  Like approaching wild animals:  slow movements, gentle touches and never look into its eyes.  That last section is putting the painting far from you and not looking at it for a week or more before deciding if any adjustments are needed.

I've just put #7 to the wall of the series of 15 wooden boat paintings that I'm working on and #8 is at the beginning stage.  Unfortunately I can't show you the full painting until the exhibition, but you can see glimpses here and there to pique your interest.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Glassy Jack

 Glassy Jack - SOLD
5" x 7"  oil on panel

Glassy Jack always makes an appearance in October, gearing up for the season of falling leaves, cold nights, candy corn, shiny smiles and long shadows. He's looking for a permanent residence to share his brilliance. Could it be you?

I have a couple of glass pumpkins that seem to find their way on to table tops in the fall and provide a warm glow in the evenings.  With a small candle casting light and shadow across a surface, its a prime candidate for a small painting.

There is an illusion that glass is difficult to draw or paint.
In reality, its an investment of time to observe shapes and values and patience in ensuring colours correct and in the right place.  Easier said than done, you're saying.   Like the old carpenter's rule of "Measure twice, cut once.", something similar is true in painting.  I observe much more than I paint, meaning that I look carefully a number of times, check shape and proportion, colour hue and value against the subject and my colour study, THEN I put paint on the panel.  And one stroke only, removing the knife and going on to the next stroke.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Traffic light series

I called this little group of small paintings that were done from end of palette paint leftovers, the 'traffic light paintings' due to the red, orange and green colours.

Hard Pressed - Sold

These were fun to do and were snapped up quickly from my Etsy store.  I eased my own rules a little to create another in this group which will be available to newsletter subscribers only.  As my Studio News will be sent within the next day or two, you still have time to sign up and see what the painting is.  You can easily sign up by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this blog page or click below.  Simply add your email address, hit subscribe and that's it!

Keyed Up  - Sold

Why the names?  It must have been my frame of mind at the end of a hard work week!  All I can reveal about the fourth painting is that it follows suit.  You'll have to be a subscriber to find out more!

Juiced Up - Sold

Friday, September 26, 2014

End of palette rules

 Juiced Up - Sold
5" x 7" oil on panel

I can never bear to throw away good oil paint when a painting is complete, so I usually end up creating a small painting from whatever is on the palette.  One of my secret end of palette rules is that I can't add any more of a colour to what's already on the palette, besides white.

I use a split primary palette which consists of cool and warm versions of each primary, as well as an earth tone like burnt sienna or burnt umber as well as titanium white, so it usually gives me a fair choice of colour mixing options.  However that can depend on how much of each paint colour is left over.

I lucked out with a good quantity of pthalo blue, burnt sienna, cadmium red, alizarin crimson and cadmium yellow, so I could mix pretty much anything I wanted and meet the value ranges needed to create this apple.

My other end of palette rule is that the painting must be small, quick to produce (no more than an hour) and loose.  It should be very impressionistic with the colour "bleeding" into other areas.  The challenge for me is that my end of palette paintings are a big transition in size as I come from large (30" x 40") down to 5" x 7" like this one.  I have to remember to get out the small knife and put the trowel away!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mixed apples

I love apples.  I mean, really love apples.  In their natural state, cooked, preserved, apple butter, apple pie...on and on.  I can't resist them.

So what is more natural than planting apple trees to ensure your own crop?  Perfect idea, right?  So there are six or seven trees planted a couple of years ago with just that idea in mind.

It seems that nature has its own ideas in this part of the country and the weather always seems to get the better of the poor trees.   It might take the form of a late frost that kills the flowers, but more likely its the wind.  When you live on an island, wind becomes almost a constant.  Probably not wind that you're thinking of.  This is gale force, rip limbs off trees, blow away anything not tied down wind that is much more common than I ever remember.  And it isn't kind to young apple trees.   Yes, the trees are staked.  Yes, the wind blows the stake and tree sideways.

However, for the last couple of years there have been some apples growing!  Until the wind blows them off the tree.  Literally.  Its so disheartening I could cry.  I mean, its not too much to ask that I have enough apples to make a pie is it?  And they make such wonderful subjects for painting too.

But, to the rescue, a friend with a couple of apple trees that are older and more sheltered perhaps that are doing well.  So he provided a sack of apples with offers of more where they came from.  I think there will be some apple turnovers arriving on his doorstep soon as a thank you.

The apples are a mix of Golden Delicious and a little intensely red and gold one that looks almost like a crab apple but is sweet with pink tinged flesh.  A mix of both of those were chopped up for a Cinnamon Apple Crumble muffin that I made tonight.  A handful were the subject for this little study on paper using mixed media of anything from coloured graphite to charcoal to pastel and acrylic.  And I may not be finished yet.

PS  Don't get sidetracked by painting when you have muffins in the oven.  Like I did.  I hope they are salvageable.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


 Summer - SOLD
11 x 14  oil on masonite

A subject can be painted or drawn a dozen times, two dozen times and each time there is a new discovery in the process. Colour and value analysis shift with each new view.  Painting experience influences the approach and familiarity with the subject matter guides decision making.

This painting was the demo in yesterdays palette knife workshop on painting boats and water.  It was a subject that I had painted previously on a large scale (30" x 40") and long sold.  The simple shape lessens intimidation factors for those less experience, and the complex reflection shapes and colours gives a challenge for those with more painting time under their belt.

The next palette knife workshop will be held on December 6th and has a Christmas theme.  There is just one spot left right now so grab it quickly if you're interested.  All supplies are provides and lunch is thrown in as well, all for $150.  Registration is available online.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Worth repeating

9 x 12 oil on panel
Available on Etsy  $95 plus shipping

I teach workshops in palette knife painting and find its a wonderful introduction for beginners who are intimidated by a more structured approach that requires more intensive drawing skills and control.  It also works beautifully for more experienced artists who want to free themselves from tight representational control and loosen their approach.

This little yellow boat is a piece has been used several times in workshops.  Its simplistic shape makes it approachable, yet subtle shading provides enough of a challenge in colour mixing and shape manipulation to have a good learning curve.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Art as a business

Wave - oil study

Waves have a lot in common with artistic life.   They are ever changing, but have a constancy that is reliable.  These studies were done as demos for an art class and painting water is one of my favourite subjects.  Its very nature is forgiving and allows you leeway in form and colour.

When an artist decides to seriously invest time, money and effort into an art career, it takes on a life of its own.  Like any business, the amount of reward comes from the size of the investment.  A career from art doesn't come easily - anymore than any career does.  There is training, practice, marketing, sales, inventory, production, etc. that has to be done on a daily basis.

There is a thought that an artist's life is an easy one, where we sit in the studio and 'play' with paints, effortlessly producing paintings that get sold magically, or we flit about going to openings or mixing in exotic circles of people at wine bars and cafes all the time. While there are moments of that, the reality is much further from there. 

Wave - acrylic study

Here's a typical day for me:

1.  Up at 5 - 5:30, coffee then into the studio
2.  Check emails and social media
3.  Paint for an hour or hour and half
4.  Go to the day job
5.  Home to get supper, do chores
6.  More studio time for painting, marketing, admin, or teaching
7.  On weekends, change out the day job for more concentrated studio time and run all day workshops about once a month

This is a constant pattern.  It doesn't change on holidays, birthdays, Christmas, etc.  Well, except the day job part, but then more time is devoted to catching up in the studio, developing marketing, making contacts and painting.

Wave - acrylic study

Also an artist's life is very solitary.  Producing art can of course be done in a group, which is often a workshop or practice session, but producing art that is intended for sale or exhibition it is usually done on your own.  You have to be content in your own company, introverted perhaps and willing to make sacrifices and yes, be selfish.

Its very much a business and being self employed, you do everything from the fun stuff to the mundane to the downright nasty, whether you want to or not.  What provides the incentive to move ahead is determination, and the level of need.  Its not for everyone. Making a living from art takes time, patience and a big leap of faith sometimes that all will be well.  It makes you take a long hard look at your life and lifestyle and how much you are willing to give up and accommodate to reach your dream.  More than anything, a solid plan is needed and a willingness to act on it, no matter what.

I'm pushing towards my dream and can see an end in sight.  How's your dream coming on?

Wave  - acrylic study