Sunday, April 26, 2015

6 x 8 oil on panel

I've been busy writing more than painting over the last few weeks and it continues as I prepare for an online drawing workshop.  Its a big undertaking, more than I anticipated but I'm moving ahead on the writing sections and am working on the videos that go with them.  That too, takes time, more so in editing, aside from filming and I'm not in my comfort zone, but learning a lot as I go.  Of course there are always glitches and sections have to be redone.  The thing that keeps me focused is knowing that once it is complete, I should not have to do a lot more to it aside from an annual or biannual tweaking.
I've created a new website that is cleaner and more visually appealing that the previous one and has everything together under one roof.  And its less expensive, which is always a good thing. The backroom details behind domain transfers never goes quite as planned, but, touch wood, all is in place. Do have a look if you have a moment and let me know what you think.  Jeanette Jobson Fine Art

I have workshops in May at the studio then am taking the summer off to do other things.  After working in a day job most of my life, this will be my first summer of freedom and I want to take advantage of it.  I'll be offering gyotaku workshops in Rocky Harbour in late July/early August, then fall drawing and painting workshops will run again til December.

Learn to create browns and greys in a colour theory workshop

May 5   Introduction to Palette Knife Painting
May 8   Colour Theory
May 19-21 Three Day Palette Knife Painting Workshop - Boats and Water
May 27 & 28 Introduction to Classical Drawing

You can find full details and registration for my workshops online.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Doing what comes naturally

 Saturday Morning
 Artist's Proof  6" x 9" 
Original etching handcoloured with watercolour

I've been struggling with a painting for the last week or more.  So much so that just going into the studio fills me with dread when I face this piece on the easel.  

Today I thought carefully about why it makes me feel this way and its because its not in my comfort zone.  Yes, there's some water in it,but there are buildings, lots of buildings.  I don't do landscapes and really don't do buildings, so my usual flow isn't present for this piece.  I'll get through it, but I know I'll find fault with the end result for no other reason but the grief its giving me in its creation.

Artists starting out move all over the place in terms of subject and medium, but over time a repetition of subject and medium creep in until they are a recognizable style.  It could be subject or colour palette or how a medium is used, but, like a signature, it becomes identifiable with a particular artist.

After painting in that style and having the world recognize it as yours, its difficult to move out of that comfort zone.  After I finish a large painting, I do a couple of small paintings, tiny in comparison to what I usually paint.  These allow me to explore other subjects but my technique and medium, palette knife and oil paint, are the identifiables in them.

I see other artists imitating successful artists or subjects that sell well, but haven't yet found their own style and are trying to ride on the coat tails of others, which is never successful on several levels.  As for painting what you think will sell.  Simply, it won't because you cannot gage what the public wants or sees.  There is always someone out there who will love your art (as well as hate it), they just haven't found it yet.  That 50/50 mix of art and marketing are key for visibility.  And putting many kilometres on the brush or knife ensures that you develop your own style.

Sure wander around and play, but remember where your comfort zone is and what makes your work unique to you.  So the moral of this story is that I will not take on a subject that I know I won't enjoy painting.  Like commissions sometimes, when the subject isn't one that naturally attracts you or is your own idea, you'll struggle and become frustrated.

My other struggle was this print.  This is an artist's proof from a plate that I etched awhile ago.  I etched more into the plate after the proofs then put it aside.  Now I can't find the plate!  I've hunted high and low and it still hasn't turned up.  It will eventually.  Meanwhile, I've added colour to two of the artist's proof with watercolour.

Its been one of those weeks and its only Tuesday!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ice season

Spring Break
12" x 36"
oil on gallery canvas
Contact the artist to purchase

At last spring has come and the snow is retreating.  Of course it does it in its own sweet time.  One day pleasant and sunny, the next snow flurries or cold rain, but it is here.

The ocean has its own spring rituals as slob ice breaks up.  This can play havoc with shipping and has done so this year with the worst sea ice in 30 years.  It delays ferry crossings for passengers and freight and as trucked in food and goods are the norm, it can leave some supermarket shelves looking a little sparse at times.

Ice even becomes an industry, with ice breakers and harvesting of icebergs in season to make water and vodka.  Yes, bizarre I know, but true.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Making studies

24" x 30" oil, masonite panel  (on hold)

Nearly every large painting that I produce has had a study done of it before I dive in to the final painting.

Now I know that not everyone likes to do studies.  They consider it a waste of time and want to jump right in and paint.  But studies can save you a lot of time and frustration on your final piece.  They don't have to be large or complex.  They are designed to work out ideas for composition, colour, values on a small scale before investing time and supplies discovering the same things on a large scale.  Great if you like your experiment on the large scale.  Not so great if you don't.

Study for Queen's- pen and ink/watercolour in sketchbook
I look on studies as similar to guage swatches in knitting.  Bear with me if you're not a knitter, but a guage swatch is a measurement tool that shows how many stitches per inch a particular yarn and needles provide, how loose or tight your knitting is and provides a pretty accurate idea about how your final knitted piece will turn out.  If you avoid it, you end up with a sweater that has arms well suited to a gorilla.  Yep, been there...fine yarn too.  The knitters will be sagely nodding at this last statement.

Colour studies and sketches are the same.  They are the test for shapes and colours and 30 minutes to an hour of your time devoted to a sketch and colour study can save you a lot of heartache later on.  I can safely tell you this because I've avoided studies in the past and dissolved in a fit of frustration and annoyance at myself when a large scale piece goes in the completely opposite direction to where I wanted it to go.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Hangin' WIP

Its quite common to start a painting and not finish it.  There are many reasons.  It may not be working out as you imagined it; you may lose interest in the subject; you may not have time or other projects are more pressing.  

This was the case for this piece. I  started it quite awhile ago using brushes on canvas and it wasn't quite doing what I wanted so I put it aside.   While cleaning up the studio today, I found it again and thought it was time to revitalize it using palette knives and to change the background for more contrast.  You can see my progress on the first two toys today as well as the background change from the pale blue to the darker greens.  I think the contrast gives more impact to the pastel toys and the texture of the knife should provide a more realistic look of fur.

I don't toss a lot of paintings, but the ones that I do put aside are usually returned to and reworked at a later date.  And that date can be years later.  I think I must hold the record for not returning to a portrait for over 20 years!  Unless I plan to completely rehaul the painting, I don't gesso over it, but simply oil out (if using oil paints) and make my changes.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Getting to grips with reflections

6" x 8" oil on panel

Whether its water, metal or glass, its the reflections that interest me.  Many people believe that painting or drawing reflections is difficult, but its all down to close observation of shapes and colours.  And of course magic. Joking!  There's no magic in art, there's lots of looking, lots of thinking and lots of practice.

So how to get to grips with reflections? 

1. Slow down.  Take time to really observe what is in front of you.  Our brains like to rush us past things; we take in the overview but never really see the detail.  The detail is what makes or breaks reflections.

2.Look at the environment.  Reflections pick up colour or shapes from objects nearby or the environment surrounding them. 

3. Highlights aren't all white.  The very brightest highlights where light hits the object straight on are often white, but even they have a tinge of another colour in many cases.  Subtle value changes in the same or complimentary colours show how light wraps around a subject by changing from lighter to darker values.

4. Look at shapes.  The shapes of light and dark areas, not just the subject is what reflects light.  Plan your underdrawing to include the shapes of all areas where light changes.  It becomes your guide for placement in painting.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Life drawing

Years ago I would attend a life drawing class weekly, but with work and altered scheduled, there just was not time to do so or sessions were not available when I was.  

Now that I'm not tied to a 9 - 5 job anymore, the world of life drawing has reopened and this week I attended two sessions, one with a clothed model the other unclothed.   I forgot how good it is to draw from life in a group setting.  The slight movements and changes in pose, light changes and atmosphere all contribute to the challenge.  From one minute poses to more substantial 30 minute poses, it was good to flex that muscle again.

One minute sketches