Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Greetings from inside the Bloedel Conservatory.

Last Friday my daughter and I went for a walkabout, and lunch, with a dear friend of ours to one of our favourite spots in Vancouver: Queen Elizabeth Park.

We went in and took a turn around the Bloedel Conservatory which has been beautifully decorated for this holiday season. 

Without further is a photo montage of our walk inside.

Our final stop, Seasons in the Park Restaurant.

I hope you enjoyed your outing at the Bloedel Conservatory...and to think, our city council had planned on closing down this most beloved attraction. Only the hue and cry of many of Vancouver’s residents spared it from such a fate.

And...if per chance you should be standing in the viewing area, in front of the Conservatory and restaurant, with your gaze toward the mountains, you would soon realize you were seeing the view which makes up my Header and Background photo! (subject to change yet again!)

Cheers, Jenny

Monday, December 03, 2012

Dashing through the snow Old Man Winter nips at our heels.

It’s that time of year again, when Old Man Winter dusts the local mountains and chills the air.

Today, as I write this post, the beautiful North Shore mountain range is cloaked in a blanket of rain laden clouds. It is a cold, damp, overcast day...typical of this time of year.

Of course up in those higher elevations the rain is falling as snow and on the next sunny day this is what you will see.

View of Downtown Vancouver and North Shore Mountains
Click on photo to enlarge

My Header and Background are derived from this photo, taken last year on a walk about I took over to Queen Elizabeth Park, where the view, on a sunny day, is spectacular.

Enjoy the links within this post they will take you on a little visual walk about around beautiful Vancouver, BC.

Other links with photos taken in and around Vancouver:
Just the prescription...for clearing your mind (Downtown and the Convention Centre)

Cheers, Jenny

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The story of the package...clarity, background, plot revealed.

You asked for a little more “clarity” on the plot of my last post - the story of the package. you have it.

Back on October 28th I received an email from Matthew; a dear blogging friend who has been incredibly encouraging and supportive of the many adventures I share here on Pearson Report.

In his email he said he had a “massive ask” of me and wanted to know if I would draw a portrait, “something cute”, maybe a caricature, of his dear friend who was going through a very difficult time. He wanted to put a big smile on her face for her upcoming birthday.

Reading his email I was deeply touched, and as I said in my last post, it brought tears to my eyes. The young woman’s story is not mine to tell, suffice it to say my heart was profoundly moved and without hesitation I accepted Matthew’s request. 

My daughter is a designer at a major animation studio and when I called to ask if she would like to draw a caricature (cartoon version of the young woman) for Matthew she was delighted to be part of such a meaningful gesture.

Matthew sent me a few photos, and Courtney was told the young woman loved the characters from the Batman franchise to which Miss CP (as I affectionately call my daughter) decided on Bat Girl for the character she would draw.

Our drawing sessions became wonderful bonding moments where tears and laughter were shared, and the love of a common passion strengthened. 

We both came to understand that this project was bigger than what we were drawing and creating - it was about reaching out and helping others. (There really isn’t a better feeling.)

For Courtney, who draws for a living, this task, while still requiring time and patience, came second nature to her and watching her “do her thing” was truly magical.

Here are a few shots of Miss CP at her Cintiq...working on Bat Girl.

The finished caricature.

Me...on the other hand, well, I had my share of difficulties. 

To start, I have no formal portrait drawing skills under my belt and had only attempted one other portrait as practice for my Creative Drawing classes. It would be safe to say I felt like a fish out of water.

Add to that the four day period where I was overcome with fear and doubt about drawing hair. It was very difficult. Very. I managed to lay the base lines down, but how to fill in and darken them was much harder than I first imagined. 

There is a process to drawing hair which I did learn, albeit a little too close to the end. I was able to incorporate what I had learned and I am proud of my effort with the hair I drew, even if I could have had more knowledge and skills to help me.

With that, here are a few photos showing my progress through various stages.

The finished portrait.

Last was the shipping, a part that I had little experience with. It took some sleuthing to find out I needed to “finish” my pencil drawing with a fixative and then ship it flat, not rolled as one might do with painted canvas. Ah...the learning curve was steep!

When the package arrived, dear Matthew was so excited he wasn’t sure if he should open it or wait until November 23, the birthday of his sweet friend. I assured him he would figure it out.

A short while later, that same day, I received an email letting me know he did open it and had looked at the art...he was WOWED and his email totally rocked my world...Miss CP was equally tickled - we all could hardly wait until that Friday.

That’s when I wrote my teaser post - Just a few more days…

The birthday arrived and dear Matthew gave his gift...a gift he had been hesitant to ask for help in creating...and here it was for his special friend. 

When his next email came it was beyond words...I cannot begin to even do his words justice...they were so happy, so full of joy and gratitude - you could almost hear the spring in his step. Tears of happiness filled my eyes.

To help Matthew bring such joy to his friend, as she goes through this very difficult time, was the ultimate in happiness - this experience will be forever etched in my heart.

Dear Matthew - thank you for letting me be part of your gift.

Well...there you have it...the story of the package...unwrapped!

Since Matthew had given this story some exposure over at his place (which you really must visit, if you haven't already) it allowed for me to give you more of a first person perspective with a few more details.

Is the story clearer now? Any questions? There is going to be a quiz, you know!

A few fun facts:

Miss CP took 5 hours from start to finish to complete her digital art piece. This included her moleskine sketch, the rest done in Photoshop CS5.

I took 15 hours from start to finish, of which 4 hours was spent on the hair alone. Most of the drawing was done with a 4B pencil. I used 6/8/9B for the hair. Plus I made a mess of two kneading erasers! 
A hint of red colour was used on the lips.

There was an additional 5 hours for stuff like printing off the digital copy, running around getting mailing supplies and actually mailing the package.

Then...there was about 168 hours (7 days) spent stressing while waiting for the package to be delivered. Only then...could I breath in deeply and really feel the warmth of this adventure wash over me.

Cheers, Jenny

Thursday, November 22, 2012

He asked, with some hesitation - she answered, without any.

The story of the package...

He had watched her from afar, intrigued and fascinated by the journey she had started not so long ago. She seemed genuinely happy and it showed in her work. He told her so...often; he liked telling people how he felt about their efforts and accomplishments.

She too had taken an interest in him from a distance, interacting on occasion by leaving him a kind word, some well wishes for his ailing grandmother, and in general smiled when she read his well chosen words articulating his youthful exuberance and zest for life.

Then came his personal note.

He asked, with some hesitation. She could tell it was a hard thing for him to do. Even though miles separated them, and they knew little about each other, he braved it and asked her.

She read his note...several times, hardly able to contain her emotions. Tears ran freely as she read the words that would be forever etched in her mind. 

A phone call to her daughter confirmed she was on board - she was moved by the story her mother shared and without hesitation agreed to the request; it had been a while since she had had to dig deep into her emotional was her chance to share her talent and a smile.

Notes were exchanged from afar, photos sent, questions asked and answered...and then the real challenge began.

How to start the first line, where to go from there - the budding portrait artist sat and stared at length and pondered what lay behind the eyes of the young woman looking back at her.

So young; a life so vibrant and full of potential, momentarily suspended while the gods convened and played out her life’s cards; only patience and time would reveal the hand dealt.

And so, with determination and the desire to draw a portrait that would depict beauty, serenity, charm, and the youthfulness smiling up at her, she started drawing.

Her daughter, who was taking great pride in her part of the equation - the caricature, lent an ear, and gave sound advice when needed; together mother and daughter forged a bond.

Motivated by the devotion, compassion and commitment of a young man to his dear friend the portrait artist kept her pencil moving. 

Putting aside fears and doubts, and finding the confidence needed to finish, she smiled upon lifting her head and considered the eyes before her: looking up were the eyes of a young woman ready to take on life and all its offerings.  It was a good omen.

Time was of the essence as this was to be a gift - not only to mark that special day on the calendar that each of us calls our own, but to bring sunshine and laughter during the dark days ahead.

Here is the photo, the portrait, and the caricature of a young woman who captured the heart of a very special young man...and his friends in a faraway land.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. This project has been profoundly life altering, an experience I will not soon forget. 

Please join me in wishing this sweet young woman a Healthy and Happy Birthday - she deserves both.

Sincerely, Jenny

Monday, November 19, 2012

Just a few more days…

The package arrived, in one piece. 

Big sigh.

Big smile.

Tension mounted, he could not decide.

Open it and look.

Or wait.

It would be just a few more days.

He sent an email...confirming - all was good, all was really good.

Heck...he was excited, okay, really excited.

Reading his note, her grin reached ear to ear.

Her end was done, he had the package now.

Big sigh.

Big smile.

Tension mounted because she knew he couldn’t decide.

She wanted feedback.

No pressure.

She would wait.

It would be just a few more days.

Another email...bigger grin.

Her cheeks hurt.

He had peeked.

She knew it would be hard not to.

Now they both had to wait.

It would be just a few more days.

Together they would wait.

A few more days, just a few more days.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A closer look is often what it takes to appreciate beauty.

I went for a very long walk today; given the weather god was presenting a “quick...this won’t last long” window of opportunity I seized it and enjoyed the changing of the seasons.

There is something special about a fall walkabout. I motored along for the first half which brought me to a little diner where I stopped for breakfast.

It was on my return, with a full tummy, that I took in the offerings Mother Nature was sharing.

In this set of photos I have chosen to get in for a closer look...sometimes that's what it takes to really see what is there.

And since I know you weren’t with me on my walk, I took these photos to share with you. I like to pay it forward, so enjoy!  (click to enlarge and really get in close, like I did)

This last photo is from my garden...a happy gnome makes for a happy home!

A footnote:
As I write this, and get ready to press publish, I hear the rain pelting down on my porch. Wee dog is a wet mop...she has just been out communing with Mother Nature.

Many of you deal with horrific weather so I try not to complain about a little rain or the damp chill of winter - I am grateful and I do thank the weather god for gifts like today. 

Do you make the most of a beautiful day? What do you do when the sun breaks through the clouds and calls your name?

Cheers, Jenny

PS - the Header and Background are taken from a photo on this outing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flowers for my friends...

I needed a little of summer’s magic to shine through on these cold, damp, autumn days that now make up my world.

So today my blog is donning a floral frock and matching bonnet to show her rebellious nature as winter creeps around the corner and slithers down my block.

Also, I’m working on post...not just any post, a special one.

I know, you are saying to yourself, “But all of your posts are special, Jenny” - gosh, thank you, so sweet of you to say.

I’ve been on an epic journey, as of late, and trying to articulate my thoughts has been rather trying...and for me, a gal seldom at a loss for finding her tongue, this is daunting.

So in the meantime...

What have you been up to...regale me with your adventures? 

Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Creative Drawing - Week 8 - the boys, and a little bit more.

Two and a half hours is not near enough time to draw two faces, but I gave it my best in this week’s art class. 

I am happy with both drawings - I will complete them as part of my practice, but not before I finish what I already have on my drawing board; tonal values are on my mind and soon they will be part of my current project - which, I am pleased to say, is shaping up beautifully.

Here’s what I drew in class...recognize the boys?

Now, for the remainder of this week I am going to buckle down and finish what I started. 

I was told the “eyes” have it so I will share these special eyes; full of hope, passion, kindness and love - beautiful eyes that belong to a beautiful soul.

How is your week shaping up? Any unfinished projects needing your attention?

I would also like to THANK all you wonderful bloggers for following my art journey and leaving such motivating and inspiring comments - I am most grateful for the encouragement to keep going. I will do just that, because of your kindness.

With smiles and hugs,

Monday, November 05, 2012

Creative Drawing - Week 7 plus a very special project.

Last Wednesday, we started the portrait drawing portion of my art class. The week prior I had given myself the challenge of drawing a friend for practice so I would feel a little more prepared for what was to come.

The first thing we worked on were eyes; getting them on the page correctly, we were told, would be what sets the rest of the face up for success. (or so we hoped)

We had three eyes to draw from a reference photo. I’ve numbered them as we did them in a particular order. Our focus was on the size of the eye and the placement of the iris and pupil in it, not lashes and shading.


The reference (handout) picture…

Next we had to draw a face, starting with the eyes. We were given an additional handout (not included here) showing how to use “eye width” as a measurement tool and based on that we had to place the rest of the features on the page.

Here is the reference photo we had to draw...

I was much slower than the other students (such is life if you are me) but this is what I managed to get on my paper given the time allotted.  

❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ ❋

For the last week I have been focusing on a very special project and thought I would give you a peek at what I’m up far...

The lips..

There is still much shading to be done; as this is a layering process I cannot rush, I do it in stages, and as time permits. I am learning that one cannot rush the process...sometimes art really does take time. 

Suffice it to say, I am very happy with my efforts to this point. I am excited to see the finished piece…are you?

And a little something for those of you with a curious nature…

I found an awesome video on drawing an eye, which I’m going to share with you - because, truly, you will be fascinated - this guy is great!  As it is about 14 minutes long, view it when you have the time.

Drawing an eye (photorealistic), by Mark Crilley. 
For more great videos just google “how to draw…” (add nose, lips, ears etc after the word draw) and you will be amazed at what talent is out there.

Have you ever drawn a self-portrait, either for fun or for an assignment - how did it turn out? 

(I had to do one for an assignment as I make my way through “the book”) 

Cheers, Jenny