Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My very own Tim Burton prop...

I do not grow tomatoes...yet. 

Maybe next year, with some gardening advice from Bushman, the best gardener out in Bloggerville, I just might give it a go.

However, for now I buy tomatoes still attached to the vine. Someone said they’re better that way - what do I know! 

I usually buy them a little on the firm side (but not too firm) and put them on my kitchen windowsill. Makes me feel like I have a green thumb; I’m such a wannabe gardener.

Anyway, I take one tomato off at a time, leaving the rest still attached to the vine part. And, trying to be the good "gardener" that I think I am (or could be) I leave the vine bit attached to the very end!

Here is what I saw when I finally looked over at the windowsill.

My very own Tim Burton, eh! Check out the vine bit - I think it will make a great I go, pencil in hand!

Happy Halloween from me and my "scary" tomato!

Do you grow your own tomatoes? 
What’s the secret, or is there one, to growing succulent tomatoes?

Cheers, Jenny

Monday, October 29, 2012

An afternoon walk on the beach...Vancouver style.

The forecast, this time of year, has a volatility to it; Mother Nature’s mood changes quickly as she paints feverishly from her autumn palette. Her brush strokes are deliberate and her temperament unpredictable. 

So when I looked out my living room window and saw traces of blue between puffy white clouds, wrapped around the rays of a fading sun, I called down to mother and said, ”Dress warmly, we’re going for a drive.”

I headed west, down to Locarno Beach; part of a three beach stretch where many a jogger, cyclist, and ardent walker enjoy spectacular vistas in every direction.

The warmth of the afternoon sun draped lightly around curved shoulders; unsteady hands cupped a piping hot coffee; a hotdog, half eaten, was pushed to the side as sighs of contentment lingered in the crisp autumn air.

Come, sit a spell and enjoy the view…

A perfect place to stop for coffee.
A burst of yellow catches the eye. 
Looking west, the sky is still bright.
Looking eastward...the clouds move in and blanket the city.
Right in front of our seating area - a gnarled tree trunk begs for attention.
A closer look shows the cycle of life carries on.
Pretty in polka dots.

Do you have a favourite beach, or lakeside walk, that you enjoy?

Cheers, Jenny

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's missing from the first, but is now in the second?

Have you ever played "spot the difference" - well, there's only one between these two photos.

The difference is in the framed artwork.

I finished the drawing - then realized I forgot an important detail!

Can you see it?

Here are the two pictures...

So, did you find the different between these two photos?

Cheers, Jenny 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Do ponies count as still life? They do if they are these ponies...

I had an email asking, “Where’s your Week 5 art class post?” Hmm, I’m so over posting about my weekly art classes - suffice it to say, oh, let me give you the lowdown...

Creative Drawing - Week 5 was better then the previous four and in fairness I think it’s all coming together. I parked my left brain at the door and with my right brain in tow I allowed myself to “see” this class in a different light. 

That’s it for Week 5 - I’m not going to post the before and after photos because more exciting drawings await.

So whom should I credit with my steady climb up ART’s ladder? 

I will be giving kudos to Betty Edwards (take a bow Betty) and her book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. (yes, I am going on a bit about this book, but damn, it’s good and it does give results)

Add a dash of Miss CP to my weekly pot of Betty and you have an artist’s brew that is hard to beat.

Yesterday I had an epic session with Courtney. This was a five hour event; tea and dinner breaks were worked in but otherwise ART was on centre stage. 

Our five hours together consisted of “free drawing time” whereby I completed two assignments still pending from “the book” while Miss CP finishing a personal art project

Here, I would like to say...YOU ARE WELCOME
(that’s to all of you that let me know you were inspired to haul out your sketchbooks and revisit your drawing/writing passions - all because you read it here - damn, I’m good, and cheeky too)

Next came the lesson - more like ART Boot Camp. 

Miss CP is a tough task master; I was tasked with drawing ovals, lots and lots of ovals. All over the page, everywhere - until finally she said, “Now, draw that tube as you “see” it, not as you think it.” (yes, she’s read “the book” too, who do you think lent it to me) 

The object being drawn was a packing tube (the top of it in particular). Much ado was made of the fact that I “got” it and could “see” the top was oval in shape but round in reality. (yes, go figure)

Anyway...then came the still life practice. (and those ponies I mentioned)

Do any of you know professional designers/people in the animation industry? Yes? No? Well suffice it to say they have “things” that inspire them...lots and lots of “things”. (“things” equals “toys” in the real world)

Some of these “things” where taken from Courtney’s shelf for my lesson - three in particular. 

Do any of you remember Hasbro’s “My Little Pony” toys?


Meet Twilight Sparkle - the first “My Little Pony” on the drawing block. 

I used a rust coloured Ferby pencil to do this sketch; starting on the body, adding legs, then tail and head; focusing on negative space. (trying to anyway)

Here’s Applejack - isn’t she cute!

And my version - I did not make her head big enough - failing to do enough reference checks, going on memory, not good if the reference is right in front of me. Yup...on to the next!

And finally, meet Rarity. (the pony with attitude; so I’m told)

And two pic - this one is the rough version...trying to get placement.

This one is my finished version...and...YES, I AM HAPPY WITH IT!

And, one more.
Just because I like this page; okay, okay, I more hands - after this. 
(fingers crossed behind back where no one can see --- sneaky and cheeky)

Now, I’m not giving up my day job (I know it and can do it with my eyes closed, well, not closed, but I could be dozing and I’d still do a good job) but hey, this drawing gig is starting to tickle my fancy!

How are your projects coming along? (drawing, writing, building…??)

Have you finished anything you’d like to share? (link to it in your comment and I’ll share it in a post)

Cheers, Jenny 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Can you lend me a hand (or two)...either will do!

Alrighty. I’m officially using my Moleskine as intended; daily and without hesitation.

I confess, the first drawing in it was the hardest. I was told, by serious Moleskiners, that the first page entry is the most difficult - once done, the rest is a matter of acceptance and diligence. 

Note how I created a new name for art fanatics that use little books to capture an artistic moment in time - Moleskiners. If you google “moleskine sketchbook” and open the search in “Images” you will be blown away by what people draw in theirs. 

I am accepting of my art (and its failings - part of the journey) and my diligence is undeniable - I am a persistent old gal! (cute, and a bit over the hill as it were, but persistent nonetheless) 

Isn’t there a saying - “you get better with age” - well then, need I say more! (Vanity be my name!)

Although I won’t be blogging about every single solitary page in my first ever Moleskine - and it would be oh so tempting to do just that - I am going to share my second page entry, for now! (since that’s as far as I got - sheepish grin inserted here)

Page 2 - soup bowls (one full, one empty) and my left hand.
I am using a 6B pencil, and a kneading eraser sparingly.
My goal: plan before I draw thereby minimizing my need to erase.
The dark blob in the middle is what my first kneaded eraser looks like after far too much erasing in my drawing classes.
Turning my sketchbook sideways I drew the clenched fist, so I'm showing it here that way too.

Here to lend me a hand (or two) is a page from Courtney's Moleskine. Her personal goal was to complete one hundred hand drawings - this is a sampling of those hundred. 
I like looking through Courtney's Moleskine - it's motivating and inspiring.
Well, that just about covers it for this “hands on” post! 

And you…
Do you have a little book you drag along to capture your inner child’s frivolity and unbridled imagination? (be it written or drawn)

Cheers, Jenny 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beautiful ART is here - one Christmas gift down, one to go!

Yes, I have a really small list. (worthy of a post unto itself)

This post, today, is about the painting I bought for my mother. She’s been having a rough go of it lately - actually, a really rough go of it and I'm hopeful this piece of art will put a smile on her face.

I’m thinking of giving it to her early - then, of course, I’ll be back to needing two gifts! (one must always have a little something to open on “the big day”)

As I mentioned, briefly, in my last post - I went to an art exhibit and purchased some art.

Here is what I bought. I am very happy with it. 

Note the way the art is wrapped around the canvas sides - stunning. (Size 8x10")

This painting is done by Baukje Edamura. I had the pleasure of having a short visit with Baukje, at my studio today, when she dropped the painting off to me.

Baukje is from the Netherlands and arrived in Canada at the young age of eight. After spending her youth in Northern BC, Baukje headed to the Lower Mainland to attend university and never looked back.

Married, and with two adorable children who are now in school full-time, Baukje decided, last September, to revisit a passion she had first enjoyed during her high school years - painting.

Her mother is an artist, also passionate about painting, but as Baukje tells it, her mother likes to say, “She just dabbles in art” - Baukje grew up watching her mother create beautiful works of art.

As so many artists know, life gets in the way; once Baukje’s kids were in school she felt there was a little time in her busy week to take a morning off and devote it to painting lessons.

A year later, and many classes under her belt, Baukje participated in her first art exhibit where I bought one of her many stunning pieces.

At present, Baukje does not have a website showing her wonderful talent; when one is set up I will be sure to add it to my list of Noteworthy Art Sites, as her art is indeed noteworthy.

I know my mom will love this lone poppy; its petals wide open, some having fallen with the wind; vibrant and still full of life, bending to the changing of the seasons. I hope it inspires my mother to keep fighting the good fight and not let these last couple of weeks “pull her last few petals off”.

Mom loves poppies - and I love my mom.

As flowers and plants go, what calls to you? Do you have a favourite too?


Monday, October 15, 2012

I got my first Moleskine - you know I’ve got it bad now...

ART snuck out of the box and now I can’t close the lid; and you thought your nightmares were bad...well, here comes ART!

Today was a productive day. I ventured downtown by car (note to self - only fools with money to burn take their car downtown) and spent precious time, which ultimately made me late for a product launch (bad Jenny) driving around trying to find “reasonably priced” parking.

I do not mind paying to park my car, really I don’t, but eight dollars an hour to park my car in the bowels of a fancy hotel was not my cup of tea. 

Entering this fancy hotel’s parking lot and driving in circles, as I made my way down to the level relegated to “John Q Public”, I experienced a bad case of claustrophobia. 

I backtracked and went to my favourite lot, over at the Vancouver Hotel, which has civilized parking - above ground! (I don’t know why I didn’t think of it right away - it’s just a short walk from where I needed to be)

The product launch was for Men's Skin Care - and, the ever delicious Vincent Clerc is the spokesperson for Homme - Sothys' line for men, so seeing his ruggedly handsome face on an oversized poster was a yummy treat which alleviated my morning parking stress.

Leaving the hotel I took a few shots - now that I see the world in a slightly different light (lines and grids all over hell’s half acre) I found myself noticing arches, pillars and even flowers. Yikes...ART is following me everywhere.
 I love the arches and the balance they create.

 Look at the pillars and the ceiling - wouldn't this be a great piece to sketch?

The variety of shapes, and the perspective in this shot, inspire me to pick up my pencil.

Next, it was off to do a few errands - you know, Monday chores - groceries, banking, etc; taking mom along for the ride. (and to do her weekly shop - I’m such a good daughter, if I do say so myself - a little self-validation as you can see)

Once home I had a delicious afternoon coffee with real whip cream while diving into my current “read” - Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards.

After getting the “pre-instruction” drawings out of the way I forged on and found myself confronted with the Upside Down drawing assignment. 

The picture was a line drawing, done by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. Paris, May 21, 1920 (dated). Privately owned.

It is upside down in the book and I was required to draw it upside down. This exercise was to get me to “feel” the shift to using the right side of the brain to do the drawing.

 I was totally taken by surprise - I could feel myself letting go of the part of me that over-analyzes and go into a place that was oblivious to time and my surroundings - all I could think of were the lines and how they intersected each other and where they sat on my paper.

Looking back and forth, from book to paper, I felt at one with what I was doing and really liked being challenged to “see” what was before me, even though it was upside down.

Here is my drawing:

To end my day, I found myself at a large shopping mall with my daughter (I met to drop off some goodies to her) and while there I showed her a little pad of blank paper I was using (only had one sketch in it) to practice drawing when I was out and about. (inferior paper according to her)

She steered me right to the wall of Moleskine products, in Chapters, and picked out a sketchbook and told me, “It’s time you had one of these.” 

This sketchbook is 5" x 8.25", perfect to carry with me in my bag. My pencil is a self-sharpening 6B - perfect for drawing on this velvety paper. (very forgiving and easy for shading work)

And here is my first page - dedicated to my Luck...and my Wine - both working their magic to help me see ART all around me, calling my name, and waiting for me to come and play.

Lucky in her favourite chair, me in mine, opposite her, with my wine between us! Ah...the life!

The best thing I’ve done for myself, in 2012, was lift the lid on my Childhood box and let ART come out and play.

Life will never be the same.

And you...what plays in your world?
Cheers,  Jenny 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Creative Drawing - Week 4 - determination laced with defiance.

I haven’t had my “eureka” moment quite yet...but I feel it coming.

Working backwards - this post starts with yesterday.

 Saturday evening... 

I had a drawing session with my daughter. This was the ‘practice’ that followed our Friday lesson, on perspective - which I am understanding better, thanks to Courtney’s help.

In light of Halloween coming our practice session revolved around the animated movie Monster House. Courtney put it on to inspire our creativity. She was busy working on her weekly illustration for VanSketch, a drawing blog, and the upcoming theme was Halloween.

My daughter brought out her book, The Art & Making of Monster House, for me to use as a reference for my drawing. On page 100 I found this picture…

and here is my drawing of it.

I confess, I’m stoked...I really enjoyed the process. I thought I had paid attention to the placement of my shapes. Tsk, tsk...not so.
The boy’s head is bigger (and the girl’s is smaller) than those in the picture; had I taken the time to work all of the pieces simultaneously, on my page, I would have caught this sooner, before I started using dark lines for detailing.

I am learning how important it is, in the planning stage, to position all objects/people on my page with light loose lines before the detailing begins. 

These weekly sessions with my daughter rock! Not only because I am learning the processes involved in drawing, but because I am spending time with Courtney as we share our common passion. 

She is my mentor and my inspiration ( and I told her so); I am in awe when I watch her draw - she makes it look so effortless and easy. It pleases me to no end that she wants to help me achieve my goal in understanding perspective in art.

Earlier Saturday…

Before my drawing session, I dropped in to see an art exhibit, of work by students taking painting classes with “my instructor”, and I was pleasantly surprised - so much so that I purchased a piece, a Christmas gift for my mother, which I will blog about next week when I get it. (I left it with the artist for her display, where it was marked SOLD - her first sale)

Wednesday’s Art Class - Week 4…

This week, in class, we drew square and rectangular shapes. I have little to say about this class other than I shared my frustration with the teacher regarding the necessity of having so many objects on the table during this learning phase.

You may think I am being difficult (ah, the misconceptions) but in fact others echoed my frustrations by saying they too found it overwhelming trying to “see” through so many objects. 

Yes, yes...real life is full of objects that need to be worked around when drawing or painting - but, heck, this is a classroom; objects placed on the table are done so by the instructor who should show some restraint when cramming them all together. 

Next week, I am not bringing an item to add to the table. (tsk, tsk, such defiance, what next)

Here is the table (with its thirteen items)

Here is my work:


I am reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. Have any of you read it? It is quite interesting.

I’m sure I have mentioned, since posting about my art classes, that I am ambidextrous. I write with my right hand, but do most everything else with both hands equally. (I have a left-handed brother)

Back in the day, when shooting pool was part of my world, I could break with either hand and when there was a difficult shot, tight along the rag, I had no problem switching to the appropriate hand for the shot.

Same with waterskiing slalom, either foot in front is fine; I prefer to answer the telephone with my left hand and ear; I am a left-handed eater, using my cutlery opposite to how most do.

So, when this book was brought to my attention (again, thanks to Courtney for lending it to me) I was totally intrigued with Chapter Three - Your Brain: The Right and Left of It.

This third chapter inspired me to pick up a pencil, with my left hand, and do a little mirror writing; what I wrote on the top of the page can be read when held up to a mirror. (a hand mirror would be helpful here)

This full page, pictured here, has been done by my left hand. (remember, as a rule I write using my right hand)

Mirror writing was a favourite of two famous left-handed men: Leonardo da Vinci and Lewis Carroll.

In Chapter One, the reader, (in this case, me) is given a “pre-instruction” assignment; four different drawings: a headshot of myself (via a mirror); one of a face, from memory; one of my hand (the one not using the pencil, of course); and last, a chair, from real-life.

I did all four (not for public viewing *sheepish grin*) and tucked them away because in Chapter Four the lessons begin. 

This book, and its teachings, are based on nine lessons Betty Edwards teaches over a fourteen weeks period; her students met twice a week: once for a two hour lecture, that would be the reading I’ll be doing, and then again for a three hour drawing session. I will structure my time (what’s left of it - who needs sleep anyway, right!) to somehow resemble this setup.

Upon completion of the lessons my “pre-instruction” and “post-lesson” drawings will be compared. I’m sure this will be interesting to see, at which point I may then do a ‘before’ and ‘after’ post, where we can share a chuckle together.


What are you reading? 
Is it holding your attention? 
Are you inspired by it? 


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Take a walk across the look back, what do you see?

Sunday, Oct. 7th, No Whales In Captivity, held a protest in front of the Vancouver Aquarium and I was there with my daughter and her tail.

The Fun Part:

Courtney has been spotted around town at various functions and events; as Vancouver Mermaid, she was the featured attraction at this protest which was for the release of the last orca (killer whale) in captivity at MarineLand in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Watching her interact with children, their parents, and others wanting to know what was going on was uplifting and encouraging. 

The Serious Part:

I found myself drawn in by the energy and passion of the fifty volunteers/protesters that came out for this event on a glorious, sunny October Sunday.

This local event was in support of a larger group of protesters (100) at MarineLand in Niagara Falls, Canada, protesting the ongoing confinement and display (for entertainment purposes) of Kiska, an orca (killer whale) that has been alone in a small tank since November 2011.


This was my first protest, as such I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

Often, when watching protesters on television I would find myself getting annoyed at the radicalism and the attempt, at all costs, to bring me on board. And, if one didn’t agree with "them" one might be inclined to feel they were being censured and stupefied

So, I admit, I was a little leery when my daughter invited me along, more as her assistant, then an actual protester, to this event.

Initially, I served in my role as assistant to the mermaid, but in short order I found myself with brochures to hand out to passersby; which I enjoyed. I have long known I am a people person so this was not a stretch for me.

Well...the next thing I heard was a megaphone. 

Many a voice found their way to it and expressed a concern, a passion, and even some anger. And yes, there were a few moments when I was uncomfortable with what I was hearing.

Not because it was bad, but because of the delivery.

It was then I wanted to “speak up” and address those folks, patiently waiting in line, over on the other side of the roadway, whose only intention, upon getting up that morning, was to have a “fun” outing with family and/or friends at the aquarium.

I took some time to reflect on what “we” as a group looked like from “over there” and what “we” must sound like. I thought of rallies and protests I had seen on television where I felt I was missing something...wondering what the heck those protesters where protesting about anyway.

I realized we were not giving the onlookers the bigger picture of what was going on in front of them.

So, I did what was logical to me, I engaged those onlookers by introducing “us” to them. 

Who were we? Did they wonder this, I asked.
(a non-profit organization called No Whales In Captivity, started in 1992)

Why were we here? I thought they might like to know.
(to support the release of the last remaining orca in captivity in Canada)

What was our mission and what did we hope to accomplish? 
(to educate; get signatures on petitions; and stop the import of more cetaceans to Canadian aquariums)

I let them know the literature we were handing out had facts that might intrigue them thus giving them questions to ask the staff, inside the aquarium.

I encouraged them, once inside, to note the state and size of the habitats of the captive cetaceans (marine mammals: whales, dolphins, porpoises).

Further, I let them know that each person out here, protesting, was doing so because they care about the welfare and well-being of marine mammals being held in captivity; that each of these protesters was in fact just like them, a compassionate free thinker who wants to do the right thing.

I closed with asking those waiting in line (the onlookers across the street) to really see what was there before them, in the aquarium, in particular the dolphin and beluga exhibits with their scheduled performances, and ask themselves this simple question: “Am I being entertained at the expense of another’s freedom?” 

You know what was interesting - by taking this approach people paused and heard the message. Some even ventured "across the street" for literature, wanting more information before heading into the aquarium.

And that, my dear friends, was the icing on my “first protest” cake.

You see, I believe it isn’t my job to convince you to be a compassionate human - that’s for you and your conscience to figure out.

My job is to give you more than one path for your thoughts to travel on. The more info you can garner, the better you will be at drawing a conclusion, one that’s right for you because it’s yours.

I have a theory and it goes like this: No human has the right to tell another human what to think. Each of us has a brain, the trick is to be an independent thinker and use that brain rather than giving it over to someone else to do our thinking for us.

Each of you that frequents Pearson Report is encouraged to be a critical thinker and to draw your own conclusions, not only with what you read here, but with everything you read, hear and see. (taste and touch can be worked in here too)

I am the first to do a little research before spouting off and though I have strong opinions I afford everyone their own. I am a big fan of open dialogue. If in the end we agree to disagree, remember dialogue is the grease that keeps our mental cogs turning.

Never let your cogs seize up. Be open, be receptive, and most of all be in touch with your conscience - it will never steer you wrong.

For those wishing to delve a little deeper into cetaceans in captivity here are some links:

Theo has died. (Theodore the harbour porpoise rescued this summer close to Victoria, BC died at the Vancouver Aquarium)

This problem is not unique to Canada, aquariums around the globe are big business. If you have an aquarium close to home I encourage you to do a little sleuthing, it's amazing what you'll find out.
Remember, knowledge is power, never miss an opportunity to power-up!  (who's a gamer!!)

Okay, here it comes...a one question quiz: What is the moral of this post?


Saturday, October 06, 2012

Creative Drawing - Week 3 - plus a little extra bit.

In a nutshell, Week 3 was much better. 

We actually did some pre-sketching exercises - five sketches of an empty yogurt container (without lid) moving it closer with each sketch.

Here is a quick look...the object was to get the relation of the opening to the curvature of the base and the height of the sides...hmmm…needs work, but hey, that’s why I’m taking this course, right!

In these two sketches the container was literally to my right, inches away. I’ll be practicing this during the week to get the hang of it before next class.

Then came the sketching/drawing session (I left early so I only did one drawing - parental unit issues). Here is what I saw (although I saw a little more of the shoes heel area than this pic affords a view of).

Here’s my great attempt...okay, it’s week three and I’m feeling the love! As you can see I am still "stretching" the truth!

Now, here is my last (don’t want to bore you to death) drawing of the curtain and drawer combo. 

The drawing on the right is my most recent and per the suggestion of a wise blogger I am laying this project aside. Time to sketch bigger fish! (and I have just the thing; wait till you see it)

Then, just for fun, I had to add a shot of my cleverness. 

Since  I was unable to procure a newsprint tube from the art supply shop I frequent (a one man store; I’m huge on supporting the “little people” seeings as I’m one of them) I got creative.

A while back, I purchased a painting from Artist Trish, Down Under, and it arrived in a mailing tube - so voila, it’s now my newsprint tube; it even has her trademark lizard on it, therefore my tube is a “work of art”. Slick, eh!

Before I sign off...there’s a little housekeeping that needs attending to.

Matthew - THANK YOU for adding my blog to your Thursday Top Three - what a surprise and honour. Too cool for words! So, simply put - YOU ROCK!

Mynx - you aced your homework assignment - and "rock it out of the ball park" you did! High Fives to you my friend! All six are awesome - you know my fav!

And to a special friend, who’s going through a rough patch...this too shall pass. Consider yourself hugged, tightly.  

And you dream big; do you live in the present; do you breathing in deeply while hugging tightly; do you love passionately and laugh heartily? 

Well? Do you?