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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

This week's art class homework

My choice of a surface, a thick gnarly piece of Douglas Fir bark. It looks very grey here, but it was browner under the incandescent lamp.

I used complimentary colours of yellow and violet, and lots of mixed neutrals, and a tint of the greyish neutral for the highlights.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Preparing wooden panels for acrylic painting

Our final graduating project in my North Island College course will be an independent painting. The minimum size is 24" by 36" - so, big! We can use any medium, including collage, and paint on any support.

Here is the course description:


4 hours, includes lecture and studio time, 3 credits
An introductory course intended to provide students with an overview of colour theories relating to design and fine art practices. Historical contexts and social and psychological implications will give the direction of study of the perception of colour in the visual arts of the 20th century. This class explores a variety of exercises from colour mixing to painting sessions with live models and still life subjects.

I have decided to do a triptych on wooden panels. I ordered 3 panels from Opus, 24x24", and two 12x24". I spent the day today giving the panels a light sanding with a sanding block, then applying two coats of Golden GAC-100. Tomorrow will be gesso, two coats, lightly sanded.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekend in Palm Desert

Pen sketch of Anne's backyard. The perspective is wonky, but I think I captured the feel of sitting under the overhanging roof, looking out at the pool and the palms against the concrete wall.

The "super moon", at about 6:30 in the evening as we walked across the street for dinner.

On the left is a pencil and charcoal sketch from the moon photo above, which I spoiled by spraying heavily with hairspray to fix the charcoal, resulting in the ink sketch on the opposite side of the page, bleeding through. On the right is a watercolour sketch of a charming arrangement of pots in a corner of the backyard.

Three of the five, ready to open a very large bottle of Prosecco from Trader Joes.

Monday, November 7, 2016

House concert with James Brawn

We were privileged to attend a house concert at our neighbour's this afternoon, a piano recital with James Brawn  http://jamesbrawn.com/. All Russian composers, see programme below, played on Robert and Andrew's Falcone grand piano.

Robert Newton is the organizer of Concerts Denman.

The music reverberated throughout Robert and Andrew's log home whilst outside huge Douglas Fir tree branches soughed in the wind while rain pattered against the windows. A very special recital!

Sketching with Chinese sumi ink and a dip nib pen

Using the dip nib pen is a bit more work, organization, bit of a mess, clean up - whatever - than just picking up a technical pen. However, I do really like the line, the colour, the intense blackness, the special "hand of the maker" look that comes from using a dip nib pen.

The other day I got out my bottle of sumi ink, Chunghwa Ink.

In order to use the ink with a dip pen, I pour some ink into a small yogurt container, and tilt the container to get enough depth of ink to dip the nib. I end up pouring ink away down the sink at the end of my drawing session, but at $6.00 a bottle, and given that I have had the bottle for about 10 years, I think that is affordable.

The ink is very black and has a sweet herbal scent that lingers on the page for several weeks after the drawing is complete. Given that some inks really smell awful, this is a nice aspect of using this ink.

I did this small sketch with the sumi ink, and I like the variation in line, and the intense blackness.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Art class homework

Three things to do for homework this week:

1.  Make a monochromatic colour range chart - I used the new Hansa Yellow Middle paint that we received in class this week, because the instructor said that it is a true yellow and does not require mixing to make the hue.  I added black to make many tones, and white to make many tints. Colour chart done, and the glue is drying now.

2.  Figure out how to draw drapery using the handout that we got in class. I pinned my paint wiping old terry towel to the cork board with a push pin, and set to work. I have always considered drawing drapery to be a big mystery, and totally beyond my powers. But hey, look at this first effort! Just goes to show that you can learn anything if you apply yourself.

My first ever drapery drawing - onward!

Tomorrow I need to start on the most important and time consuming part of the homework which is to spend from 4 to 20 (!) hours on refining the monochromatic model study from class, paying careful attention to the darks and lights in the hair, the hands, and the drapery on the model stand.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Art class, second half of term

Hurrah, I got an A- for my mid-term mark! Very gratified and inspired to work even harder.

On Tuesday we started the last half of the term, and the expectations are ramping up as we begin painting from a live model.

The class agenda.

We are not allowed to take pictures of the model, but we were allowed to photograph the model stand after she left so that we could work on the drapery as part of our homework.
This was the third exercise, where we used a monochromatic colour scheme to paint the model. We took this home, and for homework we are to refine the painting and particularly work on the drapery.

This was the first exercise, a black silhouette of the model - a negative space painting.

Our second work in black and white, another silhouette, this time with internal figure lines and some modelling of the background.