Jeanette Jobson Fine Art

Jeanette Jobson Fine Art Newsletter

In This Issue
Twelve Questions - Chris Beck
Paper 101
Technical Pens
Monthly Collector
Win a portrait
Gyotaku workshop
Coming in March
Twelve Questions - Michael Newberry

Scam Protection

Twitter and artists

Making the transition part time to full time artist

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February 2011 

back pre storm


I don't know about you, but I'm ready to move on to spring about now.  February here tends to be a carbon copy of  

January, with snow, ice, cold wind and bitter temperatures.tower


I'm contenting myself by painting starfish sitting  

on sandy  beaches and Spanish influenced  

towers in warmer  

climates, like this one in Southern California. Its  

my little bit of fantasy  

that gets me through the month.


A good point about  

February are Valentine's  

Day for those who like to feast on chocolates and romance.  (I'm still trying to think of other good things about February, help me out here!) Now  

that V-Day has passed and you're coming down off the sugar rush, you can settle down with a big glass of water and dip  

into this month's newsletter.


But first of all, I have a confession to make.  I can't count.

Or so it seems, as my Twelve Questions  have been Eleven Questions.  Somehow number 6 disappeared into the ether  

and I didn't notice and others were likely just too polite to  

say anything or have joined me in my mathematical pit. I'll  

let the others off this time, but from March onwards, there  

will be definitely twelve questions.  Really.  Count them. 


The generous and talented watercolourist Chris Beck, answers my Twelve Questions this month.  I just love her work and  

how she showcases other artists.


Paper.  We all need it and often are stumped by terminology, brands, quality, etc.  I hope to give some guidelines on  

choosing the right paper for the right job.


Another bewildering area is technical pens.  I will share what I have learned through my own experience with them and  

some insights from Niall Young, hyperpointillist. 


And a contest!  The prize is a portrait of you, friend or family member or pet.  See below what hoops you have to jump through to enter.


Now time to shift Tripod long enough to put another log in  

the fireplace and then find more summery images to paint.


Keep warm,




Twelve Questions - Chris Beck 


Chris Beck has been making art for as long as she can remember.  She earned a bachelor's degree with honors in  

the fine art program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then worked as a graphic designer for many years.  Since she returned to painting, her watercolors have won numerous  

awards in national shows. Her work is included in Best of America, Watermedia II, Kennedy Publishing (2010), and is  

also featured on the cover.  She is one of 22 artists invited  

to participate in The Mouse Project by Steve Worthington  

(2010). Chris is also published in Splash 7 - A Celebration  

of Light: The Best in Watercolor, North Light Books (2002).   


She was one of 13 artists featured in the article "32 Insider  

Tips" in The Artist's Magazine (December 2010). In August  

2009, Watercolor Artist magazine featured a full-length  

article on her work entitled "Adventures in the Ordinary,"  

and her painting "Old Plow" was featured in the "Competition Spotlight" in The Artist's Magazine (June 2009).  In January 2008, she was Artist of the Month on The Artist's Magazine website. 


Chris is a signature member of both the Transparent  

Watercolor Society of America and Watercolor West, national societies dedicated to the exclusive use of transparent watercolor, and she recently earned her signature in the  

Missouri Watercolor Society.  She is also the creator and  

curator of a watercolor showcase blog - Brush-Paper-Water - featuring a different watercolor artist every other week. 


Her work is held in public and private collections in the U.S.  

and Europe.


Website - Chris Beck Studio 

Personal Blog - I'm Painting As Fast As I Can 

Watercolor Showcase Blog - Brush-Paper-Water  




1.       When did you realize you wanted to make art a career and how did  

you pursue that decision?


I cannot remember a time when I didn't make art.  My
parents were very supportive when I was very young and we had a great art program in school when I was growing up.  At
the age of 6 or 7, I started telling people that I wanted to
be an artist when I grew up.  There were some detours
along the way: I also became very interested in biology and natural science as I went through school and struggled to
decide between science and art when I got to college.  I
danced back and forth between majors a few times in the
first couple of years; art finally won out when I realized
that I was spending all of my free time doing art while I was officially studying zoology.

       Which artists have influenced your work and how? 
I've gone through a number of phases, starting out with
Andrew Wyeth when I was in high school.  In college, I
became a big fan of Toulouse-Lautrec and I discovered the watercolors of Charles Demuth and Maurice Prendergast, as
well as the contemporary artist Keith Crown (who passed
away just a year ago).  As I continued to pursue my art
interests after college, Georgia O'Keeffe became a favorite - particularly her floral works - and I also came across the marvelous watercolors of Joseph Raffael.  


Since I returned to watercolor in 1995, I have been  

influenced by Roland Roycraft, Jean Grastorf, Judy Morris,  

Pat San Soucie, and many other artists too numerous to mention.  While my work may not always reflect specific influences, the common threads running through them are  

strong design, wonderful details, and love of color.


Dippy Duck
Dippy Duck

       Vintage toys feature strongly in some of your work and you do use  

other subject matter as well. What subject matter inspires you most and  


The chance to use color is probably the greatest motivating factor in my subject choices, along with a focus on things I
find delightful -- which can be anything from a beautiful
flower to a rusty farm implement to a silly salt shaker or
tin toy.  I like to work with fairly simple shapes with strong graphic qualities, and which also give me the opportunity to include a lot of detail. 

       Every artist has his or her favourite brands of pastels, papers or
paints.  What are your every day favourites?

I use primarily Winsor and Newton paints, and a few colors  

by Holbein and Daniel Smith.  I use cold-pressed paper  

almost exclusively -- either Winsor and Newton or Arches -  

but have also enjoyed working with Arches 300 lb.  

hot-pressed paper.  In general, I prefer 140 lb. paper, which I stretch before painting.



       You have received a number of awards and placements in Watercolor  

Artist and The Artist magazines over the last few years. How important do

you believe entering juried competitions are for artists and what does the experience bring with it?

Entering juried competitions is a way to share your work  

publicly and also to measure yourself against your contemporaries.  It can bring a lot of satisfaction, but it also keeps you humble -- for most artists, the rejection slips  

usually far outnumber the acceptance slips.  Each of us has  

to decide if the successes balance out the frustrations and disappointments along the way.  One word of advice I can't stress strongly enough -- Do your own work!  Don't try to  

second guess the "taste" of the juror or the direction of the  

next fad.  And be realistic -- enter shows appropriate to your level of development -- but also be willing to take a risk to  

move to the next level when you think your work is ready.

       Art marketing and the business side of art are necessary to promote
art work.  What do you consider important areas to concentrate on in the business of marketing and selling your art? 

It goes without saying that you have to be in the  

marketplace in order to sell -- whether a traditional gallery  

space or a co-op, an online gallery, a blog, a website.  But underpinning any of these outlets is the need to promote yourself --entering shows to establish your name, doing promotional events, marketing via email (and to a lesser  

extent these days, direct-mail), hosting open studio events.  Active presence on social networks increases your visibility immensely and is invaluable in making connections.

       What other interests do you have besides creating art?

As a long-time knitter, I enjoy the process of knitting for its meditative qualities and also for the opportunity to play with color.  I have done some pattern design and currently teach some minicourses on knitting techniques at a local yarn shop.  I also play the harpsichord, purely for personal enjoyment, although in the last couple of years, I haven't had the time  

to play as much as I would like.

       When inspiration hits the wall, as it does for most artists at various
times, what motivates you to keep going?

Looking at other artists' works that I've enjoyed in the past, checking on upcoming competitions, looking through my  

resource photos, playing with design and being open to inspiration.  Sometimes, we also have to acknowledge that  

we just need a short break, and I will turn my back on the

studio so I can come back with a fresh mind.

   You are an exceptionally generous artist and feature many watercolor
artists on your blogs, virtually turning the blogs into a galleries of works
of others.  When and why did you decide to do this?  

When I discovered the "painting a day" movement several  

years ago, I was struck by how much oils dominated the  

field. As someone who originally chose watercolor because  

of its beauty, but also uses it because of chemical  

sensitivities now, I thought it would be great if watercolor  

had a strong online presence too.  I decided to focus on  

people doing exceptional work, but who may not have had  

the opportunities for widespread exposure, and to present  

their work in a simple format.  


The majority of my professional life was spent in various publications divisions at a university, doing both graphics  

and editing, so starting a blog was a natural fit -- the  

publishing medium is different, but the process remains  

pretty much the same. 

Old Plow

   What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given that
has influenced your art career?
Two words:  keep painting.  This has been said to me at
various times over the past 15 years -- usually by people
who know and appreciate the challenges of watercolor.  I've regarded it both as encouragement for work well done and
as a directive to stay the course.  On a practical level, it's
also the most basic requirement for growth.

   What piece of advice would you give to an artist just starting out in
their career?

Do what you love and pour your energy into it.  But be  

open to change and push yourself out of your comfort zone periodically.


Paper 101 

japanese papers
Some of my Japanese papers for gyotaku


Technically, all paper is drawing paper.  How it performs when you apply media and how it resists environmental elements over time dictate whether is is accepted by artists and art collectors as suitable for a specific need. 

There are as many variances in paper types as raindrops it seems. And each tell you that they are the best for you to choose.  Some are economical to buy, others can be very expensive - up to $150 a sheet or more.


The world of paper is complex and confusing but I find that  

over time, most artists come to rely on a couple of brands  

that fit the need for the medium they are using.   

Experimenting with a sample sheet or two of something that takes your fancy works well and need not break the bank by buying a pad or full size sheet until you decide if the paper and you get along.


Types of paper   

Excerpts from ART HARDWARE: The Definitive Guide to Artists' Materials, by Steven Saitzyk 1987


There is a huge range of papers for all types of art uses from drawing and pen and ink, to charcoal and coloured pencil into watercolours.  Here are just a few links to some of the main suppliers who provide comprehensive information about their own brands and the uses for them. 


Legion Paper 



Papeterie Saint-Armand 

The Japanese Paper Place 

Hiromi Paper Inc. 



Technical pens

Many artists use pens for a variety of reasons, often starting out with a liner pen with a .30 nib and working their way up to a technical pen that gives a refillable reservoir of ink and a variety of nibs sizes.  There are as many types of drawing pens as there are manufacturers, but technical pens tend to have predominant brands that are followed for quality and functionality. 


Technical pens were originally created for draftsmen and architectural drawings, providing clean, crisp lines of constant width. 


Wikipedia's article on technical pens provides a good background on technical pens and their history. 


"Early technical pens (ruling pens) consisted of a small pair of calipers, having one flat and one bowed leg holding ink between them. By adjusting the gap between the legs the width of the line drawn by the pen could be adjusted. Such pens, kept at a constant angle to the paper, were used for ruling lines, but not for cursive handwriting, nor for off-hand flourishes. The Graphos technical pen introduced in 1934 miniaturized the caliper principle and made the points easily interchangeable.The Sheaffer company produced an expensive drafting set which included such pens for use on linen prints. These sets were often presented to a draftsperson upon becoming 'time served', which is marking the end of the apprenticeship.


In the 1950s, fountain pens with cylindrical points became available, but they were complex instruments with tubes holding a tiny shaft. To release ink the shaft is depressed and a line of about the width of the exterior diameter of the tube can be drawn. Additionally, in later models, the tube had a small ledge that effectively narrowed its end, that - while maintaining the line thickness - made the tube thicker along most of its length and also protected ink from spilling while drawing along the edge of a rule, set-square, T-square or other template (the ink had no immediate contact with the template's edge). Some special, more expensive nibs were equipped with tubes made of tungsten or with their tips made of synthetic precious stones, to slow their wear on hard surfaces.


In the 1960s, the pen's design evolved to feature tubes of ink that were filled with an eyedropper or from a narrow spout on a special bottle of ink. Such pens frequently came in sets of various sizes, and several pen points which were installed into the holders that also contained a filled fountain, which in turn would be screwed into a handle. The construction and amount of parts varied depending on the company, and the parts were not cross-compatible in most cases. Some later designs (like the Staedtler MarsMatic700) had especially designed channels to allow better air flow in between the wall of the external grip and the point assembly. This made ink flow more reliable. The general drawback of this group of pens is that they have to be frequently and carefully cleaned to remove all ink from the tubing, otherwise it would set and could not be removed.


In the United States, several firms produced this kind of technical pen: WRICO, Leroy, and Koh-I-Noor. Each had its own proprietary sequence of line widths, meaning that the widths were not standardized across the industry, and each company's specifications for the widths did not match the others. And the specifications were given as fractions of an inch instead of fractions of a meter. In the case of technical pens made for the US market, they were marked with both proprietary symbolic expressions (40, 30, 20, 0, 1, 2 etc.) and standard metric dimensions denominated in millimeters.


For the rest of the world, the most recognized brands were Staedtler, Rotring and Faber-Castell; currently only Koh-I-Noor USA, Rotring and Staedtler still make the traditional technical pen. A full set of pens would have the following nib sizes: 0.13, 0.18, 0.25, 0.35, 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 mm. However, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) called for four pen widths and set a colour code for each: 0.25 (white), 0.35 (yellow), 0.5 (brown), 0.7 (blue); these nibs produced lines that related to various text character heights and the ISO paper sizes."


niall 1 

Niall Young pushes technical pens to their limits and beyond with his hyperpointillism, showcased on his blog, Dancing for Beginners.   The detail that can be achieved through a series of dots repeated over and over again, hundreds of thousands of times, creates amazingly detailed works of art.


niall 2Some words from Niall about technical pens:


I use and have used Rotring Isographs now for around 30 years on and off. the set i'm using now I bought in 2006. I only use nib sized 0.25.Many people who visit me at my exhibitions tell me they used to use them ...for some reason I seem to attract quite a lot of draughts people.  


Most people mention their tempermentality...they mention how easily they become blocked. I've never really had that's important to chose the right ink. Rotring have made a range of inks, but I only use their black and white inks. for colour work I use Windsor and Newton calligraphy iinks...they have a good range of colours which are lightfast and have good luminosity. they are not waterproof (which is why my pens don't clog).


They are readily available online, a pen retails around 23 (about $36 Canadian) the inks are around 3 ($4.75 Canadian) per bottle. I find that it's best to keep the pens away from heat sources...don't leave them on a sunlit windowsill...the heat tends to cause the air in the cartridge to expand and force ink out of the nib (usually when your using the pen). I always wash the cartridge out between refills and shake the nib underwater to dislodge any residual ink. Specialist cleaning fluids can be purchased, and a sonic cleaning chamber is used by some's rather like a small kettle containing cleaning fluid through which is passed a high frequency sound wave which dislodges any dirt or dried ink.(I don't and have never used one)


I have a collection of only 9 pens...I keep the colour range as limited as possible. I use: Blue black/Mid blue/ light blue which I mix using mid blue and white/Lemon yellow/yellow ochre/scarlet/leaf green /purple and brown...although I very rarely use the brown. 


I have to agree with Niall's points, and despite their reputation for being finicky, I haven't had problems even with very fine nibs clogging with my technical pens.  I am using Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pens and by using the appropriate ink and cleaning does make a difference in performance and longevity.  


Here are some links to some technical pen manufacturers for more information on their products.







Books on pen and ink techniques

The Technical Pen - Gary Simmons

Rendering in Pen and Ink - Arthur L. Guptill

Creating Textures in Pen and Ink - Claudia Nice   

Monthly Collector - In the Pink 

In the pink

On a cold winter's night what better to gaze at than something that reminds you of summer?   


This shrimp shell is curled almost into a ball and the colours and shape appealed to me so much.  Its created with watercolour and some additional shading was added using pen and ink pointillism. 


This little gem wasn't snapped up in my January Sale, so I'm happy to offer it again at the same sale price of $75 including shipping!


Buy Now 


Win an original portrait!

This contest gives you a chance to win an 8 x 10 original portrait. The portrait can be of you, a friend or family member or a pet.  I will choose the medium and the winning name will be drawn on March 1st.


The pieces shown here are drawn in charcoal. Your portrait may be in charcoal, graphite, or coloured pencil.  Perhaps painted.  Its all part of the surprise... 


There are several ways to win.


1. I will have a contest post on my Facebook page. Join my

Facebook page 

(you need to click 'Like') and let me know why you want to win a portrait. 


2.  Become a subscriber to this newsletter.  Current subscribers  and those added up until February 28 will be included in the draw.


3.  Send me an email  between February 15 and 28 and tell me why you would like a portrait and of who. 


motherThe winner's name will be announced in the March newsletter.


Good luck!



gyotaku flyer






































There are still places available for the Gyotaku workshop being held on March 19, 2011 in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador.   


I've got some great Japanese papers ordered in just for the workshop for you play with and purchase.  And I promise a few unique fish that you can see and print.  No fears of handling fish after this workshop, I promise!


For more details and to register your place, visit the Workshop page on my blog.