Sunday, 7 December 2008

Introducing Jeanette Jobson

I live on a farm on the northeast coast of Newfoundland and you may consider that to be a strange bedfellow for an artist with aquatic leanings. However, even in farm life, the sea isn't far away and it pulls me like a magnet and has done since I was a child.

I was the water-wrinkled child pulled unwillingly from the seashore, teeth chattering with cold but still unwilling to let go of the water. I was the child unwilling to be removed from the cocoon of a warm bath, as the water had much more appeal than a towel and bed. I was the child scouring streams and rivers, 'rescuing' tadpoles and frogs and lugging them home in jam jars.

Living on this rocky island in the Atlantic, I'm surrounded by many forms of water. The landscape is dotted with ponds, lakes, rivers and streams and the ocean holds it all together. There are 29,000 kilometres of coastline in this province - enough to cross the continent four times and back.

Less than five minutes from my house I can stand at the foot of the ocean. I drive past the Atlantic every day, close enough to see it, hear it and smell it. Its funny how being surrounded by it, I take it for granted and it becomes part of my landscape without me realizing it.

I lived previously in a house in Pouch Cove that was overlooked the water, almost on the cliff edge. I could watch whales from my kitchen window or deck. On stormy nights, the sound of the waves hitting the rocky shoreline would vibrate the house gently and I always found it soothing while it worried others.

I still look to the sea to predict the weather and watch the changing light on the water and cliffs. I watch small and large boats come and go and marvel at sea life from tiny capelin to giant whales. Even the work I do is related directly to water, so something is telling me to stop resisting it and 'go with the flow'. My Piscean nature can be blamed for moving up and down stream at the same time - or at least trying to.

My background in art pushes me towards dry media as a first love, however, oils and watercolours are playing a more prominent role and often waterscapes beg for colour. Water is conducive to being reproduced in many forms from quick sketches to complex paintings, all of which capture the movement, transparency and life that makes it such a unique element.

The oil painting at the left shows an outcrop of jagged rocks in Logy Bay that are synonymous with Newfoundland's coastline and that have spelled disaster for many ships whose navigational ability was inadequate in either equipment, skills or being unable to manhandle a ship through severe weather conditions.

The movement of water around rocks is one of its most compelling features. Without the relentless waves and tides brushing against the shore, how else could we measure the ocean's strength? The ripples and light reflections created by skipping stones on ponds and lakes is measured only through the effect the stone has on the water.

I have threatened for some time to capture some of the island's watery charms and Watermarks is the push for me to do so. Newfoundland's coast and inlands are ancient, pure and full of secrets to be revealed through my eyes and hands. The pieces that I will undertake will be as much my discovery as that of those who follow me.

While my work will predominantly be based in Newfoundland my travels pull me to capturing other waters such as this sea arch in Laguna Beach, California where I visited last year. The sea arch here is similar to those found in Newfoundland and many other parts of the world. It will be interesting to compare the geological makeup and colour changes from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean.

I have been bound to detail, being a realist, and that may come across in some pieces when I choose to intimately examine a small part of ocean life. I also want to explore the painterly side of me that will work on larger, looser pieces, perhaps finding a new style or niche as I explore the water around me in colour.

A lot of the water around me will be in a frozen lockdown for the winter, depending on how the weather decides to treat the island, so I'll be almost like a diviner, searching for pockets of open water. Or I will be exploring ice and how to capture water's frozen essence.

Spring provides crops of icebergs that float by or come to rest in bays and coves, grounded on the ocean floor. Sometimes, depending on the direction of the wind, sheets of pack ice push into the same coves and bays and bring with it seals who surface and bask in the sun. There are so many possibilities.

My blog, Illustrated Life, gives a sampling of my art, my thoughts and my life in rural Newfoundland. The creation of Watermarks and its talented members will provide room for exploration and learning.
Many thanks to its founders Vivien Blackburn, Lindsay Olsen and Katherine Tyrrell, who made this possible and invited me to join in.

There is something hypnotic about the ocean and its ceaseless movement. It is vast and cold and ever changing in terms of light and colour.

I want each piece to tell its own story, from 16th century shipwrecks to modern waterways.

I want to show you the seasons as they are reflected in the water.

I want to introduce you to other local artists who also share a love for the seascapes and coastline of this rocky place.

I want to take you to places with names that link the sea and history. Names such as Tickle Cove, Heart's Delight and Cupids conjure images of happy times while Wreck Cove, Bleak Island, Famine Point or Mistaken Point tell a different story of hardship and death. The water around me maps the roots that stretch from 15th century Europe to Newfoundland and plots the success and failure of life on this island that depended on the Atlantic ocean to exist and still does in many ways.

I hope you'll join me on my journey.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

I'm really looking forward to your journey Jeanette and to seeing more of the coastline of Newfoundland - it's going to be absolutely wonderful.

I adore that video - it reminds me hugely of the west coast of Scotland which I used to visit when a child - but you've got icebergs and whales as well. Fancy being able to watch whales from your kitchen window!!!

I also vividly remember when you posted that sea arch first time around. I really liked it then but it also spoke to me and made me think that this is somebody who knows her rocks!

Did Homer ever come to Newfoundland? It just feels like the sort of place he would have painted.

Tina Mammoser said...

I'm really looking forward to blogging with you Jeanette. I did a residency in Pouch Cove and it completely inspired and changed my work, a very pivotal time and place for me. So I can't wait to see more of your work and ideas! And icebergs. :)

muddy red shoes said...

Can I come with you...what an amazing place you live in, reminded me of Norway, well with icebergs you must be the one to paint the frozen water!

Laura F. said...

Well, that Youtube clip settles it! I'm coming to Newfoundland and Labrador!! How lucky you are to live in such a magnificent place! Your work is so interesting and varied---I look forward to seeing more of it! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Jeanette, I loved meeting you here...your thogyths and memories, dreams and have given us SO much to look forward to, joining you in that magical world you have given us a glimpse of! And how I would love to come see and smell and touch it!

vivien said...

what a great intro and beautiful film - I'm on the next plane out as well!

Parts of it are very much like Cornwall and as K says, the north west coast of Scotland. The fiords are more dramatic and Scandinavian.

I look forward to the work you'll be doing and seeing more of this lovely area.

Jeanette said...

Katherine, the geography of Newfoundland has great similarities to the far reaches and rocky ends of the UK. They may well have been attached at some point!

Oh the whales, I adore whales and its so lovely to see them close up.

Tina, the residency's still going strong. The area does impact those who concentrate their art in it.

Icebergs spell spring here Sarah, but there will be lots of other ice before then. Like today. On the roads!

Isn't it wonderful Laura? And that's not just me being patriotic. Newfoundland is an interesting place and those who come often say, 'why doesn't the world know about this place?'

Ronell, I'll do my best to make sure you have as sensory an experience of this place as I can.

Vivien, there's always a bed at my house if you decide to hop across the pond! :)

The land changes right across the province and its very interesting to drive the width of the island and see those differences. Gros Morne, on the western side of the island, has the dramatic fjord-type topography. However,the body of water is no longer directly connected to the ocean and salt water, apparently disqualifying these bodies of water from being actual fjords.

Lindsay said...

I agree with Laura, I'm coming for a visit. YOur part of the world look so beautiful. I'm really glad to have the chance to know you better Jeanette! Rich introduction and I'm full of watery envy!!

annie said...

As everyone says, Jeanette. it's wonderful meeting you and your world through your paintings and that stunning video that shows a world so rich in whales and seals and birds and icebergs and fjords, as well as the colorful village tucked into the rocks at the edge of the sea where children run and the laundry blows out like sails in the wind. And with that music,life is just dancing.

Jeanette said...

There's always room at my house for friends Lindsay if you visit 'The Rock'.

Annie, thank you. I'm looking forward to sharing more about this unique place.

Gesa said...

Jeanette... I want to come along too. It's fascinating to read and see about your life by the sea. It is just so different from my long-distance love affair with the sea. Getting to see more of each others work and hear about why the sea and other waters matter to them gives me a very nice sense of the possibilities of this group.
Thank you!

Stacy said...

Jeanette, I love your intro here. You seem to have a passion for this project. I can't wait to see what you do with it. And although I don't envy your winters, I do like the sounds of seeing the ocean every day and watching whales and icebergs.

In Blue and Green said...

am joining you on this journey and following you. Hope you will find the time to stop by my boring blog. I would like to return here?