Inktober 2017: Week 1

Well everybody, we’ve survived the first week of Inktober – those of us who are participating, anyway. If you’re scratching your head at just what I’m talking about, Inktober is an activity that artists do to get to know each other and see new artists in the online world. Every day during the month of October, artists complete an ink drawing and post it online for everybody to see. There is an official prompt word list if people need inspiration but so far I haven’t needed it.

005 Micron Pen, Jessica Jewett This is my second year participating in Inktober, although I didn’t finish last year. I made it halfway through the month, and then I caught a really heinous cold … or maybe it was a sinus infection. I can’t remember. Needless to say, I didn’t finish so I was very determined to finish this year. Not only finish but create a body of work that challenged and stretched my artistic abilities.

Stretching my skills first involved gathering the right materials. My favorite drawing pens are the Micron variety. Copic makes a very similar line of pens but I haven’t ever found them at prices that don’t make me curl up into the fetal position. Micron pens come in several sizes and colors. The most common sizes I reach for are the .45 mm (05) and the .30 (02), both in black. I’ve got a set of colored ones but I haven’t used them yet. I’m enjoying the limited color palette I’m using in my Inktober sketchbook this year, which is mainly black with some light flesh shades and purples. The colors I’m using are the Copic Ciao markers. Those are alcohol-based and some of the ink is bleeding through onto the next page of my sketchbook. If this was a professional job meant to be sold, I’d care more, but as it is, this is only for me to play around and try out different illustration styles to see what I can do.

On the fifth day, I did get a stomach bug. Go figure. I always have some illness or another (compromised immune system) but I pressed ahead anyway. I’m still on schedule! That fact alone makes me very proud of myself. The sixth and seventh drawings are not exactly up to par with my intended plans because I wasn’t feeling well but they’re still worth keeping in my opinion.

Here are days one through seven of my Inktober 2017.

Meet the Artist, Inktober
Days one and two are two-panels introducing the artist. It features a section of what’s in my bag, my religious symbols, likes, dislikes, and a self-portrait.
Witch, Inktober
Day three was my interpretation of a movie still from Snow White.
Pagan Altar, Inktober
Day four was me experimenting with shapes, and light and shadow with ink, which is not something I’ve mastered yet. It turned into a pagan altar featuring a god and goddess statue, a bowl with burning herbs, a crystal ball, a scrying mirror, a bell, wine, and flowers.
Witch Hazel, Inktober
Day five came as a special request by a friend. This is my interpretation of Witch Hazel, another old Disney character.
Witch Potion, Inktober
Day six got harder because I was sick. I drew a fictional advertisement for a potion to make magic powers stronger and more stable. I drew inspiration from old Victorian tonics sold in newspapers and magazines.
Chains, Inktober
Day seven was a look at what I feel like some days with my disability. I live in a body that doesn’t function like it should and I go through periods of feeling like I’m in prison.

So far I do feel like Inktober has been a valuable experience, especially because it’s forcing me to learn a medium I don’t normally employ. We’ll see how I feel when I come back to post days eight through fourteen though!

Are you doing Inktober? Show me your work!


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I’m doing Inktober 2017!

Did you know I’m participating in Inktober this year? Inktober is an activity for artists to share each other’s work and get to know one another. Every day in the month of October, the artist draws something in ink and posts it online. I got this 5×7 sketchbook for Inktober 2017 and I did the introductory drawing to make sure the paper will work with Micron pens. So far so good! No bleed-through yet.

Jessica Jewett, Inktober

Since I’m a disabled artist (I’m a quadriplegic drawing with my mouth), I probably won’t be able to post a drawing video on YouTube every day like other artists do. I think once a week is more reasonable for me. However, I will post all of my daily drawings on my Instagram, which you can find at jj9828.

My Inktober sketchbook is going to be themed along the lines of Halloween, Samhain, spooky, autumn, fall, etc. You get the idea. My materials will be Micron pens, Copic markers, Arteza brush pens, Tombow brush pens, and a Pentel brush pen.

Do you have ideas of what drawings I could do in my little Inktober book? Tell me!

I hope you guys are going to enjoy it starting on October 1! You’ll need to follow these spots to see my daily Inktober posts.

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jj9828
YouTube: http://youtube.com/honeysuckle1825


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Finding my darker niche. Let’s talk about authenticity.

It’s been a little while since I last blogged (except for my Arteza brush pen review earlier this week!) but it’s all for a good reason. In the last couple of months, I’ve been working very hard building my artistic style. Almost by accident, I discovered that I’m great at expressing ideas and aesthetics related to my spiritual path as a pagan woman.

Jessica Jewett, artI’ve been tapping into my spirituality to create more interesting art and touching the deeper, more authentic part of myself has resulted in more self-fulfillment. It happened because I was starting to feel my creativity dry up and that’s a dangerous thing for any artist. Part of me was starting to fall into the trap of creating what I thought people wanted instead of engaging the people who find passion in the same things I do. I thought I was simply taking time to make art that I care about without any plan for engaging people. As it turns out, I’ve engaged many more people because I’m showing more of who I am. Authenticity is what makes an artist great. I’ve found that an artist can have all the technical skills in the world, which I certainly don’t, but it won’t mean anything unless the creative process comes from a real, true place inside.

In August, I was reading about the Otherworld in ancient Irish tradition, which is (without going too deep) the old Irish interpretation of the afterlife. Ancestor worship is a big part of my spiritual tradition. I’m one of those people who enjoys visiting cemeteries – the older the better! – and I think some of the most beautiful places are where we honor our dead. That led to creating this piece. It sold within fifteen minutes of posting that it was finished and (maybe) there will come prints out of it. All because I decided to try making art that was interesting to me!

The Cemetery At Night, Jessica Jewett
The Cemetery At Night is 11×14 on mixed media paper, drawn in black charcoal, white charcoal, and graphite pencil.

Is it perfect? No. I think what people responded to the most was the way I showed my passion for what I was doing, and that’s something to think about for any artist.

So I tried it again. My next project for most of September was something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Since we’re getting close to the Halloween season (Samhain for me), I’ve been watching a lot of witchy movies like Hocus PocusPractical Magic, and The Craft. I find the fictional witch aesthetic really fun and I’ve been feeling the urge to add my own contributions to that image.

I came up with a witchy hearth based on 18th century colonial homes. Like, how would a witch decorate her cottage in the colonial frontier? I thought most of his or her belongings would be functional to their craft but even functional things have their beauty. Improving my skills in drawing different textures has been more fun because I enjoyed the subject. I learned a lot about the texture of wood, stone, fabric, and the need to maintain good one-point perspective.

The Witch's Cottage, Jessica Jewett
The Witch’s Cottage is 11×14 and it was done on mixed media paper, drawn with charcoal pencil and graphite pencil.

Once again, this piece sold within minutes of completion. I was shocked! A lot of my audience has been finding things in this piece that I never intentionally placed but I don’t dare mess with those things now. People tell me most often that they see a face in the hearth fire, while others say they see the silhouette of a witch in the shadows in the back of the second shelf.

Beginning this journey into doing art that I thought was only interesting to me has been an eye-opening experience. It’s fun for me to do pieces with a lot of detail and show imagery related to my spirituality while combining it with occasional fun and fantasy, and especially history. This is who I am and I was afraid of showing it for so long.

That’s the moral of this story. You may find yourself falling into the same people-pleaser trap if you’re not careful. Things you create might be what’s popular or trendy at the moment and you may produce technically beautiful things but there will always be something missing. It’s almost a sixth sense thing with the people looking at your art. If they don’t “smell” your soul on it, they’re not going to be as responsive to what you’re offering as an artist, writer, musician, or whatever it is that you do.

But the second you allow your personal authenticity to come though, people will start engaging with you even more. My darker themes or pagan themes certainly won’t appeal to a wide audience but the people out there who are like me will and do respond at a much higher rate.

No matter how odd you think you are, there are always people like you. Be yourself.


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I got awesome brush pens by Arteza!

I wanted to tell you guys about the 48 Watercolor Real Brush Pens by the brand Arteza. In the interest of full transparency, Arteza did graciously send me these brush pens to try for free but they did not require me to review them. I’m doing that on my own and all opinions are mine alone. If you’d rather, you can watch the video version of me demonstrating these interesting brush pens.

All 48 brush pens come in a plastic case with trays. I’ve been keeping them in the original box for the time being but I would recommend getting a new container made of sturdier material for long-term use.

Arteza Watercolor Real Brush Pens

Each pen has a single tip as opposed to Copics, Tombows, Prismacolors, ProMarkers, and so forth, that have two different tips on each pen – usually a chisel nib and a bullet nib. These particular brush pens are also much thinner than Copics. They’re more comparable to the Tombow brush pens in size and shape, however, I found the plastic to be more durable on Arteza pens. None of them cracked for me. Since I’m a disabled artist who uses these tools in my mouth, I much prefer my pens to have a single tip with the other end capped off like these Arteza pens. The barrel is sturdy and not easily cracked, even with how hard I have to bite.

What makes these pens different is the brush tip itself. You’re drawing with a marker-paintbrush hybrid. The tip is a literal brush and it behaves on paper like a brush. You can use these pens alone or you can use a separate paintbrush with water to create a much stronger watercolor effect. I like this a lot because my disability makes it difficult to keep track of separate tools for paint, water, brushes, towels, and so on. These brush pens combine several tools into one, which makes my work a lot easier.

Arteza Watercolor Real Brush Pens

The colors blend together fairly well without water too, although I recommend blending colors in the same family like you do with Copics unless you’re going to use water too. Without water, these brush pens don’t blend well if the colors are too far apart. I also wish there was some sort of numbering system or color names on the pens because I had trouble remembering which ones I was using by sight alone. The pigments are intense, which is great, and the moisture is at a good balance between those who will add water and those who won’t.

All in all, I was really happy with these pens. I wasn’t sure what to expect but with my disability, these work better for me than other water-based brush pens. They’re easier for me to hold in my mouth because the ends are solidly capped off and I’m not so focused on being careful of popping the pen and having ink all over my mouth. I think these pens are a good alternative for other disabled artists who have difficulty managing paint, water, and brushes in separate parts.

The 48 set of Watercolor Real Brush Pens by Arteza retails for $87 but you can find them for $37 on Amazon and $30.99 on Arteza.com. They make a line of fine liner pens, metallic pens, colored pencils, various kinds of paper, and quilting supplies too. I’ll do a few speed drawing videos in the future with these pens so you can see them in action on my YouTube channel.


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Recap of the FamilyHood ATL Art Show

It’s taken me a little while to post a blog about the art show, which was my first public showing of my art pieces. The day after the show, I woke up pretty sick. Apparently my brother had a cold the week before and passed it to me. With my compromised immune system, it took me twice as long to kick the plague and today was the first day I felt like doing any meaningful work. Ah, to be an artist. There’s always pain involved!

I was, to be quite honest, afraid to take my art into the public sphere. It’s almost a cliche but artists always say they put their souls into their work and that makes them feel really exposed when they show it. This was my first time going through that uncomfortable sensation of naked exposure before strangers but I don’t regret it. It was like ripping the Band-Aid off and now I know I can handle it. After the first twenty minutes or so, I began to let myself relax and go with the flow.

FamilyHood ATL Art Show, Jessica Jewett
A scene from the FamilyHood ATL art show that took place on June 30.

Atlanta’s art scene is not at all pretentious or snooty like people might expect in, say, New York or Los Angeles. The people I hooked up with, FamilyHood ATL, base their work on diversity with the Atlanta community and that is really important to me too. I was exposed to so many different artistic styles that I sucked up so much inspiration for my own style as well.

Speaking of style, I’ve been concerned for months that a.) I don’t have an identifiable style or meaningful voice, or b.) my faint style will be received as outdated and old-fashioned because other people don’t do what I do. The fear that I wasn’t cool enough to hook up with the Atlanta art scene was intense in the last week before the show. The thing is, I learned some valuable lessons based on watching people look at my art and formulate their opinions. My style is preserving history through the art of portraiture and it is okay because there aren’t many people in Atlanta doing that kind of thing. There are a lot of people doing awesome street art and pop art but that’s not me. People were welcoming of the fact that I’m different. I need to embrace the fact that my little corner of the art world is cool and accepted because I make history and portraiture cool and accepted for the people looking at my pieces. My fear of being different made me overlook the fact that I’m supposed to be different. Doing this show forced me to think harder about what kind of artist I am and that’s an important lesson.

Watch a video of the art show on my Instagram page.

It was interesting to watch people study my pieces before they got to me and read my bio. They were appreciating my pieces, studying them, discussing them, etc., before they even realized I was in a wheelchair. I can’t tell you how great that was for me. I’m used to people seeing the wheelchair first and then getting excited about the art because I do all of the work with the tools in my mouth. At this show, people were judging my art based on my skill, composition, subjects, and so forth. I ended up watching them like they were the exhibit. My confidence is much better now that I know I can stand on my own two feet as an artist without constantly thinking people like me just for the novelty of drawing with my mouth.

I would definitely say my participation with FamilyHood ATL was a huge success. I sold a few prints and I learned a lot about myself and how unifying artists can be when they embrace diversity.

So what’s next?

Well, I have a few opportunities in the works that will be amazing if they come to pass. One is a local opportunity and the other is a national opportunity. I don’t want to jinx myself by talking about them out loud yet. You’ll be the first to know when everything is solid.

As for my next pieces of art, I’m working on a collection. Nevertheless, she persisted. My goal is to do portraits of women throughout history from different cultures. The female experience is varied in different parts of the world but the one thing that unifies us is persistence. I want to capture that in historical portraits. If they get shown, they have to be shown as a collection in order to get the full impact of what I’m trying to communicate. I hope it goes over well!

She Persisted
She Persisted – Prismacolor colored pencil portrait of Jackie Wyers on heavy drawing paper.

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Getting Ready For My Gallery Show And The Luxembourg Art Prize

I haven’t been posting blogs as often as I want lately because I’ve been really busy producing more art for my show here in Atlanta at the end of the month. It has been an exciting but exhausting time seeing how far I can go with my artistic capabilities.

This week we started setting aside all of the pieces that I feel are good enough to be part of my gallery show. There are big gaping holes on my walls now because several of the best pieces were hanging in the bedroom and the bathroom. It’s been a process starting from scratch and investing money in prints, packaging materials, etc. The art community I’m joining encourages people to sell their art at the show, although I prefer not to sell my originals until I have a bigger portfolio. A bunch of my smaller pieces still need to be matted for hanging but I think I’m over the hump of the most amount of prep work.

Of course, I’m nervous. There are seeds of doubt inside of me always saying I’m not good enough, I’m irrelevant, nobody cares about portraiture work anymore, etc. My style of art is more suited to previous centuries than current abstract or pop art trends. I really can’t align my brain with abstract or pop art. My best work is in realistic portraiture, which is sometimes considered a dead art form since people have cameras now. But it’s who I am. It’s what I do. I can’t change for modern tastes.

Unrelated to my upcoming show, I finalized my entry for the Luxembourg Art Prize. It’s open to the international world and the prize is quite substantial. That’s not why I entered though. Don’t get me wrong – the money would be really nice and allow me to spend some time in Europe – but my reason for entering is more personal. I have been stagnate as an artist for years because I allowed myself to drown in insecurity and fear. This year I’ve committed myself to understanding that there are always going to be artists with more talent than me but that’s true for everyone. I have to stop thinking of myself as unworthy and start thinking of myself as a creative being with valuable things to say. So entering such a big contest was my way of ripping off the Band-Aid. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be a finalist. Last year’s winner was American too.

I’ve finished two new pieces of art this week and I just started my third today. These two were done in charcoal and graphite. The one I started today is in colored pencil.

Colonial Woman
Colonial Woman – charcoal and graphite pencils on heavy drawing paper.
Gone With the Wind Boudoir II Drawing
Gone With the Wind Boudoir II Drawing – Graphite and charcoal pencils on heavy drawing paper.

If you’d like to come to my gallery show, here’s the information.

Host: FamilyHood ATL

Date: Friday night, June 30, 2017

Location: Eventide Brewing
1015 Grant St SE
Atlanta, GA 30315


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EVENT! Come Meet Me And See My Art!

Are you going to be in the Atlanta area at the end of June?

A momentous thing is happening in my life and you can be part of it! I have been invited to take part in a showcase with other Atlanta artists. It’s a casual event open to the public. I’ll be there showing my original art and selling various prints. You can hang out with me and other awesome Atlanta artists who are sharing their work too. There will be live music and a relaxed, creative community atmosphere.

EVENT DETAILS

Host: FamilyHood ATL

Date: Friday night, June 30, 2017

Location: Eventide Brewing
1015 Grant St SE
Atlanta, GA 30315

I have been hard at work for the last month creating new art for this showcase. Even if you’re familiar with my work, you’ll see some new things that reflect my changing views on life.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

I hope to see you all there!


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Progress on my 2nd Gone With the Wind drawing

Here’s the progress on my second piece of Gone With the Wind fan art. I started this one when I was a student in 1998 and I recently found it after thinking it was lost. I’m not done yet but I’m getting there. I have to redo Rhett’s hands and finish both of their clothes. Also I’ve erased Gable’s ear like four times and it’s still not right. Ugh! But still. I’m making progress. This picture is REALLY hard to do because it’s so big and I’m doing it with the tools in my mouth due to disability. I’ll be very happy to get it finished though. It’s been 20 damn years!

Gone With the Wind art
Begun in 1998. Resumed in 2017. Done in charcoal and graphite on drawing paper.

If you’d like to see a video of this drawing in it’s current state, click here.

More progress will be posted soon!


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I Promised My Mom

37718_454337710085_7256410_nThis is the house that founded my family in Missouri and this is my mother. The story goes like this:

My 10th great grandfather was Maximilian Jewett, who was a deacon and a clothier in the 1600s. He was one of the founding citizens of Rowley, Massachusetts, in Essex County. The family stayed in Rowley for the next hundred years until my 7th great grandfather, Mark Jewett, moved his family to Exeter, New Hampshire, somewhere in the last decade before the American Revolution.

Stay with me now.

Mark’s grandchildren scattered like crazy in the early 1800s. Several went to Maine and several stayed in New Hampshire, while my 5th great grandfather inexplicably decided to break away from the family. His name was also Mark and he uprooted his wife, Patience (a necessary name), and their horde of children, and migrated west to Steubenville, Ohio. So then his son, Gilman Jewett (4th great grandfather), decided Ohio wasn’t west enough. He uprooted his clan and settled in the region of Waterloo, Illinois.

We’re getting to the point. I swear.

His son, my 3rd great grandfather, was orphaned by the age of three if my documentation is right. He was Samuel Lewis Jewett. He married Martha Dorsey in Illinois (I name her because her family were slave owners in Kentucky, a piece of history I’m currently researching). They bought 650 acres on the Missouri River in Cooper County, Missouri, not long before the beginning of the Civil War.

Now we come to the house up in that picture. The farm in its first incarnation during the Civil War was known as the Jewett Spring Mill because it was a timber mill, I think. He built the house in the photo on this post. Grandpa Samuel had enough corn growing there that it attracted General Price of the Confederate Army in 1864, who demanded he grind all that corn to feed the army. Well, after three straight days of grinding, the story goes that Grandpa Samuel had enough and basically told General Price to screw off and he left the farm to go back to Illinois. Allegedly he returned after the war and resumed his mill and farm until he died.

I’m not sure if Grandpa Samuel actually left the farm, however, because my 2nd great grandfather, his son, was born in Cooper County in January 1865. The war wasn’t over yet at that point. Maybe General Price was already gone then and he came back, but I don’t think a Jewett would actually run away like that. Missouri folks are intensely stubborn about their land. I believe the story about General Price but I’m not so sure that he would have attempted crossing the Mississippi while Grandma Martha was pregnant. But who knows? I wasn’t there.

A couple of Jewett generations later, my mom was born in 1959 and raised in that house that Grandpa Samuel built. It was changed and added to a couple of times in the century since it was built but the brick structure is, I think, the original part of the house. My mom told me the house didn’t even have a bathroom until my grandfather married my grandmother in 1950.

What’s my point?

The Jewett house was, when I visited in the late 80s, abandoned and pretty much falling apart even though my great uncle, another Gilman, still owns part of the original 650 acres. We think the house has probably caved in on itself or has been torn down by the county by now. Basically we are the only living people left in this generation who have any memory of the place being a large self-sufficient farm the way it was from just before the Civil War up through my mother’s childhood. When my mom and her siblings are gone, nobody will be alive who can talk about all the outbuildings and what crops were grown, etc.

I promised my mom I would paint the Jewett house of her childhood. The history of it matters. I don’t have very many photos available for reference but I have enough to piece it together for a nice oil painting that will last long after we are gone. In fact I find that oil paintings last even longer than photos, which are far more sensitive to environmental factors, not to mention how many digitized photos get lost when computers die. Think about it. Art is still the most lasting medium.

And that’s why I’m posting this blog here on my art website. You guys are going to follow along with my progress on this oil painting undertaking. I’ll probably start on it this week.


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VIDEO: Gone With the Wind Fan Art

Watch as I take you through the two week process of creating a piece of fan art dedicated to Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) from Gone With the Wind.

Materials Used

-Canson XL Series Mix Media Pad, 11×14 inches
-Pentel Pd105t Techniclick Mechanical Pencil Side click 0.5mm
-Prismacolor Ebony Graphite Drawing Pencils
-Staedtler Stick Erasers
-Blending Stumps, 12mm
-Custom Blending Tool (Q-tip taped to mechanical pencil)

Please check out my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/honeysuckle1825 if you’re interested!


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