Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Artist Profile: Jewel Mathieson

Jewel Mathieson is an amazing artist, and she has generously participated in the Paws For Charity projects for years. You can see more of her wonderful art on her website: www.petportrait.co.nz or on facebook: www.facebook.com/petportrait
Jewel Mathieson    www.petportrait.co.nz
Where do you live? What made you want to contribute to help raise funds for an animal shelter in Nova Scotia?
I’m from Nelson, New Zealand. When I was first contacted by Sara about the Paws for Charity project I jumped at the chance and was truly honoured to be included! I am lucky enough to connect with rescue groups and clubs from all over the globe and I always love to contribute and support them when ever I am can. I have also discovered that Rogue’s owner, (my main portrait that’s included in this year’s book) is actually Canadian, so it meant a lot to her that Rogue could be part of a project that supported a Canadian shelter.

Tell us about one of your favourite commissions?
I had a date with ten Huskies, which was an amazing and memorable experience in itself. But the real fun began when I tried to do a photo shoot with six of them for a portrait commission. Armed with three helpers and lots of treats, things were going pretty well and we managed to get five of them lined up nicely with a formal, posed portrait in mind. However, no amount treats, kind persuasion, or gentle manoeuvring would convince the old boy Fen to co-operate with us. During a stand-off between Fen and his owner, I took a perfectly timed photo of Fen defiantly sitting looking towards me while the other five sat a few feet away, lined up perfectly, all looking over at Fen to see what he was doing. We did eventually get a few perfect posed photos of them all, and when I sent through the best photo options for the portrait, I included that one. Much to my delight he loved it too and picked it for his portrait, which I drew as a diptych with the five on the left looking over at Fen, who I drew in a separate portrait to the right. To this day it is still my favourite portrait!
Where's Fen? by Jewel Mathieson   www.petportrait.co.nz
What are some things, people, or places that inspire you?
I find inspiration in a lot of different places. Animals, particularly dogs, fascinate me. They have such unique and individual personalities, and I love really capturing the expression and the soul which makes each animal so distinctive.
I also really love texture so I am drawn to places like old farmsteads, historic sites and abandoned relics. I love weathered wood, shaped by rot and painted with moss and lichens. As well as rusty old iron, vehicles and machinery which was once so essential to daily life, now laying almost forgotten in the grass. And of course, I love the texture of fur!

Do you have a certain "style" in mind when you create your images?
I have quite an individual, highly detailed style with which I love capturing all of my subjects. Each portrait is painstakingly drawn using dozens of colours and layers, quite literally drawing in every hair and every possible fine detail that I can see. Often it is the little things that can make something so easily recognisable so attention to detail is an essential attribute for me. I also achieve all of this while using quite a vibrant colour palette so my portraits are all bright, uplifting and full of life.

Tell us about a current project you are working on?
I’m currently working on my second book, to be titled “Indomitable Spirit”. It looks at the early working breeds of the Arctic regions as well as their modern day descendants. Through my art I want to express their immense spirit and unyielding determination and the very special bonds that they form both with each other and with their owners. It is a rather ambitious two year project which will see me draw more than fifty portraits for the book, but one that I am incredibly excited about! I’m hoping to have it published late 2014/early 2015.

Thanks Jewel...we wish you the best of luck with your project!

All proceeds from the sale of these books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID.ca), an animal Shelter in Nova Scotia.
Click on this link to preview this year's book: http://www.blurb.com/books/5210564-2014-paws-for-charity

E-books are also available...you can preview e-books here: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/468601-2014-paws-for-charity

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