December 30, 2008

Jürgen Görg

(Not my work, by the way...)

I experienced spring skiing in December yesterday! Drove all the way to the mountain to find it raining and slushy, so after two runs down the hill I threw my gear back in the car and pulled out my backpack of books and pencils.

Little mountain towns are perfect sketching locations, so I wasn't too upset about the lack of boarding. While looking for a comfy café I stumbled across an art gallery. They had the usual mass-audience style of work for sale, bar one artist: Jürgen Görg.

Görg is a German artist who uses inspiration from lovers, dancers, musicians, and masked personages to create loose and free graphite/oil figures. These pictures can hardly do the paintings justice, as it seems he has created a new medium. His oil work is so thin it could be confused with watercolour, and he isn't afraid to show his searching line in the rough stages. He is showcased in galleries internationally, so hopefully you'll get a chance to see his work in person.

December 12, 2008

And Scene

It's over and I'm alive! The end of term is here along with Christmas, family, and sleep! I thoroughly enjoyed the courses offered this semester, and I know why people say second year is their favourite at Sheridan. After learning the basics we're finally able to express ourselves more effectively.

I think of art school like learning to dance. At first, you have to stay at the barre perfecting your tondue and other simple steps, and it all seems really mundane. You're then allowed to grace the floor with a bold grand jeté, for example, and you feel the excitement of the practice. Finally, you're able to choreograph steps together, and all of the sudden you're dancing! You combine traditional, ancient motions with original moves of your own, and all the tedious practice at the barre has given you the language required to communicate exactly what you want on the stage. The technique doesn't hold you back, it allows you to be free!

These are two painted layouts that I allowed myself to explore a little more freely than in the past. The above morning view of a nondescript Chinatown was created in about two hours with ink and watercolour, while the night scene below was analyzed for several hours and painted with gouache. The thumbnails are below if you'd like to see the process from tonal to final. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, so I suppose the trick is balancing spontaneity with overkill. Ha. Cinch.

My First Leica

Second semester is coming to a close, and after all the hours of sweat and tears I have a minute and forty-five seconds to show for it. lol Below you'll find my leica for this semester's storyboarding class with Nancy Beiman. It is, what I believe to be, the first full process from beat boards to moving pictures with sound that I have completed. I'm really looking forward to improving my skills with boards and am excited to see where Nancy takes us next semester.

Anyway, enjoy my first attempt at a mini-film!

November 16, 2008

Royal Winter Fair '08

It's that time of year again when everyone seems to know each other and cow dung gets stuck to your shoes. The Royal Winter Fair is in town and packed with hard-working farmers and equally determined art students. Above are a couple of little critters hanging around the petting zoo, but more importantly I wanted show you the piece below.

This is the work of four year-old Anna who, after looking over my shoulder for several minutes, wanted to paint as well. I offered her a page, taught her how to use the water-brush, and made sure her mom was cool with it. After a few strokes, I asked Anna what she was painting.
"What?" she replied.
"Yeah, what is it that you're painting?" I repeated. After a long, confused pause and without looking up, Anna said,
"It's just painting."

IT'S JUST PAINTING. Well, didn't I feel silly. This four year-old was just painting for the pure enjoyment of putting colour on paper. She would rejoice when she saw what colour showed up on the page and was neither under a time constraint nor the pressure of having to hand in her work.

There was a time when all of us believed it was "just painting", so thank you, Anna, for showing me the big picture. I'll try not to forget it.

November 15, 2008

Post Already!

Okay, okay, I hear you!

After several harassing comments, I am finally (reluctantly) posting. School is back in, and art is on display everywhere. Art that inspires, yet depresses. When I see the seniors' work I think, "Now, I can't possibly post my silly, amateur doodles on a blog!"

Alas, here I am, facing these fears and self-doubts. These life drawings were done last week at an extra course San and I take off campus. It is so refreshing to go into Toronto one night mid-week and mid-rush to simply enjoy art for art. I tend to produce more confident work there with the pressures of the Sheridan competition removed.

The constant goal is to find a balance between looking at your neighbour's newsprint (or painting, or animation...) for inspiration and guidance versus looking at your neighbour's newsprint to find out where you rank. I think we can all relate to this, and I will continue to take extra courses outside of Sheridan's program in order to remind myself why I came to this school in the first place: art is fun!

August 27, 2008

Bye, Bye Nelson

Ah, the summer's over. How bittersweet. I once had a teacher friend tell me that the first day of school is one of the best days of the year (along with the last day), and I know what he's talking about. I am anxious to see my friends and get started on new courses with new, talented instructors.

Nelson, BC is a quiet mountain town that allowed me time to read tons of art books, breathe fresh air, and regroup for the 2008/09 school year. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I've met and sights I've seen, like this view on the left.

People actually live like this. This isn't a camp site, it's someone's driveway. While everyone else was building a deck, I sat and painted. It's an old quickie, but it best describes Nelson, I think.

Hopefully, I'll be producing amazing second-year work asap, but until then, wish me luck on the upcoming year!!

August 20, 2008

The Ink & Paint Girls

A group shot of the Ink and Paint department at the Burbank lot.

What's in a name? Well, it seems like a lot when it comes to blogs. It can show your personality, your astounding ability to alliterate, or your complete lack of creativity as was found in my unique title "Jamie Metzger". No more, my friends! My blog officially has a name!

"Not Just an Ink 'n Paint Girl" was a phrase that popped up when my friend, Ashlyn, and I were talking about how far the role of women has come in the animation industry. We vowed to make t-shirts that proclaimed our (womankind's) progress and achievement, and I made one of those reliable mental notes to label my blog with the triumphant slogan.

For those who aren't familiar with Disney's legendary Ink and Paint department, it was filled with talented, hard-working women whose final touches are the images we actually see in the Disney classics. More information is just a Google search away.

Let's clarify that I have the utmost respect for these women, and in no way is this a jab at Disney for not including women in his animation boys club. Times were different, and times have changed. That's all.
The cheerful lady now adorning the top of my page is a symbol of classic 1950's style merged with modern animation. And, yes I'll say it out loud and proud, I like Disney!

So, welcome everyone to "Not Just an Ink 'n Paint Girl" where, with a lot of time and effort, I hope to live up to the claim.

August 12, 2008

Shambhala, Baby! (PART II)

After a week of all-nighters on the ranch and dancing away to the best DJs, we're finally back from Shambhala 2008! As promised, I'm going to attempt to relay the reactions to my mural.

Well, first off, it was pretty funny to see some hardcore ravers on psychedelics staring at the board. Must have looked awfully funky dancing around. Secondly, and more impressively, I saw people taking pictures of and WITH my piece! That was crazy cool. Gotta admit it felt sweet to have people ooohing and ahhhing over it. :) Maybe I will consider more gigantic works of art in the future. As for now, the 10' x 13' animation paper seems mighty welcoming.

Happy Shambhala, everyone!

July 30, 2008

Shambhala, Baby! (PART I)

A few weeks ago I was asked to do a mural for the 2008 Shambhala Music Festival, and if you haven’t heard about this 15 000 person, week-long party then you should really check out their site. It’s a Canadian Burning Man. If you don’t know what Burning Man is, there is no help for you.

The awesome staff at Shambhala gave me a blank 8’x 8’ wooden canvas to do with what I would. That’s a lot of space to fill, and a little overwhelming, so I thought “What does Shambhala mean to me?” Having gone to the 2007 festival, I had a fresh recollection of the fiesta; killer DJs from across the country, crazy crowds dancing from dawn ‘til dawn and dawn again, costumes, body paint, nudity, and an overall freeing zest for life. Easy. lol

Without further ado, here’s the progression from rough sketch to finished product. My only hope is that you might feel 1/100th of the excitement Shambhala brings to everyone who walks onto her ranch and through her forests.

Click on the above pics to see the various stages of the piece.

Hours and days later, the beast is finally finished and ready to find its place in the woods amongst the pumpin’ beats, screams, and lights!

Preview for PART II:

After the show, I’ll be sure to post people’s reactions and get some great shots of the mural partyin’ away at the festival. Peace, om, and all that jazz. - j

July 17, 2008

Life in Nelson

So I promised myself I would post once every two weeks this summer, but clearly that goal is a little out of reach at the moment. In an attempt to make regular posts a habit, regardless of my fears of the work being seen, here are some random life drawings from open classes in Nelson. Now, when I presented the idea of three minute gestures to this group they looked at me like I had three heads; so these are 10 - 30 minutes. At least I got a chance to try some rendering.

Also, I took a baseball to my right thumb a couple of weeks ago ending a stellar season. (Anyone who knows me well knows the previous sentence is loaded with sarcasm.) Not wanting to give up drawing, I started drawing with my left hand. I've wanted to develop my ambidextrus abilities for a while and activate the creative side of my brain, so below is a caricature that came out of this new lefty freedom.

June 6, 2008

The Golf Retiree

This guy is the result of sitting in a Nelson pub during the UFC fight. Confused? Well, I was less than enthused about watching the match, so I started sketching. (Yeah, real cool. Be the chick in the bar with a book out. Hot.) Many silhouettes later, I developed this old man playing golf.

I thought, "Migod, what would it feel like to retire and hate golf? What would you do with yourself?!" He's wondering the same thing.

p.s. This is my first, albeit timid, attempt at digital painting. Hope to take bigger risks with future pieces. :)

May 29, 2008

Me, a commissioned artist? Wha?

Here in Nelson, someone asked me to do a sketch of friends of hers for their wedding gift. You know, something that is going to be on these strangers' walls for the next 50 years. Yeah, no biggie. *gulp*

After much hesitation, I finally decided to give it a go; but on my terms. I didn't want to do a typical pencil sketch because they're so common and ultimately boring and flat. I messed around with some pen and ink and ended up with this graphic-ish image. It's supposed to feel like the explosion of a first kiss. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Random like it.

pen, brush, and ink on watercolour paper 8 x 10

May 12, 2008

takin' a stab at watercolour

This is the same painting

taken first with a camera (right) and second with a scanner (below).

I think the actual painting falls somewhere between the two.

But here you have it, my first full watercolour painting!

(I usually hate flower paintings, and would never have tried this, but it was actually harder than I thought.)

May 1, 2008

bye Debbie...:(

I die a little inside when I think of Debbie not returning in the fall of '08. She is one of the best models in the GTA right now. Well, best of luck drawing and painting your heart out at OCAD. We already miss you.

pen & ink 8 x 10

keepin' positive

So, even though WestJet has lost my luggage with many great books inside, I managed to bring "The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook: Landscapes" by Gordon MacKenzie here to Nelson. Thanks again, San, for being the authority on good art books.

It has very clear, no-nonsense information, and MacKenzie has also written some comforting words of wisdom. Here's a passage I believe we can all relate to in all aspects of our art and lives:

"You have always known how to compose pictures.
You did it as a child and you never forgot.

What you have lost is the memory and nerve to follow your instincts when making a picture.

What you have temporarily forgotten is how to play.

What you grew instead was an ego that demanded protection from
embarrassment at all costs.
But it is time to take back command, responsibility and freedom for your compositions
-- because no one else will."

This type of advice is given in many books on art and self-discovery. Little tips like this always inspire me to let go, take risks, and remember that it's good to make mistakes.

"Lake Spirits"
by Gordon MacKenzie

Hey, if you've got the spare cash and time, he's holding a five day workshop in September in northern Ontario. It's on my to-do list now.

for further reading on inspiring yourself and getting out of an artist's block start by checking out "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron.

First ever caricatures!

My first try at caricatures! It was more fun than I anticipated, too.

I usually draw faces like this:

so this is a big departure for me:

Looking forward to pushing it more and getting away from portrait-looking faces.

April 27, 2008

Here is an early attempt at using gouache paint. It's one of the many lake and mountain views around Whistler, BC. I spent the summer of '07 out there, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves adventure and great people.

April 23, 2008

Oh no, I'm blogging

Well, here I am. Blogging. Everyone says, "Just start one now, and people can see your progress." That's the scary part, of course. Why the heck would I want to display my initial progress?! Can't everyone just see my stuff when it's perfect? lol In hopes that they're right, and I'll appreciate it later, here is my inaugural post.

Until I post some pretty pictures up, you can check out my old stuff on
It's a site Andrew Murray designed to help Sheridan Animation hopefuls look at successful application portfolios. I guess for Fundies, mine was worthy.

Even though it's completely unrelated to animation, feel free to check out YogaDrifters, a TV show I co-created, produced, hosted, etc. This was back in the day when I graduated from Musical Theatre and wanted to be in front of the camera instead of behind it.

Okay, I don't know how long the average post is, but I'm sure this is bordering on the longer side. With that, welcome to my journey!