More magical long exposure photos from the dark days of December:
See December Magic (part 1) for more similar images.
The Kate Bush song “December Will be Magic Again” comes to my mind every year around this time. While the darkness in the northern hemisphere in December would seem to be a major deterent to photography it does open a door to a magical world.
I am torn between shooting at 1600 ISO and a wide aperture for low light handheld photography or giving in to the darkness and shooting at 100 ISO with an exposure of a couple of seconds, completely abandoning any attempt to stabilize the camera for a “clear” image. In fact when I go to such slow shutter speeds I will deliberately move the camera during the exposure to create magic!
While recently in Vancouver I did what I try to do every time that I make it to that city – visit the Vancouver Art Gallery and very specifically to visit their collection of Emily Carr paintings. The Vancouver Art Gallery occupies a wonderful old building in downtown Vancouver with the top floor gallery devoted to Emily Carr. There are however 3 other floors, exhibiting other shows and what ever I can see there is just a bonus for me. See my previous post about what I saw on the Emily Carr floor on this visit.
Perhaps the highlight for me on this visit was the exhibition “Jock Macdonald: Evolving Forms“. I must admit that before I got there, I’d heard there was an exhibit of work by the Canadian painter J. MacDonald and I just assumed it was J.E.H MacDonald, one of my favorite painters from the Group of Seven.
But wrong I was. It was a different Macdonald and while I guess I’d heard the of Jock Macdonald but never really seen his work – I got a good education!
Jock (more formally James William Galloway) Macdonald was a leading Canadian modernist painter of the 20th Century. He was born (1897) and raised in Scotland before coming to Canada in the 1920’s. He first settled in Vancouver but would live in a number of places in Canada before passing away in 1960 in Toronto after over a decade there.
His early training was as a designer and some of his early work bears the influence of commercial design. In Canada he worked with Fred Varley of the Group of Seven and produced some fine landscape canvases that fit right in with the work of the Group.
But most significantly (and enlightening for me) was his development as a leading modernist abstract painter. In fact he was an important member of the Canadian Painters Eleven group.
Jock Macdonald: Evolving Forms runs at the Vancouver Art Gallery until 2015 January 4th.
I was recently involved in discussions with an art organization about technology options for securing an art exhibition. Unfortunately, theft of art, especially from exhibits in public spaces, does occur. There are an increasing number of options for monitoring and alarming an exhibit and the financial commitment can be significant. Without going into technical specific of different options, I recommend stepping back and asking yourself a few general questions.
The questions to ask relate to what you are expecting the security solution to do for you and what it can realistically be expected to deliver:
There will probably be lots of other considerations but these questions should help an organization check if their expectations and deliverables from a security solution are a match.
If the technology does nothing more than tell you a piece of art has been stolen, is that really worth paying for?
post script: As a commenter (@lauxmyth) on my twitter feed mentioned “We do have to remind folks at times to balance alarms/camera with the locks/doors and INSURANCE”. The best security will be multi-faceted but you have to think about what is necessary/desirable and what you can afford.
It might be said that a curator (of an art exhibition) is doing their job when they aren’t even noticed or thought about by the visitor to an exhibit. Most of the time, I never give any thought to who the curator was or how well they did their job. The exhibit either works and I enjoy it (the art work presented) or it doesn’t really make an impression on me so I just move on.
Last week though, while visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery, I found myself thinking “This shouldn’t be working but it does – Who curated this?”
The exhibit I refer to is “Emily Carr and Landon Mackenzie: Wood Chopper and the Monkey“, described in the exhibition guide:
Engaging in a dialogue with the work of eminent British Columbia artist Emily Carr, Vancouver-based painter Landon Mackenzie presents three thematically arranged galleries with more than 50 artworks that collectively span over 100 years of landscape paintings by these two artists.
Why I was skeptical about this exhibition working is because I hold Emily Carr in such high esteem. I couldn’t imagine presenting her work with anyone but, say Tom Thomson or the Group of Seven members. Landon Mackenzie is a contemporary artist, born in 1954, whose work while including some landscape elements also extends to large abstract paintings that at first glance would seem to have no way of being connected to Carr’s work. Somehow though, the juxtaposition of the work of these two artists works and delivers and pleasing and meaningful experience.
This exhibit runs at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 2014 September 20 to 2015 April 6. Incidentally this exhibit is the fourth in a series of exhibitions pairing Carr’s work with that of contemporary artists from the region. It was the first one that I’ve seen (or was even aware of) but my interest is piqued.
Oh, yes, the curator? Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art – BRAVO!
It is mid-September here in my part of the world and that means that autumn is arriving in a hurry. There is an exciting burst of color that will soon give way to 7 months of greyness. Fortunately images captured, can be images savored (and perhaps painted), during the long wait til spring.
In this post I share 5 more (mostly) black and white photos captured in one beautiful September afternoon beside the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton, Canada.
and finally, not really a black and white but pretty much mono chromatic except for the rust. This collection of hardware was just sitting on a rock beside the river.
Also see another 5 black and white photos from this shoot in Down by the River (Part I)
This afternoon (2014 September 6) I got down by the edge of the North Saskatchewan River. the main purpose was to throw the ball into the water for my retrieving-crazy dog, but I also had my camera with me. Between throws I took a number of shot of the things that caught my eye. After processing as black and white images, here are a few of them:
See more related images in Part II
For the second year, the first week of July has been an opportunity to escape the city and normal responsibilities for the serenity of the countryside and the inspiration of being around like-minded artists.
A group of 12 painters gathered at the Lazy M Lodge in rural central Alberta for five days of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
My main goal for the week was to focus on painting but I knew my eye would be drawn to many more sights than I could attempt to paint. Therefore my camera would be close at hand and be put to good use capturing references for current and future landscape paintings as well as for some things that are just more suited to photographic images than paint.
My goals for the week were pretty loose but I did want to focus on landscape painting and I did want to work larger and looser with acrylic than I had done the previous year. So I did away with the backpack and pochade box and working on by 9 by 12 inch boards. This year I wouldn’t be packing my gear – I brought some medium size (22 by 28 inch; 56 by 71 cm) stretched canvases, a portable easel and a (5 foot long) folding table. I pre-mixed my acrylic paints half-and-half with a heavy gel to help hold the texture and to extend the working time. I also would use a couple of stay-wet, sealable palettes for color mixing. I used a split-primary color palette and would do mos of my painting thick and with a palette knife)
Of course, my eye was looking not only for landscapes that I could paint quasi-en-plein-air but also for inspirations for future studio abstract paintings. I re-visisted my long-exposure with camera-motion technique to generate some of these ideas:
A project that the group of 12 painters undertook during the week was to produce this composite canvas (4 feet square) to be left at the Lazy M Lodge:
It wasn’t a highly productive week in terms of completed canvases. In fact I completed only 2 (and one is not a keeper). I got a good start on another couple of canvases forming a landscape diptych. Nonetheless, it was a very beneficial week – the rest and rejuvenation benefits can not be understated.
For more photos visit my Lazy M 2014 Flickr album.
In my previous post I shared 5 abstract photos from a 2014 February 17 photoshoot. Here are another 5 from that particularly creative and productive batch.
As with most of my previous abstract photos, my basic technique is to use a long exposure (made possible by a neutral density filter) and then move the camera in a particular direction during the exposure. Post processing to emphasize color and contrast is usually also required.
Someday, I am looking forward to using some of these photographic images as inspiration, starting points for large paintings.