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Artistic Retreat

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.

My makeshift outdoor studio

My makeshift outdoor studio

A group of 12 painters gathered at the Lazy M Lodge in rural central Alberta for five days of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Alberta countryside near the Lazy M

Alberta countryside near the Lazy M

The North Raven River

The North Raven River beside the Lazy M

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)

Paint for the week

Paint for the week

Lazy M Driveway

Lazy M Driveway

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:

Green Between Pink

Green Between Pink

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:

Lazy M Group Project

Lazy M Group Project

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.

February 17 Abstracts (Part 2)

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.

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The Corner of My Eye

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Blues Three

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Brick and Blue Alley

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Swimming in Blue

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Urban Abstract 8636

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.

February 17 Abstracts

After a few months where cold weather made me less inclined to take my camera out, I did finally do so and concentrated on some long exposure with camera motion abstractions. After a bit of post-processing I came out with some images that I am very happy with:

Green Orb

Green Orb

Shadow Fence

Shadow Fence

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Orange Band

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Winter Landscape

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Playground Color

More images from this abstract photo project can be seen in my follow-up posting.

Heartbeat Abstractions

Sometimes creative success comes upon me by happenstance. Today I was on my way to the studio to do some painting and as it was a nice morning I decided to walk through the river valley and take my camera with me. As I was leaving I realized that I didn’t have a polarizing filter with me but I did have my neutral density filter so I changed plans and decided I’d focus on some long-exposure camera motion abstraction,since it had been awhile since I’d done any photography in that vein.

As I reached the river valley I noticed runners, lots of runners, with numbers – there was a race going on. It was the Edmonton Heartbeat Run and that was very fortunate as it gave me lots of (moving) subjects and color to work in to my abstract photos. I snapped away, unsure of what I was really capturing but when I got home and processed the images I was quite pleased with what I had:

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Back with Abstract Photos

It is has been a while since I’ve posted here on the blog. I do have intentions to share what I’ve been up to but for now here are five abstract photos that I took/created this third week of June 2013:

Wave on Yellow

Wave on Yellow

Planter

Planter

Abstract Landscape 2890

Abstract Landscape 2890

The Unknown Flag

The Unknown Flag

Orange

Orange

 

 

 

 

ASA 2012 New Members Exhibition

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Paintings by Randall Talbot in the ASA’s 2012 New Members Show: (L-R) Storm Approaches, Dark Treeline, Spirals

2013 March 8 – the Alberta Society of Artists (ASA) New Members Show Opening

It started about a year earlier when I submitted images of my recent paintings to the ASA in application for full member status. In April 2012 I received word that I had been juried-in as a full member.

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One of the things the ASA does to welcome new members is to give them an opportunity to participate in an exclusive New Member’s show. This year it was at the  Artpoint Gallery and Studio Society in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 I had brought my three paintings for the show, from my home in Edmonton to Calgary a few weeks before the show, when I had drove to Calgary for a meeting. I came back down to Calgary for the Opening but this time chose to travel by bus.

I walked from downtown to the Artpoint Gallery for the opening – a pleasant 25 minute stroll in the late afternoon sun of a springlike day. I arrived at the gallery a bit before six for the Opening which ran from 5 to 9. The gallery was pretty quiet at that time, but the crowds built as the evening progressed and the room was pretty full by 7 when the artists each spoke a bit about their work (or in the case of Shona Rae, did a fascinating story-telling performance).

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The Artpoint Gallery for the Opening of the ASA’s 2012 New Members Show

ASA Opening at the Artpoint

ASA Opening at the Artpoint

I was one of 8 new ASA members showing in this exhibition. The others were:

Blanca Botera-Fuentes

Deborah Catton

Sherry Chanin

Mary Deeprose

Tatianna O’Donnell

Shona Rae

Dawn Thrasher

When my turn came to speak, I spoke briefly about my background – a lifelong Albertan with a longtime interest in the visual arts including painting, photography and sculpting. I then said a few words about each of my three paintings in the show (all were painted in 2012 but representing different approaches):

Storm Approaches

Storm Approaches

Storm Approaches,

acrylic on hardboard

61 by 91 cm (24×36 inches)

This work is an example of by approach of working plein air. This work was developed in the studio based on a small sketch that I had done on-site. The particular location of this was near the central Alberta community of Markerville but it depicts a fairly generic and common prairie/parkland scene on a summer afternoon, when the dark clouds roll in from the west.

Dark Treeline

Dark Treeline

Dark Treeline

acrylic on canvas

61 by 91 cm (24×36 inches)

This painting is an example of an increasingly common technique in my work, of using my own abstracted photographs as the inspiration and reference for abstracted landscapes. I use a technique of multiple second exposures while I move the camera to create the abstraction/simplification  of the scene.

Spirals

Spirals

Spirals

oil on canvas

46 by 46 cm (18x 18 inches)

This non-representational (abstract) work was one of a small series of exploration I began in October of 2012. The key feature of this series is the technique of drawing into the wet oil paint, using a variety of tools, to leave marks and reveal the underpainting.

All in all, it was a great evening – a chance for me to meet some artists and art lovers I had not known and see some interesting work. It was an opening to a good exhibition that I am proud to be part of.

The show runs until March 30th (2013) in Calgary.

The Exterior of the Artpoint Gallery at the end of the Evening

The Exterior of the Artpoint Gallery at the end of the Evening

A Winter’s Night in Olds – Black and White Visions

Here is part 2 of my photos from a cold (and a bit foggy) January evening walk around the town of Olds, Alberta. Part 1 featured color photos (subdues as they were); this set is all black and white:

Fire Hydrant in the Night

Fire Hydrant in the Night

A Glow From Within

A Glow From Within

Highway Junction

Highway Junction

DQ and ESSO

DQ and ESSO

Coming and Going in the Night

Coming and Going in the Night

 

 

 

 

 

A Winter’s Night In Olds

I found myself spending a few days (and nights) in the small central Alberta town of Olds. One cold evening, there was a fog hanging about – not enough to obscure things near by, but enough to lend an eerie feeling to the sky. I took my camera out (with my fast 1.4 lens and a 1600 ISO setting) and walked about capturing images – handheld! This set are of some of the color  (admittedly rather subdued) images that I came up with.

White House Amongst Frosted Trees

White House Amongst Frosted Trees

Olds PetroCan

Olds Petro Can

Snow Pile by the Crossing

Snow Pile by the Crossing

Red Fire Hydrant

Red Fire Hydrant

Best Western (January Night)

Best Western (January Night)

Watch for a future post featuring some black and white images from that night.

My Year Behind the Lens

In the first part of my look back at 2012, I focused on my painting activities. Those that follow this blog will know that my art comprised of painting and photography. In this post I look at the highlights of my photographic work in 2012.

17 of my 32  blog posts in 2012 were about photography and most featured 5 or 6 images (with just a few words of description). The common themes for my photos (and blog posts) in 2012 were black and white, landscapes and abstracts (frequently using long exposure with camera-motion) – and often a combination of these themes.

Three Roofs on Beddis Road

Three Roofs on Beddis Road

My most popular post of 2012, Island Images- Black and White, featured some black and white landscape photos that I took while on Salt Spring Island in September for a painting workshop. My second most-liked blog post of the year  was Spirit of Spring Landscapes  which featured some of my abstract landscape photos. Incidentally, 10 of my blog posts in 2012 were about abstract photography.

Before the Greening

Before the Greening

The highlight of my photographic year was having one of my photos, Carr’s Forest, accepted into the Visual Arts Alberta Open Photo/Open Digital 2012 Exhibition. As a result, my photo was one of fifty that were part of the exhibition that showed in both Calgary and Edmonton, in the fall. I was also proud that this piece won an honorable mention.

Carr's Forest

Carr’s Forest

In the fall I released two new calendars of my photographs  Flowers, Seed and Berries and Edmonton, Photos by Randall Talbot .

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Image from the “Flowers, Seeds and Berries” calendar

image from Edmonton calendar

image from the “Edmonton” calendar

My Year in the Paint

As I write this it is early on New Year’s Eve day – a time to look back on 2012 to review accomplishments and lessons learned. In this first part I will focus on painting side of my art.

2012 was a year of major change of life direction for me. It was the year I “retired” from my 9-5 (realistically more like 8-6+) job to devote myself full time to my art. I achieved some of my goals for the year but others are still works in progress. The first order of business before I would get into serious art making was to get the business side of this endeavor in place.

After years of treating my art business as a sole proprietorship I decided it was time to formalize it. I set up an incorporated business and went the route of incorporating federally (to  make it easy to put some big future dreams in place). Along with the basic federal incorporation, there was the paperwork of registering the business name, registering the business provincially, getting GST registration, setting up a bank account and setting up an accounting system. No one said the art business would be all about creating art.

On March 1st I set up the  LinkedIn group: The Business of Being a Canadian Artist as a forum for Canadian artist to network and share information about the uniquely Canadian aspects of being in the art business (things such as Canadian taxes, regulations, grants etc.)

Bend in the North Saskatchewan River (Twitter Art Exhibit )

Bend in the North Saskatchewan River (Twitter Art Exhibit )

By spring I started back into painting and one of my activities at the time was creating a postcard painting to contribute to the 2nd Twitter Art Exhibit in Moss, Norway [see post].

I joined the SWCA (Society of Western Canadian Artists)  and in April was juried up to Active Status with this group. Later in the year I accepted the role of Program chair with SWCA for 2013.

In March I was accepted as a full member of the ASA (Alberta Society  of Artists). I subsequently made the trip down to Calgary in early May to attend the ASA’s Annual General Meeting and banquet where new members were introduced.

As spring arrived I got excited about getting back to plein air painting and worked on putting together gear that would enable me to head out painting on my mountain bike [see this blog post for more of the story]. Alas I did not end op doing that much in 2012 but there’s always next year.

Self-portrait with Trumpet

Self-portrait with Trumpet

At this time of year I was studying the work of Gerhard Richter and tried my hand at a self-portrait in (one of) his style(s).

Harcourt Fundraiser donations

Harcourt Fundraiser donations

May was also the time of the Harcourt House fundraising silent auction. I donated a couple of small paintings to this event.

Pedway(in Harcourt House show)

Pedway (in Harcourt House show)

In June, I participated  the Harcourt House members show with two of my paintings.

Overwhelmed (in SWCA Group show)

Overwhelmed (in SWCA Group show)

Also in June I  had a couple of my paintings in the SWCA group show at the Misericordia Hospital.

I was back at the Misericordia Hospital in July with a solo show  featuring 42 of my paintings (including abstracts and landscapes spanning my entire career). This exhibition ran from July 8 to August 18th. [see video of show]

In mid-July I participated in my first Whyte Avenue Art Walk. in my home city, Edmonton. [click here to see my Facebook photos from this event]. There was a fair bit of planning (and learning) involved with the logistics of participating in an outdoor fair. The event itself was interesting as I met all kinds of people who attended the event. I didn’t find the event that productive for sales or exposure but I do want to go back and do it again next year.

Storm Approaches (Studio work from Red Deer plein air)

Storm Approaches (Studio work from Red Deer plein air)

The first week of August I was at Red Deer College for the Series 2012 “Color in the Landscape” course with Dave More. This was my second year in a row taking this course and it was just as enjoyable and valuable as it was the first time. I always enjoy taking a week-long course in the long-running summer arts Series put on by the college.

2012-08-01 (first of abstract series begun in Aug 2012)

2012-08-01 (first of abstract series begun in Aug 2012)

In August I began a new series of larger (90 by 120 cm, 3’x4′) abstracts in acrylics, inspired by the work of American abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still.

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In September it was back to plein air landscape painting, when I attended the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) painting workshop on Salt Spring Island (British Columbia, Canada). A series of blog posts describing that week begins here.

The latter part of 2012 were not particularly productive for painting but I did release a new calendar of my abstract paintings and in December I created the Abstract Expressionism community on Google+

The year ended with a small work (a mixed media – basically an ink drawing) for the 3rd Twitter Art Exhibit, to be held in Los Angeles in early 2013:

"Snowy Slope" for Twitter Art Exhibit 3

“Snowy Slope” for Twitter Art Exhibit 3

Watch for a subsequent post reviewing my photographic art activities in 2012.

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