painting and photographic works

Archive for August, 2010

The Hallway Gallery

Yesterday (Friday 2010 Aug 27) I finally got to visit the U of A Extension’s Hallway Gallery, where I have three of my paintings included in the current exhibition. The “Gallery” features the work of students of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension. The Banff painting retreat that I participated in August of 2009 was a Faculty of Extension program so that why my works are included. There are probably around 50 works in this hallway outside the teaching studios for the Extension’s fine art programs.

The Hallway Gallery

My "Bow Valley from Tunnel Mountain", oil on hardboard, 16" x 12"

My painting "Twisted Stone" (on the left), oil on hardboard, 12" x 16"

My painting "Long Shadows on Tunnel Mountain" (on the right), oil on hardboard, 12" x 16"

There is a very nice variety of work in this exhibit, from the mountain landscapes (in all sorts of styles) to stunning portraits to still life’s. Two artists who’s work particularly caught my eye were Tony Kostyshen and Sandra Soucy, both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Banff last year. Tony’s landscapes are colorful and expressive. Sandra has a couple of stunning portraits done in charcoal. Look for them.

I believe this show will run until December and if you are in the downtown Edmonton area, it is worth a visit. The Hallway Gallery is on the second floor of Enterprise Square (Jasper Avenue between 102 and 103 Streets). You’ll find the hallway by going to the northeast corner and it is just off the passageway that leads to Manulife Place.


Beauty in the Ordinary

Part of my fascination with photography is how it heightens my senses to reveal beauty in what often would often go unnoticed. These 5 photos fall in that category for me – places I’ve walked and drove by many a time but this time with the camera to put a frame around it – voila something to really look at!

Rooftop Arcs

Pink and Blue

Mixed Media

24 Hours Free Daily

Yellow Fire Hydrant

All of these photos were shot with a Nikon D80 and edited with Capture NX2.

Two New Books for My Studio Library

I love books and I am passionate about art so it should be no surprise that I have a weakness for art books. I am excited by the recent arrival of  two new books in the mail.

The first book is “Night Studio, A Memoir of Philip Guston” by  Musa Mayer. This book was recommended to me  by a blog commenter after I expressed my delight in having read the biography of de Kooning.

"Night Studio, A Memoir of Philip Guston" by Musa Mayer

Guston was a painter who lived from 1913-1980, during the golden age of Abstract Expressionism. He counted among his friends de Kooning, Rothko and Pollock. Having read the stories of some of these contemporaries I am looking forward to learning how Guston saw the scene and fits into the puzzle.

The second new arrival is the 2007 book “Marsden Hartley and the West, The Search for American Modernism” by Heather Hole.

"Marsden Hartley and the West" by Heather Hole

I became aware of Marsden through my interest in the Canadian “Group of Seven” painters. I have long wondered about American connections and parallels to this quintessential Canadian painting movement. Somewhere I read the reference to Marsden Hartley and a little Google and Amazon searching lead me to this book. I like what I see in terms of Hartley’s painting style and will be interested to learn if this book makes reference to any Canadian connections. Hartley lived between 1877 and 1943 and this book focuses on his period in New Mexico between 1918 and 1924.

I certainly expect to report more on each of these books once I have had an opportunity to read them.

Experiments in Black and White Photography

This week I have challenged myself to do some black and white photography. I have captured a few black and white  (or at least monochrome/tinted) images with the iPhone recently but it has been a while since I’ve tackled B&W with the DSLR.

I prefer to shoot in full color with my Nikon D80 and then do the conversion to black and white later, back at the computer using Capture NX2. Doing the conversion at this stage allows me to experiment with different color “filters” in the conversion process to select the value relationships between different colors.

I have noticed that it does take a different “eye” to capture good black and white images. Obviously the attraction of colors (which generally is a big thing for me) takes a back seat to other elements of the composition – the lines, value relationship and of course the subject matter. In fact one of the big advantages of black and white images is that the importance of the subject, the story, may be really emphazised when the flashiness of the color is stripped away.

Anyway, here are a few images taken on August 20, 2010 around the eastern edge of downtown Edmonton.

Timeland – at the AGA

Yesterday I popped into the Art Gallery of Alberta for a short visit. I only had time to take in one of the half dozen or so ongoing exhibits, and the one I was there to see was Timeland (2010 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art).

Located on the top floor of the AGA, this exhibit is diverse, challenging and interesting. Although I had hoped to maybe see a bit of Alberta landscape in paintings, this was not what this show is about. It is contemporary – modern art – the stuff that will challenge and frustrate the traditionalists and delight, amuse and inspire thought in the open-minded. There is some painting, video, sculpture, installations – something for all contemporary tastes.

With 22 diverse artists represented in this exhibit, I will not attempt to talk about each but I will mention a few of my favorites.

Lyndal Osborne has a wonderful assemblage of shells and other natural objects in jars,  beakers and flasks. Rubber tubes connecting the containers evoke the feeling of a scientific laboratory workbench.

There was some painting to satisfy me in this exhibit. I liked the works of Paul Bernhardt – some large colorful abstract inspired by non traditional landscape subjects (parking garages, industrial settings).

The next to last piece, as you work through the exhibit, might have been my favorite. Rita McKeough, installation piece is  intended to bring thought to explosive urban development that is swallowing the grasslands of the prairie. It was effective, I felt moved as I walked through this space populated with many, many models of structures and construction cranes.

That leaves another 19 artists/works that I have not mentioned. To learn more, I recommend checking out the  AGA’s Timeland web page or better yet, see these works in person. This exhibit, curated by Richard Rhodes, is on until August 28 2010 (only another week as I write this). If you are in Edmonton I suggest this show (and the AGA in general) is worth a visit .

Long Shadows on Tunnel Mountain

I am really liking the new background image on my iPhone – this one:

"Long Shadows on Tunnel Mountain", oil on hardboard, 30x41 cm

This is a painting I did about a year ago, in August 2009, while at a painting retreat an The Banff Centre. The event, organized by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension was an exciting week of thinking about painting  and the landscape. It was of course also a very productive week of painting thanks to the conducive setting, facilities and like-minded artists.

The Banff Centre is located on the side of Tunnel Mountain, overlooking the town of Banff. Right next to the campus is abundant natural terrain which served as inspiration for a number of paintings. I loved the way the afternoon sun shone through the trees on the slope providing wonderfully contrasting shadow patterns.

More of my paintings from that retreat (and other mountain scenes) can be seen starting at this page on my website.

Black and White Photos (Hipstamatic App)

Here are a few black and white photos I created  today (2010 Aug 18) using the Hipstamatic application on an iPhone 3GS. The Hipstamatic app offers a couple of simulated black and white films (BlacKeys B+W and BlacKeys SuperGrain) and that is what I used for these photos:



This “beacon” is simply an indicator light atop a traffic light control box, to indicate when the a pedestrian has pressed the walk button or a bus has remotely requested the light to change.

untitled 1 (Aug 18)

I did a bit of post-processing on these images using Photo shop Mobile – mainly to adjust the exposure and contrast.

Once Upon a Back Stairs

I applied a purple tint to the image above using PS Mobile

Crash Guard

Paint Tracks in the Alley

These paint tracks were a close-up and crop of  tire tracks I saw in a back alley after vehicles had obviously driven through a large pool of spilled white paint.

This last “Black and White” photo was a bit of a surprise to me. Like the other in this shoot I used the the Hipstamatic Black and White “films” (this one the BlacKeys B+W). This posted photo has not been altered or enhanced in any way but you can see there is a definite orange color to the barricade and pylons, indicating that this app is not in fact true black and white. It would be easy enough to remove the remaining traces of color using an app like Photo Shop Mobile but I thought it interesting (if not particularly useful) to illustrate this observation:

Orange Barricade (black and white)

My goal for today’s experiment with Black and White  was largely to discover if there was any advantage to shooting directly in Black and White with the Hipstamatic App. So far I don’t see any real advantage as i felt I needed to adjust the exposure and contrast after shooting. As lock as I am going to use an app such as PS Mobile or PhotoFX. I may as well remove the color after the fact. Also,with Color FX I have the option of processing with color filters which can alter the relative values of different colors.

Garden Photos (Aug 14)

I had the opportunity yesterday to visit some friends and spend sometime in their garden. In the last year they have created an incredible urban backyard space  with a bounty of wonderful flowering plants and some delightfully peaceful spots to sit and relax. Here is a bit of what I saw (and captured using the iPhone Hipstamatic app):

Progress Report – a Street Scene in pastel

On August 14th I got back to work on my recent large pastel piece. By the end of the session this is how it looked:

At this stage I used some pan pastel on the red regions. I liked the intensity and warmth of the Permanent Red.  It was my first time trying these pan pastels and I like them but it was a little different using the sponge applicator to apply the pigment. It will take awhile before I am comfortable with working with these but I saw no reason that I won’t be able to use them and various stick pastels together on one piece.

a variety of pastels used in creating this piece

I was torn (as I often seem to be on my work), with how abstract to make the piece. I initially was inspired to do this piece by a photo I had created that eliminated most of the detail and left just a pattern of color regions. However as I worked on this piece on Saturday I found myself  adding little bits of detail to make things more recognizable.  So, although I had signed this piece and called it done,  upon further reflection I’ve decided that I want to do a bit more work on it (still undecided on which way on the abstraction continuum I will go).

detail - of Street Scene, pastel work-in-progress

On the 14th, I also got most of the design laid out on a larger canvas for an oil painting. I have chosen to use a fairly large canvas (24 by 30 inches ; 61×81 cm). I had covered the canvas with a light orangy-red tone and then sketched in my design with charcoal. I also shade in regions of the canvas to get a rudimentary value map.

roughed in sketch on canvas for next oil painting

Friday the 13th iPhoneography

While I am anxious to get back to some oil painting and pastel projects, on August 13, 2010  I got my creative fix again with photography using the iPhone.

Here are my favorites shots of the day:

"Looking in - Looking out"

"No Parking, No Trespassing"

"In the Light on a Dark Afternoon"

"High Tide?"

And this one was my Twitter followers’ favorite:

"Fire Hydrant I"

All of these photos were taken in the downtown Edmonton area on Friday August 13, 2010 using the camera with an iPhone 3Gs. Applications used were Hipstamatic and Photo Shop Mobile