painting and photographic works

Archive for November, 2011

Saltus Iluminati at the AGA

This week I made a second visit to the Saltus Illuminati  exhibit at the Art Gallery Of Alberta. This installation in the RBC New Works Gallery at the AGA, is the work of  Arlene Wasylynchuk. I liked my first viewing of this work and enjoyed this second visit even more.

Set in a small, quiet, darkened room, this installation metaphorically evokes the feel of a forest with internally lit tubes of color. There are 66 of these magical cylinders, all uniquely hand painted and illuminated from within. Most are standing vertical but a dozen are horizontal as if fallen on the forest floor. The viewer is able to walk around this display (which is set in the middle of the room) and peer through the “forest” from an infinite number of different views.

It is ironic that the inspiration for this piece  is the devastation of the forest caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle. Nonetheless, this work is effective in delivering a message about this threat, while reinforcing the beauty and the reason why we value our natural forests. For a very interesting news/feature story on how  and why this unique piece of art came together, you must watch the Alberta Prime Time Video Story.

This exhibit  is located on the second floor of the AGA, in a small darkened room, immediately on the right as you come up the stairs – don’t miss it, as you are attracted to the entrance of the big French Landscape Paintings exhibit. Saltus Illuminati runs until January 15, 2012.

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November Ice

Three abstract images from photos taken this morning in Edmonton’s river valley but first the natural look of the river:

The North Saskatchewan River in central Edmonton on Nov. 25

This long exposure photo was taken from near the same viewpoint but also included some brush from the near bank:

November River Abstract

This next image captured the river at an angle with a snowy foreground:

River and Snow

and finally another composition featuring bands of color from the open river, frozen river, river bank etc.:

River Bands


First Snow – Abstracted Landscape Photos

Today (2011 November 12) Edmonton had its first (and unusually late) snow of the season. While there are many thing about the snow I am not a fan of, I have been looking forward to applying  the camera-motion abstraction technique that I’ve been playing with in recent months, to the snowy landscape. Here are some of my first results:

Abstract Landscape 326-379

Abstract Landscape 325-383

Abstract Landscape 326-390

Abstract Landscape 326-397

Abstract Landscape 326-410

As with my previous photos in this style, the original intent was to give me reference images for paintings. However, so far I have not been able to create a painting that I like as much as or better than the photo (which is okay – for now).

My basic technique in this style is to use a neutral density filter to allow me to get a 2 second exposure. During the exposure I move/shake/vibrate the camera around vigorously. Post processing usually is required to increase contrast and color saturation.


Mystery in the Darkness – 5 Abstract Autumn Photos

As the days of autumn get shorter and more of my waking time is spent in dim light my photography has changed.  Perhaps not surprisingly but it s also getting darker – not just physically but also subject wise. I’m finding  my favorite images have a mysterious, dreamlike to them quality. One is not sure what one is looking at and that can lead to a feeling of cautiousness, apprehension.

Abstract 218-423

Abstract Landscape 319-519

Abstract 321-787

Stairs to Where?

Tunnel Entrance

So how have I created the dark, ominous feeling in these photos?  By keeping the edges soft the viewer is not able to focus in what is seeing and that gets the mind racing, bringing the viewers imagination into play. I frequently achieve those soft edges by using a long exposure (like 2 seconds) and I deliberately move the camera around. I will walk into the scene during the exposure and frequently also be shaking the camera as I do so. I also let the darks dominate in the image, sometimes with strategic highlights and increased contrasts and sometimes with an overall low contrast. Finally I find that black and white can really add to the mystery but as you can see I have also let a dark but saturated blue dominate in this last image, but still managed to convey that mystery that I was looking for.

What to you think makes these images work (in mysterious ways). Do you have any techniques or approaches for achieving similar moods?