painting and photographic works

Archive for April, 2012

Impressions of Early April

Early April in this part of the world (Edmonton, Canada) is a time of transition, Usually most of the winter’s snow has melted (except for some shaded areas in ravines). However it is not unusual for moisture in combination with cooler days to result in new snow falling. Here are some of my abstract photos from this period, that for me capture the feeling of this transitional season without getting caught up in the details.

Abstract 412-209

Camera motion during the exposure distilled the image to it’s color essence although the captured color was subtler than shown here.

Dance of the Evergreens

At this time of year, the deciduous trees are still a month away from leafing-out. Most of the green in the landscape comes from the spruce and pine trees.

Rivers and creeks have melted significantly to provide magical reflections.

Spring Reflection


Puddles from the melted snow come and go, sometimes providing reflective surfaces and sometimes just capturing impressions of foot/paw prints.

Abstract Landscape 412-189

The light of spring can be bright and the colors subtle, but the promises for the future are big.

2nd Twitter Art Exhibit

Today, 2012 April 12 is the opening of the 2nd Twitter Art Exhibit for charity in Moss Norway. this event, organized by painter David Sandum will run for the next couple of months in the Library in Moss (about 100 Km south of Oslo). The works, all post card size paintings and coming from around the world, will be sold off to raise funds for the local Women’s Crisis Centre. Over 300 paintings, from more than 30 countries were sent to David for this event. Like the first event in November 2010, the artists participating are known to David ( @DavidSandumArt ) through Twitter.

This is the work that I donated to the event:

"Bend in the North Saskatchewan River", watercolor on paper, 10 x 15 cm

This work was a bit unusual for me in a couple of ways. Firstly, the size is considerably smaller than I normally work and second it was not done with the media that I typically use.  It is primarily a watercolor painting but also employing a bit of ink and gouache. I used watercolor sticks, for the most part applying the color with a small brush. The painting is based on a photo that I had taken in January of the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton, not far from where I live.

photo that inspired the painting

I liked the basic composition of this work and had also done this version in oil pastel:

Oil pastel study for "Bend in the North Saskatchewan River"

I you would like to know more about the 2nd Twitter Art Exhibit, see photos and an upcoming video of it,  be sure to follow David Sandum’s blog.


Gerhard Richter, A Life in Painting – a book review

I recently finished reading Gerhard Richter, A Life in Painting by Dietmar Elger (English translation by Elizabeth M. Solaro). I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the insights it provided into the life and works of Richter. I must confess that before reading this book I knew very little about this iconic German painter. The book describes his life growing up in Dresden, first under Nazi rule and then as part of communist East Germany. He became a painter under the soviet society but escaped to the West  in 1961, shortly before the infamous Berlin wall was built.

The book describes Richter’s life in West Germany – his friends and associates, the galleries where he showed his work. At the time Richter was noted for his paintings that looked like black and white (and later color) photographs. He often used newspaper photographs as the reference source for these paintings. In the late sixties he was inspired to do something different and that was to paint elaborate “color charts”. At another phase of his career he painted landscapes in a most serene, classical sense. Richter continued to change and explore different forms of expression including what might be called pure abstract paintings, “photo” paintings of politically charged images from the terrorist activities in Germany in the 1980’s, some interesting works with glass and mirrors and some huge commissions including a stained glass window for the Cologne Cathedral and a huge installation in the Reichstag in Berlin. The book is illustrated with lots of examples (78 plates) of Richter’s work through the years so one gets a good feel for each of these phases in his career.

If you know nothing about Gerhard Richter, this book would be a good place to start and if you want to retain a reference of his life and work this would be a good one to have in your library. The book was written in 2002 and translated in 2009. An excerpt from the book may be read here.

Spirit of Spring Landscapes (Part 2)

Here are some more abstract landscape photos depicting the spirit of early spring – as the snow bids a hasty retreat at the end of March (in Edmonton).

Abstract Landscape 403-027

Abstract Landscape 403-074

Abstract Landscape 403-041

Abstract Landscape 403-052

Abstract Landscape 403-027

See my earlier blog post for additional photos in this series.