My last two posts on this blog have featured abstract photos, and black and white photos, that I took in Edmonton’s river valley on September 17th, 2018. In this post I conclude sharing some more photos from that same photo session. These ones though are a bit more typical of most people’s expectation of colorful fall photos:
In my previous blog post I shared my Alberta landscape paintings from the particularly busy year of 2010. In this post, I share my landscape works from a couple years before and after that year.
(See the previous blog post for Alberta landscape paintings from the year 2010)
Here is a little collection of photos of trees, taken on the last day of winter (2016 March 19) in Edmonton.
It was a beautiful sunny morning after a couple of cooler days. It was also my last opportunity to gather some plein air images for printing. What type of landscape I wanted to capture, I wasn’t sure, but I was confident I’d know it when I saw it.
Perhaps a receding fenceline? Or a grassy field backed by the forest: Maybe a bending path: Or a little creek There’s a tree with some character worth capturing: Maybe some wild flowers? A path through the shaded woods? Ah finally, this is it: A colorful edge of a field with some attractive curving lines. I walked up and down the bit of trail overlooking this scene. There was no great place to sit so I chose a spot in the grass at the side of the trail. I got out my watercolor paint sticks and yupo sheet and sat down. But, What’s that … an ant? No not AN ant, hundreds of them. The ground was swarming with them. They were soon all over the supplies that I had set down on the ground and before I knew it they were also crawling over me! I picked up my stuff and frantically started brushing off the ants as I got the heck out of there. My initial thought was to move along and find a nearby place to try again – but I was spooked! I ended up deciding to just collect some photos for future reference and head back to the (safety and comfort of the) studio.
A little photo series that I shot today (2015 February 23) in Edmonton.
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!
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.
Photography for me is a means and an end. At times, I appreciate and strive for interesting good quality photographs. Other times I use photography as a jumping off point for my painting. In this post I share some recent photos that are destined to become painted images.
Sometimes what attracts me to the image and make me want to use it in a painting is a result of an abstraction created during the photo-taking process. At other times (like in the image above) I discover what I am looking for through photo post processing – sometimes relatively minor tweaking of contrast, saturation and cropping. At other time I may explore some filtering options to enhance the image. On the above image I used an infrared film filter in the program Color Efex Pro 3.0.
It is never my intent to make a photo realistic painting of a photo which has already been abstracted. My challenge is to capture the essence of whatever it is about the photo that appeals to me and to develop a technique in painting to maintain that essence.
In this post I share some recent abstract landscape photos. I’ve called this losing the landscape because I have pushed the abstraction to the point that the images may not read as originating from the landscape – but they all did.
As I have done to create abstracted photos in the past, these were made using a 2 to 4 second exposure (with neutral density filters to allow that exposure). During the exposure I move the camera about in a linear or rotational fashion, or just with a gentle random shaking.
This next image may be the most suggestive of a landscape, with the green and blue
This is another series of abstracted photographs. As I have shared previously, the technique I use is to employ a neutral density filter that allow me to use shutter speed in the 2 to 4 second range. During this long exposure I will move the camera – normally in a direction parallel to the lines I wan to emphasize. In the previous and next image I would have followed the line of the vertical trunk. Generally I don’t want too great a range of movement and might go back and forth over a short displacement during the exposure.
“Morning Light” was the result of a bit of a happy accident. I neglected to stop down my neutral density filter sufficiently to get a “proper” exposure. The image was over-exposed but still one I could work with in post-processing. I liked the over blown background exposure that resulted.
The yellow at the base of the tree (that you may be able to make out in the previous image was from the lichen that I typically find on the trees around the Edmonton region. Especially in the winter this color seems intense. However, straight out of the camera, these long exposure images typically do not have much color, so I usually will bump up the color saturation significantly to get an image that feels to me like what I was actually seeing/feeling.