Well, with great trepidation, I pulled out the paints and created a wash to do my first under painting in a very long time. At first, the new paints didn’t react the way I remember. Water based oils. I know, sounds bizarre but they work well. I used a different method to thin the paint and got to work. Here is what I ended up with…
Now I just have to get to work and start the process of applying paint and hopefully end up with something reasonable. Since I used to paint a lot, I am surprised at the amount of fear I have. My expectations are obviously way to high.
Painting has been something that I have neglected, but along for the ride has been sketching. Not as bad though as I have used it to develop ideas for photographic composites. This tree would be my first sketch in a very long time that was not commercially based. The others followed on some camping trips and a trip to the interior of B.C.
The day was chilly I recall. Normally, a windy part of the country, but today, not a breath. A stillness held me as I looked across the field towards this magnificent tree. It sat on the edge of my sister-in-laws property about five hundred yards from the house. I walked into the field and kept my gaze fixed on it. I moved forward and then cut left sensing a better angle. Eyes up, intent.I was excited as I wanted to shoot this tree for a while. Not a simple snap on the phone as I walked by. The first gentle breeze blew across my face and I could hear nothing but morning sounds of prairie. Birds, horses, and a subtle hum that brushed over everything on this quilted patchwork that this land was. It’s energy, had sound. I set my tripod and placed the camera in the mount. Looking through the viewfinder I framed my shot and started to think about exposure. Suddenly from my left, the calm was broken by the excited presence of Turner. A farm dog who had just been let out of the old abandoned farm house that was now used for storage. He smelled of old carpet, mildew and what he rolled in yesterday, and cat, as he lived three of them, all mousers. His hair was dusty and a little matted, but aside from this, Turner was a beautiful dog. Friendly with a calm knowing. I gave him a rub and went back to work. I got a couple of frames off before he began running around in front of the camera. I yelled out “Turner!” moving my hand in a sideways motion as if he’d understand. I paused, smiled, put my finger on the shutter release and started shooting. A few frames later and he was off chasing something in the field.
A couple of weeks later, we got the bad news that Turner had died. He got sick after eating chicken bones from a neighbours garbage, and when the vet examined him, he found a large inoperable tumor. Sadly, they had to have him put down. A beautiful smelly dog with a wonderful spirit, caught one last time, then gone.
From our backyard. I have always liked the way these looked in the fall and thought to myself they almost look more beautiful now then they did during their summer glory. So, into the studio they went…
A quick shot taken very close to Elbow Lake. A great discovery after a little exploration.
I’ve been doing this for some time and sat at my local cafe this morning and decided to write one and share it. For those not familiar, stream of consciousness writing is simply beginning to write and not stopping. Whatever flows into your head, you write. Some are short, and some are very long. I started doing this after reading Julia Cameron’s – The Artists Way.
The coffee shop clatters of cups and saucer, spoon and mug and the never ending chatter of hopped up patrons that blend into a sea of sound like no other. Babbling brook, water flows over bedrock and pebbles that form bubbles that collect in murky eddies constantly being replaced by new as old bubbles pop, which was not the intent of the bubble. What am I talking about? Small conversations in my head as I write. Can’t stop, those are the rules. Free flow. Like the brook, or the stream, thoughts rain out and run downhill towards some book and pen, like a lake or ocean that collects the rain from days or weeks past. Thoughts gather in murky eddies while others flow. These stuck thoughts don’t pop like the bubble which was their intent all along.
Shot while sitting in the back of a moving car as we were driving around rural communities.
An old Roadrunner on a TV shot in the foothills
It was 28C outside. We were shooting stills alongside the crew that was shooting the TV commercial. Set was decked and ready to go, green screen behind the vintage Road Runner. Fake snow, extra tufts of grass placed carefully to fill out the foreground. The crew, in shorts worked at keeping everything moving. Behind where I’m standing are about twenty other people, trucks, tents and some very expensive equipment and an Art Director flying a small radio controlled airplane. I really liked the way the green screen framed the car and how the “snow” added to the illusion. Back in the studio I added my own background to the screen that I had shot the previous winter.
This is one of the images I was hired to shoot and image.
Rock Isle Lake – This beautiful lake is nestled in behind the Sunshine Ski Area in Alberta. A real Jem. A reasonable hike into the high alpine meadow that also leads to the 29km hike into Mt. Assiniboine. One of the premier hikes in the rockies. The Larch Trees were in their fall glory and are one tree that looks like a pine but actually is not. They lose their needles in fall and regrow them in spring. A real draw for photographers for a couple of weeks till the snow flies.
One of the most amazing things I think I have ever seen. I think if someone could create an art installation that showed what my soul looked like, it would look like this!
Magic Carpet – Daniel Wurtzel (click to watch the video)
Winters breath gently moves branches left bare by falls passing. This tree, this tree has stood strong, on the side of farmers field, and allowed to grow without the worry of the axe or saw. He leaves it, and plows and sows around it, and maybe in summers heat sits beneath it and eats the sandwich he was given for lunch, it’s shade inviting. Was it his grandfather who let this tree be. Did he lean his head on it’s trunk and think about the day? Did he climb it’s branches as a small boy looking for the fox in the tall prairie grass? Eat sandwiches, and watch the birds dance from branch to branch? Another harvest, another passing season. It waits for the sleep to end, the bud to leaf, and the laughter of the child to hold in it’s waiting arms. Silent.
An Image I took a couple of summers ago. It was in a bathroom of a beautiful historic lodge. I loved the light, I loved the subject. I don’t think you could light a plastic mop bucket any more beautifully…
A little background. I was never good at math although I wanted to be. Loved biology because I could draw the best diagrams ever! Chem, physics, nope… English, Social Studies? Ya… a bit. But ART?
I painted and drew always. I picked up the piano (by ear) at an early age. Anything that stimulated my creativity. It was out of high school and onto Art College. A year of general studies to find out what I liked and then three years of study in a particular field. Painting was going to be my gig. I’d been doing it forever so, I thought it was a no brainer. A year later, I asked myself, “Can you make a living at this?” I didn’t think I could so… enrol in photography. There’s a career choice. Commercial Photography. Leave painting behind, (the first big mistake) I graduate three years later and move to a large coastal city. I begin assisting and do so for eight years. Invaluable experience. Break out on my own and for the next eight years, do very well. Then it was time, move back to the city that grew up in and kick ass!
Long story short… didn’t happen. Different dynamic, different clients, different people. A wife, two kids, a house and a new dog and an ego that lay crumpled in the grass with it’s sneakers hanging from a power line, it’s backpack full of expectation heaved up on someones roof. What the … I was 42. Don’t get me wrong, I was doing “OK” but not what I had envisioned. The first years were tough, new studio and having to try to break into a smaller market that seemed like a fortress in a Tom Clancy novel. The years following were pretty good, but still… something wasn’t quite right. My soul was trying to speak to me, softly at first, but it became louder over time. Ego, pillow in hand, would try to smother soul, quietly, but ultimately, ineffective. I felt the first rumble of an awakening giant. A full on Mid Life Crisis. Or Mid Life Passage as it’s sometimes called. Softer I think, don’t you? Soul was feather spittin pissed…
More to come…
So Here’s an image that I shot a few years back. An image of my son walking down some train tracks. We were out for a drive and I stopped to take a shot of the tracks sans my son for reference for another image I was working on. He got out of the car and simply started walking and I, simply started shooting. Part of what I’m gong to do is start to share older images that most of the world has never seen but I love. This will, of course be mixed in with new shots that I take for whatever reason I take them.
Although I have made my career from photography, I don’t consider myself a photographer. I have started a blog but I am not a writer. I have paints and brushes, but I’m not a painter. I play guitar but I’m not a musician. What I am is simply creative. What I haven’t done, is honour that creativity. I have been too afraid to let go and do what is in my very soul. To let the creative process happen. To feel the paint slide on the canvas, the chord on the guitar play gently in my ear, the click of the shutter without the idea of compensation but simply to make an image. Doing it just because. To allow the very nature of me, to push through the cracks of my ego, and force the surface of what I show the world, hardened by fear and perceived expectation, to break off in large pieces and fall into the depths of my mind. Creativity allowed. No judgement. Just letting it be what it is and letting it say what it says. This is an artistic journey. One of complete creative freedom. There is no bad , there is no good.
There is simply expression…