#PACE16 Day one…


Me Painting SmallSo today started out with a VERY early start. Up as close a we could to 3am… get dressed load the car making sure we hadn’t forgotten anything (passport) and headed for the airport. Got dropped off-kiss kiss hug hug – and into the United Airlines line which had about 100 people in it. Wait for it – I’m supposed to be on a Delta flight! Out of line and down to the Delta check in where I’m told I have to fill in the Customs Declaration which I dutifully do at the little desk. Then run over to the kiosk checkin and start padding away at the screen until it asks me to scan my passport… um, where is my passport? Not this pocket, nope, not this one, and (nervous tick) not… this one either…hmmmm. Panic engulfs my whole head. I can hear the blood pounding in my ears. I look over to the little desk and see someone picking up said passport and I duck under the cattle herding straps and smile awkwardly and take it from her ignoring her puzzled expression. Back to the kiosk, get everything typed in and viola! Boarding passes are spit out. Then through the customs and onto the gate which turned out to be in a small war zone. It’s totally under construction with white plywood walls, plastics sheets draped everywhere and complete with banging pipes. To top it off a new mother with a slightly glazed expression sits beside me going on the virtues of Tylenol in keeping her baby quite – quickly adding that she (the baby) has recently had her shots…. Onto the plane which is a very tiny jet and old to boot. We sit on the tarmac for about 15 minutes for no apparent reason then lurch into action taxing to the other end of the airport which, for those of you who know about YYC, that can taker awhile. Delta seemed to have to wait for every West Jet flight that crossed its path and we must have stopped a dozen times.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.41.02 AMThen my favourite part – Takeoff which has always meant the adventure has begun. Nothing to report here but the view was spectacular coming out of Calgary and the flight to Salt Lake was pretty uneventful. I have to say – Salt Lake City is pretty interesting. Flat with mountains rising up out of nowhere – no foothills or anything.  Tucson is beautiful. A modern city nestled in a very harsh environment. Lots of crazy looking greenery that looks very angry up close. The drive into the Oro Valley which is where the convention is being held is stunning. Can’t wait to paint here! Even in the inner city – it’s very rich!

Stone Patio

Stone Patio

Tucson Day 1-2 Tucson Day 1-3

Cactuses are blooming

Cactuses are blooming

Some Crazy Tree

Some Crazy Tree

Tucson Day 1-6 Tucson Day 1-7 Tucson Day 1-8 Tucson Day 1-9



Tucson Day 1-11


Looking Down The Path, I Knew It Wanted Me To Come Closer…

Copyright - Grant Waddell

I have always had a love affair with everything that wasn’t the city. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of city life – being able to get a six pack or jug of milk on a moments notice. But the escape is what I have always loved. As a child, I spent hours by myself in the woods feeling a deep contentment and inner calm that most children today don’t get to experience. I attribute this to my father, who loved the outdoors as well – camping, skiing, canoeing and small hikes.I was always off into the deep woods with an inner confidence and love that pervaded my being. At peace by myself – never lonely as I had the best friend I could have ever found.

This is where my creativity was nurtured. My mind was free to wander and dream. Walk among the trees, look up in awe at the mountains, the warm sunlight and the sounds of the wind and birds helped create visions that made me smile as I lay on my back looking up into the canopy.

But then things changed…

There was a point in the last few years where my life as I had known it collapsed out from under me. I fell hard. And when I came to metaphorically, I had lost that love and that security. Going to the mountains brought a sad feeling and as you can imagine, brought  unbelievable internal conflict. What the hell! I can still feel the openness, a yearning for the connection, but at the same time, a smothering pain that draws off the memories off a different time.

Creativity, unfortunately vanished to sadness and a deep depression that I never thought I would survive.

Up Heart Creek

What I was surprised at, was how I still felt the pull. 

Amazingly, I was compelled to go out again and again, to paint, walk, write, take pictures, or lay in a hammock and read. Like an old friend who takes your hand and says “everything is going to be ok, you can trust me”.

Trust now, is something I find elusive. But day by day, those I love most will still be there, coaxing me forward, those who know the deepest parts of my story, stand beside me. My defences are slowly coming down. My connection to my friends, family and the natural world are deepening thank God. I know it will take time, patience and a practice of active engagement to wear away the sharp edges of a story that will always be there. To allow myself to open up and allow an old friend back inside.

Sam Train Tracks

As an artist who has always loved the the spiritual nature of the landscape, I have a ways to go with my dear companion – to peel away this strange sadness and feel that innocence I felt not so long ago. I just have to keep moving forward. To keep painting, writing, and taking pictures.

Art, in whatever shape it takes will be the way I honour my relationships, regain the trust in myself and those things closest to me and make each day and each creation something I can be proud of and I can proudly say that after 28 years, I have started painting again. I am on my way!

The Farm

Lo Fi…

As these lenses are sitting blindly in their boxes still – bought them only this morning – there are no sample images as of yet. Looking forward to playing with these and seeing what I can come up with.

I have a Lumix G5 as my, run around, backpack, and play camera, and wanted something to get back into the “play” of photography without having to turn to the computer (as much).

The first is a Rising Pinhole lens. A wonderful little piece of manufacturing with a laser machined anodised aluminium plate. I believe it’s f .22. $69.00

The second is from SLR Magic out of the UK and sports a 26mm f1.4 and weighs a mere 96g. $125.00

Images to follow…

Pinhole SLR Magic Toy

Bus Wrap…

So Calgary has two new CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) buses which apparently, are all the rage around the world but pretty new here in Western Canada. I was commissioned to create an image of a tree wrapping itself around the busses on both sides. The project involved 3D for visualization and creation of the leaves, because after all, it’s still considered winter here in Cow Town and there isn’t a single leaf to be seen. It also involved practical photography of trees and various bits and parts for texturing and building the main trunk and branches. The tree grew from a sapling on the back of the bus and grew over three  more stages to the last stage you see now. A sky plate was added to the top of the bus to help create the illusion. It was unveiled on April 22…Earth Day.

Tree Project Blog

Click for larger image

Tree Illusion Blog

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