Sep 20 2017

Kodak Retouching Colors


I came across these Kodak retouching colors at a thrift store, my immediate thought was how can I use these in a way that the maker never intended.  What I came up with was to print a negative image in gray-scale onto transparency film with an inkjet printer and then to apply the retouching colors in the negative.  I then scanned the image as if it was a large negative with my Epson V700 scanner.  And this is my first result which I have to admit the outcome of which I could not have predicted exactly. I am very pleased and look forward to seeing where I go from here.


I chose a dark image with a limited palette to start.  The benefit of this is of course that as a negative the dark areas are pretty much clear.  I could have gone with a positive image but that doesn’t seem as difficult or as much fun.

Jan 24 2016

A Terrible Beauty – Edward Burtynsky in Dialogue with Emily Carr (The Reach Gallery Abbotsford)

Do not miss this!

Edward Burtynsky, Mount Edziza Provincial Park #4, Northern British Columbia, Canada

Running from Jan 21, 2016 to April 10, 2016 at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford is the traveling exhibition ‘A Terrible Beauty: Edward Burtynsky in Dialogue with Emily Carr’ curated and pulled from the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  There are eighteen large scale photographs from Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky that span multiple series from 1983 to 2012.  There are also six paintings by Emily Carr that speak to similar themes of the human impact on the environment.  In particular Emily Carr’s Loggers’ Culls, 1935 and Above the Gravel Pit, 1937 show our early impact on the British Columbia landscape.  Burtynsky’s work although it begins in British Columbia with Homesteads and Railcuts soon moves on to a more global view with works from series such as Quarries & oil. 

Emily Carr, Loggers’ Culls, 1935 oil on canvas


Emily Carr helped to shape our perceptions of the British Columbia landscape, in particular the coastal forests, however today an artist seeking out those same settings is confronted with something more like what Burtynsky presents to us, a landscape shaped and altered by human activity.

The impact of the Burtynsky photographs are aided by their physical scale.  They are large, with a focus that extends from foreground to background.  With the photographic visual language cue of focus depth removed the viewer is forced to interpret the scale of the scene through its content.  This can be somewhat jarring as you come to terms with thousands of burning tires in ‘Burning Tire Pile #1 Near Stockton California’ or uncounted circuit boards filling the landscape ‘China Recycling #9, Circuit Boards, Guiy, Guangdong Provice, China 2004’ or the more flattened scenery of  recent works from the series ‘Water’ . 

I could continue to try to write about this but my efforts would always fall short of standing in front of these works in person. The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford has free admission and seeing this exhibition is well worth the trip for anyone located in the Fraser Valley and beyond.

Amusingly I visited on a day where they were hosting a Family Literacy day celebration which filled the gallery with activity and the cacophony of tiny voices.  Your visit is likely to be much quieter.

May 29 2015

The Impressionists – An In the Gallery Presentation

I went to the movies to see paintings. It sounds counter intuitive but Cineplex has been putting on a series of documentaries called In the Gallery.

‘In The Gallery is your cinematic tour of exhibits around the world, bringing you up close and personal to the greatest art exhibitions and galleries across the globe.’

 They are like events in that the have a very limited number of showings, in the instance just two for The Impressionists. So what was my ‘Impression’?  The documentary was good and shed new light for me on the role that the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel played in establishing the Impressionists in their place in art history. Your left with the sense that without Durand-Ruel it’s possible that they may have just been a footnote in art history or at least not have had the impact that they did without his support both financial and commitment in the face of opposition to change and outright derision. The documentary itself spends the first 30 minutes setting the stage for the Impressionists as you might expect. After this though as the story continues we are presented with wonderful close-ups of their work that form part of the exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay. These close-ups provide an opportunity to see the brushwork of the painters that even seeing a painting in person does not provide, you just can’t get that close in any other way. This is where the theatre as a venue is great. Perhaps watching a 4K video from 10 feet on a large TV would be similar but of that I’m not certain. Seeing the weave of the canvas and the strokes of paint pulled across it was wonderful. What detracted for the experience was the movie format itself. A movie by nature is a linear experience curated for time. There are no opportunities to linger on a particular painting, the tour must move along. Also rather than using translation when French is spoken subtitles are used. The problem with this is two-fold it requires you to move your gaze from the imagery to reading if you want to follow the story and the text overlays otherwise exquisite images. While others I spoke to after the show liked the cinematography I found selective focus was used more than I would have liked. I think the paintings speak for themselves as presented and did not require this particular effect. I found the experience good despite these caveats with the giant close-ups providing the element that no other medium provides.
Poplars (Autumn) 1891
Even a high quality book will only get you so far such as this detail above of a Monet painting. Morisot_woman

Try to imagine this Berthe Morisot painting 50 feet across and then imagine that a small detail is enlarged to that size and you get a sense of the experience.

Again unfortunately there are only two showing and those are only separated by three days so the opportunities to see this are limited.  I will keep an eye out in the future for similar movie events but that said a good documentary on Blu-ray can be watched more than once.   And on that note this documentary is produced by Seventh Art Productions where they appear to make these available for sale.

May 9 2015

Interactions 15


More posts in the series Interactions

Mar 6 2015

Interactions #14


Jan 4 2015

Interactions #12


Somehow I got out of sequence and #13 was posted before this one but here it is now.  I’m having them printed on photographic paper that has a metallic sheen to it with the intention of bringing them together into a single book.

Sep 2 2014

Interactions 13


Aug 10 2014

Interactions #11


Jul 28 2014

Interactions #10


As I reach number #10 in my Interactions series I thought I would take a moment to speak about it again.

As I have stated previously the source of the images that form the basis of these paintings is from images seen through mapping software.  So why not just present the image as seen without the process of painting?  Well there are several reasons for this one of them being the necessity to make them stand out from the multitude of images we continuously see.  Another reason is it allows me to simplify the scene to make it about what I choose. By re-creating the scene through painting I can pick and choose what is relevent.  One of the side effects of Google Street view is it grants equal visual weight to a piece of garbage on the street as to a sign in a window or a person.  I as a photographer am not there to compose a scene as I would like it but as a painter I can address that.

Jul 13 2014

Interactions #9