Art Post No.6

The arrival of two new books on Max Beckmann (German Artist, 1884-1950).  Reflecting on my art while cleaning up the studio.

Chris Erskine


Hermitage Sound Landscape Recordings

Less than 12 hours after the snow storm on Thursday, December 11, 2014; I travelled to the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario to record the sounds of the landscape.  I was amazed to discover the amount of people who had already visited the mansion.  Quite surprising given that I was at the Hermitage by 10 am on Friday (a work day for most people).

My goal for this visit and future visits to other architecture significant buildings is to document their sounds.  Do particularly buildings have unique sound characteristics?

I was very surprised by the amount of human noise at the Hermitage.  The following sound clip is a mixture of sounds captured at the Hermitage.



When the humans disappear the landscapes come alive with animal sounds.  In this recording, squires and woodpeckers being the chief noise makers.  Crows, however, always liked to get their two cents into any landscape conversation (smile).



This was my first real attempt at capturing landscape sounds with my Zoom H4n field recorder and pair of Rode M5 mini shotgun mics.  The goal is to capture the unique sound qualities of each rural and urban landscape in the Hamilton area.  As I gain more experience, I hope to create richer and fuller sound narratives of each building and its landscape.

Thanks for listening.


Chris Erskine


Art Post No.5 – Studio Clean-Up

The summer has been very busy and the result is one very messy studio.  Before I can start on my winter season of art projects, the studio must be cleaned, no matter how much I hatre cleaning.

Chris Erskine


Soundscape Art

Once again, I am trying to do soundscape art. I haven’t had the best results with the Zoom H4n. As one blogger noted, the field recorder is a $300 system and the microphones as components are likely worth no more than $100. As a result, I have purchased a pair of Rode M5 small diaphragm mikes. Nevertheless, before hauling out the heavy stuff, I want to see if I can get any kind of results with the Zoom.


Here is the result with the Zoom at the site for this past Dec 6th remembrance of the Montreal Massacre. I am always amazed at the noise pollution on campus.



As you can tell, there is significant room for improvement. My goal is to achieve the kind of results that Vladimir Kryutchev is producing in Russia. He has created these amazing soundscapes and with mixing creates a beautiful sound narrative to his pieces.



Here is the link:

It is only 6 minutes and well worth the listen.  Use headphones to get the best results.

#Art Post No.4 – Nov 22, 2014

Art Post is a review of my experiences as an artist and independent film-maker.  New posts are made every Wednesday on my personal blog site:


Art Post is replacing Hamilton Artist Update.  As I tried to improve the production quality of my updates, I found the time required to produce the weekly reports overwhelming.  I have taken great pride in producing short on-location films from sites throughout the Hamilton and Ancaster region.


I want to continue this practice, but I also need to move back to a gun and run approach to the posts.


At first, using my Blackberry Playbook seemed ideal.  The video and image quality is excellent.  The reverse camera feature made me self-reporting much easier than a tripod-DSLR setup.  Finally, the mobile character of a tablet encourages greater flexibility than the traditional setup.


Unfortunately, the mp4 format and its use a variable frame rate proved too much of a challenge.  The mp4 format allows the sound and video to become out-of-sync when the film is rendered. Furthermore, the problem appears with no rhyme or reason.


Adobe’s Premiere Pro does not address this problem.  And while Quicktime Pro 7 is reputed to be a solution, by saving mp4 files as .mov files, but so far I have had no success.


Starting with the next Art Post, I will shift back to my Canon 600d DSLR camera.  My zoom len does not permit “selfie” hand held shots.  In the short term, I plan to capture my reflection in mirrors.  Longer term, I will need to purchase a 24 mm wide-angle lens to close-up issues.


So, please bare with me as I work out this technical and narrative challenges.


Mudslide Chaos on #HamOnt Streets

Looking West on Main St at MAC

Looking West on Main St at MAC

On Friday, the 403 mudslide caused huge traffic jams on Hamilton streets like Main Street.  Nearly 12 hours after the slide and with the 403 highway still closed, diverted drivers were jamming up all the streets in the west end.  Here are two photos of Main Street West at 7 pm on Friday.

Looking East on Main St at MAC - 7 pm

Looking East on Main St at MAC – 7 pm


Chris Erskine


Art Post No.3 – Painting Hamilton Artist Talk @AGH

Art Post #3: Nov 26, 2014.


This week: Reflections on Artist Talk at the Art Gallery of Hamilton that occurred on Thursday, November 13th, 2014.

Painting Hamilton Artist Talk

Painting Hamilton Artist Talk

Painting Hamilton is a show of 10 local Hamilton artists.  In deciding how to structure the show, the curator noted that the local community is dominated by painters.  To arrive at the 10 artists featured in the show, the curator review over 80 local artists.

It was great to hear from the artists, but it is always a challenge to talk about ones art.  On the one hand, you want to invite people into the creative process. On the other hand, this invitation can quickly reduce paintings to a jigsaw puzzle.

One question from the audience dealt with the issue of whether or not art was shaped by Hamilton geography and culture.  The question was framed in a difficult manner, but the question was still valid.  I think the answer is yes, but it would have been interesting if the artist felt the same way.

All the artists are amazing, but the artists that spoke most strongly to me were Christina Sealey and Charles Meanwell.

The show continues to February and I would encourage everyone to view it.


Chris Erskine




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