Rebel T3i Crashes

Who knew a Canon DSLR can fail on you?

Apparently, you can have a power failure on your DSLR camera.  The cause appears to be a broken sensor on either the battery door or the memory card door.

The cost of repairs out weighs the cost of getting a new camera.  It had been my plan to upgrade to a serious camera like the 7D, but now I will have to settle for a used 5D mark (8 years old) II or 5D Mark III (6 years old).

The one advantage of the 5D it is a full sensor camera, so there is no cropping of the image.  Essentially, a crop sensor acts like a magnifying glasses, giving you more of a zoom effect.  It can be a bit annoying when you are using 40 mm or smaller lens in order to get wide shots.

Fortunately, Henry’s has some used 5D’s in stock and I should be able to view them in a week or two.

I was also lucky to get the photographing of a piece for a submission to a local publication.  I literally got the final shot completed when the camera died.

I am looking forward to getting a better camera, but regret the unexpected cost.

camera T3i crashes
My Canon Rebel T3i crashes – who knew DSLRs can fail?

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Summer Project 2018

With the studio in chaos for most of the summer, I used my free time to research mural paintings and what approach I could take to the subject.

Most potential clients like cartoon or figure like compositions.  In commission work for the City, the compositions are usually rooted in the local community and historical themes.  So, the challenge I face is how to develop a style that works within these limitations.

The second challenge was technical, how to use spray on large walls.

To address both challenges, I decided to use a practice wall made of several large canvases.  By re-working the surface with different compositions, I could practice my technical skills while also trying out different images and compositional themes.

By the end of August, I had collected my supplies and prepared my canvases. The “Flying Pigs” composition (see below) is my first attempt.

Flying Pigs 2018
Practice Mural Using Spray Paint – Flying Pigs 2018 by Chris Erskine

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The Hockey Player

Despite the chaos of the studio, I still managed to complete a piece for a member of the extended family.  It was a birthday gift for an eleven year old hockey player.

Back when I first started painting, I used to use a loose form of pointillism in my portraits and landscapes. I found pointillism easy to do on locations and from life.  Within a few hours, I could quickly get the form and colour of the composition down and then return to the studio to complete the work.

In this case, I used to pointillism to deal with the challenge of a largely white uniform against a largely white background.  The use of dots also help to reintroduce some energy to the composition that was based on one reference photo (always a major challenge).

Given that I was still painting the studio, I really felt the time pressures on this one.  In the end, everyone seemed pleased with the results.

sports art
The Hockey Player (2018) by Artist Chris Erskine

 

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Studio – Putting Everything Back

The Studio is painted.  Now comes the hard part, putting everything back.

Part of my goal with the painting project was to free up space for larger works.  I need more wall space to paint and photograph my paintings.  I also need more storage space for future paintings that will be larger than my current body of work. As a result, putting the studio together will be a real challenge.

Yes (I know, I Know) you can throw some stuff out, but supplies take up a lot of room. I have considered off site locations for storing paintings, but I not confident about the climate conditions or the problems of rodents. I used warm and cold storage and the climate and dust still takes a toll.

I will work something out, but it may take some time. In the meantime, it is almost impossible to work on anything.

Chris Erskine's Art Studio
The state of my studio; as of Sept 9th, 2018.

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What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation?

 

Answer, I painted my studio.

When I moved into my current studio, the most pressing issue was getting everything setup.  There was no time to paint, and so I had to live with the wonderful deep red wine walls, vintage 1980.

Not only was this color very dated, but it created real problems with photographing my art work. The dark walls provided very little reflected light and this meant that I had to pump up the lighting, which in turn, create a glare on the surface of the canvases.  Not the best results for documenting art that was leaving your studio forever.

The problem with painting your studio, however, is all those wonderful paint supplies have to be move out.  It is my version of the big bang – starting with a very compact ball of supplies, thousands of items expand out from the studio and occupy the surrounding region of space. It is not a pretty sight and nearly two months later, all those supplies are still expanding outwards.

Of course, everyone is very helpful with suggestions about what I should keep and what I should throw out. Thing one and Thing two will come down stairs and look gravely at the situation and then ask for some art supplies for their latest craft project.  They appreciate the white walls, but what they really want is their crafts shop to be restored to its proper order.

Hop to it dad!

Studio paint Job - WIP
The painting of my studio begins, as of July 31st, 2018.

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Update – May 2017

Art of the Plant

Update

In 2018, there will be a national jury show of botanical paintings at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

My goal is to get a piece in accepted by the jury and displayed at this event.  The challenge is to find something that is artistically different, but still acceptable to the strict conventions of botanical art.

While I accept the need for the focus of the work to be on the plant, and that the plant needs to be accurately rendered in terms of scale, physical structure, and colour so that the audience can tell one plant from another; I reject the notion that backgrounds need to be white and the plant isolated from any other details.

I believe that plant lives within a dynamic environment that gives meaning their form and function.  So, while some plants thrive, others are endangered. Particularly, when plants come into contact with urban development.

This clash between nature and man allows me to explore my other interests of urban landscapes and architecture.

I am inspired by the works of Martin Johnson Heade, Margaret Mee, and Marianne North.  These are artists who make the world within which plants live relevant to their artwork.

Unfortunately, I am not confident that the botanical societies will provide me the space to create work that will be shown in their exhibitions.

Without their support, I feel it will be very challenging to get acceptance by more traditional artist galleries.  Traditional landscapes and still life paintings is not my goal.  I want to create something that is contemporary and exploring the issues of today.

The submission deadline is January 2018, so in the meantime, I need develop my approach and painting skills to the point where I can accurately render native plants in oils.