Monday’s Update – 10 Feb 2014

A weekly update on my artistic activities related to Hamilton, Ontario.

Recorded on Feb 9, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Length of video: 8:58 minutes.


1.) Improving mobile sound with a lavalier microphone (0.00/8:58 mins)

Still struggling to capture a single voice in a noisy environment. The laptop mic is low quality and not designed for such work. The build in microphones of the Zoom H4n field recorder are great for capturing a room full of sounds, but the voice of the speaker gets drowned out.  So, I purchased an Apex 150 lavalier from Long and McQuade on Friday.  Using a XLR system and a phantom power source (provided by the Zoom recorder), I was able to improve the sound quality.

2.) Starting of Westdale House Sketch (3:04/8:58 mins)

The Westdale House Sketch
The Westdale House Sketch

I started the second of my 3-6 series of Hamilton Homes.  Working from photographs, I sketched out the outline of the Westdale home with pencil and black maker.  The next steps is to work in the black areas and then block in the colours.  My approach to painting is very much influenced by the German artist, Max Beckmann (1884-1950), particularly from the 1930s to the 1940s.

3.) Printing of the Mechanics Institute lino-cut, formerly located on James Street North (5:24/8:58)

The Hamilton & Gore Mechanics Institute (1853-1882)
The Hamilton & Gore Mechanics Institute (1853-1882)

Sometimes you know within a few days of working on a project that the results will not be special.  This is the case with this print.  Just wasn’t working for me, but I invested so much time that I was unwilling to give up on it.

The print depicts the Hamilton and Gore Mechanics Institute (1853-1882).  During the middle years of the 19th century, when Hamilton was filled with craft-workers, self-improvement in technical skills was a high priority for many people.  The Mechanics Institute was set up for that purpose; to advance the knowledge and skills of the working man.

The Institute in Hamilton had its roots with Archibald Kerr and his dry-goods business overlooking Gore Park.  The Kerr brothers believed in education and created a small reading room in the back of the store.  In the 1840s, store workers could use the library on their lunch break.  In 1843, Kerr and other community leaders created the Institute to advance workers education.  This eventually lead to the building of the Mechanics Institute on James Street North.

Published by Chris Erskine

Inspired by architecture and landscapes, my art explores our relationship to place, memory and identity. As a mid career artist, my art practice includes: painting, murals, short films, and sound art.

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