My name is Chris Erskine and I am an visual artist. My studio practice includes painting, murals, short films, and sound art. This website (Fat Cats - Starving Dogs) is dedicated to all my non-abstract work. Please visit chriserskine.ca to see my abstract paintings. You can also follow me on Instagram: erskineartist or on twitter: erskinec. Thanks for dropping by. Chris
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.
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.
Thank you for dropping by! It has been almost a year since my last post. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for both art and blog posts. With the start of a new year, I hope to post more consistently, but less frequently.
Over the past 9 months I have been very busy with art projects:
1. Successfully created a digital sketch for the first ever online exhibit of botanical art that was staged by the Botanical Artists of Canada. This work built on my summer efforts to use my iPad for drawings. This work also represented the start of new series of projects that explore themes of plants and architecture.
2. Successfully completed a project proposal that was submitted almost at the last minute. While the proposal was not accepted, it showed me new possibilities for the future.
3. Worked hard to create and complete a piece for VAM39. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the deadline, but look forward to next year’s juried competition.
4. Successfully cleaned and reorganized my studio. While this may not sound like much, it represented 2 months of effort and many trips to the dump. With this studio house-cleaning project done, I will be better able to create larger works of art in the future.
5. Finally, on short notice, I created a piece for a person who was retiring. While the work could have used more time, the fact that I was able to successfully compete the project within a month is a major achievement.
That brings things up to date.
For the future, you can expect posts about once per month
My focus for the past week has been a proposal for a commission job. I can’t really go into details but if successful would be a really positive development.
The proposal pushed me to get my CV updated. I also created a dedicated artist’s website. The site is a WordPress product and I used a free theme to get things started. In the past few months, I have been looking at different artist’s sites for inspiration. I would like something more polish up and running before I start showing at group shows.
Otherwise, I am continuing to work on my campus building iPad Pro project. This project is meant to work out the bugs of using digital created images oppose to more traditional drawing on paper.
Related to the working in digital, I am considering creating a work for submission for a digital competition for floral images. This contest would allow me to judge my efforts against others with more experience with floral painting.
All this digital painting stuff is related to my discovery of David Hockney efforts with digital tools and the creation of digital paintings worthy of being show in galleries.
I will keep you posted on how things work out. Thanks for dropping by.
This is the official web site of the Save Century Manor Task Force 2 (CMTF2). This task force was created not only to draw attention to the existence of Century Manor, an important Hamilton heritage building in danger of demolition by neglect, but also to provide information on Century Manor and to gain support within and outside our community for our ongoing fight to save and preserve this heritage building through restoration and adaptive reuse.