Odds & Ends – artist notes

Odds and Ends for Monday 06 July 2015

Chris Erskine, urban landscape artist
Chris Erskine, urban landscape artist

Odds & Ends – 06 July 2015

Urban homes is the subject of my first painting series for 2015.  Our homes are our castles, particularly when the neighbourhood is not so perfect.  How the landscape affects our little islands of safety and peace is the focus.

I have asked Artist Christina Sealey to a portrait of my youngest daughter.  She dropped by over the weekend and took some photos.

Urban Landscape Artist, Peter Harris, is an amazing artist.  He captures that still of the night in locations that are closed for the day.  I like how he constructs his landscapes and his principle subject – house, factory, store etc.

He is part of a group show at the Mira Godard Gallery in Toronto that is currently running from June 27th to September 27th.

Cheers

Odds and Ends is a weekly review of the bits and pieces that make up an artist life.

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

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

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

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.

 

http://www.oontz.ru
http://www.oontz.ru

 

Here is the link: http://www.oontz.ru/en/page/41/

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: www.fatcats-starvingdogs.com

 

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.

 

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

chriserskineartist@yahoo.ca

@erskinec

 

 

#Art Post No.2

Reflections on Painting Hamilton show at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH).  On Sunday, I went to see and support artist Christina Sealey, but I was also impressed by Charles Meanwell and Matthew Schofield.  Meanwell’s large paintings on tar-paper are very striking.  I like how he handles the paint and his use of colour.  The show runs until Feb 2015 and is worth the visit.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Art Post No.1

This is my first art post.  A short and quick update of my interests and activities.  Sorry about the interruption in my weekly updates.  The past few weeks have been fairly busy with craft shows and Halloween.  I hope to return to my regular Wed updates in mid-November.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Hamilton Artist Update 37 – Urban Sound Mapping

Location: MacNab Street Presbyterian Church

Map of MacNab Street, Hamilton (Ont)
Map of MacNab Street, Hamilton (Ont)

Update 37 – This week:

1. Ebola
2. New Art Project – Mapping the Sounds of Hamilton

Ebola – Latest estimates are that over 22,000 people in West Africa who have been inflected and 3,400 have died. The United States has just reported its first case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, the guy doesn’t appear to be in good shape.

CBC had this silly report on how people were over-reacting to the first American case. While I agree the danger from one person is almost zero, the outbreak in Africa is still un-controlled; and without more human resources, the situation will only get worse. If predictions are true, 900,000 cases by early 2015 then how can the outbreak not spread globally. Furthermore, the early symptoms are so similar to the flu that it would be nearly impossible to isolate everyone. The intense care required of patients would quickly over run the ability of hospitals to treat the sick.

 

The Ebola outbreak reminds me of the Cholera outbreaks in Hamilton during the 19th century. Currently I am researching and filming how the 1854 outbreak shaped the architectural landscape of Hamilton. I hope to have something posted in a few weeks.

Soundscapes – a few weeks ago, I came across a blogger who had posted several sound recordings to his site, along with photos of the location. I was really impressed by how it provided a new perspective on the urban landscape. I soon discovered that there is this small community of audio bloggers out there who are recording and mapping urban sounds.

I am completely captured by this notion and I have decided to start a new art project. As a first attempt, I recorded the sounds outside the 1854 MacNab Street Presbyterian Church. The Zoom H4n field recorder provides really clear recordings, particular when mounted on a tripod and with the use of a windscreen.

 

At this point, I am still working out a strategy for determining what sounds to record, so that it reveals something new about the city of Hamilton.

I am most inspired by three sound artists: Des Coulam (France), Vladimir Kryutchev (Russia) and Stuart Fowkes (UK).

Des Coulam, approach is to document the sounds of Paris. He will travel along a particular route or explore a particular location and supplement the experience with photos and history.

Des Coulam - Soundlandscapes' Blog
Des Coulam – Soundlandscapes’ Blog

http://soundlandscapes.wordpress.com

 

Vladimir Kryutchev is focusing on the capturing the reality of the small town in Russia called Sergiyev Posad.

Oontz – Audioblog from Russia

 

Oontz - audioblog by Vladimir Kryutchev
Oontz – audioblog by Vladimir Kryutchev

 

http://www.oontz.ru/en/

 

Stuart Fowkes is exploring the difference between reality and imagination. He encourages people to document the sound of a particular location and then asks that they recreate the sound of that location with what they imagine it should be like. In the process, he moves beyond purely a documentary to the creative. I am also very impressed by the mixed sound tracks (some musically), using urban sounds. Fowkes approach reminds me of Gotye and use of re-mixed sounds for his album “Mirrors.”

 

http://citiesandmemory.com/
Cities and Memory by Stuart Fowkes

 

http://citiesandmemory.com/

 

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Hamilton Artist Update 33 – Burlington Heights

This week:

1. Challenges

2. Finger Painting

3. Hermitage Film-Work

4. Hamilton Cholera Doc

Hamilton Artist Update is a weekly review of art and art related activities of Chris Erskine. The Update is posted every Wednesday morning between 8-9 am.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskine

 

Hamilton Artist Update 31 – Hermitage Painting Sketch Project

This week, Artist Chris Erskine continues his painting sketch of the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster.  He also provides a quick update on the recent decision by Hamilton City Council to resolve the fate of the designated heritage buildings to the new year.  He also provides a brief update on the formation of a Facebook group entitled Save the Hermitage.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec