1. On Painting – getting caught up in details (1.55 minutes)
2. On New Technique -trying out finger painting (2.15 minutes)
3. On New Projects -doing finger painting (0.40 minutes)
4. On the Hermitage – joining forces with Rob Patry (0.40 minutes)
5. On the Hermitage – latest developments (2.35 minutes)
Painting outdoors is about speed and editing; capturing only the most important elements. This summer, however, I been loaded down with details and time. So, I decided to mix things up with a change in technique: finger painting. Using my fingers to sketch and paint buildings and landscapes. Traditionally, you only show your most successful pieces, but I feel the journey is just as important and as the distination.
For my first attempt at a finger painting, I decided to use a large 40 by 48 inch canvas. It was surprisingly hard to spread the paint around and the amount of paint required was quite alot.
This Tuesday, the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee will decide the fate of the Hermitage Ruins, located in Ancaster, Ontario.
At issue is how much of the Hermitage will be saved. The Hamilton Conservation (HCA) authority is proposing to reduce the surviving walls to a height of 3 feet, except for the area immediately around the main entrance to the mansion.
The HCA case for partial demolition of the Hermitage is based on safety and costs.
The safety argument is based on people jumping off walls seems a bit of a stretch. If that is the standard for safety then the gates at Dundurn Castle will need to be torn down.
If the argument is that the walls may collapse then proper fencing around the structure (until proper restoration work is performed) should address any insurance concerns.
People, who knowingly climb over or under fencing that is setup to protect them from falling stones, should no longer be able to hold the Hamilton Conservation Authority responsible. This is why the City puts up fencing and signage around construction sites.
With regards to the money, the Hamilton Conservation Authority is a large organization with significant resources available to it, much more than the average home owner.
In addition to its own budget, it has access to further resources through its foundation (including the ability to fund-raise). Therefore, there is no financial reason why the HCA cannot do full and proper restoration work.
Furthermore, the HCA has had stewardship responsibilities for over 40 years, lots of time for them to plan and set aside funds for proper restoration work. The issue isn’t money or safety, its values. It appears that the HCA does not value the Hermitage Ruins, and if you do not value something, why would you invest in proper restoration.
When the HCA comes before the Committee on June 24th, it is my hope that the Permits Committee will stand up for our heritage and say no to any request for a partial demolition.
In my view, the job of the Permits Committee is to protect our designated heritage, not smooth the path towards it destruction.
I wish to express my concern over the recent approval process for a partial demolition of the James Street Baptist Church.
It is my understanding that the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee recommended the granting of a demolition permit based on the Developer fulfilling a number of conditions.
This Committee (made up of community volunteers), then directed City Staff to ensure that the conditions were fulfilled before allowing the partial demolition by the Developer.
It is also my understanding that the Director of Planning approved the permit without the decision coming before the Heritage Committee or City Council. Apparently, there is a committee bylaw that allows for minor alternations to heritage designated buildings to be addressed by City Staff.
It is my view that recommendations by the Permits Sub-Committee (an advisory committee made up of community volunteers) should have their decision reviewed and approved by the Heritage Committee, the Economic Planning Committee, and then by City Council. I believe my view of the decision making process is supported by the mandate descriptions of each of these committees.
If my information is correct, then a bylaw intended for minor decisions was used to make a significant impact to a heritage designated building. I do not feel volunteers and city staff should be placed in such a decision-making role. Such decisions are the responsibility of elected city leaders.
Finally, I am concern that no elected officials reviewed the efforts of City Staff to ensure that the conditions were addressed.
While I support the James Street Baptist Church project, because the City deemed the building to be unsafe, I am concern over future demolition requests. Elected officials could easily be bypassed by City Staff on such important issues as the Hermitage Ruins or the Kerr Buildings.
I would appreciate you looking into this situation, and if required, ensured that good decision-making procedures are established.
Sorry for the long delay, but was sick for the past few days.
The issue facing the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) is whether they are going to step up to the plate and protect designated heritage buildings that speak to a time when Ancaster was known for its mineral waters.
Despite the significant decay of the structure, the Hermitage still sparks the imagination of visitors for a time when we were connected to the land and the seasons. Over the past two months, I have made several drawings (session 1, session 2) of the building over 2-3 hour sittings, and dozens of individuals and groups have told me how much they love the place.
What the HCA is proposing is the demolition of a heritage site that they are responsible for maintaining. A four foot wall does not save any of the designated architectural features. The only reason they are willing save a four foot wall is the cost to demolish completely the building is about the same.
The only thing more outrageous than the HCA proposal is the Heritage Permit Review Sub-committee willingness even to consider their application. The committee’s job is to protect designated heritage buildings, not to ease their path to destruction.
There was very little discussion about how the HCA should change their plans so that Georgian symmetry of the surviving building is preserved, nor saving the remains of second floor Italianate windows, or French windows below that once allowed access to a long gone veranda; nor saving the surviving ring beam that was once supported by corbels.
It appears that the only people on the committee who seem understand the purpose of the committee is to save heritage is Joseph Zidanic and Rebecca Beatty. Mr. Zidanic was particularly effective in pointing out that the HCA has owned the property since 1972 and commissioned many reports over the past 40 years, but they have done little more than quick fixes.
It times for the HCA to set up to plate and start properly taking care of the Hermitage; even if the Board doesn’t consider it part of their strategic mission of watershed management.
After a winter of working inside my studio, I just love getting outdoors and drawing or painting from life. Time pressures and the changing weather conditions creates a certain amount of tension – almost like a game show. Will he get it done in time? How bad will the results be?
The other advantage of drawing on location is the people. I am always surprised by the number of people who will stop and look at your art. The feedback is always positive, and for someone who works in the isolation of the studio, this is very rewarding.
While it doesn’t show much, here is part two of my efforts to capture the soon to be reduced Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario.
A weekly review of art related activities by artist, Chris Erskine. Updates are posted every Monday.
1.) New Name
2.) Standing Out From The Crowd
3.) Going Live
4.) The Hermitage Ruins
1. New Name
I have re-named my weekly update to Hamilton Artist Update. I hope this name achieves three goals:
– it will appear in searches of Hamilton
– it will clearly associate myself with Hamilton, Ontario
– the order of postings will be clearer
This last point was inspired by the Youtube channel called “This Week in Tech.” They have over 400 episodes, and their numbering system seems to be a very good way of organizing videos and blog postings.
2. Standing Out From the Crowd
I find it truly amazing how little is available on Hamilton via Youtube, blogs, and websites. So, given the small size of this internet universe, you would think my Youtube or Blog would appear easily in search engine results. My name is buried by Chris Erskine the soccer player or the L.A. Times columnist. My blog “Fat Cats and Starving Dogs” is lost among the references to the movie, Margin Call.
I am impressed by Bruce Jones and his work on using Google and Youtube to promote your channel. He is very helpful in explaining the logic behind search engine results and how you can use it to market your products or services.
As a result, I have tried to re-shape the words that describe my video content so that my material appears more readily in search engine results.
3. Going Live
This past week, I also came across Steve Garfield’s channel on Youtube via Bruce Jones. Steve Garfield provides another perspective on making your blogs and Youtube channels stand out from the crowd. However, what struck me most was how he used live video to gain exposure on national American networks. Now, I not interested in that sort of thing, but it got me thinking of different sorts of art events that I could broadcast to the community. Combining Steve Garfield’s examples with some of the things that Bruce Jones was suggesting, and I can see a whole new range of possibilities.
For example, broadcasting live from one of my sketching locations. I always get a lot attention and feedback from the public. Now, I can incorporate that reaction into a video that can also be archived and playback later.
So, for the past few days, I have worked on the mechanics of doing live video and what locations might have Wi-Fi access.
4. The Hermitage Ruins
As I have already mentioned, the Permit’s Sub-committee has delayed their consideration of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s request for a partial demolition of the Hermitage Ruins out in Ancaster. At the moment, the foundation is weakening and the HCA solution is to tear the surviving walls down to a height of three feet. The Permits sub-committee occurs on the same night and time as Hamilton City Council, so I understand that they will change to a new date so that more people can attend the meeting.
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.