Odds and Ends – Happy Thanksgiving

Odds and Ends – an artist notebook for Oct 12, 2015

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist

Oct 11th – Sorry for the delay in posting, but Thanksgiving related activities with family has kept me fairly busy. For my international followers, Monday is Canada’s day of Thanksgiving.

I also had to set aside time for getting to the advance voting polls for the Canadian Federal election. According to media reports, there has been a 34% increase in turn out from the previous election. I just voted a few hours ago and turnout was heavy.

With regards to art, I continue to work on sight and sound nature recordings. This week, I visited various locations in Oakville and Milton. Trying to find seasonal rural landscapes.

I am moving towards longer films that allow the viewer to get into the landscape and get a sense of the place. At the moment, I am striving for 10 minute films, but I would like to expand to 30 minutes. In theory, Youtube will allow you to have 15 minute or longer films if you are a creator in good standing.

I want to create blu-ray quality images combined with field recording quality sounds. If I am making the effort to create good quality sound recordings, I might as well create the visual images to go along with it.

So, that is where I am at the moment. Thanks for dropping by. Next week, I will try and post at my usually time of 8:30 am.

Odds and Ends – 4 art projects

odds and ends – artist’s notebook

Artist's Notebook for Aug 10th 2015
Artist’s Notebook for Aug 10th 2015

Aug 10, 2015 – I continue to work on four unfinished painting to develop my skills at doing under paintings and using oils for colour.

The four unfinished paintings are the following:

1. The Bold Street Project
2. The McClure House
3. The Central School Project
4. The Elgin Street House

The McClure and Central School projects were started as on location, sketch-paintings. The Bold and Eglin Street projects are based on photo references.

With all four projects, I will be using reference photos to complete the works. The challenge at the moment is to determine how to use these photographic references. How I resolve this challenge will shape my approach to the larger project of creating 24 works focusing on the theme of my “My Home is My Castle.”

Chris Erskine
urban landscape artist

Odds and Ends – under paintings and oils

Artist Notebook @erskinec
Artist Notebook @erskinec

Aug 3, 2015 – This week I decided to devote part of my time working on unfinished paintings.

Using these works to gain experience with acrylic under-paintings and then adding the colours with oils. I am quite bad with finishing projects.  So, in additional to building up my skills, I will also add to my work of completed architectural portraits.

The down side to this approach is that progress on my new residential series will be slowed. Not a perfect answer, but at least it keeps me moving forward.

Chris Erskine

Odds & Ends – #HamOnt Urban Houses

Odds and Ends – artist notebook

Chris Erskine's weekly artist notebook
Chris Erskine’s weekly artist notebook

The past week has been one of reflection. How to approach my subject: the single detach home within an urban landscape.

My working thesis is: our home is our castle. This is particularly true if you are an urban settler or someone who lives next to challenging neighbours.

So we try and shut out the world with our electronic gadgets and home furnishings. Nevertheless, many still feel the need to make some sort of statement with our home architecture and landscaping.

This is the space that I am trying to explore with my new series.

Hamilton Urban Homes
Hamilton Urban Homes


As part of my research, I been looking at several landscape artists for inspiration. I am particularly impressed by the following:

Peter Harris, Toronto

Hans Habeger, Chicago

Marc Trujillo, Los Angeles

Each of these artists explore the overlooked spaces within our urban landscapes like parking lots of commercial properties, rear of strip malls, or the fronts of chain store operations. There is also a theme of night time landscapes and a feeling of isolation.

Peter Harris is part of a group show at the Mira Godard Gallery, 22 Hazelton Ave, until September 12th.

This week:

Monday – Odds and Ends

Wednesday – Art Post No.31

Friday – Studio Cam 2

Chris Erskine

Urban landscape artist

Odds & Ends – Adobe CC and GoPro

Odds and Ends – an artist notebook

Artist's Notebook by Urban Landscape Painter, Chris Erskine @erskinec
Artist’s Notebook by Urban Landscape Painter, Chris Erskine @erskinec

July 20th, learning how to use new software and equipment is taking up most of my time. I have upgraded from Adobe essentials to Adobe CC.

I have also switched from the audacity to audition. On the surface the different pieces of software look similar, but in reality they are not, so there is a steep learning curve.

I have also purchased the GoPro Hero 4 – Silver as a camera for filming quickly and with a lower profile than my Canon 3Ti. I am still trying to determine its limits compared to the Canon. I wanted something to use in crowds or where the weather is less than ideal.

I also hope to use the GoPro as a second camera in film interview setups.

I heard somewhere (Film Riots I believe) that each type of Camera (Canon, Sony, Nikon, and GroPro) have their own ecosystem that requires its own batteries, lens, cases, etc. GoPro is very much little this, with unique batteries, cases etc. All of which costs time and money.

At present, I learning the different features of the GoPro and what kind of sound I can get out of the system. As a result, you will be seeing a lot of this experimentation reflected in my film projects like Art Post, Studio Cam, and Art Crawl.

Speaking of art crawl, my apologies for the delay in showing the street footage. The file size of the GoPro footage required significant compression and this required to learning do this in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

This week:

Wed, July 22nd – Art Post No. 30, more on learning to use GoPro

Fri, July 24th – Art Crawl July 10th – Part 2.

Thanks for dropping by.

Chris Erskine
Urban Landscape Artist

The Ghost of Lover’s Lane – Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario

Odds and Ends – Monday June 8, 2015

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist, outside the campus art gallery
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist; outside the campus art gallery.

In the next week or so, the re-building of the Hermitage Ruins will begin.  My understanding is that the process will start with the numbering of all the stone in the main structure.  I have not heard yet whether they are going to save the remains of the outer buildings or not.

Last year, I had the good fortune to have the founder of Ghost Walks to show me the ruins. He told me the tale of Lover’s Lane and the Hermitage Ruins.  A few weeks later, I went on the actual tour – at night.  It was an amazing experience, and I strongly recommend the experience to everyone.

For those of you who missed the original posting, here is a repeat of the Legend of Lover’s Lane.


Chris Erskine




Odds and Ends – Hermitage – Part 4

Chris Erskine Artist - May 2, 2015
Chris Erskine Artist – May 3, 2015

Busy with family events, so I am unable to do my regular Odds and Ends postings.  Instead, I am quickly posting some raw clips from an unfinished film project on the saving of the Hermitage Ruins.  These clips were filmed last summer and were suppose to be short film on the efforts to save this great piece of local history.  What I particularly liked about the day and the film is the sense of discovery that one experiences as people explore the Hermitage Ruins that is located in Ancaster, Ontario.  I hope this kind of experience is not lost in the future.

So, here is part 4 of saving the Hermitage Ruins.

Chris Erskine Artist



Odds & Ends – Google Sees All

Recently, I had to scout locations for my upcoming short documentary film on Hamilton’s Irish Cork-town of the 19th century.


With so much of the architecture and landscape lost to development, I wanted to capture want survived and what might be re-captured via my imagination.


What soon became apparent was how little of Hamilton’s was actually captured by the camera or even drawings.  As a result, walking the streets of late 19th and early 20th century Hamilton requires a great leap of imagination.


This won’t be the case in the future.


Using Google Map and Google Street View to chart film locations, I suddenly realized that these images were the first ever publicly documented records of streets and, even entire neighbourhoods.


Google Street View documents everything.  There is no editorial or class basis that might favour the corner of James and King over Young and Aurora.


To be poor or unpopular will no longer mean that your urban landscape and architecture will be lost to history.


Google Street View has ensured that a record of all communities will be preserved for future fans of history and urban architecture.



Artist Chris Erskine






Odds and Ends – Hamilton’s Cork-Town

This week, a few raw clips from my current project on Hamilton’s Cork-Town.

Artist Chris Erskine



Odds and Ends – The Hermitage


Artist Chris Erskine
Artist Chris Erskine


Working on a new film project and reflecting on different ways of using historical photographs and drawings in modern urban landscapes. Last summer, I tried a technique used in several recent documentaries.  I am not happy with the results.  As a result, I am still searching for a better way of accessing the past via present day landscapes.  I thought, however, that you may find these past attempts interesting.

Chris Erskine, artist