Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blowing my own Horn?

...somebody has to!

Art Gallery Exhibition

Last week I wrote that I consider myself more of a craftsman than an artist. It's still true, but it seems others might have a higher opinion of me! This is exciting, some recognition from a respected art venue!

The Agnes Jamieson Gallery and Minden Hills Cultural Centre has selected three of my images in a juried competition. Twenty five images were selected by the curator of the museum, and three of them were mine! They will be exhibited in the Gallery in the month of January. They are for sale in the gallery, or after the exhibit, right here, assuming they haven't sold. If you're in love with any of them, well, you know what to do!

So that's the good news. The bad news is that I had to prepare the images for exhibition which means printing, framing, matting... in the end it cost me over $100 each. They'd better sell...

This was an extra print I did (frames were two-for-one at Michaels...). It's very similar to one of the accepted images and I thought someone might like to acquire the pair. Sorry about the crummy iPhone picture.  

I have to give 'props' to two people. Jim Camelford printed these images for me. Jim is an absolute printing guru. He did his magic with his Epson 7900 and the dynamics and the deep blacks in these monochrome prints are incredible. Jim offers his services for people who want excellent prints made and his pricing is really low. Only bad part is the fact he'll be away for a while in Florida. However you can email him at

The second guy is Bryan deLang who is a frame maker and artist par excellence up here in Minden. I found Bryan through the local facebook buy and sell group, but Bryan is not on the internet. He doesn't own a computer, doesn't want to. I really like this guy: he's eccentric, a curmudgeon, has a wry sense of humour but does fantastic work at very reasonable price. You can reach him at 1 705-286-3572, he's on South Lake Road in a really interesting house!

Sporadic Musings
From the "sporadic musings" department, how much of us is upbringing and how much is DNA? I was sitting and enjoying a Manhattan last night – 2 parts rye, 1 part red vermouth, I skip the bitters, but always put in a maraschino cherry and a couple of ice cubes – and reflected on the fact that it was my father's favourite drink. It's still mine: oh, I've flirted with 18-yo single malts, European beers, Cabernet Sauvignons, but when all is said and done, my dad's favourite is also mine. Then there's my penchant for chocolate, undeniably dad's thing too! So is there a gene sequence for taste buds? Or is it all in the environment in which I grew up?
Waiting for Harder Water

It's freezing up! The weather forecast is for a couple of warm-ish days this week but it shouldn't affect it much. It's been cold for the past few days, and nights are below freezing, so the lakes are getting hard. The Inn across the road has prepared their ice fishing huts to go out when the ice gets thick enough, but I was able to walk on the shallows today. Did you know it's not quiet out on the new ice? If I didn't know better, I'd think I was hearing whale song, there was an almost continuous moaning that was really the still liquid water under the ice finding openings to filter into. Occasionally, you'd hear a big "crack". It's just a guess, but I think there was about 4" to 5" of hard water. You won't catch me out there yet but I'm sure there will be some brave – and foolhardy – souls venturing out very soon!

This was an HDR, converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro. I loved the sunset sky. Click, as usual, to view it bigger.

When I shot this, I envisioned capturing the essence of the sunset reflecting off the new ice. But it didn't come to life until I processed it with Impression, one of the Georgia O'Keeffe presets. Then I added a Flypaper texture called "Dorian Gray" which made it look like what I had seen in my mind. 

I also shot another picture that I wasn't really satisfied with. But then I used a portion of it after trying the new Topaz Glow plugin:

Could be a huge flock of birds taking off! But it's Glow's interpretation of the fractals in the ice surface. 

Speaking of "Glow", here's a rendering of an older shot

That's the canoe in the morning mist shot from Algonquin Park at the end of September. Topaz Glow is a fascinating program, it lets you explore some off-the-wall ideas! 

Topaz Glow is on sale for the month of December. $20 off the regular $69 price. You can take advantage of it via this link: Enter INTROGLOW in the coupon code at checkout. Because it shares a lot of things with Impression including the hardware requirements, you should do the 30 day free trial before you buy. But bear in mind the deadline is the end of the year.

Parting Shot

I'd like to leave you with one more shot. This one is right in my ballpark, I think. I woke up Wednesday morning to a dusting of new snow and had to go out to take the prints to Bryan to mount. Of course I had the camera with me (I always do). After dropping the pictures off, I went exploring down some back roads and was captivated by two things here: the orange coloured dead leaves still hanging on some bushes (ash, I think), and the tall trees silhouetted against the snowy sky.

So I loved the composition, but again felt it needed some post-processing to make it 'painterly'. The Georgia O'Keeffe preset is turning into one of my favourites. So is this image, I think it'll print well:

The birds aren't real. I "enhanced" the sun, but I actually created the birds with brush strokes in Photoshop. The image needed some balance. I don't know what I'd do without my Wacom tablet!

I haven't shot a lot of straight "photographs" in a while. It's time I did some pictures without adding paint or brush strokes or other impressionistic things, so I'll try to do so in the next little while. We're coming up on the year end, of course, so the deadline is fast approaching for images that will appear in my "Best of 2014" book!

It's not time yet to write that "what I'm looking forward to for 2015" article... stay tuned!

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