June 27, 2015

June 27 2015 is the day I decided to figure out Photoshop a bit better. Not to do things with photographs but to create templates or plans for paintings like this one that could be done 48 x 48. It makes sense that these would be 1 of 1s.  I just need to get some wet sandpaper, a tack cloth and some titanium white paint now.2x4 PhotoshopI’m beginning to feel I need some computer skills or perhaps take courses to complete/work out what I want to do. I can struggle away using my present everyday ineffective process to create or I can get more adept at things like indesign and illustrator. Might not be a bad idea for me to go back to school. In the meantime maybe I’ll see if I can pay designer friends to show me things on a project-by-project basis.

The other image  I’m thinking about is a series of single lines that move across the canvas from black to white using differing opacities or percentages of black/white. Again I can plan this in Photoshop but execute in acrylic paint. The idea is to get to a photographic or airbrush type gradient but I would execute it in hard edge painting techniques. This is part of my ongoing interest in repetitive process and mundane almost robotic actions.

It’s June 28 2015 now not June 27 2015.

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June 24, 2015

June 24, 2015 So I thought I’d better start to move on the painting thing. I threatened several times in posts and mentioned to a few people that I’d be trying it.

I have two wood surfaces ready. I bought 30 x 30 wooden, pre-made panels and I’ve primed these with several layers of gesso. I’ve sanded both and I think I have the surface ready to work. They’re nice just as they are and I find them a good subject for photographs. I’m probably just afraid of them so I think about photographing them.

Here’s one, face down on my work table with a black paper backdrop in the background. IMG_5251I also took a photograph today at my day job office. The picture below is rotated 90 degrees. The black area on the right is carpet, the darker beige beside that is the front of a drywall curb, the lighter beige the top of that “curb”. The area on the right is wall. The area you can’t see between the top of the curb and the wall contains a fluorescent light fixture. I like this composition as an easy start. I bet it will be far from easy.IMG_5225Now I just have to buy my paint, and learn how to use it. I have several rolls of Home Depot masking tape for house painting. I also have some instructions from the Golden Acrylic website.

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June 21, 2015

June 21, 2015. Sunday, Father’s Day. This post is really yesterday and today. Saturday I walked and today I took the bike out with a definite destination in mind. There were other things to see as well. The first two images were taken in the Junction on Saturday. The whole area was getting ready for the Summer Solstice Festival so the curb lanes where cars are usually parked had been blocked off in preparation for the street closing.

The first image is the base of a city road sign and the asphalt. I liked that the rest of the metal frame Is echoed in the a shadow across the base. To me this portrays the power of light and ability to bend in such a way. Colour yellow is nice as well.IMG_5117This metal billboard skeleton was my first destination. Since the picture a few posts ago of the AGO interior I’ve been thinking about this billboard scaffolding structure and others like it. How it could be another potential painting subject. It was little difficult shoot on such a steep upward glancing angle, I had to crop the original image rather drastically, but this frame works for me for a template for painting.IMG_5119I’ve taken pictures of this place over the years. It’s never had anything in it that I remember, but it’s been freshly renovated to sell or lease. That renovation includes a circular window in this the West facing wall. It’s on the north side of Dupont just east of Spadina. Very close to the Magic Oven cardboard pizza place and the liquor store. In the desolation that is the back parking lot there’s a large city recycling bin and beside there is the largest collection of liquor store paper bags you’ve ever seen.

That said the side window is rather special. It’s slightly tacky with the stucco wall. For some reason I detest stucco wall treatments. Maybe because I can picture the Styrofoam underneath and the technique feels so superficial and so pedestrian and suburb like. The glass faces another building which might actually be the pizza place-associated apartments. The whole time I was shooting I was waiting for some resident to tell me to fuck off from one of the shitty windows that some cheap bastard used to replace the originals.IMG_5162Inside the same, vacant, newly renovated, weirdly attractive building that somebody will rent for some weird store. This is taken through the circular window pictured above.IMG_5164This was my original destination on the Sunday. I had planned to take a picture of an exterior wall that had a nice square chunk jack hammered out of it and backed with plywood however there was a car parked in front of it and when I framed the spot I thought I had liked it didn’t work well enough to press the shutter. I could however see indie through the super-dirty windows and I liked the nice linear layout of the raw framing and the way the light played inside. This reminds me very much of one of the first photographs I took through glass. That image was of a a building on the Dundas West/Roncessvalle transition curve that was a Bank of Montreal then was converted into the existing Starbuck store. I particularly like how the electrical hangs at a nice angle from the top left of the frame and the play of cinder block grey against the wood framing browns.IMG_5170Another shot of that building that’s being renovated on Avenue Road, just North of Dupont. The Skylight here brings a nice glow to the setting.

The windows really were really remarkably dirty. I always get a kick how easy it is to clean them up and make the images relatively crisp by simply playing with the levels and curves in Photoshop. IMG_5181Just south of the interior shots on Avenue road is Del Luca Fine Art pictured below. The gallery appears to have moved, or is in the process of moving. TBCIMG_5182 IMG_5190

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June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015 —Thursday—and this Thursday I felt like relaxed in the morning so left the bicycle and walked to work. At least part way. I made it 11 km of the 17 km journey with camera in hand. I’m happy with the found things along the way. I like these shots. I may not feel that way in a few days.

It’s strange how the thought process can change overnight after being bizarrely consistent for years.

I’ve been thinking about the language of art a lot as well. I’m toying with the term social realism and figuring out how to talk about it in conjunction with a formalist approach to photography and an interests in post painterly abstraction. Then it occurs to me that all this rhetoric is a waste of time. It only make me appear smart and frankly I’m sick of people writing about art. I’m sick of the big words and the smug motivations.

A shot through a window. An old—soon to be extinct—incandescent bulb in an empty shop front on Dupont Street just west of Symington. IMG_4979Further along Dupont, just west of Lansdowne the image below was taken from the street, through the scaffolding of the hoarding/plywood that envelopes the building. Dupont is at my back. This could be a painting. I tried a shallower depth of field. It’s not usually a technique I like, but for a painting could work nicely. IMG_4985St Clair West, I think this is around Christie. It’s definitely before I got to Bathurst. Something tells me this is a very pedestrian photograph. No pun intended. At the time I saw this as a remarkable assemblage of negative and positive space. Now after a few days of looking it might be edging more to the unremarkableIMG_5028Around the same spot on St Clair. A shot looking at the side wall of a temporary patio tent attached to a restaurant. It may be a restaurant that’s gone out of business. I wasn’t focusing on that. I just liked the complexity of the reflection, the landscape and the table and stool focus, and how they get framed by the movie theatre style strips of black at the top and bottom of the frame.IMG_5051Just a little west of Avenue Road this building is a bit too symmetrical for words and this photograph as a result is a bit too clean for my liking. A bit too balanced. It’s interesting though that I’ve begun to look up and the perspective doesn’t get me all wiggly. In the past I’d never take a shot like this unless I could get directly across from the subject to avoid the inevitable foreshortening that occurs when the camera isn’t level.IMG_5062Squares, still obsessed with squares. Frames within frames. This piece would make a convincing painting. If the shapes and colours are simplified it might work. It’s pleasing me now though as a photograph. Signs are bizarre from behind. IMG_5067The predominance of discarded clothing in the city is insane. There are so many thing left or disposed of on any given day. We have a park by our house and every morning there’s some article of clothing just hanging  around by itself with no owner in sight. Again, like the orange square above, this could make an interesting painting if distilled into the shapes and lines that make up it’s crumpled pile.IMG_5071Nearer the end of the trip on Yonge Street just above St Clair this retail frontage has been empty for years but apparently it’s being fixed up. With all my thoughts about painting lately this seemed fortuitous. It may be one of my favourite images of the day. There’s the paint brush for one thing, but the reflection of the sidewalk in the glass aided by the dark coloured carpet of the interior is really interesting as well. Add to that the awesome silver perpendicular that bisect the strip of carpet and the reflection in the glass of the sidewalk. Angles, lines, colour, reflections, it all works for me.IMG_5091 Finally, lens flare that I liked and almost seems planned.IMG_5103

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June 9, 2015

June 9, 2015. I’m working with Photoshop to create templates for paintings. I’ll keep going until I get something I like and I can execute in acrylic with hard masking.

These come from 20 directions all at once. The main inspiration is a photograph I took on my iPhone looking out from the Frank Ghery designed AGO facade. This got me thinking about geometric abstraction. While working it out I’ve tried to be aware–and to understand–where these ideas comes from and what they all mean. So in no special order;

The square is a wonderful form, it makes me comfortable and I see it everywhere. I compose photographs in my head in square format, I crop them from 2:3 to 1:1 almost every time I process. I like the limitations and boundaries of the square.

Then there’s other artist work. Other photography, hard line painting and the geometric post painterly abstractionists from the second half of the 20th century in particular; Mondrian, Ellsworth Kelly, Bernd and Hilla Becher via Idras Khan, Tammi Campbell, Claude Tousignant, Joseph Albers, etc.

I’ve worked in photography all my life. These new experiments remind me of X-rays or black & white negatives piled on top of each other. In fact that’s a new idea that could be an extension or even the basis for this work. I can produce this work by creating different acetates in all different black fill percentages and fool around making pseudo sculptural pieces that I then photograph to get to the same place I’m heading with the paintings.

I’m interested in simplifying. My photography is also heavily influenced line and shape. I think of my photographs as found paintings. This process I’m working with retains that interest while further reducing and removing any reference to a narrative subject. I’m moving from taking pictures of places to creating places to take pictures of.

The monochromatic nature of this work is more about photography itself than reduction, but I can see these “constructions” working in colour as well as black and white.

There’s a neat math proof that I discovered a few years ago about something called the square of squares. This is always in my head and certainly comes through a bit in this work.

Stephen Andrews retrospective at the AGO also contained a series of “mirror” paintings that he created that have stuck in my head as well. Likewise seeing a Richard Storms exhibition at Robert Birch a few months ago has really resonated.

There are other directions and other thoughts that are contributing to the creation of this work but I think you can get the idea from the above. I’m less of an artist and more of a kitchen blender.

Painting 2Painting 3
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