Thursday, December 30, 2004


Was out for a brew or two with friends Ric and Acting Artist and talked blogging for a bit. It's about time Industrial Art focused on industrial-related material and ongoing art activities. Although I did say earlier that I didn't call myself a photographer, that hasn't kept me from hoarding thousands of images that might "just be useful" in the studio some day.

So take a look at Diapositive - my photoblog of pictures not yet painted.

Gearing Down

I love the colours in the wood and the almost etheral effect the flour has on the gears. This was taken years ago on a trip to the Gaspe, when we stopped in at one of those historical places where the actors wear itchy scratchy clothing and spend all day milling a bag of flour. Then they go home and buy bread at the local depanneur.

Quebec: Flour Mill

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Toys in the Attic

In a big snit about not being able to go skiing in Quebec with my family, I decided to liven up house-and-pet-sitting, not by cleaning up and doing laundry uninterupted, but by buying myself a digital camera.

Huge big grin.

Toys for Christmas

Monday, December 27, 2004

Winter, Christmas and Tsunamis

I got a wonderful new toy for Christmas - a dedicated slide and negative scanner - one more reason to stay glued to the computer.

It's also -26C as I write - another good reason to stay glued to the computer.

And it was with horror that I read today's freshest blog link.

Mother Nature, in her wisdom, may be teasing me with frostbite, but she has unleashed a tsunami, claiming 20,900 lives in Asia yesterday.

Apparently, tsunamis are "invisible" until they reach shallower ground, when a 10 metre wall of water appeared without warning at the seaside resort of Chennai, India.

The magnitude of destruction is unfathomable; complaints of predictably cold weather simply disappear in comparison.

A succinct, well-written blog by Vivek says it all. He has also posted sites where help/funds may be donated for relief.

Update: From the About Guides
An overview of the situation and background information on tsunamies.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Buffalo and snow

When I moved to the Toronto area, I'd been disappointed more often than not with the season these guys called winter. Coming from Ottawa, 25 - 30 cm snowfalls weren't rare, and -25C temperatures were still cold, but not the conversation topic a mere -10C and a meagre 10 cm of snow begets.

The difference of a few degrees warmer in temperature is the difference between snow and freezing rain. Toronto has the most roads to clear, some 5,100 kilometres (3,170 miles), roughly the distance across the country. And over 5 million people in the G.T.A. who are still learning to drive.

Ottawa: average winter temperature of -10C and an average 221.5 cms (87 inches) snow
Toronto:average winter temperature of -3.8C and an average 130 cms (51.2 inches) snow
BUFFALO, NY - Generally milder than Toronto, but they get an average snowfall of 93 inches. Now that's snow!

Thumbing through the stats, though, it seems that Syracuse NY tops the snow bound list with an average of 108 inches of snow....

Let's think skiing, shall we?

Sketchbook: Buffalo City Hall

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Buffalo City Hall

I love this building. For some great photos and some history, see Buffalo as an Architectural Musem.

Groundbreaking was started in 1929, with the building finished in 1931. There are themes of the Iroquois nation, the development of the Erie Canal, the United States's relation to Canada, (can't find any evidence that speaks to me of that, except maybe that you can see Ontario from the top floor?) and the pioneering and industrial spirit of Buffalo's citizens.

Not a lot of people were working around 1929 - 1931, so that accounts for the idealistic nature of some of the friezes.

The architect, John Wade, was the sone of a tapestry weaver and was born in Hoboken NJ. In 1926, the City Architect's plan was deemed unsatisfactory, so the job went to Wade, who was only 33 years old at the time. In terms of style, he called it "Americanesque".

Today's City Hall occupies the site of Samuel Wilkeson's residence, who was mayor of Buffalo in 1836. Oddly enough, his house wasn't demolished for City Hall, but for a gas station in 1915. How times have changed.

Sketchbook: Buffalo NY

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Kevin Scanlon: Industrial Photography

From Boing Boing:

Kevin Scanlon's heavy industry photography

Photographer Kevin Scanlon has spent the last thirty years chronicling the elegance of railroads, steel mills, and heavy industry throughout the country. He shoots steel mills -- active and silent -- West Virginia coalfields, and the dwindling railway systems in America. As the gallery intro says, "His images capture an important historical era that spans the end of the twentieth century into the new millennium." He loves this world, and chronicles it with a sense of belonging.

I really enjoyed the steel mills photos especially - but then I'm partial to steel mills anyway. These have more of a "fire in the sky" attitude - the warmth of a working mill (as opposed to the desolation of an abandonned workspace). Wheeling-Pitt South reminded me especially of younger years in Sudbury.

Buffalo NY: Building Detail

Monday, December 20, 2004

Thinking of warmer days

It was minus 27 C this morning. Read someone's blog from one of the territories complaining about wimps and weather. Wanted to ask him this morning if this could be considered at least "chilly". Turns out that Ottawa was -44 C (factoring wind chill) this morning, so I thought this sketch of summer tourists might just balance the equation.

Sketchbook: Tourists at CN Tower

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Sketchbook Pages

There can be a lot of fuss over artist's sketchbooks. The past few years have witnessed a plethora of variations on the theme, from pre-packaged scrapbooking kits for people with more money than creativity to those interested in journaling and collage with a variety of "goals" in mind.

My sketchbooks won't close anymore because they're stuffed with anything I'm interested in, or think I might be interested in. The last handful of pages are blank, primarily because the spine of the book has broken. They're also stuffed with To Do Lists, woes and wails, and paper paraphenalia. They're my "Steelmaking for Dummies" pages; "Chemistry for Idiots" pages (like this talc one) and so on and so forth.

This is what curiosity looks like.

Sketchbook: Gears

Sketchbook: Talc

Friday, December 17, 2004

Lord of the Rings

Geared Up

Gears are an interesting analogy for all sorts of things - "in gear" and you know things are going well; "out of gear" and in your head you hear a noise that approximates fingernails on the blackboard...

What fascinates me is the mechanics of changing speed and direction. This image is a little soft for my liking, but getting there in terms of composition and colour.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Toronto: Gas Tax

Toronto: RGB


I don't consider myself a photographer, but I use the same eye for photographs that I use for painting.

I still think that picking up film is as exciting as opening Christmas presents, and the anticipation - especially if it's been awhile since the film was shot, is alarmingly physical.

Might not even wait until Christmas for a digital camera - I had the honour of using a friend's on the way home from our Second City Sundays - and am sitting here, lovingly going through all these pictures of a drive I take for granted - seeing things for the first time.

The intention, of course, is to use this stuff as reference material for collage, but I can't help taking a tweaklet here and there with my photoediting software. The one from New York City needed some heat, blur and contrast, and today's took a little crop here, a little colour pushing there, a straightening nudge...

Not really to "fix" a photo, but to see if it can go just a little further, say something just a little bigger than when it was taken. That, and it's much easier to double click the mouse than to haul out glue and paint at 11:00 on a Sunday night.

Toronto: Red Bricks, peeling paint

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