Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Hamilton: Bunge

Under construction

Well, it's obvious that I've been doing everything BUT post; and today's image is very much a part of a work in progress. An earlier drawing prompted a well-thought comment, and as I was answering it, I realized that I had had other intentions for that drawing....and just never got around to realizing them.

So what you're looking at today is , once again, the result of fooling around in photoshop before I take the image back to the studio with the glue and scissors. I'll often play with something here on the computer - saves me a great deal of wasted effort (nope, the green sky doesn't work); as well as allowing me to stay glued to my current videogame and trick myself into thinking I'm doing artwork.

What the drawing was going to become was a world of blue, etched by yellow. I didn't get what I wanted in photoshop either, but then, just about everything is still under construction.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's not steel scenery after all...

The one below appears to be soybean/canola oil plant. At least, that's what the sign on the fence said - Bunge - that, and do not enter, etc. etc.

Like I could get my "chauffeur" to stop while I climbed a fence.....

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Hamilton, Ontario. Steel scenery.

Hamilton: Hospitals and Steel Mills

Many of you know that I lost my Mom about six months ago; and that two months ago, we discovered my Dad needed a triple bypass. That was Tuesday, at Hamilton General, and all went very well. And is still going well. My brother and I drove down together and also had a great opportunity to catch up with each other.

Since my brother acted as chauffeur, he was kind enough to take a quick runabout the steel mills and whatever else was in the neighbourhood. I learned quite a bit - he's a metallurgist and quite knowledgeable about the varied questions I had - "Why is there rifling up smokestacks?" "How do you extract oxygen from the air?" "What's the difference between Stelco and Dofasco?" (Seems Dofasco's the place to be).

They have a vibrant and vocal arts community with a new gallery. Sudbury was similar in character - a working town that snorts "We've got culture too!" And boy, do they ever.

You're going to be seeing a few renderings from my "drive by shootings" - lots of rotten shots, but tonnes of great material. This plant intrigued me because:
a) it looked hard to draw, but would render well in Sharpie and shoe polish
b) should I play with it, it would work very well in blues and yellow
c) it's a puzzle how parts interconnect - and this feels like a 1,000 piece jigsaw

I still don't know what the place is; or it's function. And brother HAD said "Don't ask what these plants are because I don't know".

Friday, November 18, 2005


Please don't sit on me

Horny Chair

I've posted this rather interesting piece of furniture here for Kendall; who often includes chairs in his abandonned landscapes; often poignant and reminiscent of the life these places once housed.

Meanwhile, at the Georgina Pioneer Village; there sits this particular piece in the Sutton West train station. It's difficult to imagine a pioneer with too much time on his hands; but this creative soul must have wondered what to do with his collection of cattle horns, so he decided to sit in it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday, November 07, 2005


All the leaves are gone, and the sky is grey. Yes, I'm California dreamin', and I just had an oilspray. The kitchen is covered with kleenex and report card material, and hopefully these other duties will provoke inspiration.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Edward Burtynsky

Truth is, I've been battling boredom. I don't like anything that I've "created" - it's lacking both spirit and surprise. I keep hoping I'll find something in the process to spark and ignite a new direction, but it the meantime, it's WORK. One rather interesting feature did catch my eye, ad I am remiss for not sharing this guy's stuff with you sooner.

The National Post's Saturday Night insert has a great spread on Toronto photographer Edward Burtynsky; and I realized that I had completely neglected to include his work in the links. Even more oddly, because he's one of my "heroes" and his books would make a nice Christmas gift for me.


An interesting comment in the write-up by Mark Pupo:

"It's not every day, however, that you encounter a lessone about industrialization in images that are so hypnotically, rapturously beautiful".

Hmmmmm....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Royal Ontario Museum - preliminary

Royal Ontario Museum. Again. I thought this by far the most interesting "exhibit". I'm not keen on the final product (according to the maquette) - reminds me of the pyramid at the Louvre gone mad. Mind you, I don't much like the pyramid at the Louvre either. Marrying the old with the new seems to cheapen both; although their offspring can be quite elegant - such as the National Art Gallery in Ottawa. I wax loquacious.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Doodles, Drafts and Designs: Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian



I've often wondered how any of my napkin drawings were going to end up at the Smithsonian if I have to clean out my purse everytime I'm looking for the car keys. Somehow, though, these napkin drawings were kept, and are here for us to enjoy. Check out the similarity between the designs for the new Royal Ontario Museum extension and the Maidenform Bra.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Transmission towers, Brampton.

Birthdays, blogging and big black books

When I started this blog-thing a little more than a year ago, I can honestly say I didn't think I'd keep it up. Artwork always got put aside for errands, tasks and an excuse-du-jour. Most of my stuff is stashed in drawers, scattered piles and overstuffed shelves in my "studio"; in reality, a storage heap next to the kitty litter and weeks of unwashed laundry.

Artwork needs an audience. Since galleries and exhibition opportunities aren't lined up to keep me busy, I had thought this blog concept might be a great way to be the star of my own show yet still be private (and yes, for those of you who DO know me, I harbour a certain shyness about these sort of things). Failing that, the discipline of regular posting might coax some work out of me that would have remained forever in my head.

This post marks the last page in my sketchbook; and the first time I've ever "finished" a sketchbook in less than a year. But now the struggle begins: those first bright white pages of a new book are frightening. I don't have an artistic idea to save my life and I'm in the mood for a change.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Sudbury, from at least 30 years ago, where winter is kind to the land.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Britannia Beach: Interior, Mill Building

Mill, Britannia Mine, B.C.

Just north of Vancouver, the Brittania mine houses a gravity fed concentrator that is quite a feat of architecture and engineering, as it's built on a mountainside The mine closed over thrity years ago, but it seems now that a number of different do-gooder groups have decided to "fix it up". I was there in the early '90s and fortunately, have been spared these "transformations".

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Rock bolting; Strathcona Mine (Falconbridge); Onaping, Ontairo

Rock bolting

You don't want the "ceiling" to be falling on your head, so you put up these big steel nets that are supposed to catch loose rocks. I had the honour of doing this myself, thanks to my father, although it must be at least 25-30 years ago. It still remains one of the highlights in my life.

The original photo for this was also shot with my first SLR, with the lighting coming from our headlamps. My industrial work was once critiqued by Medrie MacPhee, who told me that I should probably leave the figures out of industrial themed work. She was probably right.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Sudbury: Winter

Sudbury

Sudbury wasn't pretty before the superstack was built - but much of the blame for the "moonscape" went to the smelters and acid rain. Geologists and NASA were interested in the shattercones readily visible in the rock, while tourists drove through and closed their eyes. However, the area had suffered major fire damage earlier in the century, stripping the land of trees.

We used to be able to judge the wind chill by the way the smoke left the chimneys. Only rarely did it settle in the basin, but when it ripped away from the top of the stack, it was time to dress a little more warmly.

This was taken in the early 70's; probably from highway 17 west, headed east.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Headframe; Kerr-Addison Mines, Virginiatown, Ontario. (demolished in 1996)

Virginiatown: Kerr-Addison Mines

The Virginiatown area (between Larder Lake and Kirkland Lake) is basically in the centre of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, famous for it's wealth of ore. Ontario's first gold rush in 1906 happened here as prospectors, excited over Cobalt's silver boom, began looking for more, but found gold on the shore of Larder Lake instead. This became the Kerr-Addison mine. In fact, the gold for the first Canadian-minted $5 gold piece in 1909 came from Kerr-Addison. By the 1950's, Kerr-Addison had become the biggest gold mine in the country with over 2,000 employees. Sadly, though, by the 1990s, the town of Viginiatown was buried in debt, as the bonanza of 10 million ounces of gold went down south with the investors. The community was forced in the early 1990s to shut the mine over failure to pay taxes.

As children, though, we used to get quite excited on our weekend excursions, about the town with the "pink smoke".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Toronto: From somewhere East-West to somewhere North.

Can't choose, so I'll use all of them

I really liked the original photo taken just under a ramp, and thought it might be an interesting exercise to simplify and work through the forms. I'd actually tried this earlier on high gloss waxy paper. When I went to print the photo, it turned out the cartridges were almost out of colour, leaving an interesting set of smears and blotches over the image. Why not use those colours?

Moral of the story is that I should NOT be left alone with an entire paintbox.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Sudbury: Frood-Stobie

Thinking big, working little.

There's something to be said for not creating artwork that's bigger than the vehicle you drive. These are two samples from a work of two dozen or so clay tiles, made from printing linocuts into clay. The hardest part was keeping the clay flat while it was drying. The tiles were finished with acrylics. The imagery comes from a number of individual headframes that make up my memories of growing up in northeastern Quebec and northern Ontario.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Feed Mill, Newmarket

Birds on a Wire

On a cloudy overcast day, there's not much that gives more hope than a glorious two minute sunset. It was gone by the time I got the car pulled over and my point'n'shoot out of my purse.

Gouache; Sharpie; permanent black markers; fixative; tan and black shoe polish.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Monday, September 12, 2005


Rail cart (Par 3)

Different Scope on the Scoop

I was excited to meet Andrew, Kendall, Dusty and Rob yesterday and was inspired to find an image, or set of, that I can really dig my heels into.

After watching Rob's Echoes of Forgotten Places last night, words from Hegel (that I still remember from university) came to mind. He spoke of "worlds worlding" and Earth-earthing", referencing one with physical change; and the other with human history.

In Rome, I stood in the centre of the The Pantheon and heard thousands of years of footsteps - almost through my feet. This would be the worlds 'worlding'. The Druids have sacred oak groves, and in some spots in the forest, you can still sense "special" places. A forest changes naturally over time, as does brick, stone and iron. I'm trying to see this train-scoop's working life - it is mansized, and someone walked miles of underground track with this machine. Musta made one helluva noise.


And for the techies out there, today's materials include gouache; Sharpies; metallic gold acrylic; cordoba, tan and black shoe polish; and high-gloss acrylic varnish. Did you really want to know that?

Friday, September 09, 2005


Cord and chain

Mining at the Mini-putt

A good friend of mine works at the Cardinal Golf Club, where their mini-putt theme is based on mining in Northern Ontario. This straightforward pencil rendition is from what looks like a small, railed scoop tram. I've not seen one in any mine, but I don't know how old this is or where it came from.

Their gardens are beautiful as well, and I've posted a few glimpses of those on Diapositive.

It's nice to have access to a golf course when there's no mines around.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


"Lackawanna Wannabe"

Lackawanna Wannabe

Some time ago, Andrew of Worksongs (isn't that just the greatest name?) very kindly gave me permission to draw from one of his photos - Lackawanna's Tomb. So, here it is, a preliminary, if somewhat belated, sketch.

When I first saw the photo, I could see it at least 36x24 in charcoal, if not larger. That was in my head. Reality is another story, and a number of issues came up. This one is sketchbook sized, so it doesn't have the scope I thought the drawn image needed. But the first charcoal sketch was just dull. Which brought the next question - what was it about the photo that I was trying to capture? Simply copying it is not only boring but redundant. Has the same aesthetic value as the little plastic Davids in Florence.

Out comes the new gouache. Oops! I wasn't there, so what colour? Oh well, let's just add litho pencil, some shoe polish, more charcoal, and let's just see what happens. The reason it's called a "preliminary" is because it tells you what NOT to do the next time.

Meanwhile, thank you, Andrew, for letting me give this a try. I think I'll have to try again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Transmission lines, Toronto

Back to the drawing board...

The only good thing about saying goodbye to the summer holidays is the return of peace and quiet around the drawing table. I had picked up some new toys at Currys (The place where I'm most likely to max out a credit card) and just started playing with older, more comfortable imagery and a newer medium - in this case, gouache. Needless to say, after I had worked patiently and carefully and discovered my original idea wasn't going to work, I got a lot rougher and brought out the shoe polish.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Vulkan Bros.

Found this industrial link on Boing Boing to this very cool industrial art site. Beautifully rich and layered paintings - stuff I'd like to do if I ever get off this ocmputer.

The site's heavy on the Flash; but that's only annoying when you're in a hurry. (or on a slow phone connection, I suppose)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Cardinal Golf Course: Rope. It seemed industrial enough. I liked the texture and the pattern, but I think it's a little bit boring.

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