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 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.

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