Murals and Woodturnings and Art, oh my!
Updated: Jul 27
Commissions as art, art as art
I love it when "things happen" (depending on the things), and recently I have continued to produce photographic art, and have been working on commissions.
The message is: hire me to do some photography for you, and/or buy some of my art—details all here.
1/ Art. Photography for the joy of it continues to call to me, and quite regularly I just go out and find things, often but not exclusively around sunrise.
I may never tire of this kind of scene —the pros and cons of "repetition" discussed in the previous blog.
The St. Lawrence River is also a major seaway, and occasionally I go ship-chasing, but more often just chance across something. I don't think I'm done with this theme either.
As they used to say in school, "show your work", and sometimes I find that interesting too. Apart from having a modicum of artistic sensibility, all you have to know to make a photograph such as the one above is how to choose and control—as an only partial list—sensor-sensitivity, colour-balance, aperture, shutter-speed, exposure-value, exposure-mode, focal-length, image-stabilization, focus-mode, file-format ... these are among the areas in which a photographer can go beyond snapshot photography.
Incidentally, the Brockville Area Photography Club's summer challenge is "freighters". We always have something on the go. This is a good time to join, with pandemic pricing (i.e. lower), and a good way to grow skills and enjoy camaraderie.
A year or two back, Jess at Hang Ups Creative Picture Framing suggested a location to me (and then they bought a photograph from that session, which you can buy from them—go there and check out the upstairs gallery). I returned there recently, and as often happens, this was not what I was after:
The church itself is gorgeous, plus (and crucially) I had a really lovely dawn backlight, and then this natural framing appeared before me, from clear across Courthouse Green.
I think it may be the most beautiful building in Brockville, but somehow it's tucked into a corner where it isn't as visible as the other nearby (also architecturally exceptional) churches.
While there, Sally kindly consented to pose for me again.
I just don't think you're going to keep my from the water. This sailboat—mast unstepped—had apparently overnighted at anchor, in an almost flat calm.
2/ Commissions. I love it when somebody contacts me and asks me to do some photographic work for them. (I subscribe to the Sir Richard Branson philosophy: say yes to opportunities and then learn how to do the job [although I don't think that applies as much to things like neurosurgery].)
I felt that I had to make a confession to Lance, that I am a bit stuck, in art-appreciation terms, at "two-dimensional". That is entirely my limitation, but having worked with him (building on a foundation laid by others) on three-dimensional art, I think that those shackles have finally fallen. His work is simply phenomenal, every piece unique, some requiring several days to produce, and many requiring organizing the wood to dry for a year or two prior to working it.
As he talked about the process, you would not believe the knowledge-base required, let alone that he demonstrates a superior sense of artistic mastery in his work. I think that his speciality may be burls. (Also look up chatoyancy and spalting.) A woodturner can use a cross-section of a tree, or a longitudinal section, can turn green or seasoned wood, and this can be full- or partial-width, of different types of tree, all of which changes the characteristics of the finished product.
Second, Bill Gibbons contacted me. I had met Bill the previous year at an open-house at his AOG Gallery, and that is another but completely captivating story.
Bill is an art-collector, or calls himself an art-enthusiast. As the family was closing down the Gibbons Family Farm, giving 5,000 maple trees a well-earned rest, Bill commissioned a mural, on the side of his barn, in a graffiti style. Two artists from the Ottawa area—and I had not known nor ever thought about it, that some graffiti artists find a market and go mainstream—came down, talked it through with Bill, who left them largely to their own devices, and from nothing more than sketch in a notepad, produced this in one day, all done by 4:00 p.m. The artists are Robbie Larivière (Falldown) and Steven Whiffen (Snakeboy).
Astounding. Bill asked if I would photograph the new mural, for posterity. I did one sunrise session and one sunset session. He wanted to show the mural in context, so we did some work on that.
If you ever avail yourself of an AOG Gallery open house (when/if this pandemic ever eases enough), then I can assure you of two things:
you will be astounded by not only the quality but also by the tremendous variety of the works;
there is no graffiti among them—as far as I know, this is something new for Bill. I like that.
Of note: Bill wants this work seen. Head east from Frankville, turn left at the fork (and there is a literal fork at the fork) onto Leacock Road, and it is the first set of buildings you will come to in about five seconds.
I have a little feeling that there remains a special light waiting for me at that mural; I may return.
That's enough for today, folks. You know how to get in touch. Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope to see you here again soon.
Charles T. Low