Thursday, January 26, 2023

 The juxtaposition and balance of opposites –organic vs geometric or manufactured, asymmetry vs symmetry light vs dark, order and chaos, urban vs natural, glossy newness vs patinas of the old interest me. Paintings more overtly depict our inner landscapes. In photography it is more difficult however certain techniques such as reflections in glass, common in the city, often work well – depicting 2 worlds – the object and a reflection of a word beyond.

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How do you set up a shot?

My best photos are often the result of chance encounters rather than consciously composing, although as a visual artist I have analyzed composition from a classical perspective extensively. For me the city is an elaborate set and this environment actually does most of the “work” in setting up a shot. I delight in the surprise of finding new subjects, which I see everywhere – the urban environment is rich in novel shapes, and it is constantly changing, perhaps reflecting our own evolution. I almost always carry a camera with me, even a pocket-size one, and return with my DSLR. I will move around the subject getting many shots from different angles until I am satisfied with the composition and lighting. Images captured in the early morning light, or during the night often render a subject in a unique, almost theatrical way.

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What makes a good photograph?

To me the primary ingredients of a good photograph are composition and subject matter. I strive to represent familiar scenes and subjects saturate them with suggestion in an unfamiliar not-easily-identifiable ways.  My photos question the validity of conventional structural aspects we often take for granted.

If the subject matter and composition of a photo attracts me sufficiently, I work to understand composition, light, shadow, colour and reflection. I will change anything that makes the image more compelling to express its ultimately divine nature. For example hard edges in juxtaposition to diffuse or softer ones, use of complementary colours. I use symmetry for a sense of unease, asymmetry for harmony. I am disinclined toward extraneous detail but love dense values. I might even remove elements that make it identifiable either as a photograph or a painting, adding to the aura of ultimate mystery of the everyday, and yet remain convincingly real.

Here are a few more, both from the natural world and the Urban environment. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Here is what I looked up out about Global Warming, or "Climate change" as it is now called.

Meteorology professor Richard Lindzen said the more alarmist climate claims were false and that there had been no significant warming for 20 years.

Professor Richard Lindzen slammed conventional global warming thinking warming as 'nonsense' in a lecture for the Global Warming Policy Foundation on Tuesday.
'An implausible conjecture backed by false evidence and repeated incessantly ... is used to promote the overturn of industrial civilization,' he said in London.
'What we will be leaving our grandchildren is ... a landscape degraded by rusting wind farms and decaying solar panel arrays.'
A little old now, but this is from “More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims”.
More than 1,000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.
The well over 1,000 dissenting scientists are almost 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.
“Hundreds of billion dollars have been wasted with the attempt of imposing Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory that is not supported by physical world evidences...AGW has been forcefully imposed by means of a barrage of scare stories and indoctrination that begins in the elementary school textbooks.” -- Brazilian Geologist Geraldo Luís Lino, who authored the 2009 book ―The Global Warming Fraud: How a Natural Phenomenon Was Converted into a False World Emergency.

“97% of Climate Scientists Agree” Is 100% Wrong
If you look at the literature, the specific meaning of the 97% claim is: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause--that is, that we are over 50% responsible. The warming is a whopping 0.8 degrees over the past 150 years, a warming that has tapered off to essentially nothing in the last decade and a half.
Because the actual 97% claim doesn’t even remotely justify their policies, catastrophists like President Obama and John Kerry take what we could generously call creative liberties in repeating this claim.
… Numerous scientists whose papers were classified by Cook protested (John Cook is the guy who came up with the 97% figure –, ‘runs the popular website ):
“Cook survey included 10 of my 122 eligible papers. 5/10 were rated incorrectly. 4/5 were rated as endorse rather than neutral.”  —Dr. Richard Tol
“That is not an accurate representation of my paper . . .”  —Dr. Craig Idso
A lot to read but essentially what’s wrong with the Peer review process, or “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”. (Dr. John Ioannidis)
“Scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.
… “University and government research overseers rarely step in to directly enforce research quality, and when they do, the science community goes ballistic over the outside interference.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Book of sketches now online.

I created a book of sketches from 2016.

Have a look or maybe make a purchase!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Subway drawings

The sunglasses add an air of mystery
I started sketching regularly in the subway. I had done this before, but it took me almost a whole year to fill up a book. But starting in February I sketched pretty much everyday, often many times.

All the drawing are done on the spot and not redrawn or edited later. The books I use are 4" x 6" - convenient for carrying in any pocket. I use a simple ratchet/propelling type pencil with a fine lead, .5 - 7 mm. But the size and type of the pencil are not really so important. The kind of materials I use really depends mostly on how convenient it is to carry them around.

I took a lesson from my watercolour painting - use the eraser very sparingly, if at all. In watercolour painting whatever you paint, just leave it on the paper - changing it only makes things worse - the quality of the painting comes from intention - the choices one makes before ever putting paint on paper. Accidents can be helpful if you use them right - splotches and all.

In this challenging environment the same seems true of "painting" with a pencil. If I erase, it usually the whole picture, if I think I have started out badly. But I think I should keep the bad ones as well. I have to resist this temptation!

Drawing people on the subway is very challenging. First of all the moving subway car jostles you around, starting and stopping sometimes quite suddenly. The pencil on paper can be very unsteady at times.

Secondly you only have a very short time - the subject may get up at any time and leave the train. At other times people might block your view, entering and exiting the train, getting in between you and the subject.

Thirdly the subject does not always know they are being drawn. If they become aware they are, they may become very uncomfortable. "Does that person think I am strange, or look funny?" and so on.

Many of the people in my sketches appear to be sleeping, and indeed many of them were! Mostly though the appearance of sleep is because they are intent on their phones, playing games or texting. I never noticed before how high the proportion of people engrossed in their computing devices!

I admire those rich, photo-realistic pencil drawings one sees so often nowadays, but I favor the quick impression - hopefully capturing the essential character of an individual with as few strokes as possible.

Since I started subway drawing as a regular and frequent activity, the long trip passed quickly as if no time at all had passed by. I also started drawing everywhere and any subject that caught my fancy.

With this kind of art there is no plan whatsoever. So this was very different for me. Usually for a painting a concept arises and from that idea or vision I will plan it out in great detail. This is the opposite. When one steps on a train, you just don't know who or what the experience will serve up for you. There is more excitement.

Often someone is looking over your shoulder. If they like the drawing, they might tell you and you get into a conversation with a complete stranger. Again, there is no telling with whom. I have had people ask me to "do them". Once I had only one subway stop (about 2 minutes), but I took it as a challenge. Sometimes a sketch might be 20 seconds: the train is coming but there is a nice figure there for you to draw - quick! Make a notation. The lines take on this spontaneous quality. Sometimes they turn out quite all right.

The differences in people are interesting and fun to capture. Women with hijabs are great. The winter scarfs encircling heads and necks, wide collars, wrinkles, glasses, hats etc. all add to the wonderful variety of humanity one sees every day on the Toronto TTC. These also challenge one's powers of observation.

I noticed in reviewing pictures in the book, I could remember the person depicted in great detail and judge how accurate the drawing was. Drawing really helps the memory!