Archives for posts with tag: trees

even tones, quiet... cold but not yet snowing

Last week while I was on a new (to me) part of Mount Royal, I took a photo of the trees. Little did I realise (well ok, I did know it was coming soon) that within a matter of days this scene would be covered with snow. I might get back for a white version of this, if I am fortunate.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Parc Lafontaine. an oasis in one of the hearts of Montreal

I sat at this scene the other day, painting. It happened to be on a crest, and I felt the loveliest breeze lifting off the water. There were some rogue, illegal bathers splashing away down below, but no-one seemed to mind. Their laughter and belly flops filled the air with the sound of children, even though they were well into their forties.

In the comments I’m going to try to write some Haiku about this. I am serious. Please join in the fun if you will…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

painting in progress...

Parc Lafontaine is a gem of a park in the heart of Montreal. It is one of those places that means much to many people.

just before dusk...

There is a rich history to the park itself, but you can opt to ignore everything and just bask in this oasis. 

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Walking from point A to point B... it is amazing that these leaves stuck to the trees over winter! Spring is growing, growing, and will be here soon.

photo by Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Our photo theme for April is The Contrasts of Urban Nature. If you are a fan on our Facebook page, you can upload a photo to our wall. Or, if you prefer, email us at fleurbain@gmail.com with your photo that reflects this theme, your name, and a short description of the pic.

beginning the first tree...

Everyone likes trees. They are pretty and useful things. So why not paint up a little stand of trees to call your own?

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Before we begin, a few notes on what I’m using to paint. I chose a simple, broad flat brush. I used black acrylic paint. I used a piece of paper. I smudged some white acrylic on the paper first, so that the paint and any water in it would not bleed into the paper. I could have used the paper alone, and the texture of the paper would have had more effect on the paint, and I could have treated it more like a watercolour. But I chose not to.

a line. This will become a tree...

Once the white acrylic base had dried, I used a small amount of paint on the tip of my brush to draw a line. This would be the trunk, the centre of the first tree I would paint.

dabbing on branches, needles, it's all just paint

Then, I simply dotted and dabbed little marks across this line, to make a tree. Simple.

tree is lonely... time for some more

After that I added more lines, and the dabs to create the four trees that followed these lines. I had my stand! I was naughty, and didn’t follow the Law of Odds, but life’s about taking risks.

more trees, made in exactly the same way

The final touch was a sweeping mark that suggested land. The trees needed to be situated in some sort of environment, and I felt that this would suffice.

trees and their land

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

The Jack Pine (1916–1917) by Tom Thomson, from...

not in either exhibition, however, is related to them

Until March 5, 2011 Eric Cardinal presents Histoires improbables and Jocelyn Philibert shows Dans la nuit at Galerie [sas] in the Belgo Building, at 372 St Catherine Street in Montreal.

I was initially lured into this exhibition by a pencil on paper drawing that bore an organic title and appearance. Fungus no. 2, upon further examination, proved to be composed of a repeated and overlapped Mickey Mouse motif. Eric Cardinal‘s work in Histoires improbables is a range of drawings and sculpture that uses “pop culture” and other findings that may (or may not) be disposable. In his artist statement, he only alludes to his drawings a tiny bit while talking about his sculpture. “… these manipulations seem to be able to initiate a second step in my production where shapes and textures rendered can then be expressed in other materials.” 

Whichever came first, the sculpture or the drawings; both speak of a longing for nature and its forms, twisted with a sense of humour. The drawings appeared to be of one of two types. Organic, morphing ones (like Fungus no.2, which initially drew me into the gallery) were my personal favorites. I’d truly not seen anything like them before, and they held my attention and imagination long after I’d realised what the elements in them all were. The other sort of drawing was something like a fractured, fragmented view of two (or more) simultaneous pictures, usually done in ink. The result of this was something like a jagged checker-board, or a woven paper effect. These were not as evocative or luring as the softer, more evolved, pencil drawings. I was left with the impression that they were part of the process, and that’s cool.

The sculpture was like pop-culture, plastic tree growths. Colourful, playful, beautiful, and somewhat tragic. They melded plain objects (pencils, household items) with repeated Donald Duck or other Disney characters, and finally colourful polyurethane to make these oddities. Note that when I say oddities, I mean original, cool, and tasty art-pieces. 

The Author of this post hides behind a rose

The paintings (oops sorry about that) photographs in Jocelyn Philibert‘s exhibition Dans la nuit are a stunning study of both trees and visual-planes. Philibert photographs trees, or scenes that include trees, at night. He illuminates the scenes from the front, boldly. The work bears a sense of metaphor and theatricality, owing much to the drama of the artificial lighting, as well as the often isolated subject (tree).

My initial reaction to this work was a sense of awe, a feeling of seeing drawings set in nature, drawings by Nature itself. It seemed more real than real.

The next thing I noticed was how the foreground plane comes forward; more so than with naturally lit subjects. I was reminded of layers of oil in an oil painting, layered plexiglass paintings, and even 3-D Cinema.

Philibert’s Lone Tree is elevated (as in much of Canadian art) to a heroic place; it becomes a Being, a reason for portraiture. Think of Tom Thomson’s The Jack Pine. Think of Rodney Graham. Think of Jocelyn Philibert.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal. The two exhibitions finish up on March 5th, so hurry down to see them. Galerie [sas] 372 St Catherine West, open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 12-5.

It’s a good time for branching out and making connections.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

 The first of a three-part story about an artist I’ve had the pleasure to get to know through the cyber-world. Greg Howes is a multi-talented artist, gardener, historian, writer, actor, and generally very creative person. This is a bit of his story…

"Ohhhhhh". 2006, Photomorph. Copyright Greg Howes.

When Natasha Henderson asked me to write about the motivation behind my art work, I was a little perplexed as what to say. I tend to just “ do” something because I want to, rather than think about why I am doing it. Perhaps that is a failing, perhaps not? Maybe it’s because I am never short of inspiration or enthusiasm.

At present a lot of my working life revolves around researching family history and genealogy for private clients, television programmes, et cetera (see http://www.welshfamilyhistory.co.uk/) . Although I specialise in Welsh family history, I also research for people who have English and Scottish ancestors. When I am not tracing back family trees I am also a semi professional designer/photographer/mixed media art man. I paint/print/glue my images onto canvas/card/textiles and sell them on-line or in local art and craft shops.

I left School in 1980 aged 16 years. It was a time of a huge economic slump, possibly not quite as huge or as global as it is today, but unemployment was far higher than now and Britain had the worst unemployment rates since the 1930s… so jobs were few and far between. I knew what I did not want to do but all of the things I did want to do were all sadly unrealistic (or so I thought). Consequently most of my jobs in my mid to late teens and early twenties were very uninspiring (though I did find time to take an O level in art at Oxford).

Floral Mantra. 2006. Photomorph, copyright Greg Howes.

Occasionally there would be one or two jobs that paid reasonably well but this usually meant working from 7.00 in the morning until 6.00 at night and Saturday mornings. The only oasis in this wilderness of employment was a short period of self employment printing and designing punky/patterns/slogans for T shirts. Much as I enjoyed this it would not keep me in house or home. These were the days before the internet and as designer, printer and market trader the overheads were just too great for it to be sustainable.

Punk 33. Photomorph and collage, copyright 2007 or 2008 Greg Howes.

My big break came when I was accepted as an employee/trainee horticulturalist at the wonderful Waterperry Gardens and Horticultural Centre in Waterperry near Oxford. At Waterperry I managed to combine my inbuilt love of the natural world and its processes, as well as satisfying my passion for creating in the propagation of plants and research. I imbibed all I possibly could about different plant names, where they originated from, when were they in flower, how they were propagated and so forth. I know my time at Waterperry changed my life and my outlook on life completely, before then I had always seen myself as some sort of frustrated artist and poet (though I use these terms in the most loosest terms possible) without any realistic direction.

 That said, I could always use words to convey my feelings adequately in poetry, but sadly I had no real skill (and/or patience) with pencil or paintbrush. In my spare time I did dabble with drawing and painting but I was rarely happy with the results, though I always enjoyed the pastel work. The only thing I took out of this was a feeling that I could always invent something even if I could not copy at all.

Pastel. 2007. Pastels. Copyright Greg Howes.

Greg will continue his story here on Fleurbain tomorrow…

Thanks to Guest Contributor Greg Howes for these stunning photographs of the recent snowfall in Wales. Greg has a fascinating story that will be featured here, soon! Keep looking…

A beautiful, snowy lake in Wales. December 2010.

 

Snow on the train-tracks in Wales.

 

Welsh countryside, covered in snow. December 2010.

All photographs copyright Greg Howes, 2010.

A night at Jean Talon Market, Montreal. Photo by Natasha Henderson.

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