Rust on steel
  • Just so you know…

    I’ve moved on you could say. My journey rusting steel still continues although for the time being, I am only accepting higher budget commissions. What am I up to? Traveling, exploring and working on my inner geek with some technology projects.

  • Oso Negro & Winter 2009

    Happy to say that there’s been a good 4 feet of snow this winter. I hope it keeps on coming because it’s been at least a couple weeks since we had a decent fall. For those of you who already know me, you’ll know that snowflakes are part of my creation process during the winter months and without them, my art comes to a standstill.

    Also, Shelly from the ultra popular Oso Negro contacted me late last year. We got to chatting and as it turns out I’m showing there for the month of February. Karen and I just got in from hanging everything and it looks pretty good. Special thanks to Aric for his help with knotting fishing line. (You’ll see what I mean).

    Stop in and check it out if you’re in the neighborhood.

    Cheers.

  • July 2008 Solo Show

    This Spring has been exciting for me. For one, I’ve been exploring many new techniques which continue to result in works unlike anything I’ve ever created. For a couple years I have been exploring corroding steel in many different ways and along the way have encountered some expected, and some unexpected challenges.

    From a technical point of view, this Spring has been exceptional. I’ve made some breakthroughs and you can see some of these pieces in the May and June sections of my gallery .

    Lighting steel and rust for photography can be challenging, so I frequently move my pieces indoors and out to try and find suitable conditions for taking photos. So far my backyard has proven to be the most favorable studio. The other day while moving my steel and canvas around, I found a little green squatter. A tiny frog so small he could sit in tablespoon and have room to spare. I thought about picking him up for a photo in the palm of my hand but I did want to mess with his Chi. Pretty frikkin’ cute.

    Mini green frog.

    Tiny green frog hangin’ out amongst my steel and canvas.

    Secondly, I’ve got a solo show taking place for the annual Nelson Art Walk at the Hazeldean Gallery. I was honored that gallery owners Naomi and Prue chose me out of many possible artists. I look forward to putting on a show with a series of works featuring rural and rustic themes along my continuing fascination with horses.

    The Hazeldean Gallery is located at 105-402 Baker Street. They will be on display and for sale from July the 1st. Swing by, say gudday and check out my works.

    Lastly, I’ve been selected by curator Michael Grahame to participate in a group show at the new (as yet unnamed) basement gallery underneath Nelson’s world famous Craft Connection. This will be in August sometime and I’ll post confirmed dates as they become available.

    Cheers.

  • Early Spring Works

    Old man rail track
    “Cedar Spark” , “Winds of Spring”, “Cedar Hill”.

    It’s been a wet and cloudy spring for the most part. Last year’s fallen leaves from a Japanese Maple along with the springs from some cedar trees provide me with the inspiration and materials for a exploring a couple of new techniques.

    I’m smitten with rust, we all know that, but … a new technique for me is letting the panel rust, then working it back so that only the shadow of the rust remains.

    Doing this allows the rust to stain the steel with a silhouette which remains when the rust is removed. You can see the effect of this technique in a piece I’ve called Winds of Spring. The other two works feature sprigs of cedar which were corroded into, and in some cases, around the steel. Check ‘em out in the new gallery I’ve been working on.

  • Cripes. It just won’t stop.

    Old man rail track

    Escaping the snow for a day down in the valley.

    Man, it’s almost May and It’s still freakin’ snowing. I love the stuff but honestly, I’m done for the year. Many a long-time local assures me this is an exceptionally long winter and it’ll all be over soon.

    Today I decide to rug up and head lower in the valley where it’s a little warmer and the snow doesn’t get a chance to stick. One of my favorite spots to walk is along the train tracks. I notice that the wooden beams used to lay the track on are treated with what seems to be some kind of stinky oil. I guess it protects the wood from the relentless beating the trains and Nature gives it.

    Oddly, I find that oily, industrial smell somewhat reassuring when walking through the wilderness. I mean, I’m still green enough to get a little spooked now and then when out hiking on my own.

    Taking macro photos of textures is hobby of mine. Close-up photography yields an often overlooked world of detail that I love. On my hike today, I came across this old rail track that had been tossed aside. Like some kind of old, barnacled ship hull it had been beautifully weathered and aged.

    Old man rail track

    Old man rail track.

    This piece of track must of been a good 15 feet long and the rust along it’s length was all different kinds of colors. It’s surface was mottled with rusts of very dark brown through to bright yellow and I sat wondering what exactly was it that made steel oxidize in these different colors. Was it different temperatures? Perhaps slightly different amounts of iron present in different areas of the the steel?

    Hmm. In the end, I couldn’t come up with anything beyond more questions. I took out my trusty little Digital Elph, got a couple photos and moved on to soak in the imminent arrival of Spring.

  • The Big Melt

    Metal panels rusting in winter

    Snow melting on steel panels in the Winter of 2008.

    The snow is slowly melting away for another year. As much as I love to see the snow arrive, it’s exciting to see it go as well. Over two feet ended up accumulating on these panels, and as it melts I get an insight into the kinds of images which been transferred and left behind. There is a layer of organic matter compressed between the snow and the steel. This organic matter ends up corroding an abstract imprint of itself onto the steel as rust.

    Metal panels rusting in winter

    The water keeps the leaves nice and soggy and flat to the steel.

    It’s a hit-and-miss method of creating art and since starting exploring the technique a few years back, I’ve ended up with three pieces out of twenty or so attempts. One of my biggest challenges is dealing with the wind, which blows my subject matter off the panels before they have a chance to imprint anything worthy onto the steel.

    Metal panels rusting in winter

    The sides get interesting textures and colors on them too.

  • Tons of Snow

    This Winter I’m stoked. There is lots of snow in my life. It’s my first winter out here in the Kootenays and there’s about four feet of the white stuff in our yard so far. I can’t totally pin it, but there’s something about having your neighborhood covered in a layer of white powder that is still a mildly surreal experience for me.

    I love working with the snow. Boarding on is the best fun you can have with your clothes on and I actually enjoy shoveling the stuff. For real, it’s a good work out.
    And of course, Karen and I love ruggin’ up and walking around in the stuff.

    Gettin' ready for a stroll.

    Getting ready for a good winter stroll.

  • Exploring My Tools: Snowflakes

    Awesome snow flake photos from SnowCrystals.com

    Some artists use paints and brushes on canvas. Others use chisels on stone. What turns my crank is weather and in particular snow and rain. Now, my understanding of snow is quite basic. I’ve been taught and told:

    • That each snowflake is unique – no two are every the same.
    • Eskimos have over a hundred words for snow
    • Don’t eat the yellow stuff

    I’m not certain about the first two but I’m almost a hundred percent on that last one. Arg, hold up, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me back up a bit.

    It all started a couple of weeks ago. Karen and I were riding the chairlift at a local ski hill. It was an overcast day and little snow was falling. As we were chatting I looked over at her and on the lens of her goggles, a snowflake had landed perfectly flat and intact. What I saw was simply beautiful. The detail and shape of this thing had me marveling until we got home that night.

    So with snowflake fever I do what most people do these days when they want to learn more about something. I boogie over to Google and see what I can turn up.

    What I discovered along the way was a website by Kenneth G. Libbrecht, dedicated to the humble snow flake which featured some killer photography. The images are featured in three different photo galleries and the site contains along with tons of other neat information. From the highly geeky “how to make your own” to snow activities with kids. Awesome site and I highly recommend checkin’ it out.

    Snowflake photos from the very cool SnowCrystals.com.

    “How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated! I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat.”

    - Henry David Thoreau, 1856

  • First Kootenay Winter

    Another winter on the way and my first in the Kootenays. I’m told it’s quite mild as far as Canadian winters go and I’m quite excited because the area I’m in apparently gets a lot of snow. So far, I’ve already experienced winters of minus forty degrees (which is about where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet) during my three years in Canmore, Alberta so this should be cake in comparison.

    Still, I needed to stock up on some fuel for our wood stove in order to keep warm in the coming months. My most excellent neighbors were more than happy to help. They showed me the ways of my new Stihl chainsaw, how to pick the right “standing dead wood” tree and to how to fall and buck the wood into appropriate lengths.

    Most importantly (because getting firewood is heavy work) to make sure to select a tree uphill from the road in order to throw or roll the wood down to the awaiting truck … opposed to carrying it all up to the truck.

    All priceless knowledge for a firewood noob like me.

    I had a blast getting out there and learning all this stuff. So guys, thanks for your wisdom and help, I’ll be thinking of you when the snow comes and I’m keeping nice and cozy inside.

    A truck full of warmth.

    A truck full of warmth … loaded up and ready to go home.

    My head. Stacked with saftey gear.

    Head full of safety gear.

  • Mid Summer Goodness

    This is my first summer out here in the Kootenays and I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. I have been working very hard at my day job so I don’t get anywhere near as much time to create and be out doors. Whenever I can, I like to spend time in my yard and walking local trails. I’ve bought some books, umm, field guides I guess is more accurate to take with me. That way I can start to identify what that nice chirping or awful screeching sound is, or know if it’s safe to nibble on that wild berry or shroom.

    Working on a hot summer day in the shade is fantastic. Since I work with power tools a fair bit, I’m thinking I might invest in those new fangled ear muffs that have headphones in them so I can pipe tunes into my brainspace while I’m working. I’m a student of the guitar and music is a huge influence on my work so I like to surround myself with it wherever I can.

    Grinding to finish up steel panel.

    Finishing up the back of a piece on a hot summer day.