Glasshouse at sunrise

These are photos I took at the People’s Palace by at sunrise. They are a similar theme I like to explore looking at light in context of darkness. I think they would work well as a timelapse or video so you could see better the light changing over time. There’s the idea of going from darkness, through the golden hour and into daylight, then the day and back to the golden hour and back to darkness, before the cycle begins again.






Watching the world go by

My Dad was and has always been an advocate for watching the world go by. I guess it is its own form of mindfulness.

I’ve had quite a lot going on conceptually this week behind the scenes, besides day to day school and lesson planning. Part of that is working out how to use timelapse and video as a basis for mixed media work, including considering locations, hardware and software.

I enjoy working with timelapse, but also I want to record video at the same time and I very much want to explore environment or create work that is environmentally based. Work that watches the world go by. I’m intrigued by change in light and by sunrise and sunset, but also momentary snapshots. There was a point before sunrise on the train this week where it stops to wait just before Carluke. A pinkish sky with windmill silhouettes slowly turning and bird silhouettes flying past. Those sorts of moments are meditative. I know it is that kind of meditative outcome I am looking to create, with a little more atmosphere and expression. The funny thing was, I didn’t take a photo – I just watched. I’m of the opinion there can be as much power in not taking a photo and enjoying the moment, as in snapping that moment. I also appreciate the contradiction there.

I have my Canon D600 DSLR, my Canon Legria G40, a couple of light weight tripods, my alarm clock and an iPad Pro on the way with an apple pencil. All of which are feeling decidedly digital. It will be interesting to see at what point I feel the need or appropriateness for more tactile options, like paint and pastels.

Painting (with) light

I keep coming back to the idea of working with and painting light or painting with light. Whether I start off with traditional media, I imagine any final outcomes being of a digital basis and viewed on some sort of screen or VR, which means using light as a medium through a RGB display, projector or similar.

I think taking a painting or drawn piece of work into a digital form lends itself to an altering of medium and outcome, but also means an outcome can exist in multiple media forms or outputs of expression. If you bring time into this as well, then light can and will change or animate. Our perception of time or even of our current reality or mind space can be a snapshot, momentary, retrospective, seem to slow down or even speed up.

I find photography and video particularly exciting mediums, because of the way as mediums they dictate outcomes and visual expression. Putting a camera on bulb and holding the shutter down or playing with the aperture and ISO to control the amount of light or exposure. What happens when you combine mediums and express moments of time, mood or atmosphere in a way that is deterministic of the mediums or message and just how much of it is intentional, rather than a learning process or a happy accident?

If you are outside in the dark, your preview image makes you think a lower ISO is optimal. Yet when you get home, you find it needed or wanted to be higher and where you thought light was flooding in, it was actually hitting an optimal top threshold. That,  in itself, becomes procedural learning (that becomes easy to forget in retrospect).




Tentative Ideas

I’ve been mulling over the type of work I want to create and keep feeling drawn to mixed media, but mixed media in the sense of a combination or hybrid of traditional art with digital art and animation. When I asked pupils what they thought mixed media was, they began discussing social media and digital viewing of media, which I felt was very telling.

I’m imagining the idea of a digital paint, that moves and animates. Where the light can change or where painted frames or drawings can be merged with video. Or where an outcome can change based on time of day or based on user interaction. I really am at the stage where I need to get into a sketchbook and thinking through visual communication and experimenting through practice.

Conceptually, I’m considering a landscape scene, which could be urban or rural. Building on work I’ve done with time-lapse before, but also considering real-time video footage and how that might be reflected on an ongoing basis or as a snap shot or moment in time.

I keep going back to the ideas of the impressionists when they began to look at different light. Monet light studies of haystacks and cathedrals or Turner studies of sky and sea. The other thing I am considering is landscape, urban icons or the idea of moments in time and what they might mean.


cf6bec9e3f8f94a3c26e3723bece972cI’ve also been following the landscape and environmental work of Nathan Fowkes, who does environmental work for Dreamworks (@NathanFowkesArt). His work interests me because of the way he works both traditionally and digitally, but how the medium often become transparent in his hands, as to whether he is working in traditional media or on a digital canvas.

Going back 20 years when new media was new, I would have referred to Nicolas Negroponte’s ‘The medium is no longer the message in a digital world. It is the embodiment of it.’ He re-wrote McLahan who said ‘the medium is the message’ in his book Understanding Media: Extensions of Man (1964). Now I am not sure that either make sense to me.

The medium and message potentially combine and create something far bigger than the sum of their parts. We’re perhaps getting to the stage where we are going beyond mediums or where medium can become transparent and far more intermixable. For the medium to embody, gives the medium too much dominance over form or shows literally how medium defines form and output. Perhaps creative process and method are more appropriate exemplification when an end outcome or creative expression comes from this? It’s what you do with the medium that counts, as can be illustrated through impressionist painting.

I’m not looking so much for a sense of realism, but a sense of mood and expression. I also like the idea of a piece of work being able to be broken down into a series of parts, where a painting could still work as a stand alone piece, even though it is part of a wider piece of work to tell a story of sorts – or only part of a story based a mediums limitations.

I think I am coming back to an idea or question that asks what if paintings could move? That links back a decade to some older creative writing and how you might express an environment in 3D, but now I am more interested in.

There is the Van Gogh film and animation, but I am more interested in semi static scenes based on a merging of photography, film, sound, drawing and painting; with the context and concept defined on my own production or conceptual terms.

I don’t want to animate a painting. I want to make individual paintings that move and change, but that can work both (or differently) as digital or traditional expressions.

I think beyond sketchbooks, much of that would stem from deciding on locations and having photography and video as reference images or by working plain air the same time as taking timelapse or video of a particular location.

The other idea I had was introducing a sense of citizen journalism, public or social commentary, given my creative context. I am loath to make overt political commentary through my work, which would be another avenue or one that could perhaps be applied in a subliminal or more subtle way.