Thursday, April 30, 2020


Cooking outside most days. "Fire chicken" is good, even when it isn't on fire. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Records and Painting

This camera is from Jack Hilkewich, who dropped off two 8mm cameras to me the other day. I also borrowed a half dozen cameras from Mike Rollo which I returned to him a few days ago (last one is pictured below). When I was talking with Mike, he asked about my Facebook posts where I pair my painting with the vinyl I'm listening to. I had to admit that the selections are not chosen for any thematic reason, but that the simple act of listening to my vinyl is one of the comforts and motivations for embarking on a new painting. The type of music does often affect my physical painting, how fast or aggressive or contemplative or careful it might be.
Later in the evening I was talking with Jeff Nachtigall over the fence. I suggested that my spending two or three hours on a single image is forcing me to be patient and to be attentive to detail and that this is beginning to affect my work on Sock-Vile. Jeff (who just cut his own hair with predictable results) talked about how painting is all about layers to him. In agreement, both the painting and the after effects work with Sock-vile is about layers. More to think about. Things are making sense. 
Jeff Nachtigall

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Planning Pud

William and I hunkered down on the couch for three hours and worked through the story plans for his second Pud book today. We'd written this with Allan last  year but parts of it, especially near the end, had been rushed late at night and William has not wanted to work on it until certain things are worked out. Still a few flaws (Allan sent notes later that will be helpful), but enough that he can start. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

new Sock-Vile "material"

Working on Sock-Vile every day. Sometimes just an hour or two, sometimes eight or more hours, but always progress. I want to make it as good as I can while staying in the spirit of what it began as, so when I needed to re-build the laundromat interiors with machines running, I remembered that Erik had done some really jazzed up digital washing rotations. I wanted that but realized that it was too slick so I photographed some socks then created new spin cycles with them. There is so much material for this project but almost daily I discover something missing. If I was doing this project again, I'd have someone assigned to be in the edit room for the entire shooting period, assembling and creating lists of missing shots or desired closeups, backgrounds, and foregrounds. Regardless, I'm increasingly happy with the outcomes. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Kite weather?

Very windy today. William took a kite out to the park but the wind (and probably age and bad design) had the kite pulling too hard and hitting the ground too often, resulting in it snapping in half. He assembled a new kite with slightly better results. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Some paintings of cameras

My subscribing readers will notice that I have not actually been posting regularly lately. While I'm home most of the time with the quarantine and much of that time is at my computer, I still find it difficult to keep up with daily posts. I do manage to paint at least twice a week, so I'll include a couple of those images here. Most of my days are the same. I work on Sock-vile, I work on meals, I look at email regarding work. I occasionally have zoom meetings with students or work. I am putting together lists of things to include in an online animation course if it comes to pass that I need to teach it that way, but this progress isn't fast. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

What light ...

I don't spend enough time lying under the table, taking in the sun. Wish I was a cat some days. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

William's car, home away from home

Had the cars into the shops this week, mostly for tires to be changed to summer ones. Rather late but we are barely driving anyway. Steve uncovered a mouse nest in William's air filter. That can't have made the car smell good. No one noticed (perhaps it was on the intake side?).

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Writing about art at home

Margaret was asked to write about some piece of art in our house and she did something about this box art piece by Sylvie Ziemann. Most people don't see it, even when they are in our house because it is always closed to keep it from getting dusty. It's a lovely treasure and remains a surprise, even for us, each time it comes down and is oped up. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

socializing at fire

We had a backyard fire. Allan came by, visiting from appropriate distances for the evening. He had to fetch his own chair and cushions from where we stored them but had not touched them. We realized that I could roast a marshmallow then stretch the stick over to him and he could pull off the cooked marshmallow, only touching it, and it would be ok as the marshmallow had been heated appropriately and no virus could survive on it. Not quite having him over for a meal but....

Monday, April 20, 2020

William finishes semester

William wrote his Art 100 exam this evening. It was online, I guess mostly short answer. His Religious Studies final is an essay due tomorrow but he sent that in today as well, making him done for the semester. We kept quiet while he worked. I painted and listened to Jazz Butcher.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Errors in painting

I started painting this camera I borrowed. Early in the process, I wanted to post to Facebook to say what vinyl I am listening to while creating art (it's bothering me that people posting their activities on facebook are only doing one thing at a time). The early photo has the lens pointing the correct direction, in line with the angles of the camera. However, when I finished the painting, the lens was wrong. I was tired and left it that way until the following day when I noticed the photo evidence and was compelled to paint over the lens and fix it (third incarnation not included here).

Friday, April 17, 2020

Out of the house

Spent more time than usual out of the house today. The weather is getting nicer and the final few square inches of ice in the shade of the gazebo melted. I filled with gas at an unbelievable 68.9 cents/litre. We lit our first back yard fire and saw a honey bee.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Love the standard 8 cameras

When I start doing more repeat cameras, I'll probably return to as many standard 8 cameras as I can. They feel great in the hand, having quirky balance and well shaped metal forms. Heavy. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sock-vile rain

Have had a hard time creating rain needed in Sock-Vile so decided it would be better to use something made of cloth to fit better with the form. I drew rain drops on a loop of fabric and, after a few takes struggling with process, I shot some video of drops moving past the camera. Of course it looks phony, but it looks right. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Mike Rollo's cameras

A few days ago I borrowed a few cameras from Mike Rollo. As with everything and everybody, the cameras were quarentined for a few days before I took them out to handle them. Painted one today. Strange shape. Went back and fixed it a bit later. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter 2020

We more or less kept with our regular Easter this year, putting a symbolic number of chocolates around the room for William to find, then having a chocolate-heavy breakfast. No driving, so drinking could commence before noon. Had a zoom conversation with my family.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Colouring eggs

We got busy yesterday and weren't so much in the mood for egg colouring, but Margaret and William dove into it today so we'd have them around for Easter tomorrow. Some cool work. William had some Powerpuff Girls references in there.

Friday, April 10, 2020

no crocuses yet

Good Friday. The light was nice but the ground is still frozen so we didn't find any crocus flowers growing at our regular spot yet. Nice drive though. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Painting reruns

Some more cameras will be in my hands soon, but while I wait I re-paint some of the cameras that I originally did on paper two years ago. This is a Kodak "Hawkeye". My ability to get it precise is increasing, which is ironic but perhaps predictably timed with my decreasing interest in having it precise. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

how does work work?

I'm not the only one feeling more or less out of sorts when it comes to my relationship with work during the covid crisis. While much of what I do during parts of the year is not much different, that is to say, during the summer I don't have regular office hours and often work from home for days in a row, the differences are discreet. When I DO go to the office, no one is there. When I want a break from work, I  have no place to go. While I enjoy having family around, I also need to consider that both of them are also working from home and we need to somehow sync our breaks. I also feel that with others working and knowing that everyone is trying to do things, this cannot be treated as a vacation. No one is looking over my shoulder, but I think they should be. As such, I am driven to take each over of my day seriously, making progress on projects and monitoring emails and trying to figure out what to do in the fall. I am feeling overwhelmed by all the work I want to do and expect of myself. I cannot face my lists of things to do as they surpass what I can do in a week. I don't turn on the tv until after 8 at night, sometimes not until 9 or 10. I take a nap sometimes, as I cannot work when I feel as tired as I sometimes do, so this seems to count as work more than pleasure. Sleeping really feels like the best response some days, but that way leads to madness.... or does it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

my covid birthday

n many ways, this is the sort of birthday I like to have. I baked a cake for myself.  I worked on a video. I had a nice meal with my family. I ran a useless errand with no contact with anyone. I watched some tv. Lori and my mom (not together) stopped by to drop things off (donuts and face masks).

Sorry that there was no free ice cream at the Dessarts, but it didn't stop me from celebrating there anyway.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Sock-Vile progress

About 10 years ago I did a course with a great bunch of students which was entirely focused on one project, an episodic puppet tv series called "Sock-Vile". Everyone worked really hard and the results were magnificent, expect the follow through. We managed to work together to write 15 episodes of the series, each about 10 pages. The class worked in teams, some creating puppets, some refining the scripts, some building props, some casting and pre-recording voices, and everyone on set shooting. The script was recorded in a sound studio and edited as audio and then lip sunk on set with puppets against a green screen. These short cuts allowed us to shoot the 150 pages of script in 3 days. I put together an assembly with no green screen replacement by the end of the 13 week term.
Then things slowed down.
Some students continued working on backgrounds.
I worked on and off with Erik Sirke to shoot background and edit, but the project was just too big and admittedly a bit too inconsistent. About 4 years ago I sat down with Erik Sirke and Geremy Lague and we re-considered the entire project. Instead of 15 chapters with numerous threads tying them together, we resorted it so that it would be just 3 longer chapters, each focusing on particular season-long stories. I began editing but time was not my friend. I got distracted and then let it slide. It is a very complicated project and cannot be picked up and put down without repercussions. Progress stopped again.
Three weeks ago I began work in earnest. Today I got the first pass of effects for the first of the three episodes (about 30 minutes). I still need to render it and certainly there will be fixes needed, but the quarantine has given me some time at home that this project needed. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

List of 100 different cameras I've painted

#99, Canon Scoopic, yesterday
#100, Betacam, today

Canonet 28 35mm still
2 Topluco camera in leather case box camera
3 Ikonia Zeiss Land camera with bellows
4 Drupopta Praha Vega Russian  35mm slr
5 Crown 8 Regular 8 with turret regular 8mm film
6 I-Zone Mini-polaroid, blue polaroid
7 Eumig 300XL super-8, grey super-8 film
8 RCA mini-VHS camcorder video vhs
9 Starmite II (Kodak Brownie) 126?
10 Polaroid one step polaroid
11 Minima Opticom 110 with flash cube  110
12 Revere Stereo 33 35mm stereoscopic
13 Brownie Halkeye, flash model 126?
14 Beauliou R16 16mm film
15 Sony Mavica (Mike's) digital still
16 PentaxASAHI Spotmatic F 35mm SLR
17 Imperial Reflex Flash  127 126?
18 Polaroid Super Shooter polaroid
19 Bell and Howell Keystone A-7 16mm film
20 kodak instmatic x-15 with flashcube 110
21 Polaroid land camera Automatic 103 polaroid
22 Brownie Target Six-16
23 Bell and Howell 1236 Filmosonic XL (sound) super-8 film
24 Canon Powershot N (white) digital
25 Brownie Holiday
26 Eumig C3 standard 8mm regular 8mm film
27 Sony A7 (university's) 4K digital
28 Agfa B-2 box camera
29 I-Zone Mini-polaroid, blue/purple/white polaroid
30 Sankyo XL - 600S (sound) super-8 film  
31 Auricon Pro 600? 16mm film
32 Sony TRV 8mm video video 8mm
33 Bell and Howell autoset 2 regular 8mm film
34 Ricoh AF-S point and shoot 35mm still
35 Minolta point and shoot Zoom AF 35mm still
36 BOLEX - series of 10 paintings, all count as one. 16mm film
37 Fujico 8  regular 8mm film
38 Fisher Price PXL 2000 pixilvision
39 Vivitar 35mm panarama 35mm still
40 Lomography fisheye no. 2 35mm still
41 Minolta XG-1 SLR 35mm SLR
42 Brownie 8mm with turrett (water damaged) regular 8mm film
43 Keystone Syncrosound 211-SL (sound) super-8 film
44 Pentax AF Zoom 60 auto/macro focus 35mm still
45 Sony cybershot 1.3 meg digital camera from Deb digital
46 Canon 31 XL   super-8 film
47 Canon Elph Powershot SD 780 IS (Red) digital
48 Ultronic Yellow point and shoot  35mm still
49 Logitech web camera from basement webcam
50 Canon AE-1 35mm SLR
51 Braun Paxette, Prontor-SVS, Fred's 35mm SLR
52 Logitech ball shaped web camera (William's) webcam
53 Skybasic Wi-Fi digital microscope camera digital
54 Canon T6i DSLR  digital SLR
55 Éclair NPR 16mm film
56 Bell and Howell Eyemo 35mm movie
57 Microsoft web camera  webcam
58 JVC 80s video camera video camera, no recorder
59 Brownie "automatic" with bellows
60 Pentax K1000 35mm SLR
61 Tower Model 7 box camera
62 Minolta 16QT spy camera
63 Realist stereoscopic camera 35mm stereoscopic
64 Polaroid Pronto! Land camera polaroid
65 Polaroid SX-70 polaroid
66 Ricohflex
67 Bigshot (front and back) digital still
68 Canon GL-1 DV video
69 Kodak Duaflex II
70 Kodak Duaflex IV
71 Keystone KA-1 8mm regular 8mm film
72 Polaroid One600, blue Polaroid
73 Yasheca-D
74 Kodak Colorburst 50 instant film
75 Pentax Auto 110 110 SLR
76 Spartus Press Flash 120
77 Yasheca-G
78 Brownie super 27
79 Polaroid OneStep 600, black with rainbow polaroid
80 Arco 35 Automat D 35mm still
81 Cine Kodak Eight, model 25 regular 8mm film
82 Kodak Fling disposable 110
83 Kodak Disc 4000 disc camera
84 Non-brand Made in Hong Kong camera roll film
85 Kodak folding camera model B-5
86 Kodak folding camera Series III
87 Argus C3 rangefinder 35mm still
88 Ricoh auto half 35mm still
89 Micro 110 110
90 Crown spy camera  
91 Ziess  Ikon Contessamat 35mm SLR
92 Kodak Easyshare C142 (Kevin's) digital
93 Canon Powershot Elph 100 HS blue digital
94 Canon Sureshot (from Dianne) 35mm still
95 Sony Cybershot 7.2 meg from Dianne digital
96 Mini Digital camera on key chain (Dianne) digital
97 Fuji Quicksnap Waterproof disposable   35mm still
98 Kodak "The Handle" instant film
99 Canon Scoopic 16mm film
100 Betacam video

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Exchange with Dianne

Another complex and careful exchange day on Dianne's front steps as I returned her cameras (and got promise of future cameras). I also passed on the "Defying Extinction" footage from 5 years ago when she'd just started her MFA. I had a good transfer made of it by Frame Discreet but then didn't do anything with it. The file is about 60 gigabytes so I've never shared it with anyone (or did I?). It was on my list of project to work on if I ever found myself with too much time on my hands....

Friday, April 3, 2020

Pie of the Tiger

Lots of talk today about drawing tigers. William was doing a card for his cousin's birthday and the tiger was suggested but he ended up doing something else. Margaret carried the idea forward and carved a tiger face into the crust: the pie of the tiger. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020


We put on a podcast from the MacKenzie Art Gallery on the topic of podcasting for artists this evening. I only looked at the screen occasionally (Margaret watched it mostly) and I painted this Kodak instant camera from Dianne. Postcast was not as illuminating or engaging as I'd hoped. Perhaps they never are, or perhaps they are an squired taste. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

no joke

The least jokey April Fools day ever. With the quarantine in full force, no one wants to be misinterpreted. I slipped into the sparely populated (but not empty) university today and borrowed a Scoopic.