Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gather, Simplify, and Compose. Part 1

This is my 2-dimensional art version of "Lights, Camera, Action!".

PART 1: Gather

I am rooting through my vast colletion of memories and photographs for new painting ideas. My mind wanders to some earlier experiences I would love to share. There are so many! I used to spend countless hours with my dad in his darkroom. One of his passions when I was young was photography. For this, my family is very fortunate. We have a huge collection of memories frozen in time, thanks to my dad (and mom), that I might easily have forgotten as I grew older. I asked mom if she ever took a photo of us in the darkroom..."Dad doesn't think there were any pictures taken of the two of you in the darkroom, and I don't recall taking any, unfortunately," she laughs, "... probably 'cuz I thot it was too dark!!!"

I used to hide in the corner cupboard under the counter. While the darkroom was small, the cupboard felt like such a big space for a little girl. I felt like I was in a secret fort built just for me. I would watch my dad transform a sheet of white paper into a colour image of our family. I found something very magical in photography during those years that would stay with me forever. There was a special red light that didn't affect the developing, so I could watch each process clearly. Dad clipped some of his best enlarged photos into a temporary metal frame on the wall.

One photograph that I remember was of me after one of our summer roadtrips to the rockies. I'm wearing a red summer smocked dress that my mom made and I'm squinting into the sun. I must have felt so alive with adventure and thoroughly content. Another great memory is of my sister and I outside in flowery nightgowns, barefoot on the grass, sun setting after a warm summer's day. We ran around the yard until the sun set and then we caught fireflies. We felt so free! Summers seemed to last forever in Northern Ontario because the sun wouldn't fall behind the horizon until after 10 at night.

Following in my dad's footsteps, I took photography at art college. Everything I saw after that was through a lens, whether I carried a camera or not. My persective of life and the natural world changed. The year after my husband and I met I found a great job in Lake Louise at a photo shop. I bought a brand new Canon Rebel EOS and wide-angle lens at cost. The policy was "free developing for staff". I'm sure I might have affected that benefit for others who came after me. That summer, I must have taken and printed over 3000 photographs. I loved that job! And from that collection of memories, many new paintings will be conceived this year...

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