Photography painting series – the story behind the artwork

square photographs printed
Some of my favourite landscape photos I’ve taken with my phone and posted on instagram this year.

It’s been about three weeks since I thought of a concept for an abstract mixed-media art series, and now that I’m making some progress, I wanted to describe my concept in a bit more depth here. I expect that this is the beginnings of my artist statement, but not boiled down.

I love taking photos. I wouldn’t call myself a “photographer” in the way that my husband is: a professional. He knows all the technical side of the craft. I am definitely a point-and-shoot person, with an eye for composition.

When I was growing up, it was film only. I remember how much I treasured those rolls of film, which cost about $16 just to print a roll of 24 images. I’ll never forget the weekend camp when I was going into Grade 9 when I got to bring a camera along to northern Ontario. This old camera had one malfunction: the little window that showed you which picture you were progressing to on the film did not work. I snapped tons of amazing pictures. Too many pictures: photos of the moon reflecting on the lake, my friends, the trees, the buildings that I loved so much. It should have dawned on me that I had taken way more photos than 24, or even 36. But alas, the film had not been advancing this whole weekend and I ended up with no photos.

I printed more photos in various sizes than I can possibly use for this project.
I printed more photos in various sizes than I can possibly use for this project.

All this to say that when I finally got a modern phone and could start using instagram (this is only two years ago!), I embraced this new tool. The creative side of me has been waiting forever for this chance to process the world around me the way I see it, or the way I interpret it. This fall, I have really enjoyed capturing the scenes on my regular hikes with the baby. It’s a time when he is usually asleep in the baby carrier, all 24 pounds of him, and I can just be out there enjoying nature.

But the downside of this digital photography (other than my images aren’t very high quality compared to using a real camera), is that the enjoyment of these images is so fleeting. People glance at photos that one time, and never again. I love looking back over my images, but it’s not the same as having them printed.

That is why I decided to do this painting series. I wanted to capture the beauty of my favourite landscape photos by printing them out and working them into something permanent. Somewhere that no one can click “like” and walk on by. Where peoples’ liking or not liking the images doesn’t matter or isn’t visible.

I chose to do a series of 9 square paintings on wooden panels. These could be exhibited in a square or a row. The square shape plays on the traditionally square shape of instagram photos. I chose to work on wood because my images have a nature theme. I’m also working in a leaf or nature item on each painting. Some will feature old photo album pages that speak into the theme. I hope to exhibit these locally and then sell them later.

So this is what I am working on. A lot of the work takes place in my mind while I’m hiking, because with three kids to care for, I am quite lucky to get 10-30 minutes in a day to work on my art. When I am in the woods, I take a lot of photos (one hike this week I took well over 100). I get so much joy out of this ritual, smelling the roses, so to speak.

My birthday is next week and I think a lot of who I am is coming together – the artist, the nature-lover, the believer in God the Creator, the loving mother/wife/friend. I think I can do 38.


4 Responses

  1. Hi, I can’t find a place to PM you! I own a small business in Abbotsford and we are looking to put some Abbotsford/ Fraser Valley photos in our reception area. I saw your picture from McKee peak (top of Ledgeview) on tourismabbotsford Instagram. Is it for sale? Can it be enlarged?

  2. […] Ontario. This morning I was flipping through some of my antique books, looking for ideas for my mixed media collage painting series that I’m working on. I came across a couple of Archibald Lampman poems in my […]

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