I grew up on a farm and attended school in Hazlet, Saskatchewan, on the edge of the Great Sandhills. It is where the highway ends. There were four in my high school graduating class. Yes that was a bit of an anomaly. Usually there were about ten.
When I tell people the size of my grad class they think it must have been lonely. “Just four of you?” they ask incredulously. But the difference in rural areas is that people don’t stick to a clique. You are friends with those younger and older than you.You are friends with people from the neighbouring towns who you have curled with, competed against in 4-H, or just met. Our grad party was huge.
But alas I knew I couldn’t make a living showing horses so I went to the University of Saskatchewan where I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree.
That was (cough, cough) over twenty years ago. I have worked in the agricultural and marketing communications fields (sometimes both at the same time) while pursuing art as well.
I had my first show when I received first in the landscape category at the Calgary Stampede Western Art Photography Gallery with “Stormy Sky”. I attended that juried show for another six years as well as other gallery and art shows. Recently I have attended the Home and Design shows in Calgary and the Harvest Galas in Edmonton and Calgary.
I live in Calgary now with my two kids, a hyper border collie rescue dog and barn cats that are now house cats.
I love the rolling prairies and sweeping landscapes but my images are not that traditional. Most pictures are a mix of exposures, in camera motion blur, other photos or paintings I have done.
I have always been inspired by aboriginal art from around the world. Nature was obviously a main theme but the works aren’t meant to be realistic. They were spiritual and mystical, as if the story wasn’t in just the physical representation.
I didn’t start photography until my early twenties. I purchased a small camera with one of my first paycheques out of university. It was supposed to take multiple exposures and had different settings for effects. I wasn’t impressed with the results and I had no control of the outcome. But I was intrigued so I went back and purchased a manual (this was before the digital age) SLR film camera. It was a bit of a learning curve and I read everything I could, attended seminars and workshops, took tons of slides and used up a lot of film. Then digital came along and the experimenting began anew.
I’m not formally trained in art or photography but I feel “self-taught” is a bit of misnomer considering the value I received from less formal but so valuable courses from Courtney Milne, Freeman Paterson, Wayne Lynch, among others, as well as various ACAD and University of Calgary instructors. My friend and artist Cheryl Peddie provided painting instruction so I could create my own textures and backgrounds.
And of course Photoshop. Where would we be today without Photoshop? Sure it gets a bad rap for taking the pureness out of photography but it can be a darkroom in a box. The great developers knew how to burn and dodge, open shadows, and accent highlights within the darkroom, which we can now do without the chemicals. It provides an platform for layering images and exposures to create something more than the eye could of seen.
I want to do more than show a moment in time. I want to capture the imagination.