Friday, December 19, 2014

Northern Lights - via NASA

Stumbled on this amazing shot of the Northern Lights, via NASA recently. It kind of sums it all up, for me.
We really do live on the most amazing and enchanting planet ... It is a blessing - regardless of whatever 'god' you subscribe to ... Merry Christmas Everyone.  - Have a wonderfully festive and thanksgiving 'break' with dear family & friends. - We'll catch up again in the New Year.  - ho ho ;)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Signature Poem from 'Bush Chord', e-poetry book of 2006 ...


Bush Chord

Available in Bush Chord, 79 page poetry & pinhole e-book

pine poplar willow and punk wood
spit and spark
while bone hard elm birch apple and oak
hum harmonious
fine hard woods - good wood to burn
these wonder instruments pressure whistle
chattering, cheering, cackling
crackling within a hesitant cyclone of light
flickering flames
of sublime delight, warming slow, they give us life

parse this minor miracle of mega bio-physics
of holy fire drawn down
from primal sun
through leaves to rugged root shoots far flung
look here now
to this instant, brilliant burn
an intense unrehearsed liquid fire –
a sound symphony of sun struck lyres
complete and sacred
a rare but common gift

the honey musk smell of jumbled bush wood
burns deep into primal memory
     (remember those crisp sun-filled fall days
     of cutting, gathering, splitting, stacking,
     carrying, piling, drying, and cursing
     those back breaking loads?)

to get to this
this calm clear moment

to these bush chords

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Canadian Authors Association Holiday Social Event

7:30pm - 9pm 
Monday, December 15th, 2014
The Nathanial Hughson Art Gallery

I'll be there ... bells on ... 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

'Tis the Season & all that ...

Christmas, the approximated birth date of Jesus Christ, is one of the pivotal celebrations within the Christian calendar. It has become, as most know, increasingly smothered by commercialization. Frenzied families now accumulate 'stuff' to ornament their homes, their trees and fill their tummies.

There is nothing 'wrong' with celebrating Life's bounty with friends and family. 
It can be - and most often is - a wonderful joyful time of laughter and good cheer. 

But, increasingly, it is important - very important - not to overlook the larger issues that face our continued survival on this planet.

To that end, this year, in lieu of cards and extended gifts, I have made a sizable donation to an organization that I believe is doing GOOD WORK, work that is helping humanity move forward towards a more sustainable existence on Planet Earth - The Council of Canadians. 

Maude Barlow, an active champion and spokeswoman for this organization (amongst other things) continuously draws our attention to the Right of freshwater for all inhabitants. She is mighty opposed to Big Business, in collusion with governments, from diminishing or removing that Right.

I agree with her. Water, like AIR, is a fundamental Life-giving Necessity. As planet caretakers, we must, and can, do better. Please watch this documentary to further understand what really is at stake here. -  'Blue Gold: World Water Wars'.

Then, kindly consider a purchase of one of my decorative Fractal Christmas Ornaments to brighten your festive family celebration this year. - For every purchase made, I pledge to donate 50%  to The Council of Canadians so that they can continue to do what they do best.

Thank you for helping me - so that I may help them - help all of us.

Merry Christmas to One & All - 
Ho Ho :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nice bit of press ....

Lovely gentle story by Jeff Mahoney in The Hamilton Spectator today about my studio -

The complex beauty of living on the Beach

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Fall Painting 2 (Acrylic): Milkweed

A blast of winter has just descended, but not before I managed to finish this final fall painting for 2014 - Milkweed. Monarch butterflies are in desperate need of these 'weeds' for nourishment and protection. When consumed, the milkweed wards off predators with a toxic combo that makes them ill. Nature's checks & balances are amazing in that way ...  

Milkweed - Acrylic on canvas, approximately 36" square - by m.l.holton
If interested in price or purchase, please contact the artist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Painting (Acrylic), Fall 2014

Purple Aster Preliminary under-painting
 One of the things I LOVE to do in the fall is WALK. 
The colours and the massive change in the natural world is always such a pleasure to behold. 
This year, while strolling back country, I came across this massive patch of 'purple aster'. 
Most people call them 'weeds', but I think the add immensely to the changing landscape ... 

The image above is the 'first pass', in acrylic, 
with the INTENT to 'zap' it a la MLH as seen below.
What do you think? Yes/No? Size is about 38" square.

... just a common weed ... by m.l.holton

I'm going to take another pass at milkweeds on the lakefront soon.
Will post when done. 
Constructive comments always welcome .. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

A few thoughts on #PaintingHamilton now showing @ The Art Gallery of Hamilton

BIG canvas' from Charles Meanwell
In truth, I was expecting A LOT more 'piss & vinegar' then what was shown at the Opening last Sunday.

As I was wondering around, LOOKING, I kept trying to find the word that best summed up the benign 'neutrality' of the show. The word that bubbled up from the nether regions was 'Exact'. 

It, the exhibition, is - EXACT. 

Cumulatively, the melange and cross-pollination of visuals created a kind of Tarty Rigidness. 

There was little there that made me air-suck with delight or WHOOP! in appreciation.  

Still, the PRECISION of the whole exhibit did please, in a visceral kind of way ... Though, overall, it did not feel very much like the Hamilton most know. 

Perhaps that was the point in whole, or in part. 

From the liner notes for the exhibit: 
Hamilton has a very rich artists’ scene, and a great number of brilliant painters. On the occasion of the AGH centennial, this exhibition features ten artists from the Greater Hamilton area, many of whom are not well-known, showcasing the diverse subject matter, techniques and materials that are of the moment in contemporary painting practices. Direct from the artist’s studios and local private collections, the exhibition includes over thirty works in landscape, portraiture and abstraction. From lush oil paintings to a sculptural installation, the range of media, form and scale is intriguing. However the psychological weight of the subject matter prevails, as it is activated by the materials. Whether an intimate portrayal of a model, or an intuitive and gestural expression of the environment, the pieces are captivating, powerful, and impressive for their ability to engage the viewer on a subconscious level.

The exhibition title is 'Painting Hamilton'. The works displayed certainly seemed to contrast to the dominate and prevailing  'Ambitious Hamilton' sentiment.  Almost, at times, the items appear as art-school intrusions into an industrial place. And they seem, though often maturely executed, overly 'young' in subject matter. Little is political. Most are 'safe' art subjects. 
Is THAT the Hamilton most artists' living and working in this re-surging re-energized locale know and articulate? - Didn't seem so to me.  

Still, the exhibit is an useful insight into what the current curatorial staff consider 'of note' "in contemporary painting practices". That perception alone reflects what they might like Hamilton Painters to become - "on a subconscious level."

Question is: will this CARRY long term? Will this exhibition assist to DEFINE a uniquely maturing Hamilton Perspective on a national and global stage? Personally, I doubt it. There is just not quite enough of the 'rough & tumble' of Hamilton, past or present. 

Don't take my word for it,  check it out or yourself. 

Featured talented artists are Jennifer Carvalho, Catherine Gibbon, David Hucal, Daniel Hutchinson, Charles Meanwell, Matthew Schofield, Christina Sealey, Beth Stuart, Lorne Toews and Manny Trinh.  (... And no, I hadn't heard of most of them either ... )

With  the passing of the Executive Torch by the incomparable and elegant Louise Dompierre as CEO and President of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, we can soon expect a NEW ERA from - and for - the AGH.  It will be curious to see what 'brand' incoming Shelley Falconer will concoct for the Next Generation of attendees for this venerable institution, now 100 years young.  

Jennifer Carvalho  with one of her paintings in 'Painting Hamilton'

Afterthought:  Here is how Amy Kenny of The Hamilton Spectator weighed in ... 
... Much more emphasis on the curator, then the artists. And so it goes ... 

Worth keeping in mind is that Hamilton City Council ratified a 30 million dollar fundraising 
initiative for the Gallery, effective of late 2013. That means a WHOLE NEW look & feel, by 2019 ...  

Update: Stephanie Vegh, of the Hamilton Arts Council, also weighs in on the Exhibit ... 
...  afraid I have no comment on that, except to share ...