Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter Wrap-Up for 2014.

Well, the weather is weird. First off, there is no snow. Not even a bit. No ice. No bracing refreshing COLD.

Still, the Earth Turns, and we're about to embark on another oblong cycle around the Sun.
Brace yourself.

Over a two day period, the landscape changed from this ...
to this ... 
with not a speck of snow in sight. 

Happy New Year Everyone. 
Catch up again soon - mlh

p.s. And here's my final painting for 2014 ...

 Inspired by a friend, HHD. Thanks Holly!

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 ... 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Fall Painting, 2014

(acrylic on cloth, 17" square, unframed, untitled )

Something a bit different for me - PURE abstraction. 
Playing with colour, shapes, forms and fingers ... 

Potentially, a new series, 'Galaxy Gifs'
Wadja think?

BIG SPACE = BIG SALE! @ 270 Sherman Ave North, Hamilton

Originals Art Shoppe is hosting a large exhibition and sale on Saturday, Nov 1st from 1:30-7pm and Sunday Nov 2nd from 12:30-5pm.

Come see 20,000 sq ft of exquisite art by over 50 artists across the Golden Horseshoe! We will also have a section dedicated to handcrafters and handmade jewelry artists - An excellent place to start your Christmas shopping with all original gifts!

We will be distributing swag bags full of local goodies to the first 50 guests each day of this fantastic event! 

 - I will have several items in this show: a few acrylics and a few 'white out' graphics. All VERY reasonably priced, so swing in and check it out at 270 Sherman Street, Hamilton - Saturday or Sunday. 

Big Space, Big Sale!

Let alone the great space, this event was well staffed, displayed and well-attended. 
I arrived around 2pm on Sunday ... staying for about an hour. 
PLUS, I had the chance to meet one of my new fav Hamilton Ontario painters, Claudette Losier. 
270 Sherman SUPER SALE with vignette of Claudette Losier 'in situ' ..

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Aga Khan Museum: 'The Garden of Ideas' Exhibit

This weekend I managed to drop in on the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. What a place! With a somewhat forbidding citadel-like exterior, the stark overpowering angularity of the architecture and landscaped 'pools'  (designed by Vladimir Djurovic) are vividly contrasted to the florid delicacy of the historic and contemporary miniatures dwelling within. Overall, the place projects a lion-hearted, yet oddly timorous, 'soul' ...

The exhibit I particularly wanted to see was 'The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art of Pakistan'. The brochure reads, "Created for pleasure, spiritual reflection and aesthetic contemplation, gardens have held many meanings. Beyond their beauty, they represent the human impulse to organize, contain, and collect the natural world. Without cultivation, a garden would cease to exist. Similarly, without cultivation of the mind and the soul, it is believed a society cannot progress' ...."

The exhibition begins with a walk-through-time in order to set the context for the 'contemporary' works ... Overall, the minute intricacy of brush and pen stroke of yore titillates the eye and mind. When confronted with the new works, the intricacy is still there, but 'modern' thoughts, feelings and expressions have taken over what was once artwork done for 'court'.

Some modern items particularly caught my eye ... I'm leading off though with a section of an historical image to give you a sense of that. (Note: I have not documented the artist or the title of the works. This foray was primarily about getting 'an impression' without too much interference.)

From several centuries ago, the tradition, symbolism and talent are self-evident. 

Now the modern stuff ...
(sorry about the pot light reflective glare on a few of these shots)

(Appropriately entitled, 'Threatened' ...)

 (yes, that's a map of England on the wall ...)

(my personal favourite, yes BUSY, but balanced & complex)

... leave you to draw your own conclusions ... 

As the landscape design (and newly planted trees) around this austere monster structure mature, 
the outdoor patio & reflective pools will certainly become a welcoming oasis in that quarter of Toronto.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say it's a 7. Worth a visit.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Maggies - Oct 16th in #Hamont

I've been nominated. Don't stand a chance of winning, such great talent on deck. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ENGRAVED: Canadian Stories of WW1 - LAUNCH Oct 20th

Thrilled to be one of 20 authors in this timely collection of World War One. My tale is fictional, but it still addresses the never-ending horrors of war. Seen through the life and experience of children, my short story tells what is seldom told ...Also delighted to learn that my story is the 'closing story' of the collection.  It is a place of honor.

Pick up a copy via Different Drummer in Burlington 
or Bryan Prince in Hamilton, 
or order via Seraphim's distributor, The Book Band.

For other examples of my written works, please consider some of my photo-journalist items 
published in news blogs throughout the Golden Horseshoe Region of Southern Ontario, Canada.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Made By Hand, Oct 18th/19th, 2014, Mississauga

Hey all, a few of my mid-size acrylic paintings & a few smaller 'White Out' photo works 
will be FOR SALE, at show-stopping prices! ( via vendor Original Art Shoppe  )
 at this wonderful Made By Hand Fall Show... 

Follow hashtag - #MadeByHandShow

Showcasing 150 Artisans: With a collection of over 150 curated exhibitors, a juried show that brings you thousands of quality handmade goods all under one roof. Featuring original artwork, baby/toys items, body care, local clothing designers, fashion accessories, wide assortments of handmade jewellery, photography, knitted items, pottery, paper goods, wood products and a range of gourmet goodies.

Dates: Saturday Oct 18, 2014 & Sunday Oct 19, 2014
Location: International Centre, Entrance 6
6900 Airport Road, Mississauga
Show Hours: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Admission: Adults $7.00 (children 12 and under free)
 BUY TICKETS in advance ...  $7 for adults
with free re-entry (keep your wristband)
Sample of 'White Out' Photography by m.l.holton - 'Silk & Satin'

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fine Arts Society of Milton STUDIO TOUR - Oct 4/5th, 2014

Join us! - 32 Artists - 
- 6 from Burlington ...

On the weekend of October 4th I'll be 'on deck' again at the Fine Arts Society of Milton's STUDIO TOUR.  (Download MAP of STUDIOs HERE.)

For those not familiar with this event, it is a FANTASTIC opportunity to familiarize yourself with the beautiful #Halton and #NorthBurLINKton countryside on top of the rolling and dramatic #NiagaraEscarpment within Canada's province of Ontario's protected #Greenbelt.

Expect lush autumnal colours, cooler temperatures, vivid expansive skies and arresting 'long view' field-scapes of corn or soya, horses swishing tails, cattle lumbering to water basins, hawks floating overhead, and, of course, fallen crunchy leaves under foot, gravel roads, bubbling brooks, and large orchards, heavy with fruit. You may even find a pumpkin or two!

The tour is 'self-guiding', so print out the brochure to determine your route. Studio Tour roadside arrows will also help to guide you around.

This year, I will be a 'guest artist' at Studio 10. There, I'll be showing my pinhole photography works, as well as showcasing a few pinhole cameras that I've made over the years, and finally, I'll be doing small demos of 'how it all works'. I may also, depending on technical feasibility, be showing a small video of the long engaging process to shoot one pinhole image. (It generally takes 10 hours for one shot, from start to finished single contact print.)

It's a fun family day, with 32 great artists showing their stuff. Drop in. Maybe pick up an artistic treat or two for a loved one? (or yourself??). Remember, Christmas is coming! (Prices range from $20-40 for digital repros to $400-$800 for original 'one off' pinhole prints. Note: All original pinhole prints have been signed & dated by yours truly. )

  (Studio 10 is just SOUTH of the village of Kilbride, 
and north of the 8th Sideroad on Cedar Springs Road. 
*** Slight error on the printed MAP - we're marked as No.11 on the map 
but are actually Studio No.10. We're closer to the village/intersection of Kilbride. ***
If coming from #Burlon or #Hamont, come 'up' via Dundas Street. 
Brant Street turns into Cedar Springs Road at Dundas Street intersection.)

>>> 6459 Cedar Springs Road <<<

Thank you all for your continued & generous support for local art makers.

Hope to see you there!  

Saturday and/or Sunday, Rain Or Shine, 10am - 5pm!  
Escarpment Country - North Burlington / Halton Region - Photo Montage by m.l.holton

UPDATE: Busy and fun weekend, (regardless of a bit of drizzle on Saturday!)
Thanks to all those who came to visit and buy!

MLH Pinhole Display on FASM Studio Tour 2014

GREAT Location on Cedar Springs Road, North Burlington. 
Thanks Diana & Harold!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Culture Days, FAB & Doors Open in Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Sept 26th to the 28th, 2014. 
It's going to be a BUSY weekend ... 

Starting at noon on Friday, the 26th ...
Culture Days will be blasting off at Burlington Civic Square at City Hall. 
Calendar of events pdf, link here.

On Friday, I will be at the Filmmakers Alliance of Burlington (FAB) table from 5:30-7:30pm. 
Drop by, say hi, & learn more about this newly-formed industry-networking FAB-ulous group. 
Opening Ceremonies by the Mayor will occur around 7-ish. 
Lots of live music, live acts, demos & samplers.

On Saturday, as part of  Doors Open Burlington

I will be at The Different Drummer Bookshop from 10am -12:30pm
participating in a 'meet & greet' for my short story contribution to a new book title - 
ENGRAVED: Canadian Short Stories of World War One
(edited by Bernadette Rule, published by Seraphim Books of Woodstock)

(If you can't make this author's signing, you can always pick up this title here.)

That afternoon, I'll be flying over to the Burlington Central Public Library  to be part of a screening and panel discussion  about film & video making in Burlington - 'My Life as a Filmmaker/Video Artist ... '

As a dabbler in documentary filmmaking, one of my short videos (4min) will be shown. 
Mostly I produce, direct and shoot these items as compliments 
to larger articles published in Golden Horseshoe area news blogs.

Drop into any event. All are FREE.
Create, Participate & Celebrate! 


UPDATE & REVIEW:   ... phew, fun .. 
Started off with an hour & a half interview, last week, with videographer, Kune Hua, for a City-produced video for Culture Days. Location: back country on top of the Escarpment, at one of my quiet places ... I THOUGHT it went well, but I think Kune got a bit distracted by the scenery ... The end product of the Culture Days' Kick Off video had a 3 second blip of me saying 'It's about UNITY!' - as per a hastily tacked on SCRIPT.  Ha! Gotta love local propaganda: "Many Voices, One Vision! " ... ra ra ... 
Here's the entire 2 min City of Burlington's Culture promo video, 
... see if you can spot me 'on location':  http://youtu.be/jVrqOvp7c_0 

 The interview was followed by the 'formal' Kick Off at Civic Square at Burlington City Hall. All in all, it was well presented, but someone goofed BIG TIME with the programming choice of a kiddie punk band before & after the Mayor's reading of the Culture Days proclamation ... Their sound was not only jarring, but deafening. Still, the 'cultural troops' were there, showcasing their wares & chatting up their talents.  I assisted at the Filmmaker's Alliance of Burlington's booth for several hours, meeting & greeting some fascinating members of the public. (More on that soon, if one particular 'story' pans out ...) 

This short video gives a little taste of what FAB is all about ... 
( I shot the two clips of Andy & gang at early Meet-Ups on my iPod.)

The next day, Saturday, I was on deck at the Different Drummer Bookstore, flogging my latest published short story contribution to the WW1 anthology, 'Engraved'. Was rather surprised by the arrival of various members of the media: The Bay Observer, Snapd Burlington and a FILM CREW from FAB. (I think they were just wandering around getting b-roll for Culture Days ... ) For a bookstore, it was pretty LIVELY.

 Next up was the screening of my short film, Dave Lambert: Master Knot Tyer with a bunch of other shorts at the Burlington Public Library. In truth, hardly anyone was there, except the filmmakers' themselves. But the glory of our TOTALLY WIRED age allows any to view this event, after the fact, via the internet. The Q&A after the screening was captured on 2 sets of video cams, and seemingly it will appear somehow somewhere soon ...  I'll link back to that whenever and wherever it appears ...  Other filmmakers on the panel included Kune Hau (see above); Andy Shaw, Co-Founder of FAB; Jim Riley, local video artist; Alex Hutchison and Morgan Muscat, both seasoned & somewhat traditional 'storytellers'. We all yapped away, spouting our experience & preferences. Managed to get one 'screen grab' from the raw footage. 

Andy Shaw, MLH & Kune Hua
 Q&A with Burlington Filmmakers

End of day?  Back up to the farm to put up my feet. 
 (Bum ankle was killing me by that point ... ) DONE! 

 On Sunday, a photo-journo from The Milton Champion called ... 
Photo shoot happened 3pm for the up-coming STUDIO TOUR on Oct 4/5th.
On and Up!!! 

UPDATE: (Nov 28th, 2014) The Filmmakers Alliance of Burlington just released 
their 'Culture Days 2014' video. See it here. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

MLH Art Board prep ...

In answer to those who have asked: no, I don't paint on canvas, generally. Rather, I prefer the stability and texture of painting on mahogany or oak G2S 3/4" plywood. Painting on the undulating grain patterns connects me to my furniture and wood-working roots. It's an Earth 'tree' thing, that makes sense to me, and I really like how the wood grain pattern glimmers through when the painting is done.

I'll spend several hours selecting out the stock from the local lumber yard and then they will trim it down to my specifications.

Later, in prep, I sand the boards with coarse grain paper, do a prime top coat to see where and how the grain 'bleeds', sand it down again with fine grain paper, apply another prime coat, sand again, and then get on with it ... PAINT.

Serious Fun.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Sun Rises over Lake Ontario

Without a doubt one of the never-ending delights of living on one of the Great Lakes of North America is the perpetual daily interaction with a 'straight line' horizon. I've been shooting, painting and interpreting this phenomenon for several decades now. 

Every day, every sunrise, is different. It is a constant reminder of not only the often startling Beauty of the Natural world, but the Majesty. 

The fiery orb of the Sun not only illuminates our world, but heats it. Through photosynthesis, most life, as we know it, survives and thrives. From a distance of 150 million km or 93 million miles away, sun light travels to our home planet, Earth , in a breath-taking 8 minutes and 19 seconds ... 93 MILLION miles in 8:19 minutes .... Wow.

It's relative size is deceptive to the naked eye. If, for example, the Sun was a door, the Earth would be the size of a nickel.

'Awestruck' - oil on board, by m.l.holton (2007)
I remain in awe.