Group Show at the TAG Gallery

I have been invited to participate in a Group Show at the TAG Gallery located at 241 King Street in St. Catharines, Ontario. 

My work will include two photoabstracts on paper (Blue Bow With Reflections and Mondrian Moment), and four digital prints on canvas (Beach Rock I, Beach Rock IITies That Bind, and Zucchini Flowers).

The exhibition will run from March 17 to April 16, 2011. Other artists who will be participating in the show include Julie Himel, Maliha Rahman, Marco Bertuzzo and Simona Stanculescu.

Julie Himel is a Toronto painter with a Fine Art Diploma from Langara College, a BFA from York University, and a Graduate Diploma from the Toronto School of Art. Her work can be found in private collections internationally, and public collections in Canada and the United States.

Maliha Rahman was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and she immigrated to Canada in 2002. She has participated in exhibitions at galleries in Toronto, and at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Maliha is an award-winning graduate of OCADU and Georges Vanier Secondary School in North York. She lives and works in Toronto.

Julia Vandepolder recently completed an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art and Art History at the University of Guelph. In the past year, she has been accepted for several juried exhibitions across the province, including at the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, and the Grimsby Public Art Gallery.

Her first solo exhibition was the premiere exhibition of the Telephone Art Gallery in Toronto. She lives in Alton, Ontario.

Marco Bertuzzo is finishing his second year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He has exhibited at OCADU and the Delisle Youth Gallery where his submission was chosen to represent the entire collection. He has been a featured live painter at ‘Art Battle’ events in Toronto, including Art Battle7, Art Battle X, and Art Battle at the Gladstone. He lives in Maple, Ontario.

You can obtain more information on all the artists in the show by visiting the gallery’s website (, and you can also view examples of their work.

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Winter Drags On

It has been a very long winter. My front lawn disappeared on December 6 and today the snow there is still two feet deep. Despite my aversion to cold, I have managed to take a few wintery pictures, and I must admit that a quiet walk in softly falling snow makes our Canadian winter almost tolerable. But enough is enough!

While prowling around the southwestern Ontario countryside this winter, I have been amazed to see flocks of wild turkeys feeding in farmers fields. The birds are wary and they quickly disperse when humans get too close.  I used a long lens to photograph the two males shown below just before they vacated the area.

For centuries Ontario was home to the Eastern Wild Turkey, but it disappeared from the province in the early 1900s as a result of habitat loss and unregulated hunting.  Early attempts to repopulate suitable habitat with birds raised on game farms were unsuccessful, but in 1984, a new approach was adopted. Wild birds that had been trapped in Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, and Tennessee were released in southern Ontario. This restoration project was highly successful, and within a few years, the wild turkey population was quite healthy.  It is estimated that there are now about 100,000 birds in the province, and the population has spread as far north as Algonquin Park.

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Making Miniatures (Part 2)

As you may remember from an earlier blog, I decided to submit some of my work for possible inclusion in the 6th Annual Juried Miniature Show at the Art Exchange Gallery  here in London. The gallery requires that each piece must measure exactly 3 inches by 4 inches and be mounted in a white 8 by 10 inch matt. 

After considerable deliberation, I finally selected the two winter photographs shown below. These were taken the same morning in Springbank Park in London. I like the minimal colouration. Just a few old oak leaves in one, and a red vine in the other. Both pieces were accepted for exhibition. 

The show was a great success. It opened on January 31 and ran until February 19. A total of 89 submissions were selected, and 22 were sold, including my park scene with red leaves. 

The entire show can be viewed on the gallery’s website ( Click on each thumbnail to see the complete work.

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Making Miniatures

Al and Karen Stewart of The Art Exchange in London, Ontario have once again put out a call to visual artists in the London, Ontario area asking them to submit two pieces of work for their popular Annual Juried Miniature Show that will run from January 31 to February 19, 2011.

The challenge is to create a two-dimensional work measuring exactly 3 inches by 4 inches and then submit it in a white 8 by 10 inch matt.  The Stuarts frame each piece for the exhibit, and award prizes to the top three exhibits at show’s opening reception. Even if you don’t win a prize, the show provides a wonderful opportunity for both established and emerging artists to display their talents to the Stuart’s large clientele of art supporters.

So . . . what shall I submit? Because of the small size it seems reasonable to use something with minimal detail, and so I selected a simple shot that I took in Mykonos, Greece of a white church with a red roof (Photo 1).  As a companion piece, I picked a shot of red geraniums on a white stairway with a background of blue ocean (Photo 2). This photo was taken on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick.  

After I printed these two images and mounted them in the required 8 X 10 matts, I decided to try a couple of abstract photos as an alternative to the two that I have described above. The first of these is a reflection of a Grand Manan fishing boat (Photo 3). The prominent red structure that looks like a mutant seahorse with a big eye is actually the reflection of a large life raft mounted on top of the boat’s cabin.  The second abstract picture (Photo 4)was taken in the same location. This complex pattern of reflections was created by a gentle breeze that rippled the water. 

O.K., now its decision time. I have four pieces, but the rules say I can submit only two. But which two? Two with minimal detail? Two abstracts? One abstract and one with minimal detail? I still have two weeks to decide. Any suggestions?

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Snow Day with Snails

The temperature today is -8 degrees C with the wind chill, and intense snow squalls streaming off Georgian Bay and Lake Huron are blanketing the London area. The westbound lanes of Highway 401 were closed last night because of multiple collisions, schools are closed today and police are warning motorists to stay off the streets and highways.  I suppose it is a great day to take snow pictures, but I hate going out in the cold, and so I decided to do an indoor photoshoot using my collection of mollusk shells. 

I have been thinking about this ever since I came across Nature in Miniature, a book written in 1989 by Andreas Feininger a professional photographer who worked for Life Magazine. The objective of his book was to convey to the viewer the joy of finding beauty, fascinating forms, delicate details, or thought provoking aspects in common objects of nature. I think this is a great objective.

My first example is a beautiful mollusk known as the Angel Wing (Cryptopleura costata).  This animal is a bivalve mollusk like a clam, that is, it has a shell that consists of two separate halves (valves). It is found in burrows in muddy intertidal areas of Florida, and it occurs as far north as Massachusetts. If the current trend of global warming continues, it will no doubt extend its range progressively northward.

The animal’s white shell (Photo 01) typically measures some seven inches in length, and is characterized by about 30 beaded, radial ribs per valve (count ‘em). The prominent growth increments indicate that this specimen was more than 25 years old.  I couldn’t resist the temptation to solarize this image and increase the colour saturation (Photo 02). Some may argue that this is tampering with nature, but I like the result.

Unlike the Angel Wing, the Red Abalone (Haliotis rufesces) has only one shell. This marine snail is common in the waters off the coast of northern California. Abalone are considered to be a seafood delicacy, and they are now farmed commercially in many parts of the world. Abalones are sometimes called Sea Ears because of the flattened shape of their shells (Photo 03).  These heavy shells average six to eight inches in diameter, and are highly prized for their inner, iridescent mother-of-pearl layer (Photos 04 and 05). Again I couldn’t resist tampering, and I inverted the image of the interior of the shell (Photo 06). Now that looks more like a snow day.


The Tent Olive (Oliva porphyria) is one of the most distinctive and instantly identifiable of all seashells (Photo 07). This marine snail occurs mainly in the Gulf of Panama, and ranges north to the Gulf of California and south to the Galapagos. It lives in sandy intertidal areas.The shell  is smooth and highly polished, and it derives its name from an amazing pattern of zigzags that is suggestive of tents or mountain peaks. I have stylized this pattern by using a glowing-edge filter (Photo 08).

The Textile Cone (Conus textile) found in tropical areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans is a poisonous snail with a toxin that can kill a human. This mollusk exhibits a most unusual and complex shell pattern (Photo 09) consisting of light brown pigmentation in two bands,  and wavy vertical lines of chocolate interrupted by sharp triangles of white. Again, I have used the glowing-edge filter in an attempt to stylize this pattern (Photo 10).

Finally, the Sundial (Architectonica perspective) is a small mollusk (about two inches) that is found on sandy-mud bottom in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The shell of this animal is laid down in a striking clockwise spiral (Photo 11). I have attempted to enhance this interesting pattern by using the glowing-edge filter (Photo 12).

These are just a few examples of the amazing art of nature as exhibited by marine mollusks.

To view more of my photos, check out my website (www.davidogilviephotography,ca).

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Sandscapes, Discovering the Art of Nature

The beautiful sandy beach at Seal Cove on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick (1) is one of my favourite summer haunts. It is relatively long, and the sand is hard packed. I was born and raised on Grand Manan, and I recall that before we had an airfield on the island, small planes would occasionally use this beach as a landing strip.

I took a number of photos at this location last summer, and recently I reviewed these as part of a search for abstract images. Let me show you a few examples of what I found in my files.

When the tide is ebbing and exposing the beach, it leaves interesting patterns in the sand. For example, about half way along the beach you can usually find a series of small, closely-packed ridges (2).  This monotone image is really not very interesting, but there are often hidden possibilities in every digital file.  In an effort to find some, I inverted the image and then used solarization to bring out some colour which I intensified by increasing the colour saturation. The end result (3) was an image that I liked well enough to transfer to the abstract gallery of my website (

I case you are wondering, solarization is an old technique that involves deliberate exposure of photographic materials to light for a short period of time during development in order to exaggerate highlights in the image.  Solarization is a challenging hit-or-miss procedure when performed in a darkroom, but it is very easy to accomplish digitally with a filter like the one in Adobe Photoshop.   

But I digress. Let’s get back to the beach.  At the northern end the sand comes in contact with boulders and a rocky outcrop (4).  Drainage from shallow pools in this area produces some intriguing patterns in the sand.  I discovered an area where water was trickling past a large rock and the sand grains were arranged in a branching pattern that looked like two trees (5).

I am really not quite sure how this was accomplished.  The sand was eroded in some places by the trickling water, but the pattern seems to have been produced mainly by the deposition of sand grains.  I was astonished to find this amazing bit of art that had been created by natural forces. Because the pattern was so suggestive of trees, I rotated the image 90 degrees clockwise (6).  To make the arbourization pattern in the sand more evident, I increased the contrast a bit, and then decreased the brightness slightly.  I also increased the saturation in the right half of the image to bring out some colour in the rock.  I was pleased with the final result. This is another image for my abstract gallery.

As I followed the water that was trickling past these rocks, I discovered another sample of Mother Nature’s handiwork (7).  To me, this image is suggestive of a forlorn and devastated World War I battle zone, perhaps a no man’s land in northern France in 1916. Again, the sand pattern looks like trees. In this image the colour of the sand gives a warm sepia tone. Inversion sharpened the image somewhat (8), and the cool blue tones are suggestive of moonlight.  I think I prefer the moonlight version.  

If you would like to comment on this, or any of the other images in this blog, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

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