These pictures were shot while driving on country roads in the summer of 1981, stopping whenever something caught my eye. I had just graduated from Ryerson (now University, then Polytechnic) in Toronto with a degree in photography. Growing up in Alberta the lines, the forms of the prairies landscape, the light imprinted on my heart and mind my basic visual vocabulary
When I saw this old Gas pump in a small town I was passing through of course I had to take a picture, or several. I saw a man in overalls come to the doorway where he stood watching me. His face was in shadow and I didn’t know his attitude. Only when I was scanning the negative did I realize he had a big smile on his face that warmed my heart looking at. I couldn’t remember the name of the town where this was so I posted it on a Facebook group of Alberta photographers.
The town was Orion and I discovered that this building burned down on Christmas Day 2016. All the years of saving everything burned to the ground. The owner, the man in the doorway is Boyd Steven third generation owner. I wondered to what had happened to him so I wrote a letter to the editor of the Medicine Hat newspaper. I got 6 replies. He still lives in Orion so I sent him a copy of the print he’s in
He sent a thank you letter handwritten in pen and the canceled stamp from Orion he probably stamped himself.
Welcome to my first subscribers MartinPrairies.com. Bruce for being the first even though I didn't know if any of this was going to work. And Eric from Alberta who I haven' seen in years. And Gary who lives down the hall. I'm just being introduced to Mailchimp, a program that set up things like subscibe pages. So hopefully I will continue to learn - and if anybody out there has any advice for me, please offer it.
I recently wrote an artist statment to go with a submission of my work. It had to be very short and too the point something that I wasn't going to be able to do without my editor husband. I tried to say what I thought was what I I wanted but I t wasn't a collage esseay. At that point I just email to his computer and then I had exactly what I need for the gallery.
This is it
The images in my heart and mind of Alberta landscapes, where I grew up, were imprinted on me by the light, the sky and the undulating land. In my 20s I learned photography and developed an artistic vision, but I needed more skills. I enrolled at Ryerson in Toronto, and on graduating with a BAA in photography in 1981, got an Ontario Arts Council grant to finance a summer of shooting in southern Alberta. Before I could do much of anything with all the film I’d exposed and developed myself, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which has plagued me nearly 40 years.
At last, in my 60s, the MS has let me be for a few years, my mind is clear again and I have been working with Fidelis Art Prints to scan my negatives and produce prints, which I have been selling at art fairs and private functions. Some of the prints portray eternal landscapes, but many others show scenery and buildings that have disappeared in the last 40 years. I think they will appeal not only to people who share my love of Prairie landscapes, but also to those who see a classic stillness in my work that is not tied solely to time and place.
But then I discovered this in an old version
My Imagination has the prairie sky in it. A sky that is infinite, angry, luminous. In the winter time, when it is cold enough to be clear out, it will look black on B&W film. My imagination has undulating lines tracing the crops around land forms. Rivers that twist back and forth in bows. (google it). Hills that you can see in another country.
My imagination acknowledges the presence of human beings on and under this land.
I will not be selling at the Denman Mall tomorrow Sat, March 16. I had a very bad night Thur and I'm just not able to get prepared. It is something with MS that you may not recover esily.
This is me selling at the Christmas Market at the Denman Mall.
On Saturday, Mar 16 from 11am to 5pm I will be selling the the Denman Mall like I did at Christmas. My prices will be the same $25 for an 8x8 print only
$40 for a matted 8x8 print
$60 8x8 matted and framed
My mats are acid free everything and the prints are archivally printed by Fidlis Art Prints
See you at the mall
I must apologize for not keeping my blog up to date. After Christmas I was going to devote more time to my website, but other things got in the way.
In November, I rented the Roedde House Museum in the West End for an evening to show and sell my prints, sort of on the principle of a Tupperware party. I had the use of five rooms and the museum’s volunteers cleared away some of the antique items that normally cover every surface so I could display and sell my prints.
There was an 1890s Steinway piano, which is kept in good tune because the museum also hosts jazz performances. I invited a pianist friend to play while the guests socialized and I sold my prints. During breaks, I would talk about the stories behind some of the prints, then more music, then another talk, and so on. It was really enjoyable and I sold a lot of work.
I hope to do it again this year during the Christmas gift-buying season with a new selection of prints; Jacynthe has already volunteered to play the piano again.
A few weeks later I had a table in the Denman Place Mall’s annual Christmas Market, and again sold a lot.
You may have noticed that there are a lot of new images on this site that are not part of the prairies series. My site builder, Artist Run Website, lets me post unlimited numbers of images on unlimited pages. I happen to have thousands of images on my computer, so I might as well let people see them.
I intend to be more active maintaining this site in future. This is a beginning.
Here is an opportunity to see the finished prints of the MartinPrairie Project, and to take one home if you like. Compared to the relatively low-res images on this website, I guarantee they will make your eyes pop.
On Saturday Nov. 10, I will be showing and selling my work at the Roedde House Museum, a Victorian mansion at 1415 Barclay Street in Vancouver’s West End.
You can meet the artist — that’s me — and I will talk about the summer of 1981, when I had just graduated with a degree in photography from Ryerson in Toronto. An Ontario Arts Council grant paid for a rickety old Toyota and four months of driving around southern Alberta, taking hundreds of photographs with my aging Mamiyaflex twin reflex camera.
The event will run from 7 to 10 p.m.; doors open at 6:30.
There will be snacks, non-alcoholic beverages and live piano music. Please join me, other friends and neighbours.
8x8 inch print only, $25
8x8 matted print, $40
8x8 print matted and framed, $60
12x12 print only, $40
12x12 print framed, $65
15x15 print only $80 this will have to be ordered so I will take $40 deposit
For payment, I can take cash, credit or debit card.
These were printed by the master printer, Alan Somerville, at Fidelis Fine Art. Fidelis serves an elite community of photo-based artists and painters by providing exhibition quality archival inkjet printing. All copyrights are owned by the artist. This print is rated to last 100 years under museum conditions, but should be handled with acid free materials and not exposed to strong lighting or humidity.