Environmental Matters

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Smoke from the Mine
Old Masters, artist style, emotion, artist influence on artist, landscape, creating a feeling, creating atmosphere, oil-based paints, acrylic paint mood, industrial by-products, feeling,space, prairie painter, prairie landscape, prairie sky, industrial landscape, oil painting, landscape, home, large-scale oil painting, artist's style, sky, land, cloud, smoke, mining,
description

In 1984 Hardy spent two months in Europe looking at paintings by Old Masters, a term used to describe first-rank European painters who painted from the 13th to the 17th centuries.

start quote I do not try to emulate the style of any artist in particular but by remembering the feelings experienced when standing before paintings I admired, I set the challenge of achieving a similar impact in my own work. While I have always been deeply concerned with the formal qualities of a painting, I believe the work must also have a self-contained emotional
power. end quote-- Greg Hardy (Zepp and Taylor 1985)

In a 1985 artist statement, Hardy wrote:

Another of Hardy’s key influences is Canadian painter, printmaker and writer David Milne. Although he was a  contemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  of the members of the Group of Seven, Milne was little-known in the 1920s and 30s, and it is only recently that his work has received widespread recognition. In his  landscapeA painting, photograph or other work of art which depicts scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers and forests. There is invariably some sky in the scene. (Artlex.com) Landscape is also a term that may also refer simply to a horizontally-oriented rectangle, just as a vertically-oriented one may be said to be oriented the portrait way. (Artlex.com)  paintings, the ideal, says Hardy, quoting Milne admiringly, is to “wish a landscape onto a canvas.” (Robertson, 1989) 

The landscape around Hardy’s home of Meacham provides the  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter for many of his paintings, including Smoke from the Mine. The  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  clearly shows his emphasis on creating or re-creating a feeling and an atmosphere, rather than faithfully reproducing land forms, like a photographer might take a picture deliberately out-of-focus to capture a feeling or mood. Smoke from the Mine is also one of the last large-scale  oilSlow-drying paint made when pigments are mixed with an oil, linseed oil being most traditional. The oil dries with a hard film, and the brightness of the colours is protected. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on canvas. They can have a matte, semi-gloss, or glossy finish. To look at examples of works in oil paints, see the articles under the names of every period from the Renaissance onward. (Artlex.com)  paintings that Hardy produced, as he was forced to stop using oil-based paints because of severe allergies. Since then he has worked with smaller-scale paintings in acrylic.

In Smoke from the Mine Hardy captures the expansive sense of  spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  that characterizes many of his large canvases, and a sense that he shares with many prairie painters. The  horizon lineA level line where water or land seems to end and the sky begins. Vanishing points are usually located on this line.  (artlex.com)  is barely visible at the bottom of the painting; smoke in the sky completely dominates the work. However, instead of picturesque, puffy clouds set against a pristine blue sky, as in a traditional Prairie landscape, Hardy presents us with smoke produced by industrial processes. These smoke clouds tower over the landscape below, emphasizing how the industrial by-products of the unseen mine affect the countryside around it.

additional resources Drawing and Home Spot
Duration: 2:11 min
Size: 9276kb
Getting into Painting
Duration: 2:18 min
Size: 10047kb
Smoke from the Mine
Duration: 2:11 min
Size: 9355kb
Starting Out
Duration: 2:05 min
Size: 9272kb
Viewing other People's Art
Duration: 2:20 min
Size: 10141kb
Things to Think About
  • Hardy thinks highly of David Milne’s approach of “wishing a landscape onto canvas.” What do you think is meant by that phrase?
  • If you have access to a camera, take a photo of the same  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  first in-focus, and then out-of-focus. Take a look at both photos - do you experience different feelings about them? If so, think about what feelings each photo evokes in you, and why.
Advanced Activity

The following websites may inspire or help students to plan visual responses to pollution or to find their own images for starting paintings.

Online Activity
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Alter this picture by covering it with cloud transparencies and observe the changes.  To do this:

Studio Activity

In Saskatchewan we tend to think that our air is much cleaner than in other parts of the world. Greg Hardy’s observations might cause us to think and behave differently.

The truth is that we live in a global community where everything human beings do in every part of the world either in industry, farming, transportation, and life style, affects everyone else.

Listen to this podcast from the Museum of Science in Boston:

Researchers have found that activities causing pollution also affect serious storms.

Photograph or find an image of one of your favourite places in Saskatchewan, or elsewhere. Scan the picture into your computer and through  digitalA system of representing images or objects through numbers. These numbers can then be re-interpreted by another digital system to generate light and sound.  software, copy it several times. In each copy, alter its  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  and use other effects to simulate various ways to show effects of pollution. Import pictures of objects that might cause pollution and add the images for effect.  Print out and use the altered image as inspiration for a painting.

To see some photos of places and spaces in Saskatchewan, taken in 2008 by many talented Saskatchewan residents, go to the CBC SASKATCHEWAN website.

A world renowned photographer Saskatchewan’s Courtney Milne, who lives in Saskatoon, has an amazing  collectionTo collect is to accumulate objects. A collection is an accumulation of objects. A collector is a person who makes a collection. (Artlex.com)  of skies showing changes.  You can see these at:  http://www.courtneymilne.com/.

OR

Record in photography or  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of skies showing changes created by humans or as natural weather effects.  Examples (like those seen below) might be exhaust on a cold day, fire haze in summer, emissions from industry, etc

cloud picture 1 cloud picture 2
cloud picture 3
References

Hardy, Greg.  Artist file. Resource Centre, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan.

Moppet, George.  Gregory Hardy – Journeys in the Landscape.  Exhibition publication.  Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 2001.  Available online at:  http://www.gregoryhardy.com/publications01.htm

Robertson, Sheila.  ‘Photographic influence shared by two artists.’  Saskatoon Star Phoenix, December 2, 1989.

Zepp, Norman and Michael Parke-Taylor.  The Second Generation: Fourteen Saskatchewan Painters.  Exhibition catalogue.  MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1985.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning