Friday, July 7, 2017

Top of the Hill (Southern Exposure)

Southern Exposure
Day 3 (7/2/17)

At this point it is early May of 2015. Nine months have passed since I made the western exposure time lapse video from “The Top of the Hill”. As I have said before I don’t get a chance to get back over to the farm very often but this was the opening weekend of trout fishing and turkey hunting. Although I would prefer it slightly more leafed out I have found this the best weekend without making a special trip over to the farm. Most of my life I have spent the opening morning of trout season at the Mill Dam on Tamarack Creek. When I was in elementary school my brother and I would camp at the dam which was probably a quarter of a mile from the house I grew up in. It became a tradition that lasted through High School. I continued to go back fishing but unfortunately stopped camping. Tamarack Creek has had its ups and downs through the years. When I was young most of the fish in the stream were planted and there were browns, rainbow and brook trout. At points because of pollution the creek was almost dead and at some point they quit planting fish in it at all. Years later after the farmers were required to follow land management practices brook trout started naturally reproducing and eventually it became one of the few naturally producing streams in the area. My mother had passed away earlier in the year so the whole trip was wrought with mixed emotions. I was coming home to an empty house and even though it been over a year since she had lived there it was still strange. As soon as I got there I went up and placed the camera so that I could get as much footage as possible. My friend, Nelly, showed up later and we set up the turkey blind. Since moving to the eastern side of the state I have also been picking my dates for turkey hunting based on the fishing opener. That way we can make the most of the weekend. We got up before the sun to make our way to the blind. We were unsuccessful at calling in a bird but as usual were treated to a beautiful sunrise. After a couple hours we headed back to the dam where we were much more successful. Mostly we are catch and release but will keep some if they seem injured. I used to always keep one for my mom because she loved fresh trout. In the afternoon we returned to the blind. Again we were denied. I must admit that I don’t take it very seriously. It is just fun to get out and watch life pass by on the hill. We finished the day with our customary bonfire and stories. The next day was more of the same but by noon I had to grab the camera and head back home. I never know what to expect when I get home and finally get a chance to view the footage. It seems there is always something captivating about watching the entire weekend in ten minutes. 
First Morning

Fishing at the Dam

Second Morning

A little Building

The Dam

The Dam from Above

Southern Exposure

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Top of the Hill (Western Exposure)

"Top of the Hill" (Western Exposure)
Day 4 (6/29/17)
As I mentioned in an earlier post from 6/13/17 I had decided to make twenty four hour time lapse videos from “The Top of the Hill” on the farm that I grew up on. I had played around enough with the camera that I felt pretty comfortable giving it a try. We decided to take a couple of days and camp at the farm along with a trip up and down the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the Mississippi. These are my old stomping grounds so I try to do it at least every couple years. It usually becomes a food fest and is centered around hitting our favorite restaurants. We worked our way up as far as Wabasha the first day and spent the first night on the river there. The next day we worked our way over to the farm. When we got to the top of the hill it was incredibly hot. We spent some time setting up camp but we spent even more just sitting under the trees waiting for it to cool down. Eventually I set up the time lapse camera and we finished setting up camp and had something to eat. As the sun went down we were treated to a incredible sunset. Unfortunately because of the heat and humidity shortly after sunset the fog started rolling in so we missed one of my favorite parts of camping on the farm, watching the stars. Being on top of a hill with no towns within fifteen miles makes it a spectacular view. When we woke up there was a heavy fog covering everything. As we made breakfast it started to burn off. We left the camera setup but packed up camp. Our plan was to continue our trip up the Mississippi and come back the next day and pick up the camera. That night we stayed in Pepin and went to our all time favorite restaurant “The Harbor Café”. We hit all our favorite haunts and eventually had to retrieve the camera. It turned out my first attempt at making a time lapse video from the farm was a success.
On our Way we saw some Cranes 

Wabasha, Minnesota

More Wabasha

Mississippi from Beuna Vista, Alma

More Beuna Vista

Set up

Camp site



And more

One more

Bluebird of Happiness

Leaving the Top of the Hill

The final Painting

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The First Show

Sandy Rosbeck's Heavy Metal Chair,Schools Out was a
big hit
Day 3 (6/25/17)

Last night we had our first opening at the Old Town Hall Studio & Gallery. After a year of renovation and planning the night was finally here. We are very proud of how everything turned out. We had set out to develop a gallery space that would be friendly and inviting. Our unofficial slogan is “Serious art in a not so serious environment. Our first show lived up to that promise. The artists that participated in this show were selected because they had somehow helped to make the gallery a reality. That made for a very eclectic show with some artists who were seasoned professionals while for others it was there first time showing. The quality of the work was wonderful running the gamut from figurative to totally abstract. Each artist had also been given a Samsonite folding chair from the original hall to alter and decorate. They did not disappoint. Like the artwork the chairs went in many different directions from representational to abstract. One artist created a Heavy Metal chair while another altered hers to represent crackers and cheese. Others took a more conventional route and did paintings and drawings on their chairs. We lined them up in such a way as to simulate how they would have been set up for board meetings. The chairs were a big hit. We also had installed a loft/lounge where you can get away and relax while taking in the surroundings. It is a great space for children to play with games and coloring materials. We are hoping to develop it further as time goes on. The old cigarette machine that we converted to an “Art in the Box” was a big hit. It took awhile but once people started getting small art others had to give it a try. We had no idea what to expect going into the event. We had kind of dropped the ball on advertising since we had been so busy with everything else. As it turned out we had a nice group that attended. Everybody seemed to have a good time and to finally see the gallery filled with art and people made all the hard work worth it.
View from Above

I love Dan Hernandez's watercolors.

A sculpture by Chris Hindle

Emma Larson's Watercolor 

An Airbrush by Mark Nelson "Government Issue"

Grant Van Driest's Paint Peel Chair

Sally Van Driest's "Curl"

Nate Urness's "Fold Up, Face Out

Kay Jelenik's "Go with the Flow"

Tieva Campbell's "Midnight Snack"

Eileen Urness' "Bits & Pieces"

Jim Burton's "Grousspapp(Grandfather)"

Grant Van Driest's Paint Peel Chair

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top of the Hill Project (Part 1)

Brinno TLC 200 Pro with Case
Day 2 (6/13/17)
Several years ago I came up with the idea of making time lapse videos to illustrate what I was trying to achieve with my art. The idea was to set up a camera facing north and capture the changes in color and shadow as the sun moved across the sky. The problem was that when I first conceived the idea to do a twenty four hour time lapse required expensive equipment and a lot of video editing know-how. I had neither. Then in 2014 I found the solution in the “Brinno TLC 200 Pro”. It was a self contained time lapse camera with HD quality, about the size of a regular camera and was capable of at least twenty four hour recording. I haven’t as yet tested its limits but with new batteries and a once every ten seconds exposure I am able to get an easy forty-eight hours. It also has an available protective case which allows recording in severe weather and a certain amount of freedom from watching it. The TLC 200 may not fit the needs of a professional videographer but was perfect for my project. The next question was just where to set up the camera. Any public location would require almost constant monitoring to make sure the camera wasn’t disturbed or stolen. I finally decided that “the top of the hill” on the farm I grew up on would be the perfect place. It was always a magical place growing up and holds many fond memories. It also has four distinct directional views so I decided to do one time lapse video from each direction and a paper piece to go with it. Since the farm is five to six hours away availability did pose a bit of a problem. Over the last three years whenever I got over there I would set up the camera. Finally, I got four directional videos that were usable and a bunch more that were just fun. Perhaps someday I will make a compilation video of those.
Brinno TLC 200 Pro

The Top of the Hill

First set up

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Shootout at the Hall

Rocket Balloons
Day 30 (2/5/17)

As winter limps along I thought I would do a quick update on the hall. We have been slowly finishing the painting. Except for some touchups most of the gallery area is finished. The last month we have been working on the studio space. We are trying to keep it as bright and airy as possible since it is a rather small low space. It has been going slowly because we have to deal with the cold. There has been time for fun however. One Sunday Wade and his parents showed up at the hall with their Nerf guns or what Wade calls “beu guns” and an epic shootout ensued. We had also purchased some balloon rockets and between the two we had a blast. We are looking forward to more battles between shows. Today we started spattering the floor in the studio. It will take awhile because of drying time which is even longer because of the cold weather but once it is done we can start setting up the studio. We also put most of the steel bars back up on the windows. We plan on using them as a hanging system to reduce the amount of nails that have to be hammered into the paneling. With each task we finish we get a little closer to being able to start showing art. 
The battle ensues

Wade heads for high ground
The Battle

Painting the studio


Jackson at work

Putting up the bars

Two down, five to go