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A DAY WITH PIERRE AJ SABOURIN

 

 

 

 

Pierre is quite an adaptable individual, humble, giving, full of a rich spirit and intellect, a person of genuine compassion and kindness, attributes that magnetize his environment consequently inducing the potential to form meaningful relationships that eventually lead into enduring friendships.

Although his life has been turbulent, especially in the last 10 years, the ability to survive in difficult situations has brought us the revival of an artist with an endless passion to create. Against all adversity the paintings of Killarney were born continuously in full colour, vibrant in their character, simple in their detail and all being defined by thick and heavy brushstrokes, carved perhaps by a tumultuous past.

 

 

The evolution of his style is represented currently by works of impasto, using dense brushstrokes rich in texture and inspired by the famous painter of the 20th century, Van Gogh, one of Pierre’s favourite artists. Another aspect that characterizes his productions is that all the work, including winter scenes, is always executed “En-Plain-Air”, a movement originated by 2 French artists during the 19th century, but rarely used today. I have evidence of this procedure as I was present to one of his creations painted this past Winter at George Lake in Killarney. Surrounded by snow and ice, and with temperatures reaching minus 35, I will call this brutal but still a perfect example that nothing will stand before Pierre and his greater passion for documenting the outdoors. And this is where I would like to leave you all, with an account of my experience with ‘master’ Pierre:

Sunday, February 15th 2014 around 11 am we started the day by preparing everything needed for our trip to George Lake. While Pierre gathered his brushes, oil tubes, canvas and easel, I made sure my photographic gear was in order. All was going well but let’s face it, these trips can be difficult, especially if you do not have “huskies” as helpers to pull the sleigh required to carry all the necessary apparel for ‘on location’ work. The man ‘himself’ ended up doing most of the work and I could not stop shaking my head while hearing once in a while, amongst other alien sounds, Pierre’s voice crying out loud – Merde I have to buy a dog… shortly after and again… “Merde I have to buy a dog”. This time he immediately followed his comment with a notorious full and crisp laughter that kept resonating through the hills that encircled us. We were surrounded by green cedars sprinkled here and there with stubs all glazed in white and I assure you that his laughter reached and touched each one of them.

At 12:30 in the afternoon and after some settling difficulties, everything was ready and placed in an efficient manner so he could paint as fast as possible – the easel opened by the lakeshore, canvas properly secured to withstand the intermittent wind gusts, tubes of various colours placed in a pre-determined way depending on the need of usage, various brushes, bottles with turpentine, cleaning rags and a pair of large thick gloves appropriately camouflaged by being smudged with various colours from the repeated handling of oil paints.

 

 

 

The bay was clear and mystically quiet. Pierre steps back, looks to the horizon, approaches the canvas and with the precision and elegance of a maestro strikes the first traces that defined the contours of this cold winter landscape. The only warmth in the air was Pierre’s breath and the reddish color (Terra Cota) of the local rock quite characteristic of Killarney’s panoramas. Both were intangible and only meant to touch you spiritually.

Absorbed by the intensity of this vista and struggling between the tossing of paint on canvas and the mixing of colours, he laboriously painted away trying to avoid freezing or hardening of the media that he is accustomed to. The “artiste” worked rapidly, but even so, on several occasions, speed was not enough and when he pushed hard to squeeze the ink tubes, some bursted with holes caused by the constant pressure of his frozen fingers – within an hour the masterpiece was finished.

Magical is the experience of observing Pierre executing ‘expressionism’ within his favourite environment, nature in its full vitality. Mystical is the place that gives fruition to great works of art produced by any creative that decides to explore it, being such Killarney, the home of Pierre AJ Sabourin. During that same evening we were rewarded by the rising of a very unique and beautiful full moon bathing the shores of Sunset Rock.

 

 

Pierre lives and works out of Killarney, he is the artist in residence for Killarney’s Provincial Park and thrives on a busy schedule, painting, teaching and campaigning vigorously for the permanence and continuity of the beauty that Killarney has to offer. He literally lives in the footsteps of the Group of Seven, the most famous association of Canadian artists in our country’s history. This year is a very special one as it marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Killarney Provincial Park by the laborious efforts of the Group of Seven artist  A.Y. Jackson.

I urge you to attend Pierre’s workshops or one of the numerous “En-Plain-Air” art demonstrations carried in the Park, you will have an experience like no other.

 

Artist – Pierre Sabourin Facebook

Studio – Sunset Rock Studio / Directions

Location – Killarney village / Killarney Park

Residence – Killarney village / Killarney Park

Website / Blog - Pierre AJ Sabourin

 

Killarney Park website:

http://www.ontarioparks.com/park/killarney

Map for canoeists/kayakers

14 Sep 2014

EMBRACING CHANGE

 

DeCew Falls, Ontario

Fall is nature’s own way of celebrating the passing – a tribute to our friends and families that are no longer with us.

When death touches us, it is never a pleasant experience especially if the ones that left were most dear to us. Despite all the rationalizing and the doctrines surrounding nature’s circle of life, for a lot of us, these moments of departure are unequivocally met with sadness and deep reflexion. We will be missing thousands of great encounters, opportunities of laughter, joy, redemption, mind and soul searching, anything that family or friends have embraced and helped us with through our lives, while shaping the growth and maturity of our personalities. After all everything we touch and love becomes at some level an integral part of our persona. Then if this is indeed the essence of our existence, the sadness that we experience is obviously connected to the realization that that part of us will never be here to be experienced, ever again. It’s like watching our own death a bit at a time and yes, that physical part is gone for good!

Lately, our circle of friends or acquaintances has experienced quite a few fatalities within a very short period of time. Although death must occur every second of our existence as a part of the renewal process, we have a tendency to be forgetful or immune to it until it knocks on our own door, until it visits our own circles.

How do you handle this? So many gone?

We all go about things differently, but let me tell you what I do:  Anytime I’m struggling with something, I push a series of walks into my system. I trek through the wilderness, trails, parks, or whatever retreats I can find close by. My intention is to walk, breathe (can’t forget that) and experience the many fragrances and sounds that we are encircled with. I take notice of all the surrounding harmonies; I immerse into nature; and I allow it to transform me.

More often than not, while in an ‘exodus’ mood, I make a point to take at least a pocket camera, so it is safe to say that I always carry some kind of an image grabber while going about my daily routine. Many interesting and one-of-a-kind images I missed by being camera-less, but it is still OK as I realize I’ve been given a chance to experience these moments in a much different and perhaps more intense way. It’s all good, I can still talk about it, right?

Here we are surrounded by these luscious and radiant colours of a season in full bloom. The Autumn foliage, red and gold is nature’s tears of joy for the performance of another year.

As most trees are depleted of their leaves, as they fall on the ground, as they become part of the soil that will nurture them one more time back to their lives, they do it in the most sublime way – a symphony of an exuberant and elaborate array of amazing colour. Well, this really makes me think! What better way to remember our friends and families than to praise them for the importance they had in our lives and for the souls that will continuously be lived through us. After all we do become a part of what we touch. There it is indeed, the Circle of Life.

In my treks, I’ve come upon this stunning site and I couldn’t help but to reflect on the significance that every deceased person has had shaping who I am through this continuum of life and death. Nature has taken me there, and in my humble intentions, I sincerely hope this image will do the very same for you – glorify the passing. It is a gift to you all, in memory to the ones that once played (and still do) a very important and unique roll in all our lives.

All the best

Rui

The image, Circle of Life, can be rendered at full resolution so you may use it as you please and that includes printing of a poster style reproduction up to 16×24 inches – personal use only. If you are interested just e-mail me at “info@ruilopes.ca” requesting the full size as I can not render it within this blog’s format. I will take care of it immediately unless I’m somewhere in the woods. Happy walks…
12 Oct 2012

‘PERDU’ Collection featured on CITYLINE

 


Designer Yanic Simard, founder of The Toronto Design Group, one of Canada’s top interior design firms has featured one of my images from the Perdu Collection in the Canadian acclaimed City TV show CityLIne. This segment about Yanic’s favourite things for 2012 aired Monday, February the 6th. Click on the CityLine link if you are interested.

If in a hurry you might want to advance to the 7:00 minute mark – it is when Yanic makes his appearance but if you really want to nail the spot where he talks about my art than fast forward to the 11:00 minute mark. Otherwise just sit back, grab a glass of wine :) and enjoy the show on its entirety.

The ‘Perdu’ collection has been continuously embraced by many. I am very grateful for all the support and encouragement that the art community, the design industry, family and friends have given me in pursuing my creativity.

Best and see you here soon

9 Feb 2012

LA CASA DE LAS PIEDRITAS




A XMAS STORY from ENVIGADO / MEDELLIN

It is once again that special time of the year where celebrations of peace and love take place and we are reminded of how important it is to get along as an universal race so the world will prosper for generations to come.

I had this great opportunity to visit my oldest son Ruy and his girlfriend Lisseth (what a sweetie) for the Xmas season in Medellin Colombia, and I felt it was quite appropriate to share this unique experience I had a few days ago, with all of you. This is all about ‘personal passion’ and quite an example of how our lives have a greater meaning when we allow ourselves to be driven byit.

Santiago Rojas, is a passionate man with a vision of such an unparalleled quality. In his own words “since I was little, the plans for this unique house have been always in my head. I never lay them on paper, only in my dreams – a place built with my own hands, with all kinds of little stones and numerous stories to tell.”

 


Literally, such a place has been built pebble by pebble. “From an early age it has been designed in my thoughts. I knew one day I would be doing this,” says the artist Santiago Rojas in his particular soft voice. And indeed he has!

 

 

A lot of recycling materials have been used in the making of this magical place. Anything from pebbles to clay, glass, pottery, wood, metal, etc. What strikes me the most is Santiago’s inventiveness and creativity in the re-use of such goods.

 


 

As we entered “la Casa,” we were greeted with a Xmas tree located in the center of the living room (image on the Xmas card) and on the right a Nativity scene welcomes anyone willing to tour. Immediately we knew we were about to experience a place made of dreams.

 

 

It is a very well planned and organized labyrinth, one that you can enter from the left or right. I remember vividly to tell my son Ruy and Diego (cousin of Santiago), “It gets crazier and crazier” as we explored the interior.

Highlights:
- A bedroom with 3 floors (mind you the floors are only approx. 7′x7′), with a very mini staircase connecting all the 3 levels. Level 1 is the bed, level 2 is the study and level 3, the library with a vista to the exterior.
- An atrium waterfall separates the bedroom from the kitchen and is opened to the skies, guarded by a statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the bedroom window.

 



- A kitchen with the most intricate detail I’ve ever seen and just beside the main countertop, a small bedroom for their dog “Princesa”, a charming miniature pinscher.

 



- After going through a couple more rooms of equal interest, I went up a set of stairs that led into the master bedroom and as soon as I laid my eyes on it, my very first thoughts were … I want one of these. The bed is unbelievably warm, higher than the norm with a set of steps leading to it and nested within a very organic environment. In fact the entire room and house has that feel. Looking to your left you see an open concept shower, where you will be bathed by a waterfall.

 





- You fight with the idea of exiting this wonder bedroom as you just want to stay in and allow your mind to explore the countless stories that it will entertain. The door to the left takes you to a bridge-like path that connects both sides of the house while exposing the central atrium. As you negotiate this passage you come to a dining room that seems to be a set extracted from the “Robinson Crusoe” well known adventure novel.

 



And “La Casa de las Piedritas” continuously breathes just lke his builder. “it will be finished when I die” says the artist. When his wife Gloria asked him what he wanted for Xmas he replied with a simple smile, “Cement.”

 


 

Santiago is a wonderful man, eager to share his project with any stranger. Let me assure you that by the time you are through touring his place, you leave with a feeling you’ve just made a great friend extraordinarily quickly.

My experience in Colombia has been exceptional … I’ve been surrounded by beautiful and charming people with a great sense of community and with a heart as large as it comes.
I wish you all a GREAT Holiday Season and a New Year full of Joy, Health and Prosperity.

 

26 Dec 2011

Invitation to my art show PERDU

 




Perdu is a collective work that departs considerably from most of the images that I’m usually known for. Although I’ve been photographing this style for quite a few years, this is the first time I’ve decided to show it publicly. I hope to induce a diversity of feelings within the viewer through the enigmatic framework intentionally represented by these creations.

I would love to have you experience my journey and have some fun while you are at it.

At the reception, wine and ‘hors d’ouevres’ will be served and you will be entertained by the classical sounds of musician Lian C. Ling

12 Oct 2011

A word on blogging

 
 

Back in 2007, I knew I had a need to express myself in a bigger way. I set out to find an outlet to my photographic skills or ideas, that could be much more interactive than anything else I had previously experimented with. The idea of blogging, although as much as it fit the task I had in mind, seemed like a lot of work . Still, I went ahead and opened an account with a host, just in case I felt adventurous. After some fear and hesitation, three years later, I took the plunge!

I must confess, as excited as I am, it has been quite a learning experience, and one that I’ve approached more with feel than logic, hoping it would work. Amazing how your perspective changes in relation to most new projects, as soon as you jump in and get your feet wet.

Wow, just a short couple of months from the designing stage and launching date, and despite all the work it took to make it happen, I am absolutely thrilled with the results and the acceptance that I’ve had from my friends and family. A word of thanks and great appreciation goes to everyone that encouraged me through their comments and personalized emails. And for those that are considering getting into the world of blogging, please don’t wait as long as I did. You will be doing yourself a favour as well as all of us potential followers — we could be sharing your ideas and knowledge at a much earlier date :) .

Now that I got this out of the way, I will leave you with a few images. These were all taken with my P&S Canon G10, during a short walk from Downtown Brampton. I usually cut through a soccer field, and to the west side of it, you normally find a lot of heavy machinery used in the grooming of the nearby City Parks. Rusty surfaces always provide interesting patterns and textures that offer plenty of material for one to explore: a perfect opportunity to nourish the concept of design, as it keeps your senses in tune.

This is a busy and exciting time, leaving hardly any room to attend to certain duties :) , but it will change. Log in for the next couple of weeks or so, as I have a lot to tell and show you. The highlight will definitely be my great experience with “The Lithuanian Song Festival”. Images from this beautiful event will follow as well. Till then keep pushing that trigger.
 
 

16 Jul 2010

Pushing your limits at Bronte

 

tree swallow

scarlet tanager
 

Do I want to become a bird photographer? Not necessarily. This is not so much about a change to my existing photographic genre, as it is with the ability and willingness to push my limits, and step away from my zone of comfort. By doing so, I came to an understanding that these little skittish creatures are very hard to photograph. Evidently, it requires a very different approach, in comparison to any other kind of photography that I have done to date. It’s a matter of fact that I do have a newly gained respect for anyone that has seriously dedicated his or her life to doing this kind of work.

 


eastern bluebird

Try to follow these beauties in flight, with a telephoto lens attached to your camera while going for optimal composition, ideal exposure and critical sharpness … my oh my … you know very well where this is going — a lot of (#$%^&) expressive language will become an integral part of your interaction with these beautiful, but little devils :) .

A visit to Bronte Creek Provincial Pk., (not very far from where I live) seemed like a good idea for my first test run. A couple of my good friends (Nuno and Carlos Raposo), are into bird watching, they joined the walk, and became a great help in the identification of most specimens. Birds in the park, included red wing blackbird, several kinds of sparrows, eastern bluebird, scarlet tanager, blue jay, cardinal, american gold finch, yellow warbler, pileated and red-bellied woodpecker, red tailed hawk, and turkey vulture. Struck by luck, we witnessed some of the most rare finds, such as the bobolink bird seen here below, the baltimore oriole and the northern yellow shafted flicker.

 

bobolink
 

Things that I’ve learned, during my first attempt to bird photography:

- patience, patience, patience
- camera body that shoots, ideally, at a sequence of 8 frames per second or higher, is a must
- a telephoto lens with a focal range between 400 to 500mm with the widest aperture you can possibly afford
- a monopod with a high quality ball-head
- great knowledge of the habitat where you are shooting and the behaviour of the birds you are trying to approach
- proper identification of their nesting or favourite perching zones — they are creatures of habit, just like all of us
- ideal time of day being morning — when they are mostly visible and active
- use neutral tone clothing, something that kind of blends in — you don’t have to look like a warrior
- being able to move slowly and stay still for a long time — watch your coffee intake for that morning :)
- and finally, practice, practice, practice

If you are the type that can not conform with some of the above requirements, especially the patience aspect of it, then you know this kind of photography is literally for the birds! :)

KNOWING YOUR LIMITS

As much as you should push your limits, it is just as important to know your limits. The bobolink photo above, and the one just below are pretty good examples of how to deal with eminent problems.

After a few exposures, I knew I could not get as close to my subjects as I wanted to — my technique still needed much improvement and my ‘glass’ was not as powerful as it could’ve been. I decided to pay attention in particular to their habitat and make it an integral part of my image. I believe that I achieved this purpose, and I’m glad that despite my short falls, I came home with something worth keeping. And just to put things into perspective, I shot a total of about 400 images — most of them ended up in my waste basket. I have a long way to go!

 

red-bellied woodpecker
 

For the entire day I only used the Canon 7D, coupled with the 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens and a 1.4 x Canon extender. It offered an effective telephoto range of approximately 450mm (448mm). A good range but, for the most part, I was still far from the subject. Keep in mind that some of the images were cropped tighter in post processing.

Wildlife in the park includes anything from the small species of mammals common to Southern Ontario, to larger breeds like, white-tailed deer, red fox, coyote and raccoon. Towards the end of the afternoon, as you can see, I had no problem spotting some white-tailed deer. The B&W photo rendition brings simplicity into the image, and emphasizes considerably the intense stare of these females. This technique introduces a sketchy feel, a resemblance of an artist’s drawing — a style I’m very much fond of.

 


white-tailed deer
 

I had a good time with my friends Nuno & Carlos, they just rock with their knowledge, and I’ve learned a ton about birds. This is quite a good place to take your family to, as there is a lot for everyone to do and see (a small petting zoo, play barn, swimming, camping, cycling, etc.). Here is the link again for Bronte Creek, but keep in mind that if you go there to photograph wildlife, you might want to consider visiting the park on weekdays and/or off-season, as it will be far less busy.

A good look at the peacock, and I’m sure you will agree it makes a hell of a difference, if what you are trying to shoot, is not in a big hurry to go anywhere :) .

 

a friendly peacock
 

16 Jun 2010

Canon 7D, Birds and the Hershie Center

 

 

Earlier this year I increased my collection of camera gear with the purchase of the new Canon 7D. This is actually the very first non full frame DSLR that I’ve ever owned. When I made the decision to shoot digitally, back in January of 2006, I went directly to the full frame Canon 5D, which had been introduced in the later part of 2005. At that time Canon had the monopoly on full frame 35mm digital cameras, which pretty well placed them in the driver’s seat – one of the reasons I then decided to go with Canon. Today I would have plenty of good choices, but frankly, I would stick with Canon – just because I can :) .

Why the 7D? For a few good reasons:

First, let me tell you about my new interest in exploring bird photography. It is a subject that I have always been fascinated by, and one that I experience quite often through my daily hikes. It seems magical, anytime I watch a bird in flight. For me, it symbolizes freedom; allows us to dream of horizons that otherwise would be impossible to get to, and, you have to admit, it is just the perfect portrait of grace. This is so powerful, that at my age, I still dream occasionally of soaring like an eagle, with the ease of a ‘master in flight’, commanding admiration and respect from anyone down below (no, I don’t wear a cape and I’m not on drugs either :) .

I’m also pretty excited about a job I will be helping with, scheduled for July 4th of this year, to photograph a LITHUANIAN SONG FESTIVAL. It will take place at the Hershey Center in Mississauga, Ontario, where singers will gather from all over the world to celebrate their LIthuanian cherished traditions. This production is huge, to the point that there will be 4 of us shooting the event for two consecutive days. My understanding is that the photos have to be uploaded almost immediately, to be processed and shown on the large screens surrounding the stage, in real-time. It definitely will be a very cool experience and one to be excited about. More on this later, as we get closer to the shooting day. For now you may reserve July 4th for a great experience in Lithuanian traditional singing, by checking the link for ‘I AM THE SONG’ at Lithuanian Songfest.

Now, where is the connection between birds, stage performers, and the new 7D? Well, let’s see:

- it shoots at a rate of 8 frames per second (just about double what I had)
- it has a multiplying factor of 1.6 on my telephoto lenses, due to the its APS-C size sensor.
For example, a 300mm lens becomes a 480mm, when coupled with the 7D, while still maintaining its widest aperture: a very important aspect as there is no loss of any quality that might be generic of a particular lens — quite the contrary if you decide to use a tele-extender instead, especially if you go for the 2X extender. This will automatically make your lens slower by 2 full stops, down to f5.6 in my case, and decrease somewhat image quality.
- and finally, it does not cost a fortune (I really like this part).

The first two reasons translate to speed and glass (lens) power, respectively – it makes shooting birds or stage performers, a lot more manageable. It gets me closer, and I stand a much better chance of increasing the pool of shots which turn out to be keepers. All of this is achievable at a fraction of the cost that would take otherwise, should I have opted for the Canon 400mm f2.8 lens and the EOS-1D Mark lV combination. If my budget were somehow different, naturally, I would’ve settled for the king of the hill :) .

I’m presently experimenting with this set-up for my bird shooting, and I will post some results, hopefully, soon enough. In the meantime check my bird image down below :) .

All these photos were taken with the 7D this past week, by Toronto’s Harbour Front, while scouting about with a good friend of mine. It turned out to be more of a study of form, colour, texture and light. This kind of shooting, I entertain regularily, as it gives my right side of the brain, quite a good workout. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Jun 2010

the making of a logo


I just want to take a minute and share with you how I’ve arrived at the design of my business logo. Being kind of a control freak in regards to my personal vision, I had no alternative but to take this task under consideration and see what I could come up with. I will give you an introduction about where I’m coming from, with the attempt to bring some meaning into all of this. Here it is:

Since the year 2000 my photographic interests have changed considerably, where the natural world or should I say the ‘great outdoors’ became the ‘atelier’ of my preferred choice. Our ‘Blue Planet’ has been consistently my daily inspiration, and every chance I have, I will embrace it by trekking through its peaks and canyons or by paddling over rivers and lakes.

I am fascinated by every drop, every sound, every breeze… even a stroll by the trails of High Park or a simple morning walk in my backyard, (while sipping on a good cup of coffee), is quite a liberating experience. All is continuously changing, all is in a state of renewal, endlessly stimulating my vision. The credit goes unquestionably to the Creator for this certain ‘allure’ that confines us.

In the midst of it all, I am just a catcher of nature’s ultimate score. My input translates merely on how I recognize or decide to mix the components of an already existing powerful image. And such passion promotes the developing of a keen eye to observe and render this special light into elements of a beautiful image – thus the meaning of ‘painting with light’.

 

Annapurna Circuit – Nepal

ATELIER – Studio
AZUL – Blue for Sky and Water. Water covers 70% of our Planet
DOTS – The three primary colours (Red, Yellow, Blue) being captured by the U in AZUL, symbolic of a test tube, cup or mixer for the light spectrum
PAINTING WITH LIGHT – ‘Light’ is the primary component of the mix. Without light, there is no image!

 

4 Jun 2010

why do I photograph

By answering that question perhaps I can inspire some of you to recognize the “raison d’être” of the act of image capture, and who knows, possibly get you motivated enough to even pick up your camera and go about finding your own reasons, as in “WHY” you should really do the same.

I have been always fascinated by our perception of time, and how a particular day of your life can seem like one second or an eternity, all depending on your state of mind and your experience during that unique moment of your existence.

The older we get, the more we tend to loose the ability to slow down and appreciate our surroundings. We need some help. In my case that help comes in form of the camera as a tool, as a vehicle that carries me into the world before me. And the conscious decision to maintain a sense of wonder is what keeps my mind attuned to observe and appreciate all the hidden treasures awaiting to be discovered.

Once I am there, in that particular space, time dissipates, and leaves behind the freedom to look, and to capture all that will unfold. And when the simplicity of beauty reveals itself, I want to be ready to preserve it and share it with everyone. Humble and hopeful, perhaps I can move you into doing the same, even if it is just as an observer and preserver of the planet we live on.

29 May 2010