Alan Norsworthy is an experienced photographer with a career spanning too many years to count. In England he was a technical photographer using black and white film and working in a traditional darkroom. After coming to Canada in the early 70â€™s the vastness of this country caught his attention and a new path was laid. Since then his work has been mainly based on landscape photography but can and does include anything that catches his eye. Alan has won numerous awards for his work which can be found all across Canada, the US and Europe. After many years of traveling, Alan has settled in the Atlantic Provinces and made Parrsboro, Nova Scotia his home. He continues to seek out new images and finds inspiration as he walks the beaches that he loves. In recent years, although he still makes images in colour, the majority of his work is in Monochrome â€œbecause Monochrome gets to the root of the image." Alan can be contacted directly through his website or by emailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 7th, 2014
Yesterday our regular Saturday morning outing was delayed by the heavy rains.
Still, “delayed” is not “canceled” ..
We arranged to meet at 9:30 at the usual spot and headed for the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.
One of us (me) was expecting a half empty space where we could photograph, draw and or paint in relative peace and quiet, after all school was back in, right?
By 10:30 the place was packed with Mom's and Dads chasing gaggles of kids chasing the butterflies..
Finding a little place of refuge for a little piece of peace was a challenge but it was possible and there we sat, sweating.
You see the building is for tropical flora and fauna so it is very warm and very humid, much like the weather that we had been trying to avoid all summer!
Oh the irony, we paid for hot and humid while outside it was cool and not so humid!
But the “three amigos” rode again so it was all worth it.
By 11:30 we were all getting a little overwhelmed so we retreated to the cafeteria for tea and munchies and a overdue get together.
The conversation, banter and laughter flowed as easily as ever. Sketchbooks were shared (which is a relatively new addition to our get-togethers) and plans were hatched for next weekends outing.
We probably overstayed our welcome but no-one told us to leave and we were in no hurry because we were in the company of friends.
A good day despite the slow, wet start and of course the artificial weather 'inside'.
“A friend accepts us as we are yet helps us to be what we should”. ~Author Unknown
August 31st, 2014
This last week I had a conversation, a conversation about why do we release our creations to the world?
Why expose our inner self, our feelings, our very souls. Taking the chance that we will be humiliated, scorned, laughed at or a thousand other ways to be demeaned?
Do we do it for accolades? Approval? Acceptance? “attaboys”? Money? Fame?
Well maybe .. but I think there is a deeper reason.
We have a burning need, a deep desire to create and having created the desire to create becomes the need to share.
That need overpowers the possibility of criticism and rejection so that we may release our creations into the world, to share it with others and in so doing risk 'baring our souls'.
A scary though that, putting it all on the line for the chance that someone somewhere may simply say “I like that”...
So I ask again, Why expose our inner self, our feelings, our very souls....?
This is why, this is what I ( we? ) seek
Time is such a precious thing.
The moments that were are gone.
The moments to come race toward us at a frightening speed then they too are gone.
And in the moment of here and now we create and having done so we need affirmation of time well spent.
For as that moment passes and we look at what we created we can say “that was not here a moment ago but now it is” it is real, it becomes a proof of our existence.
It is our statement: “look I was here” !!
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays
p.s Thanks to Patrick for opening this door
August 24th, 2014
Sometimes you have to step out of your box and leave the comfort zone.
Yesterday was one such a time.
I and a few others had been invited over to a friends house to sit outside in the gathering dusk to feed ourselves and the ever present mosquitoes.
Having had quite enough of the little buzzing, biting creatures this last week I was leaning towards an evening indoors with the AC on and a good book.
Well the persistence of friends overcame the reluctance and I spent more than a few hours in quiet enjoyment and awe while DEET took care of the the distractions.
A Conjunction between Mars and Saturn is happening right now above your heads, all you have to do is look up, just a little, to the South East. No other equipment other than your eyes is necessary.
There they are hanging like jewels amongst a million million other jewels.
But for us the real magic was yet to be revealed, there were three telescopes set up all pointed in the same piece of sky.
Saturn was the target.
Saturn with her rings filled the viewfinders.
Everyone who looked through those long tubes gasped in amazement.
Everyone from the absolute 'newbie' to the seasoned 'pro' stood and bowed their heads to peer into the optics and all were moved.
Discussions ranged from the obvious 'wow did you see the rings' ? to 'what does it all mean'?
Saturn held the show and held us in her magic.
Saturn, to Holst was the bringer of old age, to us she was the bringer of childhood …
“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million”.. ~Walt Streightiff
August 10th, 2014
This morning found me thinking about what to write. It's a busy time and trying to find some 'me time' has been difficult with no respite in sight for the near future.
However a couple of things have changed;
I resigned from a committee at the Wellington Artists Gallery
and from the Critique Group at the Photographers Guild.
However I did replace them with a new group, I joined the KW Urban Sketchers group. A loosely knit group of people who share a common thread, the love of drawing, painting and sketching.
The manifesto is simple:
We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
Our drawings are a record of time and place.
We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
We support each other and draw together.
As I try to grow as an artist, recovering that which was lost so many years ago this seemed like a good trade.
Things change and we change.
Some things had to be given up to allow other things to grow...
I have just finished reading :The Tree's in my Forest” By Bernd Heinrich.
Although it is about tree's and a forest, literally . The analogy between our lives and his forest are quite clear, or where too me...
Tree seedlings can sit dormant or growing very slowly for years, until conditions change, allowing them to reach for the sun and grow.
A tree crashes to earth as a result of old age, high winds or Ice. In doing so it relinquishes its hold on the canopy space.
Sunlight floods the forest floor and the sleepy seedlings reach for the skies..
In my case the tree's that fell were the committee's. In their removal a space opened up for this fledgling artist to reach for the sky.
Well that's the general idea, now where is my pencil and sketchpad ? ….
“Sometimes, to pursue a new idea, the artist must forfeit his deposit on an old idea”. ~Robert Brault
To see a larger copy of this image click the link below..
August 3rd, 2014
“Procrastination” has become a dirty word.
A procrastinator has become a sloth, a ne'er-do-well, someone not to be trusted.
However there was a time when we all took the time to “ponder” to “mull it over”, to “evaluate”, “ruminate”, “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” and in doing so we often come up with the correct choice.
Now instant decisions are the norm..
Well knee jerk reactions can start wars …
So what is the alternative?
If a decision doesn't have to be made today, right now, this instant and lets face it most don't, then put it off until it has to be made.
The “back burner” is where our mind still works on things subconsciously. “Sleeping on it” allows us to focus on what is really important...
“Relaxing”, “enjoying” or busily doing “nothing at all”
Oh I know there are times when we have to decide and decide quickly but I wonder how many of the day to day decisions fall into that category?
The British Army adage, the six “p's” hold true.
P!ss Poor Planning Produces Poor Performance
Or if you are of a more delicate nature, the 7 P's ..
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance
So ask yourself, how can you plan if you need a decision RIGHT NOW! ??
After a morning spent in the joyful pursuit of doing nothing, during the time that I set aside for myself and I might add, jealously guard. No tougher decision was made other than where to sit and what to draw and the world did not come to an end because of it ....
“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.” ~Bertrand Russell
July 27th, 2014
Lets talk about barns...
You see them everywhere around here in what was once a bucolic setting.
Unfortunately the trend is buy the land, tear down the barn, either quickly or leave the old place to slowly crumble as the years roll on.
Demolition by neglect
As a lover of all things 'old', some call me a 'Luddite', I hate to see this happening. What is worse I hate it when I watch and old place always thinking 'I should record this place before its gone. Because it surely will be gone' and I wait, putting off the visit as if I had all the time in the world.
Then, one day I drive by and there is a pile of burning rubble … too late.
Last week I read an article on the Urban Sketchers website, “A Farewell to Barns” it seems others are of the same mind.
I made a suggestion to my friends to visit two such places nearby.
On Saturday morning we set off for the first location. As it turned out we did not reach the second location as time flew by and real world issues forced us back to reality. We packed up and headed downtown to our favourite watering hole ..OX for tea, croissants and banter before heading back to tackle the remainder of the day.
All-in-all a great morning, the weather guys were wrong (again) about the rain and thunderstorms and we had a warm, peaceful morning sitting in the shade and managed to record one old barn and outbuildings for posterity.
Sometimes 'simple' is all you need.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”. ~Socrates
July 20th, 2014
Yesterday was 'a walk in the woods ' day.
At this time of year it should have been called a 'three doses of DEET' day!
The place, Scottsdale Farm and the wonderful meandering trails there. However it was hard to concentrate or to stop for as soon as we did we were engulfed in a swarm of bloodthirsty mosquitoes.
Incessant buzzing in my ears, tapping on my face, getting in behind my glasses. The constant, never ending onslaught made concentration difficult if not impossible.
Then there was one of those moments, we walked into a small valley and it was like walking back in time. To a time long ago when dinosaurs ruled and everything was ten times bigger than what we know and expect. The valley floor covered in waist deep jewelweed massive ancient Ash, Maple and Beech trees reached for the sky and the forest floor not covered with the jewelweed had a new coat, of young tree's.
The ice storm(s) of last winter had caused much damage to the canopy. So much so that more light was pouring in to those area's that for so long had been in deep shade. It doesn't take Mother Nature long to seize on an opportunity, the tree's began to sprout dozens if not hundreds of tiny tree's began the race to the light.
For those that look and see it was an amazing sight to behold.
… “Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes”? ~Author Unknown
July 6th, 2014
As you probably know these past few months I have been trying to strengthen my drawing and sketching skills having hung up my pens, pencils and brushes many years ago.
Last week I uploaded a pen and ink sketch of Goldie Mill here in Guelph.
My friend Connie added a comment or was it a challenge ?
“Are you going to make a painting of this”? She asked.
I said no but after a series of sketches at home I used a brush pen and added watercolour to it.
Then I redrew the scene once again this time on Aquarelle watercolour paper and pulled out my brushes …
The attached photo is the result “one small step for a man, one giant leap …. for me” :-)
After another quiet morning spent in the marsh at Valens Conservation Area I must admit that this sketching stuff is becoming addictive. Yes I had my camera, yes I made a few images but the overpowering serenity that one feels when just sitting, watching and listening is like a drug.
“We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart... and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together.... I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude”. ~Helen Hayes
June 29th, 2014
Yesterday I went to Goldie Mill Park here in Guelph.
“Nothing too unusual about that, Alan out for a walk on a Saturday morning” they say.
But this one was different in a couple of ways, firstly I was alone, the normal 'motley crew' scattered to the ends of the Earth well if you call Tobermory the ends of the earth and Helvetica (Confoederatio Helvetica) which is a bit further.
Non-the-less I was inspired by Patrick's sketches sent to tease us as he literally 'wanders abroad', old towns rendered with a loving hand no not with a tourists view and a camera but with an artists view and a pad of paper and a pen.
Where can I find such a place, close to home to scratch the itch implanted by these sketches?
I thought about it for quite a while and as sleep came on Friday evening “Goldie Mill” popped into my head.
So bright and early off I went.
The car parked, the bag recovered from the trunk like so many other times, but this time it was different. This time the bag contained pens, pencils and sketch books.
I went in search of the scene …
In a shady spot I unfolded my ridiculously expensive seat and made myself comfortable for what would be the first of three drawings worked up over the next couple of hours.
People came and went, some stopped to chat briefly one asked if she could look at what I was drawing.
A totally different experience than hiding behind a lens.
As the sun rose higher and the day warmed my hands did as they were bidden and the pen moved more gracefully.
The focus narrowed.
Time passed quickly as it always does in these instances.
But in the end a quiet satisfaction and a smile...
Time to pack up and head home..
This was so different than my usual outing and looking back I can still hear the birds, the cheery “morning” from passers by, the breeze in the tree's and feel the sun on my back.
“The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep”. ~Paul Strand
June 15th, 2014
Yesterday was a fine day for a long walk. Just as well because the trail I was on was not the one I thought it was!
Oh well I was out and about on a great morning with good company so does it really matter where you are?
The 'Forks of the Credit' waterfalls, bridges and ruins were the destination which we never found even by going in the front way but a two hour walk along half remembered trails passed so quickly and enjoyably.
We may not have found what we went out to find but we found new things, places and spaces.
Surely that is all that is important, after all its not the destination but the journey and this journey ended with the promise to return, because …
… “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”. ~John Muir