A Day at the Synchrotron

This article was published back in October, 2012 in the Star Phoenix and on WCVM Today. The story was written by Robin Thrasher, who was at the time a third-year veterinary student doing a summer internship at the WCVM. I got to spend a few hours on assignment at the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron taking photos of the article’s subject, Trinita Barboza, also a vet-med student, who was there working on a research project for the summer.

This was a really neat opportunity and I hope everyone who gets a chance to tour the Synchrotron can take advantage of it.

See more photography at portraitsofsaskatoon.com.

Sundogs Booth

Foxtail Studio / Gazelle Fine Art Sundogs Booth

Foxtail Studio has black-and-white giclee photos and hand-transferred prints on wood at the Sundogs Faire in Saskatoon this Dec. 1-2, 2012. Thanks to Carissa Erickson for helping us with booth decorating ideas!

If you’re looking for a special Christmas present or a memento of the Victoria Bridge, consider a print! And if you’re looking for pet portraits, we’re sharing a booth with Heather Gessell of Gazelle Fine Art. Prints for sale can also be seen at PortraitsOfSaskatoon.com. Happy shopping!

Mash Millwright Business Cards

Mash Millwright Business Cards

Business card and logo I designed for my little bro who lives in Red Deer, Alberta. The business cards were printed by Jukeboxprint.com in Vancouver and feature a spot varnish on the dark grey areas. I love Jukebox’s spot varnish and other special option business cards – they’re classy enough to stand out, and not super expensive!

Not Just Coasting…

I was at the Grand Opening for The Two Twenty last night, a hip office/event/coffee/co-working space that is helping to revitalize 20th Street in Saskatoon.

The red carpet was a nice touch.

What I wanted to share from a design point of view was… the coasters. The schedule for the night’s entertainment (kind of a three-ring circus) was printed on these super-stylin’ coasters. I thought this was a great idea for an event program.

The Two Twenty CoasterCoaster Program creds: Designed by the lovely and talented Carrie Catherine (@carriecatherine), and printed by MORE Promo (@morepromo) here in Saskatoon.


Victoria Bridge 2010 Prints

This is a bit late, but better late than never I always say! I’d like to thank and congratulate Bonnie Norrington, my former Saskatoon neighbor (now a Thunder Bay, ON resident), on being the first to purchase one of my Victoria Bridge 2010 prints.

Victoria Bridge, Saskatoon, Fall 2010

Victoria Bridge, 2010, Limited Edition Print

I took this photo in late October of 2010; it was pouring rain which turned to snow overnight… which I suppose made it the last day of the year before winter descended. Framed and unframed prints are available; visit www.portraitsofsaskatoon.com for more details.

A New Registry Logo, Part I

I recently had the pleasure of creating a new logo for the Canadian Arabian Horse Registry and thought it might be interesting to share some insights into the process.

The Canadian Arabian Horse Registry, incorporated in 1958 under the Animal Pedigree Act, is a member-based organization with about 800 members. Its aim is simply to meet the needs of Arabian horse owners in Canada, and to promote the breed both within the horse world and to the general public. The Registry needed an updated logo to serve two purposes:

1. to be a strong identifier for the breed, and,
2. in order to facilitate no. 1, it should be attractive, easy to use on promotional items, and a representation that members would be proud to display.

To start the process, we did a brief survey of Arabian and other horse club logos and found that they fell into two general categories.

Picture Logos

‘Picture’ Logos

First, the ‘picture’ logos, featuring a detailed, prominent picture of a horse. When taken as a group within the Arabian breed, many of these logos end up looking quite similar. (Notice how these horses are all facing to the right.) These logos can also date themselves as breed standards (and drawing styles) evolve. The old logo for the Canadian Arabian Horse Registry (known colloquially as the ‘mare and foal’ logo) is of this type and is shown in the top left hand corner.

On the positive side, some pictorially detailed logos can be a beautiful throwback to historic types of advertising imagery. On the negative side, they are not terribly versatile and quickly lose detail when used at small sizes.

Iconic Logos

‘Iconic’ logos

The second category contains more iconic logos. The more modern of these stuck with a simplified silhouette or knock-out shape (bottom row). Others had more detail but used a simplified line or outline, falling somewhere between a picture and a purely iconic look (top row). The human brain has been shown to recognize shapes first, colors second, and details third, so simplifying the imagery allows the logo to be more immediately recognizable. It also makes it more useful over a wide range of applications, for example with different sizes and colors.

AQHA Logos

AQHA Logos

We also looked at the American Quarter Horse Association’s identity system. The AQHA has a particularly strong identity, which they rolled out about ten years ago. (I haven’t been able to find out who the design firm is, but am hoping someone will be able to supply that information). The old logo (top) featured a picture of a Quarter Horse and part of the American flag. The new logo dropped all imagery in favor of a simple red Q. The genius of the mark is that the Q is unique among horse breeds and is an immediate identifier of the Quarter Horse breed (often abbreviated as QH).

In the next blog post, we’ll look at the actual process that was used to design the new CAHR logo.


Prairie 2

Ink wash on watercolor paper. C Weese.

I’ve been thinking lately about landscapes.

One of the first art shows I went to in college was Manifestation Series at the Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery, an exhibition by Yolande Valiquette, a ceramics artist, in collaboration with painter Laurie McCallum.

With apologies to the artists, I remember being surprised at the bright colors in the actual pieces, but I loved the simple black and white imagery in the exhibition flyer – enough that I’ve carted it around for ten plus years and can still find it easily on the bookshelf.

Manifestation Series

Manifestation Series

There’s some kind of strong imagery in the little buildings on the prairies. It’s a favourite subject for many artists. They have wabi-sabi. These little buildings are human-built, and therefore an easy stand-in for us, but they are alone in their landscape, accompanied only by land and sky. Waiting.

In university, I took a class on Canadian art traditions in which landscape plays a big part. This exploration of the idea of “landscape” is a funny thing. The definition of a landscape is ‘all the visible features of an area of countryside or land’, or ‘a picture representing an area of countryside’. The origin of the word (Dutch lantscap) means a picture of natural scenery – these days, we use the word interchangeably to mean the land itself, when we are viewing it.

Because of this origin being a picture, something which is viewed, landscape has always had ties to the viewer – to the person who is looking at it. Without the viewer, a “landscape” as a concept cannot exist.

The Big Red Barn

The Big Red Barn

One of the first pictures in my memory is this, the Big Red Barn. It marks the last turn-off to my grandparents’ farm, which my uncle now owns. It’s one of those kind of places where it seems silly to lock your doors. To me, this has never been a sad or lonely image – instead, it means: You’re almost home.

Prairie 1aPrairie 1bPrairie 1c