This project involves working with 6 storm chaser photographers to accompany each of them on a chase. Post chase, we will choose a photograph that is iconic of that particular chase. I will then interpret each of these photographs on a large canvas. The conclusion of the project will be to host a gallery event that features the 6 large paintings alongside each of the enlarged and framed chase photographs that inspired it. Viewers will have some insight into the power of severe weather and the inspiration that such weather provides to both the Chaser and the Artist.
My work is inspired by the landscape, sky, water and ice of a place, and especially of my home, Alberta. Last fall, I attended ChaserConCanada, a weekend convention of storm chasers and photographers from across Canada. The photographs and video of severe weather over this weekend was a revelation to me. I realized my style could be refined to reflect actual weather formations, while still being true to my current explorations of abstract land and skyscapes. I also realized these storm chaser photographers are artists in their own right, creating stunning images of clouds, lightning and sometimes, tornadoes. Each chaser I’ve spoken with has said to me, “You must go on a chase to experience the true impact and raw power of a storm. It will change the way you look at the sky.” I am also a big believer in the impact of SciArt; the opportunity for science education and awareness through the engagement with art. My art is inspired so much the sky and it seems a natural fit to help stir a conversation about the science of Meteorology and severe weather. Each of the representative images will be accompanied by descriptive text explaining the cloud formation and the conditions that created it.
Storm chasing season runs from June to August. Chasers generally have an idea the night before whether or not storms may occur in a specific area. I will be “on-call” with a designated chaser during specified times throughout the summer. When conditions develop, we will head out to the area and begin to document the storm, through photos, video, timelapse and sketching.
Post chase, the chaser photographer and I will choose a single image that is representative of that particular chase. This photograph will become the inspiration for the large work in oil. I will begin working on these pieces as soon as I have the first chaser photograph chosen and will continue to work on them during the summer while on-call.
Project Goals and Impact
I am undertaking this project with several goals in mind. Foremost of these is to develop my abstract style to be more reflective of actual weather phenomena and to learn more of the science behind what causes the various cloud formations and storms that we see in Alberta.
I am intrigued to see what effect the “raw power” of seeing a storm up close (safely) has on my art. I am interested in learning from the creative process of these accomplished photographers. Composition and photographic techniques present a whole new challenge when your subject moves at 40km/h with hail, heavy rain and lightning.
The final goal is to publicly exhibit these works to attempt to show viewers part of the creative process. The juxtaposition of the painting and the image that inspired it has potential to create a conversation between viewer, photographer and artist. Additionally, I am a big proponent of SciArt and feel that projects like this which feature art to tell the story of science, in this case, meteorology, can lead to engagement and further exploration in the general public.
Finally, storms are amazingly beautiful.