Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018 - from M.L.Holton

'Art Attack by M.L.Holton
There is so much hate and hurt in the world now - people lashing out, crying, and dying from injustice and justice. As an artist, in this year, 2018, and on this day, I consider it my on-going ROLE to declare that I too WITNESS, via my words and art works, that which defines, aligns and alienates us, humanity, from each other, and from our collective home, Mother Earth.

Today, I was honored to have excerpts from my album, Canadada: Take Two, included in this timely & insightful Australian podcast by DJ Lapkat. She has mindfully assembled a medley of spoken word and music that ADDRESSES us, humanity. 

Please, listen in - give it the due it deserves. Thank you.

La Danza Poetica - #60. Canada:Untold Stories

Via DJ Lapkat: 'We love you, Canada. Not only is your Minister for Transport an astronaut, your storytellers, poets, musicians and artists are gravity-defyingly-eloquent. La Danza Poetica #60 is an extended show, because I was enjoying myself so much, I could not stop. Moving from high-energy, activist hip hop and electronic dance music, into an extended ambient / spoken word mix with no interruption from me ... this month I bring you some stories, told in a time of reckoning, rooted in cultural expression, social consciousness, and Mother Earth connection.



Ziibiwan – Fast Asleep (I Will)
M.L.Holton – I care 4 U caribou (SPOKEN)
Brandon Wint – Brighter
Ziibiwan – Winter's Child feat. Wellspoke
Jb the First Lady – OOTG
Taboo / Mag 7 – Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL
Eivør Pálsdóttir – Trollabundin (Rise Ashen Rub)
M.L.Holton – The Inuit in me Speaks to the White (MUSIC)
M.L.Holton – The Inuit in me Speaks to the White (SPOKEN)
Mob Bounce – Vision Quest
Wellspoke – facts
Ziibiwan – Manitou
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson – Caribou Ghosts and Untold Stories
Quantum Tangle – Ikersuaq
Shane Koyczan – Inconvenient Skin feat. Tanya Tagaq & Kym Gouchie
Brandon Wint – My Body is Heavy with Histories
Francois Couture – Iceberg
M.L.Holton – igloo (SPOKEN)
Ziibiwan – North
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson – Laughing Heart
Brandon Wint – Impossible and Common
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson – The Oldest Tree in the World

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

In Studio - Magic Hour, Georgian Bay by MLHolton

Magic Hour, Georgian Bay - acrylic on board, by MLHolton
This work recently returned to my lakefront studio, and will be here until the end of the month, when it will go back into storage. It's nicely framed, if I say so myself, in a silver wooden plain frame. Size: 25" square. -- If interested to view, please make an appointment -  M-F, 9-5pm. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Painting & Pinholing - Off to a Great Start in the New Year!

Bruce Trail: Early Spring (2009) by M.L.Holton - SOLD
For five years, I was the Trail Captain for the Ian Reid Side Trail, a tributary of the Bruce Trail, in southern Ontario, Canada. A 1.5 km trail, it meanders off the main trail through the woodland area beneath the Niagara Escarpment. It was my job to keep the trail clear of debris and just keep an 'eye on it'. I'd head out for a good hike at least once every two weeks. At that time of the year, the tail end of winter, the ground was still bone hard. A gentle brush of snow covered the lee-side of the escarpment, but the sun - oh that Sun! - was sending out such radiant warmth that I stopped in my tracks when ascending the trail and just marveled. ... I could sense the WHOLE marvelous planetary drama unfold ... The trees cracked, wee tiny water rivulets were forming on the trail, and that shimmering sunlight & early spring air were soooo fresh & invigorating! Ah! The Promise of Spring! - We are so very blessed to live on this amazing planet. - And I am very happy that this work has now gone on to a good home.

In other 'New Years'  news, I also recently completed a great interview with David Ellis via his arts blog, about my pinhole photography. Have a gander -  Photographer Interview - Margaret Lindsay Holton.

A few choice extracts follow - 

DL: Thank you for chatting to us today about the traits of your photography, along with what motivates and influences you as a photographer. Firstly, please tell us about your photography speciality, which is Pinhole Photography. What type of photography is this and what are its origins?

Margaret Lindsay Holton replies: 
Pinhole photography is the oldest known form of photography on the planet. The earliest known use of this technique was in Asia around 500 B.C, and in the West, around 500 A.D. During the Renaissance it enjoyed a brief resurgence as scientists and philosophers explored the emerging realm of optics. Sir David Brewster, a Scottish scientist, first coined the phrase ‘pin-hole’ in the 1850’s. Also known as a ‘camera obscura’, pinhole photography – without the use of lens or fancy mechanical gadgetry – lets in a small pinhole of light to a completely blacked-out cavity. This incoming pinhole of light creates a upside-down reverse image of what the pinhole is facing.
In other words, it creates a ‘negative’.I use photo-sensitive paper to create my images. From the paper ‘negative’, I pull a ‘positive’ print in my darkroom using conventional developing techniques. The ‘positive’ photo image, also known as a ‘contact print’, is what you see as the finished photograph.

Labour intensive, creating one pinhole image can easily take 8 to 10 hours, from initial ‘loading’ of the photo-sensitive paper in the darkroom, to the end result of the final photo image. Yet, oddly, time dissolves when pinholing. The process forces one to be very attentive to the ‘here and now’. All becomes vivid, more immediate. One is literally dancing with Light…

I am ever beguiled by this seemingly archaic form of ‘slow photography’. It amazes me still, even after nearly two decades of pinholing, that I can create photo images without a lens, or a mechanical box with shutters or digital fittings.

Have you always been interested in Pinhole Photography or do you have other genre types of pictures that you have focused on over the course of your career?

I began taking photographs many years ago, like many, with a simple Box Brownie. As I grew older, I moved into more conventional photography, with upgrades of equipment, first using 35mm film then switching to digital, for the last twenty years.

Now, as an award-winning, multi-disciplined and senior Canadian artist, I see and use the discipline of photography as an alternative tool to perceive, interpret and document the world that I inhabit.
I have always pinholed somewhat organically. I never, as example, use a light meter. Rather, to understand exposure, I instinctively gauge the brilliance of the Sun bouncing off objects, constantly learning by trial and error.

All in all, I am not particularly ‘connected’ to current digital methods of photography. Cameras are tools that can be used in a variety of different ways to amplify WHAT we see and HOW we see it. The skill of photography – to convey meaning – comes with the understanding of the effects of light while adroitly framing a composition. Mechanical cameras and digital software twiddle with these photo basics.

To that end, aside from pinhole photography, I create digital photo-montages where I layer images on top of each other to create hybrid visual stories.

I also create what I call digital ‘white outs’. In this method, I take a digital image and then, via now an outdated computer software program, manually erase segments, by moving the computer mouse. The effect creates an interesting fusion of perceived as well as created contours that, I believe, both please and engage the mind’s eye.

Lately, I have also been using digital video to explore additional aspects of visual storytelling.
About five years ago, I started by making short documentary profiles for local news outlets using my Apple iPod and a simple Apple editing application, iMovie. These video shorts allowed me to hone my shooting and editing style.

Then, in 2016, I wrote and directed my first narrative film, ‘The Frozen Goose’. This period film, about a rural family coping in the aftermath of WW1, with a cast of five, has exhibited at festivals over the past year, aired on local cable stations, received good media coverage and is now globally available online.

As a result, it is much more likely that people will be aware of my ‘art making’ capabilities via film, than by my pinhole photography or even my signature painted works. That’s just the nature of the beast.

The serious fun part of filming is, in fact, the editing, not the shooting. Why? Because editing moving pictures establishes a basic cognitive resonance between the filmmaker and the viewer in a way that still photography seldom can. With film, the editor intimately ‘tells the story’ from start to finish, leading the viewers’ eye, ear and minds.

With still photography, the reality of viewer distraction is far greater. And the viewer, through their own perceptual bias, ends up mentally quick-editing the stationary image, in order to find their own meaning. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a more capricious engagement process then creating video stories. It is much much tougher to make an arresting still photograph, let alone, a good pinhole image.

Other than that, I continue to paint two dimensional works, as I have done for over 40+ years. You can sample that kind of work via my art blog. ...

Whose photographic work has influenced you the most in your life? 

Henri Cartier-Bresson. But I don’t know that he has particularly influenced my work. I do very much admire his compositions and acute eye, his way of seeing. We all see so many images now. What seems to hold attention these days is the jarring or often visually upsetting image. But I don’t know that this is really useful or helpful to anyone, in that, we have become somewhat anesthetized and polluted by the vast array of digital photography flicking on multiple screens. They are constantly demanding our attention: “Look at ME!” Think of the constant barrage of ‘attention grabbing’ headline photos of extreme whatever. Our minds are constantly being assaulted by this advertiser-induced stuff to – to just WATCH. My intent, by changing the means of photographic creation – be it through pinhole, photo-montage or white-outs – is to ‘Free the Eye’.

I hope to visually persuade viewers to make new synaptic connections that seduce through gentle curiosity and interest, instead of through heightened uncertainty or horrific pain. Violence doesn’t have to be a mainstay of how we SEE things. ...

Among all of your photographic works, which one is your personal favourite and why is it your favourite?

Oh dear. Impossible to choose. I like many for very different reasons. Light effects, composition, familiarity of subject matter or even the ‘odd ball’ shot. One of my favourite pinhole images, as example, was entirely a mistake. The mounted photo-sensitive paper fell off inside the camera during exposure. The result was a ‘double image’ of the window frame. Interestingly, this image sold to an enthusiastic collector from Portland, Oregon, about a decade ago.

When and how were you originally inspired to become a photographer? Also do you have any formal training that you draw upon?

I became enamored with pinhole photography after taking a one-day workshop with Di Bos, a pinholer of some acclaim here, in Canada, in 2001. I was amazed that a photo image could emerge without using a conventional camera. Aside from that initial pinhole baptism, I have learned 100% by doing.

How do you personally educate yourself to take better pictures? What sort of research do you partake to improve your skills?

The internet, unlike mainstream tell-a-vision, has provided an astonishing array of options to improve HOW we see. I use various web portals to explore HOW others SEE, like Pinterest or Instagram.
If a photograph resonates, I always STOP, and look again to understand WHY. It could be a simple thing like the flow of highlights within a photo, or, alternatively, the absence of light.

Do you use any specific editing software packages or written guides to assist you with the production of your pictures?

No. Pinholing is done manually.

How do you spend your free time when you are not taking pictures?

When we open our eyes in the morning, we immediately start taking mental pictures. This activity guides our hand to turn on the light and find our slippers. The portals of our eyes feed our minds to constantly assess the risks, challenges, pleasures and rewards of daily living. Equally, when we go to bed at night, we zoom off into visual worlds of our memory and our sub-conscious. It’s how our minds work. — What do I DO when not making pictures? I think – and Live.

Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?

My next pinhole exhibit will be in July of 2018 at the charming Carnegie Gallery in Dundas, Ontario, Canada. The show is intended as a compliment to my fall show that I had at Oakville’s Sovereign House Museum in 2017, entitled ‘SUN SHADOWS’. Some of my older hand-made pinhole cameras will be on display there too. Drop in!

What are the things that you wish that you knew back when you first started taking photos? Do you have any parting words for other aspiring photographers to take to heart?

As I am a painter first, I have always approached photography as another artist’s tool. The primary image-making device, that we all possess, is our own eye. This is an extraordinarily powerful device when fused with the aspirations, neuro-stumbling and imaginations of our minds.

Best advice I can give, Learn to SEE. A good primer about SEEING – clearly – can be found in John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’. (Best to READ the book instead of watching the online documentary.) Think about what you’re reading. Penetrate and understand the inherent stories of the beautiful, good, bad, evil and the ugly that SEEING clearly can convey.

THEN pick up a camera to document what and how you see what you do.
The skill is 100% in the SEEING – not in the camera itself.

And that’s a wrap!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The New Year ... 2018

Woohoo. Winter came in with a blast over Christmas. The landscape in Southern Ontario is truly a 'Winter Wonderland'. Continued COLD temperatures mean that the snow hasn't gone slushy, or cruddy, yet.  It truly is 'perfect' - especially for x-country ski enthusiasts. I've got a few primo shots from a few outings over the break, but only one ready for today.

Happy New Year to All. 
May 2018 prove a better year for planet Earth, our miraculous & enchanting home ... Do your bit!

Snow Fest, Copyright by MLHolton 2018

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Winter Solstice - Yule Tidings - 2017

Winter Solstice  -Yule Tidings - Acrylic on Board by M.L.Holton
It is so easy to forget the mighty and majestic 
celestial ballet that plays out above us on a daily basis. 

Planets swirl and twirl above and below us. 

We are a part of this ballet too. 

Imagine how far we've come, and yet too,
 imagine how far we have got to go ... 

May the Blessings of a New Year envelop you All. 
May they carry you forward in to this momentous & delicate ballet. 

Twirl on dear friends. 
Twirl on! 

 ...  with love, mlh
p.s. Here's a basic & informative article about the Winter Solstice.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Paintings: End of 2017 - by Margaret Lindsay Holton

'Sunrise Sunset' by mlholton 2017  - 3 panel set

Once in a Blue Moon ... by MLHolton (acrylic)
 I just love painting - 
whether with brushes (above) or with palette knife (below). 
Each method offers something different.  

'Forest Studies' by mlholton 2017 - 2 panel set
 Which method do you prefer? All are For Sale. 
Please contact the artist for size, price & shipping details. 

'Flower Study' (acrylic & palette knife) by MLHolton

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Fox by M.L.Holton

... It's always fun to look back at older paintings to see what has and hasn't changed in the way that I paint. I remember painting this one back in 2011.

There was a secretive and beautiful fox that lived at the front of the property, in a den in the lakefront bank. In the eight years that I lived there, I only saw the fox twice. Once, during the early part of my residence, and once, near the end.  During the intervening eight years, I was always aware that the fox was there ... secretive ... and beautiful.

Seems a fitting image to welcome Autumn, 2017 ...

The Fox by M.L.Holton, 2011

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Frozen Goose at Hamilton Film Festival, 2017

The Frozen Goose - a film by M.L.Holton

The Frozen Goose will be screening at Hamilton Film Festival.

Mark calendars for Nov. 8th, 7pm - 'Ontario Shorts!' program.
At wonderful theatre space - Cinestarz Burlington

Event listing:

Ticket info:

UPDATE: Sept.25th -  Tickets selling fast! Almost sold out!
UPDATE: Oct 18th - SECOND SCREENING set up. Nov. 9th.

Don't delay if you want to catch this Canadian classic WW1 family drama on the big screen! Fun for the whole family.

Also thrilled to report that this 25 minute film has been picked up by educational distributor,  McIntyre Media.  It is in their fall catalogue, available to rent or buy. (It has also been included in their Remembrance Day package.) And, #TheFrozenGoose will be broadcast on COGECO on Nov. 11th at 1pm & 7:30pm, and again on Nov. 12th at 1:30pm. Check your service provider's schedule for dates & show times.

UPDATE: Dec 12th - A special one-time Christmas airing is happening on CABLE 14, Dec. 17th, 6pm. Tune in then! Rogers and COGECO subscribers can live-stream. 

Or - Watch on-line through my secured portal: 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hamilton Art Bus Studio Tour, Sept 16th - with M.L.Holton

THIS Saturday, Sept 16th, 2017 - 

Enjoy a guided tour to eclectic and interesting artist's studio spaces in the Greater Hamilton Area.

My art studio, on the Hamilton beach strip, (Lake Ontario, Canada), will be the 'last stop' on this Saturday's Hamilton Art Bus Studio Tour.

Saturday, Sept 16th, from 1pm to 4pm.    
 Get your tickets now!

- MLH paintings as well as several small goodies will be on hand for review & purchase -

UPDATE, Sept 18th, 2017: Great visit! Approximately 30 inquisitive souls crossed the transom, exploring the studio, asking questions, pouring over my 'art stuff' ... Pinhole, paintings, pillows!
Photos courtesy of Lisa Schumph (attendee) & Annette Paiement (organizer).

Show & Tell ML! Photos Courtesy - Lisa Schjmph & Annette Paiement. Lower Right QUIZ: What is that stick??

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Moonscapes: Paintings by M.L.Holton

....Was looking at the full moon last night and had this acutely CLEAR moment when I just FELT how incredible it is to be standing on this Earth as the precise ballet of planets occurs around us ... This morning, I started to rummage through my paintings to see how often I have depicted this orb.

Some are oils, some are acrylic, some are over 20 years old ...
Marvel at the Celestial!

Moon Over Lake Ontario. Painted by M.L.Holton
Moon Over Farm, Painted by M.L.Holton
Moon Over Lake, (Inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe), Painted by M.L.Holton
Moon Over Lake Ontario I, Painting by M.L.Holton
Moon Over Barn, Painting by M.L.Holotn
Over the Hill, Under the Moon, Back to the Pond, Painting by M.L.Holton
... old one ... Moon at Roger's Gap, Georgian Bay, Painting by M.L.Holton
Moon Over Tews Falls, Painting by M.L.Holton