Originally from Northern England, Alan Norsworthy has been a photographer since the late 1960's.

He moved to Canada in 1973 and has made Guelph Ontario his home for the last 24 years.

" I remember visiting the CN Tower in the early 70's and the guide said that as far as you could see in any direction is the best farmland in Canada. That comment echoes down the years as I watch subdivisions eat up the landscape."

The area around Guelph offers up a plethora of rural images which Alan captures with his artistic vision. His work covers everything from macro photographs of flowers, sweeping landscapes, historic buildings and old abandoned farms in both colour and Black and White.

"This is where I find my inspiration, I have a need to show people the beauty I see as I walk the woods and fields of Southern Ontario"

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ya don't know what you've got 'till it's gone” well temporarily I hope.

Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I was not able to go for my usual Saturday morning outing because somewhere last week I did something, I don't know what, when or where but by Thursday I could barely walk. By Friday I couldn't walk at all without the help of a cane.
So I sent the dreaded email to my friends, “sorry I won't be able to join you this weekend” …
What made it worse was we had plans to visit my old friend Grant who dearly needed an outing. Fortunately the outing went ahead without me.
So what do you do when sitting is a pain in the butt (literally) and walking is out of the question?
Well luckily I have stacks of paper and sharp pencils and a comfy spot to sit.
In the fridge, a bunch of red grapes, in the dining room an unopened bottle of red wine and a selection of glasses.
A still life sketch soon took shape.
Then once it was redrawn on heavy paper, the medium was chosen;
Coloured Pencil...
Yes that was the way to go as this second rendering was to be the work up for the final rendering in watercolour.
I'm quite happy with the result today I may start on a watercolour ….

My quote for the day is, well sorta maybe appropriate to the subject but it is one of my favourites and never fails to bring a smile and a sage nod of the head ...

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college — that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"” ~Howard Ikemoto

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sketching and Stress...

Abandoned House - Ridgetown
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

No photographs from our outing yesterday. It was a day of sketching, talking, drinking tea and catching up with old friends.

We started at the farmers market and ended up in downtown Guelph. Quite a change from our usual Saturday morning but enjoyable non-the-less.

Sometimes 'making an image' does not mean using a camera.
Sometimes it is going back to basics, a pencil and a piece of paper.

Sometimes it takes 1/1000 of a second.
Sometimes it takes half an hour.

But taking the slow road leads to an inner journey as well.
Time stops,
everything around you moves differently
vision is tunneled
hearing and touch are heightened
snippets of conversation are caught, totally out of context but interesting non-the-less
And all the time the mind, the eye and the hand act as one and slowly an image appears. Incorporating all that you see, hear, feel and imagine.
But this is all happening without conscious thought. The mind is free to wander and imagine and control the hand.

So very satisfying, so very relaxing..

Work-a-day stress ?
Whats that ?
Not this day, not when you are sitting quietly with a pencil, paper, tea and friends..

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it." ~Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Ask anyone who knows me, they will all attest to my love of winter.
However this one has been a bit too cold and is becoming a bit too long.
So this weekend we walked the Niska Trails here in Guelph 'looking for signs of spring'.
A bitter North wind was there but in the lee of the tree's along the river, a place where the strengthening sun made an appearance there was warmth.

Sitting by the river, listening to her sing on her merry way, freed from her icy prison once again. Listening ,with the sun on your face one could very easily be fooled into thinking spring had arrived.

Then, as we walked around the loop and we approached the Northern side of the woods winter was waiting ...

As we approached the wind saw us coming and raced across the open fields and found it's way through the tree's to send shivers through us.

Two seasons in one morning ....

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.: ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The One Minute Sketch

Yesterday I began a journey, a journey back.
Yesterday I had my 'first' lesson in watercolour painting.
Constance, my teacher, a very accomplished watercolourist in her own right has been cajoling me, poking me with a metaphoric stick and pushing me towards this day. 
Yesterday I gave in ...

But I had been preparing, recently my friend Patrick loaned me yet another book:
Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland..
In that book I saw myself:

You see in 1994 'the pen ran dry' and I put away my brushes, paints, paper and all the accouterments of my art. 
I quit, or did I stop ?
" Quitting is fundamentally different from stopping. The latter happens all the time.
Quitting happens once. Quitting means never starting again-and art is all about starting again"
So, I stopped, for 20 years. Now it's time to start again.

But oh its hard and it's frustrating. I look back at what I did and I look at what I do now and wonder,
Will I ever be able to paint and draw again? 
Can I get back that which is lost?

Again words come " you are as good today as you can be"  that is not as good as I once was .... but tomorrow will be different, "tomorrow I will be as good as I can be tomorrow."
"An artist's career always begins tomorrow".  ~James McNeill Whistler

p.s To some, the one minute sketch may look like a scribbled mess but to me I see life, 
to me I see the essence of a person, 
to me I see a beginning..

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tangled - UofG Arboretum

Tangled - UofG Arboretum
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

As part of my renewed interest in drawing, sketching and painting I am reading a book by Ernest W. Watson entitled 'The Art of Pencil Drawing' first published in 1968 so it is my no means new in fact this book was written shortly before he died in 1969.
Old it may be, outdated ? Absolutely not. The man was a master of the pencil and an excellent writer/teacher.

This blog post is about one small section of his book, his love of tree's, in particular dead tree's.
Now that to some may sound morbid but let me explain in his words;

"Tree's, like human beings, often do astonishing things. Their eccentricities are intriguing. They twist and turn in the most unexpected ways-almost always, it would seem with an instinctive sense of good design. And when they die , they do so with dignity and artistry....
... For it is the skeletal structure of tree's that fascinates me, particularly those that are aged enough to display the character which they have acquired during their lifetime"

I look upon old tree's this way also, they are truly majestic in their own way. As they age and decay the bark falls revealing the essence of their character the colours, hues, textures become a road map, fascinating in its complexity or simplicity.

Yesterday while walking in the Arboretum woods. We stopped to examine and old, dead tree, no more than a stump really, slowly returning to the forest floor that bore it many many years ago.
Fungi, lichens, insects had all taken up residence and added new life to that which had passed on.
Patrick talked of the tiny fungi/lichens that were visible not to long ago but eluded of meager vision now.
We may not have been able to see them but no matter, we could see where they had been.
Another landmark on the map that is the life of this tree that still stands with "dignity and artistry.."

Next time you are out and pass by one stop for a while, look closer and listen to the stories it has to tell

"The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what "the story of the trees" would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand." ~Author Unknown, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938