Northern Lights Near Home: An Artist’s Talk On The Science Of The Aurora Borealis


Aurora Show

Northern Lights Near Home opens formally at Black Spruce Gallery & Framing on September 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. I will be giving an artist’s talk on the science of the Aurora Borealis and will examine at the relation between solar activity and the Northern Lights.  Information on viewing and photographing the Northern Lights will also be included. This presentation is also a part of Science Literacy Week 2017 (, an annual week-long celebration of science in Canada.

The show opening is free, and for all ages. The Artist’s Talk will start at approximately 7:30 p.m. Coffee/tea and light refreshments will be served. You may want to bring a small folding chair or stool.

Address: 42 Pine Street South, Timmins, Ontario.


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Photo Exhibit: Northern Lights Near Home

Aurora Show

I will be holding an exhibit of some of my Aurora Borealis photographs from around the Timmins area during the month of September at Black Spruce Gallery & Framing, 42 Pine Street South, Timmins. The exhibit will be running from the afternoon of September 05th, 2017 through to the end of the month.

The show opening will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 pm. on Tuesday September 19, 2017 and will feature an informative artist’s talk on the Northern Lights. More details on the opening will appear in a future post.

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Total Solar Eclipse: August 21st, 2017

I took my husband down on a 1700-kilometre trek to Hopkinsville, Kentucky last week to see the total solar eclipse, which lasted for 2 minutes and 40.5 seconds at the site. I photographed the entire sequence (99% of the time through a solar filter), which will then be put compiled into a time lapse sequence. In the meantime, here a is a photograph showing the Sun’s Corona during totality.


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Solo Exhibit Coming this September, 2017: Aurora Borealis Photography


I will be running my second solo show this fall, which will feature photographs of local scenes with the Aurora Borealis. The show will take place at Black Spruce Gallery & Framing, 42 Pine Street South, Timmins. More details will be posted over the next few months.

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Miniature Headframe in an Eggshell: Completed Last Week

The detailing work on the miniature headframe was completed on April 16th, 2017 and then it glued on to its display stand in a display case meant for a baseball. Here are couple of close-up shots before it goes off to the gallery for review.


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Miniature Show Next Month at Black Spruce Gallery (Shared from “A Northern Blog…”)

Here is the beautiful thing about living in a smaller community like Timmins. You get to meet really neat people like photographer and gallery owner Katelyn Malo. Katelyn will hosting the Tiny Art Exhibit in Timmins at the Black Spruce Art Gallery 40 Pine St. S. from May 2 to June 30th. All entries cannot […]

via A Northern Blog: The world seen through northern eyes — “Katelyn Malo and the World’s Biggest, Tiny Art Festival : Why its great to live in a smaller city!” — A Northern Blog

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Painted Eggshell

Once the Plaster of Paris had dried overnight, I painted a base coat using crafters’ grade white a acrylic paint. The interior of the eggshell was painted with the same white paint, but tinted with just a hint of artist-grade Phthalocyanine Blue – Green Shade. For the exterior of the shell, I used a fine paint brush to dab on gold flakes, held in place with Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish. The gold flakes came from a souvenir novelty bottle purchased a few years ago at the Royal Ontario Museum. (Souvenir gold flecks – if you happen to live near a museum with a gift shop – can range from $5.00 to $10.00 a bottle and are good if you want to experiment with tiny bits of gold – just drain the glycerine out of the bottle and rinse the flecks with water.) The egg is sitting on a different wine cap, because the first one was being primed in matte black. IMG_7640

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Plastering a Miniature Headframe into an Egg

After painting my 3D printed model of the McIntyre Headframe, I picked a suitable eggshell that had been chipped out on the front and back. To patch up the holes leftover from draining the contents, I used a couple small pieces of paper bandage tape. The egg was then set down on a wine bottle cap for working with – the cap will eventually be the model’s stand.

A (way too large) small quantity of Plaster of Paris was mixed up in an old pudding cup and then scooped into the egg using a steel potter’s tool. The picture below also shows a scrap 3D printing raft, which I was considering laying in with the plaster, but later I decided the plaster alone was sufficient.


This is a close-up of the empty egg and model headframe.


Next, I started scooping in the mixed plaster with the pottery tool. (One end is like a very small spoon, the other end is like small painter’s knife.) I am using the plaster as snow for this scene – the plaster looks lumpy, because I had mixed in a glittery acrylic medium (the acrylic was getting old and coagulated), but most of it was covered by the opacity of the plaster.


A close-up view of the headframe mounted into the wet plaster in the egg. I put a squash seed beside it for comparison. The background is the controls of the washing machine doubling as another workbench.


A shot of the egg model with the materials used. The object that looks like a large hypodermic minus its needle is a novelty shot glass (hence the 1/2 and 1 oz measurements) that makes an excellent slip trailing tool and paint applicator among other things. I was going to use it for the plaster, but it was too thick and easier to just scoop into the egg.


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Tiny Scenery

Some 3D printed trial miniatures, which I designed using Tinkercad.Although each model printed in less than a half-hour, designing each one took three to four hours. The pencil sharpeners in the picture give an idea of scale. Each model has also bee hand-painted.

The McIntyre Headframe, two (not to scale) Hollinger Housesm and two different scale replicas of the Hollinger Mine train engine found in Porcupine. The “bubble” in the background s an inverted 4-inch diameter glass Christmas ball.

The McIntyre Headframe, painted Hollinger locomotive and nickel-sized underground mine train.

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Revisiting an Odd Skill After 20 Years

Back in 1997, when I was 16 going on 17, I experimented with making tiny dioramas inside of eggshells. The first one was a carved sailboat (with paper sails and the top of a toothpick as a buoy), and the second one was a biplane – complete with rotating propeller  – flying over a barn labelled “Jim’s Cows” (a tiny carved toothpick cow is just out of the frame in the picture). I made a third egg – an airplane flying over a winter forest at sunset – which was given as a Christmas present to a teacher. I had started a fourth egg – the RMS Titanic – and then put everything aside as I made my way towards university.

Now 20 years later, a juried miniature show is coming up in town, and it includes a category for sculptures. I decided to give the eggshell diorama another try.

The technique to hollow out the egg is to chip a hole in the top and bottom of the shell (I use a nut pick, although I’ve seen references to using darning needles in old craft books) and blow out the contents of the egg into a bowl, and then rinse out the shell. There are also squeezable air bulbs that can be used if the idea of blowing through an egg is not appealing.

I recall chipping a hole in the front of the egg and then using fine, pointed scissors e to start cutting a line. I would then chip away at the egg using my fingers (and possibly needle-nose pliers), until I had a decent-sized hole… hopefully without putting too many cracks in the shell and making the hole gaping and jagged. This time, I also chipped out the backs of some eggs to enable the central object of the diorama to be seen from the back.

Unlike 20 years ago, there are now so many more options for crafting materials, as well as protective cases (the eventual sculpture will reside in a plastic baseball display stand).

Out of an original 1 dozen eggs – less 4 that failed structurally when being hollowed, and 1 that was stuck to the carton, plus another 2 that broke in the chipping process, I ended up with 7 potential diorama housings – 4 with holes in the front and back. The chipped borders will eventually be reinforced with a bead of hot glue or similar trimming, which will also frame the diorama scene.


Note: Also unlike 20 years ago, I have access to laser cutting. A future experiment may be to see if I can get a more intricate cut-out with it – although it would take away from the organic feel of the chipping technique.

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