Kas Stone spent her formative years on the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. This sparked a passion for bleak coastal scenery and wild weather that has sustained her spirit and inspired her photography ever since. After a twenty-year stint ‘learning the ropes’ in Toronto, Kas now makes her home in Dublin Shore, Lunenburg County, where she runs a studio gallery and teaches courses in digital imaging. Her portfolio boasts an extensive list of publications, exhibitions and national awards, including two wilderness adventure guidebooks published by The Boston Mills Press, and a feature profile in Outdoor Photography Canada magazine.
My work is inspired by our wild coastal scenery with its vast expanse of sea and sky and its smaller textural and colour details. My photographs have evolved over the past decade from their documentary roots – as illustrations for my writings – to more expressive and personal landscape imagery. I once regarded Photoshop as a necessary evil; now I embrace it as a creative tool and use it to transform the camera’s raw materials into works of photographic art. The resulting style often leaves viewers wondering “Is this a photograph, or a painting?” – a question that always delights me!
It begins for me with a walk or paddle
The joy of photography is its melding of artistry with technology and craftsmanship – engaging both sides of my brain, and my hands and feet too, in the creation of an image. It begins for me with a walk or paddle along the coast to soak up the natural beauty; then comes the technical and aesthetic process of image capture and digital enhancement; and finally the effective presentation of an image in printed or electronic format.
I use the term “photographic art” rather than “photography” to describe my work, although I worry this may sound pretentious, because it more accurately reflects my process and hoped-for result. More importantly it suggests to viewers that what they are looking at may not be ”real” in the way people usually expect a photograph to be, thereby inviting them to think more imaginatively about the image.
finding the time and the relaxed mindset for creative work
Like working artists throughout the ages my biggest challenge is in balancing art and the demands of daily life – finding the time and the relaxed mindset for creative work when mundane things like rent and groceries are scratching at my door.
This art-life balance was especially difficult when I first launched my career, because in those days there was a huge disconnect between where I lived (Toronto), and the wild scenery that nourished my creative spirit. I was also woefully naïve about the photography business, not yet realizing that a successful career requires a commitment of at least half one’s time to the business part of the equation. Accepting this commitment was my first big step forward; acting on it was the next – reading books, taking workshops, asking tech- and business-savvy friends for help in basic marketing, website construction, art fair booth design, and a host of other things outside my comfort zone – and recognizing the need occasionally to compromise my art in order to make it saleable.
However the greatest boost to my career came when I finally moved home to Nova Scotia in November of 2013. Now I enjoy a happier mix of personal, creative and business activities, and here my images find an enthusiastic audience with people who share my love of the coast. As an added bonus I find visual inspiration every morning, just by pausing at my window to admire the sun rising (or the fog swirling) over Dublin Bay.
an excellent virtual meeting-place
I joined VANS as soon as I returned to Nova Scotia so that I could connect with other members and become informed about opportunities in the province’s visual arts community. I have since attended several VANS’ marketing and pricing seminars and borrowed books from its library, gaining valuable art-business insights in the local context. VANS staff have been generously supportive of my efforts to establish my career, including hosting an exhibition of my photographs and an artist talk, titled “A Passionate Sense of Place”, at the Corridor Gallery as part of Halifax’s Photopolis Festival in October 2014. In a province whose artists are widely scattered and often isolated in rural communities, VANS offers an excellent virtual meeting-place for the sharing of information and creative ideas.
connecting personally with the people who buy my work
During the busy summer tourist and pre-Christmas seasons my art-life balance is weighted heavily in favour of business. Art festivals, craft fairs, gallery exhibitions and open-studio hours take over my calendar and prevent much serious creative work between June and December. However, with a positive outlook these events do provide great opportunities for connecting personally with the people who buy my work and sharing the stories that have brought us together over particular images. This, I have come to realize, is a vital part of the art-buying experience, both for them and for me.
My schedule this season includes eight art/craft fairs, six workshops and three presentations, together with solo exhibitions at the LaHave Bakery Gallery and the Fort Point Museum in LaHave, and group exhibitions at the Kempt Lake Gallery, the Lighthouse Awareness Art Show, “A Shade of Grey” at the Chester Art Festival, and “UnSensored” at the Lunenburg Art Gallery. With an exhausted sigh in January I will retreat to the cocoon of my closed studio to spend the winter months recharging my creative batteries at the computer, with my cat Harris (inspired by Lawren Harris) in my lap.
Learn more about Kas Stone’s work by visiting her Visual Arts Nova Scotia E-Studio Page and website:
or connect with her on Facebook: