Global Living Diary of Digital Art

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Hi Rodney:

I am happy to show the painting I did in acrylics from

a computer generated work.

You inspired me to try a work on canvas.

You are the first person to see it.

I do hope you like "Haven`s Gate in Cyberspace"

Will load it to my WCOSG page after the 1st of June.

hg.jpg (76434 bytes)


Forgot to tell you,why I painted this painting.

The Webmuseum is like a haven for computer artists.

Canada is not supporting Webart .


Ansgard Thomson




Hospital 'tarnishes' tribute to son

As a memorial to her only child, May Doherty tried to donate 12 paintings to Princess Margaret, but has been rebuffed

By Greg Quill

Toronto Star Arts Writer

All May Doherty wanted was a simple memorial to her son Greg.

A quiet tribute comprising 12 unusual, computer-enhanced paintings by Canadian artist Robert J. Downing to hang on the walls of Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital, where the 35-year-old cancer victim, her only child, had spent his last days.

"He was grateful for the care he got there, after having been misdiagnosed four times elsewhere,'' said Doherty, 73.

"The paintings are so joyful, and so appropriate, considering Greg was one of Robert's star pupils, and a friend until his death.''

But the hospital foundation has returned her paintings. Its art expert pronounced them almost worthless. An independent appraiser says they're worth a small fortune. May Doherty, frail and shy, is out-of-pocket for $3,000 in appraisal fees, and now has to pay for a third valuation before the foundation will consider accepting her gift.

May Doherty's simple wish has turned into a nightmare.

"Even if the paintings are accepted by the foundation, I don't see them any more as a proper memorial,'' she said. "The whole thing is tarnished."

"The way this has turned out is an insult to the memory of my son and the reputation of a great Canadian artist.''

Greg Doherty, a photographer and furniture designer who had studied under Downing when he was director of art at Appleby College in Oakville in 1973, died Sept. 8, 1993. He stayed in touch and was the artist's assistant when Downing lived in California during the last half of the 1970s.

Downing's work is in the National Gallery, in the Art Gallery of Ontario, in the Robert J. Downing Archive at the Hamilton Art Gallery, and in public collections in five countries.

Last fall, 63-year-old Downing, who retired recently because of poor health, was appointed artist-in-residence at the University of Toronto Dynamic Graphics Project. About the same time, he gave Doherty 12 small pieces she admired.




'The way this has turned out is an insult to the memory of my son and the reputation of a great Canadian artist'

- May Doherty, whose son, Greg,

died of cancer in 1993 at

Princess Margaret Hospital





"They are computer graphics of Chinese brush paintings of flowers, plants, and fruit which I had done in Southeast Asia many years ago, screened through electronic filters, printed on special paper, mounted on wood, and plastic coated to protect the sensitive ink from the atmosphere and ultraviolet light,'' said Downing.

In March, Doherty decided to donate them to the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, hoping they'd be mounted in the hospital's cancer wing. The foundation has such offerings valued and, in accordance with federal regulations, issues tax receipts for gifts of more than $1,000.

Doherty was asked by Shelley Lambe, a Toronto fine arts consultant and volunteer chair of the foundation's art committee, to sign a deed of gift, and handed over the paintings for appraisal. About a week later, Doherty was told Lambe had assessed the pieces at $75 each.

"This is a new medium,'' Lambe said. ``Its value is undecided. To me, they were scanned images somehow manipulated on a computer screen, printed, plaque-mounted on wood, and laminated. When you plaque-mount a work of art, its value is destroyed.''

Lambe said she knew little about the methodology and value of computer-enhanced art, but was aware of Downing as a sculptor. She said she valued the collection at under $1,000 to save Doherty the trouble and cost of a professional appraisal.

"I still don't feel the paintings are as valuable as the artist says they are. But I really didn't really appraise them at all.''

That was a shock to May Doherty.

"I don't know much about art, but I know Robert's computer pieces are priced at $4,000 and more, and I was too embarrassed at (Lambe's) valuation to tell him,'' she said.

Instead, she asked Downing to recommend an independent appraiser. The artist cruised the Internet and was impressed by Dr. J. Darragh M. Elliott, of Oakville, whom he did not know.

Elliott was selected and in mid-April mailed Doherty a 38-page appraisal, assessing the paintings at between $3,000 and $4,500 each, for a total collection value of $48,500 (U.S.), or $67,415 (Cdn.).

"That was a very pleasant surprise,'' admitted Downing, though at the time he didn't know Doherty had paid $3,200 for Elliott's appraisal.

In early May, three bombs dropped. Hospital foundation president Nicholas Locke, noting the huge discrepancy between Elliott's valuation and Lambe's $900 appraisal, asked Doherty for another appraisal, specifying it should be done by a member of the Professional Art Dealers Association of Canada (PADAC), even though federal regulations allow appraisals to be carried out by any credited dealer.

Another appraisal would likely cost Doherty another $3,000 - or more.

"We're perfectly willing to give Mrs. Doherty a list of PADAC appraisers,'' Locke said. ``And we're very happy to receive the art, provided a second appraisal is done.

"The foundation has to issue tax receipts for donations valued at more than $1,000. She has to understand our obligations. We have a responsibility to issue receipts based on valuations that aren't inflated.''

But Doherty doesn't care about a tax receipt.

"They keep talking about a tax receipt,'' she said. "I'm not interested in a tax receipt, I never was. I couldn't use it if I had it. I don't need a write-off.''


One PADAC dealer, who asked not to be named, said legal action can be taken over valuations that are both unjustifiably low or unjustifiably high.

"The hard part is determining what anything is worth. Without a record of free-market sales or the work of a particular artist, it comes down to a matter of opinion and individual taste. A thing is worth what someone pays for it. The appraisal business is a farce.''

Locke dismissed Lambe's original valuation as "not a full professional appraisal, just the opinion of a professional who happens to be a (hospital) volunteer.''

Next, Doherty was told that because of the amalgamation of the Princess Margaret and Toronto Hospitals, there was no room to store her 12 20-centimetre by 28-centimetre paintings safely during renovations, and was asked to take them back until a new appraisal was done.

Then Doherty told Downing about Lambe's low-ball evaluation, and showed him Elliott's 38-page report.

"It was like reading an attempt to describe landscapes as portraits,'' said Downing.

The report contains no mention of free-market sales of Downing's paintings, but includes several pages describing computer-generated art based on fractals - myriad mathematical calculations.

"Only one of the 12 pieces involves fractals, and then only in a minor way,'' Downing said. ``It's clear, even to the unpractised eye, that these are simple, almost primitive paintings of small, natural objects, enhanced by computer dynamics.''

Downing asked Elliott to return the fee Doherty had paid, because of "misapprehensions in the documentation.''

Elliott refused.

"I stand by my report,'' he said. "I've offered to amend the appraisal, to make the appropriate corrections, but I won't change the valuation based on the time I know it took to make the paintings, the postings on the Internet, where Downing's paintings are valued from $4,000 to $28,000, and on his considerable reputation.

"I make appraisals. I've been in the business all my life. But I make no guarantees that they will be accepted. I feel I've been made the scapegoat because some other appraiser didn't do the proper work.''

May Doherty said she doesn't know where she stands anymore, or where to turn.

"It's not about a tax receipt,'' she said. ``It's about a fitting memorial to Greg. He was so grateful to the people at Princess Margaret. I just wanted to thank them, and to give something that would give patients and visitors a moment of peace and beauty.''


Hi Rodney:

Thanks for the last 2 messages.

Will look into it in the next few days.

Robert is off the computer and the net for some weeks.

Very frustrated!!!

I wrote a letter to the CCA.Canadian Council of Artists.

Here is my copy as an information to you.

<I have a few concerns I would like to bring forward to

the C.C.A.

We do have "Computer Generated Art" from Canadian artists

on the world wide web ,but most have to keep a low profile,

because no recognition or organization has come forward by

the elite of Canada Culture to include it in the visual arts.

Artists like Robert Downing RCA have to be "defamed" by the

ignorance of the Canadian Culture Establishment.(Appraisal)

I recently listed with a Canadian private server,who is using a

Canadian Culture name to help Canadian Art on the internet.

You might like to get all the information from my link page to

get a general idea what is taking place in the world and not in Canada.

I am flying the Canadian Flag just to tell my friends all over the

world,that a 75 year old farmers wife painter and computer artist

is able to learn, what appears to be such a big problem for

many Canadian Artists,who refuse to see the writings on the wall.

I trust this will interest you enough to have a good look at my page ,

my links and the few Canadian Artists I have stayed in touch after meeting

them outside of Canada.

Respectfully submitted.

Ansgard Thomson>

You see Rodney ,you are right with everything you do.You deserve my carrot

(you put on your page) over and over again.

Cheers Ansgard


Hi Eagle,

Had a couple of rough days, but got the feathers relined and feeling

better. What a sad story,,, but it is all true,,,, I was recently told

that no one would buy my art,,,, I said,, I wasn't doing it just for a

profit although that would be nice,,, but I do it because I like too,,

and I think I make really nice pictures,,,, I have to keep remembering

that most people are babies when it comes the the internet and web,,,

LVAM is a good example,,,,,, I wish I knew someone there but I don't,,,,

I sure wouldn't waste much more time on them though,,,,,, You did a

great job on the web page for them,,,, but I guess that is all they

want,,, someone has given them bad information, at I think so.

Well maybe someday we will change it all,,,,,,

LadyHawk, CA,USA