Wednesday, July 27, 2016

First Wash of Oils on the Three Portraits

Photo later than the video, and it is after a bit of work on the lower right portrait. First Wash of Oils, there is a 2nd wash to go, and then they will be stretched back onto their canvas stretchers and painted like regualr oil paintings. 16" x 20", oils on canvas. © Brenda Clews 2016

direct link: First Wash of Oils

Yeah, well. It's deliberately a small video. It's a bit much, the way my cut-off exercise tights/shorts slipped a bit. I speeded this up to 5000x to get it to fit into a minute though I spent well over an hour getting to this point with these paintings. It was gruelling and I wasn't happy with how they turned out. The second wash will help, I know. Then they will be stretched back onto their stretchers and painted like regular oil paintings. :) The video shows the hardest part of the whole process - beginning.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Charcoal Sketches of Close-ups of Three Women


Looks like I have a spot at Verve, put on by RAW Artists, on Thursday August 25th in Toronto, if, that is, I can sell 20 tickets for the show. I will have a 15 minute Performance Artist spot on stage and will project some videopoems while I perform the poems, as well as about 7.5' of wall to show and sell artwork. My book, Tidal Fury, will be published by then and so I will perform from it as well as have copies to sell.

Naturally, I am doing some new work. These are small (for me!) - 16" x 20" x 1.5". The sketches are charcoal on primed canvas and will be painted in oils. One is a self-portrait, the other two are women I know. I thought to do close-ups of women, and found these in my collection of photographs, so, yes, they are from photographs - but my knowledge of all of us, and earlier drawings I've done, informs the sketches. No idea what will happen when I paint them in oils - I love watercolour, but I had these canvases lying around waiting.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A drawing of Rod

Rod Pizarro, 21cm x 29.7cm, 2016, © Brenda Clews, graphite, 
Moleskine Sketchbook 111-lb acid-free paper.

Kat Leonard @ Winter Wonderland @ Hirut - 26 March 2016 © Brenda Clews, 
5" x 8.25", graphite, Derwent InkTense blocks on 200-gram cold-press acid-free 
Moleskine A5 Large Watercolour paper.

Kat Leonard, who I know as a singer-songwriter and she's saucy, does musical comedy, and her husband, Rod Pizarro, came by Three of a Kind, the group show in June. It was wonderful to see her and to meet her lovely husband. I showed Kat a little watercolour I had done of her singing at a gig at Hirut Restaurant in the winter and she bought it. Then, after seeing my drawing of John Oughton, Rod commissioned a similar drawing.

When I was looking after the gallery, two weeks later, he came and sat for a drawing. I drew him for maybe half an hour, we chatted - he's Chilean, and I took a cell phone pic as a reference for finishing the drawing. It takes me an hour or more to do a page-sized graphite portrait and I couldn't ask him to sit stone still for that long. He stayed the whole afternoon - 5 hours - which was very nice and I got more of a sense of him in space, how he moves, his mannerisms, a little of his warm personality. He picked up the drawing this weekend and said he loved it, so that's nice.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

June 2016 Poetry & Music Salon @ Palmerston Library Theatre

Our last Poetry and Music Salon before Summer break was superb! Our features, William Beauvais, Ariel Balevi, Brandon Pitts and Joe Wray were in top form and gave us more than their very best. And our open mics, Joani Paige, Stanley Fefferman and Jennifer Hosein were as strong. A very inspiring evening and I am so grateful to be a recipient of such gifts.

I'd especially like to thank Palmerston Library and the librarian, Iana Georgieva-Kaluba, the Branch Manager Misuk Hedman, and the amazing sound technician, Eric, for their support, generosity and help with arranging and promoting this series.

If you'd like to know who everyone is, watch the video, and you can also find the photos here: If you click on the i at the side for Information, you'll see the names.



GORGEOUS Salon! It starts with a fun stop-motion of the whole salon. A high res video and sound of poets and musicians. We live in a city of talent! Photographs of everyone end the video. If you wanted to see it again, or missed it, or live elsewhere and would like to enjoy what we did, it's here!

direct link: June 2016 Poetry and Music Salon

In order of appearance:

1. Joani Paige 1:49
2. Stanley Fefferman 6:36
3. Ariel Balevi 12:17
4. Jennifer Hosein 42:01
5. Joe Wray 46:43
6. Brandon Pitts 1:02:52
7. William Beauvais 1:16:35

ARIEL BALEVI is an oral storyteller who has performed locally, including at the Toronto International Storytelling Festival, Royal Ontario Museum and the Aga Khan Museum, as well as internationally, including the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. His repertoire derives from the Sufi, literary and folklore traditions of Iran, Turkey and Central Asia.One Nights (Hezar o yek Shab). He perform these stories in English, using verse or proverb from the language of origin of the story.In his storytelling he strives to convey the universality of these narratives and in doing so bring about mutual respect and understanding among different cultures and traditions. In 2010 Ariel released with William Beauvais the CD "Unspoken Dreams: Stories from Rumi" which received favourable reviews.

Strong stuff this poetry!
Though I came to it late, look what it did to me.
My effort has gained little exposure;
literary societies , a university circuit, and Brenda's good grace.
Some stuff is out now, but I haven't yet heard. It's matter is eclectic but recently I've tilted toward Shloshky's "ostranenie" style.

BRANDON PITTS is the author of Tender in the Age of Fury (Mosaic Press, 2016) and the popular poetry collection Pressure to Sing (IOWI, 2012).

Known for subverting gospel and scripture to create political allegories, Brandon first came onto the Toronto lit scene in 2010 with the short story the BC Crib, published in the anthology Canadian Voices Volume II. In 2011, he was inducted into the prestigious Diaspora Dialogues as an "Emerging Voice” for fiction, followed by the novel Puzzle of Murders (Bookland Press, 2011) and the production of three plays.

WILLIAM BEAUVAIS has been composing, recording, performing and improvising for over 30 years. He has written music for harpist Sharlene Wallace, baritone Doug MacNaughton, the Montreal Guitar Trio and guitarist Jeffrey McFadden. He has received grants from the Toronto Arts Council FACTOR and York University. His music has been heard in Denmark, Australia, Chile, and Argentina, and is published by Les Productions D’OZ.

He has recorded several CDs which are available through the Canadian Music Centre Distribution Service. They include Unspoken Dreams: rumi stories, Invisible Cities, A Bridge Beyond (with guitarist Stephen Wingfield), Bridges, Traces, and Dances and Romances for Violin (with Moshe Hammer). He has also recorded CDs with the Evergreen Club Gamelan, and composers Michael Hynes and Gerarld Berg. He has frequently recorded for radio, both for CBC and CKLN.

As a performer William has worked with New Music Concerts, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble and Tapestry New Opera, giving first performances of music by George Crumb, Elliott Carter, Chris Paul Harman and Rodney Sharman. He was a featured artist with Jeunesse Musicales (Youth and Music) Canada, touring with them in 1983-84, and has performed over a hundred school concerts with the Toronto Symphony Education program.

William’s collaborations include work with Eugene Martynec [composer], Ariel Balevi [storyteller] Terrill MacGuire [chorepgrapher], and Steve McCabe [Poet]. He has also developed texts by Gwendolyn MacEwen, Richard Truhlar, Wayne Keon and Robert Priest into performance pieces.

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Organized, hosted, photographed, videoed and edited by Brenda Clews.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Watercolour Series 2016

Portrait of the Artist's Son, 2016, with and © by Brenda Clews, watercolour on 140lb cold press archival watercolour paper.

Show at Arcadia Gallery, June 2016. Paintings © by Brenda Clews. From left to right, Sir Jorge and the Dragon (2'x5'5"); Glam Queen Ballerina (2'x5'5"); Consequential Drawings (2'x6'); Arabesque ...twirling, undulating men (2'x6'); and Portrait of the Artist's Son (4'x3'4"). Watercolour and/or charcoal on Canson Montval 140lb cold press archival watercolour paper.

Since I hung these paintings as I was working on them in my apartment on a rig for a video backdrop, I knew they could easily be clipped. A visit to a lumber store elicited 1/4" PVC pipe; I cut the lengths, wrapped them in black duck tape. The 6' piece of plastic PVC pipe, however, curved like a crescent moon and was in danger of ripping the paper on the long paintings. With hours to go before installation at the gallery, I grabbed an old shower rod from my storage, and dashed off to Dollarama and bought a broom handle! I'm not happy with 'the look' of the hanging apparatus' of the two large paintings, but am happy I was able to hang them! Barring frames and glass, this is a good way to display them.

The paints used for all the paintings are the highest quality professional watercolours, Windsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, etc.

In all, the materials cost for each painting is about $80.-$100., this includes the watercolour paper, many tubes of professional watercolours, and the expensive, protective layers of Golden's UV protection varnishes.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Gallery Sitting @ Arcadia Gallery in TO Sat June 11 & 18, 1-6pm

Inviting friends and colleagues by email to drop by while I am gallery sitting @ Arcadia Gallery 680 Queen's Quay W, Saturday afternoons, June 11 and 18, 1-6pm, where there is a show I am in with Philip and David, first, the in-line photos were not showing in the sent email, and then I sent another email with them attached and apparently those were not opening either! How irritating. It is either Google or Apple or, perhaps, both conspiring as their supercomputers take over deciding who is to see what images in what email when! :)

So. Last ditch effort. A blog post with the images, and even more images. Here is the email:

Dear Friends,

I was honoured to be invited by Philip Cairns to join he and David Bateman in a group show at Arcadia Gallery, a small, non-commercial gallery at the foot of Bathurst St in an artist's co-op. I bought a roll of Canson 48" x 5yd cold-press 140lb watercolour paper and got to work. My portion of the show is what I did on that single roll of paper!

The Opening on Sunday was low-key, and wonderful. I set up chairs near my paintings and people came in and we sat and chatted for awhile, half an hour maybe, and then, when they left, more would come. It was one of the best experiences I have had at an Opening in that there was time to connect with everyone at some depth.

I even sold two of my small drawings, portraits done at poetry & music events, and commissioned two more graphite portraits! Both of those portraits will be begun, if not done, during the hours I will be sitting the gallery.

Please come on down if you'd like to see the show - the three of us are quite different as artists and our work syncs well together - and to chat and hang out a bit and then I can catch up on you, your life, and what's going on (my favourite part).

Here are a few photos from the Opening (photo taken by John Oughton) and iPhone pics of David's and Philip's & my paintings from when we hung the show. The final 7 images are the 'official' photos of my paintings, taken in direct sun, the full spectrum, and colour-corrected.

After, you can browse Harbourfront, take in whatever show is on at the Power Plant, enjoy the lake.

Hope to see you either Saturday June 11th or 18th, 1-6pm.

And hope all is well and you are enjoying the Spring! Such a beautiful season!

love, Brenda

Here are the images

            David Bateman's paintings        Philip Cairns' paintings