Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Transit and Café Drawings

A couple of simple Transit Drawings and a Café Drawing: the first two photographed; the latter scanned. What's nice about sleuth drawing is that they have to be fast and you don't have to show the subject, though often I do.

What I most like is that people aren't posing. They aren't presenting a persona to the artist; rather, they are engaged in what they are doing, whether it's reading, writing or unselfconsciously gazing into space thinking. They don't feel watched (as in a life drawing session) except in the ways we all watch each other journeying or working in public spaces.

I think these were all August 2015.


Poets and Musics Drawings

Waleed Abdulhamid at Shab-e She'r (Poetry Night in Persian) 28 July 2015

Danila Botha Vernon @Plasticine Poetry Phanatics-19July2015


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Of sunflowers and visionary skies...

Out in fields of sunflowers and on the beach today... beautiful days of August.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

México textiles at the ROM

¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture at the ROM. Gorgeous show for us textile lovers!
 — at Royal Ontario Museum.


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Some paintings in WATER H20, a group art show by the Toronto ART Collective at Tantra Lounge & Bar

'Water Dance' and 'Spring Rain Garden God' are in WATER H2O, a group art show at Tantra Lounge, 1157 St Clair W (Dufferin and St Clair) for the month of August. The Opening Reception is tomorrow night, 7pm-11pm. I am performing 'Ink Ocean,' my poem on oil spills, ink, the way we compose our realities, during the early part of the Opening. I am grateful to John Oughton, who will accompany me and who composed the music for this poem with his electric guitar and magic box of sounds. Other poets will be reading and there will be two bands as well. Tantra Lounge and Bar offers a menu of Indian, Middle Eastern and Western dishes. It looks to be a fun evening. Over 20 artists are in the show. The Facebook Event Page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1611304332491221.

The paintings are each 30" x 40", oil on canvas.


Sunday, July 19, 2015


Wow. YouTube saves ALL your RAW ORIGINAL VIDEO FILES! I am unbelievably grateful. A few years ago, a hard drive crashed and I lost the originals of many of my videopoems. But a few Google searches over a few days for how to download HD versions, and, buried in links, I found an article explaining how I can download an Archive of all my videos from YouTube - the archive is 183GB and came in 60 downloads. Tangled Garden, for instance, is 16.1GB, which is what I recall it was. EVERYTHING is there, high resolution .Mpeg-4s. Wow, just wow.

'You now have an option to download all your YouTube videos in their original resolution – whether its SD or HD. Here’s how:
Go to https://google.com/takeout and click the Create Archive button. Google will now create a zipped archived with all the videos that you have ever uploaded to YouTube. Once the archive says 100%, proceed to the Downloads tab to grab the actual files. If the archive is large, Google Takeout will split them into individual files of 2 GB each.'

from http://www.labnol.org/internet/download-youtube-videos/9139/


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Poetry and Drawing at PRIDE

Here is a slideshow video I put together of all the photographs I took at A Divine Afternoon.

From Poetry Salons at Urban Gallery
A 1:15min slideshow of all the pics from yesterday's A Divine Afternoon Urban Gallery hosted by Trasharella (Philip Cairns) in honour of PRIDE. The music clip is from Amoeba Starfish's 'In Bali.' I made the slideshow movie in Picasa where there aren't many options for text.


Trasharella (Philip Cairns), 9" x 12", ©BrendaClews, A Divine Afternoon @ Urban Gallery in Honour of PRIDE, 27 June 2015, graphite and other media on Strathmore 400 Series acid free drawing paper.

My drawing of Trasharella yesterday while he read at a poetry event. Philip didn't like the drawing, or so he said when I showed him at the time. But I coloured it in anyhow today with water-soluble media that I wet with a brush. It is what it is.

I know I said that I would not be colouring these drawings anymore, and looking at the scans, I wonder if I could have better spent those hours (of colouring, wetting and working with a brush and scanning) doing something else.

This is the quick sketch I did of Trasharella in 2013, which Philip does very much like.

Postscript: Philip bought both drawings.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Trasharella (Philip Cairns) - 27 June 2015 - changing after 'A Divine Afternoon,' a poetry salon in honour of Pride, at Urban Gallery in Toronto. Photo (taken and then photoshopped) copyright © by Brenda Clews.

I was originally 'in the mirror' taking the cell phone shot, but I removed myself and placed Philip/Trasharella, who were in transformation, there instead.

I like it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trailer for an Upcoming Videopoetry Performance

direct link: Trailer for Upcoming Videopoem Performance

A short trailer for my upcoming feature! I'm presenting and performing three of my videopoems at Shab-e She'r next Tuesday evening, June 30th. As a multi-media artist, I am very excited to be showing my craft- poems, art, dance, video. It's at 7pm, Beit Zatoum, 612 Markham St., Toronto (Bloor and Bathurst), cover: $5.

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/911027915631459
The photo for the still is from a poetry event where I performed A Floral Opera and was taken by Josef Hochleitner. The Ink Ocean clips in the trailer are from that same performance, though the video has been given multiple visual 'treatments.'

Monday, June 22, 2015

She is still Untitled, but almost finished....

Untitled, work-in-progress, ©Brenda Clews 2015, 16" x 20", oil on canvas.

What I'm considering: toning down the blue lady on the right with a patina of white when she is dry; toning down that knee-shaped pillow (that echoes the saron lady's bent knee) or adding another pillow between them.

Otherwise, it is almost finished, finally.

This is a 'poem painting' and the title will be a line from one of my poems. This painting is a return to a love of paint, raw wild colour, mystical figures, a composition of depth and flatness, linear and with blocks of colour. Perhaps I should call it 'Before Conceptualism,' because that is what I am returning to.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

More sketches of poets at readings around the city

Lorraine Gane @ The Art Bar

Margaret Christakos @ The Art Bar

Gianna Patriarca @ Vino Rosso

Gene Wong @ The Art Bar

About the only life drawing I am doing these days - I do enjoy sketching poets and musicians, if they're relatively still, that is! I've thrown out quite a few water-soluble colour ink drawings that did not work to my eye and I've decided to stick with a .9mm technical pencil with a B or 2B lead for now. (Though in Gianna's drawing I did add some fine black Pitt pen.)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Poems that Offer a Mythic Feast: A Review of Clara Blackwood's, 'Forecast'

Forecast by Clara Blackwood
Guernica Editions, Spring 2014
108 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781550718195
ISBN10: 1550718193
$20.00 Canada, $20.00 US

Poems that Offer a Mythic Feast: A Review of Clara Blackwood's, 'Forecast'

by Brenda Clews

Clara Blackwood’s, Forecast, focuses on hidden, delitescent experience. The collection is like a tarot reading. The poems never fully reveal themselves. Across the five sections of the book, including one on the cards of the Major Arcana, we find references to what is dealt, the forces compelling the life of the poet. The poems seep with intuitions of a deeper reality underlying the normative one where “the ravine teems with life: /crows chase hawks, foxes hunt hares” and, more importantly, that “Each blade of grass /aware of itself. //The animal spirits from long ago /made an agreement. /The human imprint /has yet to unseat it.” (Local Pantheon, 27)

The poems in Forecast are from the perspective of the medium rather than the prophet, a Delphic oracle rather than a mystic eulogizing on divine experience. Being adept means perceiving that the order of things is dependent on what underlies the known, that the construction of reality is stranger than the normally perceived one. The way things are is arbitrary and could change at any moment. Forecast opens with the lines, “I believe a strange force field surrounds /the high rise I live in.” What turns the image of an impenetrable, invisible balustrade upside down is the next stanza: “It’s not a force field that protects, /but revs things up, frenetic.” (The White Tower, 13) In ‘Glasgow —> Iceland —> Toronto’:
I glance at the woman beside me
reading the paper:
Ash cloud chaos hits UK.
She doesn’t look nervous
or alarmed that disorder’s taken reign. (54)
In the poem from which the title of the collection is drawn, ‘Forecast’ (24), we find all these elements: an unpredictability of the weather, both inner and outer, a Surreality in images of falling ‘shellfish,’ ‘pink hailstones,’ ‘birds migrating in reverse.’ The worldly ego cannot order this reality. The poem is an incantation, a spell that holds ‘the torch to illuminate the darkness’:
The weather ahead is unpredictable.

Shellfish could fall from the skies,
summer and winter

You may find love,
or spite. Always ambivalence.

There are wind patterns you don’t understand,
pink hailstones and midnight at noon.
Total solar eclipse,
birds migrating in reverse.

You believe there is a way
to distil chaos; that you could recover
a torch to illuminate the darkness,
pinpoint a light source
brighter than Andromeda.

If you just knew how to begin.
The underworld of the unconscious is a strange and sometimes dangerous world with treasures for anyone willing to explore the depths. The journey and persona of the poems in Forecast reminded me of Demeter searching for herself in the underworld. And, in fact, Blackwood says in an interview with George Fetherling in Poetry Primer #7: “I liken my enmeshment with poetry to the Persephone archetype. She was a naive maiden like myself until Hades (the dark muse) chose her against her will and took her to the underworld. The underworld here being the unconscious where poetic inspiration is drawn.”

Forecast is an illuminated feast where mythic worlds reign and their intersections with the concrete world of not just objects but social organization can be intuited through strange co-incidences and through being open to the forces, and to understanding their power. Reading signs in the personal tableau of memory, experience, thought, world-view, perspective is beholding our own painting as it is being painted. Blackwood writes, “What binds me together are ciphers, /scratched in the fabric /of now.” (Two Kinds of Blue, 36)

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

More photos from my upcoming videopoetry live performance on June 30th



Especially for those of you working in video or considering video for your writing, you might try to make it to this presentation because you will find it interesting and it will spark so many ideas for your own work!

Here are more images from my 'Ink Ocean' videopoem that I will be showing *and* performing live at Shab-e S'her on Tues evening June 30th (Beit Zatoum 612 Markham St). Bänoo asked for political poems, and this one is on oil spills... oil, ink... The other pieces I will be performing with video are 'Threnody in Clay' and 'A Floral Opera,' plus a couple of short bonus pieces, and performing 'Split Mask' in the mask... all videos shot and edited by me (sometimes I use images from the Internet Archives with full credits). I hope it will be an evening to remember.

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/911027915631459/