Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'A Gourmet Poetry Salon' Sep 27th 3-5pm at Urban Gallery!

A Gourmet Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery hosted by moi. Featuring Sonia Di Placido and Heather Babcock, with a cameo spot by Angel Torres. Open Mic sign-up at 3pm. Delectable, delicious, convivial and warm and welcoming.

Saturday, Sep 27, 2014
from 3-5pm
400 Queen St East, Toronto



Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Gourmet Poetry Salon this month @ Urban Gallery - prepping for aposter!

This month we have a Gourmet Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery in honour of the 30 year anniversary of Urban Catering. We have some delectable offerings. The beautiful and über talented Heather Babcock and the sumptious poet, Sonia Di Placido are featured and a cameo by the graphic artist and writer Angel Torres, who has two photograph paintings in the show (that's his work in a photo of moi at the Opening Reception). There will be eight or so 5 min open mic spots too - sign-up at 3pm. Urban Gallery, Saturday afternoon, Sep 27th, from 3-5pm. 400 Queen St E. It will be a wonderful afternoon! Everyone is invited!

Beautiful and über talented Heather Babcock.

Me posing in front of Angel Torres photograph painting at the Opening Reception of the Art of Food group show at Urban Gallery Sep 2014. (Photo taken by Angel - great angle huh.)


Among the Features at 100,000 Poets for Change evening of September 27th

Saturday, September 27, from 7:00pm - 11:00pm

Black Swan Tavern
154 Danforth Ave, Toronto, Ontario M4K1N1

Featuring Robert Priest, Bruce Meyer, Anna Yin, Jeannine Pitas, Max Layton, Luciano Iacobelli, Brenda Clews, Nik Beat, Niki Koulouris, Dane Swan, Bänoo Zan and Pat Connors (who's hosting the event).

Brenda Clews is an African-Canadian poet, painter and video poet. Brenda has had solo art shows and been in a number of group art shows. Her artwork has appeared in books and as journal covers. Her poetry has been published in print and on-line journals over the years. She has been a featured poet at a number of venues and hosts and organizes monthly Poetry Salons at Urban Gallery in Toronto. LyricalMyrical published her chapbook, 'the luminist poems' in 2013. She has a poetry book forthcoming with Guernica Editions. She cites her early years spent barefoot, living in a compound of mud huts, with many wild animals and the wonderful Ndembu people, in the jungle of Kafue National Park in Zambia, for her deep resonance with the beauty, strangeness and brilliance of the tribal mind and the natural world.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Sunday Life-Drawing at Bampot Bohemian Teahouse

Yesterday's life-drawing session at Bampot Bohemian Teahouse. We put the model on a table against a wall in the centre of the small room and perhaps I was a bit too close because I never felt I got a handle on drawing him. The brightly coloured one was the last pose of 45 min and yes, while I added those colours to the drawing during the session, I worked a bit more on the colour in my studio this morning. I think it is quite lurid. It is perhaps almost too much, un-viewable. I wrote the writing in it during the night last night (and in part refers obliquely to my conversation at break with the model who is a filmmaker about to begin production of his first film):

"A new country with new rules. Green figures hallucinate underwater, their mustard bodies. The Noir look, shadows and slats, but not the story. The story is interlaced in twelve sections, nestled within each other. When I open one sheaf, eleven others slide out. Crimson moon, stars of fog. Rain at midnight. Hunting for love in the orange harvest, disappearing into black, the lit cigarette, amber ashes. Blueberry brandy, the moon, streams of dream waters, gloss. You are impregnated with your shadow."

link to life-drawing album
Life Drawing


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Sunday Life-Drawing at Bampot Bohemian Tea House in Toronto

Last Sunday afternoon's life drawing at Bampot Bohemian Tea House. I tried some black InkTense blocks with a water brush but didn't like the effect – it went on a bit too thick and I wasn't able to modulate areas of accentuation the way I can with water-soluble graphite. I also used an ink and water mixture in a brush and it did not work that well. Towards the end I returned to using my ArtGraf and the InkTense ink in little bits and that seemed to work. Overall, fighting a cold bug, I didn't feel up to going that afternoon but went anyway and wonder if that has an effect on drawing itself. The last time I went to a life drawing session when I really was too tired the drawings were so bad I threw every single one out.

I did finish the second one, the one in shadows in my studio - it was the model's favourite of mine and it is also my favourite (hence the large size) - and because the third one was too wet and I had to dry it for transport home, I re-added the ink later too (I like that one too). Otherwise, these are untouched. In a few of them, I did return to using the ArtGraf and used the permanent ink only in places, which worked better.

Whole Album:
Life Drawing


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No More Sunday Self-Portraits! Yay!

Ha ha! Searching for a face.... I am awfully glad that I no longer have to do Sunday Self-Portraits because I am finding that elusive commitment to life-drawing venues at long last. I was awfully bored with myself, truth is. As I am sure you also were.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday Life-Drawing at Bampot Bohemian Tea House in Toronto

Yesterday's life-drawing at Bampot Bohemian Tea House in Toronto. Only one of these was worked on in my studio, the first one; all the others are as is, straight from the session - pencil lines not even erased. The model, Addi, liked the 3rd one and took a photo of it at the end of the session. The poses are 10, 20 and two 30 min. I'm still using a 2B pencil and Art Graf (water soluble graphite) with a water brush pen, and in the one I worked on this morning I added Derwent Inktense colours. These life-drawing sessions like using muscles not often used - after one of these afternoons of intense drawing, I am wiped, go to bed early. Lol!

Actually, I could define his hands better - it might work quite well as a painting then. Not sure if I ever will. These sketches just go into a portfolio and never come back out.

Maybe one day I will have an Open Studio and sell them off for between $10.-$25. Unlikely that I'd go to that effort, and maybe no-one would come, and if they did, they wouldn't buy because, like me, they're poor poets and artists, but, maybe an open studio sometime, who knows... 



Friday, August 22, 2014

'Split Mask' sound rehearsal with Christian Christian

Christian Christian (who is not particularly religious, Christian or otherwise) is a Toronto poet and musician. He keeps a fairly detailed blog at Facebook and I recently connected him to KJ Mullins of newz4u.net to re-post his poetry and music event reviews, which are detailed, clear and honest. Do take a look - no-one else is writing about poetry and music this way in Toronto. The Arts section of newz4u is developing, under KJ's care, into one of the best sites to discover what's happening and has been happening in this city. KJ lucked out with a writer who is doing exactly what she had wished for but didn't have time herself to do - detailed critical reviews of the vibrant poetry scene in Toronto.

Christian visited earlier this week and included the afternoon in one of his posts. A collaboration and a behind-the-scenes peek.

     I recently, in answering a general online call from Brenda Clews for critical suggestions on how to improve her performance piece, “Split Mask”, offered her the idea that certain types of non-musical background sounds might enhance the spoken piece. She responded that I was on to do it if I was into it, so we made several arrangements to get together to experiment in front of the video camera, all of which fell through because of cloudy weather. Finally we had a solid date on Monday at noon, so at 11:30 I packed up two guitars, a rain stick and a bag full of small noisy things and carried them on my bike to Brenda’s place.
     It’s always interesting for me to visit other people’s homes, because I so rarely get invited to do so. It also seemed very appropriate in this case, considering the theme of the project, that I step behind the mask of Brenda’s public life and visit the side that touches her face. She shares her home with an old, friendly dog, and a curious but cautious, playful cat. I think though that the three of them sub-let the place from Brenda’s artwork, which occupies over half of what I could see of the apartment. Her paintings and other creations are everywhere, so even when she’s not in the room, the space is bursting with Brenda.
     Brenda suggested that we have lunch first, so she sent me out to a local Lebanese place called Ghazi, near the Bloor Docs Cinema. At first I didn’t think it was open. The glass door was shut and I didn’t see a handle. Finally I realized that I had to push a button to open it. There were three women in headscarves cooking and serving behind the counter in the tiny take out place with no tables. One had her plain scarf loosely draped over her head, another held hers on with a baseball cap and the third had her colourful striped scarf tied in a stylish knot at the side.
     Back at Brenda’s, she made us coffee to go with lunch. Finally I meet someone else who can make a good strong cup of coffee at home.
     We decided not to shoot a video, but Brenda recorded my efforts to put sounds behind her creation. On the first run through I tried my rain stick, my Baoding balls, maracas, various sounds made by scraping the wound strings of my Epi guitar, and the crumbling and ripping of aluminum foil. All of the sounds showed promise as we listened to the playback, and the hearing gave me a better idea as to where and when to use each sound. The second try was much better and we both particularly liked the effect of ripping the foil. We only did one more run through to which we added Brenda’s small, out of tune harp. I would say that our second try worked best but the sound of the harp is definitely a keeper, I think particularly because of the out of tuneness of it. Its dissonance added a mournful yet etheric quality to the opening of the performance piece.
    When I say we did three rehearsals I should add that there was a lot of talking in between. The fact is that we probably only spent half an hour all together on the piece and about five hours chatting. This too was probably necessary in order to help us feel comfortable with working together for the first time.

I've included that rehearsal here so you can hear it if you wish. Christian and I will be performing 'Split Mask' at The CATWEASAL Club Friday evening, Aug. 29th: Catweazle is a night of intimate performances, musical and otherwise. There is no microphone, no PA system. Everyone piles together at the front for an up-close, participatory experience of artistic sharing and community building.

The 2nd recording Christian and I did of 'Split Mask,' which is closest to what we will do during our collaborative performance (me in my mask; he with an array of instruments and sound-making paraphernalia).


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Life Drawing at Bampot Bohemian Tea House last Sunday afternoon

It's been far too long since I went to a regular life drawing venue. Incredibly, one close to where I live has begun and will run twice or month or more often. I've worked on some of these a bit in my studio, though I left the last two alone.

#1 through #6 -17 AUG 2014 - life drawing at Bampot Bohemian Tea House. ©Brenda Clews, 2014, 18"x 24", water soluble graphite, Noodler's inks, InkTense pencils and blocks, Strathmore med drawing paper.