Sunday, March 22, 2015

Work-in-progress, 2nd ink spray painting


W-I-P, painting-in-progess, begun at a life-drawing session at Bampot 11 Jan 2015, 20 min poses, no reference photo, model - Paris.  ©Brenda Clews, 20" x 16", graphite and permanent inks on 1.5" depth galley-sized canvas.

I may simply paint in the white figure so it looks like it does but is rendered in oil paint. Or darken the pencil only and leave it essentially as bare canvas. Who knows. There is a story, a narrative here. I am also reminded of the black and white figures in Fellini's Satyricon, though in this painting they are the same figure.

This painting constitutes my second attempt at spray-painting with ink. Despite parchment paper cutouts and masking medium, the spray obliterated most of the detail of the figure in black. I was disappointed at how it turned out, even the orange wasn't quite the colour I was originally thinking of, but it's ok. Yet it is a kind of striking painting in its own way and it is growing on me. Maybe it's done. Only time will tell.


Here is a little iPhone pic from early January that shows the canvas (upper right) with the original sketches. You can see why I was disappointed in what happened when I spray painted it on Thursday. Sometimes you just have to accept the direction a piece is taking and widen your inner horizons. Or sand the canvas gesso to re-use it.

Later:

No, I shall essentially leave it as is - except for painting in the white figure.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Abbe's photo of me


Such a lovely photo taken on March 14th by Abbe Osicka, wonderful woman and partner of Willie Anicic. His family took over Monarch Taven in Toronto and put on a real birthday bash for Willie’s 60th, balloon strung everywhere, so much delicious food it was a feast, music and dancing. Honoured to have been invited. My cat Aria comes from one of Willie’s litters 3 years ago. Thought I’d share, and also make it my G+ profile pic. Thanks Abbe!

___

 brendaclews.com

My next Poetry Salon is on March 28th, 2:30-5pm at Urban Gallery


On March 28th, 2:30-5pm, I am hosting a beautiful Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery. Norman Cristofoli and Roberto Angelis are featured! There will be about 8-10 Open Mic spots of 5 min each. We welcome musicians to come and play for us. Hot apple cider and mineral water provided by Urban Gallery.

NORMAN CRISTOFOLI has published seven chapbooks of poetry and prose and produced two CD’s of poetry/musical collaborations. He is also the publisher of the Labour of Love literary magazine.

However, Norman believes that people should focus on the art and not on the artist. An artist’s bio should be buried with the artist.

From one of Norman's poems:

"The hardest part is not searching for the answer. The hardest part is living the answer once you have found it."

ROBERTO ANGELIS'S crucible: Despite a rather secular early childhood, since the tender age of ten, Roberto was raised under the shadow of a fundamentally restrictive cult. An old world religion steeped in tradition, filtered through a graceless love, rooted in fear. Thus caged, stripped of song and clipped of wing, the young Roberto was most vehemently denied the opportunity to further explore his multi-faceted artistic gifts, or simply experience a normal childhood, and the freedom of choice which might have been found just outside the insidious confines of the order.

As an adolescent growing up, denied the influence of television, radio, literature, to wit, any form of mainstream media whatsoever, Roberto found himself secretly penning his mind’s escape from the vicious cycle of violent conditioning and abuse. Reaching ever deeper despite his surroundings, creating beautifully broken poetry where vile words were spoken, retreating further still into his tormented being, and immersing himself within the sweetest symphony of sound, with every connecting blow. Drowning out the curses, fists, and buckles, with angelic harmonies, celestial woodwinds, and sadly sometimes, red violins.. Convincing himself that it could not be, that this was somehow all just a bad dream which couldn’t really be happening. Knowing all too well that if he were to speak out, were he to mention anything to anyone at all, the violence would only become worse. Much, much worse. Thus, compelled, he went deeper still within himself, as he continued to write out the closet whispers of his innermost being. After an indescribable period of suffering, and many tumultuous years of struggling to overcome the demons of his past, there is little wonder why the Poet’s tenacious grasp of hook and rhyme bleed with a devotion to life, and freedom seldom heard.

Roberto has been described as a truly unique and groundbreaking presence on the music and art scene, whose main influences and inspirations are not necessarily those of our modern culture, rather a truthful portrayal of an innocence lost. A paradoxical missive upon a steep and thorny road less travelled, tinged with a preternatural haze more often felt than seen. Remnants of the antagonist and protagonist vying for position within the man, as clawing shades of grey warring within an ancient, ravaged soul.

In his own words Roberto once described his cathartic journey as, ‘A quest to find God.. I endeavor to embrace the unsung beauty I find strewn amongst the broken pieces of my life, writing the songs and painting the pictures which well up within me.. not necessarily because I want to, for the colors I’m drawn towards are rather those born of conviction… Indeed, I feel compelled somehow, some would venture to say possessed.. This thing they call a gift, has often come at a price-less-ness verging upon suicide.. A gift to be certain, as I earned it not, but perhaps also more of a staggering burden, and less of a blessing.. Although one simple turn of phrase might inspire yet another, it would seem I die a little with each line.’

Roberto’s hauntingly distended vocal texture, combined with his lyrical genius and infectious phrasing, testify to a brutal truth. An axiom at times jagged and hard to swallow, yet so often sweet, brimming with pregnant promise for a brighter tomorrow.

Perhaps more poignantly, Roberto’s music resonates within the deeper chambers and unswept places of the heart. It speaks to those who are willing to walk a mile upon the sands of self discovery, place their crutches aside and lay down their implements of war. It beckons with subtlety, bidding us come closer, begging unanswered questions of ourselves, daring us to stand nude before the blinding reflection of the mirror on the wall.

Often spiritual, yet ever plagued with the frailty of our human condition, Roberto’s melodic musings take the listener on an emotional kaleidoscope of color and passion as could only be woven by one who has laughed and cried with you, held your hand, and called you friend.
___

 brendaclews.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Self as test object continues...


Above, taken on an easel, below photoed on the ground and showing the Moleskine sketchbook too.


(testing spraying inks on a rendition of ma'self) self-portrait, 2015, ©Brenda Clews, 8.25" x 11.75", 111lb acid-free Moleskine Sketchbook.

I'd like to say that the underlying drawing was a better rendition, but maybe that's not important. I am currently into spraying ink like a crazed spouting whale. So I went to Active Surplus today and bought a bunch of spray nozzles without any jars since they didn't have any that fit the nozzles. They were only .50c each, so no matter. I stuck them right into the ink bottles. But, oy ya, the spray nozzles from Active Surplus spray hard and fast, without any delicacy. The $2. watercolour spray bottles you can buy in the art store are more like clumsy ballerinas, allowing you to arc the spray and to increase or lessen the intensity of the splatter of ink onto the paper. I don't know how many times I completely buried the face when I sprayed with the over-active Active Surplus nozzles and how many soaked paper towels there were at the end of the painting session covered in ink daubed off. Beginning of a new Moleskine too!

_________
Written last Sunday night around 10pm:

Writing presents its own challenges, certainly, but submitting, oy ya. Something I have to bribe myself to do. Last week was an almost sleepless week of editing in between everything else. It got done. Today, on the last leg, I bribed myself with a brandy and some sweet cranberry concentrate swirled in (I do like this combo). After wrapping a tin's contents of organic wild Salmon and chopped tomatoes with Nori, a sheet of seaweed, for my main meal of the day, I chained ma'sef to the chair in front of the computer. I worked, did laundry in the background, dipped cherry tomatoes and carrots into jalapeno humus, drank Earl Grey tea. It took about 7 hours. Copied and pasted from Pages into Word, gone through again checking Word's flags, the red and green dotted lines. The covering letter, done (had already written a draft, but...). All the chapters linked to their respective text, done. Off to the copy shop tomorrow to get it printed (where it will cost less than half of what it would cost to print it at home). The novella is 250 pages single-spaced (was told single-space is fine with this publisher but it is about 10,000 words too long for them - hey lotsa flabba to cutta - or perhaps another publisher will take it, or no-one will, or it'll be composted, who knows). Now for that well-deserved drink...!

Hand-delivered the manuscript before 10am the next morning. That felt a bit strange. Than I came home and worked on a list of other publishers to send it to if it comes back from this one. That research took all morning and took the edge off of the feelings you have when you submit a manuscript in person (of been strung, mid-air, over a canyon when you have just handed over a batch of your feathers). After that, I read Andrea Thompson's first novel, 'over our heads' from cover to cover - it's very good and worth reading. And ended the evening with some standup comedy on LOLFLIX, 'Louis C. K.: Chewed Up, (the link will take you to the show on YouTube, though I watched on Netflix). Good to end the evening with some laughs.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Journal Entries 6 and 7

Yesterday was a good day. It was lovely and sunny and warm (5°C but that's hot after what we've been through!) and so I was able to work in the studio portion of my apartment. I finished the little paintings you see below.

By 9pm, I had also finally finished editing a novella I wrote in 2011. I wrote it very quickly, in less than a month, and had forgotten some of it - which was good since the fresh read helped with the editing. It still needs a working title and an ending, and then this phase is done.

I went to bed at 10pm and essentially slept until 8am - after a sleepless week of pushing myself relentlessly through finishing the editing of a harrowing tale - I feel well rested and almost ready to tackle the next project (of which there are always many). First, though, finishing that novella... my plan is to get it out by Monday.


6 Journal Entry - ©Brenda Clews - 27 Feb + March 11 2015, 5.5"x8", 14x20.3cm, mixed media, Strathmore 400 Series 80lb toned gray sketch paper acid free.


5 Journal Entry - ©Brenda Clews - 26 Feb + March 11 2015, 5.5"x8", 14x20.3cm, mixed media, Strathmore 400 Series 80lb toned gray sketch paper acid free.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Photos and Video from the February Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery

Fantastic Poetry Salon last week at Urban Gallery (thank you Calvin)! We had a memorable, inspiring, wonderful Salon of many brilliances. It was a poetically and sonically rich afternoon. I'd like to thank Stedmond Pardy, Kevin Fortnum and Amoeba Starfish for being our fantastic features, and Vladimir Azarov, Norman Allan and Alana Cook for stepping up to the open mic and sharing their poems with us. And to everyone who came out to a Saturday afternoon Poetry Salon in February, the coldest month in Toronto on record, wonderful to see you and yah, Canadians got grit. xoxo Brenda

(If you go the Poetry Salons album at Picasa, all the names are listed.)

                                                                                                    

A single video of the Poetry Salon, but you can see below the times each of the readers and musicians begin.

direct link: http://youtu.be/bvB0XMFmGS0

0:32 Stedmond Pardy

23:44 Vladimir Azarov

34:41 Kevin Fortnum

49:57 Alana P. Cook

51:33 Norman Bethune Allan

56:17 Amoeba Starfish, Phil Ogison - Guitars, Synths; Jeff Howard - E-Drums, WaveDrum, percussion/voice synths

STEDMOND PARDY’S first chapbook, "Drugs,” was self-published in 2013, and his next volume "Beached Whales" will be published in late Spring. He has had two one man Shows held at Reg Hartt’s, "The Cineforum,” appeared on Howl 89.5 FM twice, and has read his work at various venues around the city since he started writing 8 years ago. He was born and raised in the Mimico/Lakeshore area. The quotes, "an Artist is an Instrument through which the Universe reveals itself" and "word poetry is for everyman, but Soul poetry, alas, is not heavily Distributed" are the words he lives by.

KEVIN FORTNUM is a nightmare dressed like a daydream who wishes he could be like the cool kids.
He only came here to say, 'hello'. When this show is over, he will drive his car into a bridge.

AMOEBA STARFISH’s bio is bio-degradable. Phil and Jeff met in 1988, began collaborating on various experimental, sometimes controversial, multimedia projects thinly veiled as "bands," They created Amoeba Starfish in 2009 to simply return to the ideals of "play." Quantum Jazz is about being sincere and having fun without fear, limitation and expectation.

___________________

Videoed and edited by Brenda Clews
With thanks to Jeff Howard of Amoeba Starfish for recording the sound

Doing a single, if long, video decreases my time working on the footage from 3 days to 1 day. I video primarily to document my Salons, but understand that people like to see themselves on video, and so I do edit them to try to enhance what is a difficult subject to watch - poets standing reading their work with a camera videoing on a tripod. With this video I think I have, at least with titles, begun to create my own 'look' with the clips of these Poetry Salons and so that's kind of nice. Because all of the Features are tremendously creative people who like to experiment and push boundaries of what poetry is, what music is, I felt adding a bit more of a look to the video worked. I hope you enjoy the video of the Salon as much as I did hosting it!

Friday, February 27, 2015

February Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery tomorrow, the 28th!

Tomorrow! FUNtastic and brilliant afternoon! Come and warm your poetic souls at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St E, doors 2:45pm, readings 3-5pm. Two poets whose poetry intermeshes styles, spoken word, slam, literary poetry, love poetry, cultural events and icons, you name it, these guys, Kevin Fortnum and Stedmond Pardy are very special. We will project video during some of the readings. And Amoeba Starfish's Quantum jazz... is wow. You will slide gently into and swim and fly in otherworldly realms. Very inspiring, beautiful. They like poets to speak what their music evokes into the mic. They are a tremendously interactive band. And we promise dancing at the end! Yes!

After we go to a nearby Chinese restaurant with good food and inexpensive prices, for a glass of wine, or some nibbles, or a dinner of shared plates of scrumptious food. The menu has both vegetarian and meat options.

PWYC pass-the-pouch. Around 7 open mic spots of 5 minutes each, sign-up before 3pm.

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/326456197563006



KEVIN FORTNUM is a nightmare dressed like a daydream who wishes he could be like the cool kids. He only came here to say, 'hello'. When this show is over, he will drive his car into a bridge.

AMOEBA STARFISH’s bio is bio-degradable. Phil and Jeff met in 1988, began collaborating on various experimental, sometimes controversial, multimedia projects thinly veiled as "bands," They created Amoeba Starfish in 2009 to simply return to the ideals of "play." Quantum Jazz is about being sincere and having fun without fear, limitation and expectation.

STEDMOND PARDY’S first chapbook, "Drugs,” was self-published in 2013, and his next volume "Beached Whales" will be published in late Spring. He has had two one man Shows held at Reg Hartt’s, "The Cineforum,” appeared on Howl 89.5 FM twice, and has read his work at various venues around the city since he started writing 8 years ago. He was born and raised in the Mimico/Lakeshore area. The quotes, "an Artist is an Instrument through which the Universe reveals itself" and "word poetry is for everyman, but Soul poetry, alas, is not heavily Distributed" are the words he lives by.

___

 brendaclews.com

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Journal Entries, 1-4

         

A small art journal for quick Journal Entries... mixed media, and on a prepared surface. Because I've been blocked, this is a way to gently move into the stream.

The theme that's shaping seems to be Mind Maps. Each one is a picture of the inside of my mind at that moment.

©BrendaClews 2015, 5.5"x8", mixed media, Strathmore 80lb toned gray sketch paper, acid-free.
___

 brendaclews.com