Thursday, May 26, 2016

Close, but not done yet!


The painting is nearly done. I need to work on the clothing a bit, and maybe darken the background if it is possible. Also, the paint is quite thickly applied in the highlights on the face and so I need to balance that in the shadows and maybe mix an orange tone to match what's there and apply it thickly. 

After putting in a full day on it, tired, my eyes sore, I am in a bit of a slump and think the painting does not work. That could be exhaustion speaking. 

It's a quick photo, taken indoors.

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 brendaclews.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

End of May Poetry & Music Salon is a Fundraiser for the Ft. McMurray Fire Relief Fund


Poetry & Music Salon
Tuesday, May 31 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Ft. McMurray Fire Relief Fundraiser for the Red Cross
at Palmerston Library Theatre
560 Palmerston
Avenue​

Featuring: Clara Blackwood, Sonia Di Placido, John Oughton, Stedmond Pardy, Mikel BC, Stanley Fefferman, Steve-Paul Simms, Linda Stitt, Tim Maxwell, Kirk Felix and Brenda Clews. Open mic.

The end of May 2016 Poetry & Music Salon is a FUNDRAISER for the FORT McMURRAY fire relief fund. Everything in the donation box will go to the Red Cross. As a pop-up salon with 11 features, too many to collect for, everything will be donated to the survivors of the continuing wildfires. The Federal Government matches all donations, and so does the Alberta Provincial Government, so it will be a gift that triples!  

A very awesome evening of poetry & music at Palmerston Library Theatre on Tuesday May 31, 6-8pm! 560 Palmerston Ave. Free event.

If you would like to receive notifications of future Salons join the Facebook Group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/poetryandmusicsoiree or send an email to join the mailing list: poetrysalon [at] brendaclews [dot] com
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 brendaclews.com

Friday, May 20, 2016

May 3, 2016 Poetry & Music Salon @ Palmerston Library Theatre

We had an exquisite Poetry and Music Salon in the Theatre at Palmerston Library in early May! Our features, Elana Wolff and Susie Berg, who read both collaborative poetry and some solo pieces, and Jim McCuaig, who made his guitar sing extraordinarily detailed and resonant East Coast Blues, were outstanding. All of those who read or performed on open mic were terrific - Steve-Paul Simms, John Oughton, Stanley Fefferman, Cate Laurier, Stedmond Pardy, Sharon Goodier and Roman Romaniuk. Palmerston Library is a wonderful place. I have received much support from the librarian, Iana Georgieva-Kaluba, and the branch manager, Misuk Hedman, for these Salons that I am still quite star-struck with the amazing space and the beauty of everyone. George, the sound technician, was so knowledgeable that I can’t imagine the new system of sound recording for the videos that I am embarked on without his help. Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the Salon. You all made the evening marvellous! Much gratitude and love to all. xo

Here are photos I have taken from the video. For names, please go to the album on Google Photos.

                                                      

Here is a video of the entire salon! With a cord and the know-how of the sound technician at the library, I recorded directly out of the the library's mixer and the sound in this salon is simply the best.


direct link: May 3, 2016 Poetry and Music Salon

In order of appearance:

1. Roman Romaniuk 3:06
2. Cate Laurier 5:43
2. Stedmond Pardy 8:19
4. Elana Wolff and Susie Berg (collaboration, features) 13:36
5. Steve-Paul Simms 34:13
6. John Oughton 39:31
7. Stanley Fefferman 42:30
8. Susie Berg (feature) 47:06
9. Elana Wolff (feature) 54:52
10. Jim McCuaig (feature) 1:02:38

Poetry Features:

ELANA WOLFF is a poet, editor, essayist, and designer and facilitator of therapeutic community art courses. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies in Canada, the US, the UK and France. Her bilingual collection of selected poems, Helleborus and Alchémille, (Noroît, 2013; translation by Stéphanie Roesler) was awarded the 2014 John Glassco Prize for Translation. Her essay, “Paging Kafka’s Elegist,” won The New Quarterly’s 2015 Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest and is nominated for a National Magazine Award. Elana’s fifth collection of poetry is forthcoming with Guernica Editions in 2017.

SUSIE BERG is the co-curator of Toronto’s Plasticine Poetry Reading Series, and the author of the poetry collection, How to Get Over Yourself, the blog The Starbucks Poetry Project, and three chapbooks: Paper Cuts (CreativeJames Press, 2007); Awaiting Butterflies (words (on) pages press, 2015), and You Will Still Have Birds, a conversation in poetry with Elana Wolff (Lyrical Myrical Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in such journals as carte blanche, ArsMedica, and Switchback, and in the anthologies The Mom Egg Review, Desperately Seeking Susans, and Body and Soul. She is the editor of the upcoming anthology Catherines, the Great, due from Oolichan Books in 2017. Visit her online at http://www.sber40.wix.com/susieberg, or follow her @SusieDBerg on Twitter.

Music Feature:

Ex roady, ex theatre tech, ex subway driver, JIM McCUAIG is now finding joy fingerpicking East Coast Blues and some originals.

The Salon is organized, hosted and videoed by Brenda Clews,

Poetry and Music Salon Facebook Group Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/poetryandmusicsoiree

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 brendaclews.com

Monday, May 16, 2016

Detail of 3rd Iteration of a Portrait


The painting is no further ahead, but I like this moment of beginning, with a backwash, some quick block-in of paint on the features and yet with the pencil sketch still visible. So I re-photographed in bright sunlight. The detail is clearer.
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 brendaclews.com

Saturday, May 14, 2016

3rd Iteration of a Portrait (w-i-p)


Are we the way we look in photos? Are there other iterations? Other resemblances?

This is the 3rd iteration of a painting-in-progress. The figure is nearly life-size, the painting's size is 40" x 39.5", and he is one of the loves of my life, my son.

It is a bit risky to post paintings-in-progress because people often think it's finished. On the other hand, posting can be part of the process of showing the way you work, for inspiration, for teaching. And a bit clairvoyantly perhaps, I often get sense, a 'crowd-chat,' of energy back focused on the painting, indistinct mingled voices, perceptions, that might guide the direction of the piece even if no-one says anything.

Also, painting portraits in this style, without a firm guarantee of photo-resemblance, is an area of current exploration, and I may ....be open to commissions.
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 brendaclews.com

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Three On The Scene: Upcoming Art Show





            

Next month, an upcoming show: Three On The Scene, paintings by Philip Cairns, David Bateman and moi, June 4-19th. Reception Sunday June 5th, 1-6pm. Arcadia Art Gallery, 680 Queen's Quay West, Toronto. I have done some new pieces for this show, and am sharing them with you. They may all be in the show, or not, depending on space.

Mark your calendars! Philip and David are accomplished artists, poets, writers, directors, actors, and I am delighted and honoured to be invited to show with them. My theme is celebrating the masculine.
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 brendaclews.com

Saturday, April 30, 2016

'Split Mask' videopoem published in CrossBridge

Split Mask is a political poem. It is an interlaced, layered, multi-media piece that took 3 years to complete. It is about dictators and refugees, about the masks we wear, what the torn mask hides and reveals. It is about what I hear on inside of the mask.

My performance videopoem has been published in the inaugural issue of CrossBridge, an International Journal of Multidisciplinaryand Progressive Research. It's on page 21. The journal looks wonderful, and I'm honoured to be included. (The link will open a free PDF of the journal on-line; there is also a print version that can be purchased.)


direct link: Split Mask

Dr. Robert Caine sent an email responding to my submission to their journal, CrossBridge:
Your creative and artistic video is layered with powerful and thought-provoking messages that truly gives your viewers much to contemplate regarding an array of global issues....Again, thank you for your accomplished work.
Another comment that I received that I thought offered insight into Split Mask was from my friend, John Oughton, who I first sent the finished version to for feedback:
It's hypnotic. That prismatic beating heart, the overlays, the found stills and videos of suffering in Syria, the voice full of feeling... it made me realize that the split mask is a portal, not a disguise, a way to how everything/others are broken themselves, split from peace, from safety.


The story of how Split Mask arose and developed from a single burning image:

In the spring of 2013, an 'image' appeared in my mind of a 'split mask', and it obsessed me. Thinking I would have to build a mask from scratch, I put off constructing what I saw so clearly in my vision. But I found a cardboard base at an art store. I ripped it roughly and, with masking tape and cotton wading, papier-mâchéd it with white glue and water so that it was strong, and painted it white.

After the mask was made, I was compelled, in the way the muse compels, to write a poem so that I could create a performance piece wearing the mask for poetry readings. The poem was beating on the inside of my head and gave me no peace until I began to write it. The poem, 'Split Mask,' took a year to write, and went through a number of readers and poetry workshops until it was honed to the version here. The poem was completed in the summer of 2014.

In the meantime, I had a solo show at Urban Gallery in Toronto in January and February 2014. I needed one more painting for the show. For 3 days, just before New Year's, I turned my computer and phone off, and painted a 5' square painting, a self-portrait of the split mask and the art skeleton wearing the yellow lace that I stored it on. Earlier that fall, I had had one of those 'visionary' moments - I saw a large canvas with a diagonal mass of gold rising. 'Split Mask' is a copper and metal gold leaf, charcoal, graphite and acrylic painting and was ready for its early January 2014 installation.

In the summer of 2014, I was memorizing the poem, Split Mask, for a poetry feature at 100,000 Poets for Change in Toronto. I set up a video camera and performed it in front of the painting. This rehearsal became the core of the performance videopoem you see here.

Asked to feature at a fundraiser for a Syrian Refugee put on by the United Church in Toronto, I decided to show some of my unpublished videopoems. I made a very rough cut of Split Mask, adding war footage I found on The Internet Archives. Note: although I began writing the poem the summer the dictator of Syria began using chemical weapons on his own people, nowhere in the poem does it mention him or Syria specifically. The poem, rather, refers to these issues in a more universal way.

Wishing to complete the Split Mask video, a friend offered me a deadline to present it at a private poetry salon in January 2016, and so I locked myself away for weeks producing it. I added a number of effects. Looking through an old hard drive, I found various photo shoots in the split mask taken over the years (I use myself as model because I'm free - can't afford to pay actors or models). I also had an echocardiogram done in 2014, and obtained a medical CD of it because I wanted to use it in a videopoem - it was challenging, but somehow I transferred some footage onto my Mac (the medical imagery is Windows-based). I woke one morning knowing that I had to use that footage in Split Mask. The echocardiogram clips are untouched: the blue is blood from my veins, the red is oxygenated blood pumping out through my arteries, the pace is the actual pulse of my heart.

Split Mask, then, is a layered poem and performance videopoem.


I have a chapbook, Performance Poems (Epopeia Press 2016), with the poem, 'Split Mask' that I sell at videoperformances around town. Please contact me through my website if you would like to purchase the chapbook: http://brendaclews.com
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 brendaclews.com

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I'm a 'Wonder Woman Artist' tomorrow night LOL!


Here is a drool-worthy detail of one of the pieces I'll be exhibiting tomorrow night at Arlene Paculan's 'Wonder Women.' If you'd like to get a sneak peak of what will be in the group show at Arcadia in June (with Philip Cairns and David Bateman, two accomplished artists, writers, playwrights, actors), come to Hirut Restaurant Friday night! I'm the Wonder Woman Artist of the night supporting Super Wonder Women musicians, Arlene Paculan, Cheryl Beatty, Cindy Bray and Kel Alex with a colourful background.

8PM, 2050 Danforth Ave, Toronto, by Woodbine Sbwy Stn and lots of street parking.
Facebook event page.
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 brendaclews.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Arabesque, spiraling, undulating men


Arabesque, spiraling, undulating men, © Brenda Clews, 2016, Windsor and Newton professional watercolours, some Daniel Smith Extra Fine watercolours, a little mixed media, all permanent pigments, 5'5" x 2', on Canson archival 140lb watercolour paper.

While still untitled, this painting is finished. It took about 2 weeks. I photographed the painting in direct sunlight to get the colour as accurate as possible. I prefer a photo taken in full spectrum light, of course, even if a watercolour painting should not ever be in direct sunlight. Out of direct light or in artificial light, the colours are deeper. This painting has 5 layers of various archival varnishes that are recommended by Golden to protect the pigment and which also help provide some UV protection for the painting.


Here is the original, untouched photo - I shoot in raw. The colours captured by my Canon 60D are surprisingly good, except the blue, which, while it is ultramarine, should be more towards the cyan range because it's watered down and other colours were mixed into it in parts. All the cameras I've used have problems with blues, I've found.

I tweaked some areas in PSE for the final version: the blues I shifted towards the cyan range, toned down the yellows and pushed them towards a orange-cadmium yellow a touch and slightly darkened the overall painting as it would be in a room - in fact, I always colour correct with the painting beside me to calibrate the colours as closely as I can. Still, in direct light, what you see is very accurate (though one would never keep watercolour paintings in sunlight - rather, on a north-facing wall or where sunlight doesn't reach). Taking the final photo was the one and only time this painting will ever be in sunlight.
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 brendaclews.com