Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paint Thoughts

When other people paint, do you have
thoughts like:

It's GOT to pull you away

...but not too much.
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 brendaclews.com

The real story of recording 'She, transparent to the sun'

Ok. Truth is this 'little' 1:33min recording took most of the day. I hit Record and said the short poem a few times and nothing was recorded but a blank line. Plugging and unplugging things, resets and upsets, hours went by as I struggled with my system made of old and newer components. Checking and re-checking System Preferences, everything always looks fine, even the Mac's internal microphone worked, but not dear old GarageBand. In increasingly dire frustration I deleted it. Deleted it! And then the Apple App store wanted to charge me $14.99 to re-buy it! Snarl and growl. I went and found iLife '11, hoping it was the latest version, and anyway, if it isn't Apple is usually decent enough to update if you've bought the product in recent history. Being by now thoroughly versed in the checking and re-checking of everything multiple times, I did open the App store again, and finally, under Purchases, there was my Garage Band, uninstalled, ready to install. So I didn't have to re-install iLife.

Did the re-install work? No. GarageBand has become the most finicky mistress, or, in my case, master. It certainly recognized my mic, but allow recording to occur through it? Not on your iLife.

I think in the process of clicking anything and everything I clicked Input over to the internal mic and viola, recording real sound. Then I clicked it back to my mic. And it worked!

No idea if it ever will again, or if I have to jump through X number of hoops before the software responds correctly.

Ok. So we got recording. I recited my little poem. Almost too fatigued to care about the quality emotion wrapped up in the tremor of voice. Perhaps too shrill; perhaps not contained enough. I don't like my voice, but few of us do. It's too high. I try to remember to speak more deeply. And so on and so forth as I recorded the scant minute and a half a few times.

I did choose a recording that wasn't too bad but the weird thing is that the sound was a bit 'tinny.' I had recorded the piece I read on open mic last sunday at Nik Beat's HOWL at Q Space in preparation for my performance and the sound had been crystal clear and very life-like. Try as I might, with moving the mic from desk to lap, tilted up, and down, the 'tinny' sound remained.

So finally I plugged in another mic that, look we're talking low end stuff here, but there are subtleties, is not as good as the mic that had become 'tinny' for no good reason.

It was getting dark. I had to take the dogs out. I hadn't eaten, neither had they. And I kept at it, tenaciously.

Yes, as I said yesterday, while I'm not fully satisfied with the final recording, IT WILL DO (take that, GarageBand!). And yes I spent some time finding tracks on freesound.org and mixing and re-mixing them. By the time I'd saved a version and uploaded and shared to Facebook and posted on my blog, it was 9pm, and when I took the dogs out the slush that had fallen all day was becoming lethal slippery icy under foot and I didn't have my cleats on and so we gingerly walked around the block, not enough of a walk for any of us, but we all came home nearly an hour later soaking wet, and even this morning their leashes and harnesses and dog coats are still damp.

Here's the recording again.

You'll forgive me for posting it twice.


  direct link: She, transparent to the sun (the title is taken from the quote from Legends of the Bible by Louis Ginzberg on Noah's birth, but also describes the painting, which became an integral part of the meaning).

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 brendaclews.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Little recording of, 'She, transparent to the sun'



Really I don't quite like the way I read this poem, but it's getting there (and SoundCloud may have done some uninvited ducking). It's the poem written into the drawing I posted earlier today. For the background, I mixed some tracks from freesound.org. See if you can guess the riddle in it.
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 brendaclews.com

Drawing-in-progress: She, transparent to the sun



A test shot of the light drawing I did last night, and then wrote the poem I composed earlier in the day into it. Because the writing took more space, I'll have to extend that dark background to page edge, and see if I can sharpen the edges of her face (the conte is rough, awkward for fine lines). 'She, transparent to the sun,' 8.5" x 11", conte, chalk, pastel, art pen on Pentalic neutral pH 25% cotton 130 lb natural white drawing paper.

 ps. When I can take a better photo (we have a sleet storm right now, so no going out to get a daylight photo), or at least set up lights with some daylight coming from the window, I will also take a photo of the poem, which I wrote in my writing Moleskine, but first, on a quest for shrimp (which I have been craving for days and last night bought an over-priced prawn dish from an Indian restaurant that was mostly onions and green peppers in spices and very few split prawns, and it didn't hit the spot. Lol! :)

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 brendaclews.com

Monday, February 25, 2013

Poets Series: At HOWL's February event



...my *untouched* drawing.

I had put my art supplies away, when Liz ripped off her top and proceeded to spread blood over her belly, neck, chin, her hands covered, an organ, viscera in one hand, so out charcoal and red chalk and paper came, and I drew as fast as I could. You don't get a sense of Liz's physical beauty here (she's a knockout), but perhaps some of the strangeness and deep power of her unexpected performance.

(It is taking discipline to refrain from spending an hour or two working on this drawing but I have other work that isn't getting done. So far, other than the dozen photos shot in daylight to find one approximating the original and the photoshopping to get it closer to the real image, I have managed to leave the original sketch as is. This drawing is testing that resolve though and greatly.)




I don't take reference photos but here is Nik Beat's photo of the incredible, disturbing, powerful, vulnerable, deeply emotional performance last night at HOWL Q Space by Liz Worth, a very talented Toronto poet.

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 brendaclews.com

Saturday, February 23, 2013

HOWL tomorrow night!

I'm trying to pick something to read tomorrow night on open mic at Nik Beat's fabulous poetry and music event at QSpace: HOWL. Nik's open mic is the best in the city - he gives readers and performers 5 minutes, instead of the usual minimal 3 minutes. Well worth going to if you are in TO or nearby! Great features - Alana Cook, Liz Worth and Meghan Morrison this month - and many very talented folks will step up to the open mic too. A tea or glass of wine or a beer, some dessert. The finest way to spend the last Sunday evening of every month!

https://www.facebook.com/events/416055368480423/
Howl @ Q Space
WhenSun, February 24, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
WhereQ Space, 382 College St, Toronto ON M5T 1S8 (map)
DescriptionMedia Personality Nik Beat hosts another two hours of Howl at Q Space Reading and Music Series featuring: poet/host Alana Cook reading from her newest works; poet/author and performance artist Liz Worth; and music feature is singer songwriter Meghan Morrison (who is opening for Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo in May) will do a 35 minute set of her newest work! Free | Open Mic | Pass-the-hat for performers
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 brendaclews.com

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ok, some more poets, but the same night



Two Poets on 3 Minute Open Mic Readings at Hot Sauced Words, a poetry event, 21 Feb 2013, charcoal, conte crayon, 80lb archival paper.

Ok, I said I wouldn't. But it's the same night, and I haven't worked on it. These two gents are 3 min poses on Open Mic at Hot Sauced Words. They remind me of Estragon and Vladimir in Becket's Waiting for Godot: ESTRAGON: (despairingly). Ah! (Pause.) You're sure it was here? VLADIMIR: What? ESTRAGON: That we were to wait.

The real poets behind their 3 minute sketches were wonderful, and not Godotian at all.

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 brendaclews.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Poets Reading Poetry Series Drawing to an End







Cynthia Gould and Matthew Tierney reading at Toronto WordStage on Wed Feb 13, 2013. 9" x 12", mixed media on Strathmore drawing paper.

I think these will be my last 'poet drawings.' The poses aren't very interesting, the angle at which I sit and the lighting is usually not ideal, there's always a microphone in front of the face, and there isn't enough time to properly draw anyone (and I do not take reference photos, for the record). But the real problem is the amount of time I spend 'finishing' these little drawings. I only consider them exercises, like doing scales, a way to practice drawing, and find that working on them is keeping me from working on my own drawings and paintings. So I am considering sketching sometimes at poetry readings and rarely showing these 'exercises.' While a couple of the women, Cynthia included (she is the first image above) have liked their drawings and posted them publicly, most of the poets I draw say nothing and I'm not sure I'd be happy about uncommissioned drawings of myself either (even if I usually don't name the writer, it's usually pretty clear since I include the date and the venue).

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 brendaclews.com

Monday, February 18, 2013

Detail of Untitled Unfinished Drawing

Copper, silver and gold leaf, and an angel with spiked wings.



Unbelievable that this took the entire afternoon. Detail of Untitled Unfinished Drawing, 2013, Brenda Clews, 28.5cm x 42cm, 11 1/4" x 16 1/2", graphite, India ink, copper, silver and gold leaf in a Moleskine A3 Sketchbook.

Not the best lighting perhaps, but I'm tired, and took about 30 photos and this one will have to do for now.

I had intended to paint it, quite lightly so as not to disturb its quality, but looking at it on a table-top easel, and re-considering, I may only ink in the pencil lines with the grey ink the man is in. Below is the original full sketch, drawn a month ago. Paper in a Moleskine is a pale creamy yellow, as in the painting (albiet it's a bit darker but I used daylight bulbs and what you see was the closest I could get to the original), so I must have over colour-corrected the sketch.



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 brendaclews.com

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reuters: Incredible amateur videos of meteor over central Russia; 1,000 injured (2:58)



Incredible footage of the meteor that streaked into Russia that I wanted to keep a link to.

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 brendaclews.com

Friday, February 15, 2013

TV these days...

Last night I watched a couple of episodes of the BBCs Sherlock Holmes on Netflix. It could have been the 3rd, or maybe the 4th, show when Sherlock defined himself as "a high-functioning sociopath," which, truly, he is, and, truly, was a moment of hilarity. My daughter put me on to this show. My son to True Blood, and this after prior years of Buffy and then Angel, and more recently to The Walking Dead (which is excellently acted in a fascinating apocalyptic story of post-viral life -a virus kills a person and turns them into a zombie by using the brain stem and the only way a zombie can die is to have their head, well, uh... it's really good make-up, no CSI). And Lizzie Violet to Luther. Luther so freaked me that I started sleeping with my little string of festive lights on, which my daughter really got a charge out of. But I have an over-active imagination and have never been able to watch thrillers because they do not stay on the screen and always lurk around the corners of my life. I first saw TV when I was maybe 9 - they didn't have TV in Africa in those days - after we had moved to England and got hooked on Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men. Never really took to TV, though I must say these shows are really quite amazing in their scripts, acting and world-views, and, of course, humour.

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 brendaclews.com

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Poets at Poetry Readings Series: A Poet



...another of my Poets at Poetry Readings Series. Successful "as portrait," no. I don't take reference photos, I didn't have my proper glasses and she was blurry, and there's not very much time to make a 'likeness.' But in other ways, perhaps. I'm ok with what's emerged here.

'A Poet,' 2013, 9" x 12", 22.9cm x 30.5cm, charcoal, conte, pastel on Strathmore archival drawing paper.

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 brendaclews.com

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Upcoming Hand-crafted Chap Book and Solo Art Show at Q Space

Yesterday was quite some day. First LinkedIn sent me an email saying my profile was among the top 10% viewed in 2012, and then my dear publisher and poetry cafe owner, Luciano Iacobelli, a brilliant poet in his own right, gives me an early May launch for the hand-crafted poetry chap book, 'the illuminist poems,' his press, LyricalMyrical, will publish and get this, a solo art show at Q Space at the same time! Given that I've had 20 years of the most unbelievable closed door experiences and hardly believe anything can go through for me, I am entirely taken by surprise and hardly know how to react. Someone pinch me. And I keep telling myself, I do have the confidence to do all this... 

(Below, potential cover for the chap book.

 ...The figure was drawn by arranging my small art skeleton and drawing it from the comfortable couch across the room while watching a show on Netflix... then I fleshed it out with a woman's form - you can still see the ilium, femur, a little of the patella, the fibula and a little of the tibiar in the leg closest to us. I left the history of the drawing visible by not erasing all of the sketch lines. Later came the India ink, copper silver and gold leaf, writing, and the title/name was added in Photoshop.)


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 brendaclews.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

LinkedIn is a Hoot

I have one of the top 10% most viewed @LinkedIn profiles for 2012. That's what LinkedIn, which has now reached 200 million members worldwide, says. Who knows? Doesn't seem possible. But it's still very cute.

An email this morning led to a page on LinkedIn that was ready to Tweet this (which I obligingly did lol): "Hurray! I have one of the top 10% most viewed @LinkedIn profiles for 2012. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/profile/25/084/261"

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 brendaclews.com

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pensive Woman



Drawing I did last night. Photo taken with daylight bulbs, and one of them was shining perhaps too much on the forehead since the subtle shadows there aren't quite evident enough. But no photo is perfect, is it. The colours are good.

I think I was only aiming for my obsession with people. Understanding us. [Discovered afterwards] ...imparting a quality of strength and pensiveness, a life etched in the patterns of energy that compose the world.

'Pensive Woman,' 2013, 28.5cm x 42cm, 11 1/4" x 16 1/2", graphite, conte, charcoal, pastel, coloured pencil in a Moleskine A3 Sketchbook.

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 brendaclews.com