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!
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

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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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."


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.


Saturday, February 09, 2013


Out last night for hours trudging through snow banks in nearly empty streets hood pulled tight loving every blast of sparkly snow dust and when the fire engine backed up towards us to find enough traction to drive into the fire station those bright flashing lights were a bokeh of beauty in the white mounds heaped high. Me in my snowpants and sheepskin boots with cleats wrapped over the soles and my dog in her coat and bright blue rubber dog booties (first year ever, but she's old and the salt, oh it must sting) trundling rushing through the snow streets like emissaries of the wind arriving home my underclothes so wet I had to get entirely changed and wrapped up in blankets to watch the Three Monkeys by Ceylan (a Turkish filmmaker, thanks Jean) where I was thrown into a world of intensities far beyond the simplicity of my walk in the snow.

(We received about 30cm, and I hadn't realized how much I missed snow over the past few dry winters.)


The Table for Everything One Week Later

The Ikea NORDEN Gateleg folding table that I bought used through kijiji one week later. Le sigh.

(The right side is for writing; the left for drawing and painting smaller pieces, on paper, in sketchbooks; the middle for stacks of books, ones I'm reading as well as sketchbooks and notebooks. Since it's my living room, I chose this table since it folds to 10" wide for company.)

You can see the dog sleeping on an ottoman, and kitten toys on the floor, including a faux fur mouse that squeaks, yes it does.


Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Table for Everything

I am staring out at the dark snow-filled sky sitting at an Ikea NORDEN Gateleg folding table (both leaves fold so that the table is 10" wide), that I bought used through kijiji. On the leaf to the right, the 'writing' side, I am working on a poem; the other side is for painting on papers, in Moleskines and such, and has a table-top easel on it, jars of water, small plywood boards for inks and paints; in the middle are stacks of sketchbooks, notebooks and books of poetry. On my lap,  as I sit on a small folding chair that was a 'street find' last summer, is a small heated throw to keep electric heating costs down... it's cosy, quite lovely actually.


Another Illuminata Photo

I took the photo in direct sun on my dining room table, the Moleskine at a steep angle. You can see in the upper left corner that the glass the sun shines through is splotchy (in 6 years the landlord has not cleaned it once). This photo will not replace the one that looks like a go, but I may post different takes simply because I find the appearance of the gold (and copper and silver) leaf in different types of light interesting.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

'First Death in Nova Scotia': John Scott's adaptation of a poem by Elizabeth Bishop

direct link: First Death in Nova Scotia: an adaptation of a poem by Elizabeth Bishop

John Scott's new cinepoem is strange and haunting and beautiful: 'First Death in Nova Scotia,' a new adaptation of an Elizabeth Bishop poem. John wrote in an email:

"I would love it if you could spread the word on your facebook page or blog. We're seeking a wide audience for it in an effort to build energy and credibility for a longer documentary we want to make on the poet Elizabeth Bishop. I know that you're a busy person and your help is definitely appreciated!"

With a death in my family last year, my 89 year old mother passed away peacefully in a nearby nursing home, and memories of a deceased second cousin, a middle-aged man, lying in a coffin in a house in England when I was perhaps eight years old, this cinepoem moved me in that profound way that gazing upon someone who has died does. The whiteness, the life etched in the features, the form that is already dissolving. And of course the tragedy, and an unearthly peace. Yet, as Scott's cinepoem shows with the animation, the voiceover, the poet who gazes upon death is also in the strange and mysterious realm of art-making, of an imaginative excess that forms metaphors of living, and the ability to withstand through those metaphors. The paintings whose eyes move, the shot stuffed loon on its iced lake of white marble who watches with a knowing that the child understands, such metaphors (both verbally in Bishop's poem and visually in Scott's enactment) enable a coherence and meaning in the comprehension of our impermanent lives.


Friday, February 01, 2013

My chap book, the luminist poems, will be published by LyricalMyrical Press!

LyricalMyrical Press is publishing my chap book, 'the luminist poems'!! It's official! Wow. This really is very lovely - it will be my first published book.

LyricalMyrical publishes small runs of handmade chap books. They are beautiful little jewels, and I have bought a number of them. Very high quality writing. Luciano Iacobelli is an astute publisher, and a brilliant poet in his own right - he is also the founder and owner of the small,  new poetry cafe and bookshop in Toronto, Q Space. I am very honoured to join the select group at LyricalMyrical.

Prose poems on light and love and their complexities.

Below a possible cover.