'Desnaturesa' by Henrique Oliveira

"How can this be called painting?

"Henrique Oliveira has a very peculiar way of painting, one that makes him a painter. The decision as to whether what he does is painting is not up to him, in this case. And it is this peculiar way of working or his artistic process that turns what he does into a very special painting. Far from conventional.

That would justify the development of his plastic research that has wood as the material of his installations and that I dare call paintings. It is not paint, but the scraps of wood that lend color to his “paintings.” Wood scraps that carry the discoloration of time. They become paintings that do not remain on the flatness of a canvas. They are engineering works of complex pictorialness and subsequent visual precariousness. They are far from formal constructive paintings. They would be rather classified as gestural abstract art in face of the obvious unconcern about the superposition of the wood sheets. To the viewer, it looks more like…

'Mezzotints' (at FAA)

'Mezzotints' finally up. It's rained for days. I literally ran outside with 3 paintings when a bit of sun peeped through yesterday. Getting them up at FAA makes me search through my files and add the poetry to the description, which, in turn, gives me the full text for posting next to the painting when it's hung at Q Space on, jitters, Wednesday. So all's good!


Fun with Fascinators

My fascination with Fascinators is quite rampant these days. I made one, the process pictured below, with the 'hat' part being an old bra cup, with a bit of black Russian lace (that I bought in the 'garment district' on Queen St in Toronto), feathers and sequins (both of which were given to me), and a hot glue gun; it cost less than $5.00 to make. Compare this to the $75.00 and up price tags of Fascinators. It was my second one; I must take pics of the first one I assembled for this post and add them at some point.

Then, at one of those stores that imports from South America (I love them), I found some little Fascinators on sale for $10., nothing like the ones you wear to weddings of course, but totally fine for my increasingly eccentric look at poetry readings around Toronto.

I am making the Fascinator part of my 'look.' If people see me be-veiled often enough, they'll get used to it. 'Oh, yeah, she's the old lady poet who wears black lace veils, t…

On the insides of my beautiful organs

*Please note: there are no photographs shown here, that would be far too much and way too personal. When I researched the procedure, I did not easily find personal accounts of what happens, and that is the only reason I am writing this account (otherwise I'd bury it in silence). If I had had a better knowledge of the entire process, it would have helped. This is why I described my experience of it:

We are a photographed world. To all my photographic representations, I can now add photos of my esophagus, stomach and colon. Bizarre, to say the least. All squeaky clean after the great purge of the previous few days, which was not any fun at all. If you like gritty details, read on.

You do not eat anything the day before the procedure and you begin the purge by taking specific laxatives. The box says, "Gentle, predictable overnight relief.' Ha. I had to take 3 Bisacodyl tablets at 2 O'Clock that day, the first day of fasting. The sheets of instructions from my doctor, a G…

Poets Series: at WordStage

While I wait for the sun to come back for photographing the rest of the paintings in my upcoming show at Q Space - which is next week, yikes - here's a little pencil sketch of Luciano while he was reading his gambolling poems last night (they are very strong poems). Really I should give up drawing at poetry readings - getting a likeness is awfully hard given that your subject is behind a microphone and often a podium and is certainly not still.

This little sketch was mostly drawn without looking at the paper. Though I did look at the paper while I was putting the dashes in to indicate the design on his shirt (which was actually black with gold slashes, but pencil and in ten minutes...)

Luciano Iacobelli @Toronto WordStage @Q Space 8 May 2013, Brenda Clews, 11" x 8.5", graphite on 130lb paper. He's younger and much better looking than my sketch, mostly drawn without looking at the paper, but I do recognize him, there is a strange resemblance to this man.


Invitation to an Art Show Opening and Poetry Salon

A selection of Brenda Clews' poempaintings is on show from May 15 - June 15 at Q Space, a poetry cafe, 382 College St (near Bathurst St), Toronto. The Gallery Opening will be on Friday May 17th at 7pm. Come for open mic poetry readings, live music, good company, dancing. Early copies of my chapbook, 'the luminist poems,' will be available for purchase. Finger food (cheese and crackers) will be provided. Menu items, desserts and a cash bar available through Q Cafe. You are all cordially invited.


Art Show in less than 2 weeks! Panic City!

Nine paintings done and ready to go! Of the last two, one needs some fussing, and one needs the breath-hold throw-the-paint treatment. Art show is in less than 2 weeks!!!!

May 15 - June 15 at Q Space, 382 College St., Toronto.

This one is large, 5' x 5', oils and charcoal, called 'Charcoal Poems.' The photo's not too bad, though the right side is a bit dark.

Taking photos of the paintings is the next assignment, and doing that properly is going to be almost as challenging as painting itself.


Untitled2, 6th wash

She's gloved now. The forearms were 'not' meant to appear in the former versions of this painting, and so they weren't drawn with any particular care. But they appeared anyway (painting is like that, like it cares what the artist thinks) and it didn't work. So I thought I'd do my Venus with gloves. Don't yet know if it 'works.' This is still in rough. Likely take me the rest of the day and night to finish to my satisfaction.

Untitled2, 6th wash, Brenda Clews, 2013, daylight photo, 24" x 30", inks and oils on stretched canvas.

Untitled2, 4th wash, with poem

This painting is developing into something that I find embarrassing. And yet, it's also ...not too bad. The poem fragment is from my 'Suite of Botticelli Venus Poems' and dang, I can see Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite and something distinctly literary (a sense of a book plate coloured in instead of an etching or an ink drawing) and quite post-modern (the whiff of pastiche, and it's a little bit funny too, the butt). It's driving me a little mad, this painting. What emerges under one's brush is like the dreams we remember - where do they come from? They are a mystery. We simply try to understand them.

What I don't like - the background doesn't work all that well though I can now live with it, and the arms. I did not work on this part of her sketch, intending to darken them into background. Not sure what I'll do, tinker until they're better, or perhaps glove them. :)

Untitled2, 4th wash, daylight photo, 24" x 30", inks and oils on stre…

Untitled2, 3rd wash, with poem

Really I am not sure what is happening to me. I am kind of falling apart.

For days in angst, torturing myself inwardly, trying to get myself to paint (show is in just over 2 weeks now), meditating, etc., and then today it was attack the damn canvas time. So I did. With permanent inks, oils, and so on. Hours of struggle bending over the painting, doing this, that. It's too pretty, no, now it is far less pretty and simply over-worked. Or maybe it's ok. I simply can't stand this state of mind. Tomorrow hopefully more work on it, at least re-doing the lettering of the poem, which got kind of mussed in this afternoon's trauma, the face, the arms, the shawl, the background, whatever I can do for the magic.

Untitled2, 3rd wash with poem, daylight photo, Brenda Clews, 2013, 24" x 30", ink and oils on stretched canvas. ___

Untitled4, 1st wash

I must be running a temperature! This is so not like my normal style. A poem fragment will be written into this when it's closer to finished. Probably into the white spaces in the towel. Don't think I'll do much but darken the torso when the paint is dry. I'm kind of liking the simplicity here. 'Untitled4,' 1st wash, nighttime shot (colours are a bit brighter than they appear here), 2013. 24" x 30", oil on stretched canvas.


Untitled2, 2nd wash with lettering

Still not happy with it, but now I get where it is going.

Untitled2, 2nd wash with lettering, daylight photo, 2013, 24" x 30", ink and oils on stretched canvas.
As ever, the colour has faded out as the painting dries. So that has to be worked on. Probably, because of the poem fragment that I chose (from my Suite of Botticelli Venus Poems), which I had forgotten about but which my 'text edit' file reminded me of this morning, she will have to remain quite whitish, almost transparent.
Painting is like dreaming. You dream without really knowing where the images come from, or how they are created by your mind. Likewise with painting - you know you're doing it, but you don't often know what it's about while you are doing it. The painting arises as if from a dream.
I am only now dimly aware of what I am doing with this painting. It's too pretty. But then again, it is a kind of Circe image of the Botticelli Venus type, and that's not pretty at all. ___

Untitled2, drawing and 1st wash

This is the 2nd poempainting. It is most challenging. Doing the drawing took nigh of a day, and I rubbed out so much I gessoed in the figure and painted ochre into the surrounding before gessoing that. It has sat propped on the floor for days. Pressure and deadlines drove me to throw it on the floor and begin painting this evening. While it is only the first wash, that does set the direction of the painting. I hope as I continue to work on it over the next few days, I like what emerges better than I do presently.

Untitled2, 2nd wash, nighttime photo, 2013. 24" x 30" oil on stretched canvas.

I sat with the drawn canvas all day, didn't go out into the sunshine, didn't eat, refused to do anything until I painted, finally did early evening, actually enjoyed the brushstrokes at the beginning, painting is usually torment for me, an inner struggle, such terrible intensity mingled with insecurity that only finally finishing brings exhausted relief, but painting this was ligh…