Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gallery of Paintings On Show @ Q Space May 15- June 15

This is an experiment. Once I get the html figured out, I will post to the new gallery-style website I set up because of this show at

I have been working 24/7 taking photographs, finding 'descriptions' buried in the archives of this blog - thank gawddess I keep everything here! - and uploading to FineArt America. Why did I pick that site? Who knows, ask the birds or flowers or the wind. Just did. Seems a safe enough place to post, and besides, they do sell reproductions of your work and you can even make a little from those sales, and people who might wish to purchase the actual paintings can see the price and contact you directly.

There are 12 paintings in all. I don't know if they will all fit at Q Space. Whatever doesn't, will come home again. Luciano recently re-arranged Q Space so that the bookshelves are no longer in the front of the cafe but in the back where the poetry readings are, leaving a smaller but brighter and more friendly space for art in the front where the storefront windows are. I had originally chosen and prepared new pieces for the previous space, which was darker, more closed in, but larger. Anyway... let me start pasting and posting in the html from FAA.

When you click on the first painting, you'll go to FAA where you can see all of the paintings by clicking "Next"..... enjoy!

Sell Art Online      Photography Prints      Photography Prints    Photography Prints      Sell Art Online      Sell Art Online      Sell Art Online      Sell Art Online      Sell Art Online      Art Prints      Photography Prints      Art Prints


'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 a visual disarray that is characteristic of the place that inspires him and where the scraps originate from and through the artist`s creative gesture are made pictorial."

From an essay by Ricardo Resende:" from P E Sharpe's post on G+.

This is what I wrote in response (posted here so I can find it more easily later on), and I expect to get either clobbered or ignored for it:

This piece that you posted (and I haven't read any of the comments yet) finally broke through my issues with what I might term academic art - art that needs an interpreter, a critic, an over-tenured reviewer, to explain it. It's painting? Oh, really, the painter might ask. But, then again, a whole academic industry has risen around modern art - we need 'explainers,' after all. We support entire faculties who 'explain' to us what 'art' is 'about.' And so on, ad infinitum. Ok, so I'm not the only one who has been at this cross roads many times.

What broke through when feeling my way into this spectacular piece was how art went into crisis with the advent of the camera, really really freaked, and still hasn't fully recovered, likely never will, things split off in so many directions after that, and critics became a necessary part of an 'art piece,' almost justifying art's very existence (when it received the stamp of official art approval that is).

But what if. What if art split into different attempts, some landscape become abstract art (essentially); others into super-realism (do what the camera does but better); and then into installation art.

This phenomenal tree is installation art - if it fills the space that the photograph suggests it does.

And what would I think if I saw this image without the fanfare of 'proper art' and the critic's beautiful poetic writing?

Oh, to be crass, I'd think 'movie set.'

And then I realized, the 'new' art, which cannot sell, really, except to a museum where there is money and space, or a wealthy private collector, where there is money space, or..... to a movie director, where there is, if not space, money.

This thought blew me away and I have not yet fully recovered.

This incredible twisted tree trunk of many metaphors would look incredible as an image in a movie.

Then the true power of the art here would find its niche, its public. It's not painting, therefore I would say, it's filmic!


'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!

Photography Prints


Saturday, May 11, 2013

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, the Fascinators (that she makes from bra cups - oh no, they won't say that!).'


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 Gastroentrologist, indicated the pills would bring on a 'movement' one to six hours later. You tell me how you can sleep through the night in that amount of time. For me, they took 5 hours. More gritty detail? Shall I continue?

Originally my family doctor referred me to a Gastroentrologist because I have suffered from heartburn most of my life, and control it through diet. Mostly I don't eat after 6pm if I hope to sleep at midnight. Meaning I eat my main meal at lunch and that's about it. As I grow older I find I don't need as much food as I used to. I did gain some weight a few years back when there was one of those 'step-downs' of the metabolism and decided I preferred my life-long weight, and so cut back on carbohydrates, removed all sugar from my diet, and kept my night-time snacking to a minimum. No more donuts! Or butter tarts! And, actually, after about a year without sugar, I found I no longer liked the taste of sugar-sweet. Even the occasional pieces of cake to celebrate various birthdays are not as tasty as they used to be. I could make an exception for warm blueberry pie and a pure quality vanilla ice cream, though! Still, one piece of pie suffices, and if no-one is around to finish the pie, I'll eventually toss it in the organic recycling bin. It's that bad! Yes you can lose your taste for sugar.

In the quest to understand my particular complaint, the good doctor said he would like to do a esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), which is running a tube down the esophagus and into the stomach with a camera on the end of it. While I wasn't keen on an EGD, I knew it might help me figure out the incessant heart-burn. Then he suggested, 'While we're at it, why don't I also do a colonoscopy.' Oh, yuk. 'That's going to be very uncomfortable, isn't it?' Would the good doctor deny that? Of course, 'No, it's not that bad at all. You're fully sedated.' And thus the conversation went.

I chose to have the colonoscopy because, 1) he said it was a procedure that is only done every 10 years; and 2) I have known three people with colon cancer - two of them died; the third is on chemo. The worst thing with this type of cancer is you often don't know you have it until it is too late and it has spread to other organs. My Gastroentrologist said that colon cancer is one of the easiest to detect and that it develops slowly. It begins as polyps in the colon, which are normal, especially as you age, and usually stay benign and grow very slowly. If these normally-occurring polyps become cancerous it is a slow process that takes years. In a colonoscopy, if any polyps are detected, they can easily be removed. This is the reason a colonoscopy can be done every 10 years as a safety precaution.

At the prescribed time on the evening prior to the procedure, at 8pm, an hour after the Bisacodyl tablets took effect, I quickly drank a solution of one litre of water (I treated myself to Evian spring water) and a sachet of PegLyte. Well, actually, Klean.Prep since I couldn't find any PegLyte despite long walks to three pharmacies in the area. Klean.Prep describes itself as a "Peg electrolyte solution for gastrointestinal lavage." (Wikipedia tells us that "Gastric lavage, also commonly called stomach pumping or gastric irrigation, is the process of cleaning out the contents of the stomach.") It's a word to describe cleaning or rinsing. By the next day I was joking, between visits to the bathroom, that I was 'fully washed out.'

Ok. The Ped electrolyte is not fun. It's rather the opposite. Vile stuff, and, well, since I don't eat much to begin with, and had last eaten Wednesday afternoon, there really wasn't much except itself to purge. I slept okay Thursday night, and on waking Friday morning, had another litre of the Ped electrolyte solution. It made me quite sick and I only drank about three quarters of it. Another woman at the clinic had had to drink 2 litres of it the two designated times (she had a different procedure to mine), and she had thrown it up Friday morning, and I thought that was lucky. I wish I'd thrown it up as I really don't think I needed such a strong dose for my size and the fact I had not eaten solid food in nearly 2 days. I honestly felt I'd been given instructions to 'cleansing solutions' to fell a 250lb man's digestive system. I was told after my 'procedure' that next time they could give me a 'gentler preparation.' Well, that's good to know!

Nothing but clear liquids the morning of the 'procedure.' No black coffee or tea even, only that litre of Ped electrolyte for breakfast, which took effect late morning. And it was truly wicked. My system, according to the good doctor, was uber clean, and well, I should say so! Unfortunately, the Ped electrolyte kept working into the late night and is still, albiet not with as much gusto, cleaning my system today. I would recommend asking for an amount adjusted for your size and weight if you get this procedure. The one-size gets all can be quite over-done on a smaller woman.

In the operating room, I was asked to lie on my side, then a not uncomfortable plastic thing was put in my mouth to prevent me from biting and tied around my head  (yes, I wondered too), along with an oxygen mask, and an IV tube was attached to an IV needle that had been previously inserted into my wrist. Oh, the doctor had been singing to a song playing on the radio when I was wheeled in. He has a good voice. The nurse had joked that he was singing 'a girly song,' which made us all laugh. She said, 'A singing doctor is a happy doctor.'

When I came to, I was lying in a recuperation area and my son was there. The sedation was remarkably entire. I don't remember a thing of the tubes and cameras, thankfully. An Anaesthetist had been at the procedure, so I think I may had some general anaesthetic too.

While I was quite weak from the medication, I had, naturally, to rise and lurch, with the aid of the nurse, to the bathroom. That Peg electrolyte was still working. Damn stuff. There was quite bad abdominal pain that I was told was air in my system from the procedure. After a few trips to the bathroom, I managed to clear enough of the 'air' to decrease the pain. The nurse said that even small women have the same length of colon that large people do, and that therefore it's stretched more during the procedure and that's why I was in pain, and that it would pass. After about half an hour of a few trips to the bathroom, and getting dressed, I was given tea and some cookies. They tasted awful, which was sad since I was really hungry.

When the doctor arrived with the print-out of the photographs taken of the inside of me, he said he'd found a very small polyp near the end of the colon and had removed it. There was a little pale bleeding. And because of that little polyp, I have to have another colonoscopy done in not 10 years, but in 5 years. At least I'll know what to expect.

After we left, my son and I walked for a few blocks before hailing an empty cab. I was weak and had trouble walking; pain in my gut quite bad. I had to ask the taxi driver to stop after a few minutes as I dashed out and threw up on the edge of the sidewalk. So embarrassing! That reaction, apparently, was due to the sedation medication.

At home, yes, I went to the bathroom. Then I made some earl grey tea and my son bought me a falafel sandwich, which, I tell ya, was the best falafel I have ever had. It was thoroughly delicious. Later I made some scrambled eggs with Rowe's sausages (Rowe farms is a free-range, hormone-free, pesticide-free farm in Southern Ontario). Nothing like breaking a fast to enjoy the true gourmet feast even the simplest food is.

The damn Peg electrolyte kept working, though. On nothing. It kept working on nothing like it had the entire day. Irritating stuff. I worried that the 'cleansing' had begun a bout of gastro and that I wouldn't be able to eat the next day. Thankfully, that is not the case.

And, as memento, to remember it all, I have strange little photographs of the insides of my beautiful organs.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

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.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

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.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

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.


Friday, May 03, 2013

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.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

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 stretched canvas.