Friday, November 14, 2014

Life-drawing at Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School Reloaded in Toronto, Nov 7th

I've been absent for a bit ...not off having fun, but working on a videopoem that I had on my list for 6 or 7 months and which I finally finished because I wanted to submit it somewhere and had a dead-line. I pushed myself through a gruelling week and a half of 18hr a days and towards the end found myself out every single night at different poetry, dance and drawing events. Sleep was less than minimum (2-3 hrs a night, I was approaching break down). However, I got a complex poem written and edited, edited the video footage, did about 6 readings of the poem before getting one I could live with, and created the soundtrack for the background with a small cheap keyboard and GarageBand - and also I did subtitles. The videopoem is about 7.5min, and was a feat. I am happy with the result, though I don't hold out too much hope for its finding acceptance where I sent it (this is the norm for me - my first choice never says yes, but if I keep submitting, where it is accepted is always better for my work and me).  So I will be sending it elsewhere, whenever it comes back. Due to the requirements of previously unpublished works, I can't publish it or share it with you now.

I have been drawing, though. And today finally had some sun and time to do the arduous task of photographing. One set is ready....

Life-drawing at Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School Reloaded in Toronto, Nov 7, 2014. Model: Obskyura; theme: 'Over the top, pop star decadence. Excessive glamour. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.' ©Brenda Clews, 18" x 24", graphite, Inktense black (and sometimes red or pink) blocks with a water brush pen on Strathmore 70lb archival drawing paper.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, spooks!

And a completely silly video that I threw together on a whim last night in an attempt to deal with my talking head syndrome...

direct link: On the talking head syndrome...

Testing some umbrella lights and neat video effects, I thought I'd take on my difficulty with doing the 'talking head' thing when I do video reviews of poets who have featured at my Poetry Salons at Urban Gallery in Toronto.

Ok I got a bit carried away....

(Maybe going to return this mask - the studs really aren't me, though it is a very comfortable mask otherwise.)

The titles in FCP X that looked best did not give me room to add the music credit: Collegium Musicum De Minas - Regina Caeli, Chiquitos (Anônimo jesuítico, séc. XVIII) found in free downloads on Last FM.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Out of the Closet

Gettin' ready for Halloween! And I did get a small black mask for the eyes. Oh hoho... way too much light in the iPhone photo and it washed away the years. Lol!

She wistfully remembers her vamp days.... (ok they were very short and a very long time ago. but.)

(got ma first corsets this year, or, properly, bustiers, which have resin or plastic stays and are very comfortable, unlike corsets proppa, which have bone or steel stays)

Leather lady!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Deep in the Cyanean Surf: for Nik Beat (videopoem 3:11min)

direct link: Deep in the Cyanean Surf

...cast myself in shadow in this video... for Nik Beat/aka Michael Barry... written within days of his death, in remembrance and love. Miss you!

There are subtitles that can be translated into many languages... just click on the CC.

Because the raw clip was not in focus, I cast myself in shadows in two different 'copies' or 'projects' with different approaches to the textures and focus of the poem. I kept trying this and that on each project to see what resonances with the poem might work - one, for instance, had a film noir effect; in the other I used a background generator. The editing took me to many mysterious places until one of the clips, the latter one, emerged more fully as a 'videopoem' and became what you see here. This is when video editing is like writing a visual poem or painting with the possibilities offered by multiple video effects. The background sounds, which are quite dimmed, are of waves lapping.

I rarely get into cutting of scenes and images, preferring the integrity of a single clip, the cleanness of it, and allow it to build like a painting around the poem.

Someone in film would be aghast at this, but it built as a series of carefully calibrated approaches to the raw video clip over a whole day and removing any of them changed the whole look. Only regret: I didn't de-interlace for the YouTube video, though did for the Vimeo edited upload.


Shadowed Poet - photos from a w-i-p videopoem

As I begin working on the video from my Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery last Saturday, I thought, waiting for responses from some of the readers who were sent raw video clips for approval (even simple editing takes quite a bit of time, and I don't want to do it if that person will nix the final edited video as others occasionally have done), that I would work on the poem I did (the one I wrote for Nik Beat). Well, my. Many hours later I think it'll work. I blotted myself out altogether -


Saturday, October 25, 2014

The October Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery

Can't believe that I forgot to upload and post the photos and videos from last month's Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery! I did the Facebook album, and somehow did not get around to updating the Picasa album. My bad!

Many thanks to our lovely and talented features Oct 25th at the Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery, Niki Koulouris, Ellen S. Jaffe and Pat Connors, as well as those on open mic, Norman Allan, Catherine Raine, Heather Roberts Cadsby, Trixie Gleason (Margaret), Albert Shepherds (taken from video, his name a bit unclear) and Adam Abbas! Here are a few photos. It was a wonderful afternoon of poetry, hot apple cider and Girl Guide Cookies! - thank you Pat!! And thank you Urban Gallery for nurturing, promoting and supporting this event!

Heather Cadsby was born in Belleville, Ontario and moved to Toronto at a young age. She obtained a BA degree from McMaster University and taught elementary school for a number of years. In the 1980s she helped organize poetry readings at the Axle-Tree Coffee House in Toronto. A co-founder of the poetry press Wolsak and Wynn, for several years she served as a director of the Art Bar Poetry Series. Her fourth book Could be was published by Brick Books in 2010.

The poems Heather read:
0.35 "life drawing"
1.38 "drawing the face"
3.14 "what does she think about when she's up there sitting still for so long?"

Pat Connors' chapbook, 'Scarborough Songs,' was released by Lyricalmyrical Press last year. He was also recently published in Belgium, India, and Timmins. He was literary juror of Big Art Book 2013, a digital project of Scarborough Arts. He recently performed at the Austin International Poetry Festival, Stellar Literary Festival, Blue Coffee Reading Series, and, for the third time, at The Art Bar Poetry Series. He is a manager for the Toronto chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change.

Pat says, “I am a People's Poet, in the tradition of Milton Acorn and Raymond Souster. I want my work to be read, listened to, and have relevance for everyday people and everyday life. Mick Burrs, who is editing my first full manuscript, likens my reading style to giving my audience a hug.

However, it shouldn't be so good that it reaches only a few people.”

The poems Pat read:

0:00 The Beginning of Forever
1:41 To the Point
3:04 When My Worlds Collide
4:24 Me With You
5:58 Teenager
7:07 Bleeding Blue and White
7:35 Buds
9:41 Order
11:26 Epic

There is more video from this Salon, but the poets probably don't like their videos because there are almost no viewcounts at all. Go here to see what's available.

I took lots of video and spent 3 days and nights editing and applying noise reduction (which renders so very slowly - a 20min video took nearly 7 hours, frame by frame I guess) and uploading - it was exhausting - and then two of the women wouldn't allow me to post their videos. Because of the amount of work these (I guess) fairly boring videos are (no-one really likes the way they look in video and so most of the poets don't promote the Poetry Salon videos), I've decided to stop doing it whole-hog. I've been trying to figure out livestreaming from my iPhone, but so far haven't managed it. I, myself, would like a record in case I ever decide to review any of the poets' readings and so I have to figure something out that works for me without having to go through the all-too-often thankless and arduous task of editing and uploading and all that entails when, hey, we don't look like Beyonce, nor do we have her budget or production team, we're actually pretty ordinary. That's kind of beautiful it itself, I feel.

It was a truly wonderful Salon! Don't get me wrong. My gripe over the video and how much work it is is in no way a reflection of the readings, the poets or the lovely warmth of the Salon.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Posting the same sketch from a life-drawing session inked in.... #InkTober

Inked sketch of final pose (inked in studio after) - Life-drawing at Bampot Bohemian Teahouse - 19 Oct 2014 - ©Brenda Clews, 18" x 24", 4mm 6B graphite in a Pilot Croquis lead holder, Derwent InkTense permanent ink and Prismacolor NuPastels on Canson 80lb archival cream drawing paper.

I pulled the knees and lower legs way back and inked the sketch in. After, I added a bit of NuPastel. At this point, I am quite satisfied with how it has turned out. The overall composition works for me and the elements are subsumed in it even as they create it.

Tinkering will continue, however... a few things I can already see. I'll include this drawing when I post all the sketches - this will be the most 'finished' one. It was roughly a 40 min pose.

The messy paper and grottiness? I love that! Seeing process as well as the final incantation makes a drawing or painting feel like it is part of the real world, that the artist's materials are still in flux as they flow together to make the image appear as a demarcation of a perception of a figure on the page.


Posting a sketch from a life-drawing session... when I add other media, it'll change for better or worse.

Original untouched sketch of last pose at Life-drawing at Bampot Bohemian Teahouse - 19 Oct 2014 - ©Brenda Clews, 18" x 24", 4mm 4B or 6B graphite on Canson 80lb archival cream drawing paper.

When there's a nice sunny day and I have time, I'll photograph and post the rest of the sketches - it wasn't a terribly good session for me, though often my disappointment lifts when I view the sketches a few days or weeks later and can see they have saving graces and are not *all *that *bad (aren't we our own worst critics?).

This one was done with a Pilot Croquis lead holder and a gum eraser - I had no way to sharpen the lead, which surely made for a clumsier drawing. I am posting an 'as is' / 'before' photo (shot with fluorescent daylight bulbs) because I'm thinking of inking it and seeing where I can take it. The legs are too long and I am not sure how that happened and wonder if it was using a new tool, the Pilot Croquis lead holder, and trying a new technique, sketching in 4mm 6B pencil and blending to darken with an eraser, that threw me off. Or maybe it's just a drawing that didn't work - and is, therefore, to look on the positive side, a good one to play with.

Of course, I may need to crop those too-long legs off and make the drawing smaller. I'll have to see how it goes.