Two Spots this Weekend

I'm featuring in two poetry events this weekend with a whole lot of other fantastic poets and musicians.

◇ On Saturday afternoon I will be a guest poet at 'Words and Music Salon' hosted by Linda Stitt and Lucky Mike from 1:30p-4:30p at Vino Rosso, 995 Bay St (just north of Wellesley St).

◇ On Sunday evening I will be performing poetry with masks and video at a 'Syrian Refugee Poetry & Music Fundraiser' hosted by Sharon Goodier from 7p-10p at Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St (near Bloor and Bathurst) ▻ their facebook event page

If you're in Toronto and can come out to one or both events, I'd be chuffed to see you.

A Yet Untitled Painting

Latest painting. It's finished except for some detail work - the paint is thick and still too wet. Haven't thought of a title yet. Model was originally from a life-drawing session last year at Bampot Teahouse, two 20 min poses. 16" x 20" oil on canvas.

A 'Breakout' Poetry Performance

Last Saturday night was a 'breakout' session for me - for the first time, I performed at a poetry event with some of my video poems playing on a screen behind me. At least, the video part of the poems, with their music. I either read or recited poems and wore a mask for one of them. I had prepared my set over the previous weeks, managing to get the video tracks to work with my pico projector. At the last minute, I got cold feet, and tried to cancel, but ultimately did the set and it went over very well. It was a private Poetry Salon at Norman Cristofoli's house, and he just wrote in an email:
Just wanted to let you know that I have had rave reviews about your performance at the Salon on Saturday.

Here is one quote from an e-mail:

"And the Salon kept us all up to date with what seems to be the latest in poetry: ‘voice-over’ poetry, combined with original music and visual video content.

One might say: four art forms combined! All as cleverly presented by Brenda Clews, w…


There will be no April Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery - there is a wedding in the Gallery that evening and Urban Catering will be prepping the room in the afternoon. The next Salon will be at the end of May, on Saturday afternoon the 30th.

I have two upcoming mini features, though. I will be a Guest Poet at Vino Rosso on Saturday afternoon, from 1:30-4:30pm, hosted by Linda Stitt, 995 Bay St, Toronto. And a short feature at a Fundraiser being held by Sharon Goodier for a Palestinian refugee from Syria who is being sponsored by her United Church at Beit Zatoum, 612 Markham St., Toronto (near Bathurst Stn), 7pm Sunday evening May 3rd. More info on those poetry spots later.

little transit drawings

last Tuesday on the subway

The size they are on-screen is the size they are in-life. Transit Drawings #1, #3, ©BrendaClews, 5.5"x8", 14x20.3cm, graphite, Pentel brush pen, Strathmore 400 Series 80lb toned gray sketch paper acid free.

March Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery: photos and video

The March Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery yesterday was MAGNIFICO! /MAGˈNIFEˌKÔ/ I would like to thank our two terrific features, Roberto Angelis and Norman Cristofoli, who were MAGNIFICENT. And those who stepped up to open mic, MAGNIFIQUE, MAGNIFIQUE! Valentino Assenza, Kayla Forrest, Arlene Paculan, Jeff Cottrill, Joe Wray, Cate Laurier, Robbie Patterson, Coral - Crescendo Excompare, and Vladimir Azarov. And to all those who came out, MAGNIFICUM!! (magnificent in Latin, yeah really). Especially I would like to thank my brother, Allan Clews, who has added my Poetry Salons to his Meet-up Group, Toronto Mindful Artists, Writers and Storytellers, and who helped set up. And a special thank-you to Calvin Hambrook, owner of Urban Gallery, who helped everyone get settled, and did the open mic list as my bus connections left me running late. When I arrived to everyone's friendly, smiling faces, wow, all I could think was, MAGNIFICO! It was fabulous!

Here are photos from the Soirée. Please…

Work-in-progress, 2nd ink spray painting

W-I-P, painting-in-progess, begun at a life-drawing session at Bampot 11 Jan 2015, 20 min poses, no reference photo, model - Paris.  ©Brenda Clews, 20" x 16", graphite and permanent inks on 1.5" depth galley-sized canvas.

I may simply paint in the white figure so it looks like it does but is rendered in oil paint. Or darken the pencil only and leave it essentially as bare canvas. Who knows. There is a story, a narrative here. I am also reminded of the black and white figures in Fellini's Satyricon, though in this painting they are the same figure.

This painting constitutes my second attempt at spray-painting with ink. Despite parchment paper cutouts and masking medium, the spray obliterated most of the detail of the figure in black. I was disappointed at how it turned out, even the orange wasn't quite the colour I was originally thinking of, but it's ok. Yet it is a kind of striking painting in its own way and it is growing on me. Maybe it's done. Only …

Abbe's photo of me

Such a lovely photo taken on March 14th by Abbe Osicka, wonderful woman and partner of Willie Anicic. His family took over Monarch Taven in Toronto and put on a real birthday bash for Willie’s 60th, balloon strung everywhere, so much delicious food it was a feast, music and dancing. Honoured to have been invited. My cat Aria comes from one of Willie’s litters 3 years ago. Thought I’d share, and also make it my G+ profile pic. Thanks Abbe!


My next Poetry Salon is on March 28th, 2:30-5pm at Urban Gallery

On March 28th, 2:30-5pm, I am hosting a beautiful Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery. Norman Cristofoli and Roberto Angelis are featured! There will be about 8-10 Open Mic spots of 5 min each. We welcome musicians to come and play for us. Hot apple cider and mineral water provided by Urban Gallery.

NORMAN CRISTOFOLI has published seven chapbooks of poetry and prose and produced two CD’s of poetry/musical collaborations. He is also the publisher of the Labour of Love literary magazine.

However, Norman believes that people should focus on the art and not on the artist. An artist’s bio should be buried with the artist.

From one of Norman's poems:

"The hardest part is not searching for the answer. The hardest part is living the answer once you have found it."

ROBERTO ANGELIS'S crucible: Despite a rather secular early childhood, since the tender age of ten, Roberto was raised under the shadow of a fundamentally restrictive cult. An old world religion steeped in tradition, fil…

Self as test object continues...

Above, taken on an easel, below photoed on the ground and showing the Moleskine sketchbook too.

(testing spraying inks on a rendition of ma'self) self-portrait, 2015, ©Brenda Clews, 8.25" x 11.75", 111lb acid-free Moleskine Sketchbook.
I'd like to say that the underlying drawing was a better rendition, but maybe that's not important. I am currently into spraying ink like a crazed spouting whale. So I went to Active Surplus today and bought a bunch of spray nozzles without any jars since they didn't have any that fit the nozzles. They were only .50c each, so no matter. I stuck them right into the ink bottles. But, oy ya, the spray nozzles from Active Surplus spray hard and fast, without any delicacy. The $2. watercolour spray bottles you can buy in the art store are more like clumsy ballerinas, allowing you to arc the spray and to increase or lessen the intensity of the splatter of ink onto the paper. I don't know how many times I completely buried the fa…

Journal Entries 6 and 7

Yesterday was a good day. It was lovely and sunny and warm (5°C but that's hot after what we've been through!) and so I was able to work in the studio portion of my apartment. I finished the little paintings you see below.

By 9pm, I had also finally finished editing a novella I wrote in 2011. I wrote it very quickly, in less than a month, and had forgotten some of it - which was good since the fresh read helped with the editing. It still needs a working title and an ending, and then this phase is done.

I went to bed at 10pm and essentially slept until 8am - after a sleepless week of pushing myself relentlessly through finishing the editing of a harrowing tale - I feel well rested and almost ready to tackle the next project (of which there are always many). First, though, finishing that novella... my plan is to get it out by Monday.

6 Journal Entry - ©Brenda Clews - 27 Feb + March 11 2015, 5.5"x8", 14x20.3cm, mixed media, Strathmore 400 Series 80lb toned gray sketch p…

Photos and Video from the February Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery

Fantastic Poetry Salon last week at Urban Gallery (thank you Calvin)! We had a memorable, inspiring, wonderful Salon of many brilliances. It was a poetically and sonically rich afternoon. I'd like to thank Stedmond Pardy, Kevin Fortnum and Amoeba Starfish for being our fantastic features, and Vladimir Azarov, Norman Allan and Alana Cook for stepping up to the open mic and sharing their poems with us. And to everyone who came out to a Saturday afternoon Poetry Salon in February, the coldest month in Toronto on record, wonderful to see you and yah, Canadians got grit. xoxo Brenda

(If you go the Poetry Salons album at Picasa, all the names are listed.)