Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Torn, Brenda Clews, 2012, 11" x 15", charcoal and watercolour on archival paper.

Everyday I am going to try to work on a drawing or painting (I've been working long hours on a painting video; other times, I'm reading, or writing).

Today I tested charcoal and then drew a skeleton from which emerged a woman. Since she has a basket of fruit, which are probably apples, she's come in from her tree, whose shadow I almost drew next to her too.

After I made the little drawing I understood that the woman was shredded in some way internally, where you can't see. The paper was torn deliberately along certain pathways to enhance the internal state in the way that you see here. I will glue it leaving those edges detached so that the shadows of the paper itself remain.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A few sketches and a cleaned-up back yard!

A very few pieces this week to share.

A poem should go with this. :) 

In my little charcoal sketch book.

 (Lovely orchids my niece gave me for my birthday nearly 3 months ago drawn in charcoal.)

'Woman at the Window,' 2012, small charcoal and watercolour sketch. Really just a doodle, like the above post.

I have a blister in the middle of my right palm from digging weeds for a couple of hours! I neglected my tiny bit of back yard, and then the heat, and suddenly I want to have it - only the weeds! Eeek. They produce burrs by late summer and I have a doggy whose fur is a favourite of burrs. Mostly they're all dug out now - my son came and raked too, and we filled about 4 garden bags - and a new bag of shady grass seed bought - to be spread just before a rain storm (no water out back). Doodles, heck, yes! Even with blisters in the middle of your palm. :))

So pleased with myself! In 2009 I smartly stapled up two bamboo mats to block the view from the lane way into my little back yard. They began seriously shredding last summer and were fast becoming mulch after this last winter. I mulled a trip to Chinatown for more mats, which, with my wrist, I would need help with carrying back. I checked tarps at the hardware store. The young sales clerk there had the very good idea to weave it into the planks of the fence. The colour though - bright white! Definitely no! Then I found camouflage tarp at the dollar store for considerably less. And I wove and stapled it by myself! Without straining my wrist - getting a very strong right arm! Now my son won't have to help. And I'm sipping a strawberry rhubarb cider on a chaise longue in wonderful privacy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tangled Garden painting finished!

Tangled Garden Painting, 18" x 24" compressed charcoal, watercolour pencils, a touch of acrylic but mostly oils on triple-primed 100% cotton canvas sheet.

My Tangled Garden painting is finished. Or is it? I painted without have any pre-conceived notions about how I wanted the final piece to be and so I am having to accept what has transpired under my paint brush. Yet it works in the video of this painting's process that I have been concurrently working on. Can't believe I've been painting this painting for over a week! Usually I'm done in a half a day's hours, with some tinkering later.

Taking you back though memory lane below. :) And I'll subject you to a video of the process of this painting in the next week or few weeks too! Enjoy!

Tangled Garden, close to 900 views since Jan 25th as of this moment (unheard of for a loong videopoem featuring original poems - most videopoems maybe reach 100 views in a year), is a slow art film of a triptych of earth poems, Surreal, mythopoetic, a rhizoma of images, metaphors, explorations, philosophies (with English subtitles). -A Floral Opera (2011) -In the Hands of the Garden Gods (1979) -Slipstream, the Tangled Garden (2006) (with impromptu speaking between the poems, which each end with ~~~ in the subtitles):

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tangled Garden painting continues to in-process

Where it could be if I had the courage to invert all the colours! The other one is closer to the way it is. I just took these in not enough light and there is also too much shine (that's why matte fixative was invented). Tangled Garden, a painting that's not a gift anymore since it's not working the way I had envisaged. Also, I'm not really thinking about painting or anything when I work on it; rather, letting it paint itself. I sort of follow along (though I do take responsibility you understand).

I likely overdo the sharing-of-process, but here's a little clip (45sec!) from this morning (uploaded to another of my YouTube sites).

direct link:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tangled Garden painting in-process

Tangled Garden Painting, in-process (7), 18" x 24" compressed charcoal, watercolour pencils, oils, and other stuff (yeah, the catch-all: mixed media) on triple-primed 100% cotton canvas sheet.

I am not happy with how this painting is developing and likely will not offer it as a 'gift' when Tangled Garden reaches 1500 views. I'll think of something else.

Anyhow, the blue sky and green grass are painted in oils, the colour on the mask was drawn on with watercolour pencils and I can mostly rub it off if I like.

The good news is that I am working on a video that I hope will be interesting when it is finished - I bought long "Ladies Sexy Fishnet Mitts" for this and future painting videos (which alone should qualify as 'interesting').

'Tangled Garden' is a slow art film of a triptych of earth poems, Surreal, mythopoetic, a rhizoma of images, metaphors, explorations, philosophies (with English subtitles). -A Floral Opera (2011) -In the Hands of the Garden Gods (1979) -Slipstream, the Tangled Garden (2006) (with impromptu speaking between the poems, which each end with ~~~ in the subtitles):

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gift Tangled Garden painting in-process

Tangled Garden Gift Painting, in-process (2), 18" x 24" compressed charcoal on triple-primed 100% cotton canvas sheet.

Last post, with earlier sketch and video embedded:

Tangled Garden is a slow art film of a triptych of earth poems, Surreal, mythopoetic, a rhizoma of images, metaphors, explorations, philosophies (with English subtitles). -A Floral Opera (2011) -In the Hands of the Garden Gods (1979) -Slipstream, the Tangled Garden (2006) (with impromptu speaking between the poems, which each end with ~~~ in the subtitles):

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Beginning a painting as a gift for 'Tangled Garden' (47sec)

I have been absolutely flabbergasted that 'Tangled Garden' has reached like 800 views already - a 22min art film of 3 long poems, unheard of - and I want to celebrate!!! So I am offering a painting as a gift. I will choose someone by raffle out of the many comments this videopoem has received. If you like the videopoem, do let me know that you've watched it by leaving a comment on Tangled Garden at YouTube:

  direct link:

Leaving a comment here so I can add you to the raffle here is fine... the drawing or painting I'm working on as a gift is 18" x 24" on triple primed canvas sheet that you can pin to the wall or mount on board and then frame - this video is a test run. I am going to try to make a better video of the painting in process! yes! It's quite a bit of work, a painting, and a video - but you, my audience, are more than worth it!!)

Many thanks! xoxoxoxo ♥♥♥

Little 47 second clip I made today to see if making a video of the process of the drawing/painting might be interesting (not sure if it would be of interest to you, the viewer - if there's not much of a response, I won't go to the trouble of hooking up a camera but will just work on the painting).

direct link to this on Facebook

Later: Where it's at past midnight. Cell phone pic. If you don't leave a comment before this painting is gifted, don't worry! I'll offer another at 5000 views. :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pride at The Keyhole Sessions

The Keystone Sessions in Toronto offers an erotic theatre for artists. The models and poses for the life drawing sessions are presented as a theatre, and are the result of a carefully planned and staged 'still pose' performances. It is held monthly in a bar. The music is amazing. The models are gorgeous. The bonds are beautifully knotted. Everything is composed, from the outfits to the poses to the lighting itself. While the sexuality expressed is not mine, I certainly appreciate drawing such interesting and beautiful women holding graceful and erotic moments in stillness.

From the Madame: "The Keyhole Sessions: the raciest arts community you'll ever experience."
The Keyhole Sessions are life-drawing with edge. With a hunger for the erotic, our community of artists gather for a few hours of debaucherous drawing on the second Tuesday of every month.

Hosted by The Madame, TKS is not for the faint of heart: our models come with attitude. Trussed up in rope and restraints, they’re here to have as much fun as the artists.

Most sessions will see our models exquisitely wrapped in shibari-inspired rope bondage. Keyhole Sessions Head Rigger, JP Robichaud, displays his talents by binding our models in sensual rope to add that extra flair to your drawings. For those unfamiliar with this art, look it up and then come to our class to witness this beautiful craft up close.

Divided into 3 Acts, you’ll see multiple models in varying degrees of undress and restraints, all to a soundtrack of some pretty sweet beats.
There are chairs for 60, and the women-only models obviously appeal to men, who are the majority, and I am happy to report that there was a good sprinkling of women artists too. :)

Currently the Keyhole Sessions is doing the 7 Deadly Sins, and May 8th's was Pride.

Because the streetcar was early, and I missed it, I got there a little later than planned. My seat was not very good and I only had a slit through which to view the models. Some of their limbs are made up, or I twisted this way and that to try to see the pose in its totality. They start out with one model and 3 minute poses - a lovely lady who is 6 months pregnant, then move onto two models with longer poses, and finish the evening with a 45 minute three model configuration. Always I am compelled to work on my drawings at home, strengthening the lines and usually adding colour.

Bloom at The Keyhole, 2012, 6" x 15", charcoal, India and acrylic inks on 90lb archival paper.

Harvest Moon, 2012, 17" x 14", mixed media on 90lb archival paper. I drew two poses of the same model on the same page, and she is holding a mirror in which she is reflected. Gazing upon the self. Selves who witness each other. The multiplicity of the self. I've called it Harvest Moon to celebrate the model's pregnancy of 6 months.

Women Through the Keyhole, 2012, 20" x 13", charcoal on 90lb archival paper, a digital effect applied.

Women Through the Keyhole - with Orchids, 2012, 24" x 18", charcoal on 90lb archival paper. I snapped this on my dining room table, not great lighting, but the orchids are sweet.

The Bonds are Unseen, 2012, 14" x 18", charcoal, colour pencils, ink on 90lb archival paper.

A slideshow of all of my Keyhole Sessions drawings so far.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon, 2012, 17" x 14", mixed media on 90lb archival paper.

I drew two poses of the same model on the same page, and she is holding a mirror in which she is reflected. Gazing upon the self. Selves who witness each other. The multiplicity of the self. I've called it Harvest Moon to celebrate the model's pregnancy of 6 months.

Last night I went to a Keyhole Session, great models, wonderful crowd of artists, and I'd had a difficult day, emotionally, and somehow every drawing just wasn't right. Not sure if in future that particular kind of stress means stay home, rest, recuperate. My daughter, bless her, likes this one.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

She, herself

She, herself, 2012, 12.5" x 12", mixed media on primed canvas sheet.

A small offering to Breast Cancer Awareness. The child-like drawing is a return to innocence. She touches herself. She is meditative, aware, loss and trust fill her, her erotic energy is strong.

May 7th is also, I suspect (it's not easy to discover which day it is), National Masturbation Day, and celebrates the many benefits of private self love from the healthy release of endorphins through to the healing that deep self acceptance provides.
Late night cell phone pic, but ah well. Yes, I was at a Keyhole Session tonight. Lots of artists. Not many show their drawings publicly I learned.

She, herself. 2012. Whatever it's dimensions are. I'll take another pic tomorrow in the light.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Figurative Art: 'Every Angel is terror' (Rilke) and 'Braille'

"Every Angel is terror. And yet, ah, knowing you, I invoke you, almost deadly birds of the soul" from Rilke, 2nd Duino Elegy, 2012, 18" x 24", charcoal, acrylic, primed canvas sheet.

When I go to drop-in life painting sessions, which consist of 4 hour poses, difficult for the model for sure, but rather static to paint, I like to make the painting into something which can evoke a poetry in the viewer. In this painting, to which I gave a few lines from Rilke's 2nd Duino Elegy as a title, the woman has what I call Etherics beside her. In my imagination, they are preparing her for an inner visionary journey. They are tribal soul sisters caring for her. Whether this be dream, or waking imagination, or the mysterious process of art, I don't know. You will see them as you do and they will make sense in the context of your inner life.

Charcoal sketch of the same model as in the previous painting, done after the painting from a slightly different angle, on primed canvas.

Replacing an earlier version of this poem painting with the charcoal sketch inverted (see earlier version below.)

The poem, 'Braille,' was written in 2006, and the drawing was from a drop-in life drawing session that year at the Vita Brevis Studio.

The painting came first (and soon I'll add some writing from an older journal that seems to express the figures in the painting). Then, while the painting was drying, while I was still in the studio at TSA, I did a small charcoal sketch on a sheet of the canvas pad from a slightly different angle to that of the painting. Then I paired the charcoal sketch inverted so it's like a negative with a poem that is in my poetry mms to replace an older version with another model from a life drawing session, which I added to this post as well.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Artist and Her Muse

The Artist and Her Muse, 2012, 12" x 17", charcoal on primed canvas sheet.

This charcoal drawing has been re-named to what I really drew it for. The Medusa is the dreamy poet's muse. I wrote a poem about this half a dozen years ago. It is in my manuscript, which I'm currently shopping around.

At first, I thought the image was too sexual, but then I gave the artist breasts, in a manner of speaking, and so I allow the sexualization of these creative women. Write with your 'white ink,' says Cixous in The Laugh of the Medusa.

Do read this essay if you haven't already. Found on-line, just to give you a taste of her text:
In "The Laugh of the Medusa" [1975] Cixous discusses how women have been repressed through their bodies all through history. She suggests that if women are forced to remain in their bodies as a result of male repression than they can do one of two things. The first option is to remain trapped inside their body, thereby perpetuating the passivity women have been apart of throughout history. The second option is to use the female body as a medium of communication, a tool through which women can speak. This is ironic given the body, the very thing women have been defined by and trapped within, can now become a vehicle in transending the boundries once created by the body.
with thanks to The Madame - this charcoal sketch was based on one of her photographs of the Gorgon session at The Keyhole.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Medusa (sketch 2)

I like Nietzsche's bifocal view of the Medusa (and Derrida's take on it, but that is another aspect perhaps to explore later), even if this quote does not fully express my interpretation of her. While I prefer not to quote a critic, I haven't been able to find my copy of The Birth of Tragedy on my shelves yet.
"...the stake of...[the] reading of Nietzsche is the relation between Apollo and Dionysus, understood as the hierarchical relation between appearance and essence, and between metaphor and meaning. "Nietzsche was certainly right," de Man writes, "when he referred to the nature of the Dionysus/Apollo relationship as 'the capital question [die Hauptfrage]'" (90). In the opening sections of The Birth of Tragedy, the present chapter proposes, Nietzsche's Hauptfrage takes the form of a Medusenhaupt, a Medusa's head. Medusa appears in these sections as one figure among others for what Nietzsche calls Dionysus, ostensibly serving to sustain the opposition between Apollo and Dionysus that would allow for their genetic and dialectical relations and for their ontological hierarchy to be established. But the Medusa myth is also a figure in Nietzsche's text for an inextricable, non-dialectical fusion of Apollo and Dionysus; in this latter capacity, it undermines the opposition that Medusa in her first capacity establishes and supports. The second figure puts into question not only the opposition between Apollo and Dionysus but also the structure that underlies that opposition: the logocentric model privileging meaning over metaphor, truth over appearance, Dionysian music over Apollonian words, and authentic presence over representation. So the Medusa motif winds up playing a double role in Nietzsche's text, not unlike Medusa's head in Freud's essay, and the Medusenhaupt emblematizes for Nietzsche a double aspect of Hauptfrage."

The Medusa Effect: Representation and Epistemology in Victorian Aesthetics by Thomas Albrech (quoted from Google Books).

I'm showing you the three stages in the second Medusa drawing. While the original sketch is quite powerful, it is still in process, and my intention is to add a small amount of colour with some paint. In the meantime, I have created two digital drawings out of my original sketch (yesterday's is here).

Medusa (sketch 2), digital final, 2012, 12" x 17", original is charcoal on primed canvas sheet.

Medusa (sketch 2), mask layer, 2012, 12" x 17", original is charcoal on primed canvas sheet.

Medusa (sketch 2), 2012, 12" x 17", charcoal on primed canvas sheet.

Because I didn't know about The Keyhole life drawing sessions when they did The Gorgon, 
I based  my drawing on one of the photographs by The Madame.

'Pull Down the Northern Lights for Chandeliers,' Zoom video August 20, 2020

   "I'd dance to death to evoke it." "Who in me writes?" It was a rich, varied poetry evening where we read, talked ...