Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Self-Portrait

Somehow I managed to get one done this week - looking into an image in the tablet looking at me while watching Season 4 of Game of Thrones (finally). I clipped the drawing onto a bar of an upright laundry drier thing and clamped the lamps on and took some photos but like the one shot with 'creative lighting' best. Now... back to the show!

I also used dots to map the proportions before I began drawing with the ink and this method seemed to help with the likeness, on which I can never comment since, really, our eyes aren't constructed to look at ourselves are they - and what we see in a mirror isn't what people see when they look at us.

Sunday Self-Portrait, June 30, 2014 - taken late at night with a daylight bulb shining from one side in a clamp lamp that was covered by a sheet of white mylar. I totally like the mood the lighting creates here. ©Brenda Clews, 11" x 8.5", Noodler's #41 Brown ink, white conté crayon (later I erased the conté), Pentallic 130lb paper.

The drawing photographed in direct sun the next day. It's not too bad though the eyes are a bit too dark again - ink is so unforgiving, a few extra dots and that's it. I think this drawing would be better scanned but I can't seem to connect my scanner to my newer computer. ©Brenda Clews, 11" x 8.5", Noodler's #41 Brown ink, Pentallic 130lb paper.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sunday Self-Portrait

Sunday Self-portrait - June 22nd, finished on the 24th. ©Brenda Clews, 2014. 15" x 11", mixed media on Pentalic 130lb paper.

Is there a decent resemblance? I have no idea. I struggled with the drawing, and used lots of different media, including, finally, a ball point pen. Also, I am, once again, without a computer and so it is difficult to see if the photograph is accurate against the original - I think so, but will have to await a better screen to know for sure.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery - photos and videos

It was a terrific and inspiring afternoon of poetry! Many thanks to our features, Clara Blackwood, Michael Fraser, and Kate Marshall Flaherty, and to all the open mics, Norman, Christian, Ellen, Catherine, Areta, Ghada, and Andrew, and to everyone who came out! And to Urban Gallery for the space, mineral water and warmth - thanks especially to Calvin Hambrook, who made it all possible.

The photographs were part of 'I See,' an exhibition at Urban Gallery by Anna Keenan and Lucy Snyder.

The Spring Poetry Salon was hosted by Brenda Clews at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St E, Toronto and held on Saturday afternoon, May 31, 2014.

Clara Blackwood featured at the Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery May 31, 2014. I really enjoyed her poetry, which ranges from mystical poems about strange happenings in an apartment building to psychic mediums to on-line dating to the Icelandic ash cloud when she visited Scotland and stayed in a haunted mansion. In her book, Forecast, the poet is a seer, a medium, and reads the hidden forces of the world like a Tarot reader. Her poetry is lyrical with many layers. Many thanks for coming out and sharing your poetry, Clara!

CLARA BLACKWOOD is a poet, visual artist and tarot reader. Her first poetry collection, Subway Medusa (2007), was the inaugural book in Guernica Editions' First Poets Series, which features first books by poets thirty-five and under. Her poetry has appeared in Canadian and International journals. Forecast, her second book of poetry, was published by Guernica Editions in March 2014. She lives in Toronto.

The photographs were part of 'I See,' an exhibition at Urban Gallery by Anna Keenan and Lucy Snyder.

The Spring Poetry Salon was hosted by Brenda Clews at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Toronto. Clara's reading was videoed and edited by Brenda Clews.

Kate Marshall Flaherty featured at the Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery May 31, 2014. I really enjoyed her poetry, especially the way she approaches difficult subjects with honesty and a transcendent grace. Her poetry is full of feeling, rich with living and loving, lyrical. Many thanks for coming out and sharing your poetry, Kate!

KATE MARSHALL FLAHERTY is published in journals such as Descant, CV2, Freefall, and Windsor Review. She was short-listed for Nimrod's Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize, the Malahat Review Long Poem and Descant's Best Canadian Poem. "Reaching V," a book of poems, was published by Guernica Editions in 2014. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three spirited children, where she guides yoga/retreats/writing workshops. Poetry is her lifeline.

Michael Fraser featured at the Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery May 31, 2014. I really enjoyed his poetry, from the more lyrical pieces on childhood and middle age and family, and lovers, to the series he is writing on Black historical figures - he read some poems on Black experience during the American Civil War. Many thanks for coming out and sharing, Michael!

MICHAEL FRASER is a high school teacher, poet, and writer who has been published in anthologies and journals including Literary Review of Canada, The Paris Atlantic, and Caribbean Writer. His first poetry collection, "The Serenity of Stone," won the 2007 Canadian Aid Literary Award manuscript contest and was published in 2008 by Bookland Press. He also won Arc's 2012 Readers' Choice Poem of the Year, and his poem, "Going to Cape," is included in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2013. Michael is the creator and director of the Plasticine Poetry Series.

Brenda Clews reads on open mic at the Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery May 31, 2014.

Areta M. reads on open mic at the Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery May 31, 2014. Another beautiful talent in this vibrant city. Many thanks, Areta!

Christian Christian opens his reading with some thoughts on the use of the term, 'beautiful,' and then reads his biking poem, 'The Race,' on open mic at the Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery May 31, 2014. I enjoyed his poetry and reading. Many thanks, Christian!

Ghada Khoraych reads (for the first time ever) on open mic at the Spring Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery May 31, 2014. Another beautiful talent in this vibrant city. Many thanks, Gada!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My little open mic at the Spring Poetry Salon

My little open mic at the recent Spring Poetry Salon that I hosted at Urban Gallery. I have uploaded 7 open mic and feature readings but have shared them on the Facebook pages of those people or by private email. As soon as I get all of the Features videos done, I'll make a blog post with all the photos and videos.

I still plan on doing a video review of the featured poets when I'm finished editing and uploading all the clips.

direct link

The writing in the drawing of the last post is part of the writing I read from in this open mic clip (though I didn't include it in my reading that day).

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ithwark (what happened to the Sunday self-portrait)

The Sunday self-portrait did not happen. Firstly, I forgot about it. When I remembered late afternoon and sat before my sleeping computer screen to draw, I couldn't see much of anything. Some dim face. The late sun coming in the window didn't help; nor did a small reading lamp fixed on the mug. So I went with indistinct. Using mostly a brush and ink, I fashioned a face whose first lines were based on what I could see of mine. But then I stopped looking at the image in the turned-off screen and the brush painting went off somewhere else. I rubbed the ink around with water sometimes and used a dip pen for a bit before deciding less is more and photographed it balanced on a chair in the remaining dying sun.

It's been finished digitally for this blog post - some zoom, a little smudging, a bit of old photo, and so on. I may keep working on the original and show that later on too.

Then I went scouring for some writing and found some of the crazy text I'm working on. But it needed an appropriate font (something you could never use in a business letter, for instance). I went searching for some free add-on fonts to get this particular one. It's called Slabtag. I like it with the drawing and the writing (which is meant to be hard to impossible to read).

I'm calling it Ithwark. A made-up word, the kind that come when you are busy and try to make mental note of so you don't forget but of course you forget though you made a little mind puzzle for the phrase and through that puzzle you find the words that beckoned. What writers go through. The norm. Words and phrases swim to our surfaces or are dropped by passing angels and we are expected to remember until we can jot them down. Since they are like dreams which tend to disappear easily, it's not easy to do this. So we have to use other mental tricks to enable recall. At least, I do. It's mental mental acrobatics. Don't ask.

Anyway, once you write them down the ones behind them come too - like the tail of a kite. Or the rest of the thread on the spool. Or a pool of word genes who are all connected in DNA links.

Ithwark,  ©Brenda Clews, 2014. 15" x 12", Noodler's black ink, Arches watercolour block, 100% cotton, 140lbs.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Sunday morning self-portrait

Is it becoming a chore? Sunday morning, draw woman! I was impatient to have my second cup of coffee. C'mon ink, c'mon drawing, hurry up! The point is to be fast. I can't say resembles or not - don't want what a camera could do, that's all. And I want to be ruthless with myself and use unforgiving ink. This woman needs caffeine! Line after line - it's not right! Dots then. Oh, my. Just get it done. And my lovely Lamy fountain pen is no longer 'scratchy' - it flows properly. Dang, huh.

'Sunday Morning Self-Portrait,' 8 June 2014. ©Brenda Clews. Lamy fountain pen with Noodler's black ink and some other stuff, 15" x 11", Pentalic 130lb archival paper.

(Cloudy out and so the white balance isn't the same as if I took it in direct sun. Colour looks accurate on my iPad Mini for the type of day it is.)


Saturday, June 07, 2014

Dr Sketchy's Burlesque Drop-in Life-Drawing - June Session

Toronto now has a Dr Sketchy again. I went last Friday night. Burlesque life-drawing, short poses, at a bar in Kensington Market. The theme was quite gruesome - cannibalism - and gruesomely funny in its own way. The first model began with a burlesque strip and came out holding a silicone severed wrist and hand which she gnawed on as she twirled and pranced and shook her goods while removing her lingerie until she was splattered in 'blood' - something I didn't have time to draw in but other artists did. Other props were a huge fork and spoon. It was a ribald and fun evening. Every so often there was a 'challenge' - make a poster with a caption (I love you so much I could eat you up) - and then artists who want bring their drawings to the front and the audience chooses the winner by clapping harder. Prize was a free drink. Or we were to work on one drawing in groups of 2 or 3 - I forgot to photo ours. Prize was some t-shirts. And the final pose was the MC (in top hat, silver suit and lots of fake hair beard and stuff) with a burlesque dancer/model on his shoulders holding a knife - and a fabulous 'action figure' artist won the audience prize for his rendition, a photography book. Most of the folks work in the arts field and it's a wacky, friendly, fun life-drawing venue even if the poses are way too short for someone like me. The food is excellent and so is the beer on tap.

These are my drawings from the evening - beginning with the only one I've tinkered with since - and inked it in - it looks very Beardsley-like doesn't it? I am reminded of Beardsley's Salome series, sort of gruesome and in a 'theme genre' I guess.

They're done in pencil, conte and charcoal on 18" x 24" Strathmore med drawing paper.


Thursday, June 05, 2014


Drawn this week. Some of it while watching a movie, 'Times and Winds' (Turkey 2006) dir. Reha Erdem. I think that's an imagination of the olive tree. It is the children (young teens) who sleep, not the men, so I don't know who he is. Maybe Blake's 'Albion.' Written late last night on the back: "The land is impregnated. Post-Edwardian man sunbathing while the plane crashes into the grass, but it's paper. Airplane. Man." ©Brenda Clews 2014, 11" x 8.5", Lamy fountain pen and Noodler's black ink, Pentallic 130lb archival paper.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Sunday morning self-portrait

Sunday morning self-portrait. June 1, 2014 ©Brenda Clews. So far, I don't like this sketch. That may change: sometimes it doesn't. I thought a portion of the face might be interesting and so used an oval mirror and included the glasses lens so the eye is a bit over-sized. Probably I look a bit better than this - if one took a photo - but I want to be ruthless with myself. Still, while I wasn't into drawing this morning, I did manage something, and should keep this up since it is currently the only drawing I do and a few hours once a week is better than nothing. I hope to go to a drop-in life-drawing session next week. 11" x 8.5", Lamy fountain pen with Noodler's Black Ink, Pentalic 130lb archival paper.

I am still without a computer, so this was photographed with an iPhone and uploaded to a specific album in Picasa with an app I had to buy (Web Albums - A Picasa Photo viewer & etc by Pixite LLC), and then posted to my blog via my small iPad mini with another app I had to buy that would allow me to post from a Picasa album (Blogsy). It's sort of nuts, but Google only allows you to upload photos to G+ and  not to a Picasa album of your choice, and their Blogger app only gives you the option to upload directly from your device and not import from an album in Picasa. Justifying these small expenses since I now have a stream-lined portable system that fits easily in my purse to go anywhere, anytime.

NO idea how to re-size the images, though! Don't see an html option in Blogger. I'll try opening Blogger in a web page and see if I can do it that way - if they're smaller, you'll know it worked!

Well, that's not a lot of fun - you can add your photos from Picasa into your blog post in the Chrome app. Dang. So that was wasted money on Blogsy. But I did not find any way to upload from your device to a specific Picasa album - not even in Chrome - so the Pixite app is useful. I also found Puffin Web Browser which is even better since it can access Flash on the web - Steve Jobs had a thing about Flash and so all device iOS systems do without (though I still can't upload to a specific album through Puffin, so the Pixite one is good).

Later that evening I did another sketch in semi-darkness from an indistinct image of myself in my iPad Mini screen. A lot of it was done without looking at the paper. 

'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 ...