Monday, November 30, 2015

re-finding the lifeline

I thought to call this small piece, Climate Change, but that was early in the drawing. After, I began to see many different things in it and am not sure what to call it anymore. It needs a line or an image from a Surreal poem or Fantasy story for a title. 13" x 24", mixed media, Canson montval 140lb cold press archival watercolor paper.

Doing a piece like this is fairly easy, and the kind of art I tend to stay away from. With a return to the way I did drawings and paintings before the rude interruption of Conceptualism when I did a Fine Art degree so many years ago, I find a progression of something I might have done in more rudimentary form as a teen. It's like I wiped out 30 years of domineering voices and styles and somehow returned to find my lifeline (to use a term from palmistry) and to continue it on.

Only by returning to the distant past could I continue on.

I don't think I would ever put this piece in a show - it is more of a free exploration, and not for anything.

The photo is taken at night and not with my favourite-for-shooting-art Canon because that beloved camera insisted on using the flash. I used my Sony, and, surprisingly, with quite a bit of Photoshop Elements tweaking, the colors look pretty good. Nowadays I always shoot in RAW, or uncompressed format, and maybe that's why I was able to get a more accurate rendering.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Donate goods to a Syrian refugee drive at Markham House (where we are holding a Poetry & Music Salon tomorrow)

Markham House, where our Poetry and Music Salon will be late afternoon tomorrow, Saturday Nov 28th, from 4-6pm, (featuring Jeannine Pitas and Amoeba Starfish, Jeff Howard and Phil Ogison Aegidiussen, with open mic), is hosting a Syrian refugee donation drive. If you have any food, new or gently used toys, clothing or other household items to donate, bring them along when you come to the Salon, or drop off at your convenience. Westbank's owner, Ian Gillespie, as you may know, has offered a 12-unit apartment building in Vancouver for Syrian refugees awaiting settlement ( Whatever we can do, for whoever needs it, whenever we can, is good.

November Poetry and Music Salon -tomorrow!

A Poetry and Music Salon at Markham House. They will be treasured hours.

When: Saturday November 28
Time: 4-6pm
Where: Markham House, 610 Markham Street (across from Honest Ed's)
Hosted by: Brenda Clews

Our November Poetry and Music Salon features Jeannine Pitas and Amoeba Starfish, who are Jeff Howard and Phil Ogison Aegidiussen. How wonderful they are! It will be a superb late afternoon/early evening at the bright and friendly Markham House in Mirvish Village. Upstairs, there is a small art gallery; on the ground floor, a large wooden model of Westbank's proposal for Mirvish Village and a suggestion form you can fill out, well worth a visit. They'll make a large pot of coffee, and we can enjoy a warm, convivial, supportive time together. After, the Victory Café for a coffee, drink or dinner.

JEANNINE MARIE PITAS is a writer, teacher and literary translator who lived in Toronto from 2008 to 2015 and is determined to visit as often as she can afford. "She is the author of two chapbooks published by Lyricalmyrical Press, and her first full-length collection, "Things Seen and Unseen," is forthcoming from Quattro Books in 2016. She is an active Spanish-English translator of Latin American poets, and for five years she co-facilitated the Loose Pages, an ongoing creative writing workshop at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. She is currently Assistant Professor of Global Literature at University of Dubuque in Iowa, where she is actively working to make sure that Donald Trump does not become the next US president.

AMOEBA STARFISH’s bio is bio-degradable. Phil and Jeff met in 1988, began collaborating on various experimental, sometimes controversial, multimedia projects thinly veiled as "bands," They created Amoeba Starfish in 2009 to simply return to the ideals of "play." Quantum Jazz is about being sincere and having fun without fear, limitation and expectation.

AND there will be about 8 open mic spots of 5 min each! So bring a poem, story or song to share. We will pass-the-hat for the Features.

Our soirées are a late afternoon gathering of poets and musicians at an art gallery in Toronto. Brenda Clews hosts this beautiful event, which occurs on the last Saturday of the month from 4pm - 6pm (most months). We have a music and a poetry feature and about 8-10 5min open mic spots interspersed throughout the hours. All forms of writing are welcome, as well as music. The Soirée is free, but we do pass-the-hat for the features. Our salons are always warm, convivial, supportive and very talented afternoons and I would love you to come out and enjoy a marvellous couple of hours and perhaps share a poem, short story or song of your own. Please put the recurring date on your calendar. poetry and music soirées

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Drawing #1.1

An early stage of something new. A good size, 20" x 24", willow charcoal that's been set with a brush-on fixative on Canson 140lb watercolour paper. Photo taken with studio lights. When I draw at night in a darkened room... even I don't know until the next day who or what will emerge.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A moment of injury and a reflection...

I have this theory that we injure ourselves accidentally when we encounter a 'moment of emotional trauma' in our memories, feelings, emotions. When I am momentarily 'caught' (with painful memory or realization), I might nick a toe passing a corner in my apartment or trip over a step I cross every day.

So I was cutting 1cm wide strips of foam core, to tape into frames to hold drawings I did of my doggy, Keesha, hours before she passed away. The foam core a cheapy way to keep the glass off the drawings. Cutting, with x-acto knife, metal ruler and clamps, I accidentally sliced the corner of my index finger off. Yeah, yeah, I know.

It bled like crazy. Couldn't stop it. I wrapped it up in gauze and went back to the frames where I saw this little oval and thought, hmnnn. Now I have watched all of Grey's Anatomy and know if you can keep what you've lost, it's best. So I carefully picked up the little white bit and went to the bathroom and put it back on the bleeding wound, quickly wrapped it in gauze and taped it with a big cloth band-aid. Then I put a large latex glove on that hand.

I finished cutting eight 1cm strips of foam core, used double-sided tape to attach them to the edges of the frames, cleaned the glass and drawings of dust, etc, and put everything together. I finished my 2nd cup of coffee with a delicious sugarless apple, carrot and raisin homemade muffin while working on the frames. After, I cooked a small meal, made tea, and phoned a walk-in clinic but they said only one of their doctors does 'simple sutures' and he wasn't in. I cleaned up and made a thermos of tea and headed off to Emerg at Toronto Western Hospital on foot. I had cut the edge of my finger off around 9am and got to Emerg at 2:30pm. I didn't know stitches had to be done within 8 hours or you can't do them.

Anyway, the wound bled like crazy when the nurse had me take the bandage off - I held my hand over a sink (I do have an iPhone photo of that, but it's a bit much for my blog). The cut had not coagulated at all. She wrapped it in gauze and told me to keep my hand above my head. I had brought a small bag on wheels with some work, the tea, etc, and was able to prop my elbow on the handle of that to keep the hand elevated. I sat in the waiting room for 2 hours with my hand in the air.

When I finally saw a doctor, she said they see a lot of this type of accident. She froze my finger - I thought, for stitches. But she said no stitches because the cut was basically a 'hole' that has to heal - she cleaned the wound and left the skin that was cut off and that I put back on because it helped to staunch the bleeding. She put a special bandage on the cut - about 2 weeks to regrow new skin (the bit there will drop off) - and then bandaged it up in a lot of gauze. A nurse gave me a tetanus shot. I am to remove the gauze tonight (it's almost 48 hrs since she dressed it). If the cut bleeds, I am to apply pressure for 20 min, and if it still won't stop bleeding, then it's back to Emerg.

My point in this rather gruesome little tale is what emotion/mind/body state are we in when injury occurs? I've been grieving the loss of a 15 year companion, my dog Keesha, who died mid-Sep last year (2014), a lot recently. And while framing drawings I did of her hours before she died, I cut myself stupidly. And that's my theory - accidental injury to ourselves occurs when we are in a moment of 'emotional trauma' - for me, obviously grief, missing my baby.

When we are most fragile is when we need most to take care of ourselves.

My other baby, Aria, checking the bandage out. Art can be dangerous!

Monday, November 02, 2015

A Kafkaesque Dream

Last night I dreamt that I was forced to stand in front of a firing squad. There were a number of men standing in a row aiming rifle-type guns at me - being the target was scary.

The worst part was that I had to stand there, waiting to be shot, if they were going to shoot me, for six unrelenting months.

Six months standing in front of a firing squad, not knowing if that second of your life was to be your last.

What hell. And yet, again, this is life as I know it. I am always in front of that firing squad and I never know what is next.

There was some indication that I would not be shot in the end, that it was a Kafkaesque exercise of raw existentialism, but my fate wasn't certain and was left as unknown. The scene was reminiscent of Goya's 'The Third of May 1808' (except it was daytime and I was a lone target, and there were no dead bodies).

The dream has been with me all day and I am taking the unusual step of writing it down in my blog.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Thinning Veils of Samhain, Beltane, Halloween (photos of my costume)


- Halloween 2015 - making a headdress for a videopoem - something I researched for about a year before making my version of her. The line was, "Get Stoned!" Stage photos at Hirut, a restaurant in Toronto where there was a poetry and music event, taken by Jennifer Hosein, who was a Punk Witch, and who is in profile in the last photo.


'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 ...