Archive for September, 2016

Too Many Levers to Pull

Does this ever happen to you:  you’re in the creative ZONE working on something, using one medium, and wham bam something comes along that requires the use of another medium?!!

Case in point:  I’m working on a writing project.  The project has been in the works for years and truth is I’m getting sick of looking at it on the “to do list”.  I know it IS worth something as some of the chapters I’ve entered into writing contests and managed to get in on the prizes, which must mean something!  I decided to take the bull by the horns this September and put down my paint brushes and musical instruments and focus entirely on this writing project.  (It’s starting to come along nicely!)  I’m even at a brand new address, so I don’t get distracted by things like the glorious River, the magnificent Green and Blue, the changing Autumn Colours, the Mares, the Crickets, the Spiders and their artful Webs and have mercy the list goes on and on and on out there.

I’m in the city.  Back in Ottawa and I’ve been here a month.  No guitar.  No paint brushes.  Just me and my trusty MacBook Pro, with this writing project on board, which absolutely MUST GET DONE!

This morning I settled in to get busy with some writing and editing and there it was…  I could hear something.  Blues in A.  It was a song…  the words were swimming down out of last night’s experiences on the downtown streets around about 10.  The number 2 bus down through Richmond Street, Wellington, on to Somerset and down Bank is a tourist trip : on the other side of the glass are wild scenes: the wealthy, with the men sporting ties and jackets, their women in fancy and flashy dresses, coming out of or going into slick looking and dimly lit bistros.  Next to and in with them, at their feet, are the dispossessed, the broke, the homeless, shirtless, the mentally ill and have mercy yes, the list goes on and in between are your general issues by the dozens, going who knows where.  (You see when you spend 7 years in a land with zero light and noise pollution, the city street really is a show.)

So I got out to take a look around.  What scenes indeed!


As my old buddy from art school once said, and I’ve mentioned it here before:  You can’t have too much art in one day.  By midnight I was back at my city address and ready to be tucked in for the night.

This morning over coffee and greens, that music started…  Somewhere close to the surface, me being a fan of the blues, I could hear that guitar playing and the words started swimming in!  Of course I had to drop everything and write this brand new song:  Looking Gorgeous (and Lonely).  Thank goodness for this modern technology as the whole thing was written and recorded in basic, in about 2 hours.


Not sure whose mini acoustic with nylon strings that belongs to, but it worked in a pinch!  And so one day you’ll hear “Looking Gorgeous (and Lonely)” on the upcoming twinravens record tentatively titled:  Fighting In Hell.

Now that the song is written and recorded in basic, how does one switch gears and pull that other creative lever?  Maybe it’s time to go for a walk.



Well There is 90 Minutes I’ll never get back!


I had some time on my hands yesterday afternoon while up at the corner of Yonge and Highway 7, Richmond Hill, so I thought I would duck into the local movie theatre and see a show.

Blair Witch.  I was five minutes in and knew full well I’d just wasted my money and was about to waste my time.  How does a movie like this get made?  Completely lame to no story line, hack acting, and horrendous, train wreck cinema photography.  Yeah sure there were a few scare scenes tossed in, mixed with some loud scare music/noises but sheesh…  This is a horror film?  I was tempted a few times to get up and walk out but I’d never done that to a picture before.  So I stayed with it.  Now I don’t wear a watch but if I had of, I’d have been looking at it and wondering when is this nightmare going to end?  And even more:  How are they going end this pile of crap?

Well it didn’t end.  All of sudden the director’s name was on the screen and the house lights were up.

Gosh I was glad to get out of there.  The kid usher was there and said I hope you enjoyed the show to which I of course replied:  Money back please!

I walked out of the theatre and saw this:


“One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.”

Suddenly I could relate completely to Edvard Munch when he wrote these words in his journal, way back in January, 1892…

Harvest Moon!

Beauty scenes last night with a big moon sailing over the wilds of Highway 7, Markham, Ontario.  Thought I would take my point and shoot camera and snap a few photos of the kooky scenes.


We’re a long way from the boon docks up there on the 9th!


That’s highway 7 down there, filled at hours it seems, with folks going east and west.


This is the path I use to take at all hours, going north and south, east and west, with trusted friend, Good Old Poochie.  (Of course the pooch’s real name is Akina)  This photo was taken way back on August 22nd.  Seems like a long long time ago now.


That’s the open range on August 22nd, at sunrise.  Boy oh boy there are times when I think  things are going to stay that way and I’m a fool for doing it, thinking like that.

A Change of Scenery

Here it is Friday once again: and my how quickly things can be switched out!  Whoosh!  Last week it was the open range, the big blue, the mighty green and everything in between but just me.  This week we’re in with them:


Thought I’d do a little sight seeing this morning and took a stroll down through the hornet’s nest!  10 a.m. at the fun house!


There she is as seen from the east/north east.  I would have slipped a photo of the canal in there but the water at the locks was absolutely filthy and filled with this horrible looking Tim Horton coffee coloured foam…  Yucko.


That’s the big house:  the National Gallery of Canada.  (I put my imagination to work and imagine that as a home on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, over looking the Great Lake Huron.  On of course about 500 acres.  What a summer cottage that would make yes?)


Yes.  I could imagine that being the front entrance to my summer home!


Well there she is: the National Gallery of Canada.  Maybe one day I’ll have a show in there huh?  Just like Norval, Daph, and now I see they have Alex booked for the new year.


You’ll have to get past the U.S. Marines to get into that crib!


Cranes:  part of the leadership clan in the old Ojibwe community!  Going to work in the downtown, just outside the Chateau Laurier!  Great morning for a walk, tourist style, through the quick part of the nation’s capital.

Well I’ve been here a week.  We’re a long way from those spider webs at sunrise in a field filled with crickets!  Gone for now, be the river and the waterfalls, the horses and the crows.


Gone are the rough boards and the sweet wilds of the summer.  Now we’re in with the super concrete, sirens, close quarters and wild amusements.  Let’s see what we can do with it!

Six Days (Nights too!) of Brutality

Friday night in the pitch flipping BLACK of a zero light pollution landscape, no noise (the crickets aren’t noise!), and no one around, going on night number six!  Except for a few brief minutes on Monday I’ve not spoken with another soul in six days.  At night I’ve heard the coyotes, a horse, and not much else!  You see the ladies are on the road and will continue to be on the road, or I’ll be back out there.

It’s a strange thing when you’re in a paradise and alone.  I mean yes, I am surrounded by the green and blue of this island, the river, the rocks, the trees and the super wild life in all directions all the time but where is that “art conversation”?  Where is that amusing story about a summer afternoon thirty summers ago?


Sunrise on the Range, Sept. 9, 2016.  You see just one short year ago this little hide out was a busy place with the back to school routine but that’s gone!  Just a short four weeks ago this place was a wild party!  Well that party is over.  And so these past few mornings I’ve been brutally alone on the landscape, watching these things:




Watching in silence.  And wondering…


Back in art school one of my fellow students said, after we’d walked the AGO from one end to the other, top floor down through to the bottom, “You can’t have too much art in one day!”  We retired to some grungy beer parlour on Dundas for drinks and convo around what we’d just seen.  I got to thinking about that time while watching the leaves on the willow light up.  Also got to thinking about that fellow art student and wondered where they are now…

And so I hit the brushes!  Like I have in the past several mornings.  One of the things I came up with, one of four, looks like this:


Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  I think it was yesterday afternoon I got to wondering where that book of ghost stories my sister had back at the Ranch in Mindemoya, c. the summer of 1979, had gotten to.  There was a horrific story in that paper back about the poor lads sailing the Essex, young sailor Owen Coffin, and their wild high jinx, lost at sea in 1820/21.  Let me tell you that story stayed with me over the years but I’m away from the above painting:  the cover of that book of ghost stories also stayed with me and inspired this painting and three others.

Truth is I worried for a few minutes about what folks might think may have happened to this artist but all four are now long gone.

Of course I was working on others including a big one called:  Ursa Major at New Moon.  That one will be shipping out tomorrow.  If the owner is cool with it, I’ll post a photo of said painting here.

And in the spirit of my old art school friend’s good words:  I put my brushes down and went back to the river for the 2 o’clock.


So many places to stand or to sit and watch the world go by.


And so we work through day six and into the night of, thinking and dreaming of yesterday, today and tomorrow, and the arrival of.  But in the time in-between it is me alone once again with the half moon, a few thousand crickets, the super dark, my own voice, a cabernet from Spain, one candle, my brown legs and feet and what?




Scenes in Ottawa

Was walking down Wellington in Ottawa last week and saw this!


Acrylic on canvas, 30×40 inches.  Bear Clan.


That’s the front window at CUBE GALLERY in Ottawa.  Cool!