Archive for December, 2018

Art making ideas for the holidays

hello there!  i was downtown just awhile ago carrying a little hard cover book which caught the eye of one of those fancy downtown gals!  she wanted to know what i was reading as it was clear, something very strange was happening with the pages.  said book:


i told her it was my latest painting and poetry project!  which is in basic:  going to the goodwill, finding a hard cover book with a title you’re attracted to (title on this one:  Every Living Thing, by some whoever now long dead), tossing the paper cover into the trash, and turning the thing into some kind of poem, journal, short story or song lyric.


ownership!  that is of course the opening few pages which you absolutely must make into your own.  i used various art tools here:  sharpie markers, blue ball point pens, old and used up highlighters.


pages 2 and 3:  using the “black out or block out technique”, i saved the words that meant something to me and scribbled over what i didn’t need.  and of course added my mighty raven of the night, who is flying over the fields back home!  the “love story” reads as follows:  beauty, a picture…  want to go away.  Ah well, I said at length, I must be on my way.  The silence lasted for a few moments.  There was the faintest tremor.  It was hardly visible.  looked calm and unworried, there was no reason for it…

for art making tools it was mostly ball point pen to scribble out the text that meant nothing to me, a yellow, blue and pink highlighter, and a used up old sharpie marker!  boom!  that’s it!


i got tired pretty quickly with that ball point pen, scribbling out the words i didn’t need! thank goodness i smartened up and started using a sharpie on an angle to cover things up.  oh yes!!!  the trick here is when buying a used hard cover book over at the goodwill, make for darn sure it has some quality paper inside.  this one i picked not only because of the title but the paper too, was quality stuff, thick and full bodied, just the way i like them!


of course the story in this novel was completely lame!  i got tired pretty quickly of reading all the boring crap that was in it!  some pages…  there weren’t any words or phrases that caught my wild eyes so instead of trying come up with something cool in the words dept., i whited out the page with dollar store super cheap acrylic paint.  so here we have white and black cheap-o acrylic paint, and fine tip felt marker.


more black acrylic paint, more sharpie markers, and borrowing images from local but long lost cultures, to hopefully say something about me…


revisiting old compositions and designs created by my daughter Jasmine when she was just 5 years old.  (she’s a genius level visual artist!)  art tools:  white and black acrylic paint, sharpie markers.


3 shades of acrylic with black and white.  we’re getting far into the book by this point and the word pickings were getting very slim…  so at times you’ll really have to flex your visual artist muscles to keep it entertaining.


if it can’t be poetry, it can be a story, or a trip down memory lane…  (same 3 shades of acrylic with a black sharpie)


the book is 342 pages and it might be a challenge up around page 300 or more, especially when its a garbage story!  so you have to hang in there, mix it up, fool around, play.

now this is no fast art making project.  i started on October 16th and finished on November 25th.  depending on the mood, etc., i was fussing up 10 or 20 pages in an evening while my daughter was doing on her home work.  and i have to admit, looking back at it now, it does say quite a few things about where we were at that point in time, autumn 2018.  very telling!

with Xmas holidays coming up fast, you might need a little art making exercise to keep the troops off their gizmos and this might be a good one.  like i said:  find a few old novels at the goodwill, books with interesting titles and quality paper inside, get some dollar store acrylic paint, some sharpies, some highlighters in a rainbow of colour, some ball point pens, a few fine tip felt markers, a fancy full bodied red, get the fire going, put some jazz on, and away you go!  create something fun.

the fancy downtown gal said she loved the idea and wanted to take it home to her family over the holidays!  and so here you go young lass, the idea, which is not an original twinravens idea, but yes, it is a great idea!  have fun!


had an email from my niece yesterday, she is a fan of the Outlander series, and over the weekend she saw the latest episode with me running around in back!  ha!


to run it again, and connect a few dots:  that’s me and what’s his name, hanging out between takes.  we’re somewhere in the woods, near the town of Killiecrankie, Scotland where we spent a month playing cowboys and indians.


here is a little photo album Joe put together.  that’s me and him at top, hanging out in the trenches.  that might be one of the Poundmaker boys sitting to my right, out of frame.  Joe had the guts to get next to Claire but i sure didn’t!  Joe also said no way when it came time to walk into that hair salon!

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and so there i am!  in one of the trailers on youtube!  ha!  doing a thing they called “the bear dance”.  we were in the studio that day, dancing around the fire, sweating like mules whooping up some pow wow dance moves for the movie making folks.

funny stuff.  down right kooky!  yes we were back ground scenery but when someone is offering you a free trip to Scotland, meals and a bunkhouse too, well come on, you gotta go!


me and Joe at the Toronto Native Friendship Centre arts and crafts sale, December 1 and 2.  (my hair is growing back nicely but i’m hearing all the one and two liners, like:  Hey Shorty Long Back, where’d you park your motorcycle? (truth is i liked that one!)  or this one:  Let me guess… your fave song is still Achy Breaky Heart…  (me:  eye roll goes here.))

On the Road


this morning at 7 a.m., Markham, Ontario, Canada.  December 2.  the good folks here on the 9th have the holiday cheer in progress and it sure does bring back a lot of good and fun memories.  (dreams too…  woke up in the middle of night…  after dreaming about “Her” again.)


Thursday night, November 29th,  at the corner of Armstrong and Hamilton, Ottawa, Ontario.  i had the pre show jitters so a walk around the block i suspected might calm me.  when you’re going into a class to teach art and art making, even though i’ve been in the business for 30 years, you never know what you’re going to meet up with, or who!


at the Morning Owl Coffeehouse and Parlour:  art making in basic, an introduction to acrylic paint on canvas board, a sold out show, Thursday night in Ottawa.  that is half of the participants, the other half are busy behind me.  now hey!  that was a lot of fun!  very many thanks to the lovely Sadaf for hosting the event, pouring the vin, and making sure all was in grand order throughout the 2 hours we were hard at it!  this was Class A.  next time, how about we try an introduction to landscape?  or one of my personal faves:  painting and poetry, hand in hand.


The Chateau Laurier as seen from Elgin Street, November 29th, 11 p.m., walking home after class.  (the Chateau Laurier is NOT my home!  ha!)


Tehkummah Scenes, 9×12 inches, acrylic on canvas board.  and so today we are at the Indian Friendship Centre in downtown Toronto, going to work on day 2!  we’ll have this canvas board available along with 50 others, ready for your xmas shopping!  we had a great day there yesterday, meeting up with a few old movie buddies and some folks from a very long time ago.

now me and Joe, we were on the movie set in Scotland back in June.  i had never met the man until we were over there, hanging around the back stage area.  but of course i’d seen him around before that, and i had definitely seen his artwork, and knew this man wasn’t fooling around.  yesterday i walked into the FC and who is the first person i see?  there’s Joe setting up shop.  so i said in a loud twinravens twang:  holy smokes i didn’t know they had movie stars at this sale!!!  (me and Joe, get this:  there must have been 500 people or more that went through that movie audition at the Toronto FC back in March, and the only 2 people from that session they picked, were me and Joe!)

yesterday i also crossed paths with a lady who i’d not seen since my Debajehmujig Theatre Group days!!!  now that goes back to 1990 and 91.  it was a summer afternoon in the town of Manitowaning, on Manitoulin Island, at a diner, and so the story goes:  i was writing at the time (20th Century Indian Boy, a one act play for Debajeh which they toured in 1993!) and so that is how i described myself:  a writer.  BUT!  i was also doodling on a napkin at the diner and she ended up taking the napkin and said to me yesterday:  you described yourself as a writer but i saw that drawing and wondered if maybe you were an artist too!

that was just too COOL!  all these years later!

now i want to thank you folks for writing and commenting about my sweet Tasha Darling and her not showing up in dreams, as requested.  some of you asked about wild and crazy Stacey and if i had a drawing of her and yes i do!


Fancy Shawl Dancer, fine tip Sharpie Marker on 50 pound paper, 8.5×11 inches, July 1995.  Artist collection.  Stacey from Malibu.  (originally from Turtle Mountain!)


Traditional Dancer, fine tip Sharpie Marker on 50 pound paper, 8.5×11 inches.  July 1995.  Artist Collection.  Mark from Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island.  (originally from Sagamok Anishnabek First Nation!)

and so i wrote these words around that time…

“he was from the north country and dressed in the colours of the night, she was from the south and dressed in the fire from the light…”

Words and Music by Mark Seabrook.

(Tash wore red but Stace wore black…   just like a you know who…   )