Posts from the ‘art’ Category

life and times of a famous native canadian artist…

(this was originally posted in September 2017)

ha!  i say that jokingly!  because i’m out here on the range, going on 21 days now without a note of art conversation, idea expressed verbally, or hint of a hand to hold while under the mighty Milky Way.  she’s new moon boys.  and so, alone under the almighty, with eagles roosting down by the river (what music they make first thing in the morning!) and the great wide open:  there is room to stretch the “art making arms”.  we have some good looking pieces but we’re also getting down to the bottom of the paint barrels.

so last night around 7 i stowed the gear, set a table for one, lit a candle, cracked open a Paul Jaboulet Aine Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre (2012), sparked up the youtube for a little dinner music and instead got attracted to a documentary about alien abductions.  i watched the nutty scenes, heard the kook house stories, heard the so called experts blabbering on about all this stars and moon and space stuff and…  well the truth is i didn’t know if it was the creep show scenes they were mustering in the doc (the greys were coming out of a bright white light), the gacked out music on the doc soundtrack, the fancy French Rhone, or the 21 days alone at sea, but somehow that alien abduction jazz started rattling my rusty cage!

i put my knife and fork down and looked out the jumbo windows which face the east, they were wide flipping open of course, and kind of wondered if there was anything out there.  the pooch was sitting at attention, head up, ears tuned into something going on out there to the north east.  you have to remember:  out here in the boons, there is no light pollution, no noise pollution, no neighbours, and a whole lot of SFA once the lights go out.  SFA i mean if your jiggly mind doesn’t start playing tricks.

of course we have this guy, Roger, in the house.  Shell brought him in from Ottawa and so here he is, in the house, staring at yours truly, Travis Walton wannabe/Little Boy Blue, alone at his dining table…

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well 21 day days alone…  (see what i mean?), nights too, might cause a fuss when you’re sailing across the universe.  slip that stupid documentary with the spook house scenes in there and you’re cooking with gas.  so i booted up my Facebook and wrote a farewell message to the world, going on about this alien abduction thing and told them i was tired of hiding behind the couch with my bottle of french vin and was going to scurry off to bed, like Yoda in his death scene.

i got up to my room with a view and saw this guy staring at me!!!

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“An Ojibwe in Quebec:  A Self Portrait on June 14th”, 2004, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches.  Morgan H. Collection.  (We’re holding onto it for now.)

so by this point in time i’m about ready to soil my drawers.  i thought a little night music might help ease the creeps and me into la la land so i hit the random button on the remote and on came this:

(note the house on the open range and the one tree…  )(looking kind of like a place we sort of know…  )

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my crib, on the open range…

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sunrise on the range, Sept. 21.  the last full day of summer…

and so!  i made it through the night.  i did NOT get abducted by aliens, at least not that i can remember, Roger is still over there gawking at me, and “A Self Portrait on June 14th” is still in the collection here, on hold.  i thought i’d jump in the car and take a little ride into the city and see the madness first hand, up close, where i could catch a whiff, and maybe dust off the cobwebs that will surely develop after 21 days alone at sea, but a cooler and calmer mind at the other end of a long distance phone call this morning put those plans on ice.

and so it is back to the brushes, here, deep in Indian Summer, safe and sound back on earth.

(kind of peculiar how things work themselves out…  we’re in it now:  the empty nest…  and i’m back where i started: on the range, alone, in sweet and beautiful Indian Summer.  outside there is a blaze of sun, it’s Sept. 17th, 2021, 25 C at 4 p.m., Friday night, no kids in the house.  it’s just me and Roger.  even the pooch is gone.  cats are all gone.  mice are moving in.  but in this paradise, river running slow, lawn mowed to golf green, eagles singing down by the river, blank canvasses on the table, acrylic paint at the ready, brushes too, and a sky filled with stars in a few short hours, an artist can get along.  we’re in a room with a view and…   i must tell you:  the other day, in the afternoon, while out here alone i saw something big moving across the east field.  it was bigger than a coyote and i wondered about someone’s pooch out on the prowl, but this thing was bigger than a pooch!  i grabbed the binoculars and zoomed in to see it HAD to be a wolf.  if i had to guess, about 250 yards away, meandering across the field going south to north, and BIG!  so i yelled at it and waved but it didn’t acknowledge me, unlike the eagles.  that big wolf just kept going, in no hurry, north across the east field, over the fence and into the almighty out back.  it’s only the second time i’ve seen a wolf.  i asked the locals up at the general store if there had been any word about any wolves running and she said this place is full of wolves.  yikes.  so back in Sept. 2017 when poochie was sitting here looking out to the night, everything super quiet, pitch black, the two of us on our own, me with my splashy Paul Jaboulet and a fancy glass and poochie with her ears up and tuned into something moving out there in the darkness, just to the north east of us, maybe?

anyway.  we don’t have any splashy Paul Jaboulet today nor do we have poochie, or the cats, or the kids or anything else.  what we have is the great wide open and some beautiful climes and the night…  well we’ll just see about that Orion up there at some point in time.  and Nokomis too, maybe watch her set.  to the tune of some Chet Baker and whatever pilsners these fine folks can deliver, up there at the local.  if it IS Indian Summer, bring it on.  i’d be saying:  Nice to see you old friend.)

The Inner Me

“I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”  – Oscar Wilde

Cue this music up before reading further:

And so here we are at the end of another year…  Tomorrow night’s party scene is still up for grabs, we haven’t booked any seats at any shows, so the what have you is mightily up in the air.  New Year’s Eve…  and standing on the doorstep to another whole DIFF decade.  As my dad would say:  after we figured we’d lived through the war we started watching our step a bit more in detail.

Well I’m not in where the bullets are flying and the bombs are going off, but I’m out here alone, my 3 older brothers are dead, my 3 younger ones missing.  I would have liked to have spent at least an hour with them over the holiday season but none of that came to pass.  Instead I’m alone here in my crib.

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Bright eyed and bushy tailed: but a castle aint no home when you’re always in it alone.

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I always wonder where they are: in heaven or in hell.  I’m not a christian like them so I don’t know nothing much about it.  All I know is I joined the resistance when I was age 13 and I’d like to entertain them here at my place, all these years later.

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They always said I’d likely go far, after we were reintroduced, all of us, in our very early 20’s or late teens, I was only 18 at the time and hadn’t seen any of them since 1969, or was it 1971?  All I know is when I saw them again, I knew I didn’t want to be like them.  I’d been away far too long and after sitting with them, I knew I’d likely never be going back.  Little did I know, at that time, they were all trauma survivors with this thing they call in mod times:  PTSD.  They didn’t get the special jungle training that I got and they didn’t have a Major like I had.

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I’ve sat here alone for quite some time, wondering about that shack in the woods, back on the blacker side of the rez, back in the mid to late 60’s.  I know we had a wood stove in there because I remember hauling wood back to the house and I have this vague memory of my mom standing there with an arm load of poplar, cut yes, but not split.  When was my dad planning on doing that?

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In the past decade I’ve been there myself, on my own paradise on the range: hauling wood, poplar too, but doing it the old fashioned way, bringing it out one load at time, using a wheelbarrow, and getting a pretty decent work out along the way.  Of course the road out of the back woods was a 2% decline back to the house, so it was easy rolling out those 12 cords.

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In mod times, like here and now, I wonder, how warm those rooms could have been at night, back in 68: who was up tending the fire?  If memory serves, the upstairs had 2 little bedrooms with old mattresses that were falling apart and coming undone and who knows what kind of hell went on up there…  I was going to ask my older brother about it.  I came up with the idea in a July, a few days later he fell over dead and took the stories with him. He’s been dead now, has it been 5 years?

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When I was in university ages ago, an old Indian man sat us down and he said you boys have nothing to worry about right now, but if you have the good fortune of getting as old as me, down the road in those days you’ll be visited by many an old memory, things you’d left alone up until now, as an old man.  I silently and invisibly scoffed at the idea, I was only 22 at the time.  Pretty soon an Anishnabe Kwe walked in and she gave us the Sweetgrass teaching.  She was working on a braid and explaining things to us and she looked at me and said:  if you reach the age you’ll find yourself going through some strange times and maybe seeing some strange things, either here or over there.  Once again I, to myself, scoffed at the idea and I remember it well:  It won’t happen to me.  That is what I said, back when I was 22, when I was as terrible as an army poised for battle.

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But here we are, like they said, at that time, the empty nest looming like never before.  And all of the brothers now long gone.  I have no idea where the survivors are, how they’re doing, what is going on south of us.  South of me.  There is no “us” anymore.

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Me too, chief.  We’re starting to get there!  I see young whippersnappers all the time and I know I am no longer them!  No middle age either!  Nope.  We’re off to another place, if all goes well, with a wee spot of wisdom or a splash of education, maybe we can get through this.  My dad has been gone a long time but I sure do hear his voice these days, telling me what to watch out for, to watch my step, and above all, what to be thankful for.

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I’m not much of a Christmas person, like I said, I’m not a christian, and I don’t buy into how they sell it: that long ago story from overseas.  It makes for a great cash grab yes, in these mod times, but I’d rather give them the cash than to some corporate who ever and so that is what we do.  I’ve never been one for standing in a line over there at the mall.

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Xmas eve has come and gone.  Xmas day is here and been.  Boxing Day I was in the car, alone, and coming back to here.  And through those days I never heard from any of them.  The survivors I mean.

We haven’t booked any seats at any shows for tomorrow night but I hear it and see it all around:  2020:  The Roaring Twenties!  I guess they are.  And they surely were!  I don’t plan on wandering around these empty rooms on such a night, so if you don’t hear from me between now and then:  Best wishes and I hope you have a happy new year, and I hope this time, 12 months from now, we’ll be sharing a few more stories!

And so this was written right before NYE, right before the pandemic landed on us and turned 2020 into a very weird year.  I still haven’t seen any of the younger lads, they’re out there somewhere.  But the oldest one comes to visit me every now and then, or so it seems.  And it’s weird as he visits as the 19 year old he was, when he passed, and here he is visiting this lad up into his 50’s.  There is something strange about that.

Also strange, I was reading this post and it mentions my dad who lived through the war and whose voice I hear all the time, telling me what to watch out for.  It also mentions my dad who never split the wood we were bringing out of the woods back in 68.  They’re two vastly different men.  One man left me in the woods to starve to death, the other saved my life.  

I might have to go into quarantine for a few weeks and if that is the case I’m going to bring this typewriter with me and write this thing tentatively called “Fighting In Hell” about my art journey as a 60’s Scoop Survivor.  Other cooler heads in the outfit want to call it “Crashing the Thunderbird”, so the title for this thing is still up for grabs.  One thing is for sure, it IS an art journey and I need several days and nights to sit down in a room with a view, in more social isolation, and write this thing.  Maybe play some Erik Satie while I’m writing the first draft.  

I’ll let you know how it goes.

March 11, 2021.

Woodland School style by twinravens

(This was originally posted way back ages ago…  )

here is my version of the Anishnaabe Woodland School of art, founded by the great Norval Morrisseau, and introduced to the art world in Toronto, way back in September 1962.  what a great artist journey/adventure Norval M. went on after that!  all the way to the National Gallery of Canada in 2006/07.  i’m a long way from having my work in the N.G.C.!  but here is my version anyway:

A Self Portrait on November 30th by Mark Seabrook

Self Portrait on November 30th, acrylic on canvas, 30×40 inches.  Private collection.

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Feeding the Wolf, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Private collection.

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Anishnabe at Full Moon, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Artist collection.

Bear Clan with White Raven

Bear Clan, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Artist collection.

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Water Spirit, Homage to Norval M., acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches.  Private collection.  (the paint wasn’t even dry when that one went out the door!)

Moose Nahmiwan
Moose Nahmiwan, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches. Painted on the Range in March 2015.  Private Collection.
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Indian Residential School Survivor, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Available for purchase:  $4000

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Anishnabe Woodland Nights, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Private collection.

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Power Bird, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches, getting ready to ship out.  Private collection.

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Me, standing next to a Norval Morrisseau acrylic on canvas at the National Gallery of Canada.  A lot of us anishnaabe boys who are painters owe a salute to the great Norval M. and his high and mighty work.

(This is March 10, 2021: A quick art show for you recent followers of the twinravens blog:  we have more on the way!)

memory lane: life and times of a famous native canadian artist…

(this was originally posted in September 2017)

ha!  i say that jokingly!  because i’m out here on the range, going on 21 days now without a note of art conversation, idea expressed verbally, or hint of a hand to hold while under the mighty Milky Way.  she’s new moon boys.  and so, alone under the almighty, with eagles roosting down by the river (what music they make first thing in the morning!) and the great wide open:  there is room to stretch the “art making arms”.  we have some good looking pieces but we’re also getting down to the bottom of the paint barrels.

so last night around 7 i stowed the gear, set a table for one, lit a candle, cracked open a Paul Jaboulet Aine Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre (2012), sparked up the youtube for a little dinner music and instead got attracted to a documentary about alien abductions.  i watched the nutty scenes, heard the kook house stories, heard the so called experts blabbering on about all this stars and moon and space stuff and…  well the truth is i didn’t know if it was the creep show scenes they were mustering in the doc (the greys were coming out of a bright white light), the gacked out music on the doc soundtrack, the fancy French Rhone, or the 21 days alone at sea, but somehow that alien abduction jazz started rattling my rusty cage!

i put my knife and fork down and looked out the jumbo windows which face the east, they were wide flipping open of course, and kind of wondered if there was anything out there.  the pooch was sitting at attention, head up, ears tuned into something going on out there to the north east.  you have to remember:  out here in the boons, there is no light pollution, no noise pollution, no neighbours, and a whole lot of SFA once the lights go out.  SFA i mean if your jiggly mind doesn’t start playing tricks.

of course we have this guy, Roger, in the house.  Shell brought him in from Ottawa and so here he is, in the house, staring at yours truly, Travis Walton wannabe/Little Boy Blue, alone at his dining table…

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well 21 day days alone…  (see what i mean?), nights too, might cause a fuss when you’re sailing across the universe.  slip that stupid documentary with the spook house scenes in there and you’re cooking with gas.  so i booted up my Facebook and wrote a farewell message to the world, going on about this alien abduction thing and told them i was tired of hiding behind the couch with my bottle of french vin and was going to scurry off to bed, like Yoda in his death scene.

i got up to my room with a view and saw this guy staring at me!!!

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“An Ojibwe in Quebec:  A Self Portrait on June 14th”, 2004, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches.  Morgan H. Collection.  (We’re holding onto it for now.)

so by this point in time i’m about ready to soil my drawers.  i thought a little night music might help ease the creeps and me into la la land so i hit the random button on the remote and on came this:

(note the house on the open range and the one tree…  )(looking kind of like a place we sort of know…  )

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my crib, on the open range…

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sunrise on the range, Sept. 21.  the last full day of summer…

and so!  i made it through the night.  i did NOT get abducted by aliens, at least not that i can remember, Roger is still over there gawking at me, and “A Self Portrait on June 14th” is still in the collection here, on hold.  i thought i’d jump in the car and take a little ride into the city and see the madness first hand, up close, where i could catch a whiff, and maybe dust off the cobwebs that will surely develop after 21 days alone at sea, but a cooler and calmer mind at the other end of a long distance phone call this morning put those plans on ice.

and so it is back to the brushes, here, deep in Indian Summer, safe and sound back on earth.

(today is March 4, 2021, minus 20 C this morning.  i love to look back: ah what glorious days there, looking back at them now.  and in Indian Summer, on the range, a paradise!  we’ll get back there some day.)

Blazing down the highway!

401 West bound, Friday night

and so with tunes blasting i hit the open road on Friday night going in the direction of the kook city: Hog Town. back in days of old i’d keep it in the left lane with that big 454 under the hood snarling and barking the entire way, flames pouring out the exhaust pipes! windows down, long hair flying, 2 door hard top, 8 track plugged up good and tight with things like Venus and Mars.

you might want the head phones on for this one!

but things of course have changed! that little BLEUE sports car of mine is a right lane only type car. that little mule under the hood can barely keep up with the posted speed limit never mind venturing into the left lane. my how times have changed. the plus side being it costs about 12 bucks to go from O Town to Hog Town and if you have time on your hands: well you know.

a change in music for a change in the what is and what have you…

nice sound system in the BLEUE car. Jazz has us wired up somehow so the phone plugs in there and whoosh: the world wild library avail. but. when you’re in the right lane the entire way, things are diff. (you might want the headphones on for this one!)(i like that piano and bass line bit at around 3:28)

Saturday morning as seen from the swanky 9th

when your presence is requested at the highest level, me being the good Anishnabe that i am, we answer that call! and so we are there as assigned.

letting them breathe

the cook had us wonderfully set up and what a grand and glorious lunch it was! that leg of lamb presented like a magazine cover and i thought about those days in Scotland, wandering their landscape for a rack of. well the cook on the 9th, she had us squared away nicely and wowza! what a feast.

feeding the wolves, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches, Private Collection.

i wondered about a field full of sheep over on the range, on the south side of the river, so maybe i could have a rack of lamb on any given Sunday but then where we are… with coyote and wolf deluxe, bear too, maybe it would be like the corn i had in my garden that one year…

another life time ago!

a very wise old man, many moons ago, once said to me: if you’re a farmer-farm it. if you’re an artist-wear it. i’ve been wondering about the roads leading in diff directions over the past several months as we bring this chapter to a close.

classic rock and roll photo: NR with 5 minutes to go!

true: i would love to see the music come back to life. visual art is slick but i’m on my own with that one. with music you have the band. with live music you have the rig, the band, the audience and the to and from. (i wonder if a helicopter could pick me up at my island hide out… )

check out the heavy duty lyrics!

at anyway: the road trip is over and the BLEUE is parked, we’re safe and away from that. wondering now: okay, where are we off to next?

Road Trip

my test came back negative so i made the drive with my old buddy Jasmine Moon, leaving the slab at 6 and gosh it was hot and slimy! it was so humid, deep in the slab, you’d break a sweat just by blinking your eyes! we managed and were soon blazing down the 416 with “Daddy’s oldies rock” playing:

if you can, put the head phones on for this one. its fun introducing a much younger generation to some music that made me stop and listen, all those years ago. as for me now: rolling down the highway, memory lane too, with this one… well lets just hey Tray! it’s been many a moon.

Variety on Saturday

we had a stash of refreshments and my thing is this: when in the swanky 9th, swank up the splash as well as you’re able.

Older photo of the drive, from before the Scotland trip?

the road into the swanky 9th: gosh it’s a flash address and we’re mighty happy to be invited to join the party. the AC is what we were dreaming about seeing how back in the other slab it was 40C on Wednesday. it was a mind boggling 30C at 1 a.m. Thursday morning! (that’s crazy.) when we arrived last night at midnight, it was a mighty cool and dry 12C. quite a change from a few short hours before!!! 2 slabs though, mighty diff!

Stacie from Malibu, Sharpie marker on 50 lb 8.5×11″ paper, artwork by Mark Seabrook.

oh my goodness Stace: if you could have seen what we saw, the sunset last night and the music along the way:

Classic Art School soundtrack

when we were pow wow dancers, remember how we pondered the idea of taking the outfits to mod music? what a dance that would have been! (of course i remember how you loved the sunsets and the open road.)

Art Journal: Moose, inspired by Norval M., artwork by Mark Seabrook

that would be Art Journal Book 5! wow! drawing on May 27th. what an art making adventure, perfect for switching gears as we’re away from painting big pictures while i sort out the differences between my old brand, Stevenson Professional, and my new brand, Golden Heavy Body. sadly, we’ve been away from painting big pictures going on 3 months now. lucky for me though the sharpie marker and repurposed book is always handy and who knows what fun things can be created on such small places.

and so we’re on the open road: it’s a beauty view from up here, the swanky 9th is a crib at the very least, and we’re happy to be here. the days, weeks, months and years flashing past, people too…

Flashing back to that summer on the farm, when she introduced me…

we need to do what we can to go in peace.

we have no idea what is going to happen over the next several days and weeks. one thing is for sure, lets hope and pray we, me in partic, don’t come across any “Karen” or “Ethel” cats either here in the city or back on our homelands, and who was that local guy at the Snore Bay Farmer’s Market who called me: a disgrace to my race… who was that guy?

5 minutes before show time: many moons ago

when you’re a person of colour, which i surely am, your steps… well let’s just say what an old man from Belarus once said to me: “to be human is difficult at times. so let god allow you to arrive safely.”

i say miigwetch to those good word.

chilling in December 2019, also many moons ago…

Social Isolation in Ultra Sea Major

And so!  Ten weeks in!  And May Long Weekend to boot!  We are not going anywhere!  Back in the glory days of old, like say last year this time, we’d be back on the range!  Back in Sweet Paradise!

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Photo of said sweet paradise: but this was photographed on one of those glorious early August afternoons: in the time of the crickets.  Ah but the range is a glorious place anytime of the year!

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Summer out there is a true paradise:  and a summer night out there…  Ultra.  (No noise pollution and No light pollution!)(And No neighbours!)(And not a through road leading up to our place!!!)(Wowza!)

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Page from an Art Journal:  unknown book, unknown time.  (Judging from the darkness going on, I must have been listening to Soundgarden:  Fell On Black Days)(Or:  all I had left was the black paint!  (HA!))

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Asking the Power Bird, page from the art journal.  Many thanks to the great Norval Morrisseau for the original idea!

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In the River:  Ophelia.  Art Journal, and yes…  that is quite a story!

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The folks in this town, who drive cars, need a couple of these!  I had me some front row seats to a 4 car pile up on the 417 at Carling on Wednesday afternoon.  I saw the brake lights on so I started slowing down.  The “knuckleheads” in the left lane, driving like they were in the Indy 500, of course weren’t paying attention and BOOM!  I watched it happen and thought:  It’s a lovely afternoon to be stuck in a traffic jam!  While this was going on the others in the left lane, coming up, had their tires squealing and smoking coming off them, I thought I was going to see an 8 car pile up!

So I was stuck there.  Waiting for folks to clear the wreckage and have mercy…  THIS song came over the radio:

Good gosh.  It was back during that first tour with Debajeh, near the end of it, in either late May or early June, I was caught in a traffic jam going from Hamilton back to Toronto and I missed our 8 p.m. downtown.  I told her come heck or high water, I’d be there at the diner dressed in my saucy “black”.  When I did arrive, at 9:30, it was a table for one…

Now this song wasn’t even in the works back in those days, but Ade said it all right there! What a flash!  What a moment, parked in a traffic jam on the 417 on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. in this modern day.

I don’t know if I ever told you this, but last November, I was in another diner not far from here, in Ottawa, seated alone, looking out the window, waiting for my order, and THIS came over the house speakers:

Now this song IS old enough and have mercy…  That ride in the Buick, the airport, the never never landing with each passing second…  The all knowing…  The poison I had flowing through my entire everything up around 95%…  The southeast of Asia and its mighty secrets…  tans that are beyond lovely…  our long raven hair hanging down our backs.  Voices in whispers.  Old magic, young people.

Oh my goodness…  (Where is that drink I ordered?!!!)

And so!  Whew.  Lost my where with all with that one…

Ah yes.  And so!  Week 10 going on week 11, in the city, everything closed, but the birds flying anyway.  Sun shining too.  And the art journals, the music (that version of No Smoking, recorded last Saturday was nothing but CRAP!  We’ll have to try it again tomorrow with much steadier hands…  if you get my driftsville…  ), and the paintings in wait:  long weekend in isolation in the city…  We have to do the best we can.

IMG_0724My version of Harry Callahan’s Weed Against the Sky, Detroit”  Page from an art journal.  (Do you know that piece?)

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Bison from Altamira, Art Journal, way back in easier days:  June 14, 2019: when freedom was!

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My version of Keith Haring’s 3 Dancing Men and the UFO, art journal.  The other night in lockdown I thought I’d watch “Fire In the Sky” and dream about the old days but instead got suckered into “Alligator”, from 1980.  What a dumb move that was!

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“Childhood”, art journal.  For more on this horror story visit the twinravens2000 youtube channel…

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“Sweet Seventeen”, art journal.  Well as my old buddy Michael would say:  We’ll get there some day, pop.

One day this lock down is going to end.  One day they’re going to reopen the world and that means the clubs will re open too.  That means we can get dolled up and go out on Friday and Saturday night!

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Me and Marilyn: at the club, where we SHOULD be on a Saturday night…  but not this Saturday night, which begins in a few short hours…

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Me and an Ultra Super Exotic Dancer, at the club on a Saturday night, many moons ago!  What fun!

Let’s start imagining this lock down stuff is going to go away and we can return to having some fun out and about, dusting off our dancing shoes, walking out the door at nine and coming back around noon on Sunday!

Snow on May 9th!

what the flipping flip is up with the snowflakes flying at this time of the year?  yeesh.  its like the whole world has gone bonkers.  this virus crapola has us pinned down 9 weeks now, going on 10, snow is flying, can’t get home, the walls are moving in closer by the minute.

better put the headphones on for this one…

okay so things haven’t gotten quite that artsy around here but if this snow doesn’t stop, i can’t guarantee you any further stories will be true!  but i can guarantee that they will be stories!

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last Sunday morning:  east of Ottawa.  it’s the best we can do for now.  i’d rather be driving the backroads between Tehkummah and Snowville this time of year but we’re a long way from that!

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i haven’t picked up a paint brush in 9 weeks.  holy mackinaw!  out where we are: the spirit just isn’t here, to do what is needed.  and so the stack of canvas, canvas boards, jars of paint, brushes too, sit.  waiting…

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the mighty raven watches but i’m sure doesn’t wonder.  this boy wonders!  when is the all clear going to be given?

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we ran this photo a few weeks ago:  since we have no painting going on we’re switching gears and picking up the guitar.  later today i’m going to give this Garage Band thing a turn.  its the onboard computer home studio and today we’re going to see if we can record the twinravens actual “classic”:  No Smoking.  that song goes back way before there was a twinravens actual!

here are the lyrics:  (i don’t know how to fix the double spacing thing so here it is in one block of text)

no smoking.  no unloading.  of your trash.  on my trash.  in the city: an indian’s day is never done!  if this weren’t the city: there’d be no shoes on my feet.  no ugly sounds in my ears.  no ugly sights in my eyes.  the only ones left: are my brother the raven.  brother raccoon.  andek esban anishnabe…  the three of us shunned (x3).  in a white man’s world.  police aint here to serve and protect.  police are here to racially profile.  guys like me in a white man’s world…

the stupid auto correct always wants to change “esban” to “lesbian”!

so yes those are the mod lyrics to No Smoking.  i wrote and recorded the song at the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre back in the summer of 1994, in the youth lounge, using a Fostex 4 track recorder which, ha!, used cassette tapes!  i sat myself down and played track one: acoustic rhythm.  track two and three:  lead guitars.  track four:  vocal.  and in the background, it being the youth lounge over at the FC, you could hear some cats playing billiards and so the pool balls were cracking around in an off timed way which i thought really added to the kookiness of the recording.  we were in the city.  it was a song about urban indio reality.  back then it was true and more so today.  i recently added the bit about the cops.  back then i was innocent and believed in things.  today it is different.

No Smoking, just saying, has only been performed live: 3 times!  (the best reading took place at the Rivoli, Queen St. W., July 1995.)

and so we have an acoustic guitar from the pawn shop, we have this Garage Band program, the flashy microphone, and the afternoon off, with snow flying as i write.  we’ll give it all a spin and see if we can make something of it.  time is noon!  the guitar playing  might wake up my old buddy Jazz, she’s still in the bunk.  her hours have gone strange now that the schools have been closed for 9 weeks and will remain closed for another 3 at the least…  the poor kids.  what a rip off it has been for them.

Jasmine Moon is supposed to be in grade 12, graduation coming up, but will there be a party?  yes these poor kids have been ripped off.

here is some super heavy duty:

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my beautiful daughter.  and a proud father i am.  and the empty nest is looming like never before…  she talks about her own apt. and a room mate and being closer to the post secondary institution…  which leaves this old boy, i guess, free to go.

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who knows.  maybe by next winter i’ll be back to this, back home on the range, back down by the river, back in the old country, far away from the war.

Social Isolation Gabfest No. 3

was blabbering up the joint the other day with a few of the hacks going on about great rock and roll bands and i said one of the greatest bunch of wild men and ultra women were in the rock and roll outfit called:  No Reservations.  i got to telling them the story about NR going to the Northern Lights Folk Festival way back whenever it was, a few summers ago, and how, we arrived at the local indio rez for 1 hour of rehearsal, wrote out a set list and headed off to the gig.

now what we have to remember is the great NR hadn’t played a show in a war whooping 17 years!!!  (that’s not good.)  and the gang in NR hadn’t been in the same room together in 17 years!  but they managed to do this:

that is Jen and Shag going through Red Dog Blues with 2 sessions guys.  i have no idea who the 2 session guys are, never saw them before that and haven’t seen them since!  in a perfect world Mr. S.C. would have been there playing the lead guitar, Danny Boy should be there on the sticks and Crazy Davey H.B. should be on the bass, me on 3rd.  Red Dog Blues was one of those 10 or 12 or 20 minute extravaganzas with the guitars going on full.

in this version of the NR classic you have just 50% of NR going to work on the party standard: Red Dog Blues.

but here is the frigging freakish part of it:  that song hadn’t seen the light of day in 17 years!  Shag and Jen never rehearsed it.  they just went up there and did it while we were giving the rig a test run.  (we were booted off the stage right after this one by festival management!)

you have to admit:  that IS pretty amazing stuff: no rehearsal.  no rest of the band.  50% of the team up there going to work and pulling that off, first time in 17 years…

gosh darn that band should still be on the map.  but like the Incredibles, they are out there somewhere, doing other things…

too bad.

here is the other fun video:

showtime:  first time the gang played a live show in a brutal 17 years…  too bad for us and too bad for the WORLD!

ah well.  it made for a great story.

like this one:

Moon Boy, Acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches:  Private Collection.

does anyone out there know where this one is?  i’d love to see it again up close.  great story:  it was created for a show at the CUBE Gallery in Ottawa way back when.  it was delivered and never made the opening!  someone bought it before the show opened!  the fresh owners agreed to let it stay in the show and so the last time i saw it was in the gallery.

but a few summers ago i crossed paths with a gal who said she was now the owner.  another friend of mine, one of the indios from the trenches, confirmed that yes, someone was indeed the new owner and the painting was no longer at the address after the CUBE gallery show.  so where is it?

if you’re out there, and reading this, email me please!  i need to see it one more time for a new project i’m working.

many thanks and Miigwetch!

Art Journals and Repurposed Books

and so we’ve made it through week 7 in lock down mode!  what a sad state of affairs out there.  and so much insanity in every direction…  especially on the roads where the serious illness really shows itself!  ick.

anyway:  as an artist working through this pandemic nonsense and the stupid goings on: there is always room to create!  remember how, back in the autumn of 018, i was going on about an art making exercise using repurposed books?  flash ahead to present day:  we’re working on book 5 and it’s coming along nicely!  an online friend asked if i would post some pictures of recent pages and so here they are:

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Fancy Shawl Dancer with the BIG EYES!  i saw how the kids are drawing these characters with the gigantic eyes and thought i would give that a go, twinravens style, in the art journal repurposed hard cover book!

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created fresh this past week!  it’s a kooky look.  not sure if it’s worth anything once the art market opens up again.

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fun stuff: and we need to explore!  we need to expand those horizons as best we can.

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i LOVE how you can see some of the text under the thinly spread paints.  now remember: all we’re using are ball point pens, sharpie markers, super cheap dollar store acrylic paint, a hardcover book from the goodwill, and our own wild and priceless imaginations!

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that’s the stash so far:  4 complete books and the 5th and 6th still in the hopper.  the art making tools are there as well: don’t throw those fading sharpie markers in the trash!  you can use those for “shading”, solid gold art making tools until they’re completely dead.

now where are these art journals going to end up?  for now, over on the book shelves at the cottage.  some nice light reading and looking while chilling, relaxing, shredding and spooking, on a sunny day, far away from the war.  but down the road thirty or forty years?  maybe in one of the kids libraries, daughters, nieces, nephews, who knows.

my online friend also suggested a little video and so here it is, made fresh this morning:

recorded for you, fresh this morning.  you might want the headphones on though as the sound is, well.  i used the apple iPhone to shoot this vid.  all in one take, my ramble is one of those Saturday morning in the city type rambles…  if you get my drift.

we’ll shoot that next video which shows how we create some of those slick looking and colourful backgrounds, but that is for later today.  right now we’re off to wait in line at the LCBO!