Posts from the ‘poetry’ Category

And SO! x 2

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I hate to see it go as it IS one of my personal faves:  but it is going.  And gone.  That is acrylic in a water colour technique, finish depending on the “tooth” of the canvas board.

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Another of my personal faves, shipped out, and gone.  The empty spaces on my walls…  Like a lot of things going on around here.  Thank goodness for Nadja, there in the blond hair, she’ll keep a close eye on things.

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Going back to the MET:  that story…  of me walking in there, stone aged, and seeing this!  Have mercy: I’m going to see a quack.  Hopefully we can sort out the weird-ness of what… what is this weird attraction?  The quack is also an art historian (hobby horse!) and knows a thing or two about the Indians and land reserved for Indians.  Plus…  she IS pretty attractive dot dot dot…

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Other MAD scenes in the MET:  this was actually in there, in the MET, on a Thursday afternoon in December…  (kooky…  )

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Check out the date:  March 10, 1995.  My how some drawings tell the tale!

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Flash Back!  May 1991.  That’s me, in Belmont, Manitoba on a Saturday afternoon.  We’re on the road to Whitehorse, a well oiled machine, show bizz, rock and roll.  But on this afternoon I had to get the van serviced so I took off alone, left the apes in Brandon, and found myself in Belmont.  Put the van in the line  up and started walking through this one horse town.  Took lunch at the diner, fresh, old time sandwiches made while you wait.  Wrote a letter to my sister. Thought about “her”.  Imagined myself back home, swimming in the warm waters off the south end of the island.  Tanned my feet both front and back.  Read the NY Times, the paper was at least 12 years old.  Drank a sweet fifth of Hoola, with a cut of water.  Rolled in the sunshine.  Imagined the war: on going, in lands far away.  Smoked home grown.  Wore my black bikini.  Settled under the sun.  Drove the island roads with the window down, my left arm hanging out the window.

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When I got back home from Scotland the lawn was a mess!  Lucky for me we had a suitcase filled with 20 dollar bills.  So I fired up the lawn mower and tried to rescue my lawn.  This is 10 days into July, 2018:  I was out there alone.  The girls were on the road.  What madness went on and off and out and in.  I snapped this photo of the crib at sunrise and remembered when I was over there, all I could think about in those final hours over there, was getting back home.  And surprise!  There I was.

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Sunrise in summer:  on the range.  This was in July 018, smoking hot and super dry!  I was there and I was thanking my lucky stars I’d made it home!  I was VERY happy being there in the summer of 018.  Wonderful memories.

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In the grand and glorious summers of the past, this one in August 014, we see many a grand and glorious scene:  this one looking due north, out where the horses are.  We were in the house and noticed the wind had changed so we went out for a looksie and saw the north sky had turned to a boiling thousand shades of grey!  Fantastic!

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On stage with NR back in 017:  We need to get the band back together.

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Sister JEN!  Working the magic.  She owns the show.  Summer of 017.

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Before the gig:  we might look cool but we’re not!  We’re both scared.  It is show business.  And no matter how many times you do the show, rehearse the show, when you put a crowd of folks out there, you’ll have butterflies deluxe.

Mask making with Mark!

Mask making with Mark!

Mask making:  that hand design… We’ve alway been ahead of the curve.  (the mask making exercise is SOLID GOLD real estate.)  All ages, no matter where.

Closing poem:

CRUSING BACK THE RANCH WITH MY YOUNG FRIEND

to see what we can see
come night time in a room
full of books, paintings, feathers and bones
the window wishes west
while the sun is arriving
at six in the summertime
she sleeps above the trees
below the stars
not a second close
enough to please me even mildly
in a red willow wind
curtains whisper quiet sins
moon
the island still
silent stars
the way she was stolen
by your quiet smile
into the night
when the drums are distant
shadows of the pines
cooling dew grass
the fringes on her shawl
the ferns are spooky
barefoot during the night
the feathers and bones
of a crooked crow dying
modern day pow boy
wishing well into the night
think about the moons you have missed
treating your life like you had nine
words by mark seabrook

 

 

Saturday Night Blizzard!

Well maybe it “aint no” blizzard like the folks in NFLD whooped through in the past 24 hours but here in O’sville, outside, now, 6 p.m., it aint pretty.  And it IS ice Flipping cold!  that is why I’m tucked away in here, in the crib, with the fake fire going, fake fireplace on the TV, 2D logs burning bright, warm as toast, snug as a bug, nestled up next to a Henschke Cyril Henschke Cab slash Sauv slash Franc slash Mer mixarama.  The folks are pitching it as extra dry but I’m telling you right now its twice the sweet as I like them.  Ah well.  It IS a snow storm out there.  And those Australian Vins on a cold winter night are something to write home about.  I’d write home if I had one…

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And so!  It IS a blizzard, I’m in for the evening with the vin and a book.  Thought I’d re read the “CLASSIC HORROR STORY” by kooky Sinclair Ross:  The Painted Door.  Of course when I was sporting, many moons ago, we’d make that trip, a mile anyway…

Things have changed since then.  Now, as an old man, we don’t need to wade through classic Canadian horror stories as we have enough of them stowed in our own story telling departments: if it were a library, a mighty library it would be as some of us did!  I was reminded of that when I crossed paths with an old soldier today:  same age as me!  We laughed and cackled our way through stories about the ages, old names, old places, now all dead and gone.  Yet we remain: Two Anishnabe, from the same year, many times in the same places, with the same people, yet never crossing paths until today.  Slick stuff.

We got to that story sharing place where I told him about that night at the International on Kathleen Street, N’Swakamok, summer of 1995:  I was in there with one of the killers, as back up.  He was in there looking for someone but he never told me why he was looking for this person.  We sat ourselves down at a table and ordered drinks and pretty soon this young Anishnabe dude came along and sat himself down at our table.  This dude knew the killer and they were chatting up a storm, going on about “stuff”.  Well I’d heard enough after about 20 seconds and said to the killer:  Is this the guy?

As I said that I was reaching inside my coat with my right hand and the dude FREAKED!  He put his hands up right away and said Hey Man!  I didn’t do anything!

Of course he was right.  I was just reaching into my coat pocket to get my cigarettes, to see if he wanted a Marlboro Red.  Back in those days you could smoke in the bar.  It was kooky to see though how that dude nearly shit his pants when I did that.  Ha ha.

It has been one of those winter days.  Cool too though when you cross paths with folks of the same vintage.

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Girl From the North Country, Found Poetry, Book 5, a work in progress.  Drawing by Mark Seabrook, Anishnabe artist.  Truth is I have NOT been drawing over the past few or several years and…  They were right.  It does go away if you don’t keep at it.

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Anishnabe Kwe, Found Poetry, book 5.  So yes, we’re still working at it.  The book is 400 plus pages and the story is INSANE!!!  So we’re mostly painting over the pages of text and making this one into a book of drawings.  There are a few poems in there but not as many as in the past books.  The drawing practice has been good for this old boy.

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Ed Hopper at the MET.  Remember how I was going on about that meltdown at the MET, back in December?  Well here we are a long way from, and here they are in no particular order, the paintings that brought on the meltdown…

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Have mercy.  You can read a ton of books about this one but when you’re standing where he once stood:  the same distance away I mean, there is a fine line between living out your dream and shitting your pants on the NY subway.

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Good Wowza.  If you are a visual artist, and you walk into a room and see this…  Well lets just say this:  I was in there looking at this and wondered if maybe it might have been better had I been KIA in the Great Hay Wagon Disaster of 78.  (If you don’t know what that is, scroll back through a few blog postings…  )

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Good Gawd!  Anyone out there reading this:  are you a painter?

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Jeepers H. Mary and M.F. Joe!  You read about it.  You see a small picture in an art history book text.  But then there it is.  Wowza x 2.

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Stop.  Stand.  And Stare.  Holy chocolate wagon wheels someone actually created this with their bare hands…  (Q. And what am I doing?  A.  A GREAT BIG FAT NOTHING.)

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OFMFGF.  We went over this in art school for days.  Detailing it, went over it, shoulder to shoulder on our hands and knees, going over every inch of the details with an extremely powerful art history instructor.

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Yup!  I was nearly a sobbing wreck by this point.  Just like that time I watched the first 5 minutes of the movie:  UP.

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Okay.  No words.  There it is.

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Have mercy!

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Absolute melting point:  if you’re an art enthusiast and dreaming…  If you see something like this, in the MET, after all these years…   (Well lets just say it will be the crows nest for me.)

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Here though:  something turned.  I may have rounded a corner with this one.

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Stopped and stared.  Imagined Mr. R. standing there too, cigarettes in hand…  ages ago.

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K.M. in his gear, making the presentation on Thursday night to a darn near a sold out show.  He had his book, getting his words straight, but what I was worried about is that he was going to fall off those great big high heels he was wearing!  He didn’t fall off his shoes and it was a great performance, and a great show:  glad to be there and see it first hand.  That painting of course, if you scroll back through the blog, you’ll  see it up close, from that night long ago…

And so the snow storm continues.

alone at Carter's Bay in a long ago summer time

alone at Carter’s Bay in a long ago summer time

I dream about the beaches back home: the wind and the waves, the sun, the earth, the sky.  The blue and green.  And yes:  The sienna, the gold and silver.

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Oh la la!  There will be time to get back to those water falls and that river where I call home.  I usually travel at night.  I’ll arrive at sunrise!

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When you live a bit, silly things like a snow storm are nothing.  Rooms in a house, the “Famous Cockroach Incident”, a thousand mile drive at a hundred miles an hour, the summer of 1995, the lawns between her house and mine at age 12, her red jacket…

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I’ve got a home waiting for me.  Yes I’m the road now but I’ll be home soon.  For now though, we have the art, the road, the snow storm, the flash Australian Vin, and the stuff not worth mentioning out the front window, the back window and the side windows:  life i the city in mid January.

Keep on keeping ON!

 

 

The Dream at the End of the World

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Opening pages of Found Poetry Book 4: The Dream at the End of the World.  I loved that title and to boot: printed way back in 1991, the paper is quality stuff that can handle the sharpie markers, highlighters and thinly spread dollar store acrylic paint.  I keep saying “thinly spread” as no matter how good the paper quality is in these old books, if you layer on gobs of acrylic, bad things are going to happen to your book project.  I’ve seen it happen with a few participants and yes it can get messy fast.  And that’s when the tears start…

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Remember: this is meant to be a long term art making project.  As you can see I started this one way back on September 4, 019.  Here we are at December 15th and I have 3 pages to go!  The opening “found poem”, is 2 pages of love…

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Found poems…  Love this stuff!  As I said to participants:  what literary surprises are waiting for us with every page?

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The End of Art School, found poem No. 3, is an 8 page beauty that goes like this:

in a dream, rising up through the tranquil sleep of a warm May evening, left in its wake a delicious sense of peace, of afternoon sunlight, the dream terrain, i felt the thrill of recognition, was offering, up to him again.  

his life was out of control, sidetracked by untidy passions, impulsive missteps, messy obsessions…

daring was in his art, and his ambition seemed limitless, he was an accomplished poet as well as a musician, still, he was beginning to feel like a hired hand, and he was weary of focusing his energy on works that were not his own.

disturbing, nihilistic, quietly bizarre…

its perpetual distraction.  as summer approached, the power of his stories, the dream had shown him the way.

flirtatious, seductive, she staged mad crushes, they had become favourites among the creative elite, they were famous among the famous.

his only refuge was his imagination, he invented his own planet, “I was always trying to get away.”

found his freedom, possessed of a diffident charm, and sensible in summer, thrillingly remote, was vital and clamorous, the ancient native, life burst through the seams, wonderfully excessive, costume balls, expeditions and martinis, cleanliness and efficiency.

steady, hot, with a moon that is like a sun when it is full, a madhouse: the piano in their isolated house was wildly out of tune…

trance dancing-all of it was part of the pageantry, Sahara, the sky had a life of its own, baptism of solitude, silent country, sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute: the absolute has no price.

mystical undercurrents ran deep, a man transforming, the supple nature of reality, on the other side of the looking glass, alienness intoxicating, insupportable jealousy, I shall be away. 

pursued the exotic, self indulgent, he kept up his creative momentum, he transported himself, an untamed twenty year old, the two began to spin fantasies.

a protagonist in his novel, restless souls who wanted to explore life outside, purpose and spirit, it was a mystery, She laughed: “You KNOW I don’t want you to go.”

a close friend of both, i dimly remember my own face and not yours, how psychosomatic can you get?

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Of course there is room for drawing: “Fancy Shawl Dancer, who IS Mother Earth”,  sharpie marker, thinly spread dollar store acrylic.

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And room too, for experimenting with the draw and the subject of the draw:  black ball point pen with sharpie marker on acrylic paint.  Maybe there is an opportunity to create a new series of pictures from the sketches in these pages.

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Some days are tougher than others…  Sharpie marker on acrylic paint.

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“True Love: age 22, (I knew her name)”, Found poem, a 12 page extravaganza!

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Once into it, these sketches can be pretty telling…  (life on the road…  )

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And of course there is room for fun stuff!  The end page of a wildly sexual poem, from the Road Taken!

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Ah yes: room to explore, room to create, and maybe a new series of paintings in the development stages…

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Heavy duty and ultra supra TELLING!  Wow.  This drawing is from the last of the pages in the book, 384 pages of found poems, drawings, journals, love stories, memory brambles lane, black circles under blood shot eyes, spinning out in a parking lot, from soup to nuts, insanity before xmas in the city.

Yes the found poetry book project is a work in progress and an exciting exercise for the creative soul.  On Monday I’ll be back in the goodwill on the snoop, looking for another interesting title with high quality paper.

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Power Bird, acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Made fresh this past week and using a new brand of acrylic paint!  The last of my Stevenson Professional Acrylic, and I mean the last, we’re down to the bottom of the barrels, I’m pretty sure we only have a half dozen paintings remaining in those paint barrels.  Very sad for me as Stevenson was my brand since all the way back in art school.

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Power Birds, acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Originally it was a black and white but with this new brand of paint in the house, it’s time to explore and see what she can do.

Just ten days before Xmas and…  yikes: another year will be in the books.

 

Painting experiment No. 3

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Sharpie Markers, 91% isopropyl alcohol and gravity, 8×10″, on canvas board.  Bird painted in acrylic.  Private collection.  We made this up last Thursday with a new art instructor in the house!  Very cool.  Not sure though how long something like this is going to last…  For now though it looks cool and for the beginner artist: a fun way to open the door.

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Introduction to the Woodland School of Art with drawing exercise:  your instructor:  Mark Seabrook, B.A., B.Ed., and woodland style enthusiast!  One of the fun things we get to do is make art presentations and my fave is the Intro to, which includes a 50 minute drawing exercise where everyone gets a turn at drawing the Moose!

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Chalk on board, 48×72 inches, twinravens style moose in the Woodland School of Art style, made famous by the great Norval Morrisseau way back in 1962!  We have a fun time with this class and it works wonders no matter where we go!

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Found Poetry, Book 4, Sharpie marker and black ball point pen on thinly spread dollar store acrylic, on 1991 issue paper.  The book title is:  The Dream at the End of the World.  Love the title, don’t care about the book!  The paper is quality and I’ve been fussing with this little art and writing project since just after Labour Day.  Book 4…  should be ready by Xmas.  The fun thing about this one is there is a brand new bundle of very interesting drawing scattered throughout, interesting in a way that might lead to a new series of paintings.

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Ball point pen, 90 pound paper, sketch book, from 1995.  That would be Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, in the back ground.  And up front of course is the traditional dancer without his bustle.  Hey we are working a colouring book for the advanced: we’re way beyond keeping it within the black lines on this one.  It IS in the works.  This is going to be one of the pages!

The art journey and artist life continues!

Spoken Poetry

Performed by writer and arranger:  Mark Seabrook.

Many thanks for that email and so here is a selection, as requested:  Poetry.  By yours truly.  What we have here though is “Found Poems”:  we take a hard cover novel from the goodwill, we pick a title that we are attracted to, never minding what the book is about, and we use the “black out” technique, covering the words that mean nothing to us, leaving behind what does mean something.

The book I selected from the shelves at the goodwill:  Every Living Thing.  That title meant something to me.  Copyright way back in 1992, by James Harriot.  We picked it not only for the title but for the quality of the paper within the book:  we’re turning those pages into artwork as well, and art work needs good paper.  So be selective when you’re creating one of these fun Found Poetry books.  Find a title that means something to you and find one made with quality paper.  342 pages takes time: I started book 1 on October 16, 2018 and finished it on November 25, 2018.  We’re working on book 4.  But here are some selections from book one:  Every Living Thing.  Spoken Poetry performed by anishnabe artist and writer:  Mark Seabrook.

Oops!  My bad!  This one is from:  Infinite Riches, published in 1998 by Phoenix House, author Ben Okii.  Saved from the rubbish heap by yours truly and turned into a one of a kind book of poems and art!  (These can become heavy duty journals along the way!  This is book 2, created December 20, 2018 to May 9, 2019.  So be careful!)

Classic love stories, from the road taken…

Classic love stories…

Classic love adventures…

More classic love adventures…

Some of these, you may have to sign into your youtube account.

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Artwork from the pages of:  Every Living Thing.  Sharpie marker on dollar store acrylic paint spread thinly.  Sometimes there is no poetry to be found!  In which case turn the page or pages into visual arts!

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Yes…  it can become very telling.  Artwork and poetry, in book 2:  Infinite Riches.

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Ball point pen on acrylic paint spread thinly.  Woodland School style artwork by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.

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Kooky.  Sharpie marker on acrylic paint spread thinly.  (Not sure where I was on November 9, 2018, but judging by this: going down memory lane…  )

And so there it is!  Spoken Poetry, written and performed by yours truly.  Art work, drawings and so on, created by yours truly.  It is an art and writing adventure!  Let me know what you think!  Drop me a line anytime.

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One for the road:  don’t forget to add a little colour to those art pages!  Dollar store acrylic paint with sharpie markers.

 

SUN INFINITY MOON Book Review

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Mark Seabrook is multifaceted with a tremendously creative spirit and a flair for storytelling, using the musical, visual and literary arts to carry forward his unique “voice”.  

SUN INFINITY MOON is the latest literary offering from Mark and is a collection of anecdotal accounts – years in the making – as told through an Anishnabe character named Sun, whom, along with all the others who make an appearance in this book is reportedly fictitious, existing, as Mark states in the foreword “wholly within the author’s imagination”…  ”Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locals [sic] is entirely coincidental.”

For readers who may be familiar with Mark Seabrook’s life and works, the coincidental resemblances are pronounced and one finds it impossible to refrain from attempting to deduce what is real and what is imagined.  Perhaps that is precisely the way Mark intends it to be?

We begin with:  We found a pile of human bones on the floor of the tree house.  A pretty great opening line for book of stories!  There was no order to the way they were piled, it was all abstract expressionism, Jackson Pollock style […] It was that fuckin’ skull, upright, jaw missing, top teeth gnarling on the coarse floor boards, frontal and parietal blaring like a pair of brand new stripper shoes mailed in from L.A., that caught my attention.  At some point in time that was someone’s think tank.  Someone’s whole of everything was up there, everything they could imagine and cherish, childhood memories, first love, the nightmares, were stowed and secure in that brain case, which was now bone dry, on a floor.  Empty.  The maggots had cleaned house and run off.”  Mark’s phrasing and descriptors all throughout the book are marvellously evocative whether they are conveying Anishnabe angst or reflecting on non-native practices.

And there is A LOT of Anishnabe angst.  And anger.  And revengeful ravings.  Amidst the playful dark humour and erotic tales there is an unmistakable undercurrent of humans behaving badly.  Such non-edifying things I have trained myself to avoid – but as Mark is a friend and I was proud he had followed through on his goal of publishing this book, I thought it was important to give it a read and gain some understanding.  

Mark had a compelling desire to convey a “sick and disgusting story” (his words, private correspondence) without an editor’s assistance, for fear that any editing would perhaps make the stories less “his” and risk becoming adulterated by the influence of non-native manipulation.  Such close protectionism causes the book to suffer, however, and I understand a second printing is in the works, with some essential grammatical improvements that should not conflict with the telling of these tales.

Nevertheless, for all it’s disjointed recapitulations and errors, SUN INFINITY MOON is actually rich with layers of meaning, above and beyond the unpleasant disrespect the characters (both native and non-native) show for each other, for non-human creatures and for the environment.  The deepest layer Mark Seabrook crafts for readers is that a great wrong has been done to Anishnabe youth with lingering, festering wounds that continue to hinder mental wellness and self-actualization.  That dark layer of meaning is the type of wrong that occurs in all cultures, worldwide, and to this reviewer signals a psychological malfunction present within the human species itself.  It is a darkness that when illuminated by awareness, inspiration and inner discipline can be channeled into human constructs that ennoble, enrich and transform, allowing each of us to better discover our inherent talent and live up to our full potential.

If the intention of this book was to amuse and entertain while unveiling a host of deleterious behaviours and events, intermingling sweet memories with frightful ones, it has achieved that end.  It may have been cathartic for Mark Seabrook to write such a series of tales…future works will reflect that or not.  Within Mark’s character “Moon”, we see it is possible to develop awareness…perhaps in a future literary exploration, Mark can expand upon that and use his creative storytelling techniques to help humans transcend the species-wide affliction of destructive behaviours.  That would be a book I would be glad to recommend!

L.  Manitoulin Island

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Page 15, from “May 11, 1996”, SUN.  Sun Infinity Moon, by Mark Seabrook.

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Back cover:  Sun Infinity Moon, by Anishnabe artist and author: Mark Seabrook.

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Missing In Action, painted face masks, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.

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Missing In Action, on display in Ottawa, 2014.

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Killed In Action, painted face mask and acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.  (On display in Ottawa, 2014)

Art Battle Tonight!

hey i was called up for tonight’s Art Battle here in Ottawa!  for those of you not in the know:  they give you a 16×20 inch canvas, acrylic paint, an easel and 20 minutes!  all you have to do as the artist is bring your own brushes and your own ideas!  i’ll tell you right now they have some pretty decent painters signing into this show, folks who can get it done fab style within those 20 measly minutes.  i am not one of them!  i can get it done in 20 but have never made it out of the first round.  maybe tonight is my night!

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that’s me back in April, thinking i had a great idea but nope!  (truth is: no matter how big the house i always come down with a serious case of the butterflies…   complete with shaking hands…  )

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that’s way back in 016, the Halloween version and big time NO GO to the 2nd round.

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in Ottawa on Friday night!

and that’s way back in 015, on my first visit to the AB, with NO DICE!

at any rate, it is a fun time, fun to be in with those other artists, and fun to be in the show!  we’re in a new venue this time, 250 City Centre, which is not downtown.  how it got the title of City Centre when its way out in the middle of nowhere is beyond me.

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Big Bucks = Happiness.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  maybe tonight i should stick with the basics.

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Indian Residential School, Hell on Earth.  Sketch.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist Collection.  or maybe i should attempt a “statement”.

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Stacey from Malibu, sharpie marker on 8.5×11 paper.  Artist collection.  one thing is for sure there is no time to call up Stace for advice on what to paint and what to wear.  i know what she would say though about what to wear:  You have one life to live, don’t put it off to tomorrow.

i’ll let you know how it goes!