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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…   )


No Dice…

well of course sweet Tasha Darling did NOT come to me in dreams as per requested.  instead it was Stacy, that wild young thing from Malibu, who has been haunting my dreams since i turned sixteen…


rock and roll line up card: pre show jitters, Art Battle, Wednesday Night, November 21st.


the art island, ready to go to war!  in the Arts Court, right next to Saw Gallery, right down town on a super ice cold and windy night!  (looked like a sold out show to me!)


the sacred text…  (you know i’m always very much interested to see what the other artists choose and how much they load in terms of paint, for a 20 minute brush with show bizz!)


and there she is:  a raven, always willing to go that little bit extra…  (that’s 20 minutes on a 16×20 inch .75 canvas)  and SOLD!!!  at the auction on site, later that evening.

it was a great and fun time, as always, at the Art Battle.  there are some super class A shooters in that crew and the stuff they were making in that final round: wowza!  we’re talking the big leagues.

tomorrow we’re back at it:  it is Paint Night w yours truly!   we’re at the Morning Owl Coffeehouse and Parlour, 229 Armstrong St., Parkdale neighbourhood, Ottawa, Ontario!  doors open at 630 p.m., wine and other fun stuff on the go, all the paints, brushes, and canvas boards will be there and your instructor:  Mr. Mark Seabrook, B.A., B.Ed., world famous Anishnabe artist will be there and ready to assist!  (world famous…  ha ha!)

no artistic experience necessary!  just come out, cost is a measly 12 bucks and hey!!!  art making and a glass of vin?  yeah baby.

as for that super talented Stacy…  she’s quite a dream as well.

Art Battling: tomorrow night

lets put the mood music on first:  Camila, i love her vocal!

and so.  it is back to the art battle tomorrow night.  and this time we’re fighting.  we MUST make it past that first round, off the beach!

the art battle has us working on a 16×20 inch canvas, acrylic paint (theirs) and our brushes.  time limit:  20 minutes.  as an artist:  you have to haul it and make it fast!  there are 2 rounds of fun and games.  each round is judged by the crowd.  the trick is to get into that 3rd round where the big prize loot is, and the crowd is the trick!  you might LOVE what you’re doing.  but if THEY do not like it, you’re out of there!  easy stuff!

now they have some serious players going in there.  these guys and gals are good.  what they whoop inside of 20 is amazing.  my first time up there i thought i was making something and when the whistle went, nope!  i was way off.  clean off the map!  it was a year later i was back in with them and i thought i had a fighting chance, being featured on the poster promo and all, but nope!  out gunned again!  that was that famed Halloween Art Battle.  Shell and i arrive in costume and nearly took away best couple but i was out after the first round.


an island for art making

from October 2015, before the show.  it might not look like much but that is a sold out show come doors open!


that’s Halloween 2016:  i thought i had something going that night but came up light.  my “Moose Nahmiwan” did sell at the auction but i came home with no ribbons.


unknown artist next to me, at the Halloween Art Battle, 2016:  she was one smoking hot young lady!  pretty slick artist too!

IMG_2464 - Version 2

“Indian Residential School: Hell on Earth”, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches, 2017.  Artist Collection.  i’d love to pull something like this out of the sticks:  basic black and white but i don’t know if i can muster such a scene in 20.  (i seriously wonder though…  should i at least give a go?)


“Shawl Dancer without her shawl…  “, 2B pencil on Linetek 3000 illustration board, Bainbridge, 16×20 inches, 1987.   Artist Collection.  sweet Tasha Darling… come to me in dreams tonight.  instruct me.  teach me.  tell me.  i need your wisdom!


a walk around the block

and so!  a walk indeed!  and in this town…  oh my goodness there are mad capped scenes at darn near every turn and pretty much down every straight away.  the noise is what we can’t share here, online.  you have to come here to these mad streets.  five minutes will do it.  yes we are a long way from the river, the blue and the green.


unknown artist and paint station, outside the Rideau Centre, November 3rd.  it was clear to me she had talent and if you took her up a notch, switched out the dollarama paint and canvas for some big leagues gear, i’m certain she could show something in one of the many indie galleries in this town.  she wanted 40 bucks for that little picture she was working on.


invisible man?  around here you never know…   outside the Rideau Centre, November 3rd.


spooky window display, Somerset West near Spadina, November 6th.


more weirdness in the same shop window…  Somerset West and Spadina, on the mild night of November 6th.  me singing:  i’m an Anishnabe in the Capital City…  (sung to the tune of Sting’s Englishman in New York)

when you’re out walking and sporting the “artist’s eye”…  goodness gracious, so many “things”.


what form!  with a silver hand…  shop window in the St. Laurent Mall, November 7th.  those super stretch fabrics, now i wish they had those when i was young!  (ha ha!)


ah yes…  what form.  put some heels on there and you’d really have something.

if you have 8 minutes, here is a song i wrote and performed back in the summer of 1995, recorded on a 4 track Fostex, one night in a diff city, many moons ago.  before the internet.  back when my rock and roll band:  NR, was planning on being something.  ah but nothing makes the Great Spirit laugh more than a man with plans.

for the youtube video: i went out one night, twenty years after i wrote and recorded the song, in this very city, camera in hand, and shot those pictures:  headless figures (children too!), lifeless eyes, bare heads, flashy clothes, big lights, right next to the dispossessed, the have nots, the sick and the old, and the grey, placed next to a little First Nations “made in China”, thrown in for good measure.  military medals along side a public service message showing a cigarette pack filled with bullets and someone’s scrawl:  Funding natives to buy back their land 1 acre at a time…  yes it was my attempt at Anishnabe movie making/story telling.  (oh yes!  that first and very long 2 minutes of yours truly in his pow wow dancing gear-i plugged that in (just ahead of the Joseph Boyden scam which became an amusing and a down right hilarious news item right around Xmas 2016) as a confirmation that yes indeed, yours truly is an actual indian as defined within the terms and conditions of the indian act, and handled by indian and northern affairs Canada)

so where was i going with all this?  oh yes.  what i mean to say is i’ve walked these streets before.  and some things seem to never change, all we’ve done is switched out the characters and moved in some new ones.


back to the walk around the block:  the cops on Blake, November 8th, where hookers roam, sometimes pimps, and men alone in all makes and models of cars cruise very slowly up and down the streets.  you don’t need warning signs to tell those boys to slow down on our quiet neighbourhood streets!  all we’re missing with this scene is the background NOISE.  the roar, the sirens, the continuous horn honking…  sheesh!


unknown young man who has clearly lost his marbles, sitting in the very cold wind outside a Rotten Ron’s, Montreal Road and St. Laurent, November 9th, at noon.  he was out there for an hour, smoking his stuff, listening to whatever he had on those flashy headphones.  it was like…  zero degrees out there.  and they might be his brightest years…

i was inside looking out, wondering if it was safe to show a photo like this:


that’s me and what’s his name, on the movie set, back in June, in Scotland.  we signed a non disclosure thing about not posting but here we are after the release date of the picture so i hope its safe to post this!

they had me so uglied up over there i was sure i could never come home.  the look was totally Hollywood Indian.  the only way i got the gig was, well, beyond that i was clearly indian, was that face of horror:  they asked me to scowl and snarl into the camera at the casting (my interview was all of 15 seconds at the Native Friendship Centre in Toronto) and boom!  they called me up and so i went.  now that was a serious walk around the block!

that chrome dome of mine, it hadn’t seen the light of day in over 45 years!  over there though, those charming hair and make up girls shaved me a fresh one every morning around nine.  i walked out of there thinking the boys are going to have a field day with this when i get back to the club!


that’s the photo i snapped with Joe’s camera, that he smuggled onto the set one day.  that’s the two stars of the show, chilling between takes.  not sure who that other young snot nosed punk is but he was main frame with the other two.

and so if you were reading my blog back in late May and June of this year, this is what i was going on about: making movies in Scotland.  a grand adventure, something i’d do again, but next time…  i think i’ll take a pass on shaving the dome.  yes, it is growing back, but we’re a long way from the look of confidence, when sporting the Dark City Boy outfit, which thank goodness, is back in rotation, out here on these mad city streets.  i lost the “gut” i was sporting on that shoot, but being away from the 9th and all the good cooking over there, certainly helps in the weight losing department!  ha.  kooky stuff.  silly stuff too but at the end of the day, if you’re going to run with the wolves, you have to keep up AND look the part.

photo of said Dark City Boy outfit!

artist in October


crappy grainy photo but that’s the idea (i’ll get an updated, soon).  super fun black boots to go with!  many moons ago, on another walking around the block adventure, i drew a picture of the then “dark city boy” outfit, an idea for some jackets i wanted to make, the idea stolen from the costumes department over at Debajehmujig Theatre Group (another story we can save for later!)

photo of said picture, drawn many moons ago:


2000 Man, Dark City Boy in front of Treasure Island, Lake Mindemoya, Ontario, Canada.  March 1, 2000.  Bic ball point pen on 98 pound paper.  yes…  we need to maintain the maintenance department…

what i’m getting at through all of this is this:  if you’re going to take a walk around the block, you might as well do alright with it.

(psst: more movie set photos to come if i can get away with posting these!)


October sketches

to colour or not?  a mighty fine question!


7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 2, 2018.


7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 2, 2018.


7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 3, 2018.


7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board, October 4, 2018.

hmmm.  a walk around the block might be in order.

under the Milky Way

we’re back on the range and when we arrived, 10 p.m., it was nippy but clear:  above us:  the mighty Milky Way, stretching from north east to south west!  WOW!  you can’t see anything like that when in the grisly clutches of the capital city.  also going on out here at 10 p.m.:  absolute silence!  in the distance, far away, the waterfalls filled with salmon, making that yearly trek.  also a huge change from the sirens, the screaming, the howling and crying, going on within the wilds of the capital city, at that hour.

nope!  we broke out of the city and at good speed.  (ha!)


“the glass aint half full or half empty, it’s fully and completely BONE DRY”, life in the capital city, at 544 p.m., September 26th.


“Tuesday night at the AFOA conference”, Oct. 2nd, Shaw Centre, downtown Ottawa.  gals from the north country singing that north country song:  i snapped this photo as this tune on the set list was ringing bells!  i have no idea what is happening with “Inuit throat singing”, and sure, you can wikipedia the thing and get the local high lights of who is selling the most records and getting Juno awards for using it, but i mean really, out there in the actual north country, where there are no big wifi passwords to wonder about.


“the drive home”, Mattawa, Ontario, 5 p.m. on October 4th.  half way in what is about a 9 hour drive.  that’s the mighty Ottawa River and over there:  Quebec.


“at home on the range, in October”.  now this was not taken this weekend, it was a few years back when Thanksgiving weekend was in the middle of a heat wave.  wowza!  that’s the Manitou, flowing free!  as seen from the north bank, on the trail, half way from the house to the waterfalls.  a classic place and a place of peace!  this weekend we have some cloudy skies: a not so photogenic photo op.  but the maple is still there and so is the river, filled with salmon.


“good ole Smokey, on the back 90”, one of my fave maple trees, out there where the mares keep cool/warm.  the pooch is in the tall grass.  photo from…  was it 2013?

well that is what a sunny Thanksgiving weekend looks like up here in the grand and glorious north country of Manitoulin Island!  but today, like i said, we have clouds!  and tomorrow might be rain.  so we’re going into the archives for some photos to share.  it is colourful out here but we need that blaze of sun to light the place up.  with or without the sun, the moon and the stars, the salmon are in the river by the dozen or more.  you can hear them before you see them.

AND!!!  very soon, once the movie comes out, i can start sharing with you, some of those fun “behind the scenes” photos from that wild adventure overseas back in June!  so stay tuned for those!

Happy Thanksgiving!


on the road: show bizz style

i’m set up at the AFOA National Conference here at the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa.  the banner out front reads:  Human Capital, Balancing Indigenous Culture and Creativity with Modern Workplaces.  the corporate lead sponsor is the First Nations Bank of Canada.  well we’re here for 3 days and we’ll see what kind of banking can be done between now and noon on Thursday.

my road show sets up pretty quickly.  i rolled into this place with a suitcase on wheels.  some of these other folks have what looks like a 3 ring circus!  wowza!  glad my gear stows nicely in a basic.  i came down here on the Ottawa transit bus, number 11, rolling down Montreal Road and into the downtown for 115 p.m.  the show was up and open for business at 130 but officially this rock and roll road show doesn’t open until 6 p.m.  we have some time on our hands!


“Looking for Venus in August” 16×20 inches, acrylic on canvas board, painted in or around August 21, 2014, on the range.  we have this one here!  pulled out of retirement!


“Raven at New Moon” 18×24 inches, acrylic on canvas board, painted in or around December 15, 2017.  we have this one here too!  lets see if we can find it a new home over the next couple of afternoons.

we have a ton of paintings here, we won’t be out gunned between now and noon tomorrow but if we are there is a stash at the crib and we’ll be going back there after nine tonight.  its nice to see this little art show spread out and on display.  that’s some nice work on the display, if i do say so myself!