Live From Rotten Ronnie’s!

Sunday morning, January 7, 2018:  at the Rotten R’s, 7 and McCowan, alone, but in with a diverse bunch of languages and “Pulp Fiction” style Sunday morning stories i’m sure.  yes i am here alone.  in days of old i’d be in here with a little girl who would call me Daddy, but she’s grown up and let me go.

you’d have to scroll through quite a few years of this blog to find the classic rock and roll story, the adventures of a father and his daughter, when my beautiful Mnageezhigaate and i were in a place like this, but in Ottawa.  she was grade 1 or 2, and one Saturday morning we were out together.  we took a table smack dab in the middle of the seating area and around were elderly ladies, all of them seated alone at their tables, separate and apart from each other, watching this man with his little girl.  she was stealing the show of course and as an ex stage actor, i knew my place and was playing the role of kooky side kick, comedic relief.

Jazz was going on about her week and her world and i was listening, as were the elderly ladies at the tables around us, and watching her.

i think the line was:  Dad, why would you leave this perfectly good french fry behind?

Jazz picked it up and started munching on it.  i replied:  Because it fell on the floor,  you wasn’t eatin it none now was you?  (i of course stole that line right out of an Oliver Stone movie!  (name that movie!))(and i tried to play it like the character in said movie-famed actor…  (name that actor) )

Jazz reacted in grand style, hacking, coughing and spitting the french fry out.  that was enough to bring a smile and even some laughter from the elderly ladies sitting around us.

and that was good enough for this old boy:  being with his little girl, and providing some smiles for others who were obviously very alone.

the french fry of course had not fallen on the floor.  it was on the tray, i was planning on eating that thing.  but the comedy was worth much more.

Photo on 2018-01-07 at 8.52 AM #3

we’re a long way from those days!  here i am today, alone, with U2: Where The Streets Have No Name, blasting over the house stereo.  ah but the memories…  i sure do remember the morning U2 The Joshua Tree was released!  i was on the home stretch at art school, spring was in the air, the end of that adventure was in sight.

those lights up there, in the above photo, kind of remind me of Ed Hopper’s 1927 masterpiece:  Automat.  the story goes that Ed sold that for a cool $1200 smackeroos!  not a bad exchange when you plug in what inflation does.  a gallon of gasoline in 1927: 10 cents?!!!

going back to the U2 thing:  i ran off to Sam The Record Man and bought the album right away and played the heck out of it.  loved it from front to back.  this was back in my “motel year”, 3rd year art school, and 3 years into being self taught on the guitar.  my band: The Fuzzy Lines, was still a power trio (ha ha!!) and still had not played a live show.  we had written a lot of songs together and pressed record on a ghetto blaster outfitted with a microphone i bought at Radio Shack.  we recorded about 50 songs, live off the floor, 3 acoustic guitars, throughout the 3 years of art school.  funny stuff!

one morning in my motel room, it was spring time, i was getting ready to fuss out the door and hit the studios for some painting.  Q107 was my radio station through the cable wire, so i had that station on night and day.  they of course were playing U2 Joshua Tree songs about 10 times a day.

so this one morning i’m getting ready to jump in the dragon wagon (a 1976 Pontiac Catalina 2 door hard top with the big 454) and take off for the school and this song, In God’s Country, comes on the radio.  i stopped and for those first 8 seconds listened intently.  pretty soon the big sound of the song started and i remember saying to myself:  i don’t know how, and i don’t know when, but one day i’m going to be playing a guitar in a rock and roll band and we’re going to be doing a big show.


well it didn’t turn out quite as i expected but here i am, last summer i mean, 30 years later, playing guitar with a rock and roll band.  p.s.  that rock and roll story isn’t over!


THIS!!!  is one of my favourite photos from that fun weekend, back in July 017.  5 minutes before the show!  butterfly city.

any who.  the days march to a set drum, folks come and go, and some are gone forever.  i’m still here!  good to go for now.  and it is before noon which means there are a lot of things a fella can do with a day.  so lets get busy and do it.



ICE COLD! New Year!

happy new year!  6 days in and 6 days in the deep freeze!  minus 29 at 12 noon.  wasn’t too far back i was rambling on about the heat wave, Indian Summer style, glorious September on the range, 100 F.

ah.  we’ll be back on the range sometime soon!  and this deep freeze will run along.


from the pages of the sketch book:  should old acquaintance be forgot?  when it comes to sketching an old idea: the answer is no.  at least in the twinravens art camp.  the character with the stories inside, needs to be revisited with a steady hand.


Tehkummah landscape, 2016, acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  Artist collection.  same can be said about the landscape!  there are a lot of very interesting books down here, packed full of artist stories (2 of my personal faves are Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko and how they came to meet Peggie G.!  inspiring!)


Tehkummah landscape, 1 of original series of 21.  2013.  acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  Artist collection.  yes x 3!!!  when i get back to the art bridge, there is going to be a brand new play in town!


Fun times in March/April 1987

“In a One Door Room, I Rise Away”, 1 in a series of 4, 1987, acrylic on canvas, 30×48 inches.  Private Collection.  hmmm…


well sure it might be minus 38 at night, but it is Canada and it is a winter wonderland.  so at night it isn’t such a bad deal me thinks: a good book or a film, the blaze and something full bodied from the red selections and maybe a little photo book featuring fave scenes from warmer days, ah yes!


one step at a time, into another year!  big ideas and high hopes!  plus a decent supply of art materials, and a room with a view!


i hope you enjoyed a warm and wonderful holiday season and will have many happy memories to cherish.  many wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year!



New sketches

we’re up here on the 9th:  what a view!  and we’ve been up here now, going on 2 months!  such differences from the open range, like:  on the range it takes a bit of effort to get that wood stove blaze going the morning of, and maintaining it, not to mention the heavy lifting involved with bringing the wood in from the back 50!  the old timers say that is some fire wood that keeps you warm twice!  up here on the 9th, all a fella needs to do is flick a switch.  photos to follow soon.

nice room for sketching!  and here are a few of the latest:


Raven on the Range, 2017, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Available for purchase.


Raven on the Range, 2017, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Available for purchase.


Raven on the Range, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 7×9 inches.  Available!

IMG_2464 - Version 2

I.R.S. No. 3, 2017, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  (a re do of the original idea and definitely going to the canvas at a later date)


I.R.S. No. 4, 2017, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  (another re do of the original idea, also going to the big canvas at a later date)

fun stuff!  lets keep painting.


winter wonder landing…

snow has landed and i’m wondering how the cats are managing, up there on the range.


the range on Feb. 2, 2013:  a perfect place for cats, candles, the blaze on full, and cooking over that wood stove too!  a tasty red goes well.


the range in June, 2017:  still perfect for cats and candles, maybe skip the blaze but keep the red vin!


one of Jazzy Moon’s cats, 2017, 7×9 inches, acrylic on canvas board.  this is the guy who comes along around 3 a.m. and wakes you up.  he’s worth a picture book story!

we’ve got the tree up!  the holiday stash is looking good.  all we need is for the family to arrive!




Indian Residential School Survivor, No. 1, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 30×40 inches, by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.

The above, new work, was not selected for the “highly competitive” juried show entitled:  Celebrating the Indigenous Spirit, at the Humber Galleries…  (I got the F/O letter this morning!)


Barrymore’s, Bank Street, Ottawa, December 1, 2017.  We enjoyed ourselves at many fun parties in this joint, over the years.  I was there on Friday afternoon thinking about the time I saw Blackie Lawless standing out front talking to what looked like a road manager/technician type person.  Blackie and his band were scheduled to play there and the bad news was just in:  the stage wasn’t big enough to accommodate the big LA show band.  I was across the street, a fellow “long haired”, watching.  Blackie looked over and acknowledged me with a nod.  I nodded back and continued down Bank Street, pushing the stroller with a 3 or 4 year old Jasmine Moon tucked inside.  And so I never got to hear “L.O.V.E. Machine” or…  “Animal…  “, performed live…  boo hoo.  Denied back in…  what was it?  2005?


Not Denied!!!  National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Friday night, 10 p.m., after the Diana Krall show.  And WOW!  What a show.  3rd time I’ve seen her and these were by far the best seats in the house: right up next to her, ready to shake hands.


There’s the house:  the National Arts Centre, 1015 p.m. Friday night.  She had this place packed to the rafters.  (Now lets use our imagination and picture my rock and roll band up there on that stage…  NR could go up there, enjoy that view, fill it to the rafters, bring the house down, and do it less than a hundred and twenty minutes!)


Sketch for “Indian Residential School Survivor, No. 1”, 2016, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches, artist collection.

Well Moose!  We must carry on, without the Humber Galleries!


A Day at the AGO

spent a glorious morning and much of the afternoon at the Art Gallery of Ontario, November 21, 2017, going for one reason only:  to see Norval Morrisseau’s 6 panel “Man Changing Into a Thunderbird”, acrylic on canvas, 1977.  last time i saw it was at the National Gallery of Canada, 2006, and the time before that, in the book: The Art of Norval Morrisseau, 1979.  of course the book, filled with colour plates, is one thing, seeing the actual, is completely another.

so off i went on the Go Train to Union Station, subway to Yonge and Dundas, and on foot to the gallery.  without fussing with the collection i asked the lady at the front to walk me to the room where the Morrisseau paintings were hanging.

it’s an awesome thing for this Anishnabe boy to see these giant paintings:  Norval M. IS the founder of the Ojibwe Woodland School of Painting and the making of Man Changing Into a Thunderbird is a classic rock and roll story about art and art making.  my question, after viewing the work for a few hours yesterday, is:  What brand of acrylic paint did N.M. use to create this work?

pretty soon a class of high school students were brought in with the “native interpreter”, a very Indian dude about my age, sporting a long braid.  so i thought i’d stand back and listen to him make the pitch with him asking these kids, who he’d obviously lost by this point in time, why is this art work important?  boy oh boy he was plum off the map!  he wasn’t even in the ball park!  it’s pretty clear he hadn’t done his homework on this one.


here is a photo with some kids in the shot, to give you some idea how big these paintings are.

after a few hours with the pieces i decided to boo through the rest of the gallery and see what they had.  it wasn’t long before i heard Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies:

(i’ve never been to Paris so this is pretty much “Once Upon A Time in Tehkummah” for me, switch out the beautiful Edouard Cortes paintings for some “range scenes”)

i thought i was hearing a soundtrack for an installation so i followed the sounds and found myself at the entrance to Guillermo, “Del Toro: At Home With Monsters”, an exhibition of his collections, films and notebooks.


“Del Toro: At Home With Monsters”


“At Home With Monsters”


“At Home With Monsters”  (how would you like to have that thing sitting in the living room, over the fireplace, when the power goes out…  )


“At Home With Monsters”  (is that Edgar Allan, giving you know who, a reading?)(those windows were live:  they had the thunder going, the rain on the glass, the trees moving with the breeze:  ultra spooky!)


“At Home With Monsters”  (hmmm…  )

so anyway:  i’m walking around in there, eyes wide open, ears too because i’m hearing some of my favourite solo piano music and check this out:

WOW!  there is the source of the music:  a young and spooky looking whippersnapper on a black baby grand!  mega WOW!  i LOVE the music but i love it even more when i see it happening right there in front of me!  now hey, that really made my day, right there.  and so i stayed on, enjoyed the beautiful sounds coming up and out of that baby grand.  nice work!  and i said so, to the kid.

well you can’t have too much art in one day.  so i’ll come back tomorrow with Chapter 2:  Mark’s Day at the AGO.

New photographs by Mark Seabrook


“Dying 2B Indian, No. 1”, 8×10 inch photograph, by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  November 18, 2017.


“Dying 2B Indian, No. 2”, 8×10 inch photograph, by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  November 18, 2017.

Artist proofs available until December 15.