Posts tagged ‘First Nations art’

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…


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!!!


“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…  )


my crib, on the open range…


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.)

Update: November 4, 2022: Thank the almighty and a lot of other things that we’re still here! No need to mow the lawn as the neighbour’s goats come over and mow it for me. Started the day over there, shirt sleeve weather, but tonight we’re back on the swanky 9th, going downtown to pick up a package first thing in the morning. 2017… My how times change, how folks come and go, and how SOME! Remain! After all these years. Very cool. And I am thankful for those who stayed with me. Miigwetch! Many thanks. (Moon is high and bright at 9 p.m. Soon we’ll put 56 to bed and go onto the next if all goes well!)

Drawing Class on August 19, 2022

Confirmed this morning! We’re having a drawing class on August 19th! No art experience necessary, all art supplies provided, your instructor: ME!

We’ve done these art classes with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board for going on 4 years! Over a thousand presentations and we’ll be ready and good to go on August 19th at 10 a.m.!

This is NOT cultural appropriation, this is cultural appreciation! Your instructor: Anishnabe artist, ME, B.A., B.Ed. Good to go and ready!

This is a FREE workshop! Hope to see you there.

Wiki Pow wow weekend

Civic holiday, or Haweater Weekend, middle of the summer party time, but in this camp it is known as the Wiki Pow wow weekend: we’re going dancing today at noon. First time I took the raven for a spin in Wiki was way back in 1988! Today we’re wearing the same outfit, same feathers, same Indian, only diff is there are a few more years on the rig. Photos to follow!

classic sunrise on the range, early July. how fortunate are we, to be here since May 1st! we’ve seen every sunrise uninterrupted!

the range at sunrise: that crib is a place of peace! since the ladies are on the road, its been turned into an art making super shop! the dining room table is 8 feet long and it can hold a lot of paintings in progress now that we’re not dining with the ladies come sundown.

classic summer afternoon on the range: looking north. wowza! smoking hot!

you can’t see them but out there somewhere are the mares. 8 of them, living off the land. I’ll try and snap a photo of them one of these fine mornings.

found paintings! this one, from May 2016, was hidden deep in the stash and one morning I was rooting through it and ta da! nice work. I’m keeping this one!

another one from the stash: May 2016. we’re keeping this one too! both paintings: 7×9″, acrylic on canvas board, now in “The Artist’s Collection”.

“family man”, 16×20″, acrylic on canvas board, sketch, Ottawa years, likely 2020. I like that one. that one might go nicely up to 24×36 inches on canvas.

okay so the pow wow is a few hours away, we have time to enjoy the open range, beauty sunny morning in progress, another sunrise seen, and the agenda is filled with light duty, we can enjoy the entire day.

Dancing Days are here again…

tomorrow is my first day back at the pow wow in… how many years has it been? 2 we know about for sure. tomorrow’s pow wow is here in O Town, capital city, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, planet Earth. last time I danced in this neighbourhood was likely around 2001. the raven though goes all the way back to 1988!

said raven in 1988:

yours truly at the Wikwemikong Indian Days and Pow wow, 1988. version 1 of the raven and the first summer I was on the dance floor in my own regalia. that outfit was described as “artsy… “

version 2 of the raven, at the Wikwemikong Pow wow, 2013.

and so! what will the 2022 version look like tomorrow? I can tell you this much: the vest I wore when I was dancing on those cooler afternoons back in 1988, for some reason doesn’t fit anymore… I mean yes I can get my arms in but for some reason the bottom 4 buttons won’t work… if you get my drift…

quite actually: the rig has seen a lot of action over the years. we’ll see how it goes tomorrow but then let’s remember the forecast for tomorrow afternoon is 30 C! a real raven lies low on such a warm afternoon so we’ll see…

switching gears: fun stuff! fun words about the novel: SUN INFINITY MOON


super cool!

yes. fun stuff. which gets me to thinking about the cobwebbed “Fighting In Hell”. it was written in February but gosh it opened up a can of worms and TNT that might have best been left alone. after my old buddy Blake passed, I was thinking about his art journey and I wonder if he ever kept a journal, say, going over the days he was in art class with Mr. Norval Morrisseau at the front, doing the teaching.

well I had no flashy art teacher like Norval M., but we managed to get a few pictures done along the way and so, perhaps, when we get back from the pow, back to the range, back to the big peace, we’ll go back and take another look at “Fighting In Hell” and see if it can be saved. (I still like the cover design!)

anyway. if it’s pow time tomorrow, lad get some sleep tonight!!! we started our day at 2 a.m., watched the moon rise and saw that celestial event that was in all the papers. and made the 9 hour drive to this crazy and smoking hot city! we’re in the AC now though on the swanky Island Park address, so all is good in getting ready to dance tomorrow.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Father’s Day 2022

we’re on the swanky 9th to spend some time with the top boss of the outfit, he turned 93 the other day! wowza. 93 big ones… our old buddy Blake Debassige only made it to 65, RIP Blake. I should have stopped when I had the chance last Saturday around noon but noon is a terrible to time to pull in for a visit.

new paintings! 24×36 inches, acrylic on canvas and created in late May! we’ve been creating these since 2013 but have never had a line up, a half dozen or more, all in the same room together. we put the idea to the test and the results are interesting!

20×30 inches, acrylic on canvas: that was the first one to go! and this artist boy likes what he sees. a fella like me can look at something like that all day and get along with it.

old work: 16×20 inches, acrylic on canvas board, April 1986! all the way back to art school! that is the sketch for the painting: Clouds Over Lake Mindemoya, 30×40 inches approx., and the first painting I sold, fresh out of art school. so Doc, if you’re reading this, send me an email, I’d love to see the big painting again.

also created on the same day as the sketch for Clouds Over Lake Mindemoya, “the Tree”, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches, April 1986, Art School Days. Oh my goodness I do remember that morning when I painted these, at the apt. on 2nd ave, Owen Sound.

while going through the inventory last week I came upon these 2 sketches and thank the almighty we hung onto them. 36 years… where did they go?!!!

the sky at home on the range, 5 a.m., June 15, 2022: you can see what inspired the paint brush strokes in the above sketches! on June 15th I woke to the sound of thunder! how far off I sat and wondered… started humming a song from 1982… (the song: Don’t Answer Me, Alan Parson’s Project. she sent me what I thought was a “mix tape” but it turned out to be 90 minutes of Don’t Answer Me, over and over and over. I liked the song and never minded it. little did I know she was trying to tell me something… )

the front yard on June 14: there are 2 of my maple trees and they are off to the races! I visit them every morning! I have 8 of them I took from the farm back home in Mindemoya, back when they were saplings, and look at them now, 10 years in. I also have 2 oak trees charging up! one day someone is going to have an amazing front yard out there!

we’ll have to go there some day and see it for ourselves. many thanks to folks at Bay of Spirits Gallery.

in the news:

gosh the crazy things some folks get up to.

like this one:

another one of these phoney Indians or as the new term for it goes into the history books: “Pretendians”. this stuff always gives me a chuckle as I wonder who is it in the hiring committee? who was it at Penguin who bought into Joe’s story and gave it the go ahead? who was it that bought into Michelle’s bit and gave her the go ahead? who was it who bought into the Carrie thing and went forward with it?

as for me and my house: I’m dusting off the raven and getting ready to hit up my first pow wow in at least 2 years! the one I’m dancing in is at Ottawa, we’ll be there on Saturday, June 25th, and I want in on that Grand Entry! I just hope I can gather the rig and have the goods good to go come noon next Saturday. it has been a very long time since we rolled the raven out onto the dance floor. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I love a fun book review! we’re still having a lot of fun with our novel: SUN INFINITY MOON. posted in the above photo, a quick review recently sent. and I signed on for a few Manitoulin Island summer festivals as a “storyteller” and will be reading chapter 2, “Last Month” or as it is known in prize winning literary circles: “The Lottery Ticket”.

the good folks at utmscribes called it: harrowing…

anyway. happy Father’s Day. (I was a young father once.)


and so! there it is, a copy of the first run of indigenous horror classic: SUN INFINITY MOON! online and ready for purchase!

in my mind this was going to be a great movie but then I got to thinking: how do we film a forest burning down, for show business? how do we film a UFO coming down and pulling off an alien abduction, all based on the music of Chet Baker? how do we film a Gordon Smiley style car crash up there on highway 69 in the middle of the night in the middle of a long ago summer time? how do we film 2 authentic Indians on their way to a pow wow, one of them for dancing, the other going to carry one of the flags? how do we film a torrid sex scene without using porn?

so many questions…

the original idea was rejected by IMAGINATIVE, the local indian film whatever. but lets say Steve or Quentin gave it a think:

there is the new version, version 2, typo error free I hope, and already on the market. new cover art by yours truly! let’s remember that the first publisher we talked to said they wanted to do it but… they wanted to “edit it for story flow and content”. I scoffed at the idea thinking and knowing: what the flipping do they know about “Indians and the land reserved for Indians”?

and so we go out on our own for now with this, and hopefully the right “big leagues” publisher comes along, a publisher that knows actual and authentic, not a publisher who buys into a Joe Boyden scam. we need a publisher willing to do the research!

we are always actual.

The Scream, Native Style…

I got to looking at this again and started imagining up a little fun spoof series of paintings…

I’m going back to the range in early May, this time to stay, and I’m bringing a stack of blank canvas of all sizes: this boy is bottled up! We need the light and space of the almighty to stretch those art making arms and legs! The swanky 9th is indeed swanky, but we need to throw some paint around and that can’t be done in here!

Home sweet home: behind the house is the art bridge. The art bridge is where the abstract expressionism happens. And we be brewing and stewing big time about paint flying through the air!

An afternoon in the summer: that’s the view! And I’m going to be parked at that very table with either the canvas and paints or the keypad, Fighting In Hell in progress.

And at night: hopefully a lot more of this.

The Scream, Native Style… what fun can we have with that when we get back home? We shall soon see! Wish me luck!

April 10, 2022

wowza where does the time go? one thing is for sure: it does go!

I managed to get home at some point during the winter! A few mornings on the range with the sun blazing in that big eastern window had me dreaming up scenes of glory once the spring peepers arrive. We’re still a few weeks away from getting back to stay…

She blazes night and day and I was so happy to see it again! I don’t know if this sounds weird to you but I talk to that river. One of the many things I told it was I’ll be back again soon, this time to stay.

The cedar grove next to the river: a place of peace and a paradise anytime of the year. Yes when I get back I’ll be spending a few afternoons in here, in peace and mostly likely in prayer.

One of the reasons I was up there was to pick up some paintings for the gallery in Toronto. If you want to see them up close, visit the Bay of Spirits Gallery, right across from the AGO. That one is a 30×30 inch acrylic on canvas, using Stevenson paint. The late great Stevenson and folks we’re getting mighty close to the bottom of those paint cans… Pretty soon all paintings will be made with Golden Heavy Body.

18×24 inches on canvas board and I can’t believe this one lasted 2 summers at the house gig down at the beach at Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island! I’m betting it won’t last long where it is now.

24×36 inches, acrylic on canvas. Nice work. Slip that into a black floating frame and BING! Anyway those are 3 of the 5 shipped out this past week.

Pages from the Art Journal in progress! The book is The Highwayman by R.A. Salvatore and what a bundle of wacky words in that book! Weirdness. Managed to cobble a few trashy love poems with the every trusty theme: The Summer of 1979. Found poetry that is… Found like a friend who I haven’t seen in 43 years… (oh oh.)

The Scream, Native Style. More pages from the art journal, a work in progress. Of course I love always the work of Edvard Munch! Hopefully one day we’ll be over there to see them up close. I also love the work of Ed Hopper but the drawing I did in his style, in this art journal, just wasn’t up to grade C. So hey these art journals are a fun project! I’ve been working on this one since December 13, 2021, book repurposed, found, saved from the rubbish heap, thanks to the folks at the Goodwill. For more info on my take with the art journal, visit my YouTube channel.

We’re going to start letting go of the many sketches we have. After 40 years of art making the sketch books are everywhere around here and yes, it is time to let them go. This one is on 100 lb paper, acid free, 11×14″, one of what must thousands of sketches.

Sketch, 11×14″ paper, acid free, 100 lb. One of I don’t know how many we have here.

What we’ll do is post the sketches on another page and if you’re interested, DM, we ship everywhere.

Highway 7, Markham, Ontario, Canada, as seen from the swanky 9th. This was snapped the other day, after the first big warm rain of the year. It’s where we are for now. The plan was to come home to stay, on Easter Weekend but of course, that ain’t happening… I’m going to miss that full moon again and gosh darn am I going to miss the spring peepers too?

Oh my goodness… A weekend or two ago we had to visit the Danforth area. Shell went into a custom shop and I walked the streets, having not walked the Danforth since the spring time, 1990. I came upon this place and holy smokers. Tash, do you remember that Sunday afternoon in a long ago April, when you took me here? I was wearing my olive drab army pants, a black Guns n Roses t shirt, a blue jean jacket, a black trench coat over that, my yellow ochre leather gloves, my raccoon skin hat and my black jungle boots. I sure do remember what you were wearing!

Portrait of the Artist as a Middle Aged Man. At the club, the last show we got see before the pandemic closed everything. I know everyone is hoping we’re at the end of this pandemic. Hopefully the night clubs will reopen and WE can get back out and have some fun, seeing some fun shows. Dressing the part as well. I’m tired of spending my days and nights in my pyjamas.

For now though it’s the grubby and shabby, the big windows up here on the swanky 9th, the road home another few weeks down the way, the art making tools at the ready, a phone that isn’t ringing, an art journal, the good work of the cobbler, and me: blazing at the bit. Come on! Let’s start this thing!

Last Day of the Year!

Somewhere in Scotland, sometime in May 2021

and so here it is, last day of the year and thank the almighty we made it! so far so good. was up at 5 this morning writing out the “to do list” for 2022! we have some new ideas on there but we also have the “never fails” on there as well.

Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island, sometime during the August heat wave, 2021

a biggie on my list is getting back home to the island: June through to Indian Summer! and when i get there with a brand new game plan, we’ll see about those favourite places.

Providence Bay, sometime in August 2021

i look forward to a brand new year and what i saw online the other day, 365 more chances!

artwork at Providence Bay in smoking hot August 2021, artist unknown: nice work! as for this artist: i have a sketch book filled with new ideas and i look forward to the opportunity to bring them to life on the canvas! 24×36 inches and larger please!

walk with care in the homeland!

walk with care while visiting other countries!

3 of the things i’m going to focus on in 2022 is body, body and body! mind and spirit are on the list but i got to thinking about that sweetgrass teaching from many moons ago, over there at the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre! as you know, i heard it when i was a wild running in his own country, age 23, and i remember thinking: HA! Yeah right. It will never happen to me. well here we are on the door step to a new year and we be thinking about it now lad! thinking indeed!

5×7 inches, acrylic on canvas board, artist collection

and in good health and peace, we shall, if all goes well, keep going!

Somewhere in Scotland, sometime in May 2018

we have to get dressed up and go out! to see an art show, to see the full moon, to see the sunrise, to see whatever there is to see!

happy NYE and let’s hope and pray it goes alright!



we delivered them! 8 pieces! but they went out the door so quickly after having been completed that we didn’t get a chance to take some snappy pictures! (ha! snappy pictures… )

more to come as we’re warming up to a new idea and i for one want to see them up at least 24×36 inches. we’re going to O Town tomorrow to get the good canvas we like so much!

more to come!