Posts tagged ‘First Nations’

For You: Sahara

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Power Bird:  Carry On.  Acrylic on gallery canvas, 24×36 inches.

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Power Bird:  Rolling Up on Winter.  Acrylic on .75 canvas, 18×24 inches.

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Power Birds: October 23rd.  Acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.

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Power Birds: November 5th.  Acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.

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Raven on the Range: April 19th.  Acrylic on canvas board, 5×7 inches.

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Ravens on the Range.  Acrylic on canvas board, 5×7 inches.

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Power Bird: No. 5.  Acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.

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Woodland Raven with Teachings.  Acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches.

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The Starlight Tours: The Early Years.  Mixed media, hacked painting, on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  (2nd in a new series.)

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We acknowledge we are living on unceded Algonquin Territory, Trail of…  Mixed media, hacked painting, on canvas, 16×20 inches.  (First in a new series.)

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New Moon on February 14th.  Acrylic on canvas board, 14×18 inches.  (Brighter in this photo as the summer sun is blazing down on the scene.)

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Raven Moon.  Acrylic on canvas, 8×10 inches.

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I Miss You.  Acrylic on .75 canvas, 18×24 inches.

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TV Reception on a Remote Indian Reserve: 60’s Scoop.  Acrylic on .75 canvas, 36×48 inches.

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Happiness is Big Bucks.  Acrylic on canvas board, 5×7 inches.

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Messenger Bird.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches, not framed.

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Raven on the Range: October 20.  Acrylic on canvas board, 9×12 inches, not framed.

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Ravens on the Range: October 18th.  Acrylic on canvas board, 9×12 inches, not framed.

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True Story.  Acrylic on canvas board, 9×12 inches.

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Power Bird: October 1st.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches, not framed.

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4 Directions.  Acrylic on gallery canvas, 22×28 inches.

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twinravens in June.  Acrylic on .75 canvas, 16×20 inches.

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twinravens on August 5th.  Acrylic on .75 canvas, 16×20 inches.

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Your Artist!  Mark Seabrook, Spanish River Indian Rez, home on Manitoulin Island, temporarily in the town of Ottawa!  At your service.

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!

 

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!

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)

Woodland School style by twinravens

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

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Indian Residential School Survivor, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Available for purchase.

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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.

Landscapes, twinravens style

As per requested, thank you for that email, here are a few of the landscapes paintings from the past few years:

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twinravens on the range, winter, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist collection.

Tehkummah Winds on September 2

Tehkummah scenes, late August, acrylic on canvas board, 10×12 inches.  Artist collection.

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Red Wing Blackbirds on the open range

Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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Tehkummah scenes, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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sketch, 7×9 inches on canvas board

Tehkummah scenes, winter.  Private collection.

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Tehkummah scenes, winter, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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Before the Blue Moon, 6 of 9

Acrylic on canvas board, 9×12 inches.  Private collection.

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twinravens on the range, 10×20 inches on canvas board

Private collection.

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Tehkummah Scenes, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches

Private collection.

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A selection of 7×9’s beautifully framed by a private collector.

So there are a few of the pieces from the past few years, inspired by the open range back home in Tehkummah, inspired too by the great Jackson Pollock!

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The Range, back home in Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, on a fine and wonderful summer morning: in peace and in paradise!

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Home sweet home!  That’s crib on the range, Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island.

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Home sweet home on an August evening, many moons ago:  no noise pollution, no light pollution!  What a place to call home!

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Oh yes we can’t forget this one!  Acrylic, 7×9 inches on canvas board.  Artist collection.

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The Artist, at the lake, Unionville, Ontario.  A November afternoon…