Posts tagged ‘Indigenous’

Social Distancing Blues in A

and so we’re in the thick of it now.  wild stuff is running rampant here, there, and everywhere!  it’s Saturday night in the slab and we’re following Doc Spook’s advice: when in like this, enjoy good vins and good cooking!  so i am cooking and the vin is closing in on room temperature.  while we wait for that to happen an IPA from England lights the way!

truth is: i’m not much of a cook.  i always do it Rez style, and i’m talking back woods Rez style, back woods like down by McBean Harbour in Sagamok style.  there AIN’T no flash to what we’re cooking.  but i fancy it in day dreams.  when we’re out there on the open range in sweet home sweet home, back on the Manitou River, down there on the Range, things are different as we’re usually in the company of some very exotic and beautiful ladies in bikinis: and so!  the cooking has to be classic show bizz style.

you better put the headphones on for this one:

that trick with the egg flying and the spat:  i need to learn that one!  mind you:  what we’re doing in our kitchen tonight is baby shit along side what this dude is doing.

and so it is Saturday night: we’re in, where we are hopefully safe.  the cooking is on going.  the vin is.

this is super social distancing!

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out there on the streets of O Town:  one morning on the walk to work last week:  the flipping streets were empty save for this black bra.  it was empty too as you can see. how long it’d been there i don’t know but it wasn’t there the day before…

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Power Bird with Medicine Bundle, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches, by anishnabe artist and ruthless wild man:  Mark Seabrook.  (experimenting with new paints…  )

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Calling Up the Almighty:  Assist. various inks on wood panel, 11×14 inches, by anishnabe artist and exotic dancer:  Mark Seabrook.  while we fuss with the new paint selections, there is room to go back to the good old days.  i’d be one for visiting them!

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“Man Changing Into a Thunderbird, panel 1, in reverse”, cheap acrylic paint, various inks, on 1990 issue paper, hard cover repurposed book, Found Poetry Book 5, a work in progress, by anishnabe artist and brutal savage:  Mark Seabrook.  while we’re waiting for paint to dry, we can muddle over what some folks have said to us, me in partic, anywhere along our way.  those “some folks” do not like us!  and they do not like me and my ways of savagery.  to them it is evil and bad.  to me its another day at the office, here in Canada.

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“Writing on the Wall…”, cheap acrylic paint and various inks on 1990 issue paper, hard cover repurposed book, Found Poetry Book 5.  if you ascertain my meaning…

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the guitar is always there, waiting for us.  anyone can pick it up.  (my old buddy Carlos said that!)  and so while we ride out the storm, this Yamaha  FG-345 ii that i scammed out of a pawn shop over there on Montreal Road will assist in the to and from.  i’m an old school guitar player who liked to record on a Fostex.  this Garage Band stuff on board the mac book isn’t like the old school “cassette tape” that i know and love.

recording on said Fostex.  that’s me on the 12 string, one Sunday morning many moons ago.  you can hear Shag in the back ground at the beginning, he’s in the kitchen cooking up breakfast.  but that is also him on the background vocal.  if you do listen to it:  BE WARNED:  coarse language and sexual content. (best to put the headphones on for this one…  )

ah yes.  the Fostex.  a 4 track recorder great for on the spot song writing for old timers like me.  i really like those 12 string notes at 45 seconds into this recording.  i took the song into the No Reservations rehearsal hall but the boys rejected it, saying it was too camp fire.

i on the other hand think its an awesome snap shot of “one of those days”, back when we were a lot younger, when 201 was one of the coolest spots and…  this one though was recorded at the corner of Simcoe and what do you call it, over there in N’Swakamok.

“What to do on Sunday Afternoon” was written and recorded and performed by yours truly!  i just made it up on the spot using Shag’s 12 string.

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how grand it would be if Shag and the boys came over to my place and we ran through some of those old No Rez selections and booted around the idea of recording those other 12 songs we had in the hopper.  the world needs to hear things like:  The Creator Song.  Broken Home.  Thunderbird.  Red Doggg Blues.  You Had Me But I didn’t Have You.  Concrete Shoes Love.  Baby You’re a Crocodile.  Bats With Wings.  That Night in the Byway.  and one of my personal faves that we only played in the club:  Drive In Theatre: We Actually Watched the Movie…

we’re still cooking, 2.5 hours in.  i think the vin has arrived at room temp., so my thing is this:  why wait till later?

or as my dad would say:  Why take any chances?

more fun cooking vids from one of my fave movies:

Be safe!  Stay out of trouble!  And don’t get yourself killed, or worse!

Many thanks and hope to hear from you soon!

 

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 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!

 

Upper East Side, New York City

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Woke up in the Upper East Side, NYC, this morning, came downstairs and saw this.

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After the drive:  Toronto to NYC via Buffalo, and after the car was parked, we hit the streets and it wasn’t a block from here when we saw this!  ha!  (of course i don’t give a damn about politics here, back home or anywhere for that matter.  as an Indian living under the big boot Indian Act:  we’re used to dealing with mice, going on 150 years now, or more.)

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The Drunken Munkey looked good to us!  And it was quite alright, “Indian” menu, local beers, a table for two, but a third glass of, would have settled the issue.

So I’m back in town specifically to see some Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko paintings.  It’s been 34 years since I last walked through the front doors at the Met.  Last time, I was just like that drunken monkey:  in body, mind, spirit.  Last time I had no idea what I was looking at.  This time we’re going in with a bit of an education and I hope to enjoy the pictures uninterrupted.

While we’re here we’re going to see that Kent Monkman thing happening tonight at the Met.  I hope to visit the Guggenheim tomorrow.

Temperature at 6 a.m., minus 8.  Sun in the forecast.  Big suits in the lobby, short haired or bald, big fat guts sticking out pushing their ties to a 45, all of them wanting a kiss and a hug from a blond, also in a suit, out they all go, in a New York minute.  CNN with the big headline flashing:  Trump impeached.  Christmas music piped in.  Day 2 on the road.

 

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.