Posts tagged ‘Native Canadian Art’

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.

 

HACKED paintings No. 1 and 2

after seeing that young lad’s HACKED artwork on CBC a couple of weeks ago i was inspired!  of course it helps that i’m always rooting around at the Goodwill looking for any long lost and authentic Tom Thomson sketches on 8×10 inch panels or anything along those lines.  i did come across an original and authentic Daphne Odjig at a garage sale!  you can bet i snapped that up for the cool 20 bucks they wanted for it.  i put that in a bag and ran like a bank robber!  same with the Martin Panamick i found in a junk shop on Queen Street West, Toronto, all those years ago.

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Hacked Painting Number 1:  the before photo.  found it in the goodwill, 16×20 inches, on canvas, dated 1975.  Googled the artist name and up came the obituaries.

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HACKED painting No. 1: the after photo.  New title:  “I acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded territory of the Algonquin nation.”  (Remembering the Trail of Tears)(we might go back to work on this one and add a few more “things”…   )

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HACKED painting Number 2: before.  found this one on the street!  a vendor had something going on, over there on Bank Street one Sunday afternoon, not far from Beaded Dreams.  i said i love the picture but i hate the price!  he sold it for 3 bucks!

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HACKED painting No. 2:  after.  New title:  “The Starlight Tours, the early years.”  on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  if you don’t know what the “star light tours” are, just google them up.  they’re now famous Canadian stories.

and so!  we’re on the look out for more of these which means we’re going to have some fun, Indiana Jones style.  stay tuned as we’ll be posting more photos of the before and after, numbers 3 through 13.

and i want to say thanks to that writer/reader who emailed from the USA and asked about a detail in the INFINITY section of my debut novel: SUN INFINITY MOON.  you asked:  what is an LCBO box?  answer:  LCBO is Liquor Control Board of Ontario and an LCBO box is a heavy duty cardboard box in which they ship 12 bottles of wine, the 750 ml variety.  they’re pretty common to see at the LCBO store front, free to take for anyone moving out or in need of a little old school storage.  closer to home, on sweet and beautiful Manitoulin Island, LCBO can also stand for:  Little Current Band Office, hackney backwoods Indian humour for those in the know.

as my old comedy buddy, Mr. H.B. would say:  if you can’t laugh with them, laugh at them!

more to come!

September 11, 2019

oh the dates in history…  i remember it well 18 years ago:  we were deep deep deep in the bush, far from any radio, TV, internet, completely unaware of what was happening south of us.  as far as i could see on that morning:  the big woodland skies were blue, the land was filled with greens and the waters were dark and mysterious, the sand was warm to the bare feet.  our jungle gear was brand new, untested, like us.  i managed 7.5 years in that jungle, but my gear was pretty much worn out by the time i came back.  i think i came out of there in November 2008, darn near crawling on my hands and knees!

but as my old buddy Sallah would say:  life goes on Indy!

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we’re getting ready for a reprint of Sun Infinity Moon!  now…  yes.  i do know there are some spelling errors and layout problems in the first run.  the folks at the printers gave my project to some junior whoever, not sure how new they were to the layout position but anyway the man in charged assigned the young lad and away we went.  the problem of course is we were in a time crunch situation.  we had booked our little release party for July 20th, and there i was still fussing with the writing of it, on the morning of July 2nd, WHEN we sent it to the printers.  as far as i was concerned, when i saw those layout problems within the text, in particular, the business of paragraph indents, in the e version proofs, i was okay to run with as time really was running out.  (we had already missed a dozen deadlines.)

how i did not see:  “course language”, on the cover, i do not know.

where we really in that much of a time crunch that i missed that?  well anyway there are only 150 of them out there with that on the cover, so if you have one, you have the collector’s edition.  when we had the little release party we joked that yes, it is course language, university course language, not meant for high schools…  (ha!)

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Beaded Dreams, on Bank Street, just north of Gladstone, in Ottawa:  i dropped off a fresh bundle of books to these good folks so if you’re in the area, you can get your collector’s edition, first run copy of SUN INFINITY MOON over there.  same with Huron Island Time down on Providence Bay Beach although i imagine these days, this far into September, things might be a little slow in downtown P.B.  now sure of the hours they might be keeping.

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The Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa:  the show is still up but your chance will soon be gone to see “For MMIWG” by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook, up close and personal.  the canvas is 36×60 inches, Stevensons acrylic, and after this show, that painting is going into the Artist Collection, never to be seen in public again!

that is the great Peter Purdy’s artwork hanging next to mine.  title unknown, price unknown, 36×48 inches or there a bouts.  First Nations artwork.

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Mother Earth sketch, acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  we continue to play with the idea.

Found Poetry:  The Clone Trees, as read by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  The Found Poetry idea has been a lot of fun, we’re coming up with some mighty strange poems and artsy little books.  The starting point is of course you take a hard cover book from the goodwill, one with quality paper, toss the paper cover, and go to work:  much like you see here with the Clone Trees.  A book of found poems can be pretty telling as the days go by: it is not a quick fix project, book 3 was started in early May 2019 and finished just last week.  Very telling indeed…

Book 4 is in the works.  Fun stuff, crafty, artsy, and one of a kind.  And oh yes:  you’re suppose to pick a book with a title that says it all for you…

Let me know how it goes.

Dear Diary: August 15, 2019

oh my goodness where to start…  Well I can say the book launch party held at Huron Island Time at Providence Bay on July 20th was beautiful!  We had a great little crowd on hand, introduced the book: SUN INFINITY MOON, a little history, and opened the floor for questions and open discussion.  Now that was a lot of fun.  We have copies of the book available at Huron Island Time in Providence Bay, and if you’re rolling through the town of Tehkummah, they’re over at Ward’s General Store.

Here in Ottawa, we have copies available at Beaded Dreams, 426 Bank St., those folks are open 7 days a week.  And of course they’re on ebay, just type in Mark Seabrook in their search.

And so!  Between today and several weeks ago we’ve had some wild high jinx out there on the summer, late night, super highways between the town of Ottawa and home sweet home, Manitoulin Island!  My little red “war pony” took down a moose just east of Sudbury one fine and dreamy morning, around 1 a.m.  What a ride that was!  The cop got to looking at the car with his flash light and said:  You’re lucky to be alive.  (It didn’t take me long to figure that one out as I was ready to shake hands with the moose, up close and personal!)  And so my little red “war pony” was totalled.  The insurance guys gave me a beauty rental, a flash Malibu “Stacey” (ha!) and I was happy to have that limo, riding around the town of Ottawa and the back roads of Tehkummah, AC blasting.  On the ride back to return the limo, blazing back to Ottawa, 3 a.m., yes…  you guessed it.  I hit a deer full on.  BOOM!  And so the Malibu “Stacie” was totalled.

I sat there on the road side at 3 a.m., beauty night it was, freakishly warm, waiting for the cops, and wondered about this kooky stretch of weird luck on the highways this summer.  There have been some kooky adventures over the years:  Yes, I did survive the 60’s Scoop.  Yes, I did survive the Great Hay Wagon Disaster of 78.  Yes, I did survive being struck by lightning (although that one hurt!).  Yes I did jump out of a burning plane.  And yes I did survive a sinking at sea.  But 2 big game animals inside of 2 weeks?  Sheesh.  And I’ll be honest with you:  going eye ball to eye ball with that moose at 1 a.m., on highway 17 east bound, I really did have time to say to myself:  I’m dead.

With the deer gag, the cop settled me down, the tow truck took Stace away, and I was left there alone in the middle of the night, wondering the BIG WHY?

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Back home in Tehkummah, classic summer afternoon in progress, August 8.  Barefoot behind the wheel, barefoot on the field.

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The front of the house in Tehkummah, as seen from the trampoline/sun tan bed, on August 4th.

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Clouds over the range: a classic summer afternoon in progress, barefoot with the medicines, at peace while the war rages, many miles away.

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Looking east, at home, late afternoon: heavy duty storm clouds brewing!  Good thing it was going east!  There was an incredible wind happening when I snapped this photo.  I asked my old buddy Scott, how far away is that?  I mean yes, over the Georgian Bay, but is it over Parry Sound and Muskoka?

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“For MMIWG”, acrylic on canvas, 36×60 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  The show is on going at the Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa.  There is still time to get over there and add this one to your collection!  Priced to sell at $3 500.

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What a difference a frame makes, twenty four little dollars…  Found this frame at the goodwill, repurposed it!  That is an authentic twinravens acrylic on canvas in there, 8×10 inches, and ready to go!  (The frame though wasn’t 24 bucks, it was really only 4 bucks!  I dressed it up with some black acrylic paint and ta da!)

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Memory lane:  found this photo, after the 2nd car crash, hanging in the upstairs, cobwebbed.  That is me and Levi working through the first 5 minutes of D. Taylor’s one act play:  Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock.  The date is June 8, 1991.  We’re on stage at the Northern Story Telling Festival, Whitehorse, Yukon.  We’re 80 plus shows into a national tour which started at Membertou First Nation months earlier, so we were a well oiled machine when we hit that stage!  I’m playing Rusty and Levi is doing Keeshig.  That’s the second stage, not the main stage, and this was our first show at the festival, of which, if memory serves, I think we were booked for 4 shows over the weekend.  So this would be sometime after midnight, Friday night.

The festival organizers had no idea who we were or what we were about so they all sat in front row seats to see this Indian outfit all the way from Manitoulin Island:  Debajehmujig Theatre Group.

We rolled through there like a bunch of bobcats and tore that place to pieces!  Like I said, we’re 80 plus shows in, and when you have that many readings stowed, you really know your lines and how to say them.  We worked them over until they were laughing themselves silly and at the end, sobbing wrecks.

The festival organizers immediately re jigged the game plan and took us off the second stage and put us on the main stage including top of the bill on a packed to the rafters Saturday night, which of course we owned.  We did a Sunday matinee and by this time the fans were in there thick!  Yeah…  first time I ever played a festival where every show had a standing ovation.  Very cool.  And a cool photo to see, after all the wild high jinx of this crazy summer.

 

Life in the Big City No. 2-07-06-019

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Walk way into the National Gallery of Canada on July 6th.  Inside: AC.  Outside: 39 C.  Did I ever tell you I will never say mission accomplished until I have something like this building, on 500 acres of the south shore, on the limestones of Manitoulin Island, with a view of the great Lake Huron?  Not as a gallery but as my personal crib!  (My old buddy Scott said:  how are you ever going to heat a place like this?  I said:  we’re only staying here for 6 months of the year! (Ha!))

I was at the gallery for the Gauguin Portraits exhibit:

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There she is!  Tehamana has many parents OR The Ancestor of Tehamana, 1893, oil on coarse fabric.  Tehamana is shown with flowers in her hair, holding a fan and wearing a contemporary missionary dress (those goddamn missionaries!) of the type introduced by European Christian missionaries.  Surrounding her are enigmatic spiritual referents: glyphs (taken from Easter Island tablets), a female figure (possibly Hina, the goddess of creation), and three hovering heads (spirits of the dead).  This portrait merges a colonial present with a mysterious, mythic past.  Those goddamn colonists!

Anyway.  I have been waiting my entire art life to see this painting in actual, up close.  We covered that base first thing yesterday.  “Self Portrait with Yellow Christ” was an also must see but in that section:  NO PICTURES allowed!  It was there!  And I spent a solid 20 with that one!

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Super heavy duty:  Melancholic (Faaturuma) 1891, oil on canvas.  One day I want to sail to Tahiti and visit those legendary Tahitian women.

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Young Christian Girl, 1894, oil on canvas.  Painted after Gauguin’s first sojourn in the South Seas, this work is an evocative synthesis of Breton and Tahitian imagery.  The economy of form and intense colour create a powerful sense of the spiritual.  The brilliant yellow cloth of the girl’s missionary dress fills the canvas, becoming a luminous embodiment of pure faith.  (words by NGC.)  Standard fare on any Art History curriculum!  I edited out the bit about those goddamn missionaries…

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twinravens on July 6th, markers on heavy paper, 2019, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  well at least for a day I can report that my original art DID hang on the walls of the great National Gallery of Canada!  (ha!)  They had an art station set up for anyone who wanted to fuss and I surely did!

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Ah yes:  the Great National Gallery of Canada.  It was along this way where I ran into the great Alex Janvier!  You’ll have to scroll back into this blog to read about that adventure!

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The Martyrdom of Father Brebeuf and Lalemant, c. 1843, oil on canvas, Joe Legare (1795-1855).  Saw this and wondered if a Mr. Kent M. was inspired by such things way back in his early days…  Slip some high heels on those Indians and BINGO!

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The Daffodil, 1910, oil on canvas, Laura Muntz Lyall.  First NGC purchase of an impressionist work by a woman!

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Boy with Bread, 1892-99, oil on canvas, Ozias Leduc.  Classic Canadian Art History fare.

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The Death of General Wolfe (detail), 1770, oil on canvas, Ben West.  Once again I saw this and started wondering about our old buddy Mr. Kent M.  Slip some Frederick’s of Hollywood 7 inch heels on that Indian and flipping BINGO!

IMG_8207Super heavy duty:  Renoir’s almighty from 1903.

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Mega:  Monet in 1903.

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Ultra!!!  Vin in 1886.

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Holy Smokes!!!  Matisse in 1926.  He too, stood the same distance away from that canvas! Wowza!

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This one rattled me.  That’s the super gorgeous Jennine as a 17 year old, shortly after she moved to Manhattan from Union City.  What struck me was the photo looked like it could have been photographed earlier in the week, yet here we are in 2019, and Jennine is long gone, dust and bones.  It reminded me of what the great old lady:  Jean Hodgson of Mindemoya, once told me, back before 1994:  Don’t be anyone but yourself.  And it also reminded me of what the great Jack Seabrook once said to me way back before 2002:  Don’t be putting things off to tomorrow.

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Yes, I will not say Mission Accomplished, until I have a building like this on that 500 acres, on the south shore, Manitoulin Island, as my personal crib.  That’s on the walk way out.

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Mother and Child, 60’s Scoop Survivor, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches, by anishinabe artist Mark Seabrook.  On display at the Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa.  The Atomic Rooster is NOT a lounge at the National Gallery of Canada, ha!  Priced to sell:  $3200.

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I Miss You, acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches, by anishinabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Also on display at the Atomic Rooster.  $500

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The Green and Blue, mowed trail back home, thousands of acres, by anishinabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Priceless.

Even though the farm back home is indeed a work of art, it is a work of genius, a paradise on earth, in a place with zero light and noise pollution, and something imagined and realized, there is another place too, in the imagination…

Here is the video from yesterday’s walk through.  Be warned:  it is a full ten plus minutes.

 

aanii!

boozhoo friends!  its only been two weeks but wow what a two weeks out here on the range and back there in the city over Halloween!  the 13th Annual Witches Gathering was a complete blast and the Zombie Strippers show was totally awesome!  we maxed it out while we were over there and the few days before, getting ready for the Debajeh show which was delivered less a few of those 24×36’s…  ah well.  they’ll be ready for the next thing that comes along.  as for the show i’m going to sneak in there and get a few pictures later this week.

ah yes though Halloween in the city is a grand time with all the flashy Halloween costumes, trimmings, cool scenes, late night parties, and amusing conversations.  the 13th Annual Witches Gathering and the Zombie Stripper show were a million miles of fun and of course the kids, they managed quite a haul on Monday the 31st, the likes of which just wouldn’t happen out here on the range as there isn’t a neighbour or neighbourhood to be seen in any direction you look!

its the old flip side of the coin out here.  Wednez of this past the wind was howling like never before and i thought the roof was going to blow off this old farm house!  all night it was howling, snarling and carrying on and i’d know as i was awake through the whole thing!   finally i said to myself i guess we can start the day (turns out it was 4 a.m.) and i went out to split some cedar for the morning blaze, what a wild scene:  the full moon was blazing in the western sky, big spooky clouds were racing past, the roaring wind was rattling anything that wasn’t tied down…  i was standing in a blaze of moonlight one moment and in pitch black the next, axe in hand, thinking holy smokers you can feel “alone” pretty fast out here even though the gals were tucked away safely in the bunks in the house across the yard.  its times like this where some of the ideas for paintings come from and the lone raven you sometimes see in my pieces, could be one of them.  this photo was taken at the Cameron Street Co op in Cannington on Wednesday morning, November 2nd.

the Squeeze is ON!

well here it is the day before the show!  the good folks at Debajehmujig want the pieces in there tomorrow morning and i want them in there bright and early as i’m on the road to the good city of Ottawa and those grand Halloween parties as soon as the paintings are delivered.

of course none of the pieces are ready.  i have three 24×36 inch pieces and one 30×40 on the operating tables plus a bunch of smaller ones, all in the 60 to 85% complete stage…  there might be an all nighter coming up!

even out here in the boon docks sometimes its tough to stay focused.  i have the work all over the living room but these windows!  there really is something to look at out of each and every one.  out the north window i have these 2 big bluejays hustling Shelley’s feeders.  they’ve been going to work on those sunflower seeds all morning.  when you can see them up close like this, well, i for one can’t help but stop to watch.  then there are two large hawks circling, hovering, swooping in low, scaring up the meals ready to eat in the tall grass.  these hawks are big ones!  and they have that hovering action working for them this morning which, i know its bird watching, but hey, that’s quite a scene unfolding out there.  then there is that giant east window and the river flowing past…  all of this with the classical music backdrop pouring in from the upstairs sound system.  oh boy what a day at the office.

now if you’re in the Cannington area, this weekend is the last chance you’re going get to see “A Self Portrait on November 30th”, 30×40 inches, live and in person.  that war horse is going to be officially retired.  the next stop for that one, outside of here on the range, is going to be the National Gallery of Canada in which case you’re going to have to pay to see it!  right now you can see it for free at the Cameron Street Co op.  “Feeding the Evil Wolf”, 36×48″, is now long gone to an address way out west and in factola, most of those 2008 series paintings are now long gone.  i can’t believe “November 30th” made it through 3 years of shows without anyone getting wise.

well here it is in postage stamp size.