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Orange is the New Black, Drawing #3



Amazing the true-to-life colour when a drawing or painting is photographed in direct sunlight. I think it's because the whole spectrum is present. Below is an earlier version taken on a cloudy day. In the final version I darkened the flesh tones with some graphite. The drawing took about 3.5 hours to do, crazy huh. Most of it while watching 3 episodes of 'Orange is the New Black,' Drawing #3 (final), 2013, Brenda Clews, 15" x 11", graphite and pastel on 130lb archival paper. No idea if it has any reference to the actual show itself, but it certainly has personal resonances.



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Art Show in less than 2 weeks! Panic City!

Nine paintings done and ready to go! Of the last two, one needs some fussing, and one needs the breath-hold throw-the-paint treatment. Art show is in less than 2 weeks!!!!

May 15 - June 15 at Q Space, 382 College St., Toronto.

This one is large, 5' x 5', oils and charcoal, called 'Charcoal Poems.' The photo's not too bad, though the right side is a bit dark.



Taking photos of the paintings is the next assignment, and doing that properly is going to be almost as challenging as painting itself.

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Untitled2, 6th wash



She's gloved now. The forearms were 'not' meant to appear in the former versions of this painting, and so they weren't drawn with any particular care. But they appeared anyway (painting is like that, like it cares what the artist thinks) and it didn't work. So I thought I'd do my Venus with gloves. Don't yet know if it 'works.' This is still in rough. Likely take me the rest of the day and night to finish to my satisfaction.


Untitled2, 6th wash, Brenda Clews, 2013, daylight photo, 24" x 30", inks and oils on stretched canvas.

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Untitled2, 4th wash, with poem


This painting is developing into something that I find embarrassing. And yet, it's also ...not too bad. The poem fragment is from my 'Suite of Botticelli Venus Poems' and dang, I can see Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite and something distinctly literary (a sense of a book plate coloured in instead of an etching or an ink drawing) and quite post-modern (the whiff of pastiche, and it's a little bit funny too, the butt). It's driving me a little mad, this painting. What emerges under one's brush is like the dreams we remember - where do they come from? They are a mystery. We simply try to understand them.

What I don't like - the background doesn't work all that well though I can now live with it, and the arms. I did not work on this part of her sketch, intending to darken them into background. Not sure what I'll do, tinker until they're better, or perhaps glove them. :)

Untitled2, 4th wash, daylight photo, 24" x 30", inks and oils on stretched canvas.

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Untitled2, 3rd wash, with poem

Really I am not sure what is happening to me. I am kind of falling apart.

For days in angst, torturing myself inwardly, trying to get myself to paint (show is in just over 2 weeks now), meditating, etc., and then today it was attack the damn canvas time. So I did. With permanent inks, oils, and so on. Hours of struggle bending over the painting, doing this, that. It's too pretty, no, now it is far less pretty and simply over-worked. Or maybe it's ok. I simply can't stand this state of mind. Tomorrow hopefully more work on it, at least re-doing the lettering of the poem, which got kind of mussed in this afternoon's trauma, the face, the arms, the shawl, the background, whatever I can do for the magic.



Untitled2, 3rd wash with poem, daylight photo, Brenda Clews, 2013, 24" x 30", ink and oils on stretched canvas.
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Untitled4, 1st wash


I must be running a temperature! This is so not like my normal style. A poem fragment will be written into this when it's closer to finished. Probably into the white spaces in the towel. Don't think I'll do much but darken the torso when the paint is dry. I'm kind of liking the simplicity here. 'Untitled4,' 1st wash, nighttime shot (colours are a bit brighter than they appear here), 2013. 24" x 30", oil on stretched canvas.

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Untitled2, 2nd wash with lettering

Still not happy with it, but now I get where it is going.


Untitled2, 2nd wash with lettering, daylight photo, 2013, 24" x 30", ink and oils on stretched canvas.

As ever, the colour has faded out as the painting dries. So that has to be worked on. Probably, because of the poem fragment that I chose (from my Suite of Botticelli Venus Poems), which I had forgotten about but which my 'text edit' file reminded me of this morning, she will have to remain quite whitish, almost transparent.

Painting is like dreaming. You dream without really knowing where the images come from, or how they are created by your mind. Likewise with painting - you know you're doing it, but you don't often know what it's about while you are doing it. The painting arises as if from a dream.

I am only now dimly aware of what I am doing with this painting. It's too pretty. But then again, it is a kind of Circe image of the Botticelli Venus type, and that's not pretty at all.
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Untitled2, drawing and 1st wash

This is the 2nd poempainting. It is most challenging. Doing the drawing took nigh of a day, and I rubbed out so much I gessoed in the figure and painted ochre into the surrounding before gessoing that. It has sat propped on the floor for days. Pressure and deadlines drove me to throw it on the floor and begin painting this evening. While it is only the first wash, that does set the direction of the painting. I hope as I continue to work on it over the next few days, I like what emerges better than I do presently.


Untitled2, 2nd wash, nighttime photo, 2013. 24" x 30" oil on stretched canvas.

I sat with the drawn canvas all day, didn't go out into the sunshine, didn't eat, refused to do anything until I painted, finally did early evening, actually enjoyed the brushstrokes at the beginning, painting is usually torment for me, an inner struggle, such terrible intensity mingled with insecurity that only finally finishing brings exhausted relief, but painting this was light and fun, until I began to see what I was doing, oh, I can't stand this painting, anaemic and whispy, everything I don't want this series to be, and so I must drag myself back to the canvas and throw dark passion into the paint. And if it doesn't produce something I can live with, into the dank dungeon of the basement with ye, canvas!



Untitled2, drawing, daytime photo, 2013. 24" x 30" graphite on stretched canvas.



Untitled2, drawing, nighttime photo, 2013. 24" x 30" graphite on stretched canvas.


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Untitled1 poempainting in progress


If this painting had stayed the way it was when first painted, I wouldn't have touched it. But it faded out as it dried. It's still wet here - I finished it at 11pm last night - but the colour is much stronger.

Among other thoughts and associations, we are approaching Spring and she's my tulip lady.


Untitled1, 3rd wash, Brenda Clews, 24" x 30", oils on stretched canvas 
(daytime shot, colours good, but still wet)




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Untitled3 poempainting in-progress

I thought the colour would get washed out as it dried, but so far, it's holding. I painted last night and it does need a bit a work still, but I'm happy with this one.


Untitled3, 2nd wash, sunlight photo while still quite wet, 24" x 30", oils on stretched canvas


Untitled3, 1st wash, very wet, 24" x 30", oils on stretched canvas


Untitled1, 2 and 3, all 24" x 30", graphite, oils on stretched canvas

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