2nd Wash of Oils on Three Close-ups of Women Portraits

Three Close-Up Portraits of Women, works-in-process, 2nd wash of oils, which, when they are dried a bit, will be stretched back onto their canvas stretchers and painted like regular oil paintings. They are each 16" x 20", oils on canvas. © Brenda Clews 2016

They've had two oil washes, and one of them had their paint removed, but they are women, they are ongoing. When they are dry, I'll begin painting. What you see here is mostly scrubby thick brushes and fingers and a washcloth without any delicacy.

Photos taken indoors with daylight fluorescent bulbs.

The last one, a self-portrait based on a photograph from a video that I did in 2013, when I had auburn hair, I am not happy with - been too busy lately, and under a lot of stress, and I realized that I was simply too exhausted to continue to work on it until I got it to a place of leaving. Perhaps it is the hair on the right side, and the shadows on the skin that need work. I don't know when I can come back to it, either. These little paintings have to dry so I can begin working on them. So, I may leave the self-portrait as is and make adjustments later.

First Wash of Oils on the Three Portraits

Photo later than the video, and it is after a bit of work on the lower right portrait. First Wash of Oils, there is a 2nd wash to go, and then they will be stretched back onto their canvas stretchers and painted like regualr oil paintings. 16" x 20", oils on canvas. © Brenda Clews 2016

direct link: First Wash of Oils

Yeah, well. It's deliberately a small video. It's a bit much, the way my cut-off exercise tights/shorts slipped a bit. I speeded this up to 5000x to get it to fit into a minute though I spent well over an hour getting to this point with these paintings. It was gruelling and I wasn't happy with how they turned out. The second wash will help, I know. Then they will be stretched back onto their stretchers and painted like regular oil paintings. :) The video shows the hardest part of the whole process - beginning.

Charcoal Sketches of Close-ups of Three Women


Looks like I have a spot at Verve, put on by RAW Artists, on Thursday August 25th in Toronto, if, that is, I can sell 20 tickets for the show. I will have a 15 minute Performance Artist spot on stage and will project some videopoems while I perform the poems, as well as about 7.5' of wall to show and sell artwork. My book, Tidal Fury, will be published by then and so I will perform from it as well as have copies to sell.

Naturally, I am doing some new work. These are small (for me!) - 16" x 20" x 1.5". The sketches are charcoal on primed canvas and will be painted in oils. One is a self-portrait, the other two are women I know. I thought to do close-ups of women, and found these in my collection of photographs, so, yes, they are from photographs - but my knowledge of all of us, and earlier drawings I've done, informs the sketches. No idea what will happen when I paint them in oils - I love watercolour, but I had these canvases lying around waiting.

A drawing of Rod

Rod Pizarro, 21cm x 29.7cm, 2016, © Brenda Clews, graphite, 
Moleskine Sketchbook 111-lb acid-free paper.

Kat Leonard @ Winter Wonderland @ Hirut - 26 March 2016 © Brenda Clews, 
5" x 8.25", graphite, Derwent InkTense blocks on 200-gram cold-press acid-free 
Moleskine A5 Large Watercolour paper.

Kat Leonard, who I know as a singer-songwriter and she's saucy, does musical comedy, and her husband, Rod Pizarro, came by Three of a Kind, the group show in June. It was wonderful to see her and to meet her lovely husband. I showed Kat a little watercolour I had done of her singing at a gig at Hirut Restaurant in the winter and she bought it. Then, after seeing my drawing of John Oughton, Rod commissioned a similar drawing.

When I was looking after the gallery, two weeks later, he came and sat for a drawing. I drew him for maybe half an hour, we chatted - he's Chilean, and I took a cell phone pic as a reference for finishing the drawing. It takes me an hour or more to do a page-sized graphite portrait and I couldn't ask him to sit stone still for that long. He stayed the whole afternoon - 5 hours - which was very nice and I got more of a sense of him in space, how he moves, his mannerisms, a little of his warm personality. He picked up the drawing this weekend and said he loved it, so that's nice.


June 2016 Poetry & Music Salon @ Palmerston Library Theatre

Our last Poetry and Music Salon before Summer break was superb! Our features, William Beauvais, Ariel Balevi, Brandon Pitts and Joe Wray were in top form and gave us more than their very best. And our open mics, Joani Paige, Stanley Fefferman and Jennifer Hosein were as strong. A very inspiring evening and I am so grateful to be a recipient of such gifts.

I'd especially like to thank Palmerston Library and the librarian, Iana Georgieva-Kaluba, the Branch Manager Misuk Hedman, and the amazing sound technician, Eric, for their support, generosity and help with arranging and promoting this series.

If you'd like to know who everyone is, watch the video, and you can also find the photos here: If you click on the i at the side for Information, you'll see the names.



GORGEOUS Salon! It starts with a fun stop-motion of the whole salon. A high res video and sound of poets and musicians. We live in a city of talent! Photographs of everyone end the video. If you wanted to see it again, or missed it, or live elsewhere and would like to enjoy what we did, it's here!

direct link: June 2016 Poetry and Music Salon

In order of appearance:

1. Joani Paige 1:49
2. Stanley Fefferman 6:36
3. Ariel Balevi 12:17
4. Jennifer Hosein 42:01
5. Joe Wray 46:43
6. Brandon Pitts 1:02:52
7. William Beauvais 1:16:35

ARIEL BALEVI is an oral storyteller who has performed locally, including at the Toronto International Storytelling Festival, Royal Ontario Museum and the Aga Khan Museum, as well as internationally, including the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. His repertoire derives from the Sufi, literary and folklore traditions of Iran, Turkey and Central Asia.One Nights (Hezar o yek Shab). He perform these stories in English, using verse or proverb from the language of origin of the story.In his storytelling he strives to convey the universality of these narratives and in doing so bring about mutual respect and understanding among different cultures and traditions. In 2010 Ariel released with William Beauvais the CD "Unspoken Dreams: Stories from Rumi" which received favourable reviews.

Strong stuff this poetry!
Though I came to it late, look what it did to me.
My effort has gained little exposure;
literary societies , a university circuit, and Brenda's good grace.
Some stuff is out now, but I haven't yet heard. It's matter is eclectic but recently I've tilted toward Shloshky's "ostranenie" style.

BRANDON PITTS is the author of Tender in the Age of Fury (Mosaic Press, 2016) and the popular poetry collection Pressure to Sing (IOWI, 2012).

Known for subverting gospel and scripture to create political allegories, Brandon first came onto the Toronto lit scene in 2010 with the short story the BC Crib, published in the anthology Canadian Voices Volume II. In 2011, he was inducted into the prestigious Diaspora Dialogues as an "Emerging Voice” for fiction, followed by the novel Puzzle of Murders (Bookland Press, 2011) and the production of three plays.

WILLIAM BEAUVAIS has been composing, recording, performing and improvising for over 30 years. He has written music for harpist Sharlene Wallace, baritone Doug MacNaughton, the Montreal Guitar Trio and guitarist Jeffrey McFadden. He has received grants from the Toronto Arts Council FACTOR and York University. His music has been heard in Denmark, Australia, Chile, and Argentina, and is published by Les Productions D’OZ.

He has recorded several CDs which are available through the Canadian Music Centre Distribution Service. They include Unspoken Dreams: rumi stories, Invisible Cities, A Bridge Beyond (with guitarist Stephen Wingfield), Bridges, Traces, and Dances and Romances for Violin (with Moshe Hammer). He has also recorded CDs with the Evergreen Club Gamelan, and composers Michael Hynes and Gerarld Berg. He has frequently recorded for radio, both for CBC and CKLN.

As a performer William has worked with New Music Concerts, the Canadian Chamber Ensemble and Tapestry New Opera, giving first performances of music by George Crumb, Elliott Carter, Chris Paul Harman and Rodney Sharman. He was a featured artist with Jeunesse Musicales (Youth and Music) Canada, touring with them in 1983-84, and has performed over a hundred school concerts with the Toronto Symphony Education program.

William’s collaborations include work with Eugene Martynec [composer], Ariel Balevi [storyteller] Terrill MacGuire [chorepgrapher], and Steve McCabe [Poet]. He has also developed texts by Gwendolyn MacEwen, Richard Truhlar, Wayne Keon and Robert Priest into performance pieces.

Join the Facebook Group Page for event, photograph and video notifications:

Subscribe to this Poetry and Music Salons YouTube site, where full-length videos of all the Salons are posted:

Organized, hosted, photographed, videoed and edited by Brenda Clews.


Ft McMurray Fundraiser Poetry & Music Salon - May 2016

A wonderful, charming, warm, funny, serious, light, dramatic, brilliant evening of the generosities of talent and our caring for those in need. The Ft Murray Fundraiser Poetry and Music Salon raised over $400., and that is a gift that triples to $1200. since the Federal and Alberta Governments match donations to the Red Cross fund. Everyone who featured was terrific! Wow! Many thanks, in order of appearance, to Stedmond Pardy, Clara Blackwood, Tim Maxwell, Linda Stitt, Kirk Felix (and the band he created impromtu, Tom Hamilton, Sean Peever and Kevin Jeffrey), John Oughton, Mikel BC, Stanley Fefferman, Sonia Di Placido, and Steve-Paul Simms! I would like to thank Palmerston Library for a great venue and most especially Iana Georgieva and Misuk Hedman for their help and support, and Eric, the amazing sound technician. And, of course, many thanks to all those who came out to enjoy an early evening of wonderful entertainment and to support those in need in our country.

Here are the photos. To see everyone's names, please go to the Poetry and Music Salons album on G+.


Here is the video:

direct link: Ft. McMurray Fundraiser Poetry and Music Salon May 2016


1. Clara Blackwood 2:30

2. Brenda Clews 9:28
3. Tim Maxwell 17:24
4. Linda Stitt 24:36
5. Kirk Felix, accompanied by Tom Gannon Hamilton, Sean Peever and  Kevin Jeffrey 33:47
6. John Oughton 44:44
7. Mikel BC 49:08
8. Stanley Fefferman 54:07
9. Sonia Di Placido 1:05:19
10. Steve-Paul Simms, accompanied by Tom 1:13:33

Fundraiser organized and hosted by Brenda Clews, who videoed and edited the video:


CLARA BLACKWOOD is a poet, visual artist and tarot reader. Her first poetry collection, Subway Medusa (2007), was the inaugural book in Guernica Editions’ First Poets Series, which features first books by poets thirty-five and under. Her poetry has appeared in Canadian and International journals. Forecast, her second book of poetry, was published by Guernica Editions in 2014. She is currently at work on a third collection of poems.

SONIA DI PLACIDO is a Canadian poet, playwright and writer. A graduate of the Ryerson Theatre School in Acting, Ryerson University (1996) and an Honors Bachelor of Arts, Humanities, York University. Sonia is a member of The League of Canadian Poets, Canadian Women In The Literary Arts and The Association of Italian-Canadian Writers. Featured in various journals, anthologies and reviews, online and print: Carousel Magazine, (Guelph, 2012) The Toronto Quarterly (2011) Puritan Magazine (2014), The White Wall Review (Ryerson, 2014) Canthius, A Journal for Women (2015), The California Journal of Women Writers (2014) and Jacket2 (2014). From September 2014 to May 2015, Sonia facilitated two Poetry Workshops on Canadian Modern Poets: Gwendolyn MacEwen and Patricia Louise Lowther. Her first book of poetry, Exaltation in Cadmium Red published by Guernica Editions in 2012. Her second book is forthcoming in 2018.

JOHN OUGHTON is the author of five poetry books, most recently Time Slip (Guernica Editions) and a mystery novel, Death by Triangulation. He is also a photographer and experimental guitar player. 

STEDMOND PARDY is a Left handed Poet, and  Proud high school dropout, His first chapbook, "Drugs," was self-published in 2013, and  His 2nd chapbook "Frisson" was published in March 2015....He has had two one man Shows held at Reg Hartt's, "The Cineforum," appeared on Howl 89.5 FM Thrice,, and has read his work at various venues around the city It was through Meeting the late Nik Beat, and  Brandon Pitts that He started Performing his work in public. He was born and raised in the Mimico/Lakeshore area. and  Currently lives in,on and  around the Cold streets of Tartarus, The quotes, "an Artist is an Instrument through which the Universe reveals itself" and "word poetry is for everyman, but Soul poetry, alas, is not heavily Distributed", are the words he TRIES to live by."

STANLEY FEFFERMAN is the author of WritingSpace, Captus Press, 1998. He has taught Poetics at York University and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. CBC National Radio has aired 30 broadcasts of his work. A past editor of Exile Literary Quarterly, Poetry Toronto, and Ayatana Press, since 2004 Stanley has published 500 reviews of Jazz, Folk, Classical, New Music and Opera in The Live Music Report, Showtime,, and

STEVE PAUL SIMMS is learning to play the guitar, harmonica, mandolin, ukulele and piano. He has written over 300 songs and recorded about 40 of them. Worked as an actor for many years. Is a great film buff, keen student of history and geography, and enjoys studying languages online. Plays once a month at The Tranzac.

LINDA STITT has been versifying since she could talk.

In view of the fact that her poems sometimes rhyme, she considers herself an anachronism in her own time.

KIRK FELIX is a Richmond Hill-based singer/songwriter who considers himself an “Old Folkie.” He believes that a “good song” is one that has a catchy tune and sends a message many can relate to. He has always loved Folk Music. He’s performed at coffee houses throughout the US, Europe and the Far East in the early 70's and can now be found at many open mics in the GTA. He opened for John Denver in 1972. He recently performed at Winterfolk 2016 as part of “The Best of Dr. B’s Acoustic Medicine Show and last month as part of the “The Out of Towners” show at the Free Times Café on College St. Kirk appears regularly at many Open Mics in the GTA and York Region. He along with Tom Hamilton recently appeared on Rogers Daytime, in the York Region. Kirk released his only LP -“For My Friends” in 1972 and it has been re-released in April 2016 as “For My Friends-Kirk Felix 1972 Revisited.” Kirk is currently in the studio, recording an album of all original works, to be released later this year.

TIM MAXWELL writes and performs his original songs of Love and Other Struggles informed by his life experiences and his work in social justice movements. His music is best described as hot coffee house blues and folk.

MIKEL BC might have lived part of his childhood in Zambia, might have studied art and  philosophy at OCA and  U of T, might actually still write pomes with pen and paper.

BRENDA CLEWS is an African-Canadian multi-media poet, artist and videopoet whose approach broaches poetry, painting, theory, dance, recordings and video. Her oeuvre focuses on multiple callings, the obsessive muse. Brenda has had solo art shows at York University in 2001, Q Space in 2013 and at Urban Gallery in 2014, and been in a number of group art shows. She has two chapbooks, 'the luminist poems' 2013, and, 'the Performance Poems' 2016, and a forthcoming book of poetry this Fall with Guernica Editions, 'Tidal Fury,' and a novella next year, 'Fugue in Green,' with Quattro Books.

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