Dancer in Red and Black


Dancer in Red and Black, 2012, 16" x 20", graphite and India and acrylic inks on stretched canvas.

The second image is in my Moleskine, and 8.5" x 11". I was going to continue working until I arrived at a similar place to the image in my Moleskine. My daughter thought that I could leave the painting as a raw sketch with the red and black ink. It doesn't feel 'finished' to me... and so I am struggling a little with knowing that it may work at this stage as is, and I could overdo it and decrease its energy by continuing to work on it. Not sure anyone can offer any art advice, but I'd welcome any thoughts on the two images. Thanks!


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The Dancer's Backskin


direct link: The Dancer's Backskin

An accidental drawing - in a new Moleskine notebook, I brushed water over watercolour pencil. The paper shredded badly and cracked like an eggshell when dry. Intrigued with the effect, and having seen Natalie Portman's incredible performance in Aronofsky's 'Black Swan,' the desire for pure art, its passion and self-effacement, and the self-mutilation, hallucinations, madnesses, I thought of the underside of the dancer's life. Or her backskin.

I am working with the album that the music comes from (see also dance/ ...indigo folio leaves), with the musician's knowledge and tacit permission. No More Faith is an album of such variety I felt it could work for a longer project - literally, from neo-classical to this strange fingernail-on-the-blackboard minute and a half of scratchings. The strangeness that I might have felt on first listen has worn off and the sound seems less grating and more intriguing- perhaps, and who's to know for sure, that's the musician making anti-music for his possessive slave-driving muse who doesn't seem to realize he has a day job as a teacher. The tension is in this piece. His work has such energy. It was the perfect choice for my video.

Jose wrote back to me today:

Hello Brenda!

I've had opportunity to watch your video just right now. Your wrote:

"that's the musician making anti-music for his possessive slave-driving muse who doesn't seem to realize he has a day job as a teacher."

Hahaha! Very poetic, but of course everything is o.k. with me. There is no problem with everything you wrote. Just the contrary, thanks for writing so well about my music and album.

What about Shinigami's Dream, No. 1, it was just -as you wrote- an experiment creating something like "anti-music". With the Shinigami's Dream pieces I wanted always to create oniric impressions, unpleasant and disturbing feelings, always exploring the extreme points in the music and noises. #1 was the most extreme work and I was near not to add it to the album, but finally I decided to have it as last piece, just after the softness of A Tale for our Wasted Years, as an exercise of thesis (the search for the perfection and the balance in music) and anti-thesis. I like the effect in the album, it's so disturbing... :-)

Thanks for everything and, by the way, nice videopoem, as it's usual in you.

Best wishes,

Jose
_
Brenda Clews, art, poetry, voice, video; music, José Travieso's track, 'Shinigami's Dream, No. 1,' on his album, "No More Faith."



The Dancer's Backskin (album of photos)

_
I posted the painting, The Dancer's Backskin in February.
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The Dancer's Backskin [video poem]


direct link: The Dancer's Backskin

Brenda Clews, art, poetry, voice, video; music, José Travieso's track, 'Shinigami's Dream, No. 1,' on his album, "No More Faith."

An accidental drawing - in a new Moleskine notebook, I brushed water over watercolour pencil. The paper shredded badly and cracked like an eggshell when dry. Intrigued with the effect, and having seen Natalie Portman's incredible performance in Aronofsky's 'Black Swan,' the desire for pure art, its passion and self-effacement, and the self-mutilation, hallucinations, madnesses, I thought of the underside of the dancer's life. Or her backskin.




_
I posted the painting, The Dancer's Backskin in February.


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The Dancer's Backskin


The Dancer's Backskin, 2011, 21cm x 29cm, 8"x11.5"
ink, watercolour on Moleskin notebook paper.
click for larger size

the dancer's backskin,
Moleskine sketchbook

the paper
cracked
like a boiled
eggshell
when you
tap it
tap it

_


The drawing was an accident - I had bought a new Moleskine notebook, the largest ever for me. When I brushed water over watercolour pencil the paper shredded badly and cracked like an eggshell when dry. Intrigued with the effect, and having seen Natalie Portman's incredible performance in Black Swan, the self-mutilation, the hallucinations, the madnesses, I thought of the underside of the dancer's life. Or her backskin.

In the image you see here, I layered a scan of the frontside of the drawing facing forwards (you can see it in the lines at the borders) under the backside which I made slightly opaque. I banded the dancer's face (some horror there, she is buried alive in her inhuman effort to be graceful for us), and her feet (to remind us of ballet as an echo of Geisha footbinding).


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Celestial Dancer III - mid-way



When this painting is a little drier, I'll work on the details - though surprisingly if cropped a bit it looks almost finished now. It was not easy to come back to this figure when I have let her sit in storage and my rooms here and in Vancouver unfinished for 5 years. With courage and force of will, I began to complete it. First I tried painting her on an easel, which  perhaps isn't my style in that I probably dance over the work as I am painting. A quick trip out to purchase 2 yards of thick clear plastic at Honest Ed's, the kind for tables in Italian restaurants, would protect my living room floor. I placed it on the floor, with a little prayer that neither my cat nor my dog would inadvertently wander over the painting space, the canvas surface of wet oils, along with a long piece of unused canvas on the side in case of spills, and shone a clamp lamp with a daylight bulb on the area. And then carefully laid the painting flat and wetted it and painted from the tube with fingers and washes with a large thick brush and oh solitary dramatics in an attempt to feel my way into the movement of the dance, her moment of stillness... she is graceful, beautiful, I don't know if that comes across. Hope so!

Celestial Dancer III, 2004-2009, 2'x3', 61x91.5cm, oil on canvas

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The Octaves

Melt into the edge of the room. Eyes shut; no-one can see me. Slide along walls, over chairs, until the table. Where I was going, I realize. Varnished wood, thick, old, probably Walnut. Carved in a carpenter's studio, perhaps. Legs spun on spindles. I imagine the tree who was stripped for the table, sawed into planks. Centuries old, sap running through limbs, leaves drinking rain and sun, rooted in earth. I hug the table, in the dark of my closed eyes. My chest to the tabletop, beating, then turning over, until my back lies flat. Reaching forward and down, from the safety of the wood, fingers groping air, the unknown. I cannot touch floor. It is the end of the world, the emptiness of the universe, nothingness. Only the wood holds me here.

The octaves. I am a child on a swing, flung out past the boundaries. My long-silenced throat clears, a tiny AUM. Louder. A simple scale, up and down.

I hope the others in the room, for we all move with our eyes shut, dancing our internal dramas, aren't irritated by my sudden child-like joy, the octaves.

I release the table, roll on the floor, light laugh,
humming.
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Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent Clouds
(click on image for larger version)

"Noctilucent Clouds," 2007, 14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4" x 9"; oils, India ink, on paper coated with acrylic matte medium; photo taken in bright sun (colours not bad on my iMac).

A lucent state of consciousness, my fingers thick with oil paint, spreading it quickly, curves, folds of the drapery, her ecstatic, graceful form, the broil of the night sky...

Do I sense what will emerge? I have to find the 'right moment' in the streams-of-consciousness to paint, and painting is always a fearful act where I throw my spiritual life on the line. And then it becomes accepting what emerges, and working with it.

This little piece has a specific purpose - to remind me of dance, movement, freedom, the sky.
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Noctilucent Clouds - first wash of paint

Noctilucent Clouds

"Noctilucent Clouds," 2007; 14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4"x 9"; oils, india ink, paper, acyrlic matte medium.

14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4"x 9"; oils, india ink, paper, acyrlic matte medium

Sorry! I guess with flickr's new limits, this image is gone. You can view a page of Celestial Dancers at my website, however: Art & Writings of Brenda Clews/Celestial Dancers.

It took longer to photograph this little painting under the flourescent lights in the kitchen near midnight and to colour correct the image and upload it to flickr than it did to paint!

My fingers thick with oil paint spread the colour so quickly, me in a lucent state of consciousness barely aware... that calf of hers, the one she's holding herself aloft on, needs more shadow, today I can see that.
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Little Dancer Sketch

BrendaClewsDancer-Sketch

14.5cm x 22.5cm or 5 3/4"x 9"; india ink sketch on archival paper coated in acyrlic matte medium

How long ago did I do this little sketch? It must be months. I taped it to a small board and it's still awaiting a fast wash of paint. Since it'll only take 5 minutes to paint, perhaps it's that I have to be in the right 'zen' frame of mind to finish it?

And when is that going to happen?
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