Wind Over Grass



Wind Over Grass, 2009, 14"x10.5", 35.5cmx26.5cm, India ink (with a dip pen), and oils (paint and pastel) on a primed canvas sheet. I based a larger painting on this, which is included in the photo album, Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass.

The figures in this drawing were originally from a drop-in life drawing session in 2005! After some years I transferred the sketch to a small primed canvas sheet. Then lines of bright oil paint, which I rubbed out to a pastel hue. That hung on a wall in the hall for a few years. Yesterday I grabbed it, deciding I couldn't stand seeing it anymore, and if I wrecked it, the garbage would be fine. Wetted water-soluble oil pastels, clumsier than brushes, but colour-bright, follow those lines of force, curves of bodies and landscape. Then my dip pen, old trusty pen, and a bottle of permanent India ink. No going back! No rubbing out! Don't spill the ink! I move it around my crowded desk, trying to keep an envelope under it, scratching lines in, over and over, a wind of lines flowing. I am in a trance almost, another state of consciousness, more primal, less 'thought'-ful, empty, an energy of muted frenzy emerging from the pen tip. I am not-me. I pass the point of no return. Then stop. I'm happier with the drawing, in the flush of finishing, but who knows?

Contact dance - the points of tension in the parts of your bodies that touch, and the flow of energy so that you know where the motion, the flow, your combined flow, is going. It is about the touch, and the space between you, and the flow of intuitive movement. Wind Over Grass is an exercise where one person stands as a blade of grass and the other runs to them as wind and gently touches them, anywhere on their body, touching lightly with any part of their body, the side of the palm, chin, back of the shoulder. The grass bends, sways, curves. Then stands upright as again the wind sweeps in again.

When we practice Wind Over Grass, our bodies become part of the landscape. Two years after I last worked on this drawing, it didn't hit the garbage, but is back on the wall in the hall. Hopefully, with lines of telluric energy finally moving.

All the previous drawings are here, as well as a painting that I began, but haven't finished, that's sitting on another wall (le sigh): Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass.


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Fluid Dreams in Green


'Fluid Dreams in Green, trying to break free. Rising.' 21cm x 29.5cm, 8.25" x 11.5", India and acrylic inks, oil pastels, acrylic, Molseskine Folio Sketchbook A4.

The pencilled in words: The woman who is trapped, trying to break free. Rising.

The scanner's light tends to wash out the dark colours, and for some reason, makes everything more yellow than it is. This time I used a blue filter at 25% and, with some adjustments to mid-tone contrast and deepening the shadows, it seems to have worked.

Am I happy with this painted ink drawing? Uh, I find it quite hard to look at - but then, after I get used to what happened with the inks and paints on the paper, I begin to. People like pretty, they like sublime, not a woman rising as if out of a forest floor of mulch, slime. Yet, despite my painterly difficulties with its not being polished, and my hesitation and then determination to leave it raw, I understand the psychic process. This morning, for the first time in months, I felt refreshed, and there was a welcome torrential cloud-bursting rain storming the windows too.

The thought came that perhaps I should try and do one drawing/painting every day for a week, but carving out of my imagination one of these Moleskine Folio pages takes everything out of me.

I don't know if I'd have the emotional stamina to work on this excruciating excavation every day.


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whaleskin






whaleskin, 2011, 20cm x 25.5cm, 8" x 10", India ink, graphite, watercolour pencils, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4. (Click on the images for a larger size.)



Anchored in my mind all day, a koan. What in death does not die? I brush a wash of India ink onto paper. Ground burnt bones thickened with resins. Words in the wet wave. Words in the black tusk of the whale whose skin swims with algae, barnacles, skeletal memories of cattle, the backbones of live fish in the orange sunset that beaches the creature like a hammerhead of knuckles. The creatures of the world fight for their lives. In the mass extinction. In the radioactive orange water into which the sun has fallen. The salty sludge-lined ocean, layers of plastic bags hugging the sand, shopping for the moment.

It was a Zen moment.

What in death does not die.


 


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Daphne Becoming-Tree


Daphne, 20.5cm x 20.5cm, 8" x 8", dip pen with India, acrylic and fountain pen inks, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4. (Click on image for larger size.)

I hand wrote the words with a dip pen under the image today.
I lay in the park sketching the tree; though invisible to the biological eye, she was there. Neither did the lake exist, nor the rocks. It was sunny and yet I found a sliver of a moon and a star on the paper. The child in me saw her. She is like a paper cut-out, drawn as a child would draw; she is Daphne. Look at her laurel crown. Her arms are turning into branches with leaves. I found her ghostdrawing her myth in the green dreaming imagination of the woman drawing in the book on her lap.

This Daphne is caught, perpetually transforming, as night falls. Apollo, the god of light, long gone. No sign of Cupid's arrow, if it ever flew.


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Stone #74: Daphne


Daphne, 20.5cm x 20.5cm, 8" x 8", dip pen with India, acrylic and fountain pen inks, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4. (Click on image for larger size.)

I lay in the park sketching the tree; though invisible to the biological eye, she was there. Neither did the lake exist, nor the rocks. It was sunny and yet I found a sliver of a moon and a star on the paper. The child in me saw her. She is like a paper cut-out, drawn as a child would draw; she is Daphne. Look at her laurel crown. Her arms are turning into branches with leaves. I found her ghostdrawing her myth in the green dreaming imagination of the woman drawing in the book on her lap.

This Daphne is caught, perpetually transforming, as night falls. Apollo, the god of light, long gone. No sign of Cupid's arrow, if it ever flew.

_
According to Greek myth, Apollo chased the nymph Daphne. From Ovid's Metamorphoses:
...a heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breast, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left.
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The Dancer with the Full Moon in her Throat (sketch 2)


The Dancer with the Full Moon in her Throat, sketch 2, 2011, 20cm x 28cm, 8" x 11", India, ink, graphite, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4.

Before coffee this morning I got out my Rotring EF pen, the one in which I now use KOH--NOOR's 'Fount India - drawing ink for fountain pens,' a beautiful find. You cannot use permanent India inks in fountain pens because the enamel in the pigment will cause them to clog. Finding one specially formulated for a pen gives you something that will not smudge or blur when you brush it with coloured inks, or washes of oils, acrylics or other media.

The little drawing of the Woman Dancing the Dance of the Full Moon in her Throat is coming along. I like the imperfections in the pose, the slight awkwardness of mismatching. I think I will lengthen her legs, and then see where the sky can go. Round it off a bit better, and then either keep making more lines or brush some sort of colour in the drawing. Who knows.

That's the best part about drawing so freely. You let the pen in your hand take you along. One thing suggests another and off you go.

The Dancer with the Full Moon in her Throat, 2011, 20cm x 28cm, 8" x 11", India, ink, graphite, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4.
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Stone #72 (The Dancer with the Full Moon in her Throat (sketch 1))


The Dancer with the Full Moon in her Throat, sketch 1, 2011, 20cm x 28cm, 8" x 11", India, ink, graphite, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4.

Instead of watching a movie, Fellini's 'Satyricon' on the burner waiting, saw it years ago, I drew. Been busy the past few days, and I should sit back, but I don't relax too well. From my Moleskine Sketchbook... hopefully finish in the morning. Or maybe stay up... the full moon needs to go in, I think she is dancing a dance of the full moon, and that means a dark sky, and lots of ink... the full moon is in her throat, I see it now, and in the night sky.

She is reaching for her throat, for the full moon.
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skinbones

(click for larger size)
skinbones, 2011, 20cm x 28.5cm, 8" x 11.25", India, acrylic and fountain pen inks, watercolour pencils, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4.

I'm thinking that this did not turn out at all, but I suppose I should let it sit for a bit. I was inspired by the show of plastinated bodies, which I did not see, but have poured over images of. This image broods, however. Maybe it is about illness, or the aging process. Or some kind of horror film. The background is a 'scribble' cursive, and I had hoped the white ink would have a 'graffiti' look, but I don't think anyone else would get this association. She had one arm raised but I covered it over. The species will come to an end; perhaps she is the last radioactive woman. A dark piece, whatever it is.
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Configure It


Sketch, 2011, 19cm x 25.5cm, 7.5" x 10", India and acrylic inks on Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4.

Words: CONFIGURE IT

A little sketch I just did, sitting here, sweating in Toronto's heat wave...
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Dinosaur Book of Green Fire Featured at Moving Poems


Featured yesterday at a great site for video poetry, I'm honoured, truly, and humbly, at Moving Poems... Dave is amassing a fine collection of the best videopoems on the NET and it is totally a site you should subscribe to... you'll find much inspiration for your own art in whatever genre you work in.



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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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Dancers in White



Dancers in White, 2010, 21cm x 29cm, 8"x11.5", ink on Moleskine.
(click for larger size)




(thumbnail for facebook)

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A self-portrait in ink: process



Self-Portrait, 2011, 20.5cm x 25.5cm, 8" x 10", archival, Rotring and India inks on archival paper.

And it's not finished yet, I don't think. Or, who knows? Words, a poem, may appear, or not.

Instead of a slideshow of the process of this ink drawing, I've opened the images in Photoshop Elements and taken a screen capture. The plain pencil sketch upper left and the black and white one in the middle are the 'real' ones - the others have been filtered with Sepia (and currently used for profile pics at Identica, Twitter and Facebook ♥:). I know, so many of one image is a bit much. :)))

click on image for larger size
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A self-portrait in ink



Self-Portrait, 2011, 20.5cm x 25.5cm, 8" x 10", archival, Rotring and India inks on archival paper.
A bit rough, but that's okay (pen is unforgiving and the nibs on both Rotring pens clogged with the
paper and even lines weren't even but I don't mind the effect). Surely some writing will emerge on
this page, though presently I have no idea what.

click on images for a larger size



Screen shot of my Photoshop Elements page - thought this might be an interesting way to display the different stages of this drawing, from pencil to finished. The pencil sketch in upper left and the black and white center are the 'real' ones - a Sepia filter used with the others. A bit much, so many images of one drawing but...!
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Poem Paintings album at Picasa



A poetry of what we do in our ordinary hours. I find the process of film interesting, especially relationships between characters-those interconnections, in their imagined and real manifestations. Sometimes (when I make myself get out pen and paper) I pause a film and quickly sketch the characters. These sketches are not meant to depict the actual film or actors in any kind of realistic way, or even be recognizable. They are dramas, really, to which I add my own words. You can imagine what is happening. If anything, these simple pieces are meant to be evocative: springboards, synchedoches, inductive rather than deductive, they need you to finish their stories.

Poem Paintings

(I had thought to collect my artpieces with poems, words, where the visual and verbal combine, that I've uploaded to Picasa, but, ahh. So it's growing of its own accord. :-)
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Secrets - a draft



Secrets, 20.5cm x 25.5cm, 8"x10", India inks, archival pen inks, graphite, coffee spill, uploaded January 11, 2011 - a doodle, though I did make a stop and start voice recording as I was writing the words (you can hear the pen scratching on paper in some of it). I'll see about hosting the recording somewhere, and transcribing it I guess. I don't think this piece is finished yet, though maybe it is.

If you click on the drawing, it'll open to a larger size in a new window. It's later, and I've made an .mp3. You can listen. The words are in the drawing, all of them and I'm reading them to you via a 'voice memo' on my iPhone as I'm writing them.

Raw drawing; raw recording. No performance or finesse here. I had to try this once, and once is enough truly.



Not sure how listenable... recorded while composing the writing in the drawing, and you can hear the pen scratching, me flipping pages to look for written images, and the slowness. Voice following the fingers. Reading what's being written, rather than composing out loud. Unable to post as is, the flat voice, so I had to. Bamboo Music, a background.

Brenda Clews, words, voice, mix; background music, Bamboo Music's 'Last Flute,' a free mp3 download on http://music.download.com.

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Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony, 10"x7¾", 25.5x19cm, coloured India inks, pencils on archival unbleached paper.

Earlier versions: ink drawing; mid-way.



Tea Ceremony

The grace in living,
teapot, tea leaves, steeping.
She bends to pour.

When the waters
washed away the homes.
Clotted blood
of his wounds.
Petals floating on dirges.

Yet laughter of lovers,
her heart of memory.
Landscapes of green
move through us.

Comfort of the gentle
and exact tea ceremony.
Love is everything
the great artist sings.

©Brenda Clews, 2009

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