Detail of 'Charcoal Poems' in-progress

Charcoal Poems, in-process-detail, Brenda Clews, 2012, 5' x 5', willow charcoal, oils on double primed canvas.

Sun shone into the living room, so the lighting was better than the photo I took last night. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get an evenly lit photo of the whole painting due to its angle, the size of my space, and so on. A part of me wants to leave it as part drawing, with lots of blank canvas, but we'll see what happens as I continue working on it.

Some notes as I responded to Facebook comments:
  • These paintings are like writing. In the way that characters come to an author, I find myself getting to know the figures who have emerged and understanding what they are doing, what they are conveying, and how they are part of the visual imagination.
  • The next painting will be stapled onto a stretcher - stapling to the back of an office divider doesn't work very well. Not only is the canvas a bit loose, but the divider tends to do what tall buildings do in high wind when I paint. It has a rhythm, literally. Also, it's too heavy to put on my studio easel, so I have to sit on the floor to work.
  • While my mother's death is not an actual focus in this painting, yet painting is a way to work out one's feelings, which rise to the surface to be expressed and released... 
Last night, I added some orange, and then wavered off to sleep. My brother probably has already picked up my mother's ashes, and he trying to see if her niece in South Africa might be ok with spreading them there - my mother so loved her home country, and always missed it, and often said she would like to go back and die there. But we don't know if our idea is feasible, vis-a-vis shipping, or possible for her beloved niece. I think my mother's recent death came up in the Paul Celan quote I used. Paul Celan is a poet of death like no other.

In the painting, to the right of the woman (not visible in this detail), some lines from Paul Celan's, 'In Prague':

The half death,
suckled plump on our life,
lay ash-image-true all around us -

we too
went on drinking, soul-crossed, two daggers,
sewn onto heavenstones, wornblood-born

(With thanks to Pierre-Marie, Bent, Don, and Brandon [among many others] for comments which elicited these responses.)
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