This is the way to the end of the rainbow,
the road winds away through the fields,
down came the boys from the cold side of heaven,
to carry us home on our shields.
mt forest #546 verse:10 the six-minute night 2018
This is the way to the end of the rainbow,
the road winds away through the fields,
down came the boys from the cold side of heaven,
to carry us home on our shields.
mt forest #546 verse:10 the six-minute night 2018
Moose scapula, acrylic paint, beads, wooden tags, crystal chandelier parts.
The elephant's graveyard
is a myth.
They die where they fall,
like any other
like any other ghost
born of memory,
like any other
We're the ones
from the burnt
Back of moose scapula. Wire, beads, collage, acrylic paint. April 2018.
Acrylic paint on paper, cut paper.
This is the first draft of a logo for the fictional company, Alternative Artifacts/Upright Tools.
I bought an old oil can from an antique store as my prototype.
I have to redraw the design, then reduce it, and cut a stencil....so, easy peasy, right?
Then I have to figure out what colour(s). Maybe the "A" will just be for the tag. I still have to do an image to go with the Upright Tools name.
This is a collage of a plastic heart from the dollar store, and wings that I got at the thrift shop. I like it for the shape of the wings. For the oil can project I need wings that don't spread out so much.
Version 5. Much simpler. Now I have to cut a stencil, and see if I can apply paint through it onto a curved surface. No problemo, right? This would look good on a t-shirt.
Alternative Artefacts/Upright Tools
The butcher sells bones with their skins wrapped around them,
the sweetest ones taste like the sea,
the hearts cost the earth, and the bones are expensive,
but the rest of the organs are free.
A man with a hammer put nails in my coffin,
it’s covered with thousands of jewels,
I twitch in my sleep, like there’s more to remember
than the simple momentum of tools.
I cough as the smokers make sad declarations,
they call themselves jokers.dot.com,
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again,
you can’t change the world with a bomb.
Changes were made to the house of remembrance,
it’s smaller than ever before,
twenty-six layers of latex emulsion
cover the walls and the door.
A man with a ladder came in through the window,
he’s wearing a leopard-skin coat,
he tells me my dreams have medicinal powers,
but love is the real antidote.
His face is a mirror for all those emotions
you swore you would never reveal,
I looked at his face as it made my reflection,
but sorrow is hard to conceal.
Who do you see when he looks at your image,
how do you live with the lie?
This is the sacrifice heaven requires,
an eye for an eye for an eye.
Pain is a lesson the body remembers,
I suffered a little too long,
I boiled the heart to a tender concoction,
since eating the living is wrong.
It cools on a plate as I look for the candles,
you have to eat slowly at first,
it bobs like a cork in a sea of emotion,
it’s shadow completely immersed.
They dressed me in silk for the mystery tour,
they did what they could with my hair,
they’re not really used to the sight of a body
encrusted in pearls, to be fair.
Time’s a machine with a mortal obsession,
it grinds you to darkness and dust,
hope is the flickering light from a candle,
igniting the things that combust.
The ladder man took out his fat leather wallet,
his pockets have tattering holes,
he’s perfectly drawn, from the tips of his fingers,
down to his Louboutin soles.
He paid me in coins from the country of menace,
I smiled in raptures of joy,
his eyes mirrored beauty in love’s admiration,
but sorrow is hard to destroy.
I captured the mood of a whole generation,
fame is beyond your control,
after the fire burned everything down to it’s embers,
they swallowed me whole.
I drew on the walls with a small yellow pencil,
I want you to feel what I felt,
you talked about dying from love’s poisoned arrow,
but my lump of a heart wouldn’t melt.
Gravity holds you with small restless fingers,
this is why everything moves,
you dance to the voice on the old vinyl record,
as the dust settles into the grooves.
The room is the colour of chalk over roses,
a sickly medicinal pink,
love is the memory no one remembers,
that’s why I wrote this in ink.
I drew on the floor by the light of the candle,
I want you to see what I saw,
the man with the tools stood in front of the mirror,
looking for memory’s flaw.
This is the sequence of life’s precious moments,
a man eats a snake eats a fish,
I want to evolve into something as real
as a shadowless heart on a dish.
Death is a skeleton knitting a sweater,
I want you to dream what I dreamt,
now that I’m shot through the heart with an arrow,
there’s nothing I wouldn’t attempt.
I slept in a room where the bed was an oyster
and I was the mythical pearl,
I’m not really sure how to prove that I’m saner than you,
but I’ll give it a whirl.
He said I was born from the void without mercy,
tomorrow is yesterday’s news,
little does he, with his heart beating madly,
know that I’d kill for his shoes.
mt forest April 2018
This is the first of two paintings, for a friend's cottage. They're from photographs I took years ago. His dad made the chairs. I've spent three days painting this one, and have only done a small area. I think it's going to take a while...
Paint clings to wood by a simple osmosis,
red is the colour of choice,
I heard you say 'flame' as the smoke rose above us,
in a clear and melodious voice.
'a bone in the garden of total eclipses', #542 verse:7
This is the original photograph.
Slowly working on the leaves in the background. I haven't decided if I'm going to add any text to this or not. I need to find a verse I like to go with them, or write one, if I can't find one that exists already. This is layer one of at least three. (I ended up writing a poem to go with the painting, 'a bone in the garden of total eclipses'. I normally write the poem first, and then figure out what image would go with it. Sometimes I have a great object or photograph, but no text to go with it, so I do it the other way around.
I managed to get a bit more done.
Managed to get layer one on the entire chair. So far, so good.
Slowly working my way up through the leaf layer.
This painting has the word 'red' for the text, to go with the verse from the poem 'a bone in the garden of total eclipses'. The next painting of a red chair will have the word 'green'. Still a long way to go.
A bit more done. Eventually I'll finish the first layer of leaves, then I can repaint the whole thing two more times. I have done a little bit more work on the bottom right hand side.
Up 'til 2:30. Progress is slow, but I'll get there in the end.
Finally. Now I can start layer two.
A bit more done. Lots of late nights. Not finished yet. I am enjoying it.
Still working on the sky.
Finally finished. Well, it's signed, so it must be. Did some clouds for the sky. I've also started the red chair painting.
A better photo maybe. Finished.
Moss covers bone like a green velvet blanket,
there's nothing but entropy here,
wolves took the heart and the bones they could carry,
leaving us nothing but fear.
'a bone in the garden of total eclipses', #542 verse:4
Did the drawing, and painted the border blue.
This is the original photograph. This chair is in worse shape than the green one. I kind of like it like this.
Some of the leaves done. I like the way they look more than the ones on the green chair painting. They look more like leaves, and less like abstract shapes. Fun fun fun.
Stayed up late to finish the leaves. Layer one of three.
I really love the trees.
This is the top part of the painting. One layer of paint on everything so far, so it looks streaky from the brushstrokes. Layer two and three will smooth those out. I like it so far.
Everything with a base coat, except the lettering.
Turning up the volume on the colour.
More work on the background.
Finished. I want to do another one.
Photographs, just for themselves.
Hydrangea in the snow. Soft focus.
Ice Y photo. I took this photograph of frozen lake ice near the art gallery, in Peterborough.
I had a print made to hang in the bathroom.
Curled shell on a black volcanic sand beach, in New Zealand.
Shell, Saona Island, Dominican Republic.
Cactus flower, Dominican Republic.
Leaf, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Peeling paint, Fenlon Falls.
Door on a chimney, Oshawa.
Door, in Paris, Ont.
Chris and Dot.
Reflection on the wall.
Sepia Lily, Paris, Ont.
'Blur', car wash photo.
A photo from the '70's.
An icicle over a sign, in Paris, Ont.
And another one.
Quetzal, Monteverdi Cloud Forest, Costa Rica.
Flower, butterfly conservatory, Monteverdi Cloud Forest, Costa Rica.
Flower, butterfly conservatory, Costa Rica.
Leaves, Costa Rica.
A rogue iris that bloomed in the front flower border.
This is an older work. I've experimented with different formats for putting poetry and images together to make one work of art that serves both forms. If the poem is short, then I can get it onto a canvas without it becoming too large. So far, the largest works have been 36 x 36 inches. If the poem is longer then it becomes difficult to get the whole thing on a canvas, with images to go with it. I started by doing collages in the computer, then cutting them out and gluing them to the canvas, and painting the background. They're interesting close up, but I don't feel they work as well from a distance. My next solution was to pick one verse, and enlarge one word or phrase in the verse. This produces a better image from a distance, but then you're not getting the whole poem. My next solution was to write a book, and have the paintings beside the entire poem. I'm still working on that. It's like juggling chainsaws.
About the writing: I started out by writing verses, and counting the number of syllables.
It took me 190 poems to figure out why this worked sometimes, and didn't work other times.
The basic idea is that you're singing, even when you're speaking. Every syllable is a note. You can play the words, syllable by syllable on a piano, or other instrument. Unfortunately, I'm not very musical. I wrote one verse as musical notation, for the book 'dancing down entropy street'. I had to get a music writing program for the computer. I got a free version of Forte. It was a struggle to do it, but I managed to write a couple of bars of music to go with a verse from the poem 'mechanical failure. I'd like to read a poem, and have back-up vocalists, like back-up singers, who say one word or one line of the poem at the same time as I do. I think it would sound interesting. I'd like to make a one-verse video, where you can read the verse, hear the music, and see the music written as a score. This could take some time to research, but as they say, Google is your friend.
This painting/collage is called 'anchor'. It's about my mother, Trudy Small, who was a great artist. There are only 8 verses.
'She moves like the world leans hard to the right',
the first line is about the day we were out for a walk, and she started leaning to the right.
I didn't realize she was having a stroke. It took several hours before I finally figured it out.
The heart-shaped stone came from a beach in New Zealand, also called 'the land of the long white cloud'. The photo is of her as a bridesmaid at her friend Frankie's wedding.
The central heart is an air-dried sculpture I made, and painted, then photographed. The bones are real chicken bones, photographed.
'She slept with her head at the foot of the bed',
She was weak on her left side, and couldn't get in and out of the bed in the bedroom. There wasn't room to turn the bed around, and it was too hard to walk around the bed, so my dad put the pillow at the foot of the bed, and she slept upside down on the bed for the next four years.
This is the verse that goes with the central image of the skeleton dancing in high heels.
She lost years worth of memories when she had her stroke. This verse is about that.
This is a photograph of an anatomical skeleton from the dollar store. The verse is about the idea that there is an afterlife, which I actually don't believe in. It's wishful thinking. Voodoo. But all things are possible in art.
This is a close-up of the skeleton. It's going to be the cover of my book 'dancing down entropy street'. I started off with a red background, and painted the vines in reverse in black, on top of the red. It's harder to do, so more fun for me. The nightgown was an old curtain, which I sponged painted through, on top of the painted skeleton.
This is a verse for a poem called 'the unspoken language'. It's a small collage.
This is a small collage, with one verse, and attachments added to the bottom of the canvas.
They're beads, a chicken bone, a styrofoam moon with textured medium and pearls, and found objects.
I wake in a room, where time has no meaning,
confused by the look on your face,
you look at me like
you've never seen beauty,
shiver in the devil's embrace.
Close-up of the collage. I printed the images, then tore them out, then painted the background and edges, then collaged them onto the black canvas.
This was another solution. One verse per canvas, and the whole poem painted. I need better photos of this. They're only 8 x 10", so they were faster to do, but hanging them was a problem. It was hard to get them to hang perfectly level with each other. Also, they took up a lot of wall space.
This was version two of 'seaglass'. All the verses on one canvas. There are beads attached to the canvas on top of the collaged verses.
This was the form I finally settled on. One verse, with one word painted larger. I'm still printing the text on the computer and cutting it out and collaging it onto the canvas, which I've decided I don't like now. I have hand-painted all of the text, but that's a lot of work, and time consuming, but it makes a cleaner image. There's also a lower limit to the size of the text I can paint that way.
'the circus of the walking dead'
This is the painting with the text hand lettered. I like it.
I also do very small works, sometimes without a verse of poetry, just a few words. This is an altered corned beef lid, with a recycled tube of glue, a spring, beads, wire, and a magnetic poem words 'drink' 'me', and beads with lettering 'now'. It's about Alice in Wonderland's bottle that said 'drink me'. They're fun to make, and they don't take long to do, which is great if you're the kind of person who likes to finish things.
This will be the last painting I have to do for the book I'm working on. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong with the word processing program. It's too late for Christmas, but at least I'm making progress. The poem is called 'weeping for a crow'.
The clouds release their sorrw
in a scattering of snow,
like he's a cradle rocking,
weeping for a crow.
'weeping for a crow' #339 verse:21
As you can see, I haven't got very far, but 3 a.m. is as late as I want to stay up.
Painted the base coat of colour on the bones.
Close up. It's fun to paint bones.
Finished painting the skull. Started working on the left elbow. I like high contrast images. The text will be painted next. It's drawn in pencil, but it doesn't show up on this photo.
Added the dark crimson halo around the skeleton, and behind it. Not finished yet. How is it that every painting I work on is my favourite? Until the next one...
Another layer of paint on the bones. I didn't have time to do the skull. 3 a.m. is late enough.
I'm happy with the way it's going. I always want to finish, so I can see what it looks like.
Pink over the red background, text. Saving the crow for last.
Added a nest to the inside of the torso. A bit of light hit the canvas from the window.
Close-up of the nest.
Pink over the red background, with a few lines of red left as a design element. Not finished yet. I still have to do around the lettering, and paint the details on the crow.
Painted the pink around the text. That just leaves the crow to finish.
Changed the crow. Not sure if it's finished or not.
Close-up of the crow. One layer of blue on the black, I think it needs another one.
Layer one. I'm getting to the end of my book, but I have a few images I need to do for it. I'm having some technical difficulties with the word processing program that I'm trying to resolve. I had hoped to have been finished by August, but now the new deadline is Christmas. If I don't make that, then sometime in the new year. I have one more painting to do after this one, for the poem 'weeping for a crow'. I have lots of poems I'd like to include, but I'm up to 125 pages now so I think I should stop. I can always make another book, right?
So, a few more layers of paint, and it's almost finished. I have to refine the yellow haze around the cockroach. Is it weird that I like him? The poem that goes with this image is called ess oh ess.
Layer two. My aunt asked me why the poem was about Kapuskasing, and what it was about.
I wrote back that it was Kapuskasing, because I needed a four syllable word, and the only other place name I could think of with four syllables was Albuquerque, but then I thought of Kapuskasing, and I decided I'd rather have that because it's Canadian. I also said that the poems are musical, you can play each syllable on a keyboard. I then said I was trying to do that with an on-line keyboard, but that it didn't sound the way I wanted it to, so I was going to have to find a better site. I'd like it if I could write the music down at the same time. Something else I don't know how to do... (I did find a program that did it all for me, at the same time, you hit a key, it plays a musical note, and writes the music at the same time, it's called Forte. It took me a while, but I eventually got the hang of it, and I'm not very musical).
Changed the phaser, and I'm going to redo the right hand. Still a long way to go.
Another day, another layer. Repainted my right hand, and added more rust to the hood of the car. The whole top of the car has to be done next.
Painted the top of the car, and the sky. I like the rust. Still have the back window to do.
Added the clouds to the background.
The pattern was based on a photograph of some coral. There are begonias with a similar pattern.
And for my next feat of prestidigitation, a cockroach in a box...
I bought a new pair of drugstore magnifying glasses, but I didn't like the case that came with them, so I made one out of canvas, then painted it. I ended up lining it with some black felt, which feels nicer.
My name, stenciled in gold and red on brown/black painted canvas.
The back of the case. My favourite number.
A case for my sunglasses. Front.
The back of the case, with the number 666 in red/orange, over the stenciled word Paris.
I made these from place card holder teapots and beads. You clip them onto your tea bag tag to keep it from getting pulled into the tea pot or cup when you pour the boiling water into it.
I like the skull one, of course.
This was my first Tag Clip, with a teapot charm from Michael's. Jo Forrest 2018.
Small moon globe, front.
Small moon globe, back. Globe from the thrift shop, painted black, white painted craters.
Black skeleton fairy for the fairy garden. Jo Forrest 2018.
Four skeleton fairies for the fairy garden. Jo Forrest 2018. Plastic dollar store skeletons, wire, tulle, glitter, glue, heart embellishments, crowns made from air-dry clay, acrylic metallic paint.
little fairy skeletons
Little fairy skeletons
hang naked in the trees,
you can't mistake their buzzing for the buzzing
of the bees.
#570 verse: 1
Thirst is a cup with a hole in the bottom,
hunger's an inch out of reach,
stretch out your hand and caress the astonishing flesh
of the edible peach.
'a door through which all things must pass' #441 verse:17
Added some turquoise...not sure I like it.
Took out the turquoise and added some more dark red. This is better. Still not finished.
Love is a garden of ripe ready peaches,
sweet is the flesh on the bone,
you follow along in the footsteps of sorrow,
but it's better than being alone.
'the devil sheds one golden tear for the end of the world' #480 verse:2
From a photo of some strange squashed peaches I got from the store. The text is done in Lettraset, without the customary single word or words done in a larger text painted onto the canvas.
Close up. I like it.
the twilight of longing#501verse:24
I'm dressed as the sculpture of Venus de Milo,
the tears of a mime on my cheek,
born in an age of belief and denial,
my fingertips bleed when I speak.
O.k. this is what I did. It's hard to photograph yourself. I had to flip it to get it the right way round. I wasn't happy so I took some more photos.
I liked this better. Soft focus on the camera setting to smooth out the wrinkles. I shot it in the shower with the softer light.
Left hand, cropped. High key setting on the camera. Images shot in the mirror.
Right hand. Taken in the mirror.
This is the canvas. I tinted the gesso a kind of light ochre colour. I printed the text in reverse on plain paper and laid it face down onto another fresh layer of the gesso. I rubbed it for a few seconds, then removed it. It did a reasonably good job of transferring the text. I'm going to paint it in by hand later. The "s" at the bottom right was a test. This might work better with a photo paper, instead of a plain white paper. Some of the paper adhered to the canvas, which I didn't want.
First layer of paint on the background, and the torso and face. Lots of layers left to do. I like the little bits of yellow and pink.
A bit more work done on the first layer of paint.
Close-up of the upper half of the painting.
Close-up of the left hand. Needs at least 2 more layers of paint.
A bit more work done on the torso and background. I might change my mind about the background and paint over it. I'll do a bit more and think about it.
A couple of images I found on the internet.
And now for something completely different. Not quite what I want. Too much yellow on the right hand side, but I like it around her face.
Reduced the yellow on the right and did layer 2 of the brown background. Getting closer to what I want.
Did another layer of brown on the background, with a darker brown halo around the shapes on the right hand side. Close, but not quite it.
A bit less yellow. Still needs more paint on the background, and the face needs more work.
Changed the face, changed the right hand. Still not finished.
I went on a studio tour here in Paris, and really enjoyed myself. I wish I'd done it last year.
I met some great artists in my neighbourhood, and I'm thinking about joining for next year.
I enjoyed seeing their studios. It gives me ideas for mine.
Added a layer of red to the background. Needs another one. Still not finished the torso.
Red paint over the brown paint for the background, then red abstracted floral shapes over that.
Still not finished the torso.
Blue background, red abstracted floral shapes. Yes-sir-ee.
Changed the face to look more like me. It's getting closer to what I want. I think it needs a bit more work.
Close up of the face. Needs to be softened a bit I think.
Photo for face for painting. I know, I could have brushed my hair...
Finished at last. Well, it needs the rest of the text, but I still haven't found a way to do that that I like. Lettraset works o.k. but it's a bit tricky to apply to a rough surface.
I've started a book, through Amazon. So far all I've done is the cover. I used one of their templates, but as an ex-graphic designer, and obsessive, I found it a bit restrictive. I've been trying unsuccessfully to import a photo of myself from another file, but that seems to be above my pay grade. I'll keep working on it. This could take a while. I was hoping to have it done for my birthday, at the end of August. I had to read most of my poems to try to come up with a short list for the book, I was hoping to find 25 good ones, as an arbitrary number, and came up with 60...so I have some editing to do. Not all of them have images to go with them, so that's a challenge. I don't have time to do that many paintings in time, and I'm not sure I want to do a mixture of paintings and photographs. I guess I'll start with the ones I do have paintings for and go from there. This is the cover painting. It's a close up from the poem 'anchor'.
Well, I know this took far longer than I thought it would, but I can finally say, with much pleasure, that the book ‘dancing down entropy street’ is now available on Amazon. Today, November 26 2018 would have been my brother Howard’s 61st birthday. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened. I’m very happy, and relieved that this part is over. Now I can reconfigure it for an e-book, and I want to sell some of the images as prints on Amazon. Two more projects to keep me busy. The iris painting is going to have to wait. I also made a piece of stained glass for the window in the stairwell, so there’s that too. I ordered an artist’s copy for myself today, so there’s my first book sold. Ha. It might be the only book sold…but that’s not the point. I just wanted something to exist in the world that as many people as possible could see.
Added a short bio to my Author’s Page on Amazon.
Got my author’s proof of the book in the mail today.
The cover. It arrived two days earlier than the tracking email said it would, which is great. I’m going to go through it very carefully to make sure there aren’t any mistakes. There are a couple of layout issues I had when I uploaded this, that I’ve since figured out how to fix, but they’re minor problems. I’m still working on the ebook. It’s done, now I have to convert it to a file format that Amazon likes, and upload it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to sell ‘archival quality prints’ on Amazon from images from the book. I find most websites are like some kind of a Stygian maze. I keep ending up back at the same place I started from.
This is the author’s proof I ordered for myself so I could proofread it, and make any corrections. I found it hard to learn how to use the Word program on my own. It’s like trying to catch eels in a bucket.
This is the book, on top of the original painting. The painting is for a poem called ‘anchor’.
The book, opened to page 6, with the image for the poem ‘dancing down entropy street’. The photograph on the right hand page at the bottom is of a see-through doll I got at the thrift shop. I don’t know who he’s supposed to be.
I’ve been trying to do an ebook version of the paperback book. I managed to generate a table of contents that connects to the poem titles, but then it wouldn’t upload… Things are never easy. They sent me instructions, but they seem a bit above my pay grade, so I’ll have to seek technical assistance.
Brenda’s copy of the book.
My friend Carol with the pink poodle painting, and a copy of the book.
Harris, with his copy of ‘dancing down entropy street’. Dec 25 2018.
Brenda, with the book, in front of the original painting.
Me, with ‘anchor’, the painting/collage with the image I used for the book, at the Lindsay Art Gallery.
Also, the painting/collage ‘the unspoken language’, behind me.
I had to change service providers to get a faster uploading speed, so I could finally upload the e book version of the book. I can’t believe it took me this long to do, but it’s done now. I am greatly relieved. I’m sure there are some layout issues I’ll have to tweak, but it’s basically done. The next step is to order a copy for myself, so I can see what it looks like on a tablet. My next venture is to have individual prints for sale from the book. I have at least a dozen I’d like to have available. I have some photos in the book too, my favourite one is of a shell on a black sand beach in New Zealand. I have a framed photo in my bathroom and it looks great. I like the ‘ICE Y’ photo too, taken in Peterborough, Ont. I also have a large framed print of that, in my other bathroom. The room is painted grey, so it looks great hanging on the wall.
This is the shell photo. Available on DeviantArt.
This is the ‘Ice Y’ photograph. Cracked ice on the lake, Peterborough, Ont. Available on DeviantArt.
His eyes were calm with purpose
but his heart could not be found,
he's out there in a state of bliss,
just walking it around.
Layer one. Didn't have time to finish the face.
Layer 2 of the yellow. Left some of the first layer showing through as a kind of reverse shadow.
Hand and torso almost done. It looks like muscles without skin.
Close up of the new background colours.
Left side done. You can only paint for so long.
Time adds pain to observation,
beauty does the math,
I saw you with your hair on fire,
floating in the bath.
Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40", unfinished.
Adding flames to the hair. This is going to take a while.
One more layer. Added little white dots to the lettering, but I'm not sure that's enough.
Outlined the lettering in black. Did some more on the blue area. I've attached the tag to the back of the painting with the text, and signed it, so it's either finished, or very close to it.
The psychopaths are in control,
we follow them like sheep,
but we have vengeance in our hearts,
and promises to keep.
The psychopaths are in control,
we follow them like sheep,
but we have vengeance in our hearts,
and promises to keep.
The circus clowns jump through the hoops,
(the tigers are extinct),
(though no one wearing tiger skins
admits the two are linked).
Women dressed as butterflies
ride horses painted blue,
chained to love’s continuum,
their dreams are coming true.
Underneath the glitter
is an underwire bra,
we all obey the gravity
of Newton’s second law.
They draw attention to themselves,
the better to be seen,
it’s hard to blend into the background
We’re mesmerized by naked flesh,
we won’t pretend we’re not,
desire’s soft albino skin
replaces conscious thought.
The acrobats will not perform
without a safety net,
we complain, but for a dollar,
this is all you get.
The smell of popcorn fills the air,
we lick our fingers clean,
words slide sideways off your tongue,
but we know what you mean.
Virtue wears a human face,
it’s guilt that wears a mask,
whether we’re possessed or not
depends on who you ask.
The Circus of the Walking Dead
suspends our disbelief,
they violate their own commandments,
much to our relief.
Contortionists turn inside out,
their scarlet hearts revealed,
and though I know the secret codes,
my ruby lips are sealed.
The belly dancers raise the dead,
it’s what they’re born to do,
we’ll all be dancing with the devil
by the time they’re through.
The fire-eaters don’t inhale,
the smoke is thick and sweet,
even Satan’s frozen heart
is melting in the heat.
The television’s black and white,
the rabbit ears are bent,
every night we watch the man without a tongue
He waits behind the velvet curtain,
I tell myself that this is as
chaotic as it gets.
The tent folds up into a box,
by morning we’ll be gone,
we’re naked and invisible
without our faces on.
We navigate the labyrinth,
they tell me love is blind,
the man behind the curtain breaks my heart,
but I don’t mind.
My head is full of cotton candy,
bubbles and champagne,
there’s nothing so impossible to live without
"the circus of the walking dead" was a response to the prevailing political climate of the times. I wish we could choose our leaders with a bit more common sense. The text was inspired by Frost's 1923 poem "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening". "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep".
"the paper mausoleum" #496 verse:3
A china doll with missing eyes
lay naked in a box,
who am I to argue with
the gravity of clocks?
I stayed up 'til 3 working on it. This is the start. It's 30 x 40", on a deep stretcher. I stretched the canvas myself, and mixed some burned umber paint into the gesso to tint it. The lines for the arm, and the nose are all that you can see of that now.
Layer 3. So far, so good. I'll lighten the cheeks a bit on the next layer. The lips look better here than they do in real life.
Second layer on the cheeks. Looking better.
A few more small changes. Maybe now it's finished.
Hi, Here are a few of my paintings and poems. I have been thinking about doing a website for a couple of years now, but kept putting it off because I thought it would be a bit too difficult to do. I decided to go ahead and do my best anyway. I will add more images as time goes on. At the moment I'm doing a painting of a burned out grain silo, from a photograph I took of one, just down the road from me. I take photos of the painting every day, so I can catalog the process. This is step one:
and step two:
It takes at least 3 or more layers of paint for it to look good. Sometimes I do a lot more, because I change my mind part way through.
The text reads: "but love will fade away, away, it that's all dreaming does". I experimented with doing some of it in Lettraset, which is tricky to apply to the uneven surface of a painted canvas. (Not shown in this photo). The larger text I print from the computer and trace onto the surface, then hand paint it. It's slow, but I like it. The next photo will show the grey wall behind the text altered to go around the word "if" better. Sometimes I can do a painting in 3 days, sometimes it takes 3 weeks. I have one painting of a peach, which you would think would be a relatively simple painting, but I've done multiple layers, and I still don't like it.
I'm interested in the process of making art as well as the finished project. I watch every program on TV I can about the artistic process. There's a good one on now, on PBS, called Craft in America. I am always inspired by seeing work that's better than I can do. I watched a show on an American photographer named Vivian Maier, which I liked. Talk about obsession. Last night there was one about a Toronto photographer named Barbara Cole. She does fantastic photographs of people underwater. Truly amazing.
Right, I'm off to make another chair cushion for the dining room. I have to change the fabric since I painted the room blue. I did one yesterday, and that was enough sewing for me for one day. 5 more to go. Stay tuned for more images of the burned silo. Thanks for listening.
Layer 2, turning up the volume a little.
The left side, not finished, but it's a start. Up 'til 3 a.m. Wrote 'til 4, finally went to bed.
Added a small flame and some smoke to the top of the silo.
The walls, and the added flame. Still not finished, but it's slowly morphing into something I like.
Did some more work on the sky, not finished yet. I don't like the white wave thing at the bottom left. It's getting there though.
O.k. Maybe this is it. I bridged the two rock walls at the bottom and added a few small details. I'll have to sit and look at it for a while to spot any areas that don't look right.
Art is the emotional, made physical
time, and objects made of bone,
and death's immortal kiss.
the sentimental object #242 verse:12
The original photograph of the deer skull for the painting "bones don't lie".