the blood pear

the blood pear  verse:19 and 35


'the blood pear'  Jo Forrest 2018.

Your shadow bowed it's curtain call,

it left for parts unknown,

I struggle on to catalogue the universe,

alone.

 

You taught me truth from razz-ma-tazz,

for that, I'm grateful too,

for all the words, the images,

the memory of you.

 

for Anthony Bourdain.


The last iconic drop of water
overfills the cup,
the dead are lost to silence but
you just can’t give them up.

Twisting turns the mechanism
clock-wise to the day,
you offered it a dollar but
your shadow walked away.

I cuddled up against your spine,
you’re belly-soft and round,
you won’t be so euphoric when
your bones are in the ground.

Beauty fades, but bone endures,
we’re all the same to Death,
I shucked my shoes and ran until
I ran beyond my breath.

I left you smudgy fingerprints
and reliquary bones,
the this and that, the why and how,
the sickly pheromones.

I left you pain and endless cups
of chamomile tea,
I left you in the dark beside
the empty skin of me.

There is no grief beyond the heart’s
ability to bear,
the seeds acquire memories
inside the bloody pear.

No resurrection ghost will come
to haunt your murky dreams,
the widdershin machine is less unstable
than it seems.

It’s slow, by any measure you could
quantify by tears,
overhead and underneath,
the music of the spheres.

In between, the spinning poles,
the arc of bluest sky,
the shadow laying on the ground,
the solitary fly.

There isn’t time to count the dead,
their numbers multiply,
too much time makes anything
complacent to the eye.

Bubbles form in brewing blood,
the sugar turns to sap,
blunt your former pearly teeth,
the bones will not unwrap.

If only kissing brought you back,
then Death would turn his cheek,
you and I would find the warm entanglement
we seek.

Your bones will brood eternity,
I’ve seen them bend and brawl,
you’ll rarely see them moving in the darkness,
if at all.

I hear you breathing in and out,
the mechanism speaks,
I promise you, I’ll study your collapsing star
for weeks.

Your skin will lie abandoned
like a dream you can’t recall,
joy is coddled sweet and raw,
but suffering is all.

You’re sweating, I can taste the ocean
cooling on your skin,
every heart that beats for love
is clock-wise to the spin.

Stars implode and gravity
curves bones into a sphere,
matter turns to energy
a billion times a year.

Your shadow bowed it’s curtain call,
it left for parts unknown,
I struggle on to catalogue the universe,
alone.

Fusion takes the place of love,
we glow the white-hot heat,
we dance the shoes right off our small
incendiary feet.

We tick-tack-toed across the floor,
the air was blue with smoke,
we haloed them with roses as
the mechanism broke.

Your shadow left before your hands
could button up your shirt,
we eye the world with wary eyes,
but beauty is inert.

Your shadow curled around me like
a secondary skin,
a week, a month, a year from now,
the dreaming will begin.

Why would I accept my heart’s
miscalculating eye?
I’d pierce my skin with rusty blades
if I thought I could die.

I’d rearrange the day’s events
to give you time to waste,
I’d cook your alter-ego’s bones
and grind them into paste.

I’d spread it thin beneath the sun,
the bitter parts consumed,
by us, I mean the torturers,
the chosen ones, the doomed.

I wove a nest around your bones
to help them feel secure,
helpless in absentia,
I’m drawn to their allure.

Knowledge passes skin to skin,
it’s best to break the rules,
beneath a swollen sullen moon,
the remnant body cools.

Beauty speaks an ancient language
no one’s ever heard,
I see why you, the traveller,
thought sorrow was a bird.

It’s voice was high and musical,
you loved the awful sound,
you packed your bags and left for greener pastures,
homeward bound.

We cried the night the moonlight died,
your shadow flew the coop,
I dreamt your resurrection in
a never-ending loop.

Waking is the hardest part,
we all know dreams aren’t real,
I know it’s wrong to love the moon,
but this is how I feel.

Underneath, we’re lonely too,
there’s little to deny,
there’s more to life than beauty but
it hastens from the eye.

This is what the bones believe:
it’s better to forget,
it’s better to remember things
that haven’t happened yet.

You taught me truth from razz-ma-tazz,
for that, I’m grateful too,
for all the words, the images,
the memory of you.

Cast away your heavy heart,
it’s need outweighs it’s worth,
ease your tired bones into
the sympathetic earth.

The body shrinks around it’s core,
there’s time for beauty yet,
it’s time to write the story in
another alphabet.

The body wears it’s history
for everyone to see,
the Buddhist master said it best,
‘to be is not to be’.

 

                                mt forest 2018

 

 

 

the six-minute night


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


Angel ornament collage Lindsay Gallery 2014 - 15 (2).JPG

'boom the rain'


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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

sole

survivor,

like any other ghost

born of memory,

like any other

amnesty

of remembrance.

 

We're the ones

who make

windchimes

from the burnt

bones.

 

mt forest.


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Back of moose scapula.  Wire, beads, collage, acrylic paint.  April 2018.


Alternative Artifacts/Upright Tools


Alternative Artefacts the letter A Jo hand drawn March 29.jpg

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.


Alternative Artefacts star logo Mar 31 '18 two.jpg

Version two.


Alternative Artefacts winged logo Ap 4 with tag.jpg

Version three.


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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.


Heart for alternative artefacts upright tools april 4 2018 (3).jpg

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.


Alternative Artefacts A circle star wings logo May 30 '18.jpg

Version four.


Alternative Artefacts wing June 3 '18 red star white A.jpg

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.

 Version 5 on a t-shirt in rusty colours.

Version 5 on a t-shirt in rusty colours.


 Version 6.  I'm losing track of how many I've done.   

Version 6.  I'm losing track of how many I've done.

 


 Ammo box from 1941.  A potential project.

Ammo box from 1941.  A potential project.


 

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

'a bone in the garden of total eclipses' red chair/green chair paintings

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


Charlie Feb 1 whole.JPG

Charlie's Dad's green chair '02 (3).jpg

This is the original photograph.


Green chair Feb 5.JPG

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.


Charlie Feb 8.JPG

I managed to get a bit more done.


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Managed to get layer one on the entire chair.  So far, so good.


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Slowly working my way up through the leaf layer.


March 18.JPG

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.


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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.


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Up 'til 2:30.  Progress is slow, but I'll get there in the end.


March 31.JPG

Finally.  Now I can start layer two.


April 14 one.JPG

A bit more done.  Lots of late nights.  Not finished yet.  I am enjoying it.

 


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Still working on the sky.


April 26 '18 (2).JPG

Finally finished.  Well, it's signed, so it must be.  Did some clouds for the sky.  I've also started the red chair painting.


green chair 2 (2).jpg

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


Red chair April 26.JPG

Did the drawing, and painted the border blue. 


Charlie's Dad's red chair (3).jpg

This is the original photograph.  This chair is in worse shape than the green one.  I kind of like it like this.


April 29 red chair.JPG

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.


May 3 no border (2).JPG

Stayed up late to finish the leaves.  Layer one of three.


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I really love the trees.


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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.


May 5 (2).JPG

Everything with a base coat, except the lettering.


May 12.JPG

Turning up the volume on the colour. 


May 12 two.JPG

More work on the background.


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Finished.  I want to do another one.


Photons and pixels

Photographs, just for themselves.


Hydrangea soft focus for book resized down.jpg

Hydrangea in the snow.  Soft focus. 


Ice Y photo for book resized down.jpg

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.


Shell NZ '11.JPG

Curled shell on a black volcanic sand beach, in New Zealand.


Calender Sea Shell.jpg

Shell, Sayona Island, Dominican Republic.


Cactus flower.JPG

Cactus flower, Dominican Republic.


Leaf 2.jpg

Leaf, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.


blue peeling paint.jpg

Peeling paint, Fenlon Falls.


Metal door 3.JPG

Door on a chimney, Oshawa.


trip door Paris linen shop straightened.jpg

Door, in Paris, Ont.


Chris and Dot 2 (2).JPG

Chris and Dot.


Peony backlit 1.jpg

Peony, Oshawa.


reflection on wall copy.jpg

Reflection on the wall.


Lily sepia altered.jpg

Sepia Lily, Paris, Ont.


car wash blur.JPG

'Blur', car wash photo.


sunlight on sheer curtain.jpg

A photo from the '70's.


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An icicle over a sign, in Paris, Ont. 


DSCF1889 (2).JPG

And another one.


 Toucan, Costa Rica.

Toucan, Costa Rica.


Costa Rica Quetzal cropped.JPG

Quetzal, Monteverdi Cloud Forest, Costa Rica.


Flower, butterfly conservatory, Mondeverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica.

Flower, butterfly conservatory, Monteverdi Cloud Forest, Costa Rica.


Costa Rica butterfly cons flower.JPG

Flower, butterfly conservatory, Costa Rica.


 Birds on a chain-link fence at the Canadian Tire.   

Birds on a chain-link fence at the Canadian Tire.

 


DSCF2215 (2).JPG

Leaves, Costa Rica.


In the beginning...

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 want to write one verse as musical notation.  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.


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This painting/collage is called 'anchor'.  It's about my mother, Trudy Small, who was a great artist.  There are only 8 verses.


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'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.


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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.


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The central heart is an air-dried sculpture I made, and painted, then photographed.  The bones are real chicken bones, photographed.


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'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. 


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This is the verse that goes with the central image of the skeleton dancing in high heels. 


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She lost years worth of memories when she had her stroke.  This verse is about that.


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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.


DSC02853.JPG

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.

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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.


DSC02867.JPG

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.


'seaglass'

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.

seaglass 1.JPG

seaglass all together.JPG

seaglass.JPG

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.


panic crow cropped website.jpg

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'

five jester painting.jpg

This is the painting with the text hand lettered.  I like it.


drink me now small collage down.jpg

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. 


 

 

 

weeping for a crow

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,

he sways,

like he's a cradle rocking,

weeping for a crow.

'weeping for a crow'  #339 verse:21


DSC02815.JPG

As you can see, I haven't got very far, but 3 a.m. is as late as I want to stay up.


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Painted the base coat of colour on the bones. 


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Close up.  It's fun to paint bones. 


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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.


weeping for a crow Dec 29.JPG

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...


weeping for a crow Jan 4.JPG

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.


Jan 5.JPG

Pink over the red background, text.  Saving the crow for last.


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Added a nest to the inside of the torso.  A bit of light hit the canvas from the window.


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Close-up of the nest. 


Jan 11 crow.JPG

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.


DSC02891.JPG

Painted the pink around the text.  That just leaves the crow to finish.


Jan 17.JPG

Changed the crow.  Not sure if it's finished or not.

Jan 17 crow two.JPG

Close-up of the crow.  One layer of blue on the black, I think it needs another one.


Cockroach painting for the book 'Dancing down entropy street'.


DSC02804.JPG

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? 


DSC02807.JPG

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.


Eye glass case, Tea Bag Tag Clips, Fairy Skeletons

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.


Jo eye glass holder canvas painted stencilled Oct 6 '17.JPG

My name, stenciled in gold and red on brown/black painted canvas.


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The back of the case.  My favourite number.


Oct 21 sunglasses.JPG

A case for my sunglasses.  Front.


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The back of the case, with the number 666 in red/orange, over the stenciled word Paris.


TBag clips teapots (2).JPG

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.

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This was my first Tag Clip, with a teapot charm from Michael's.  Jo Forrest 2018.


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Small moon globe, front.


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Small moon globe, back.  Globe from the thrift shop, painted black, white painted craters. 
Not finished.


skeleton fairy black (2).JPG

Black skeleton fairy for the fairy garden.  Jo Forrest 2018.


skeleton fairies one (2).JPG

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


the never-ending peach painting and four peaches on a striped background

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

 


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Added some turquoise...not sure I like it.

peach painting cropped Aug 22.JPG

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


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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.


Oct 4 peaches close up.JPG

Close up.  I like it.

Venus de Milo

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.

 Photo from the internet for my next painting of me as the Venus de Milo.  I bought black leotards at the thrift shop in Paris to make sleeves for my arms.  I am going to have my hands floating in space, as if they found the hands, but not the arms for the sculpture.  I might change the position of my left arm.  I had a thought.  I thought about making the front half of the torso in paper mache so I could wear it for the photograph.  I'm not going to do it, but it was an interesting idea.  In the meantime, I'm working on layer 20 of a painting of a peach that just won't end.  I've also done a painting of 4 peaches from a photo I took, and it turned out fine.  I don't know why it's easy sometimes, and hard other times.  I think I'm still working on it because I can't start the other painting anyway, otherwise it would still be sitting there tempting me to paint over it and start from scratch. 

Photo from the internet for my next painting of me as the Venus de Milo.  I bought black leotards at the thrift shop in Paris to make sleeves for my arms.  I am going to have my hands floating in space, as if they found the hands, but not the arms for the sculpture.  I might change the position of my left arm.

I had a thought.  I thought about making the front half of the torso in paper mache so I could wear it for the photograph.  I'm not going to do it, but it was an interesting idea.

In the meantime, I'm working on layer 20 of a painting of a peach that just won't end.  I've also done a painting of 4 peaches from a photo I took, and it turned out fine.  I don't know why it's easy sometimes, and hard other times.  I think I'm still working on it because I can't start the other painting anyway, otherwise it would still be sitting there tempting me to paint over it and start from scratch. 


DSC02643 (2).JPG

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.


Jo Venus cropped.JPG

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.


Jo hand cropped.JPG

Left hand, cropped.  High key setting on the camera.  Images shot in the mirror.


Jo Venus hand cropped right.JPG

Right hand.  Taken in the mirror.


DSCF1520.JPG

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. 


 This is the first layer of paint on the left hand, holding the apple.

This is the first layer of paint on the left hand, holding the apple.


 Right hand, layer one.  I'll have to reshoot this one.

Right hand, layer one.  I'll have to reshoot this one.


 The text at the bottom of the painting.  Layer one.

The text at the bottom of the painting.  Layer one.


 The whole painting, such as it is at the moment.  The hands are floating in space, as if they found them, but not the arms.  I really didn't need the black sleeves, but I liked the idea.      

The whole painting, such as it is at the moment.  The hands are floating in space, as if they found them, but not the arms.

I really didn't need the black sleeves, but I liked the idea.

 

 


Venus cropped Sept 3.JPG

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.


venus sept 8 cropped.JPG

A bit more work done on the first layer of paint.


sept 8 venus close up.JPG

Close-up of the upper half of the painting.


sept 8 hand venus  cropped.JPG

Close-up of the left hand.  Needs at least 2 more layers of paint.


DSC02685.JPG

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.

venus de milo with arms Sept 19.jpg

venus de milo shadow.jpg

Sept 20.JPG

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.


Sept 21.JPG

Reduced the yellow on the right and did layer 2 of the brown background.  Getting closer to what I want. 


Sept 22 whole.JPG

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.


Sept 23 better.JPG

A bit less yellow.  Still needs more paint on the background, and the face needs more work. 


DSC02711 (2).JPG

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.


Oct 5 red close up.JPG

Added a layer of red to the background.  Needs another one.  Still not finished the torso.


DSC02735.JPG

Red paint over the brown paint for the background, then red abstracted floral shapes over that.

Still not finished the torso.


Oct 8 cropped.JPG

Blue background, red abstracted floral shapes.  Yes-sir-ee.


Oct 12 Jo face distance.JPG

Changed the face to look more like me.  It's getting closer to what I want.  I think it needs a bit more work. 


Oct 12 Jo face close up.JPG

Close up of the face.  Needs to be softened a bit I think.


Jo face for venus de milo painting Oct 11 more full face than the other one.jpg

Photo for face for painting.  I know, I could have brushed my hair...


DSC02741.JPG

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. 

dancing down entropy street

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'.  


 She moves like the world leans hard to the left,  her bones tumble out of their grave,  they dance with the devil on seven-inch heels,  since this is how bad bones behave.  anchor #185 verse:7

She moves like the world leans hard to the left,

her bones tumble out of their grave,

they dance with the devil on seven-inch heels,

since this is how bad bones behave.

anchor #185 verse:7


sermons of redemption #486 verse:33

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.


 O.k.  This is more like it.

O.k.  This is more like it.


Hand and torso almost done.  It looks like muscles without skin.


 Hand.  Needs a bit more work.  From a photo of my own hand, taken in a mirror.

Hand.  Needs a bit more work.  From a photo of my own hand, taken in a mirror.


Close up of the new background colours. 


Torso finished.


 Recalculating, recalculating....  Legs done, and the pink background behind the head.  Now I have to do the blue.  Ha.  I see I missed a spot.

Recalculating, recalculating....  Legs done, and the pink background behind the head.  Now I have to do the blue.  Ha.  I see I missed a spot.


 More turquoise background.  Slowly, slowly.

More turquoise background.  Slowly, slowly.


Left side done.  You can only paint for so long.


 Almost finished.  Worked 'til 2 a.m. then called it quits.

Almost finished.  Worked 'til 2 a.m. then called it quits.


 Finished the background.  Working on the text now.  I painted another layer of white on the lettering, and I'm going to remove the green space around it.  The word 'just' is already done.  Finished the lettering (not shown), and now I'm adding a darker border around the whole painting.  I think the pink circle needs a bit of work still too. 

Finished the background.  Working on the text now.  I painted another layer of white on the lettering, and I'm going to remove the green space around it.  The word 'just' is already done.

Finished the lettering (not shown), and now I'm adding a darker border around the whole painting.  I think the pink circle needs a bit of work still too. 


 Slightly darker blue border.  A bit too much shine from the lights on this photo.  I'll have to take another one.

Slightly darker blue border.  A bit too much shine from the lights on this photo.  I'll have to take another one.


 Close up of border.

Close up of border.


 Added some veins to the heart.

Added some veins to the heart.


the graveyard of the moon #499 verse: 14

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.

 Me in the bathtub, layer 1.  Bottecelli's Venus as inspiration for the hair.

Me in the bathtub, layer 1.  Bottecelli's Venus as inspiration for the hair.


 Layer 2.  You can see the ghost of the word 'floating' at the top left side of the canvas.

Layer 2.  You can see the ghost of the word 'floating' at the top left side of the canvas.


Adding flames to the hair.  This is going to take a while.


 A bit more work done.  Still a long way from finished.

A bit more work done.  Still a long way from finished.


 Close up.  Getting there.   

Close up.  Getting there.

 


 Added some pink to the skin. 

Added some pink to the skin. 


 Darker pink. Some dark grey.  I still have to do the top half of the painting.  The text will be last.

Darker pink. Some dark grey.  I still have to do the top half of the painting.  The text will be last.


 Did the text, another layer of lighter pink, and the inside top of the tub.  I'm happy with it now.  I'll probably do a bit more before I say it's finished.  I have two good ideas for the next two paintings.  I can't wait to start them.  One of them involves me, dressed as the Venus de Milo, with my arms painted black.  The other one is the devil, my favourite metaphor.

Did the text, another layer of lighter pink, and the inside top of the tub.  I'm happy with it now.

I'll probably do a bit more before I say it's finished.  I have two good ideas for the next two paintings.  I can't wait to start them.  One of them involves me, dressed as the Venus de Milo, with my arms painted black.  The other one is the devil, my favourite metaphor.


 Changed the colour of the text, added a few more details, the blue area behind my head isn't finished yet.  Added little flickers of flame.  Getting there.

Changed the colour of the text, added a few more details, the blue area behind my head isn't finished yet.  Added little flickers of flame.  Getting there.


 Decided the background needed more detail.  It's not finished yet.  Also, the text needs a little something.   

Decided the background needed more detail.  It's not finished yet.  Also, the text needs a little something.

 


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.


 Bottecelli's Venus.

Bottecelli's Venus.


 Original photograph.  Set the camera, get in the bathtub, pose, get out of the bathtub, set camera, get back into the bathtub...repeat 30 times.  Do it again the next day with water in the tub.  Discard all of those ones. 

Original photograph.  Set the camera, get in the bathtub, pose, get out of the bathtub, set camera, get back into the bathtub...repeat 30 times.  Do it again the next day with water in the tub.  Discard all of those ones. 

the circus of the walking dead #240 verse:1



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
wearing neoprene.


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
repent.


He waits behind the velvet curtain,
smoking cigarettes,
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
as pain.


mt forest

2017

#240


"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".

please stand by...

"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?


 Step one.  This is a painting from a photograph I took of a doll in an antique store.  It didn't have any eyes, which I found interesting.  June 3 '17.

Step one.  This is a painting from a photograph I took of a doll in an antique store.  It didn't have any eyes, which I found interesting.  June 3 '17.


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.


 Up 'til 3 again.  I like the cheeks, even though they're more abstracted than the photo. 

Up 'til 3 again.  I like the cheeks, even though they're more abstracted than the photo. 


Second layer on the cheeks.  Looking better. 


 Added the text, and some blue to the eyes, and pink to the body.  Gettin' there.

Added the text, and some blue to the eyes, and pink to the body.  Gettin' there.

 Added another layer to the box.  I'm going to say this is finished.  I went to Michael's and bought a new canvas, so that's a good sign.  I've initialed the side of the canvas, but I normally sign the back, which I haven't done yet. 

Added another layer to the box.  I'm going to say this is finished.  I went to Michael's and bought a new canvas, so that's a good sign.  I've initialed the side of the canvas, but I normally sign the back, which I haven't done yet. 


doll's head painting June 8.jpg

A few more small changes.  Maybe now it's finished.


 This is the original photo I took.  I wish here eyes were lying beside her in the box.  Hmmmmm.......

This is the original photo I took.  I wish here eyes were lying beside her in the box.  Hmmmmm.......

Welcome to the machine

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 3.  There's going to be a bit of thrashing around here, I can tell.  Some parts I like, some parts I don't.  I just keep repainting areas until I like them, then move on to the next area.  I find it hard to paint the same way from one day to the next sometimes. 

Layer 3.  There's going to be a bit of thrashing around here, I can tell.  Some parts I like, some parts I don't.  I just keep repainting areas until I like them, then move on to the next area.  I find it hard to paint the same way from one day to the next sometimes. 


 Layer 4.  I simplified the middle bit and added a second layer to the dark side.  The top still needs more work.  Sometimes I only work for half an hour or so, so not much gets done.    

Layer 4.  I simplified the middle bit and added a second layer to the dark side.  The top still needs more work.  Sometimes I only work for half an hour or so, so not much gets done. 

 


 May 9th.  I started out late last night to just paint one small section, and finished at 2 a.m.  The problem with painting is it's addictive.  If I like the way things are working out, then I just keep going. 

May 9th.  I started out late last night to just paint one small section, and finished at 2 a.m.  The problem with painting is it's addictive.  If I like the way things are working out, then I just keep going. 


 I added more grey paint to the rock walls.

I added more grey paint to the rock walls.


 This is a close up of the added grey...no, still not right.  The black structure is actually an old burned bed frame, and some metal piled up together.  The yellow and blue are just for fun.

This is a close up of the added grey...no, still not right.  The black structure is actually an old burned bed frame, and some metal piled up together.  The yellow and blue are just for fun.


 This is more like it.  Up 'til 2 a.m. working on it, but now I'm happy.   

This is more like it.  Up 'til 2 a.m. working on it, but now I'm happy.

 


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.


 Up 'til 3 working on the bottom left side, and the sky.  The bottom left is still too busy, so I'll have to simplify it some more.  I like the sky. 

Up 'til 3 working on the bottom left side, and the sky.  The bottom left is still too busy, so I'll have to simplify it some more.  I like the sky. 


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. 


 Close up.  The spiral is a tornado, seen from above, or below.  I've always been afraid of them, since The Wizard of Oz movie.   

Close up.  The spiral is a tornado, seen from above, or below.  I've always been afraid of them, since The Wizard of Oz movie.

 


 I think this is probably finished.  I have signed the back, so that means I'm pretty sure I'm done.

I think this is probably finished.  I have signed the back, so that means I'm pretty sure I'm done.


 On second thought, the left side still needed some work.  Still not sure if it's finished or not.

On second thought, the left side still needed some work.  Still not sure if it's finished or not.


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.


 This is the original photo I was working from.

This is the original photo I was working from.