art rat cafe

words, images and food for thought


Invitation to Play 5

invitation to play

Well my friends, as Robert suggested I have captained the ship and tonight I bring it into its final dock…

Invitation 5

…and I am surprised as anyone with the results. I have been laughing all the way through the final stages. The Joker Muse was certainly present as I fine tuned our painting.

I began by adding Steven’s suggestion of  scales on the mermaid-like figure on the right. Then I enhanced the small face at top left a little – Marina’s suggestion. Neither of these details are easy to see even when you click to enlarge. I also enhanced the face and upper torso of the ‘mermaid.’ I did this very intuitively and was amused at her expression and her ending up with three breasts. Enter Joker Muse.

All that remained was resolving the mystery of the central green area. I saw nothing I could expand on despite your evocative suggestions. As I often do in such a situation I layered, with darker and lighter, swirled in some lines, always ‘listening’ visually  to what the painting was saying to me. Suddenly the face you see appeared. I accepted it and went with it although its humour was the last thing I expected. I added ‘scales’ to the left side, fish-like protuberance from the head to connect to the ‘mermaid’s’ scales, also difficult to see on screen. The humorous, lustful look of the green face toward the ‘mermaid’ was never planned, just happened…the influence of the Joker Muse. So there it is, and who am I to judge what the painting wants to be?

No doubt, this process could continue, but as captain I am saying we are home, with laughter and relief that ‘all’s well that ends well.’ Nothing wrong with a touch of humour in art even though more profound results were anticipated.

I thank you all sincerely for your wonderful and willing participation in this ‘Invitation to Play’ series…it has been a fun and rewarding experience for me and I hope it has been also for you.

I am ending with a brief  gallery showing the process of this communal painting from beginning to end:

For the concept behind this challenge please see ‘Invitation to Play 1′.

The ‘Invitation to Play‘ painting is a found image photographed in a local park in East Vancouver. I don’t know the artist but will credit you if you contact me. I thank you for inspiring the title for this post.


Invitation to Play 4

invitation to play

From your suggestions and ideas I have worked to strengthen and bring out the forms in the painting.

Invitation 4

The process to date:

Ina suggested drawing in black and I have done this in a few places, to emphasize details and introduce some new elements.

I followed Robert’s idea to create more structure using Burnt Sienna and or Raw Umber. I applied both on the circular form and the emerging form on the right. He also suggested I consider evoking a portrait and or figure. I painted with this in mind and I think you can see the results…not realistic but rather a loose, ambiguous hint.

Steven’s central black rod…a simple application with interesting results.

Carl’s ‘ochre gold’ for top right corner, to reflect same on bottom and left side of arc is done, although this colour on the arc has now been covered.

Babajij’s Purple micro dot has been placed but it is difficult to see on screen. It is in the eye of the bird-like figure.

This stage of the process was clearly about establishing and defining form and I believe this has happened, however strange those forms may be. I made many intuitive changes to help in this process: Lightening Ina’s reds and pulling them around the composition – Seeing and bringing out faces in the bird-like figure – Playing with the undefined possibilities on the right by layering, adding linear elements and shaping with Red until this somewhat puzzling figure emerged – Toning and increasing intensity of all colours.

I made a couple of very small changes to the central mystery but its secret remains unrevealed.

I think we are now one or two posts away from completion. Fine tuning is needed next.

I welcome your comments on what we have created together so far and also ask  for your suggestions and ideas for fine tuning any section of this work.

Thank you as always for your participation…the game continues…

For the concept behind this challenge please see ‘Invitation to Play 1′.

The ‘Invitation to Play‘ painting is a found image photographed in a local park in East Vancouver. I don’t know the artist but will credit you if you contact me. I thank you for inspiring the title for this post.


Invitation to Play 3

invitation to play

Still far from resolution and quite rough but here it is as it stands right now.

invitation 3

The process to date:

Steven suggested adding white but gave no details, so I applied it with a palette knife, to top left, top right and around the circular form.

Jana suggested a mix of Burnt Sienna with Ultra Marine Blue applied in the top left quadrant with a palette knife. I obviously used more blue than sienna. The resulting triangular form felt too isolated so I continued it around the circle. I then began building onto the right hand whites using some blues along with touches of colours already used. I ragged in more yellow and strengthened some of the reds. I layered all of this a number of times, putting on and taking off with a palette knife and sometimes wet rags.

The central area remains a mystery to be solved and has also lost some of its previous dominance.

The painting has gained a little more composition and form and we are now at Stage 3:

Once again I ask you for your suggestions, especially for the emerging forms, but also for colour, application techniques and general direction.

Thank you as always for your participation…the game continues…

For the concept behind this challenge please see ‘Invitation to Play 1′.

The ‘Invitation to Play‘ painting is a found image photographed in a local park in East Vancouver. I don’t know the artist but will credit you if you contact me. I thank you for inspiring the title for this post.


Invitation to Play 2.2

invitation to play

Layers 3 and 4 of the four colour requests submitted for Stage 1.

First up is Ina’s layer 3 Red applied with a wide wet brush:

Ina's Red

As always I grow attached to each layer and want to keep it, or at least leave much of it revealed as I apply the next layer. I admit I was carried away with Ina’s red and regret not leaving more of layer 2 showing through. I tried to recover it by scrubbing with water but had left it too late, acrylics dry fast. But no matter, each successive layer is made richer by what went before.

Second is Robert’s layer 4 Cad Lemon Yellow, rubbed in with a rag and scraped with a palette knife.

Rob's Yellow

When I applied Robert’s yellow I found myself entering the next phase of the painting, Stage 2, beginning to introduce composition and form. I didn’t mean to engage in this so early but it just wanted to be there. I don’t usually like to center the focus of the work, preferring to place it to one side or the other for a stronger composition; however, wanting to preserve the top center turquoise area led to this somewhat symmetrical arrangement.

So something is emerging although still rough and as yet, unresolved. Which leads us to Stage 2.

Stage 2 from you: As communal participants I ask that you now look at what’s happened to date. I welcome your comments but also am soliciting your suggestions, without which this process will grind to a halt. I need you to suggest how I might proceed from here. I understand this is not as easy as Stage 1.

Ask yourself...what do I see and how can my vision be made more tangible?

Ask yourself...which colours and forms might be made more important and which less important?

Ask yourself…should more colours or black or white be added and where?

As before I will act on the first 3 or 4 suggestions received. Thank you very much for your support, thoughts and ideas.

For the concept behind this challenge please see ‘Invitation to Play 1′.

The ‘Invitation to Play‘ painting is a found image photographed in a local park in East Vancouver. I don’t know the artist but will credit you if you contact me. I thank you for inspiring the title for this post.


Invitation to Play 2.1

invitation to play

The first two layers of the four colour requests submitted. Photo #1 is Sam’s turquoise applied with a sponge:

DSC07794As often happens after I apply the foundation layer of any painting I wanted to keep it and say, well that’s it then…perfect…nothing else needed. I liked this layer a lot and had to let go of that precious possessiveness in order to proceed, take the risk. This layer applied with very wet sponge, apply and let dry, 5 or 6 applications. I love the way the washes found their own formations of light and dark tones.

Photo #2 is Gary’s layer, teal with burnt and raw sienna.

DSC07798Gary requested ‘random swirls with fingers and brush’. I applied the teal first with a fat wet brush swirling with loose and dancing arm movements. When dry I placed small heaps of burnt and raw sienna onto canvas and using my fingers spread them out in random circles adding water to thin and increase coverage. I also scratched swirls into the paint with my fingernails.

Tonight I will be adding Ina’s red and my only concern about this is that the resulting red and green combination will look too Christmasy. After Ina’s red I will apply Robert’s yellow and then post the results. Two things I’m enjoying in this challenge so far are using colours I wouldn’t have thought to use together and the surrendering to others of a certain amount of decision making.

The painting is in early stages yet but I am interested in your comments as I will be all the way to the end.

For the concept behind this challenge please see ‘Invitation to Play 1′.

The ‘Invitation to Play‘ painting is a found image photographed in a local park in East Vancouver. I don’t know the artist but will credit you if you contact me. I thank you for inspiring the title for this post.


‘The 100′ #87 – Mezcal Mi Amigo

Tequila Sprite

He is the cover of my book.

His signs are enigmatic,

an ancient coupling

of plant and earth.

He is mystery and music.

He dances me through nights

when muses fail and

desolation sucks my soul.

He is companion, comfort

and consolation

when my love is far away.

He is the desert sun

when light is quenched

by rain drenched days.

He fills me with fire,

when icy winter

clenches bones.

He calls to me

from white beaches,

streets of coloured heat,

and flowering Jacaranda trees.

He is illusion and magic

leaping from reality to dream

and back again.

I know him as trickster,

magician and friend.

Like a woman he caresses me

inside and out.

Like a woman he comes and goes

with the ocean moon.

I hold him inside my blood

as I would hold the one I love,

drinking his fragrance,

inhaling his deep intoxication

on unshared pillows

of a bed too wide.

Painting and poem by clinock.

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of text based art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.




It’s a fast and frantic dance

around the corpus collosum

these days -

a crowded floor,

confused music,

stumbling movement,

crushed toes and egos.

Always has been this way

I guess and

always will?

Spinning yins and

gesticulating yangs

yelling and threatening.

Black versus white.

Frolic becomes fight,

man and woman,


church and state,


woman and woman,

man and man,

the loss of love,


What if the gods lay down

and slept it off?

What if the waltz

was more fascinating

than the weapon?

What if a vast silence


and everyone

took the day off

and listened

in quietude

to what one other person

wished to say?

The world continues

to turn gracefully.

It is only the animal

who-man who

is too clumsy

and deaf with self

to follow the music

of the spheres.

Get down

and boogie

the night

away –

it takes two

to -

and more.

And many more



Poem and Acrylic painting on canvas. 20″ x 30″ by clinock.


The Waiting Room Drawings.6. Urban Heat

Waiting Room Drwg

she comes and goes

in this room

lacerating space with light,

tears and laughter,

while I stand

in urban heat

between faces and windows

lost in the solitude of speed.

she comes and goes

through the waiting,

promising nothing

yet open to all,

while I stand

arms akimbo

within traffic jams

that do not speak to me.

she comes and goes

across my gaze

and vanishes in night,

engaged elsewhere

while I stand

with clown nose

hawking post cards

of women I have known.

she comes and goes

through this solitude

on undeviating wings.

“Follow me” she says

then disappears

into the room beyond

the waiting room

where I cannot follow.


Poem and artwork by clinock. 

Urban Heat – solvent rubbing.   June 04. 2013.


Mexico Redux #7 – the Dance of Life


So, Clinock, enough already with these Redux posts – when are you going to publish some new art? Well my friends – I’m working on it – not just for you but also for me, me, me (it’s all about me don’t ya know). I’ve been delightfully   moodling –  happily idling, dawdling and puttering.

This redux is from Mexico last year with strong connections to Easter which will be hatching for us all soon.

All photos by yo. Click on images for larger detail.


Spring 2012 – Hundreds of Indigenous dancers from across Mexico and from many tribes in North America recently gathered in the center of San Miguel De Allende to celebrate a local religious event connected to Easter festivities and ritual. When viewing the photos you can complete the picture by imagining the swirling movement of the dancers combined with the sensual intensity of the loudest drumming I have ever heard, the explosion of fireworks and the ringing of church bells.



This is an event that combines pre-Christian spring ritual with Catholic beliefs. J.C. (not me) is ever present but becomes a partner in the timeless dance of life.



I was blown away by the sensuality – sound, colour, movement, intensity and shared humanity of these dances. My Vancouver home has little to compare with these celebrations of new life – too much sangfroid in our northern climes.



The inclusion of animals in the dress of the dancers was a reminder of our sharing of this planet with all living creatures. In Mexican mythology and legend animals play a leading role. We are all animals – which one do you choose to be?


Sharing water – do you all grok this?



Redux – With The Sun In My Eyes (images from San Miguel De Allende, Mexico). More eggs….




My first post from San Miguel De Allende, Mexico is about one of the most popular celebrations in Catholic countries and cities: the Easter Carnival. This is a tradition that is held every Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday before Lent. In San Miguel in the 1970s and before the tradition took place on the Jardin, the central plaza of the town and consisted of the women walking in the opposite direction to the men, who gave their chosen woman a flower or asked permission to sprinkle confetti from an empty eggshell on their heads – requesting them to be their girlfriend. The girls were always in the company of their mothers and sisters.

This the beginning of spring here, in San Miguel, and also the start of religious and secular activities leading up to Easter. Today on the Jardin my favorite local ritual took place, definitely derived from pagan origins. Male and female children and teens chased each other with bags full of painted eggs that were empty of the usual content and filled with confetti (although the young jokers in the crowd filled them with tempera paint powder or flour). Except for the little kids it is a blatant courting and fertility ritual and loosely continues the tradition from the 70s and before. Boys chased girls and visa versa and smashed eggs on each others heads, covering each other and the entire ground of the Jardin with inches thick multi coloured confetti. It was hilarious and joyful to watch and no one was exempt, I was just sitting on a bench taking photographs and I was egged three times and completely covered in confetti. I watched the kids running after each other around the outside of the Jardin, screaming, laughing and egging while the adults danced together around the central bandstand to mariachi music under blue skies and hot sun.

I know we have much to be thankful for in the north but I think so often, when I am here, that our northern culture is missing so much, we have so few gathering places or deeply traditional events like this on the Jardin – to dance, play music and connect with each other, and we have nothing to match this eggstatic ritual of joy in celebrating spring and courtship.


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