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Archive for the ‘Collage’ Category

Waiting for spring. Meanwhile, ideas keep surging through my head. Art concepts are ever stretching.

Since Joe and I no longer need a vehicle, we gave our well-used Honda van to a grandson who is a seminarian at a local theological center, and his wife and two year old daughter—whose name happens to be, believe it or not, Margaret Been.

A garage only has to sit empty (except for all the garden and home maintenance junk lining the walls) for a couple of days before brain seeds sprout. An outdoor room! An outdoor studio for art making and spinning gorgeous fibers into yarn. A place where kindred souls can visit, and neighbors can pause. Ever stretching!

This IS Wisconsin, which means the feasibility of enjoying a garage room is limited to the three summer months (given reasonable summer weather) and a few days at each end of the spectrum (given some surprise weather in spring and fall).

We put a small mock fireplace in the room. The decorative fireplace uses one light bulb to simulate burning logs, and a fan to blow a bit of hot air when desired—mainly for ambience, and not sufficient to handle our weather in a garage. (Indoors maybe!)

But dreams persist. Every day I linger for a few moments in this bit of summer heaven, just dreaming and thinking about family members and friends whom I will invite for art and fiber days.

I have two permanent art-making corners indoors, and I produce in these studios non-stop. Two spinning wheels, plus baskets of merino and silk in a riot of colors whirl constantly in our living room where the resulting skeins of yarn dangle from hooks and surfaces.

Art displays, a table on which to work, an area for storing brushes, paints, papers and additional art tools, another spinning wheel, and a (possible) lifetime supply of additional fibers join me in anticipating warm weather in the garage room.

My art goals are ever stretching as well—including a return to collage art between actual paintings. A few years back, I did a lot of collages from random materials and whatever abstract inspiration blossomed moment by moment.

Collages differ just as every artist is unique. Some are decidedly geometric; some feature words, photos, images of people and buildings, or symbols such as numbers. Others are more organic, kind of like an unkempt garden of color and flowing shapes. Or a messy landscape with tangled trees or turbulent seas. And mountains, plenty of mountains.

The materials are legion: gorgeous Oriental papers—Kozo, Mulberry and Rice Papers, and Japanese Lace; common old cheesecloth, tissue paper, and gauze; aluminum foil; ribbons, greeting cards, pieces of musical scores, and decorative gift wraps; wool fleece, yarn, string, and bits of fabric; seasonal and party napkins—with the backing papers torn off so the napkin design is translucent and delicate; acrylic and gouache paints—metallic and otherwise; dried leaves, flowers, twigs, and herbs; templates and stencils; poems; torn up bits of my paintings that didn’t impress me very much—-yet didn’t warrant the trash bin. Some of my kitty Louie’s fur from his grooming brush—with Louie’s permission of course!

And mediums: molding paste, gloss, matt, sand, glitter gel, gesso, bead gel, crackle gel, YES paste (although anything acrylic such as the above listed mediums plus acrylic paint acts as a glue).

Above is a sample of my collage art from a few years ago. It reminds me of some favorite things, and still hangs in our living room.

And finally, a collage of various paints and textured mediums.

Maybe our new summer garage room will facilitate the creation of more way out art! Meanwhile, Happy Stretching

Margaret L. Been — April 3rd, 2020

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Tissue Paper

A few weeks ago I turned 82.  That was a pile of fun.  My one-liner was:  “Now I can start being eccentric.”  Family members and friends cracked up over that.

To add to the delight a gorgeous flower arrangement arrived from the local florist; the flowers were ordered by our daughter Laura who lives in Bellingham, Washington.  There were 5 lovely scarlet roses in the bouquet, and they are now drying upside down in our home.  (I can’t discard a celebratory rose, and we have them hanging here and there.  Others are dried for the stash of pot pourri.)

As if flowers were not pleasure enough, their vase was wrapped in an amazing tissue paper—much sturdier than normal gift wrap, with a plastic-y feel to it.  The tissue paper went from the vase of flowers on the dining room table to my art table, and the above rendering is the result.

First I sculpted hills (mountains or whatever) and rocky areas onto 300 pound Arches watercolor paper with gesso, and then pressed scraps of the tissue into the textured areas—making sure to cover the tissue paper with the gesso.  (What fun to scrunch around in gesso and paper.  Some people never grow up, and never want to!  🙂  )

When that dried, I painted the scene.  You can see where the gesso and tissue* form lines, rocks, and gullies, but a photo doesn’t adequately represent the piece.  In reality the textures rise and fall, potentially inviting fingertips if we didn’t know that we are never supposed to touch the art.

This is a large painting, approximately 20 x 16,  Finally I’ve learned how to take a photo of a picture too large to scan.  A little pocket camera never did the job, as any white or even light area would turn out to be a huge blob of bleached out nothing.  But my i-Pad takes fantastic pictures.  I can lay the picture flat on the floor or stand it up and the I-Pad photo is as close as I can get to the real thing.

Meanwhile, serendipitous treasures frequently pop up when I remember to keep my eyes open.  What next?  Life is full of surprises.

Margaret L. Been—September 7, 2015

*It’s occurred to me that one might simply walk into most any florist shop, and purchase this exciting tissue paper!

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