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Archive for the ‘Power Surge in Late Winter’ Category

NIght Blooming 2

. . . is SPRING!  That is enough to spring most anyone out of bed in the morning!!!  When daylight saving starts in a few days, I’ll think I am home free—bounding into my favorite half of our Wisconsin year. 

I have a goal in mind.  I love to walk; my desire is to carry a sketch book, and sketch along the way.  Also, I want to take more photos in my gardens—catching new spring buds, mature flowers, and later in the season those beautiful seedpods.

Suddenly flowers are dominating the art corner in our bedroom.  I’m extra-inspired to do flowers thanks to Ann Blockley’s exciting book, EXPERIMENTAL FLOWERS IN WATERCOLOUR.  For breathtaking views of Ann Blockley’s art, you can GOOGLE “UK Artist Ann Blockley”.  Her blog can be accessed through the website, as well—and it’s delightful to read. 

Along with a focus on flowers, Ann has inspired me to sketch and photograph subjects for painting—landscapes as well as close-ups.  I’ve read the same protocol from other artists, but finally the idea is beginning to make sense to me.  I’m also beginning to keep a log with each painting, listing the colors I use plus additional mediums such as acrylic ink, acrylic paints, water-soluble colored pencils, etc.  You can detect a desire for more discipline in my approach to painting.  Access to galleries has motivated me to make more art more efficiently, while growing and learning.

As for the sketching, I know that I can’t get any worse than I am now at it—so some improvement is bound to follow.  The strolling will be a joy in itself.  And I already have a lot of garden shots to pore over for inspiration.

Below is a favorite one, and someday I hope to be able to paint this little fellow:

Little Treasure

He must have been just out of the nest, with absolutely no fears in his head.  I stroked his back; his fur was like silk.  He sat docilely, as if he enjoyed the stroking.  Then I ran indoors to fetch my camera.  When I returned to the garden he was still there waiting to be stroked again.

Our neighborhood prairie preserve:

My Prairie

And a character who came calling one Sunday afternoon when we lived up north:

DIGITAL CAMERA

I didn’t try to pet that guy.  I took his picture while sheltered by our living room window.

Anyway, if I choose to render any of the above on my Arches or Saunders Waterford paper, the subjects won’t look anything like they did to begin with!  🙂  So why not just dive in?!

Margaret L. Been, March 2015

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March Swamp I

It is no secret that our soul climate on any given day can be reflected in the expressions of our soul—be they in the form of a poem, a song, or a painting.  For this reason, counsellors who work with children will pay considerable attention to the “climate” of a child’s art.

I normally spend from 20 to 30 hours a week at my palette.  A few days ago I realized that my work was becoming “dark”—not in subject matter, but in actual hue and tone.  Skies were murky.  Water was muddy, and mountains were drab rather than sparkling.  There has been a distinct absence of sunlight, moonlight, and fleecy clouds in recent renderings.  I didn’t need to look far afield for the answer to this puzzle; in fact it really wasn’t a puzzle at all.  Two weeks ago a family member was diagnosed with cancer.  Hence my paintings have darkened. 

So three days ago I decided, this will never do.  I am not a “dark” person—although I love dark skin, and “work hard” to obtain it in the summer!  I have passion for light, and so does my loved one who has cancer.  There is no way I can help her (or myself) through the days and weeks ahead by “painting dark”!

Now things are looking up in every way.  The cancer is Stage II, and it is believed that chemo will not be needed after surgery.  And I’ve pivoted my palette, paper, and paints back to the light.  The above print depicts a subject I love—a swamp, in this case a “March Swamp” with the sap of life rising above melting snow.

And below you will see another subject of love and light—one that may be wearing you viewers out because I feature it so often:

 Living on the Patio with Iced Tea

“Living on the Patio with Iced Tea”

SOON!!!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, 2013

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Early March is the time when I traditionally clip some red osier dogwood branches and set them indoors in a pitcher of water.  I did this a week ago, when our trees and shrubs were laden with fresh snowfall. 

The snow melted in a few days, and now the weather is wonderfully gusty and sunny—exactly like March should be.  And my indoor dogwood shoots have sprouted teeny buds in various places along their stems.

How satisfying are those little rituals which mark the turning seasons and the passing years.  Clipping the dogwood was a pleasure last week, and so was painting it.  The above rendering is a tribute to one of Wisconsin’s loveliest shrubs, both cultivated and wild.  The background in the lower portion of the above painting was created before painting the branches of dogwood, by splotching color all over the YUPO paper—then pressing SARAN WRAP over the sheet, crinkling it into shapes and textures, and weighting the whole bit down overnight with heavy books.  The next morning, voilà!  Rocks, and random organic shapes.

I filled in the sky last, but it was too garish at first and it detracted from the rest of the work.  I modified the sky by running water over the upper left corner—causing the paint to bleed, fade, and in some spots disappear altogether.

This piece is titled “Tongues of Fire”.  I always picture flaming branches of red osier dogwood sitting on the heads of the dispersed Jews who gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost—that historic occasion which marked the birth of the Christian Church. 

Such “far out” mental imaging may seem ludicrous to some, but it goes with the unique territory of “Poet/Painter”.  🙂  Much as I love words, I have always thought in pictures—technicolor pictures at that!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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We have huge mountains of snow piled all around our building, created by the ever faithful plowers and their machinery.  The gentle hill leading to the park outside our front door is heaped high, and it looms like a wall of white in our patio door view.  Joe calls the hill “The Matterhorn”.  Dylan loves to run up The Matterhorn on his long retractable leash.  Then he lies down and rolls his cylindrical little body back down.  He does this several times each day, with a look of sheer euphoria on his face.

Dylan’s currently favorite pastime notwithstanding, I am thinking “enough’s enough”!  I’m ready to move on to the next items on the agenda–thawing winds and mucky March, eventually leading to warm breezes and vistas of GREEN!

Except for the pretty Valentines I received, all decorative vestiges of winter have been packed away.  Most of my red glassware has been stowed in a china cabinet–having been supplanted on tables and open shelves by Vasoline glass, clear crystal, pressed glass, and Depression era glassware in delicate shades of aqua, lemon yellow, and pink. 

I’m buying a live house plant every time we shop.  Even WALMART (called “WALLY WORLD” by our son, Eric) has live house plants.  Joe thinks we don’t have room for more plants, but I keep finding extra space by stacking the pots on footstools and extra tables in our windows, and hanging them from cute little wrought iron hangers–courtesy of HOME DEPOT. 

Then there are fake flowers–actually quite lovely.  Yellow “tulips” grace a wall planter fashioned by a friend who is a potter.  The phony posies have even made it outdoors to our garden.  A farmer’s antique milk can filled with pink “roses” hangs on a trellis, along with a garland of “forsythia”.  The riot of pink and yellow warms our view, otherwise dominated by the snowy Matterhorn!

My choice of apparel goes into a state of denial this time each year.  When I was little (a few centuries ago) I tried to quit wearing long cotton stockings in February–while begging my mother to let me wear knee socks or ankle socks instead.  I can recall Mother folding her arms and staunchly refusing my requests.  She always said, “You are rushing the season“!

Now I can wear whatever I want, and I’m still rushing the season–albeit with caution.  I refuse to wear brown, grey, or black skirts again until next fall.  But it’s easy to pull a poufy, flamboyant gypsy skirt over my WINTER SILK long johns.  Sheer, romantic style blouses can be draped over a cashmere sweater in a springy hue.  Strands of colored beads never fail to complete the picture of a funky woman who refuses to brook any more winter in her life–at least for a few months!

Meanwhile, I keep checking online for our zip code’s 10 day forecast.  It’s WINTER TIMES 10!  Oh well, I’m having a lot of fun–in my deluded state of DENIAL!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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The days are stretching out at both ends.  Every year about now, I go into a state of abject euphoria over the growing daylight and anticipation of our wet and wonderful, cold, fragrant Wisconsin spring.  Here in Southern Wisconsin, one can get euphoric by mid-February, as the redwing blackbirds will probably be back by early March.  In the past we’ve seen and heard them about 40 miles southeast, in the town of Whitewater, by the last week of February.  If we get any sort of a thaw in the next couple weeks, we’ll be Whitewater-bound for dinner at a favorite steak house there–and our first “hello” to the returning redwings.

Each year about now I get a power surge to change things around in our home, especially in my writing and painting studio which–since we moved “south”–is located at one end of our sunny bedroom.  Yesterday I accomplished a great re-do of the studio, so everything is lovelier now and more convenient.

The butt-ugly laptop, scanner and printer are tucked into an obscure corner and covered by gorgeous handwoven runners, when not in use.  Most prominent now are my easel, brushes, and paintings in process.  The accoutrements of art are beautiful, while writing  paraphernalia tends to be an eyesore in this age of technology.  Quill pens, inkwells, and parchment were indeed beautiful to behold–but not so efficient as my butt-ugly computer and attachments.  Hence the disguise, in woven works of art.

The above desk is one of two in my studio, along with two work tables.  A small TV hunkers under another woven runner.  The TV is not hooked up for reception, Heaven forbid!  It’s simply here for viewing my art tutorial DVDs, JEEVES AND WOOSTER, and other beloved British productions.

A power surge!  In a few weeks, that great silent power will surge underfoot, and we’ll have a revolution of GREEN!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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