Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The deep cold days’ Category

An inventory of what I have done in my studio over the last year has proved a bit surprising—or maybe not!  For 8 months out of the 12, I have been gimped with ortho issues. A shoulder replacement in late 2017 had only just begun to heal when a hip kicked in saying, “Hey, it’s not fair. I want some of this attention.”

Two major hip surgeries later (the 1st, a total hip replacement and the 2nd, to repair a severely fractured femur with screws, metal hooks, and wires that make me think of civil engineered bridge construction) I am still hobbling and spending much of the time off my feet.

For several weeks it was 1 leg only, to navigate this “kid in an old body” to and from a cozy living room couch (my 24/7 hangout) to a bathroom (about 5 yards away), my piano right behind my couch, and an extra art studio which my wonderful husband set up for me at the nearby end of our dining room table.

Books, limited piano practice which—although done sitting down—wore me out, my French tutorial apps and a Public Television app on my I-pad (I re-watched the entire DOWNTON ABBEY), serial-shopping on Amazon (FUN/FUN/FUN!), Van Cliburn and other geniuses streaming through my devices into our fine speakers day and night (1 of which speakers was conveniently located beside my ear on my 24/7 couch), my knitting (how many cowls does anyone need?), and ART made up my life for much of 2018.

Who needs to cook, scrub floors, vacuum, and dust anyway?

I normally avoid medical discussions except with those professionals to whom Medicare is paying me to complain, but the above diatribe is to demonstrate how life can be a lot of fun under rather strange circumstances! And how art can thrive, when pain and disability prevail. One’s pain can literally be “drowned” in paint, especially the wet into wet method of working which I prefer.

Anyway, my inventory yielded a surprising 35 paintings that I actually like. (There are always the “duds” which get stashed on a shelf for possible reworking or salvaging parts; or sometimes they are so outrageous that I trash them.)

The keepers range from (3) 20″ x 24″ biggies, a 16″ x 20″, a handful of 11″ x 14″ renderings, and a preponderance of 12″ x 16″ paintings—obviously my favorite size. The paintings are predominately woodland scenes and funky individual trees—with a smattering of flowers, a sailboat in trouble, some landscapes with distant castles, a still life (my least favorite), and a huge, totally abstract on Yupo Paper which I LOVE most of all.

Although my inventory preferences are not exactly written in the proverbial stone, they are indicative—and it was fun reviewing a year of art making, body disability notwithstanding.

The year’s earnings amounted to $700.00 which constituted a donation to, and sale at, our local art group’s annual fundraiser. My dislike of office type stuff is such that I can find no record of which paintings I donated. I believe they were “masterpieces” from former years.

Also, I give paintings to interested friends and family members. As with club donations, my right hand (very happily) does not know what my left hand is doing.

I share many of my favorites via prints glued to notecards, thus bragging about my art while facilitating my passion for writing actual letters as opposed to emails.

Above are the end of 2018 renderings, hardly even dry when I photographed them with my I-phone camera. They tend to make me think of Spring, and they are my HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!

Margaret L. Been, December 31st, 2018

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

How good that our celebration of Christmas falls at the darkest time of the year.  Granted, the timing falls in line with ancient pagan celebrations.  But the birth of Jesus Christ is the birth of the One True Light of the World.  And the darkest days around the winter solstice signal the gradual ascent of the sun back to our hemisphere.  

Meanwhile Psalm 139:12 tells us,“Indeed the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You,” NKJV

In our Lord Jesus Christ, there is no darkness.  When HE decrees darkness on the earth, through the rotation of our planet around the sun, life continues to thrive in the secret darkness beneath the earth.  And out of that darkness, comes new life—the flowers of spring.

We have an abundance of florists and greenhouses to span the darkening days of the year; yet there is nothing like the real thing—-blooms and greenery bursting forth from warm soil.  Fortunately for the artist, a semblance of new life in spring can prevail throughout the year!

Merry Christmas, to you readers who are literally all over the world, in case I cannot get back to this blog until next year.  I appreciate you so much!

And may you always have flowers!

Margaret L. Been — December 16th, 2018

Read Full Post »

Eternally Snowing--Winter 2014--2

The salt trick is too much fun!  ↑ Here is “Eternally Snowing — Winter, 2014”, sprinkled with very coarse salt.  Our Wisconsin world!

But every year about now I begin dreaming, and my dreams morph into paintings.  Voilà “Windy Summer Day” ↓ .  This one was embellished with Kosher salt.

Windy Summer Day

After the painting dries the salt is scraped off, leaving textural marks plus a bit of “shine”.  The coarser the salt, the more of a job it is to remove.  A credit card works well for scraping, but hopefully not the card which is currently being used.  🙂

Margaret L. Been, February 2014

Read Full Post »

For the last two decades, Joe and I have made a pilgrimage West at least once a year—frequently in the Winter or early Spring.  Our destinations were Colorado and New Mexico, and we combined our love for the West with a visit to loved ones who live near Denver.

This year, the trip is not happening—but never mind.  My paintbrush travels to the High Rockies of Colorado, to the adobe houses of Taos and Santa Fe, NM, and to those fascinating Cliff Dwellings on the Four Corners.  Just as I never tired of traveling West, I will always love reading about the West via documentaries, histories, and Louis L’Amour novels.  And likewise, I probably will never tire of painting the West.

My favorites of L’Amour’s novels are those mysterious tales of lost canyons, valleys, and ancient cities in the regions surrounding the Cliff Dwellings.  My mind paints as I read, and eventually the paint materializes on paper.  Hence the above pair—Lost Valley of the Ancients I & II.

The paintings are propped on another passion of mine—my piano.  A collection of Scott Joplin rags peeks over the painting on your right as you view the photo.  Playing a Joplin rag never fails to make me smile!  Such mellow music, with soul! 

To the left of Scott Joplin, sits my venerable book of classics by Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, etc., which are infinitely satisfying to play.  (That’s why they are classics!)  The book was my mother’s, and it dates to the late 1920s or early 30s.  Not only did she gift me with her love for music, and of course the music lessons, but she left me the actual music books to enjoy.  My fingers don’t flow as effortlessly across the keys as hers did, but with practise I can play.  Mom would be pleased! 

Meanwhile, with books, paints, and a piano I really don’t need a “vacation”!  It’s all here, at home!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

Read Full Post »

Winter has finally arrived in Wisconsin.  The Northern counties were buried in snow a few days ago, and now we “Southerners” (just north of the Illinois border) are suddenly remembering what winter is all about.  Beautiful!  Pristine!  Cold!

The wind travels and moans through our lane, which is actually a wind tunnel between condo buildings.  I love the wind, so universal and all encompassing.  I could be on the Yorkshire Moors or Scottish Highlands, or at our home in Northern Wisconsin where the furies of winter rampage, and the wind would sound exactly the same.  For me, the music of wind is a lullaby at night and an invigorating motivator in the daytime.  

Winter wind means business.  It’s cold, brutal, unfeeling, and unforgiving.  Yet as I hunker down and enjoy the peace and respite of winter weeks indoors, I can dream of those winds to come—always howling through our wind tunnel, always sounding like wind, but heralding new seasons:  the March wind—boisterous, vandalizing, arrogant, and presumptuous; the April wind—capricious as an April Fool’s joke, yet whispering change; and the winds of May—melodious, enticing, redolant with lilacs.

Lilacs!  Yes, I can dream!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

Read Full Post »

Winter is beautiful.  Winter is invigorating.  Winter is fun.  Given these attributes, we can also add:  winter is cold, winter can be treacherous on the roads, winter paths are slippery, and winter is long.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that it’s a social “No-No” to talk about spring in the winter.  If I so much as mentions lilacs or soft south winds, someone will say, “I LOVE winter.  Winter is so beautiful.” 

The inference is:  “What in the world is wrong with you, to talk about lilacs in the gorgeous winter?”  Or:  “Are you ever a wimp!” 

Nearly forever, I have written poems about life lying dormant in winter–waiting to burst forth in spring.  Nearly forever, I’ve used the metaphor of winter to express the darkest, coldest moments of my human soul.  People who “just don’t get poetry” have read these poems, and commented with a sneer, “You don’t like winter very much!”

But I’m not alone in my choice of metaphor.  The four seasons would be hackneyed symbols in literature, were it not for their universality–their ability to touch sensitive people in many cultures with a common experience.

Disregarding skiers, dog-sled racers, ice skaters, and other lovers of bitter cold weather, I’ll go on dreaming of lilacs.  And while dreaming, there are things to do in anticipation of spring.  I cut dogwood and honeysuckle branches, place them in a vase of water indoors, and watch the buds pop.  I save my long hair, culled from my hairbrush, to hang on tree branches for birds’ nests in May.

No one should ever apologize for dreaming of lilacs!  We have a right to dream! 

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

Read Full Post »

Every little trace of wildness thrills me to the core.  Today while walking Dylan (our Pembroke Welsh corgi) I saw rabbit tracks leading from our driveway into the pine trees that border our park.  (It is really everyone’s park, but we call it “ours”.)

I followed the trail until it disappeared into the evergreens and never came out.  Did the rabbits burrow into their warrens through the frozen (zero degree) snow?  Do they live under the pine trees?  Certainly they don’t fly, but the tracks evidently went nowhere. 

If we can only stay up late enough, maybe we’ll see the rabbits out at night.  I’ve always enjoyed fanciful pictures of rabbits dancing by moonlight, on a snowy landscape.  While Dylan would probably love to chase the rabbits, I suddenly have a burning wish to capture them with my watercolors.  I’ll let you know if I succeed!

While we left the bears and wolves behind when we moved 285 miles south, there is plenty of wildness here.  Coyotes abound, sneaking around suburban neighborhoods and farmyards.  Hawks soar over our park.  Some Canada geese winter in open streams near farms, where they can glean the harvested cornfields.

One day we saw a grouse in our front yard.  And our two funny friends, the chipmunks, live in a hole by our garden wall.  As I type, they are probably busy chomping away at the basketball-sized food cache of our bird seed–one basketball per chipmunk.  We won’t see the chipmunks until spring, but it’s delightful to know that they are close by!

Last week I saw the tiny saw-whet owl perched on a tree limb beside our road.  There is always plenty for the nature hungry heart to relish–so long as our eyes and ears are open wide! 

Now I’m going to “adjourn” and try sketching rabbits.

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »