Posts Tagged ‘Artist’

Ice Tea again

It is often said that artists can create the world the way they wish it would be!  This may be true of most of the arts, and many crafts as well—where one is fashioning beauty from ashes—or victory in the midst of something that seems like defeat.  In my poetry, I have often featured the presence of light in apparently dark circumstances.

Without getting more ponderous, when indeed my mood is upbeat as I share with you, the above painting is the world the way I’m eager to experience it—and will in a few weeks.  Having lived in Wisconsin for all but three of my eighty-four years, I should know (and do!) that April in my home state is not like “April in Paris”.

Sometimes we get teased a bit with warm splashes, and these are meant to be savored but not viewed as the permanent seasonal weather change.  Meanwhile, we can paint (sing, write, dance) whatever weather we want—thereby creating our own reality:  our own private world.  A case in point is this painting, titled “Ice Tea Again”, reflecting a pastime which is HUGE in my estimation:  drinking ice tea on our patio beside our pretty little patio garden, while watching the birds and chipmunks that enjoy the hospitality of our feeders.

I have done many ice tea type paintings, but this one is unique.  Were you to actually see the painting, now framed in a 16″ by 20″ softly gilded frame, you would probably observe that something new has been added:  touches of mixed medium accents which add texture and individuality to the piece.

At this moment two amazing British artists—Ann Blockley and Soraya French—are vitalizing, coaching, and inspiring me via books and (in Ann’s case) DVDs to experiment with mixed media.  So “extras” have been added to this watercolor and gouache rendering, including areas of enhanced color on and around the flower shapes made with hard pastel pencils and Derwent Inktense sticks.  The winding vines were formed by streaking India ink from a pipette and letting it ooze around on the damp paper.  You may notice the sketchy lines drawn by oil pastels* in areas alongside the vines.  And, as always, thick applications of gouache have covered a plethora of boo-boos.

The above-mentioned artists, and many others, stress the importance of playing with the mediums, learning what they can do and not worrying about the outcome.  JUST PLAY!  This really appeals to me after a rather dragged out autumn and winter beginning with the loss of my beloved corgi in October and adding a challenging shoulder replacement to the mix.  I intend to play, while drinking volumes of ice tea!

Included in the “play”, is the fact that I am diving into water soluble oils.  This is happening at my newly acquired hardwood easel.  The easel doesn’t work for watercolor painting, as there is not room enough in the bedroom studio to flatten out the surface.  But oils can be done on a tilt.  While watercolors, gouache, and mixed medium play happens at my dining room studio, oils are slowly drying and developing on the easel.

Margaret L Been — April 14th, 2008

*When I received my order from DICK BLICK of a beautiful, magenta colored wood box of 60 oil pastels (Van Gogh brand) I reverted to childhood.  I can’t express the wonder and joy of running my fingers over the surface of these sticks, marveling at the gorgeous color gradations.

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Another teacher has joined my DVD library:  Canadian watercolor artist, Karin Huehold.  Her 120 minute lesson has opened up still more enticing possibilities for me.  In fact, I was so excited last night after viewing Karin’s DVD—A Little Watercolor, that I simply couldn’t sleep.  So I got up, traveled the distance of about 10 feet from the bed to my bedroom art table, and went to work.  (My husband can sleep through anything, and he loves having a happy woman!)

Karin cuts a (presumably) 22″ x 30″ sheet of watercolor paper into 72 little sections.  Her method of cutting is amazingly quick and accurate—for the moment Karin has lost me on that one.  I’m experimenting with her technique on Wisconsin’s own Strathmore 140 lb. cold press note papers, each card being 5″ x 7″.   Any that I like too much to mail out can then be floated mounted (without a mat) on 8″ x 10″ backing board, while leaving the other 1/2 of the note card for another painting.

Karin begins by wetting the top 1/3rd to 3/4s of her tiny section, leaving a thin dry strip of paper under the wet part, and wetting a strip at the bottom.  Then she charges color (any color, the artist’s choice) into the wet sections.  Naturally the paint stays on the wet areas, leaving the dry strip intact.  After a few seconds or moments, she inserts detail by painting into the background—a line of foliage, a few individual trees, or a moon.  The moons are created by wrapping facial tissue over any round object and stamping.  I used an empty plastic pill bottle for my moons.

As the lesson progresses, Karin gets more detailed.  Any of her methods may be translated to larger sheets of paper.  But the little guys are delightful—and I write a lot of snail mail letters every week.  I haven’t bought stationery or prepared note cards for years, because I love to make my own. 

I had so much fun banging out a few note papers in the dead of the night, that my mind was whirling when I finally went to bed—and I still couldn’t sleep.  Some of us are like that, when we are enthused.  (Tonight I’ll gladly crash.)  The fruit of my night owlery is displayed on this page.  I went to bed thinking that the blue sky cards were okay, but the reds were not so great.  However this morning, when I got up and checked the dried paintings, I liked the reds even better than the blues!  I scanned them all into my computer, so after the originals are mailed out I can produce prints for gluing on to more note papers. 

Karin Huehold’s style of communicating is so relaxed, friendly, and whimsical that I feel like I’ve spent 120 minutes with a good friend or a cousin after viewing her lesson.  I’d gladly toss her an apple if I could, —all the way to Alberta!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

Note:  Any artist scrutinizing these pictures will know that the textured areas on the red sky paintings were caused by sprinkling table salt into the paint before it dried.  For some unknown reason, my husband thinks this is uproariously funny!  I’m showing him that I have a bunch of tricks up my sleeve!

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