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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom in art’

I love music, and the music I favor varies with my mood.  Some days are just right for Pavaratti, Yo-Yo Ma, or most any Philharmonic.  On other occasions my ethnic roots surface, and only Celtic will do. 

Drums and skirling pipes stir me to a point where I visualize my Campbell of Argyl ancestors pacing and piping with that characteristic dignity and reserve known to few outside the Scottish Highlands.  I’m so enamored with the pipes, that I’ve prematurely (I think, anyway) procured a piper to play “Amazing Grace” for my going-home celebration. 

We have a sizable library of Irish CDs.  A thoughtful mindset calls for poignant ballads, best rendered via harp.  We have several harpists on discs.  The ambience of harp music has a way of transporting the listener to another world.

Rollicking, high energy days call for the Chieftans, the Irish Rovers, or the Clancy Brothers.  Their ballads include accounts of pubs, pretty wenches, that famous Irish anesthesia—whiskey, travelers bound for “Cali – forn – I – aye” (in search of gold, no doubt), and lovers wandering hand in hand beside rivers and green woods. 

Recently I was making art in the evening.  I decided I wanted to paint autumn, because that’s where we are at the moment.  I tried to focus on red, gold, and orange—with a little terra cotta and burgundy thrown in—attempting to capture the brightest autumn imaginable, vibrant with sugar maples.  But for some reason, my brush kept making forays into the greens on the palette—or sometimes into yellows and blues.  My masterpiece in process kept jumping out of season—recalling summer.

Why did this happen?  It dawned on me that a melody and lyrics had been rolling in my head all day, and the music continued to roll as I painted.  I’d played the Clancy Brothers that morning, to provide a peppy background and beat for a day of spinning some gorgeous wool roving into yarn.  Consequently my mind kept echoing:  “He whistled and he sang till the green woods rang, and he won the heart of a lady.”

The result of such a brainwashing simply had to be green woods!  And here it is, on that amazing YUPO® paper.  🙂

Fine artist Barbara Nechis warns against “self-plagiarism”—in other words, painting the same scene or object over and over.  I’ve wondered if I am doing that with my plethora of trees, rocks, and rivers.  But I paint what I love, and I’m in good company.  Claude Monet certainly repeated himself with water lilies and haystacks.

Obviously, as Nechis points out, the solution for painting in series is to vary each rendering so that one is saying something new about the subject with each work:  using different colors and shapes, and striving for a diversified mood with each painting. 

There is no reason why trees have to be grey/black/brownish.  They can be purple, pink, or blue.  Leaves don’t have to be green in summer and red/yellow/gold in autumn.  They can be lavender or black.  I’ve painted fiery red waters (the Shenendoah River actually is red), green and burgundy skies, and every available color of rock. 

If only children, from 2 years old to 90, could realize that we are FREE when we pick up a paintbrush!  If we are truly free in our art making, we can constantly repeat ourselves with impunity!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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