Posts Tagged ‘George Winston’

Many artists share that they do their best work when accompanied by music they love.  I’m passionate about the music I love, and tend to get totally absorbed when listening.  Classical music consumes me, and I can think of nothing but the music.  But I also love George Winston’s piano, and most anything Celtic.  These selections often provide a background for  my art.

“The Rhythm of Life” (pictured above) is the product of my recent session with The Chieftans.  You might expect there’d be a fiddle in there somewhere!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012  

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Last evening I had a BDN.  That’s “Bad Disc Night”—not “disc” as in computers, boom boxes, or DVD players, but discs in the lumbar region of my body.

Joe and I like to go to bed early with our books and George Winston.  George is not actually present in person in our home, but we have 3 and 1/2 hours of him on our IPOD mounted on a boom box.  We play all kinds of music in the daytime—from opera, to requiems, to symphonies, and Celtic harp.  But at night only that poet of the piano, George Winston, will do.

Last night even George, my achey/bakey (a flannel bag filled with feed corn and heated in the microwave), and my prescription pain medication were no help.  Bad discs!

I was studying a newly purchased book:  ART MAKING, COLLECTIONS & OBSESSIONS, by Lynne Perella.  This book, packed with pictures and inspiring text, contains “An Intimate Exploration of the Mixed-Media Work and Collections of 35 Artists.”

I read, viewed, and savored page after page of wonderfully funky stuff—shelves and boxes crammed full of tantalizing junk, plus art and unique groupings fashioned from junk by imaginative minds with skillful hands.  But even the delectable contents of my book, in tandem with the above-mentioned remedies, couldn’t tame those bothersome lumbar discs.

The book finally catapulted me out of bed and into the living room.  Suddenly I just had to create something—a little vignette on the coffee table by one of our sofas.  I gathered odds and ends, puttered, and voila:  the above table laden with some of my (many!) favorite things.

From left to right behind the platter of shells you will see:  the corners of two 1917 nature books with gorgeous watercolor illustrations given to me by a precious friend, Georgian, who married my Dad when he was a 95 year old widower; a watercolor sketch of Joe fishing, quickly done by me as I sat behind him in the boat while dipping my paintbrush in the lake; a Cheerios® mug containing not cereal, but rather a baby jade plant; and my watercolor rendition of a wolf cub howling his heart out.

On the mirrored platter you will find:  a variety of Atlantic Ocean shells and some coral; a 1920s crystal door knob; an elegant little notebook given to me by our daughter, Judy; a battery operated tea light in a green glass votive dish; a piece of tattered lace; and (left front) a diminutive, ornately framed photo of my two sisters when they were young—Ardis who was 8 years older than I, and Shirley, the sister who died before I was born.

After creating this scenario of beauty, and surveying my personal “art making” with much satisfaction, I went back to bed and also to sleep—raging discs notwithstanding,  

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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When we moved into our Southern Wisconsin condo home in September, 2009, we were immediately “warned” by a neighbor woman that the man in the condo above us was “grumpy”. 

Joe and I simply smiled at this indictment, as we prefer to follow our own instincts where people are concerned, and we do not truck with the estimations and opinions of others.

Joe met the man upstairs (from now on he will be referred to as TMU) shortly after we settled, and they discussed gardens.  Here is how our condo gardens work:  the downstairs owners have a nice patio garden and some space outside of their garage as well.  The upstairs people have a commodious deck, and they get to garden the long strip of earth along the side of their garage.

In his garage side garden, TMU had some beautiful tomatoes which he pleasantly shared with Joe and me.  Grumpy?  I don’t think so!

Come spring, TMU mentioned that his daughter’s family had bought a country property, and his garden would be there rather than here at the condos.  TMU graciously “gave” his generous garden space to me, via Joe.  Grumpy?  I don’t think so! 

I thanked TMU, and last spring I happily planted the wonderful extra garden facing east and southeast—perfect for a lot of plants.  And over the winter I’ve been mentally filling that space with a lot more!  TMU didn’t seem grumpy to me!

Meanwhile, I have been very careful about my (almost) daily piano practise, as I don’t want to wear out our welcome with TMU.  Our units are soundproof, but occasionally we hear some flushing, or a faint hum of a vacuum cleaner.  So I have been in the habit of only practising somewhere between 8:30 a.m. and about 5:00 p.m.  I limit my practise sessions to 1 hour at the most, sometimes picking up another hour later in the day. 

Still I wondered, could TMU hear the piano?  I will never give it up, but I do want to be sensitive to the rest and serenity of those around us.  I would certainly negotiate times of practise with TMU, if necessary!

Then I received the shock of the century, a few weeks ago.  Joe was chatting with TMU outside by our garages, when TMU said, “Tell your wife I LOVE to hear her play the piano!  I always turn my TV off, and listen.”

This blew me away, not only because TMU had originally been mispresented to us but because my piano skills are neophyte!  My main instruments over the years have been violin and voice, and I only studied piano for a few months when I was very young.  After that I took off on my own, in leisure moments. 

Since moving here, I have worked diligently at my piano.  One breakthrough is being able to play while not looking much at the piano keyboard.  This frees me up considerably.  (Maybe computer keyboarding has helped my music!) 

I do have many bumps and grinds while practising—many times of going over and over rough spots, playing one hand separately until I feel confident of the passage.  My mother would have been delighted with that, but TMU? 

Perhaps TMU likes the music because he is elderly, and has a German last name.  Many older Germans love the composers I love best:  Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, etc. 

Currently I’m working on George Winston’s arrangement of Pachelbel’s Kanon.  This piece of work is so magnificent, it sends me soaring every time I work on it—although I will never come even remotely near George Winston in tempo or performance!  (Winston is a genious!) 

As I play and soar, I wonder if TMU is enjoying Pachelbel as much as I am! 

Grumpy?  I don’t think so!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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