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Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Inventory’

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

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Always Time for Tea 2

At the start of a new year, I like to take a life inventory—reviewing the past year and setting my future course in light of all I’ve learned from successes and failures.  In the area of art making, the possibilities for growth are endless.  I will never learn it all, and thus I’m free to thoroughly savor the process!

Most recently I’m absorbing all I can from DVDs and books by two English watercolorists—Shirley Trevena, and Jean Haines.  I cannot begin to do justice to their art by way of description.  But you can check these fine artists through their URLS:  http://www.shirleytrevena.com/ and http://www.jeanhaines.com/ .

As you will see from her website, Shirley Trevena creates complex transparent layers in her work—carefully glazing over under-layers which are completely dry.  Her drawing skills and grasp of perspective are stellar, but Shirley has a refreshing way of presenting different aspects of her still life paintings from varying angles.  A pitcher may be straight up before your eyes, while the fruit bowl next to the pitcher is tipped on its side so that fruit tumbles out—almost into the lap of the viewer.  I believe this technique of abstracted form and presentation of irregular dimensions began with Cubism.  I find the method tremendously freeing, and it creeps into most of my still life patio scenes—i. e. an iced tea pitcher on the patio floor and an upside down lawn chair precariously dangling from a tree.

From Jean Haines, who also excels at transparent layering and drawing with paint, I’ve discovered the creative freedom of a diagonal wash.  I confess that over the years of experimenting I’ve found the traditional wash method (beginning at the top of the page and systematically working down in horizontal strips of uniform size) just a bit BORING.  Yes, I know; I’m odd!  🙂

Often, Jean begins in an upper corner, and randomly streaks paint diagonally to the bottom of the paper.  She introduces color upon color, letting complements fuse into gorgeous in-between shades.  Then, from the subtle blending of colors, Jean Haines gently begins to extract her subject.  Like Shirley, Jean will often reveal only part of a subject.  Just as Shirley paints fruit which may be missing a bite or two, Jean will delicately allude to the star of her painting:  perhaps a dark nose and one ear buried in fluff, unmistakably representing a small furry dog—or one indigo eye with a white dot and streaks of colorful feathers embellishing her cockerels (which I’m trying to render—see the last entry before today’s).

Both of these fine artists stress unabashed COLOR!  From their time-honored tradition of skillfully muted atmospheric English watercolor painting, these ladies continue their great national heritage by exploding into new areas of vibrant atmospheric color.  Both Shirley Trevena and Jean Haines stress the priorities of slowing down, thinking about each stage, and thoroughly enjoying making one’s very own individual art—different for every person who picks up a brush!

Gather ye rosebuds

Margaret L. Been, January 2014

Note:  My two paintings featured in this entry are:  “Always Time for Tea”, and ” ‘Gather Ye Rosebuds’ “—inspired by Robert Herrick’s poem.

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