Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Art Tools

Here are some more items in my bag of tricks.  Working down through the horizontals:  a large comb for making streaky marks*.  I also use a small, rat tail comb; a tooth brush for spattering wet paint; tongue compressors—I can’t recall where in the world I got those things but they are great for measuring and marking on those rare occasions when I use a pencil; a candle for creating areas of wax resist; a defunct credit card for scratching lines—making streaky grasses, etc; a knitting needle for making branches; and a jar lid mainly for making moons.  I have several different size jar lids.

The verticals are craft Q tips of which I found hundreds—I think a lifetime supply—at a church rummage sale years ago, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser which rubs out areas of paint for various effects.

Not pictured are masking tape for masking out trees or buildings in order to preserve the white paper while painting a background, facial tissue for dabbing out clouds in a wet sky wash, and probably some other odds and ends which momentarily escape me.

I have always been a pack rat (albeit a very well organized one) and it’s so much fun to have an ongoing excuse for packing stuff in!  Fortunately, I grew up with parents who let me have my own bit of Heaven in my childhood bedroom (probably because I was compulsively tidy); and for nearly 64 years I’ve been blessed with a husband who also enjoys being a pack rat.  It could be disastrous if we disagreed on what is important in life! 🙂  MLB

*One of my favorite artists whose books and DVDs I treasure, British artist Shirley Trevena, introduced me to the comb streaking trick.  Shirley’s still life watercolors are intriguing.  Shirley says what she aims for is “an incredibly messy painting with lots of drips and blobs”, and she demonstrates how she “destroys” a painting—often with a comb streaked through wet paint, blurring the colors.  Shirley’s “incredibly messy”, “destroyed” paintings are gorgeous—whereas when I try her tricks the results are often simply incredibly messy and destroyed.  Good grief!!!

Anyway, for a treat you can GOOGLE “Shirley Trevena, artist”.  You won’t be disappointed!  🙂

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Brian Jacques’ REDWALL Chronicles* are a treasure trove in every way:  gripping cliff-hanging plots, amazing characterization, plenty of humor—both subtle and downright slap-stick hilarious, AND painterly descriptions on every page.

Now I have the entire series of 22 novels, and am reading them in order.  Currently, I am into the 4th book, and have begun underlining or otherwise notating passages which may move my brushes and paints into action.

Above is another rendering of “Mossflower Wood and the Quarry”.  When I first painted this 24″ x 20″, I positioned the rocklike slabs at the top, and the nebulous tree shapes and foliage at the bottom of the horizontal format.  After matting and inserting the painting in its protective, clear plastic envelope, I accidently turned the piece “upside down” and immediately decided that I would hang the “upside down” as “right side up”.  That’s part of the fun of abstract art; it’s flexible and open to many interpretations!

Margaret L. Been, 1/26/17

*I have an inkling that Brian Jacques was a fan of Charles Dickens, judging from some of the hilarious names in the REDWALL Chronicles, especially the names of the scoundrels who are typically personified foxes, rats, stoats, ferrets, weasels,  and predatory birds:  names like Dripnose, Halfnose, Skinpaw, Ashleg, Ratflank, Darkclaw, Deadglim, Fishgill; and these are merely starters.  🙂


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It’s been said that Wisconsin has four seasons:  Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter/winter/winter/winter/winter.

Actually, in Southern Wisconsin we sometimes have mild days into November.  We can also have winter days in October.  And winter normally stretches into March or April.  Where we lived for eight years in Northern Wisconsin, you can tack three weeks on at each end of winter–making a nice long one!

I’m relearning some things about Southern Wisconsin winter, where Joe and I lived most of our lives.  We do not have the 35 below zero thermometer readings that we had up north–but we do (at least this time around) have a lot more icy, slushy, raw, damp, overcast days.  So it’s a toss up.  However the coin lands, it’s winter in Wisconsin!

Although I get antsy pantsy by about the first of March, I enjoy winter because it’s beautiful to look at–and because I love to craft and READ!  Others love winter because they love to ski.  The important thing is loving something enough to keep on doing it throughout these long weeks. 

Whatever the season, I love to get lost in a huge novel.  Currently, I’m snow plowing my way through Dostoyevsky’s THE IDIOT.  It’s riveting, and ponderous–as are all of Dostoyevsky’s novels.  He was a brilliant Christian worldview writer, and he left us a legacy of works that plumb the depths of the human psyche.

Reading the Russians always takes me a bit more time than reading large novels by English authors, because of the characters’ names.  Russians tend to have more than one name–depending on whomever is addressing them–a formal name, a personal name, etc. 

Creative, but challenging for those of us who are accustomed to one name per person.  When reading the Russians, I sometimes get mixed up as to who’s who! 

Since my maiden name was Margaret Ruth Longenecker, and now I am Margaret Longenecker Been, I’m grateful that I have only one name!  That one is enough for me!

Meanwhile snow is falling, falling, falling.  School closings are popping up all over the place.  What a beautiful time to read!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved  

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