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Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’

Up North 4

Our Christmas Day celebration was memorable with a great blend of good company, good food, and—as usual when we gather with family and friends—loads of laughs, some of which erupted from a series of hilarious selfies.  Our family tends to goof it up when posing for pictures, and when you can see the results instantly it’s all the more fun!

The only thing missing here in Southern Wisconsin was snow.  Instead we had something which has not happened very often in recent weeks:  a day of welcome sunshine.  But we love a beautiful snowfall, and in Wisconsin we think “Christmas and snow”.

Lately I was especially thinking snow, due to a photo in a holiday greeting from a friend, professional artist, and fellow poet Diana Randolph, who lives way up where we natives call “Up North”*.  The individuals in the photo are set in that incredibly pristine landscape of Up North snow.

So for days I went around remembering Joe’s and my eight years of living full time, UP NORTH.  I kept seeing our Northern home in my mind’s eye**.  There is a kind of light Up North even on overcast snowy days, until night—and then one frequently sees what appear be a million stars.  My mind’s eye was visualizing that light in the process of the above painting in watercolor and gouache.

So thank you, Diana, for your inspiring photo and Christmas greeting—and for your encouragement as well!   You can meet Diana and view her beautiful art on her website.  Just GOOGLE Diana Randolph, Northern Wisconsin Artist.

Margaret L. Been, December 2014

*Roughly speaking, in Wisconsin we consider “Up North” to be most anywhere north of Highway 10.  But for me the term has also become symbolic of a contented way of living and the quality of experiencing a “whole” life wherever we live.  Some day I may develop this theme on my everyday life blog:  Northern Reflections.

**Like so many commonly used expressions, “the mind’s eye” comes from The Old Bard—this phrase via Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 1, Scene 2.  Shakespeare is indeed immortal, with countless figures of speech and phrases enduring through the centuries—along with wisdom, wit, and insight concerning the human heart and mind.  🙂

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Sweet Irony 2

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Shakespeare’s Juliet, ROMEO AND JULIET

I’m amazed when I tour our local art gallery and view huge four digit (as in $6000) paintings—abstract renderings on gallery wrapped canvas panels—bearing the vague name:  “Untitled”.

Two questions prevail.  Was the meaning of the work so intrinsically personal that the artist could not divulge whatever he was thinking?  Or did the art, once completed, fail to bring anything specific to the artist’s mind?

I probably will never make $6000 art.  But whatever I make, I’ve vowed that I’ll never title a painting “Untitled”.  I will not cop out!  Perhaps my work would smell as sweet (or not sweet!) sans a name, but I’m going to think up something definite to call every one of my creations.

Admittedly, once I cut loose on YUPO® paper anything can happen.  Whereas I normally start with a subject in mind on Arches (pronounced “ARSH”—it’s French) 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper, on YUPO I do not burden myself with representational responsibilities.  The paint on the glass-like surface leads the way, surprises me, responds to a minimum of manipulation, and literally “does its own thing”.

(Although I never embraced the violent or destructive activities of the 60s and 70s, I do have a bit of residual Hippie in me.  The earth mother crafts glammed on and stuck, although I’ve refined them and added a lot of pizzazz, and so did the concept of free expression in art—which, in retrospect I realize to be my birthright.  I always did and I always will EXPRESS FREELY in one way or another!)

So finding a name for a painting is sometimes a challenge, given the slippery slide of paint on YUPO.  Sometimes I have to prop the finished piece up and gaze at it for a few days.  But mostly a name surfaces, along with the last swipe of the brush.  Often a title appears in the wake of whatever might be lingering in my head as I paint.

The above happy rendering is called “Sweet Irony”.  It is sweet and it is ironic; while painting I was processing an annoying past event which ended with an amazing surprise turn.  The surprise has made all the difference in the world, and now the event carries sweet rather than bitter implications.

Again, to quote my beloved old bard:  “All’s well that end’s well.”

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