Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

The Blue Bench — painted by Pat Bean

“Truly the bench is a boon to idlers. Whoever first came up with the idea is a genius: free public resting places where you can take time out from the bustle and brouhaha of the city, and simply watch and reflect.” – Tom Hodgkinson

Sitting, Watching and Listening

Dock benches at Tom’s Cove Campground on Chincoteague Island in Virginia. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I was a beginning birdwatcher, I thought patience was only an activity for couch potatoes. This non-activity simply wasn’t part of my vocabulary – or my life. But the birds I wanted to see didn’t always, in fact seldom, showed up in a timely fashion.

“Learn to sit quietly for half an hour and you won’t be disappointed,” a birding mentor told me. But 10 minutes was all I could manage for the first couple of years. I had to work up to it, but finally I caught on.

A bench at the Amherstburg Navy Yard in Ontario, Canada.


And once I did that, I began looking for places with interesting views to sit. And lo and behold I discovered the joy of benches. The blue one above, which I painted from a photograph (below left),

was located at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. It looked out over a meadow filled with tall, grassy reeds where yellow-headed blackbirds could frequently be found.

The benches on the top left were located on a dock on Chincoteague Island in Virginia, where I spent a week. Gulls and boat-tail grackles liked to gather here.

And the photo on the right above was taken in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, where I watched a blue-winged teal swim about in the harbor and house sparrows pecking about in flowerbeds.

Sitting on a bench, in a delectable nature setting, has now become one of my “activities.”

It is much better any day than sitting meditation, which so far, I haven’t managed to do for more than five minutes at a time. My busy brain just won’t turn off when Mother Nature, and birds, aren’t around to keep my attention focused.

I guess you can now call me a bench potato.

Bean Pat: The Page Turner http://tinyurl.com/y9b2y3z3 Enjoy the photography of John Macdonald. I did.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is soon to be released. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com


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A Funky Bird: Just a fun painting to get your attention. — By Pat Bean

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.” Harper Lee            

Three of a Kind

            I enjoy reading pretty much all genres of books except horror and true crime. Usually, I have about five books that are in my reading stack and a dozen or more eagerly waiting to be moved up to it. Most often the books in the reading stack include a mystery, a travel book, a fantasy novel, a book on writing and one other.

I just noticed, however, that my current reading stack includes three books on writing and journaling. I’m not sure exactly how this came about, but all three are by writers I admire.

The first is The Sound of Paper by artist and author Julia Cameron, who also wrote the Artist’s Way and many other books. She urges writers to do morning pages. This was something I was sometimes doing, but since picking up Julia’s book, I have been doing it faithfully. She urges three pages, but my goal is only two, although once I get started and let the brain take over, I usually end up with three or more. I find this morning journal writing helps focus my day. Her second rule is that we make an artist’s date with ourselves once a week, and the third is that we take daily walks. I already do the latter, and agree that it’s the best time in the world for thinking. As for the artist’s date with myself, I think that’s a great idea.

The second book in my stack is Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg, whose books Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones I have also read. This is Natalie’s memoir in which she talks about finding her way as a writer. It echoes many of my own writing thoughts, and is a delight to read. I especially love Natalie’s vivid way with words

The third book in my stack is A Trail Through Leaves by Hannah Hinchman, whose A Life in Hand I have also read. While I found the first two books at my local library, I got Hannah’s secondhand on line after being unable to find one at the library. Like Julia, Hannah is also an artist and encourages the use of art work in journaling. Since it is full of illustrations, I’m glad I will be able to add it to my own library, or to pass it along to someone else who will enjoy it. My small apartment simply can’t keep all the books that come into my possession.

So, what are you reading?

Bean Pat: Lighthouse on a Cliff http://tinyurl.com/y8fj75pg

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Quotes from my Journal

A good road trip includes plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers along the way. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal. Take long walks in the woods.” Robin S. Sharma

One That Gave Me a New Dream

I love quotes, which is why each chapter in my soon to be published, Travels with Maggie, starts off with one about travel. Quotes also generously weave their way through my journals. Occasionally I’ll come across one that leaves me wondering what I was thinking when I wrote it, because it has little meaning for me this second time around. Others that I come across, are as significant to my life today as they were the first time around.

Here are a few that I think worth repeating:

“Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.” – Thomas Edison

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

“There are so many ways to lose your life besides dying.” – Mark Jenkins

“Oh, godddamit, we forgot the silent prayer!” – Dwight Eisenhower (This one simply because it made me laugh.)

“Happiness isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” – Garth Brooks

“Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me … leading wherever I choose.” – Walt Whitman

And plenty of time to bird watch as well. — Anhinga watercolor by Pat Bean

That last was my life for nine years, and maybe it will be once again. A road trip is

brewing in my little gray cells. A good long one to celebrate my 80th birthday in two years.

I need to step foot in my 50th state. The only one I haven’t visited. And it’s not Alaska or Hawaii. It’s little old Rhode Island, which I missed because I stayed too late up north the year I was just 20 miles from its border. I had to scamper south to escape a storm and cold weather. The more northern RV parks had already closed for the winter.

My initial thoughts for my proposed road trip to Rhode Island are that I travel no more than 300 miles a day, then sit out a day. I can write a book about it and call it Travels with Pepper, a sequel to my soon-to-be-published Travels with Maggie.

It’s a round trip of just over 5,000 miles from Tucson – I just looked the mileage up. But I take back roads and side-trips, so add at least another 1,000 miles. I figure it will take at least two months to do a leisurely loop to there and back, a southern route going and a northern route returning.

Now I have two years to figure out how to finance it, and where to stay along the way. I spent five years planning my nine-year, gallivanting RV days to make my dreams come true. Planning this road trip should be a piece of cake – and darn fun as well.

People need dreams. I’m glad I have a new one.

Bean Pat: Twenty Minutes a Day http://tinyurl.com/l26vy2x One of my favorite bloggers, and I love this Fort Worth museum. I think the portraits featured in the blog are great fodder for writers. Each face tells a story.

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An Art Project

            “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”– Pablo Picasso

My art project for the day.

My art project for the day.

I Call It Entangled Passion

            It began with my friend Jean coming across an odd-sized free frame, which she gave to me. I pondered if I had anything among my art pieces that would fit it – but the answer was a negative.

Illustration of a poured painting in Just Paint It.

Illustration of a poured painting in Just Paint It.

The next step came when I checked out an art book at the library, titled Just Paint It by Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp. The book was subtitled: The world’s most enjoyable painting course ever – and its first lesson was a pour painting, with the illustration that is pictured here on the left.

I loved the example, and then thought of the frame and its heavy wood backing, which for my next step I painted white with some acrylic paint I had on hand. I let that dry overnight, then picked out five colors from some old gouache tubes of paint, which I seldom used.

I used five plastic cups and mixed each of the colors with a little water, then one at a time I poured the colors on the board, which I had propped up at about a 60-degree angle.

Gravity, with a few touchups from me, did the rest. I love how the colors all dripped and blended together. After it was dry, and I had reinserted the board into the frame, I stared at it for a while, decided I liked it, then named it “Entangled Passion.”

But perhaps you have a better name.

Bean Pat: A New Day https://imissmetoo.me/2017/01/27/filters-and-artists/ Another artist who is having fun.

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The Color Blue

A blue bench for birdwatching at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A blue bench for birdwatching at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. — Photo by Pat Bean

       “I think I have something tonight that’s not quite correct for evening wear. Blue suede shoes.” — Elvis Presley

A Many-Hued Thing

If you want a definition of the color blue, scientifically it is the color between violet and green on the optical spectrum of visible light.

Looking down on Bear Lake after exiting Logan Canyon in Utah. -- Wikimedia photo

Looking down on Bear Lake after exiting Logan Canyon in Utah. — Wikimedia photo

Blue comes in many hues. Just to name a few watercolor choices, there is Cobalt, Phthalocyanine, Antwerp, Peacock, Ultramarine, Prussian, Winsor, Cerulean, Manganese and, Turquoise.

As a writer, I’ve used such terms as robin’s egg blue, periwinkle blue and Steller jay blue, a bird whose brilliant coloring can send shivers down my spine when I see one in bright sunlight against a background of fluttering green leaves. It’s a sight that, thankfully, is a long-lived image that lingers in the soul.

Another blue that stands out in my mind is the color of Bear Lake in Utah as you crest the final summit in Logan Canyon and look down at the scene before you. No matter what the cold and deep lake’s color of the day was – and it was never quite the same each time I saw it – the intensity of the hue always made me gasp in awe.

Steller Jay --  Wikimedia photo

Steller Jay — Wikimedia photo

Graphic designer David Carson said: “Good things are associated with blue, like clear days, more than singing the blues. Just the word ‘blue’ in the singular is full of optimism and positive connotation to most people.”

Artist Wassily Kandinsky said: “The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and … the brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.”

And Ralph Waldo Emerson, less picky about colors, said: “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” His quote makes me think of green, which was the color of my mom’s eyes.

Red’s not bad either. That’s the color of my couch. So what’s your favorite color?

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

            Bean Pat: Brevity http://tinyurl.com/h6m5khk Getting past the rejection slip. This is one of my favorite writing blogs.

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Most recent watercolor and pen painting. -- By Pat Bean

Most recent watercolor and pen painting. — By Pat Bean

“To love doing one thing doesn’t mean one does not love doing other things.” – Pat Bean

And I Have No One to Blame but Myself

The painting before that. I'm guess I'm in a flowery mood.-- By Pat Bean

The painting before that. I’m guess I’m in a flowery mood.– By Pat Bean

My brain’s on overload after I wrote down all the things I must do or want to do this week, which involves six writing projects (two with upcoming deadlines), a Barry Manilow concert tonight, a play reading Friday night, a bit of painting when I can fit it in, dog walking and sitting (my part-time job), upgrade my computer to Windows 10, a delayed birthday dinner at my daughter’s Thursday, plus reading and cleaning my apartment, etc., etc., etc.

How does a supposedly retired person get herself into so much chaos? Something in me must love chaos. But I’m not going to have time to figure it out this week. I’m going to be too busy.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Where’s my Backpack http://tinyurl.com/jy4coej Find out how the Devil lost his thumb. Great armchair travel story.

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Mother Nature Does it Best

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. — Photo by Pat Bean

 “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.” — John Muir, Our National Parks

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea  http://www.pbs.org/  Don’t miss this Ken Burns film that begins tonight on PBS

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