None of these are my work. But I am a sucker for lotus flowers, and these are so stunning I have to share them.
First is a photograph taken by Paula Swenson at a botanical garden in Thailand:
I am in love with that photo.
Next, two images of lotuses in watercolor painted by Walter Cudnohufsky of Ashland MA:
I'm lucky enough to own both of these paintings.
They will help me to remember...
"No mud, no lotus."
--Thich Nhat Hanh
Oh my, another sunny day. They are increasingly rare, and so I treasure them. It's downright cheerful outdoors, though cold. Great to see the sun.
So where's the fog? I did this tile this morning as part of my continuing experiment with incising tiles rather than using pen on them. So it's done only with a stylus, graphite, and after that I used some watercolor pencils to add a bit of color. I thought it came out quite "foggy."
This was done for the final piece of the Gratitangles2018 Project (November) and is the tile for day 30. I am officially done and really enjoyed the month. As I was doing this tangle this morning, I was grateful for whoever invented Gratitangles, and grateful that I had a chance to participate. I hope I can continue this practice of being-grateful-while-tangling. It makes a big difference in mood.
I'm intrigued by experiments with the incision technique and plan to continue them a bit. These truly are experiments. Here is one (below) that didn't work so well. I did this on a Bijou tile (2x2") and used General's Chalk Pencils for color...in order to get the color I had to rub fairly hard and I noticed the wonderful Fabriano Tiepolo paper did NOT like the rubbing. You can see that it was beginning to shred.
I'll put that on in the "No fail, no learn" category and I'm glad I tried it. I have some other ideas that may work better on the Fabriano Tiepolo paper.
I'm not known for being subtle. Far from it. But I've been wanting to try this oh-so-subtle technique (does it have a name? I can't find one) by CZT Maria Tovar for a long time and today, the penultimate day of the Gratitangles Project, I thought these two simple tangles would lend themselves well to it. They did, even on my first try.
This is part of my work on the November Gratitangles Project, which is all about focusing on gratitude while tangling. I had to laugh as I was finishing this piece and Alison Krauss's wonderful song The Lucky One came on. (Granted the song is NOT about gratitude. Or at least, not in the way I've been exploring gratitude! But I love the music and the title fit my thoughts, even though the lyrics have an entirely different meaning.) I love Alison Krauss. Here is another song of hers I adore. You're welcome...
This has been a wonderful project to do. I have one more day to complete and then I hope to continue tangling while thinking about why I am grateful for everything in my life, even the hard parts.
“We can do subtle," I assured her.
"It's our middle name," Andrea added.
For some odd reason Rene didn't look convinced.”
― Ilona Andrews, Magic Slays
This is highly representative of my state of mind. Here we have a tile that covers days 26, 27, and 28 of the Gratitangles Project. I'm almost done.
The tangle Bales (day 26) starts out on the left looking reasonably like itself, but then as it moves over to the right of the tile it's desperately trying to escape. Or spread its wings. Or something. Munchin (day 27), a tangle that is usually free-form and wild, doesn't look much like itself here at all, though it too begins to look like an escapee by the time it gets to the right side of the tile.
This piece went places I couldn't have imagined. It reflects where I've been for a couple of days--very busy and unable to do much creating, so today's work is trying to "spring out of its firm-looking boundaries." Fine with me!
Though busy and l-o-n-g, both days included good things. And yesterday, although I didn't do much creating myself, I spent much of the afternoon visiting old friends who are both incredibly creative. Good conversation and plenty of art-related eye candy made for a lovely day, and inspiration.
Today, it was lovely to stay close to home after so much traveling and allow myself to rest. I could not have predicted the results of this tile, but I'm liking it a lot.
So in keeping with the Gratitangles Project, while I was drawing this today I was feeling grateful for delightful surprises, grateful for old and dear friends, grateful for a good night's sleep, and for the steady sunshine we had all day. And grateful for being an escapee (able to withdraw from regular life on occasion). I don't need to do so often, but when I do, it's nourishing.
The beginning today: I began designing another large rug. It's too early by far to show anything, but I am pleased with the start.
The ending today: After endless rain and then multiple overly-early snowstorms, we finally got all the leaves cleaned up. It took all day. Since I'm focusing on gratitude this month, I want to say how relieved I am that I no longer have to do this myself. Because I live in a condo, someone else does it for me, and of course they have all the right tools & equipment, saving my old bones the effort. Thank you, thank you.
Two small tangled pieces today...
Above is a black Zentangle® 3-Z tile with White Gellyroll pen and White General's Charcoal. The tangle is called XLnt and it's by CZT Jody Genovese (you can find it on tanglepatterns.com). This is my first try at it, and wowza, it was not easy for me to figure out. I like it very much though and think I'll be using it a lot. This was done for the "It's a String Thing #271" Challenge on Adele Bruno's website.
And this one is done on a tiny Bijou tile (2"x2") using Gold Gellyroll pen and A bit of White Gellyroll, with colors by General's Chalk pencils. The tangle in the center is Zenith, and that was our assignment for the Gratitangles Project, day 25. I mixed in a Footlites tangle on either side (same project, day 14). Zenith is a tangle I always mean to use, and rarely do.
While working on these tiles I could not help thinking of things I am grateful for today: For example, safe housing, with great caretakers who moved those leaves efficiently and who also take care of the snow and ice. I'm grateful for the snow tires I had put on my car yesterday. I am grateful that I even HAVE a car and the money for snow tires.
“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”
So far, we're having an extraordinarily early winter. Multiple snowstorms have already struck, and it's been much colder than normal. We are nowhere near the Winter Solstice when the season officially begins, but it's definitely winter out there.
I spent 2 hours today getting snow tires put on at the very busy local dealership. More snow due tonight. Fortunately, it's accumulating more in the hill towns surrounding this valley, but it's often rain or slush here. We are lurching rather haplessly from storm to storm, with just a few bits of sunshine in between. Today was mostly cloudy with a couple of hours of filtered sun. This tangle was done to honor the short days and the occasional lovely brief moments of sun, when they come.
I've been feeling the itch to draw a bit again (other than tangles). One thing I know about drawing is that if you don't use it, you lose it. And I haven't used it in months, other than tangling.
This morning as I lay in bed I knew I wanted to sketch something--anything--quickly. So I got out of bed, grabbed a pencil and post-it note, and did a 4-minute sketch of the Buddha that a friend just brought me from her trip to Asia.
This was a straight-from-the-bed-into-a-sketch moment of madness. After all, we each have something we need to do first thing after getting out of bed, right? And I hadn't done that yet. So I guarantee it was very short. And not particularly good. But you gotta start somewhere.
Not a masterpiece, but could be worse after months and months of inactivity with drawing. Perhaps this is the start of something.
I've been participating in the "Gratitangles2018" project, an annual November event centered around the theme of Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I'd include a link to it, but honestly, I don't know who started this or where to find the right link. And I've looked. I don't even know who sent me the list this year.
But in this time when the United States feel less "united" than at any time since the 60s (meaning, the 1860s, when we had the Civil War), I really need to focus on what I can be grateful for...and that is still a lot.
Yesterday, Day 23 of the project, one of my least favorite tangles came up: Jonqal. I've never liked it and never ever tried it. However, I'd committed myself, so I put on some meditative music and gave it a try last night. Result:
Here's the thing: I still don't like it, but I'm glad I tried it. And I admit I like the result better than I expected. Even though mine is far from perfect (perfection is not what Zentangle® is about, anyway!) and doesn't look like the "classic" version. [See the "classic" images HERE.]
It will never be a go-to tangle, but I'm glad I gave it a try. Lesson learned! I'm thankful that I made the effort to attempt it, and the attempt was the major part of the lesson. I want to try more things in life, whether I think I'll like them or not. I also noticed that the process of doing this was just as relaxing as it is with all of the other tangles that I so strongly prefer. It got me to the same place, even if it's not--like the sketch at the top of today's post--any type of masterpiece.
It isn't about the masterpieces. It's all about the work.
It's now day 24 and I tried out a tangle I've only done once before. Click HERE to see my one-and-only previous try at it. I supersized it that time, and really like the effect. Today, though, I did the more classic version. It wasn't half as easy as the supersized one, and I messed up in places, but I like the result anyway:
Yesterday's post was all about the sun; ironically, today's is all about the moon.
Here we have an experiment that didn't quite work, but I like it anyway. I cannot even put into words what I was trying to achieve--it's too hard to explain. But I still like the ghostly, dusty fadedness of this violet-colored full moon.
Before dawn this morning I woke up and couldn't believe how much light was in my room. I turned my head on the pillow and was almost blinded by the nearly-full-moon beaming down directly into my eyes through the window as She sailed along in the northwest corner of the sky. It felt as though she were tapping on my shoulder and calling to me to, "Wake up! WAKE UP!"
Make this night
Love will heal the wound
The glowing light
Will make things right
Little darling, the smile's returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
There are so many things to be thankful for today, but let me begin with seeing the sun. Where I live we haven't had a sunny day in a long time, and although it's extremely cold out, I notice how much the sunshine has lifted my mood. I can't be the only one feeling this way.
I've a long list of things to be grateful for, including the fact that I was able to do some Zentangle® last night and today, a process that is so meditative and so centering that I feel extremely lucky to have stumbled on it years ago. Here's last night's tangle:
Next, I did a tangle for Diva Challenge #377. This piece definitely has a "What the hell happened here???!!!" feel to it, as it ended up in such an unexpected result, with colors I rarely use. But that's ok--I like it. Later today I'll treat myself to going to the Diva's page (see link above) and see how everyone else handled this "duotangle" (combining 2 tangles). I expect I'll be astounded and intrigued by all the different approaches, as always. Here it is:
I also had time to find a place for the lovely little Buddha my good friend P brought back from her month-long trip to Asia. There is now another tiny altar in my house:
Gratitude today, in no particular order, for:
After all, Mother Earth is the ONLY planet with coffee. And chocolate.
This week I've been thinking a lot about good friends and the nature of friendships. How they enrich our lives.
More or less hidden in that tile is the Pali word "Metta," which translates as "boundless friendship" and/or "loving kindness."
"Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit."
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
My next Beginning Zentangle® class will be for a private group in October. That class is full.
I'll be teaching another beginning class at the Greenfield Community Center in the spring of 2019, date to be determined. They do not have a website so please call them for more information.
I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.)
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society