I'm happy with the way the rug has turned out. But then this afternoon I realized that what I laminated is copyrighted and that I need to get permission to use it. Eeeek. How could I not have realized this until now?
So, a frantic fax to the company to see if they will give me permission. Now I will have to wait for a response. Fingers are crossed. I truly am amazed at myself, that I was oblivious to this issue until today--I certainly know better. Darn. ***
Finished the work on Quandary in my personal journal (complete with lined page). I used Tri-Tone Koh-i-Noor pencils to color this. It was very relaxing to do.
*** Hurrah! The copyright owner got back to me almost immediately and gave me permission to use the images on my rug. Phew. I'm thrilled that it has worked out and grateful that they responded so quickly and kindly.
Wait--wasn't that me who was freaking out yesterday because the laminations didn't work on my rug-that-can't-be-shown yet? Didn't I take them all off? Didn't I go out and spend a small fortune on things so that I could try another method entirely of adding the mixed media to the rug?
It was indeed me. So why am I putting the laminations right back on the rug?
I can't tell you, this wasn't in the plan. Not at all.
But, after trying out my other idea ("Plan B") with the mixed media, and seeing how vulnerable it would leave the mixed media, I began to feel that it wouldn't work either. I ran into some additional technical problems with Plan B, and the result was a disaster.
Talk about a quandary.
By coincidence, I was also reading a Facebook group specializing in Zentangle® and one person had posted that she has never mastered the tangle by the name of...Quandary. Interesting. I had learned this tangle years ago and had no problem with it but hadn't tried it in a long while. I got out my journal and began working with it to see if I could still do it. This was the result--still very much in progress but here's what I have so far-->
After tangling for a bit, I sat at my table and was sort of in a blank state, wondering what in the world I could do about the quandary with the rug project. My eyes fell on the previously laminated objects I'd taken off the rug. With nothing else to do, since I really couldn't think how to move forward, I found myself admiring them and wishing I could still use them. But clearly I could not re-apply them as they were.
I picked one up and began cutting most of the lamination away, leaving only a tiny border (and taking a risk, since the tiny border meant the lamination could peel off).
After all, I really couldn't use them...could I?
Maybe I could. So the bottom line: I cut every one of them way, way back, so that basically only the surface of each is laminated, with a tiny border. I re-rounded all the corners. Then I punched holes in the tiny border on each.
And I had a brainstorm--use French Knots to attach them to the rug.
So that is what I am doing. And although I'm afraid to say it, it seems to look much better. I won't know until I actually finish, but this may do the trick.
"Round 2" turns out to be more of same--with less. I cannot wait to see if this works.
...that would be, "making lemonade from lemons."
After working all day yesterday sewing small laminated pieces onto the Rug-Which-Cannot-Be-Shown-Yet (with Motown hits in the background), I finished adding the mixed media parts onto the rug.
And HATED IT. I mean, just hated it. All my careful thinking and creative inspiration...the hours of prep...and it did not work.
The rug, which I liked before the mixed media went on it, looked horrible.
Lemons for sure. Lemons lemons lemons. Lemons everywhere. I could feel my mouth puckering into a real frown.
What to do? All the laminations, each of which I had cut, rounded, and punched, were too big and too shiny. Rather than revealing what I wanted them to reveal, they just looked horrible, like big plastic shiny things covering the rug.
So this morning (meaning, very late last night, well after midnight) I consoled myself by doing a Zentangle® Snowflake Mandala in my journal. I was too tired to review how to make a round snowflake, so I just took a piece of printer paper, slapped some folds in it, pretended I was six years old, and started cutting. I ended up with this rectangle.
It helped me to feel better.
I did this meditatively. It was relaxing and enabled me to make a clear decision to immediately take every single lamination off the rug that I had spent all day putting onto it.
Thus, this morning I got up and in an hour, dismantled the entire thing. It had to be done carefully as my goal in stitching these onto the rug yesterday was to be certain they wouldn't come off. Indeed, I was highly successful so getting them off without harming the punch hooking was quite a trick, but I did it.
I am now back to square one. I am still determined to add the mixed media pieces to the rug. Just not laminated. Therefore, after the "official dismantling" this morning, I took myself off to my local indie art store and spent a chunk of change on ideas to make these lemons into a really delicious lemonade.
I think I've hit on a possible way of making this work, so Round Two will begin tomorrow.
"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. After some years, it can boast of a long series of successes." (Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach)
Indeed...life is easy to write about; easy to read about. Harder to DO.
Today I managed to do a few of the above. Here is one example:
"Practice is the best of all instructors."
Last night I went back to the Arlington ArtLounge to attend my first "live model open sketch" session. The cost was so low that I assumed there would be no instruction, just the model, and I was right. I am really glad I went, but it was hard work!
Here is some of what I learned:
1. Drawing the human body is entirely different from drawing a face. And yet, I think the general principles are exactly the same: Don't let "Monkey Mind" take over. Take your time and draw what you see, not what you "think" it should look like.
2. Practice, practice, practice. My mantra for this year.
We had a male model who was obviously used to modeling for figure drawing; we started with 3 minute poses, then 5 minute poses, then 20 minute poses, and a final 40 minutes.
Here was one of the 3 minute gesture drawings I did:
So, not horrific but not great. I say this not to denigrate myself but just to notice what I can learn. I think this may be the first time, as an adult, that I tried to draw a human body with any serious intent.
What I notice about this 3 minute sketch are the places where--in such a short time--I apparently did pretty well at actually looking and seeing, and I also notice all the places where Monkey Mind told me: "Draw it this way; hurry up!"--like the left side of the photo.
I remember having a mild sense of panic as I started. In 3 minutes, what was I supposed to do exactly? Block something out? Huge, free-handed swings? What was the best way to tackle this?
Lack of any instruction (for which I'm not blaming them--we got exactly what was advertised, and it was wonderful) hampered me, but I did my best. I didn't bother to photograph the other 3 minute poses; I think there were about four of them. This was probably my most successful attempt in the 3-minute time frame.
Note to self: label the sketches better next time. I have this one labeled as a "5-minute pose," but I can't swear that it was 5 minutes. I'm thinking it may have been 20 minutes. ---->
It's probably the best thing I did all night, in terms of success. I was really trying to LOOK and actually SEE with this one, and not trying to get the entire figure in. Did not completely succeed, but I like quite a bit about it.
I like the way his right shoulder looks as it really did in his pose. (I feel quite good about that, because when I was working on it he kept moving, so I had to work fast but I really got it.) I like the general torso; sure, I could improve here but it's not horrible for a first night's try. I like the head.
One thing I noticed, unquestionably, was how my lack of regular drawing practice was making it harder for me to slow down and truly see. Plus, knowing we were working on a timed pose made me want to move fast. Not good! I need to remember it's not a race and it's more about seeing what is there rather than moving my hands quickly.
Art happens in the head first, and then the hands just follow.
Then I got over-ambitious and the real trouble started:
This was a 20-minute pose. Top half: not bad for a very first try. The good news is that I hear they are going to be offering anatomical drawing lessons in February, and if I can, I plan to take some. Again, there are a few things I like about this, and many things that make me realize I could use some good instruction because although I'm "seeing" partially correctly, I am not seeing enough.
Bottom half...oh my, I slapped on the legs because I knew the 20 minutes was going to be up soon, and look at the result! He looks like a slightly deformed 90 pound weakling. Not at all what I was seeing.
I remember feeling like I just wanted to bag it at this point, because I was starting to realize just how hard figure drawing is and how it is easy to slip right over the line into symbolic (non-seeing) caricature, as I did here.
But I also was determined to stay for the entire class, and I tried to pat myself on the back for going to the class in the first place. This was risky for me--I have no experience with this type of drawing.
Below is what I did with the last pose of the night...oh my. Not good, not good at all, but hilarious.
For some reason I started at the bottom, with his feet, and spent a goodly time there on the feet and legs. I wish I had left it there. Because after doing a half-decent job on the feet and legs, I tossed in the trunk and arms and then slapped on the head. No, no! He looks like a horribly deformed being, whereas in real life he looked just fine. What a disservice. I should have just spent all the time on the feet/legs and not felt obliged to get the entire body done.
Here it is, in all its deformity. Whoa! <g>
My only comfort is that I remember seeing exactly this type of deformity and lack of proportion in some of Van Gogh's early drawings, as he was teaching himself to draw.
Oh hey, am I comparing myself to Van Gogh? I don't think so!!!!
I'm simply saying that from what I've seen, not just with myself but also with others who are in the early stages of learning to draw, this looks very familiar and is, I think, an indication of a certain learning stage.
What I appreciate about this:
1) It kind of looks like him (face).
2) I got the tattoo!
3) if you cover the top half, and look at the picture from mid-thigh down--where I spent most of the time during the long drawing session--the bottom half isn't bad!
It's when I tried quickly (there's that word again) added the top half that I lost perspective and stopped really looking-and-seeing, and that's why he looks so incredibly top-heavy and weird.
<--- This is what I mean--here is the Van Gogh drawing where he was clearly struggling with proportions in his early days. Jeez, if Van Gogh can produce this, and then teach himself to be the master of drawing that he became, I figure I can get better with practice.
Will I be a Van Gogh? Never.
But maybe I'll be myself: someone who keeps trying, someone who puts in the work, someone who improves with and learns from each drawing, and who really does love the process.
I did learn a immense amount from going last night, despite the extreme cold (OMG, it is so cold out this week). The workshop was well-attended, the room was set up beautifully, the model was terrific, and someone brought chocolate peppermint bark for everyone to eat (what could be more perfect?). I am happy that I went, and so happy that I stayed when I really wanted to throw my charcoal across the room and stalk out more than once.
As with anything, I have to be willing to put the time in, to be patient, and to have beginner's mind. And of course, to be Present.
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:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm always open to hearing about a good venue in the Cambridge-Somerville area). 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
Skillful Meditation Project