I'm a day late and a dollar short with this one (a week late, actually) but here goes. Caroline Broady, our 16 year old CZT with mega-talent, created this tangle and issued it as Diva Challenge # 177. Quite impressive! I have been wanting to practice another new tangle, Maryhill, so I put that in the center and then "Truffled" around it. Somehow it ended up reminding me of the amazing Jellies (jellyfish), so I tossed some waves in underneath, along with a moon. Then I added some color randomly with my Amazing Dollar-Store Pencil (pictured just underneath). Unfortunately, the color just never picks up well in these photos, but you get the idea. Fun!
And now...on to all the piled-up chores!
What a week. I would never have thought to do this if it hadn't been our homework assignment for this week from Sketchbook Skool, but I am so glad I did. It's the "Parade of Selfies."
#'s 1 and 3 look the most like me. #6 fits well into the "Who is THAT?" category. The two Blind Contour ones are simply hilarious. I actually love all of them. More commentary after the photos. (Scroll over each to see what the assignment was.)
So, that #6 Selfie (2nd row, bottom right). Did that today. On the one hand, it looks absolutely nothing like me. There's a lot I got wrong. On the other hand, I can see some resemblance for sure. I actually like it a lot even though I wouldn't call it a "success" by the measure of how much it looks like me. So why do I like it? Because I learned a lot while doing it; I learned a lot about shading, about crosshatching, about watercolor, and just learned a lot also about what can go wrong. I am actually very pleased.
What a week of learning! To be doing this with hundreds of other students, all of us posting things daily, was remarkable. There were the inevitable comparisons and "Oh I wish I could do that" issues, but the big take-aways were 1) how many of us were willing to even try; 2) how many of us posted comments laced with self-criticism, and 3) how many people insisted "this doesn't look anything like me," which may have been true. Or, may not have been true. Finally, 4) how many students hated the assignment, or found it "painful."
I realized in reading the posts how many people truly do not like to look at themselves as they are, warts and all. That made me sad. And my, how self-critical we all are! If we aren't critical about the "art," we're horribly critical about how we look.
I get that, but it too feels sad to me.
Each day I felt like I was rolling out another aspect of myself. My selfies ALL look like me in some way, shape, or form, even if they aren't photographic reflections. I had such fun! It was hard to find the time to do it (partly time, partly fear), but when I finally sat down to work I just had a blast. There was the uncanny sense that I was discovering things about myself every day, as I saw things I had never seen before.
Someone posted a link to Rembrandt's selfies, which are funny and quirky and honest. Ditto with Van Gogh's. There was a big discussion on Rembrandt's nose, and how he handled it when doing selfies. I was curious to notice that no one mentioned Frida Kahlo's self-portraits, which have been the subject of so much discussion in the art world. I will be studying these and other self-portraits carefully. FINALLY I see the value of doing these on a regular basis. Here are just a few points:
I'm exhausted (this took time!) and SO GLAD I did this and I hope I keep it up from time to time.
Now, on to the next week of SBS.
Happy tenth anniversary to Zentangle®, a truly inspiring meditative method which has been training non-artists to finally understand that they CAN produce art for ten years now.
The tile at left is part of String Thing Challenge (#49) and I've actually used this week's string, which creates the number 10, four times on this piece, so there's a 10 in each of the corners if you look.
To celebrate, I wanted to use tangles that were particularly associated with Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, the creators of the Zentangle method, so I used Rick's Paradox (he came up with it, so it's named after him), and Zinger, which is a favorite tangle that Maria has used for years and it associated with her. I threw in a few other random decorations and also a bit of Knase and of Swarm. There's even a tad bit of Crescent Moon disguised as a sun in each corner. I really do have to get a better camera; the lower right quadrant is not faded on the actual piece.
Personally, I'm thrilled to have discovered this method of accessing creativity. It appears to have catapulted me back into my creative self, and I am forever grateful to Maria and Rick for helping me to reconnect.
Here are selfies #4 and 5. #4, as mentioned in the last post, is a "blind contour" drawing; the assignment is to draw without ever looking at what you are drawing. These result in hilarious results, quite like Picassos gone amok. The second one, on the right, is part of an assignment to draw an imaginary selfie. Without any mirror or photo, what do we imagine we look like? Also known as a selfie-from-memory. 4 minutes.
This week's challenge: Stain your tile with your favorite beverage, then use that as a guideline. I used coffee (others may use tea, wine, whatever) and it only landed in the middle, with some splashes around the edges which I used when I could see them. Voila. A quickie, but fun. Following this is today's "selfie," an unusual one!
...and now for today's selfie (the SBS homework assignment for every day this week). This is a "blind contour" drawing, a common technique which involves DRAWING WHILE NOT LOOKING AT THE PAPER OR YOUR HAND. So whatever you are drawing can end up anywhere on the page, and some of these have truly bizarre results. I hope to god I don't actually look like this...I am lucky my eyes/mouth are sort of in the correct places. I tried really hard not to cheat by looking at any time, but I wonder if I may have sneaked a couple of glances. It's hard to do a blind contour! If you think it looks exactly like me, keep it to yourself. I don't wanna know.
Since I got off to a late start with these, I am trying to make up for lost time. First another quick contour drawing (contour = don't pick up the pencil once you put it down on the page). I am a suspicious looking dame, eh?
...and then a quick sketch from the mirror. Tossed in just a bit of color but didn't have time to do the entire thing. I look even more suspicious here. Or maybe startled? Perhaps I have a profitable future in caricature.
Oy VEY! The latest SBS (Sketchbook Skool) assignment is a series of selfies. This ought to be interesting. The homework for this one was to draw a portrait without ever lifting the pen off the page. Hence some of the odd lines. (I have plenty of odd lines in reality, without the additions from not lifting the pen)
I think I've discovered I don't have a good black in my watercolors. My hair is NOT "russet brown."
Ah yes, the monkey. To be clear on what I'm talking about, check out Danny Gregory's short piece today--he's writing a book on what he calls "the monkey on our backs" when it comes to doing art. He includes a very brief illustration of his own monkey at work in the post.
In my case, it's monkeys, plural. I appear to have several of them. I don't think I'm that unusual.
So here are two pieces of my Sketchbook Skool (SBS) assignment for last week, called "Fast and Slow." The assignment was: pick something reasonably complex, really LOOK at it and, using watercolor and a big brush, do a FAST DRAWING in one minute or less. Just a fast gesture to get the overall picture.
Can I tell you how long I put this off, how many excuses I made not to try it? I couldn't find my watercolors. I was too tired. I needed to do other things I was responsible for. I wanted to finish the library book that was due in just a few days (actually I had two more weeks). And on and on. Monkey-monkey-monkey. Ugh.
I used a pine cone for a model, so here's my fast drawing.
After doing that, I went out and ran some errands to let the paint dry, then came back and did the slow version, using a brown micron pen and a black micron pen to create a sketch (on top of the watercolor) where I really looked at the pine cone and tried just to record what I could see. I lost track of time so have no idea how long this took but am guessing 30-45 minutes.
The outcome, while not a masterpiece, was really fun and I rather like it. The process was also fun. I'm not quite sure I've grasped the concept of why we did this...I am thinking that it's all about seeing "fast," and then really moving in and seeing "slow," and how both processes can add to really being able to see the object. Once we learn to see it, then drawing it becomes simply a process of copying. Ok, that makes it sound boring, which it isn't--copying very precisely takes one completely out of one's thinking mind and is ridiculously satisfying. It's anything but boring.
Here are photos of: 1) the real pine cone; 2) the "fast" watercolor; 3) the "slow" sketch.
This is only my second try at doing a pine cone. Curiously, I tried doing the exact same thing in a long-ago watercolor class that I took, a three-hour one-shot class. I was horrified by the result, which I was absolutely certain looked more like a turd that a pine cone. I somehow managed NOT to throw it out, though (a fact I can't explain to this day, because I remember being really embarrassed that I had apparently drawn a turd). Years later I found it in an old journal and was really surprised to see that it looked like...a pine cone! And was actually quite good. (It's possible it resembles both pine cone AND turd, but who cares) If I can find it, I'll try to get a picture and post it in here.
That's one time the monkey managed to utterly convince me that I'd never learn to draw. I am so thankful that I kept that old sketch, and could look at it more objectively years later. Monkey mind, monkey mind--something most of us need to firmly ignore when we try to create. So right now, I'm going to go off and do a bit of mindfulness meditation, which always helps with monkeys, slow or fast.
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