In my quest to foster my own (and others') creativity, I do a lot of reading both online and the old-fashioned way. Today, a fellow creativity explorer recommended an article on something called "Stream-Drawing." I hope you'll take the time to read the article here. It's long but worth every word. I plan to go back and have the pleasure of reading it again.
What particularly struck me in the article were the words, "Even the smallest mark has a universe of information in it." I believe that is true, and the article's author does a fine job of stating why it is true. This article made my heart sing.
On the left is a 10 minute tangle I did today, much in the spirit of the article. Zentangle® itself creates conditions that she describes in her thoughts on Stream-Drawing. The article is an excerpt from her recent book called Making Marks, and I've just requested it from the library.
Here's another great quote from the article: "Drawing is a lot like dancing. You don’t have to be “good” at dancing—or drawing—to benefit from it. It makes you feel great. It helps you celebrate your life." Oh YEAH!
What also struck me as I read the article is how much her ideas can be applied to any tough challenge in life, including at work. Relaxation and awareness are the keys to doing well. (I think they are equally difficult to achieve when we are under stress.)
Change of subject: So far I have focused mostly on drawing and on Zentangle® on this blog. I also hook and/or punch rugs. And in yet another part of my life, I enthusiastically study and read tarot. I've been drawn into a project that actually combines the two: The Tarot Rug Project. Oh my...I'll be saying more about this in the weeks to come.
I just love this wonderful tangle, created by CZT Cheryl Cianci of Connecticut. Cheryl was the artist I referenced in my blog yesterday, and with her permission, I'm posting my first attempt at her tangle named Emanon (read that backwards and you'll discover it says "no name"). She is going to share it at TanglePatterns.com in a while so you will be able to see the step-outs there, but it's not there as of right now. She has another really wonderful tangle to add as well...don't you love surprises...
This constituted two "firsts" for me, one being my first try at this tangle (you can see some stray lines as I tried to master it on the left) and the second being the first time I've ever used colored pencil all over the entire tile.
It was fun to do it as a monotangle too.
The blending leaves quite a bit to be desired (with apologies to my two colored pencil teachers so far, Kate Lamontaigne and Cheryl Cianci) but I assume that I will improve over time. And for some reason, I like the dramatic color changes.
As usual the photography on this is pretty terrible. The countdown has begun as to when I get my new camera (as part of a new phone). Probably in about a month.
One thing's for sure: I'm crazy about Emanon and plan to use it a lot more. Big happy thanks to Cheryl!
I was in northern Connecticut today for a colored pencil workshop with CZT Cheryl Cianci. So well done! Now I need to practice. Hmmmm, isn't that a recurring theme with me...I really DO need to practice. My plan this week is to get down to it.
Cheryl had put a huge amount of thought into the workshop, and among other things she gave us a large selection of different types of colored-pencil-friendly papers to try out. We began by experimenting on plain white cardstock (below) and then we moved to trying out colored pencils on black (I think Strathmore's Artagain paper). She even gave each of us a sample of printmaking paper to try; I'm looking forward to testing that out.
She had also brought us all a supply of tissue-thin coffee filters to use with colored pencils and Microns to create Zendalas. We never got to work on these but we all got to take some home. I cannot wait to work on mine. This photo (below) shows the bookmark I did (black), the white cardstock we started with, and underneath them you can see the used coffee filters, some of which, after having been rinsed of course, were given a watercolor wash. Oh my--love that idea. She is so creative!
I should add that the orangy-reddish tint to the coffee filters is caused by my kitchen tablecloth, which is bright red. I laid these out on the kitchen table to photograph and was surprised by how much that color showed through. Here's the photo:
As you can see, I will need lots of practice. Some of the lines on the bookmark are Jellyroll Pens that I used on top of the colored pencil--that worked well.
Cheryl's samples and her pencil work were all spectacular. She'd brought a few albums to show us and they were inspirational.
Just before I left, she taught me a new tangle she'd created called Emanon. I'd show it here but I don't have her permission to show it; I'll need to check with her. And my first try at it isn't finished, anyway.
Time just rushes by when I am spending it with creative, inspirational, generous artists like Cheryl and the other attendees. I should add that Donna's house, where the meeting was held, is nothing short of spectacular--both the setting and the house. What a comfortable place to be. To be able to create that kind of comfort and beauty indoors and out is also incredibly creative. It was an absolutely lovely day and so worth the travel.
Lovely brunch with my sister and brother-in-law today. Lots of news and I so enjoyed seeing them. It's late, I'm tired, but could not resist experimenting with Verdigogh for the Square One Focus this week. Have been looking at everyone else's versions, so beautiful. Here is mine. The photo's a bit wonky, but hey:
Not much time today; too much going on in my personal life (all good). This was done quickly and I quite like it. It's String Challenge #54 and two of the tangles are completely new to me.
PokeLeaf (M Thomas & R Roberts)
Onamoto (M Thomas & R Roberts)
Hurray (Agneta Landegren)
Planateen (Sandra Strait)
The last two were new and I plan to use both of them again.
What a lovely, lovely day it was here; cool, sunny, no humidity. Just perfect. Everything looked washed clean-and-clear after yesterday's downpours. I was fortunate to get outdoors and take a walk. I am also reading a lovely, (if controversial) book called The Mockingbird Next Door, which brings back all the pleasure of reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time in the 1960s, and again just a couple of years ago. This biography of Harper Lee may inspire me to read the novel a third time. The controversy in my current book is over whether she authorized the biography or not. Whether she did or she didn't, the book itself is evocative and enjoyable, and certainly seems harmless to her reputation--so far. Back to reading!
Ok, so, I don't like it. I don't like anything about it. I'm cranky. Ugh.
This tile is part of the Diva Challenge this week, using a tangle I don't prefer, called MacDee. (Everyone's taste is different, and this one--which I'm sure many folks will love and do beautifully--grates on me.) It's basically a plaid.
Can we talk about how plaids remind me of the uniforms I had to wear to school as a kid in a hyper-religious elementary school and high school? You would think I could get past this at my age, right? The first thing I noticed when considering doing this challenge was that memory. I sat with it for awhile and found some humor in it. I'm not sure whether my aversion to plaid arose from this, or whether it's just one of those patterns I would never have liked anyway. I suspect the latter.
So when I saw the challenge, I knew I it would be hard to complete. The other tangle is called Squid and I'm tempted to title this, "Squid in a Net," or, "Halloween Squid." LOL.
However, I did it--I sat down and worked it even though I didn't like it. It gave me practice, and practice is always worthwhile. That's the great advantage of an art challenge: being forced to work within constraints and with things one may absolutely adore--or may really want to ignore, like this one. I thought long and hard about whether I should skip this week, and finally decided I needed to do it and observe what happened as I did.
What I observed: monkey-mind came up big-time. It whined and complained the entire way as I drew. How ugly it was going to be. How pointless. How people who like this sort of pattern would do gorgeous things with it, compared to my effort. It wouldn't shut up and it certainly wasn't restful. The thing is, I was aware of it, and I'm usually not, but I am trying to be more mindful as I work. While I didn't get the benefit of Zentangle's® usual calming effect, I was able to observe how much monkey-mind wanted to stop the process and do just about anything else.
Monkey-mind is a quitter. Monkey-mind wants to give in to aversions and dislikes and turn away. Monkey-mind is frequently (even usually) afraid, annoyed, and unhappy.
But I don't have to be.
So I just watched, and kept working. I don't love the result. So what? I do love that I got the practice, and that I learned from it--about myself and about art.
There is always something to learn, and this challenge made me wonder how one works with colored pencil on a paper with this much "tooth." I have so much more to learn about working with colored pencil.
There's a reason these are called challenges. Wonder what the next one will bring?
Happy Birthday! Actually it's a good friend's birthday today, and I did these with her in mind; we share a love of beads and the Lotus Pod tangle here by Margaret Bremner got me going on bead-like dots.
[I can hardly wait to get a new camera with my next phone--hopefully coming in September...]
This is String Thing Challenge #52, in celebration of one year of that challenge's existence. Also included here are Meringue, by Kelley Kelly, and Roscoe, by Vicki Bassett. Plus a few other adornments.
I did the black with a broad Uni-Ball Signo Pen, and oh boy do I ever wish I'd had a fine tip. But, ya make do with whatcha got, right? I then decided to follow it with a virtually identical white tile and a narrow-tip (.005) Micron.
Meanwhile, this morning I went out for a morning coffee and some sketching; I produced the worst, I mean, truly, the worst sketch I've done in a long time. I was intending to draw my plate, coffee mug, and the book next to them.
It's hilariously bad, and I ain't showing it! I was trying to sketch in the style of the phenomenal Andrea Joseph, who is teaching this week of Sketchbook Skool (SBS). Look again at her work--she works only with ballpoint pen. Yes, ballpoint pen. I have a serious case of art envy here.
I'm behind on my classes with SBS, so she may have a video on how to sketch effectively with a ballpoint. Too late for me! LOL. Seriously, I can only get better than this morning's disastrous attempt...and I will keep trying. Live and learn.
An insanely busy day. Put on new water-saving showerhead (Ahhhhhhhh! Works great). Power-washed the very large front porch, which involved moving everything off, sweeping, and then the long slow wash. Took a walk. Took a nap. (LOL)
And then took another try at Cadent. I feel like I have rediscovered this tangle and that it's fast becoming an old friend. I haven't used it in a long while, and now I think it will become a staple. So versatile.
Although I feel like I've been gone forever, I was only away 2 weeks...2 wonderful weeks, I might add, but I was quite surprised at how much I wanted to get back to doing art. I've missed it. Kind of shocking since up until the last five months I haven't been able to focus on it at all, and now it seems to be all I want to do. The great news is that not only do I have some drawing ideas, but I am having lots of rug hooking ideas as well. (Those will just take longer to manifest)
FIRST TANGLE TODAY:
Today's first tangle comes from a Facebook Challenge specifically focused on going back to the basics--i.e., going back to square one with just a white tile, pencil, and black micron. Nothing else. It's from the Square One group, which I believe is open to anyone interested in Zentangle®, and the instructions for this week's challenge are here.
Here is my entry. I decided to see what would happen if I tried to make the entire tile out of ONE CONTINUOUS LINE--all of Cadent, including the fill-ins for the squares. I never lifted my pen. Fun!! Only after I finished did I add some perfs around the edge and I certainly did lift my pen for those, but the whole large tangle is one continuous line. I really enjoyed doing this. Unfortunately, it's not a great photo (again...sigh). I can't wait to get a new phone with a better camera.
These two photos are not really proportional; the one above with Cadent is 3.5"x3.5", whereas this one is tiny, as you can see by my finger.
I'm betting a lot of people will combine a Bijou snail with Indyrella today, as Linda Farmer just put out an instruction on how to draw Indyrella. It's one of my favorites.
Unfortunately Bijou looks more like a centipede here, but them's the breaks! It was fun and very quick to do. I think I will enjoy using these tiny tiles.
Finally, here's a Bijou based on a musical staff string:
Very late doing something on this challenge but at least I got it done.
Two tangles here: Fancy Nancy by Adele Bruno, and Facet by Nancy Pinke. I had never tried either one before, and had fun doing this, even though I was tired from two weeks of steady traveling.
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