Spent this unusually lovely, late-spring weather day driving to a workshop, then being indoors in a class for most of the afternoon, then driving home. Worth it? YES. I was learning about using colored pencils from Kate Lamontagne.
She had a class of 8 students in her Kamala Art & Soul space, a wonderful location for learning to create.
Above is one of the three unfinished projects we did this afternoon. In the upper right, you can see my first attempts at blending with colored pencils. Then in the main grid (yes, very wonky, deliberately!), are my next attempts--better but still much to learn. When I fill in more of these triangles with blended colors, it will be a color sampler.
I learned so much from Kate today. Of course, I also learned about myself and the Inner Critic, noticing how feelings of "I can't do this," and "Hers is better," or "Mine looks awful," or "Everyone else in the class will get this except for me," all put in their appearance at various times. Impatience, too, put in a major appearance. Not so much impatience with the time it takes to do this, as I enjoy slow and meditative work, but impatience that I couldn't just start right in as an expert. I noticed all these things in myself, plus occasional downright crankiness, (and from the occasional remarks of others, I wasn't alone).
Why is Beginner's Mind so hard for many of us? And yet, it's Beginner's Mind that I seek repeatedly. I LOVE to learn new things. What is it about so many of us, in adulthood, that makes us feel we "should" be expert at something right away?
In this case, the work is all about careful and slow color blending. Almost creating a watercolor wash effect with the pencils. It takes patience and repetition, and it takes tolerance for being a beginner. It's the tolerance for being a beginner that I need to learn. I know that this is going to require a lot of time and practice. I need to learn that tolerance, both in my art and in my life.
So I'll be working on the piece above for quite a while, and I'll be working on tolerance for being a beginner in my life as well.
We had time to start three samplers. Here was the second one. I really wish I'd gotten more pictures; everyone's projects were so striking and different, even though we were all working on the same patterns. I love the reflection of our individuality in this work.
This is, of course, the Pokeroot pattern. The flowers are small and thus the blending is more challenging. I used several colors in each flower but only a few show in the picture. I'll be adding more of these and trying different colors and techniques.
This is the last piece we started today. We all agreed that tangling on black paper with colored pencils results in something that looks like a kid's "sticker," especially if it's small and circular like this. I had fun with this one, and added the blue as an afterthought--I intentionally did not blend that in, and I like the way it looks. The black paper took the pencils so beautifully. During the day I tried Prismacolor, Faber-Castell, and Derwent pencils, and what a difference. The Prismacolor won hands-down. Much softer and more blendable.
By the end of the afternoon I was "full" from what I had learned, and ready to go home and put some energy into practicing. I have other commitments that will interfere with being able to practice immediately, but I'm determined to keep working on this!
Both in art and in life...
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm always open to hearing about a good venue in Western Massachusetts. 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