This was the original Compass Rose Mandala taught by Kate Lamontagne at Tangle U 16 a week or so ago. We were each given a selection of Prismacolor pencils and Moonlight Gellyroll 06 pens and Microns, along with a cool tool to create a basic mandala.
We all followed the same directions...and sure enough, everyone produced wildly-different pieces. I love that.
These are not "my" colors, but since I got them, I wanted to challenge myself to use them, and am glad that I did.
So naturally I couldn't leave that alone.
Well, I guess I could...and did--the original still looks exactly like the photo above. But I had to try a few experiments.
So I got out my iPhone and here's a slideshow of the results. Same photo run through 1) the mirror app and then 2) an app called Painteresque.
Hover over each photo below for a caption; then click on each photo to biggify it.
I loved working on the original, and then playing with it further. Now...since it's a Compass Rose Mandala, which "direction" is the favorite?
Huh?? What and what?
Ok, the title above comes from the names of the two new tangles I played around with this evening. Feels wonderful to have a pen/pencil in my hand again. [Tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll be back in the studio, working on one of the new rugs.]
With plain graphite on the 'Dillo tangle (created by CZT Lori Manoogian) and Prismacolor red and bronze in the center panel, Fission by Richard Anderson.
And of course there are two iPhone "messing around with apps" versions below, both of them using the mirror app in different ways.
Honestly, I find the apps as irresistible as the process of tangling itself. Ya never know what yer gonna get.
"Regard everything as an experiment."
Well, time is running out. I have an appointment with the accountant on Monday. Gotta get that tax prep done.
But hey! Today's only Saturday, right? So I have almost 48 hours to party! (Or at least, my version of "partying"--meditate, take an art class, read a trashy book, work on my rug, do more drawing. An introvert's version of a wild party.)
So this morning I zipped down to CT to take a "Gems" class with Meredith Yuhas, a terrific teacher. I've done gems before using watercolor pencils. I had not done them with regular Prismacolor pencils, which I love. And since I haven't had time to tangle for almost three months, I thought this class would give me some great practice. And it sure did!
Meredith did her usual thorough, well-researched, excellent teaching job. All class participants did the same gem, following the same steps, and now, of course, we all are prepared to do whatever the heck we want from here.
Here are the class results:
This was a two-hour class, focusing on the gem, with a final discussion on tangles we might use to surround it. You can see that some students finished their gem and others started to add some tangles. By the time the class ended, I was beginning to add tangles (mine is on the far right of the upper row of four). I deeply appreciated Meredith's tips and coaching; if you ever have a chance to take a class with her, do it.
I drove home pondering what to do to surround the gem. The photos below show the unshaded results, and then the results after shading.
And then, of course, because I never can let well enough alone, I had to fiddle with the apps on my iPhone to see what would happen. So here are two versions that I ran through different versions of apps. (In other words, I took the shaded photo above, and ran it through two different apps on my phone.)
Not too bad, considering I haven't had the time to pick up a pencil for three months. And with practice, I will improve.
Driving there, taking the class, getting back here, and finishing a trashy mystery took me most of the day. What a tough life. <kidding--I know how extraordinarily fortunate I am>
And the tax prep? As Scarlett O'Hara famously said, "I'll think about that tomorrow."
Paris. Beirut. Iraq. Syria. Egypt. All have experienced horrific violence recently, making so much of the world so sad, and leaving us all asking why. Not just why on an intellectual level (all the political/economic/faux-religious causes) but why on a human level. Why. Just, why.
Makes me feel as though there is little I can do. But there is something we all can do: work on ourselves; watch our thoughts and our speech. I need to remember to do this every day. I do not always succeed. My hope is that we can be kinder to each other. Be more compassionate. I am not talking about becoming doormats for violence; tough love is warranted when needed. But coming from love, not from hate. (I know it is hard to imagine coming from love right now, with some of what's been going on. But if we act from hate only, we are no better than those we criticize.)
So easy to say. So hard to do. Please take one moment to watch this video (2 minutes) about a man who lost his wife in the Paris attacks. As I said, so easy to say, so hard to do--but he is doing it. May the Goddess help him in his effort.
Thinking about this, I created another zendala today based on yesterday's class. It is barely a zendala because there is only one tangle in there, but the tangle matters. It's called "Paris," and was created by Ina Sonnenbrand after the tragedy last Friday. So if you look closely, you'll see it in the mandala in two of the layers. It's based on the Eiffel Tower. My heart goes out to France. And Beirut, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and on and on.
Tangle: Paris, by Ina Sonnenbrand. Microns 1 and 01, Prismacolor pencils, Moonlight Gelly Pen, and a Pentel Brush Pen that was basically too dry to use. Gamisol was used in a few places as an experiment.
Below is the same piece, but "painted in Waterlogue," an iPhone app I played around with. It made me think of all the tears we have shed over this kind of violence.
Hull, Massachusetts, that is. On the way home this evening from a Zentangle® get-together, CZT Debra and I drove down to the Hull Gut (one end of the Hull Peninsula) on the advice of CZT Elaine and her husband, both of whom told us to check it out. The sunset was OUTRAGEOUS...
And if that stunning view wasn't enough, eight or nine CZTs attended the get-together in a wonderfully comfortable room in the church hall and Victoria Dewey Babbin led us through her freeform mandala process. There were a few minor technical issues with the camera at the start of her presentation, and, thinking I knew where she was going, I zoomed ahead--and thus I didn't grasp her basic concept once the problems were resolved and she resumed. When, oh when, will I learn? I was too far ahead to change what I'd done, once she explained her technique. So you won't see it below, sigh...
Nevertheless, I think I understood what she was getting at, even though it's not shown here. I had a lovely time, finished the work tonight, and only later realized that I had come up with very similar colors to the sunset we saw on our way home. I must have had sunset on the brain--even before it happened.
Prismacolor pencils with Moonlight Gellyroll pens (highlights) and an 01 Micron.
Diva Challenge #243 was to keep things simple and "leave the majority of the tile empty." So I did. I just used my own tangle, Miss Fisher, and a tiny bit of Mysst, along with a few random other lines. Colored with the Rainbow Lead Pencil.
Very simple. And easy. I think I will try a few more tiles in this fashion today if I have a chance (and I did, at the bottom of this post). I'm not sure if "Miss Fisher" actually qualifies as a tangle, since if memory serves me right, a tangle is defined as being formed with no more than three lines. (I'll have to look that up) But I like it anyway. It's based on a stenciled decoration in the living room of the PBS-sponsored mystery series of the same name.
Ok, off to do some yarn dyeing, which is my main goal for today.
With the exception of the last skein, the dark purple skein, I was focused on lighter colors today. And in so doing, I learned a lot. I'll say more about that next time I post, once these skeins have dried and I've had a chance to wind them up so they look more presentable. Finally, another "simple tangle" for the Diva's Challenge?
Tangles are Mooka and Niuroda with a few embellishments. I enjoyed the simplicity of this challenge.
Now I get to go to the Diva's site and see what everyone else did with this, and I know there will be wonderful tangles to see there.
All in all, a very good day--I'm exhausted!
For Joey's Weekly Tangle Challenge #85, the monotangle this week is Verdigogh. I love Verdigogh and knew I wanted to enter, so here is what I came up with. Unfortunately, I decided to try adding a few water droplets on the actual tile for the first time. I've tried them on scrap paper before, but never on an actual Zentangle® tile. The result? Well, read about what happened under the photo. But I'll give you a hint: I haven't stopped laughing since I finished tangling. Does this look like water droplets, or does it look as though someone spit on the tile?
For reasons I don't entirely understand, I think this result is hilarious. The tiny black dotty things are not meant to be water--they are meant to be berry-like add-ons and are frequently used with this tangle. I'm fine with those. But OMG, the water...or is it spit? Or some gummy form of dough? That's the bit that I think is funny.
Admittedly I didn't think it was funny when I was wrestling with it. I'm no expert on water droplets (hah! as you can see!) but all my previous ones have been far, far better than this. As I said above, they were all done on scrap paper for practice. Trying them on a white tile for the first time, I found that none of my white pens seemed to do anything against the white paper...the ink would come out but then would just sink into the tile. This just shows me how much I have to learn about my tools. The result was the muddy gray mess you see above. I do like my Verdigogh; I used a Rainbow Lead Pencil for shading lightly.
I will be trying this again, practicing to get the water droplets right the next time. I truly love looking at them when they come out well. Once I got over my horror at what happened with this, I began to see it as very funny, and it's making me smile even as I type this.
Now to go to Joey's site and see what everyone else did with this (I never look until I'm done).
On an inner level, it's been quite a week for me. Many interior struggles. I will spare you the content; let's just say I was "at sixes and sevens" all week.
In the midst of all this, I thought I would do the String Thing Challenge #114, and I did.
The result: Not good! Without in any way meaning to demean myself, let me say that I am laughing at how bad this tile is and part of me can't believe I'm posting it. But you know what? I don't care how bad it is, because I learned from it, and also it's a visual representation of my tumultuous inner state. Here it is.
Feel free to speculate about this as an expression of my inner state, and feel free to giggle. This is truly a Tile Gone Rogue. When I look at it, and think about what I was feeling as I tangled, I get a real chuckle at how it turned out.
So what can I learn from this?
Well, for one thing, I was trying out some new metallic pencils, and also trying out a new type of shading stump--not the traditional tortillion but something I saw in my travels and picked up to try. Here's a picture of the pencils and the strange new little shading stump:
The pencils are from a kids' toy store. The odd tortillions...sorry, can't remember where I got them! Both were very cheap.
The jury is out on the pencils so far. They are soft and creamy and go on easily, but are too large in my hands and don't seem to sharpen well or apply well. But perhaps I just need more practice?
I used the gold metallic pencil and the rose/purple metallic pencil in this tile.
And the shading stump? That's a puzzle as well. I will have to try this in other contexts. You can see where it nearly ripped up the paper around the "rays" on the tile, and I ended up with a kind of dirty ineffective smudge there rather than shading. But was that the stump, or my technique? Or maybe the stump isn't compatible with these pencils? I won't know until I try again with it.
And I will try again.
Ok, the question was, what did I learn from this? I learned that:
This entire process reminded me of meditation. I frequently feel, in meditation, that I "should" be experiencing something I'm not, or that "I'm doing it wrong," or that if my brain would just shut up for once, I'd be in bliss. The truth is, meditation, like life, can be very messy. In meditation, I need to be listening to my Self. In meditation, I do not need to feel there is "one right way" to proceed (or that I don't know the "one right way"). In meditation, if I am having a ping-pong experience obsessing about something stressful, I can get rigid about what I'm doing if I'm not aware of what is happening. In meditation, I don't have to change everything...in fact, I don't have to change ANYTHING. Just observe what's going on. In meditation, after I contemplate whatever is going on, I'm usually a lot more ready to find the humor i it. And in meditation, I have daily failures and daily successes; but no matter what happens, I am committed to it, and I continue to practice.
That is what it's all about: PRACTICE. (This was also my word for 2015)
Practice in art, practice in meditation, and practice in life.
I'll end with a tangle I did in my Tangle-a-day calendar when I was preparing to do the String Challenge. I didn't have much experience with the Ta-Da tangle, so I tried it out here:
I did this in one of my few relaxed moments this week, prior to attempting the String Challenge. I used a Rainbow Lead Pencil. I think you can see the difference between this and the artificial, contrived-looking, and unsuccessful String Challenge Tile. I was relaxed and centered here; I used familiar tools, and I was willing to just practice for fun, no matter how well or poorly it turned out. I was just experimenting.
Coincidentally, Ta-Da was also the featured monotangle in the #83 Joey Challenge this week, so I just sent this experimental version in as my entry for that.
Big lessons for me here.
"Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen." --Carl Sandburg
Just a quick simple tile for this week's Diva Challenge #239 (Scroll down the page for the challenge; the tangle is Munchin). She includes a great video made by Molly Hollibaugh on this tangle.
I did this on a black tile with gold colored pencil, shaded with the Rainbow Lead pencil.
Good to keep this simple after having just had some eye surgery.
The Diva comments in her post that she's not a fan of the black tiles. I have reserved judgment about them as I haven't worked with them all that much--I need a lot more practice before I decide if I like them or not. She used black gesso on a white tile for her challenge tile this week. I am intrigued and think I will try this at some point. Love getting new ideas!
I did manage to walk to the studio today and the rug is coming along. If you are interested you can compare this photo to this one from six days ago (I have been there for a short while on each of four of the six days since):
That long border is coming together slowly but surely. Making me very happy.
For Joey Challenge #82. Details on what I used under the photograph.
Faber Castell colored pencils in Pthalo Green, Green-Yellow, and White, with Prismacolor gold pencil, on a Renaissance tile.
I like the Faber Castell colors, but oh my, they are so much harder than Prismacolor pencils. For handling, I prefer the Prismacolors.
No other comments this evening. Having some supposedly minor eye surgery tomorrow and feeling skittish.
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