This morning I set out to do the weekly Diva Challenge, which I referenced in yesterday's post.
Nothing about this turned out as expected. Not one thing. For example: I thought the Challenge would consist of selected tangles we'd be assigned to use. Nope; it was actually a challenge to pick two strings, draw one on top of the other, and then tangle it with no prescribed tangles.
Ok, I can do that...so after a bit of thought I used the beginner's "Z" string, and superimposed an S on top of that. Fine so far.
That's when the surprises started.
First, I had no idea I was about to do a monotangle. I started off in the center with Betweed, a tangle I love. And then, somehow, I kept going, and going, and going...yes, a monotangle.
Second, I noticed the paper felt fairly rough to me. I used a regular Zentangle® tile for this, the regular Fabriano paper of course, and a Micron 01 pen. After completing the tile, I went over it lightly with a kneaded eraser to get rid of the penciled-on strings.
At least, I thought I went over it lightly, but the first sign of trouble came when some of the Micron marks actually lifted off the paper and the paper in those spots looked pretty rough. Hmmm...odd. I had to take out the Micron again and go over some lines which had nearly disappeared.
Third: When I went to shade, once again the paper seemed rough and grainy and appeared to be lifting off in parts. I've never experienced this on a regular ZT tile. After shading and blending V-E-R-Y carefully and lightly (because by now I was concerned about shredding the paper!) I had to get out the Micron a third time and reinforce lines that had just been lifted right off the paper by the shading. And I know I *was* working very lightly by then.
Finally, after looking at it a while and not knowing what to think, I was inspired to get out my Prismacolor pencils and use a blue pencil very lightly. By this time, I felt like I was really overworking the piece and should just stop. But I was compelled.
After the blue pencil, I went over the entire thing with a white pencil to blend a bit. With the blue and the white pencils I was working very lightly so did not notice any more shredding. I just wanted to add a very faint touch of color.
The piece looks overworked to me because the paper looks so tired.
The good news: I really enjoyed doing this and the surprising way it developed. The bad news: I'm really unclear why the paper began to disintegrate like that. Did I cause this? Was it a bad batch of paper? That last one is hard to believe; they have great quality control. I'm thinking I must have been "bearing down" much harder than I thought, either with pen or the eraser when I went to take out the pencil lines. Of course, in classic Zentangle® technique there IS no erasing--and in truth, I really didn't need to erase anything; the lines were pretty invisible.
So what can I learn from this? 1. SLOW DOWN, even if I am not aware of rushing. 2. DON'T OVERWORK, and no erasing unless absolutely needed. 3. BE AWARE, focus on one line at a time. That's the first ZT guideline and I need to pay it more attention.
4. Sometimes when things aren't successful, they're still ok. I like this piece even if it's not my best, and I like the way it surprised me.
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