Although it's a week past the Equinox, the weather here has been dramatically tropical with high humidity. Today we've had constant heavy rains; the temperature is now slowly dropping, and overnight I think the wind will come in and sweep out the humid air. By the time the storm is past, I think we will finally be in fall weather.
A murky, watery light today signals autumn to me (autumn on its dark days), and I've been in an autumn mood all day. Since we do not have fall colors on the trees yet, I thought I would do a fall mandala. Here was my original black and white drawing.
I constructed this using my trusty Safe-T Compass. It's inexpensive, very light weight, and while hardly engineering-standard accurate, it's "good enough" for basic mandala work. It's a cheap instrument and you get what you pay for--the reviews on it are all over the map. Once I learned what it could and could not do well, I've been very happy with it.
Tangles used: the center is "ad-libbed," then I used Fandance, then, moving out from the center, Beadlines. The next layer started off as Flux but got morphed somehow; the outer layer is Finery. Next I added some autumnal colors.
Honestly...I feel sort of "eh" about this mandala, although I did learn a lot from it. For example, I realized almost immediately that I had made the center too small and fussy; it was hard to color in an effective way. That was a useful lesson.
The colors--which aren't true in this photo but are not too far off--are not what I normally would choose. But after all, I did say in an autumnal mood. In fact I noticed some sadness while I was working on this, along with the usual intense concentration. I don't have anything to be sad about--but doesn't this type of moving meditation sometimes bring things up for all of us? And when things come up, do we have to have a reason for them?
So I just noticed the sadness and kept working, and it was fine. Peace and tranquility were restored by the time I was done.
Working on this brought up questions for me. I'd be interested to hear from other tanglers and especially from CZTs with responses.
The Morns Are Meeker Than They Were -
A Poem by Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were--
The nuts are getting brown--
The berry's cheek is plumper--
The Rose is out of town.
The Maple wears a gayer scarf--
The field a scarlet gown--
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.
Diva Challenge # 237 this week was by guest Charlotte Carpentier, CZT, and involved finding something around the house that one could use for a stencil. I knew right away that--since it's fall--I wanted to use my apple corer.
After all, fall is all about apples, right?
I love my apple corer, and I love the many varieties of autumn apples.
And I often use the corer as a quick way to draw the string for a Zendala. It works like a charm for that.
She also suggested we use a spray color with the stencil to form a string for our work, so I puzzled about that and thought about a watercolor wash, but then realized that I have a bottle of Walnut Distress Spray, never used, and I decided to give that a try.
So, spritz, spritz, spritz...and I came up with this. Alas, I began tangling on it before I remembered to take a photo, but you can still get the idea of what the string looked like--kind of a cross between a Renaissance Tile and a plain white one.
WHERE THE TITLE OF THIS POST CAME FROM:
As you can see, the instant I had the string I thought of using the tangle Foot-lites by Carole Ohl, CZT for some of the sections. But I couldn't quite remember how to do it since it had been awhile. And...UNFORTUNATELY...my aging brain remembered the title as "Spotlights." So off I went, googling Spotlights and getting nowhere. A couple of puzzled and frustrated hours later (it was pretty late at night by my standards, so being tired was not helping), I put out a call to other CZTs and Lauren Spiegel Eldon came to my rescue, asking if perhaps I might be looking for Foot-lites, not Spotlights? She was very tactful and of course I had a massive "DUH!!!!" moment.
Ah, the aging brain.
It matters to call something by its right name.
But I was on my way. Here is the resulting tangle for the Diva Challenge:
I'm not quite sure what I was intending with the white pencil on the brown sections...I may have to re-do some of that, but overall I like it. In addition to the Walnut Distress Spray, I used a Rainbow Pencil, a Prismacolor White Pencil, and a Brown Micron 01.
And now for a little iPhone app fun with the tile from this challenge:
This week I decided to try a new Monday challenge, Joey's Weekly Tangle Challenge #80. I haven't tried this one before, and as it happened, she suggested a tangle I had never seen or heard of before, called Queeries (you can find it by going to her page at the above link).
It's based on a question mark.
I'm not sure how keen I am on this particular tangle, which is grid-based, but I was determined to try it. I had to break it out of its grid, though, and then--I swear, the above photo really IS Queeries. It's just my version of Queeries. I did not add any other tangles to it, since this challenge is supposed to be a monotangle...I just did line work around it and then shading.
I ended up thinking Queeries was pretty interesting, although I don't know how much I'll use it. But then, that's why challenges exist.
Next, I got out my iPhone and played with the tile using a couple of apps, with these results. Here's a mirrored version from the mirror app...
...and here's a version of the original using the app "Painteresque:
I used a Rainbow Pencil to shade the original plain tile. It never fails to amaze me how relaxing and focusing tangling is. No matter what I'm thinking about when I begin, I forget everything once I begin to tangle. It works every time. So meditative.
I'm still fascinated with playing with iPhone apps on my tiles after I've finished because the results are so surprising.
At this moment, my own life is filled with queries about so many things. I imagine that is true for a lot of us, not just me.
Life loves to lead us to our own question marks.
? ? ?
“He explained to me, with great insistence, that every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.”
― Elie Wiesel, Night
My back continues to recover slowly and today I walked 6000 steps. Hurrah! Not all were comfortable steps, but I did it, and am very encouraged. Part of the walk was to see a much-loved old friend for lunch, and on the way home, I passed the labyrinth at the Harvard Divinity School and decided I could manage to walk it today. And I did. Here is a photo of the labyrinth:
It was deserted on this cool, sunny day. Just the way I like it.
I haven't walked it in quite a while, and today I was reminded how narrow the pathway is in this particular labyrinth. It's almost not wide enough for two feet, and negotiating the turns while maintaining balance can be a challenge. Also, it seemed that I just got going in one direction when another turn would come up.
As I was walking it/working it, I was thinking about the twists and turns in life, how hard some of them can be, and what a perfect symbol of this is captured in this labyrinth. I had to greatly slow down in order to make any of the turns, another striking metaphor.
Even when two labyrinths are laid out in the same pattern, the spacing of each is different and so walking each one is different.
Similar to the way our lives work.
"A labyrinth has one entrance -- one way in and one way out. When we walk the path, we go around short curves and long curves; sometimes we are out on the edge, sometimes we circle around the center. We are never really lost, but we can never quite see where we are going."
--Alex Pattakos in this Huffington Post piece.
Finally, here's a scribbled Tangled Labyrinth I did at one of Sadelle Wiltshire's wonderful Tangled Labyrinth workshops. Clearly this was in the nature of a quick scribble rather than a thoughtful tangle, and yet...I like it because it reminds me so much of the human brain.
Check out Sadelle's fabulous tangled labyrinth works here. She is a CZT and a Veriditas-trained Labyrinth Facilitator, and a gifted artist and teacher. You'll enjoy studying her examples. Her teaching schedule is here at The Tangled Labyrinth. And don't miss reading the interesting comment she made (in the comments section)--feel free to add your own reaction to this post if you have one, or have experience with labyrinths.
Labyrinths...Zentangle®...both a form of moving meditation. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
Continuing yesterday's theme...
Surprise #1: Another bunch of Rainbow Pencils (a different brand I found on amazon) arrived in the mail today from China, so I tried them out. Good thing that these Rainbow Pencils are cheap, because I hate them. They cannot be sharpened to a good point, and the lead keeps breaking during sharpening. Ugh! I would not recommend this brand at all. Here's a photo of what NOT to get:
Surprise #2: My back is demonstrably better this afternoon. Hallelujah! May it continue.
Surprise #3: I thought I'd try out the new Rainbow Pencil on another "String Thing" tile for the same challenge as yesterday, #111. So once again I tried Hamail, the focus of this challenge, with some Meringue and a little bit of Tipple. Here it is...but the big surprise is the next photograph, in which I used the same tile but mirrrored it with my iPhone mirror app...and just look what happened. All I can say is, wow.
I simply cannot believe what that mirror app did to my "so-so" tile. I love it.
On the downside, you can see what not being able to get a sharp point does to the lines in the tile--very cloudy and mushy. A nice effect if that's what you want, but as it happens, it isn't what I wanted. That's ok, though, as I love the mirrored version anyway.
Once I saw that, I had to try it in another app on my phone called Waterlogue. Here's that one.
Today is one of those days when everything feels surprising. The gorgeous weather. What occurred in my meditation this morning. The fact that I'm still having some serious back issues, which haven't taken this long to resolve before. Hearing that Yogi Berra just died (I was a big fan of his Yogi-isms, such as, "You can observe a lot just by watching," and "I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four"). Loved that guy, and I am happy that he had such a long life and appeared to enjoy it.
The next surprise came when I did the It's a String Thing #111 challenge today. Tangles are Hamail and Flux. I got almost nothing else done but at least I did this. And wow--it went nowhere I thought it was going to go and turned out totally differently than I expected. I thought it would be black and white...no. I had planned to use a different tangle than Flux...no. Nothing turned out as I thought! But the real surprise comes AFTER this picture:
As usual, I was playing with my iPhone Mirror app after taking the photo, and tried out some new capabilities, and the app came up with this, which I really like a lot (I'm still not sure how I like the original):
Surprised that the app even changed the colors...and I like them better. Such an interesting app, with many more features that I look forward to explore. More surprises in store.
The Diva Challenge this week (Diva Challenge # 236) is to "Tangle Unexpected"--in other words, to tangle on something you wouldn't ordinarily tangle on.
My life is "unexpected" at the moment for sure. If you choose to read more about that, see the text at the end of the post; otherwise, I hope you just enjoy the pictures.
Here is the original untangled photo that I chose for this challenge. I took this picture of the kitchen door at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, a place I love to go for long meditation retreats. I don't think I even noticed the door until the second time I went there (not very mindful of me!) and when I saw it I was transfixed by how lovely it is.
As you can see, the lotuses are transparent and the rest of the background is frosted glass. At the moment I took the picture, something turquoise-y was behind the lower lotus, while the one on the upper right showed kitchen equipment the reads gray-brown.
I love this image and it almost seemed sacrilegious to tangle it, so that was the challenge. Here is what I ended up doing.
Tangles are Printemps and Scrawlz, along with some random work. Using Sigma Uniball White Pen, and a tiny bit of Derwent Colored Pencil.
Not sure what I think about this. Part of the challenge was to keep it simple.
THE "UNEXPECTED" CHALLENGE FOR THE REST OF ME:
I wanted to work on this image because, as I said in my last post, I need some zen! And looking at this picture reminds me of the work I do every day in meditation, and every time I go to IMS. Just stay in the now.
Without going into detail, this is the worst episode of back pain I've had in 30 years. I am confident that I can work it out and get back to my usual sturdy self, but the last two weeks have been totally unexpected and a big challenge to my remaining mindful. I want to do anything BUT stay in the moment when I'm in pain! Which of course makes it even worse. Thankfully I found a new chiropractor (and I think she's very good) and I'm slowly recovering. I was without a chiropractor when this started and that's what allowed things to get so out of control. Glad to be on the upswing again!
It's been a real test of my willingness to be mindful. Not to mention civil.
Auntie Acid says: "It's bad news when you get to the age when your back goes out more than you do."
Stay healthy, everyone!
Oy, it's been a tough week. And it's not over. By tonight I was ready for some relaxation-inducing tangling. Here is my response to the Diva Challenge #235. Still practicing on black tiles.
White UniBall Sigma Pen, White Faber Castell Pencil, Metallic Blue Colored Pencil.
Tangles include: Nymph, Up n Down, Scrawlz, Frame Over, Leaflet, Balo.
And of course, I had to play with the mirror app on my iPhone, so that result is below. I had photographed the tile on my knee while wearing bluejeans, and didn't crop the photo before I tried the mirror app. Who knew the result would be so interesting?
It's tempting to whine and say I had a bad day today, but compared with everything else going on in the world (the Chilean earthquake, the refugee crisis along the Eastern European border as people flee Syria), my issues are just silly.
But I've been in my pj's since 5.30 p.m. because of all the back pain I've had today. I injured my back over a week ago and thought I was managing pretty well until now; this morning I had a huge flare up. I was in denial about the fact that it wasn't getting better.
In an effort to calm the pain, I decided to tangle, as that's worked before. Betsy Wilson's inspirational blog had introduced a new-to-me tangle called Fleavy, by Hanny Waldburger, CZT, and I thought I'd give it a a try.
And the back pain? Temporarily much calmer. Zentangle® usually has that effect. I'll do a bit more before bed tonight. Love those pain-free moments!
So here's Fleavy (technical details are after the picture PLUS a couple of mirror app versions that I am unable to resist). My hands were shaking from tiredness when I drew it, which complicated everything, but I like it anyway.
Fleavy with a bit of Henna Drum, graphite shading and also a small amount of shading and coloring with a Rainbow Lead pencil.
Below are the versions I created on the iPhone with the mirror app. Similar, but still a tad different from each other. Always an interesting experiment to try!
"Art is a wound turned into light."
THE INITIAL RANT:
I've never been much of a tchotchke fan. (If you aren't familiar with the word, click on it for a short definition.)
Why? Imagine you have mentioned to a friend that you like a particular image--say, an image of an apple--and suddenly the friend is giving you magnets with apples on them, aprons with apples on them, ashtrays in the shape of apples, stickers and stamps of apples, little clay apples, little plastic apples, playing cards with apples on the back...you get the idea. You are inundated with "cutesie" apple tchotchkes and you feel obligated--because you like your friend--to display them, but you hate having them all over the house. All because you liked one specific image of an apple, and had the misfortune to mention that.
Has this ever happened to you?
All you want to do is figure out a reasonable way to yell, "S-T-O-P! Thanks, but I'm all set with that."
WHY I'M BRINGING IT UP:
...because I've been very worried that, in trying to give a "Happy New Office Location" gift to a dear friend, I would be guilty of the same thing that I am complaining about above. Here's why: In visiting her home, I noticed a picture of an elephant in her home office, and commented on it. She mentioned immediately that she loves elephants. Ok...I confess that a couple of times since then I have sent her video links to amazing stories about the intelligence of elephants; but bearing in mind that I don't want to overdo it, I've tried to be selective. (I also like elephants, for their intelligence, but am not that interested in pictures of them. Or elephant tchotchkes.)
Recently the friend moved into a new office location that she's very excited about. I wanted to give her a celebratory gift. I thought and thought about what to get her. She had mentioned that, when she originally went to look at the space, the current tenant happened to have a picture of an elephant in the office. That seemed like an odd "coincidence" to my friend, and that plus the wonderful space and all the attendant great amenities caused her to sign the lease. My ears perked up. Should I, maybe, draw her an elephant? But what about the one in her home office--mightn't she just bring that in to her new rented space? And would I be guilty of Tchotchke Syndrome?
I really agonized over this. Bottom line: I did draw her an elephant, and here it is. She seems to like it. She named him Jimmy, and he's now in her new space. (Boring technical details about the drawing are after the photo).
Not the greatest photo, but it's the best I can do. Ok, so here are the technical details:
I promise to join a TA (Tchotchke Anonymous) group as soon as I find one and start attending meetings.
PS, This post is indeed the follow-up to the teaser I embedded in the post I wrote last week.
I hope you are ready for some rug-related eye candy--and a question maybe you can answer.
A couple of weeks ago I was out in Northampton and met with Pat Merritt from NY and AZ. Pat is the owner of Santa Rita Rugs (check out the wonderful rugs on her site). I met her at Margaret Arraj's fabulous Mill River Rug Studio (don't miss the rugs on her site, either) and had a chance to speak with both Pat and with Margaret, and tour Margaret's studio space (thank you Margaret for the tour). Both these artists are extraordinarily gifted and I hope you'll spend some time looking at their work. Both specialize in hooking rugs with yarn, rather than with wool strips. Both are prolific and creative. They are also two really nice people.
So my point? Pat was spending the day with Margaret, and had brought along with her the most amazing antique rug I've seen in a long while. Prepare to drool. Here it is:
Hard to know if it was intended to be a rug or a wall hanging, though I rather think the latter. Also hard to know its age. When I first saw it, I assumed it had been needlepointed, not hooked. But both Pat and Margaret assured me that it was a hooked rug. The pile is sooooooo low! And incredibly neat.
Here is Pat's description of what she knows about the rug--PLEASE NOTE THE QUESTION SHE"S ASKING, and if you can answer it, please do, in the Comments section. (Of course, I have her permission to post this)
24" x 62"
"Rug purchased at Sauder Village, rug is from Bucks Co PA, hooked with fairly fine yarn, quite meticulous work, gallery mounted. The vendor was Hidden Treasures by Kathy Graybill from East Waterford PA. She specializes in Fraktur furniture & also had some extremely nice antique hooked rugs.
"If anybody has a clue what the strange motif is in the center of the rug it would be great to know...I would like to know what the heck the thing in the middle is although it might just be a motif that somebody dreamed up in their head & not anything at all!"
Here's a better view of the center motif:
And some additional closeups of the rest of the rug. You should be able to see a larger view by clicking on either of these:
UPDATE! 9/29/15: Someone kindly referred me to this URL about Turkish Rug symbols. I think we are on track to discover the origins of this symbol. Check out that URL.
The hooking on this rug is exquisitely done--just flawless. Someone put a large amount of love, designing, care, attention, and craftsmanship into its making. I've no idea how old it is.
I had a serious case of rug envy after viewing this piece.
Hello, all...we are the fourteen year old Wooly Bullies. Yes, the WOOLY Bullies...do not trust any of us around your 100% wool jackets, skirts, coats, or blankets. If, that is, you even own 100% wool anything anymore. But I'll get to that later.
Today we met at Elizabeth's lovely, gracious, and comfortable home--her own hand-hooked rugs all over the house, all of them unique and beautiful--and we celebrated the start of our 14th year together as a creative and supportive group.
Actually, the topic of our anniversary never came up today! Instead, we spent the time talking about everything else: our summer journeys, our relationships, meditation and Buddhism, technology, what to do if a bat gets in your house, health (all good for once!), and other general updates since most of us haven't seen each other since our last meeting in May or June.
[We take summers off because seriously, would you want to work on a hooked rug if it meant having wool next to your skin in 90 degree humid weather?]
Some glimpses of today's projects are below. They all have captions--to see the captions, just hover over a photo with your mouse. You should also be able to biggify a photo by double-clicking it to see it better.
Kathleen, I realized when putting up the photos that I did not see you hooking anything! I know you had to leave early so maybe you just came for our fabulous company?
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 UNTIL NOW...
Elizabeth, myself, Cynthia, Cheryl, Kathleen and Maria all made it today.
Of today's attendees, Elizabeth, myself, and Maria were at the original meeting of our group at my house on September 20, 2001. Lenore was also there at the start. Nine days after the tragedy, we were all still dazed and shocked. I remember thinking that hooking together that evening, telling our creative, art-related histories to each other, and sharing our work, was such a comfort and temporary rest from the news coverage in which we had all been immersed non-stop. We acknowledged the attack and the horror, but we then made an effort to create a little space for respite and for beauty for the next two hours, and we all went home feeling a tiny bit better that night.
In the years that followed, we outgrew my house pretty quickly and have met in a variety of venues--from community rooms in a now-defunct organic market, to the Somerville Arts at the Armory space, to each others' larger homes--we always meet in each others' homes now. The conversation continues to be a comfort to me, and more than that, we share a group that gets our creative juices flowing.
I love it when one of us throws a partially-completed rug down on the floor for advice and each woman there just lets her true opinions fly: "Too dark, not enough contrast..." or, "I want to learn how you dyed that orange," or, "Take out the front part of that and re-do it--it's standing out too much," or whatever else we think. The recipient of the advice never has to take any of it, but we all know each other well enough to say exactly what we think, and no one takes offense. It's great. I've been helped numerous times by these critiques.
I've also noticed the continuing decline in the availability of 100% wool, which started farther back than fourteen years ago, but I wonder how many of us would have begun hooking now, if wool had been as hard to get back then as it is to find now. It has gone from a frugal and affordable art to a fairly expensive art. Sad.
But remember, everyone: There is always ANN'S ATTIC! Since we are The Wooly Bullies, we can go down to CT and bully our way into that attic whenever we need a huge stash of wool. Having seen it, we all know Ann could supply all of us for our next 6 lifetimes. To Ann: Be afraid, be very afraid.
Discussions today: oh my! Maria went to Tehran (yes, Iran) in August. What a tale! She had to wear a hijab while out of doors there. She was in Iran for two weeks and glad to come home, although she clearly had a fascinating time. She went to visit her daughter-in-law's family and really enjoyed them. A genuine travel adventure. Wow.
Cynthia was gone ten weeks, to a large number of countries & cities--Turkey for quite a while, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Paris, London, Budapest and I think a couple of others. Wow again...
Some of the rest of us went to Maine, the Cape, or to a silent retreat in central Massachusetts (that last would be me).
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY WONDERFUL RUG HOOKING FRIENDS. I am honored to have been working with you for the last 14 years. How does it feel to be 14 years old again?
Will be at Cheryl's in October; she'll email us with dates & info.
Elizabeth, thank you for hosting and thank you for that fabulous fabulous soup. I know I wanted to lick my bowl, but managed to restrain myself. Barely.
One of the things that is certainly true about art is that it sometimes takes us down strange pathways. Is it art, or is it just a mess? I guess a lot depends on taste and opinion; there are no absolutes in either. So when is something "art"? And who gets to determine that?
I got to pondering this last night and today when I worked on the Diva Challenge #234 for this week. I need more practice on black tiles, so that's what I chose to use.
Absolutely nothing turned out the way I thought. I deliberately drew a wonky grid to start with...but oh my.
This went in directions I couldn't even imagine.
Do I like it or hate it? I don't know! I certainly is bizarre.
What do you think?
I am reminded of how often this happens with art; you start out thinking to make one thing, and the thing won't cooperate and you end up with something completely different and startling.
Just like life! You start the day with a few plans, perhaps, and then life comes along and something totally different occurs. And all of us just have to roll with it and adapt.
Sometimes what happens (versus what we had planned) is so startling that we can't even make out how we feel about it. Only time will help us sort that out.
So I'll give this little tile some time to settle, and then determine if I like it or not.
That's the point of Challenges, yes? In art and in life.
I am often helplessly confronted by the picture... filled with suspense. What I have drawn suddenly seems to have developed its own dynamic - one that is not always necessarily kind to me. It is a genuine struggle and challenge. (Simone Bingemer)
Technical information for those of you who care about that stuff (the rest of you will be bored by it):
The Diva Challenge asked us to use a tangle that's new to me, CanT. I didn't even practice it before trying it out on the tile. It has a million variations, so I just picked up my white UniBall pen and gave it a go. What emerged was Florz (from which CanT derives), and a few squares of CanT.
Besides the white pen, I used a white colored pencil, a Rainbow Lead pencil, and a metallic gold colored pencil. Oh, and a bit of IdentiPen to cover up some things I decided to remove, since I thought my black Micron might clog if I tried that.
Still scratching my head over this one!
Recently I've found myself struggling to get to sleep at night. A lot of people have this experience, and I've occasionally had it in the past. But now it's stretching into weeks. Not every night, but most nights. So unusual. I've checked my food/caffeine intake, and my screen time, as well as my stress level, but there's nothing I can tag as a cause. All is well...yet I often cannot get to sleep.
When this happens, I get up and leave the bedroom entirely and read or tangle. Or meditate, which I also enjoy doing late at night. Here's a blog post on the connection between meditation and insomnia--bottom line: it may help, it may not. But (for me, anyway), it feels good while I'm doing it, so I usually will give it a try if reading or tangling aren't helping me get sleepy.
WHAT I'VE BEEN WORKING ON DURING MY INSOMNIAC SPURT:
Alas, I can't post the main thing I have been working on in the last week because it's a gift for someone and until it's given, I will have to hold off. Check back in the next week or two for the full picture. It's a piece of Zentangle® inspired art, and I can only post enough of it that it won't be recognizable, so here is that bit.
That has taken much of my time (it's much larger than what you see above), but then the Zendala Dare #108 came along and I decided to participate in that. It's been a while since I have done one of these challenges.
The Rainbow Lead pencils I ordered from Oriental Trading Company arrived at the end of last week; it was time to try one out and see if I liked it as well as my other Rainbow Lead pencils. If you want to know what I'm talking about, see my long post on using these pencils here, including information on where to find them and how to identify that you are really getting a Rainbow Lead, not an ordinary lead. (Actually, every post since then has related to that topic, at least in part)
Here was the template for this week's challenge:
So far so good--I decided to do two tiles, one white and one black, and use the new pencil on each, and see how it worked. Here was what I did with the black tile at 3 a.m. today:
I was pretty happy with this except that it looked...well...DULLER than I thought my other older pencil does. But maybe not? I mean, who knows, at 3 a.m. in the pitch dark? I took a photo (several, actually, but more about that later) and did some additional meditation, and finally went to bed. I say "additional meditation" because I find that Zentangle is a form of moving meditation. Like yoga.
This morning I got up and had another look. Yes, it seemed duller. So let me try it on a white tile and see if maybe I'm imagining that. I had a chance to sit down and re-do this zendala template with different patterns this afternoon and here it is:
You know, I like this too. But the colors of this Rainbow Lead pencil are dull, dull, dull! At least so far. They just do not have the p-zazz of my earlier, older RL pencils. (I am sorry I cannot distinguish them by name--unfortunately none of the styles have any identifiable names. Darn! Makes them hard to discuss.
I used a variety of tangles on this: Marasu (center), Scarabou, Enyshou (oo oo oo, do we have a sound pattern developing?), Paradox variation, Indy-Rella, and Perfs.
So here is a picture of both types of RL pencils I'm comparing
The pencil on the top left is by far my favorite. You can get it at ????? (Good luck finding these--I know Oriental Trading had them years ago but they don't anymore. See my previous post, referenced at the top of this post, to see more about finding these.) Frankly, every time I see them I buy up every one I can get.
On the lower right is the pencil I just got from Oriental Trading. In fact, Rainbow Lead pencils are cheap, so I got 2 dozen of them.
Now look at the leads...you can see the way the colors are distributed. Also, see how much brighter the lead on the upper left pencil is? So it truly is not my imagination; these new and readily available RL pencils are definitely more dull. Darn!
My overall assessment of them so far: MEH. Good if you like subtle dull colors. I have a lifetime supply--anyone want to buy a couple? (Kidding--I may use these in classes)
Here is what these new and currently available pencils look like, in case you want to get a pack from Oriental Trading:
AND NOW FOR THE OBLIGATORY PICTURES WITH MY IPHONE MIRROR APP:
Ok, if you got this far, you didn't think I could resist playing with my iPhone mirror app and these zendalas, did you? Of course not. Here are two pictures of the black one, mirrored a couple of ways:
Yes, I cannot resist; I admit I am addicted! The last one is from the white tile.
Perhaps it's not so bad to have occasional insomnia. I had four lovely meditations today: two regular ones, and two moving meditations with Zentangle.
Today I was reading a very helpful post on white-on-black tiles by Betsy Wilson, and tested out some of her techniques (which is why my result below resembles a highly mediocre version of one of her her originals). I think Betsy will be my new idol--from the little I've seen of her other posts I really love her work.
I often like my own work too, even though I know that I need practice. But I don't particularly like this tile below. I also don't think comparisons are often useful, but even I can see, when I compare my tile to hers, that I have a long way to go. I understand, however, that practice will be my savior here. I will keep at it. Holding out Betsy's technique as a model will be useful, not discouraging, even though I am not at all thrilled with this first try.
This tile started out with the central Meer motif; I was using a white Broad UniBall Signa pen, and the ink was NOT going on well at all. It was not fun to use. Next I repeated the Meer motif in the upper left with a Faber Castell white colored pencil, testing that out. Better, but so much fainter it seemed to be disappearing on the black paper. Not happy with that either. Finally I did the Meer motif on the lower right with a white GellyRoll pen. Surprisingly, I liked that best--which isn't saying much. The coverage on all three was not that good.
At that point I thought I had finished, but then threw in some Rainbow Lead pencil for a bit of color, and added the Beadlines.
My overall feeling: Meh. (Live and learn)
Well, since I wasn't thrilled, I couldn't just leave it alone, so I went into my iPhone and used my mirror app on it. I don't know if that made it better or worse! I am definitely fascinated with this app...see below.
And just one more try with the app...see below.
I find this mirroring app mesmerizing. These hardly resemble the original at all.
More practice (and perhaps studying more of Betsy's blog) should help me improve my technique.
I can feel a major research project with the black tiles coming on!
While I'm on the topic of inspiring blogs:
If any of you reading this are confused about what Zentangle® is and why it should not be called doodling, take just a moment and read this post by CZT Sandy Hunter. I love what she's written here.
Don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of doodling and I doodle all the time, but doodling has a different genesis and purpose, as I discussed in this post which I wrote in June of 2014.
I haven't done a string thing challenge in quite a while. Check out that link to see the original string. Tangles include Cubine, Printemps, and Lanie (by Adele Bruno) and I completely forgot to add the 4th tangle, so I won't even name it here, but I just may have to do another tile tomorrow and add that here. I used Derwent spectrum blue, lemon cadmium, and deep cadmium pencils on some of the tile. I wanted to leave a lot of white space on this tile--both literally (the white parts) figuratively (the background that's colored lemon cadmium but has no tangles on it). Fun! And now to try to incorporate that other tangle in a redo of this as soon as I have time.
Right now, it's time to go meditate.
Ok, a bit of time has passed, I've managed to get through a very scary doctor appointment with no bad news, and managed to get this done just before I left. This one has all four tangles--the ones above, plus the one I forgot, called Chemystery.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator, meditation teacher and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
My next Beginning Zentangle® class is not yet scheduled--stay tuned.
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