The beginning today: I began designing another large rug. It's too early by far to show anything, but I am pleased with the start.
The ending today: After endless rain and then multiple overly-early snowstorms, we finally got all the leaves cleaned up. It took all day. Since I'm focusing on gratitude this month, I want to say how relieved I am that I no longer have to do this myself. Because I live in a condo, someone else does it for me, and of course they have all the right tools & equipment, saving my old bones the effort. Thank you, thank you.
Two small tangled pieces today...
Above is a black Zentangle® 3-Z tile with White Gellyroll pen and White General's Charcoal. The tangle is called XLnt and it's by CZT Jody Genovese (you can find it on tanglepatterns.com). This is my first try at it, and wowza, it was not easy for me to figure out. I like it very much though and think I'll be using it a lot. This was done for the "It's a String Thing #271" Challenge on Adele Bruno's website.
And this one is done on a tiny Bijou tile (2"x2") using Gold Gellyroll pen and A bit of White Gellyroll, with colors by General's Chalk pencils. The tangle in the center is Zenith, and that was our assignment for the Gratitangles Project, day 25. I mixed in a Footlites tangle on either side (same project, day 14). Zenith is a tangle I always mean to use, and rarely do.
While working on these tiles I could not help thinking of things I am grateful for today: For example, safe housing, with great caretakers who moved those leaves efficiently and who also take care of the snow and ice. I'm grateful for the snow tires I had put on my car yesterday. I am grateful that I even HAVE a car and the money for snow tires.
“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”
So far, we're having an extraordinarily early winter. Multiple snowstorms have already struck, and it's been much colder than normal. We are nowhere near the Winter Solstice when the season officially begins, but it's definitely winter out there.
I spent 2 hours today getting snow tires put on at the very busy local dealership. More snow due tonight. Fortunately, it's accumulating more in the hill towns surrounding this valley, but it's often rain or slush here. We are lurching rather haplessly from storm to storm, with just a few bits of sunshine in between. Today was mostly cloudy with a couple of hours of filtered sun. This tangle was done to honor the short days and the occasional lovely brief moments of sun, when they come.
I've been feeling the itch to draw a bit again (other than tangles). One thing I know about drawing is that if you don't use it, you lose it. And I haven't used it in months, other than tangling.
This morning as I lay in bed I knew I wanted to sketch something--anything--quickly. So I got out of bed, grabbed a pencil and post-it note, and did a 4-minute sketch of the Buddha that a friend just brought me from her trip to Asia.
This was a straight-from-the-bed-into-a-sketch moment of madness. After all, we each have something we need to do first thing after getting out of bed, right? And I hadn't done that yet. So I guarantee it was very short. And not particularly good. But you gotta start somewhere.
Not a masterpiece, but could be worse after months and months of inactivity with drawing. Perhaps this is the start of something.
I've been participating in the "Gratitangles2018" project, an annual November event centered around the theme of Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I'd include a link to it, but honestly, I don't know who started this or where to find the right link. And I've looked. I don't even know who sent me the list this year.
But in this time when the United States feel less "united" than at any time since the 60s (meaning, the 1860s, when we had the Civil War), I really need to focus on what I can be grateful for...and that is still a lot.
Yesterday, Day 23 of the project, one of my least favorite tangles came up: Jonqal. I've never liked it and never ever tried it. However, I'd committed myself, so I put on some meditative music and gave it a try last night. Result:
Here's the thing: I still don't like it, but I'm glad I tried it. And I admit I like the result better than I expected. Even though mine is far from perfect (perfection is not what Zentangle® is about, anyway!) and doesn't look like the "classic" version. [See the "classic" images HERE.]
It will never be a go-to tangle, but I'm glad I gave it a try. Lesson learned! I'm thankful that I made the effort to attempt it, and the attempt was the major part of the lesson. I want to try more things in life, whether I think I'll like them or not. I also noticed that the process of doing this was just as relaxing as it is with all of the other tangles that I so strongly prefer. It got me to the same place, even if it's not--like the sketch at the top of today's post--any type of masterpiece.
It isn't about the masterpieces. It's all about the work.
It's now day 24 and I tried out a tangle I've only done once before. Click HERE to see my one-and-only previous try at it. I supersized it that time, and really like the effect. Today, though, I did the more classic version. It wasn't half as easy as the supersized one, and I messed up in places, but I like the result anyway:
Yesterday's post was all about the sun; ironically, today's is all about the moon.
Here we have an experiment that didn't quite work, but I like it anyway. I cannot even put into words what I was trying to achieve--it's too hard to explain. But I still like the ghostly, dusty fadedness of this violet-colored full moon.
Before dawn this morning I woke up and couldn't believe how much light was in my room. I turned my head on the pillow and was almost blinded by the nearly-full-moon beaming down directly into my eyes through the window as She sailed along in the northwest corner of the sky. It felt as though she were tapping on my shoulder and calling to me to, "Wake up! WAKE UP!"
Make this night
Love will heal the wound
The glowing light
Will make things right
Little darling, the smile's returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
There are so many things to be thankful for today, but let me begin with seeing the sun. Where I live we haven't had a sunny day in a long time, and although it's extremely cold out, I notice how much the sunshine has lifted my mood. I can't be the only one feeling this way.
I've a long list of things to be grateful for, including the fact that I was able to do some Zentangle® last night and today, a process that is so meditative and so centering that I feel extremely lucky to have stumbled on it years ago. Here's last night's tangle:
Next, I did a tangle for Diva Challenge #377. This piece definitely has a "What the hell happened here???!!!" feel to it, as it ended up in such an unexpected result, with colors I rarely use. But that's ok--I like it. Later today I'll treat myself to going to the Diva's page (see link above) and see how everyone else handled this "duotangle" (combining 2 tangles). I expect I'll be astounded and intrigued by all the different approaches, as always. Here it is:
I also had time to find a place for the lovely little Buddha my good friend P brought back from her month-long trip to Asia. There is now another tiny altar in my house:
Gratitude today, in no particular order, for:
After all, Mother Earth is the ONLY planet with coffee. And chocolate.
This week I've been thinking a lot about good friends and the nature of friendships. How they enrich our lives.
More or less hidden in that tile is the Pali word "Metta," which translates as "boundless friendship" and/or "loving kindness."
"Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit."
Remember the very strange story of the hula girl figure from last August/September ? (click here to refresh your memory) She mysteriously appeared atop our mailboxes one day, stayed a few weeks, then disappeared. But she reappeared in September (it's all in the link above).
Here is a photo of how she looked then (just below).
But read on to see how she looked as of this morning...
She was appropriately (if scantily) dressed back then.
It is now November and we have already had two snowstorms...and winter's barely begun.
On my way to do some errands this morning I stopped at the mailbox and...
I nearly swallowed my tongue laughing when I spotted this:
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
Another piece for the Grati-tangle2018 Project. This is the start of Thanksgiving Week here in the USA, and it's good to be actively looking for things to be thankful for in these very troubling times.
As I worked on this one, I really focused line-by-line and enjoyed the meditative aspect of the drawing. I was thinking about how fortunate I am to have a home, food, warm clothing, and good friends. All things that so many people in this world do not have. I was also thinking about how happy I am that my friend who has been dealing with a very tough health issue is on the mend...not that it will be speedy, but she is getting better.
Lastly, I was grateful for having found this Oriental rug at a local auction last Friday night and paying next to nothing for it. Only one other person bid on it and I won.
A few days ago, I shared a post called "Inspired By Others," in which I showed some work done a la Ernst Haeckel at our recent zenAgain2018 conference. We didn't stop there, however, and today's post shows two very different artists whom we also explored. Talk about crazy fun--this was a highlight of the conference for me.
Indeed, Keith Haring, one of Molly Hollibaugh's favorite artists when she was a child. After wondering what, if anything, we could do with tangles and his work, Molly experimented and came up with this instruction at zenAgain2018, and below you see the tile I did as a result. I was SO surprised - and delighted - by this choice of artists!
My own version of a Keith Haring-style tile. Was this ever fun to do! Done on a black Zendala tile with White Gellyroll pen #10. Permission to break all the rules here, and just have a good time.
And if that alone wasn't enough, have a gander at the mosaic below. Bear in mind that this is only a partial photo of the whole mosaic.
Prepare to drool.
But wait--that's not all we did.
The next tile couldn't be more different. (As is true for the "Ernst Haeckel-style" tile we did which I presented a few days ago)
Yes indeed, Master Klimt himself. I couldn't do him justice--none of us could, really, but we all gave it our best shot and my tile's below, along with a partial picture of the group mosaic.
This is truly only a very small portion of the class mosaic, enlarged so that you can see the detail and the contrasts.
"What inspires me to paint? ...revisiting some old greats like Sargent, Homer, Whistler or local masters... thinking hard about a new approach or idea; or seeing a new painting on a friend's lounge room wall."
We are expecting our first snow of the season, here in the Northeastern US. Things are growing progressively quieter as people scurry to get home before the snow begins.
This is another Zendala tile for the Grati-tangles2018 Project. I've nearly caught up now and am so enjoying myself. I was focused today on gratitude for good friends and for lovely art materials.
This tile went somewhere I never expected. I was in an experimental mode.
Interesting to see how the colors have washed out on this one as I uploaded it. It's actually both greener and bluer. I made some adjustments but still cannot capture the color.
I worked on this piece yesterday and today. It's part of the Grati-tangles2018 Project. As I worked I was thinking of how grateful I am when I am able to "change the frame" if things go wrong during the day. Not that I'm good at it yet! But I'm doing better.
Another tile for the Grati-tangle2018 project. This one has a variation of Fracas and also the tangle Marasu.
While working on this tile I was grateful for all the things I've been given that allow me the luxury of time and tools to practice this form of meditative art. I am lucky indeed.
And one last tile for today, same project. The tangle is Cyme and it's for day 10.
While working on this tile, I was thinking that I am grateful that I know a posse of women who are skilled healers and ready/able to work on a friend who's in need of help. Gratitude to these friends. We are geographically scattered but I trust them all and love them all.
Here is a quote that captures the nature of the work we've done together over the years:
“I dreamt we walked together along the shore. We made satisfying small talk and laughed. This morning I found sand in my shoe and a seashell in my pocket. Was I only dreaming?”
― Maya Angelou
was the inspiration for this:
At ZenAgain this week we experimented with tangling that was inspired by other people's work. This sea creature above is inspired by the work of Ernst Haeckel, and was it ever fun to draw.
Below is a mosaic of the class's work with this assignment. We were each given some General's Chalk Pencils to use--we each received different colors and were required to work with whatever colors we got. Once again, you can see that all of them were similar, and yet, each is distinctly different.
This was only one small portion of a much larger table with these tiles displayed.
Maria Thomas, one of the founders of Zentangle®, has a remarkable poster with her own version of Haeckel's sea creature on a portion of it. See her poster below. I believe this is for sale but am not certain. (UPDATE: Yup, it's for sale at the Zentangle® website.)
And finally, below, is a photo of a book about Haeckel's beautiful work (the master himself). There are many books available about him.
This was the very first tile we did at the opening of the workshop last Sunday. An old favorite and often the first tangle taught to new students, Crescent Moon.
A tiny tile is all I can manage to post today; it's been a busy weekend and frankly, I have overdone it. Apparently I may have contracted a second head cold on the heels of the first one, so I am really dragging.
Keeping things small and simple this evening.
"'Space' seems to be such a confusing term. The closer we look at something, like what we are made of, the more space there seems to be."
"All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Yes, this makes three blog posts in one day. It's true. Deal with it! <g>
Ratoon is a new tangle from Molly Hollibaugh CZT (one of Maria Thomas's talented daughters) released earlier this week. The title of the tangle actually comes from some research that Maria was doing to prepare for ZenAgain this week. A "ratoon" is described thus: "a new shoot or sprout springing from the base of a crop plant." The theme of workshop was SEEDS--all the seeds from our art-ancestors that we use in creating art today, and all the seeds we are sowing as we do our own art and as we teach others. You can see the seeds represented in the tangle above.
Just as those seeds have and will continue to sprout, so all art stands on the shoulders of all previous artists. In making our art--even if it's bad art!--we honor them. One of the many things I love about tangling is that I never know where something is going to go, how it will develop, and the highly calming effect of the process. We all get the same instructions, and yet all our pieces, while obviously related, are so delightfully different. I will put a partial mosaic of this tangle as an example of that below (partial because there were so many of us that I couldn't get the entire view).
Here is a completely WRONG version of the tangle Cadent. This is what happens when you're so tired you can't see straight. It's drawn incorrectly from start to finish. Things don't connect as they should. I was aware of it while I was drawing but did not care one bit, had fun, then shaded it and called it done. It's for the Gratitangles2018 Project, Day 5.
While I was doing it I was being grateful for all that I have been given in life.
This one's an old favorite called Verdigogh, and represents Day 6 of the Gratitangles2018 Project. Once again I was aware of how tired I was as I was working on this, and so while I was tangling I was very grateful that I'm at a point in life where I have a lot of control over my own schedule (in other words, if I'm overscheduled it's usually because I do it to myself). I am grateful that I have the personal choice and luxury of changing this. So...why don't I? Because I hate to miss ANYTHING. Jeez.
"Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone."
Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to spend four days in the company of over 200 artists, drawing. Meaning, doing Zentangle®. I really cannot describe the experience other than to say it was sheer heaven. Also exhausting. One thing I can say for sure is that I was scheduled to go with a good friend who was unable to come at the last minute due to illness. I really missed her.
This particular tile measures ten inches by ten inches and was one long moving meditation.
Heavy rain both last night and this morning, followed by high winds. I sat in front of my picture window and watched as every last leaf blew off the many trees outside. It is now officially November, with denuded trees. In the back of my house, where yesterday I saw nothing but colorful fall leaves on the trees, I now see only tree trunks and the houses on the next street over. Yesterday those houses were still invisible.
It is November in every way, after the gusty winds took the leaves from the trees and plastered them onto wet streets, sidewalks, and lawns.
Something is off in that photo--the lighting, for sure! It's done on a white Zentangle® tile which surely doesn't look white. Micron 01 pen and graphite, white gellyroll pen to add the dots and a few highlights. Tangles are Opus and Jetties. Part of the November Gratitangle Project, Days 3 and 4.
While tangling, I focused on being grateful for:
My good friend in the hospital who is now just beginning to recover. I know it will take time, but I'm grateful she is ok and that she has access to world-class healthcare.
I'm leaving shortly for four days of tangling heaven--I particularly appreciate the opportunity to attend an art workshop while the American mid-term election is going on (next Tuesday). And yes, I have already voted via absentee ballot since I won't be here. But if I were here, my doorbell would be ringing and I'd be barraged by television ads on how to vote. It will be a massive relief to escape to art-land until after it's over. And I desperately hope we move in the direction of civility, sanity, and kindness.
Yesterday's tangle was titled Rain, and as if invoked, it has been pouring all day today, including thunder and lightning. We've had a rainy spring, a heavily rainy summer, and now a very rainy autumn. We have had more than enough rain.
So for today's tangling I decided to use a Bronze Stardust Gellyroll pen in an effort to invoke the sun. It's still pouring, and heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow so I'm not hopeful.
This is still part of the "Gratitangles2018" challenge.
Today I am grateful that my friend who just had surgery is beginning to feel better. And that the heavy cold I have had for weeks now is beginning to lift.
Just for fun I ran the original photo above through my iPhone app and got this, which I like equally well:
In October there was the "Inktober Challenge." In November, there is something called "Gratitangles2018." A challenge in the spirit of the American Thanksgiving holiday. I don't know if I will be able to fully participate, but here is Day One of this challenge. The tangle is Rain, and I did this on a Renaissance tile with brown and black microns and a white 08 gellyroll with graphite and a bit of General's white chalk pencil. Gratitude that my friend made it safely through her surgery.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and 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