Trees are in bud, the buds looking bigger each passing day. There is a small maple on my front lawn with large tight red buds. I worry about this tree as it was mistreated in the past, but despite all that, it's resilient and looking pretty darned good. I'm guessing I'll see leaves within a week or so. I think of this tree as courageous and persistent. May it have a peaceful and ease-filled summer growth season this year.
A few days ago I begin work on this tile below. Because I'm so busy it took days to finish, even though it's a very small piece. It's clearly Spring-inspired.
This morning I snuck in one more tile when I should have been working on something else. I am a world-class procrastinator, especially when whatever I am supposed to be doing is preventing me from making art.
A "cartouche"-based tangled piece using Doodah on a black post-card-sized paper. Maria Thomas did the calligraphy of the word Gratitude; it was enclosed on a business card inside one of my orders, and I loved it. I pasted it onto the black page, along with the Zentangle® chop (the red square at the bottom right, which I embellished) and used white gellyroll, gold gellyroll, and red General's chalk pencil, gold metallic Prismacolor.
And now, back to the big projects. Sigh.
In the style of one of my idols, Mori Yuzan, a Japanese artist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century:
Yuzan's work has always been irresistible to me because of the linework. Wave after wave. and so many tangles (not that he would have thought of them that way). Both of the above tiles are nearly copies - if not outright copies - of his spectacular work, which fortunately is now int he public domain. So relaxing to draw these and hopefully learn a bit from him.
Both were done for Zenuari2019 day 14, "idol tangle." I think I'll be doing a lot more idol tangles!
Experimenting with Mimi Lempart's tangle Mi2, using a thin gold pen (sorry, don't know the name) a friend gave me, plus Pokeroot and Pokeleaf tangles. Colored with Generals Chalk pencils on a black Zentangle® tile. I hope to do more of these experiments when I have time.
Just got back from a week away and we are having our first serious storm of the winter; it's just begun.
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.
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
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."
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
Did this today on a 2"x2" bijou tile. It was all I could manage as I'm down for the count in a major way with a severe chest cold and lots of coughing that reverberates right down into my toes. The kind that makes you exhausted. I've been mostly sleeping for two days. The good news is, it's a cold and I'll recover. Unfortunately I'm missing some exquisite weather--cool and sunny, the best of autumn. But eventually I'll get better and get myself out there.
Glad I had the energy to do this tiny tangle.
Doesn't that title sound like an affirmation? Yah as an alternative way to spell yeah. But in fact it's a tangle by CZT Emily Classon and somehow I've never tried it before. So I tried it out today. That's the beauty of tangle challenges; there's always something new to do.
Here is my Plain Jane version, my original tile. It was fun to do this even though the gold gellyroll pen tended to pool when I stopped or started, causing wobblier lines (I was going over and over a few lines to try to even them out, resulting in not quite the effect I hoped for. But that's ok--live and learn.
Black tile, gold gellyroll pen, General's Gold Chalk pencil, and a bit of blue colored pencil.
Below is an iPhone app-version, my favorite of the "iPhone-altered tiles" I tried. I'd love a few yards of fabric made from this:
And finally, I played with a triptych that includes the original tile and two experiments. Fun!
I should know better than to start these challenges, as I never finish them! So right here, right now, I'm declaring that I'll do what I can but I'm not going to stress out over it. Here was my plain Mooka tile (underneath which you can see how I tarted it up repeatedly with an iPhone app):
I do love Mooka. Of course, I can never leave well enough alone, so I had to mess around with the original on my iPhone. Results below. I rather like both the plain and the fancy..
What did we do before computers? (We had much saner lives, methinks.)
Determined not to be late again for this week's challenge, I decided to do a second tile and post twice in a day. The challenge was to use tangle 'Nzeppel and/or Crazy 'Nzeppel on a tile. I believe these are the "least 'Nzepp-ly" 'Nzeppels I have ever drawn, partly because I thought I'd try both types ('Nzeppel and Crazy 'NZeppel) within an orb. The orb softened the grids so much the tangles are less recognizable than normal.
Here is the same tile set into a mosaic created with an iPhone app using the original photo above. Of course, this is only one possible way to rotate the tile.
I wanted to try out my new Gold (or yellow) General's Chalk Pencil to see what it could do. Very pleased with it.
Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to take the original photo above and run it through some iPhone apps to see what would happen. The two resulting versions are below. I love them but I also just like the original tangle above.
And finally, at a meeting I went to last night there was a wonderful celebration of a special member, a woman who died last week. I had only met her once, but the other group members have all known her for years and just treasured her. Because I didn't know her, I couldn't contribute but the group told wonderful stories about her talents, loving kindness, generosity, and eccentricities. I think everyone had a terrific and healing time.
In her honor, someone had brought the floral arrangements (gathered from everyone's backyard gardens--she adored flowers) which had decorated her funeral service, and flowers were set around the room, including in the chair that she usually occupied.
At the end of the meeting, the flowers were offered to all of us and we were encouraged to take some home in her memory. I chose these beauties below, and felt lucky to have met this woman even once. This is just a tiny sample of all the floral bounty, one last gift from a woman who apparently never stopped giving to others.
This is what happens when there is no time to tangle, but you gotta tangle anyway no matter what. I'd been wondering what would happen if I put the tangles Punzel and Molygon together. But there was no time to try it today.
I thought I'd just try "refreshing my memory" on Punzel using a pencil and scrap paper for 5 minutes, and then I saw this tiny 3-Z tile and my White Gellyroll pen sitting there and couldn't contain myself. Good thing the tile was itty-bitty.
And if that wasn't enough, I played with the original on my iPhone mirror app, and got this, which is kind of fun. I prefer the original though.
Ok, I'm now way overdue with prepping for a meeting this evening...but feeling somewhat less crowded by all the tasks ahead. Ahhhhhhhhh...
My friend Susie from Thailand and I were discussing images of Buddha and agreeing that one doesn't have to be religious or have any belief in Buddhism to enjoy the wonderful art inspired by his history. The art on its own is peaceful. She commented on this after seeing the white-clay Buddha in my previous post (July 20th).
I drew the picture above several years ago, probably around the time I bought that small white ceramic tile. It represents the "old" in the title of this post.
It's true--just looking at images of Buddha always makes me feel calmer, and I remember feeling that way when I drew this. As a long-time meditation practitioner, I'm interested in Buddhism for its psychological value--it is a truly wonderful way to challenge our own thoughts, and to learn kindness. I'm happy the West has finally discovered the wisdom of Buddhist thought, and at the same time, I never think of Buddhism as a religion and do not believe that the Buddha ever intended it would become a "religion" with all the attendant dogma.
Far from it.
After digging out that drawing today, I thought I'd spend some time tangling, trying out a tangle called Zonked, by Barbara Finwall. Susie had just done her version of Zonked (see the 3rd tile down in her post) which I loved, and she inspired me. While testing it out, I added Hanny Waldburger's tangle Namaste, in honor of of Buddha. This represents the "new" in today's post title. Here is the result.
If you are also a fan of Buddha-heads, you may want to check out Virginia Peck's lovely art here.
And now, it's time for me to go meditate.
...during which, I promptly fell completely asleep. Which suggested to me I needed to wake up and keep tangling. First I finished the meditation, then I did this. While not my greatest result, I like it on several levels.
It's not a full moon; in fact, she is waning. But all the same the Moon woke me very early this morning, calling through my window. I felt I should pay tribute. This was the result.
Hommage à la Déesse de la Lune!
Starting about 2.30 this morning--a bad case of insomnia resulted in this tile. And then once I began, I couldn't stop tangling as the day wore on.
Yesterday I finished unpacking the house (after "only" ten months, 4-5 of which I was useless because of the broken wrist. But still!
I next need to hang pictures, and organize supplies and furniture in my studio. But it feels fabulous to be unpacked finally, and to know in general where things are.
I haven't been allowing myself to indulge in art in order to get the house stuff done. But starting with the above tile--and now that I know where most of my art supplies are--I couldn't help myself today. So I went a little nuts.
WHEN A GOOD TILE GOES BAD...
Oh my, the above tile was meant to be a practice of the Delft technique. But it fell apart when I thought I'd use Copic Markers (about which I clearly know nothing!) to shade a bit under the bands. The result: uneven shading and a "hard line"--I tried to save it with graphite and a tortillion, but really it was a hot mess.
But hey. No fail, no learn, right? So I'm posting it.
JUST KEEP ON GOING...
Once I finished that one I just couldn't stop, and did this one (I left off the Copics until I learn more about them). Enjoying the blue-and-white a lot.
And if that wasn't enough, I indulged myself in some glitter markers that were recommended by an artist friend (see her review of them here):
Have not tried these yet but will certainly report back when I do. They are very inexpensive (About $10 or so for all these)--and the package even arrives with refills.
You can see the refills above the markers. I got these on amazon.
Tomorrow I have to "stuff the art genie back in the bottle" in order to get some required tasks done...and I have to keep her there for awhile, probably. But today was a total indulgence.
Following Maria's instructions and working with the small Bijou tiles from the Zentangle® folks' Project Pack 02 resulted in this tile. Yes, it's a mash of half a black Bijou tile and half a tan Bijou tile, using the tangle Mollygon. I used a black Micron PN pen, graphite, an 08 White Gellyroll pen, and a White General's Chalk Pencil. Such fun to do!
My second tile. Same type of mashup as above, same materials used. The tangle here has been named by a few people over the years but I know it as Curtinz by Kate LaMontaigne..
Of course, it was immediately obvious that one could put the 2 tiles ( = 2 Fragments) together and turn them different ways to achieve different effects. This was one way.
Now, of course, I had to make a couple of additional tiles--I wanted to make 4 and I had just enough supplies to do so. Here was tile #3.
Same materials used. This tangle is a seldom-used one called Sedgling. I wonder why it has been forgotten. I like it a lot and think I'll be using it more often.
The last tile I did was based on the tangle Toodles. I tried experimenting with Toodles and did 2 versions of it, one a kind of "Pokeroot-based" version and the other a kind of "Pokeleaf-based" version, mixing them together.
And now to put all four fragments together. This is where turning the four fragments created different effects. I'll spare you all the variations and limit it to just two. Here's the first mosaic with the black halves in the center:
...And then, just by turning the tiles, here's another effect with the light halves in the center. This is the power of working with fragments. Very fun indeed.
I'm enjoying the wonky look. I'll definitely want to do a few more of these.
The thing about Zentangle® is that you never know where it's going to take you. Much like life. I began this tile 2-3 years ago--it didn't look anything like what you see here--and left it totally unfinished. Abandoned. I re-discovered it two days ago while unpacking (yes, I am still unpacking after 9 months of being here) and somehow just couldn't throw it out, though I was tempted. It stared at me and challenged me to reconstruct it or make it work in some way.
Basically it began life as a black tile which had been roughly shaded sort-of-white with the use of a soapstone, and then I think I had used some type of tool to see if I could score the tangle "Tripoli" into the soapstone background. It didn't work and I loathed the look of it. So put it away. I find it hard to believe that I didn't just toss it.
I finished it today in a very fast, sloppy way--because it was "just an experiment"--and now I rather like it. It has a pastel or oil paint-y look to it. I completely ignored the unpleasant beginning and re-built the entire concept.
This reminds me of something I learned in my childhood: A family member once accused me of "never finishing anything you start." I thought about it for awhile, got mad, and then decided she was right. So I made a major effort over the next few months to go around and finish all my unfinished projects. I must have been about ten, and I remember the resulting satisfaction. Although I hadn't liked the criticism, it spurred me to develop discipline.
Since then, it's rare for me to put something away unfinished. If anything, I've gone to the opposite extreme--I sometimes finish things immediately that might benefit from a longer pause.
(I do have one quilt that has been "paused" for 40 years. Er...it may be time to get back to that one!)
The other tile I did today was this one below. I'll put the completed tile first and then include two photos of the very beginning and the middle stages. (I know the tile background looks different in the photos but it's all the same tile--just different lighting)
Some things--like unpacking--take me longer to finish, because I just don't like doing them. But eventually, that learned discipline from childhood takes over and they do get done. It just takes me 50 times longer to get to the finish line than it does if I enjoy what I'm doing.
As a non-holiday celebrator, I appreciate this quiet time of year (especially tonight, Christmas Eve, and tomorrow) and always give myself permission to do whatever the heck I feel like doing for a couple of days.
That does not include unpacking.
It does include reading, drawing, tangling, and general lollygagging.
Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!
To my mind, tonight is Solstice Night. The longest night.
Winter Solstice is late morning tomorrow.
When I sat down to tangle at sunset today, it didn't dawn on me just how much the result might express the season. In retrospect, this was certainly a Solstice Tangle. As I worked, I was aware of the gathering dark, and deep silence.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings know peace.
May we all celebrate the return of the Light tomorrow.
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Continuing on today with my drawing meditation (aka Zentangle®). I began tangling my journal cover last night. At first I thought I was done. Here is the first version.
Don't ask me to name all those tangles off the top of my head. I used a Micron 01 black, graphite, and a white chalk pencil on this.
But I knew I would need to seal the cover somehow. Otherwise, the two pencils (white and black) would smudge and wear off. So today I dug out the Mod Podge for Paper, since I wasn't sure what else to use. Meanwhile, in meditation this morning, it came to me that I wanted to add a tangle (created by me, no name yet) on the right hand part of the cover. So I did. Then I put 3 layers of Mod Podge on the cover, waiting at least a half hour between each. I hope this works! It seems duller (I used Matte Mod Podge) but then I also photographed it in a different light from yesterday, so it's hard to tell. Here's the finished journal cover.
Yup, big difference in light as the teal color on the binding of the first photo is accurate and it looks brown here. I think I like this.
So tonight I finished off the day with this tangle on the theme of "Striping."
I also did my usual silent meditation practice today, but I am always reminded, after a long session of tangling, how similar these two meditative practices are. They are each so calming. So grateful to have found Zentangle all those years ago, and to the truly wonderful people who teach it as a meditative practice. Thank you.
Really needing a break today, I just allowed myself to follow along while watching Zentangle® instructional videos. My plan was to follow instructions diligently, but somehow I just kept getting off track. I tangled for several hours though, and really enjoyed it. Here are the results.
Ummm, can we just stay that I went totally off-road (or into the river) for this tile, which was supposed to be entirely non-representational. It was supposed to be the tangle Bales, drawn in an oval string. But once I put that oval string down, all I could see was a fish. Black apprentice tile with White Gellyroll #10 and a touch of prismacolor pencil.
Sometimes ya just gotta allow for odd things to happen. This was one of those times.
Yes, I did it. I bought a hand drill. No big deal, you say? Then you don't know me well. I'm a disaster with hand tools. If you live anywhere in the northeastern United States, it might be time to consider moving away. You don't want to be around when I turn this thing on.
YouTube, here I come. I'm determined to learn how to use this.
More material that fits neatly into the "no-fail, no-learn" category: The Zentangle® folks put out a Project Pack recently that included lots of new goodies to try. New white Gellyroll pens from Sakura. New black apprentice tiles, new black triangular tiles (called 3-Zs). Plus a new tangle and some experimental techniques. And some very fine videos.
Along with everyone else, I've been experimenting. Here are a couple of initial results.
More to come from that Project Pack.
Last but not least today. I am pretty chuffed about this one. It has been eluding me for well over a week. I think I tried it a good 4 times and couldn't figure it out (and it looks soooooo simple!), but I kept looking at it and thinking about it. Today I decided to tackle it again--on crappy copy paper, but I was thinking there was a good possibility I'd fail again.
But no. I succeeded! I really failed my way to success with this one.
Now, of course, I wish I had used better paper. But succeeding came as a total surprise!
Just to make sure I got it, I tried it again on a tiny scale a couple of hours later--and once again, failed. But I know I *am* getting it and will continue to practice until I feel I've got a good handle on this. If I was able to do it once, I know I can do it again.
I hope you will take a careful look at the above piece. It's made from 28 triangular tiles placed together. Each tile is unique, and was tangled by my good friend AE. The overall effect is stunning. And, they can all be moved around easily for a completely different look.
Take another moment to look at each individual triangle and you'll see the level of creativity at work here.
* * *
This afternoon I returned from spending five days with AE.. She's been dealing with a particularly challenging and confusing illness for months now, and coincidentally (or was it...?), she learned Zentangle right around the time that the illness announced itself. For the last several weeks she has been receiving intensive and intrusive treatments, and I can't emphasize how often she has mentioned that tangling has enabled her to cope.
And while coping, she has been producing these mini-beauties. Here are a few more examples (with thanks to her for letting me post these):
The meditative nature of Zentangle has been extremely helpful while she has been in treatment. Tiles are the perfect size for portability and for tangling while waiting to be seen in a doctor's office. One of the things I truly love about tangling is that it is a form of moving meditation, and enables a person to focus completely on the present, line by line, and not get caught up in past or future. This is a huge advantage if you are waiting for a treatment session, a doctor's appointment or any stressful situation. AE has been making the best of her time, as you can see here.
* * *
We have known each other for almost 40 years (how the hell did that happen?) and have a lot of shared interests. We met while pursuing a particular spiritual tradition and soon discovered a mutual love of art and crafts. For years we both did bead work (she focused on loom work, I focused on bead embroidery) and between us we accrued enough beads to open a bead store. Not that that was our intention; as we are both "tool hoarders," we never considered selling our stock and each still have pounds of seed beads. We are constant knitters and each have huge yarn stashes. We both enjoy writing and have blogs; she has also written a novel. We've each accumulated way too many art supplies. We each meditate daily. We both read constantly, and our home libraries have many similar books. I wouldn't even want to speculate about how many books each of our homes contain...too many.
I have to laugh at the similarities--we are each hopelessly determined and obsessive in pursuing our interests. In just a few short months, she's produced as many tangles as I have in all the years I've been tangling. She has taken her tangling kit to every doctor's appointment and treatment session, and used that time well. It's an honor to share some of her work here.
And yet we are also very different, something I also enjoy. I value our discussions, whether we are agreeing or disagreeing.
I am fortunate to have her as a friend, and hope we continue our crazy, obscure, satisfying interests for years to come. She is kind, resilient, talented, hilarious and courageous. A gift in my life.
"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
– Oprah Winfrey
"There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate."
― Linda Grayson
i heard the sound of crickets last evening for the first time since last year.
to be more specific, i heard one lone cricket, and then about a block or so later, a second lone cricket. there is something about their sound that makes me so happy.
today i experimented with drawing a cricket (thus, the "hope" part of the title, as it was only the second day since i broke my wrist (mid-june) that i began to feel i was getting better. more about that later...
here is the very silly result--the first sketch is a cartoon cricket (from the jiminy cricket species), and the second one only a tad more realistic. both were done from youtube videos that i found when i typed in "how to draw a cricket."
below is my contribution to IAST 209 (the "it's a string thing" challenge). i was so happy to feel well enough to try this tonight. this makes two days of less swelling and pain, i'm almost afraid to feel hopeful, but i'm going with it tonight!
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:
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