Well of course there are mistakes. We all make mistakes.
I made some major mistakes in drawing this tangle, Waybop. I've drawn it before but not for a couple of years. I really screwed up the linework on this tile.
But here's the thing: "There are no mistakes in Zentangle®." That's one of our axioms. Because just like in life, we have to deal with whatever's right in front of us and work with it, mistakes or not.
So I didn't tear up this tile. I kept it overnight and decided to try coloring it. Here below is the result.
Glad I held onto it and decided to keep working on it. I've ended up really liking it a lot. I chose colors to match the oriental rugs in a friend's home.
This entire process was an experiment.
Could I produce this tangle from memory? No, I couldn't and the original linework was terrible. But...I could continue to work with it and end up with a good result.
It required only patience and determination. Lesson learned.
In this incredibly troubled world, I was lucky enough to be able to take three days for travel and drawing.
Nearly every second of that time, I was acutely aware of the many tragedies currently unfolding on our fragile blue planet, and acutely aware of the great privilege to be able to have the peace that drawing can provide. Over all three days, I carried both worlds with me simultaneously. I think we all did. There were about 40 of us in attendance, with Martha Huggins and Molly Hollibaugh from Zentangle® as our teachers. I'll post a few of the results over the next couple of days.
This was the title of the workshop. (Yes, there was lots of Edith Piaf singing "La Vie En Rose" in the background) M&M discussed the importance of looking for the good in life, no matter what is happening. And we all know there is a LOT of misery, horror, and fear happening at this moment. The point is not to ignore any of that or pretend it is not happening, but to carefully look around for moments of rest , of peace, of something beautiful despite everything else going on. Without these, what hope do we have? Without these moments of rest, we cannot go on. With them, we can begin to see and think clearly and act effectively.
A "warm-up tile" from the first evening.
It can be nearly impossible to find a way to cope with life at times like this. So many people I know are exhausted, angry, disillusioned, terrified, and feeling helpless. I cannot and do not ignore that nor any of the existential threats we face at the moment. Yet who can function with any measure of wisdom or compassion in such a state? We must all try to take a moment whenever we can to recognize both the possibilities AND the limitations we face. And then find a scrap of inner peace and sit with that until we can un-clench.
Any healthy thing that can give us that moment is precious. Drawing is one thing that does it for me. Music as well. Speaking with friends. Helping someone who needs help.
In order to be functional, I need to do this in small moments throughout the day so that I won't get lost in discouragement. We all need some way of doing this--desperately. I am fortunate enough to be able to occasionally stop and just draw for a while. I know that others on the planet who are being bombed or shot at do not have that luxury right now.
I do it both for myself and for the people who don't have that option, in the hope that calming myself will enable me to think and act more clearly to support them in their time of need.
Kaira Jewel Lingo has just written a book called We Were Made for These Times, about how to survive and cope with the turmoil currently gripping the world. You can listen to her by clicking on the link below, as she's interviewed by former ABC News Anchor Dan Harris.
May we all find shelter and safety
May we all find peace within and without
May we all be kind to ourselves and each other
May we all become whole.
Great Jumpin' Jehosophat, would you believe it took me no less than SIX tries to get this knot done correctly? (I used a different, non-publishable word while catching all my errors and trying to figure it out, not the initial three words at the start of this paragraph. Use your imagination.) The tangle around the outside of the knot is called A'dalfa. It was new to me and I had fun with it. But the knot! OMG. I'm knot sure why it was so hard for me.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.”
Um, Eleanor, I think I have news for you.
No symptoms and 2 negative Covid tests, 48 hours apart, after an exposure last Saturday. A perfect example of an occasion when negative - good news. (As it often does with medical data) Hurrah!
I celebrated by combining a Celtic Knot with Zentangle® again:
Just for now, I'm enjoying combining tangling with knots so you may be seeing a lot of these.
Let's see: D for the Dharma, for daylight, for delight, for deliberate. Also for do-over, for doubt, for demand, for "duh...", for ditto...I could go on, but won't. This is another illustrated letter using sketchbook paper (5x7"), black Micron 01, watercolor and colored pencil, plus a bit of graphite and white gellyroll. Great fun to do. Tangles are: Rixty, Tipple, Mooka, Printemps, Flux, Moonpie, I Can This, Zinger.
Another photo from my sketchbook this morning. This one really made me chuckle--is it an anemone or a padula?
Never heard of a padula? A padula is a made-up flower. In other words, not a particular specific, identifiable flower. It's the type of flower kids often draw, not an accurate rendering. We use the term in rug hooking to describe those colorful fantasy flowers you often see in old rugs. It may also be a term used in other arts, but I've never heard of it anywhere else.
This is supposed to be an anemone, but I'm not too certain about how accurate it is.
Doesn't matter to me. Drawing it was fun and meditative. That's all I care about.
Here's a page from my sketchbook showing some practice at drawing flowers. Kelly Barone of Whimsy by Kelly has a lovely free video series on FB on doing this. I think she began it last year but I'm just able to focus on it now. It was fun to try.
Below you can see all the stages, from line drawing to shading to this result directly below.
Oh my gosh. The last time I got to draw was May 5th. Way, WAY too long for me. Last night I finally got back to it and it felt sooooo good.
I am definitely rusty, rusty, rusty. This is overworked, and yet, I just loved every minute of doing it. I couldn't stop after such a long time of no tangling, and that resulted in the overwork (and the lack of sleep since I didn't start the coloring until after 10 pm). But it was worth every second for the pleasure it gave me.
Just the same sort of sigh-of-relief as when you finally get to scratch a bothersome itch.
The linework, before color was added, is on the right.
So what caused this long, long drought? I'm teaching rug hooking in the midwest later this summer and I needed to produce multiple samples for the upcoming class. That has been taking up all my time. I will post the samples soon but now that they are done, I just want to get back to regular rug hooking, punching, and DRAWING.
There will be another short delay while I finish prepping, traveling and teaching. By September I hope to be back to a regular schedule of drawing and blogging.
In the meantime, meditation is keeping me sane and happy throughout this long summer.
Meditation: Because some answers can only be found on the inner net.
– Shira Tamir
So here it is, with the colors added. This was great fun to do. The URL for the video is in yesterday's post, in case you want to try this yourself.
I'm using colors here I do not normally use--not sure what happened there. I am not a "pink" person in normal circumstances but this is what came out.
Contrast it to yesterday's black & white version.
Aha, I finally begun tangling again. I hope to be drawing soon too.
This one is not my favorite. I'm not a fan of the way colored pencils work on printmaking paper. But that's all I had on hand, so the grainy-ness couldn't be avoided. Next time I'll get back to using a smooth surface for the colored pencils.
But so meditative to be tangling again.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK7Lg08UYzA if you would like to try it yourself.
Indeed, it's been awhile.
Another round of surgery for me (nothing life-threatening), much-needed but requiring a lengthy recovery. And I'm not done yet. What I mean to say is, I AM done with the surgery but not anywhere near done with the recovery.
However, I've recovered enough to produce one tangle. Just one, but my first one in two months. That long a pause is almost unheard of for me. I had hoped to do a lot more drawing and tangling in recovery but it hasn't yet been possible.
The good news: Everything is going along well, just as predicted. I may be slow but I'm beginning to be able to "art" again. I've also been doing some punch needle embroidery but that's not at a stage where I can show it. Soon, i hope! I think I have about another 6-8 weeks of recovery to go and then I hope to be back to myself.
Well that's what I do, anyway.
What about you?
On days like this I need a comfort drink (it was -10 or -15° Farenheit last night and I heard "frost quaking" for the first time--who even knew that was a thing? So this morning, in the -5° weather, I treated myself to a good old DD coffee (and added mocha, so hot chocolate).
Oh, the comfort.
Then I drew it.
And finally I ran the drawing thru an iPhone app.
Interesting how plans go awry. For a couple of days I've been thinking about the old tangle, "Quandary." But I haven't drawn it in years and couldn't remember how. Today I grabbed some drawing tools and a tan 3-Z tile and gave it a go despite not remembering, and this was the result. It sure ain't Quandary--what the heck is it? Just some sort of pattern, with escapees in the lower left corner.
But what fun to do. Brainless drawing--just what I love! Nothing to think about, just filling in shapes. Very very soothing.
And just as in life, it didn't turn out as planned. But it turned out fine, anyway.
I began this tile yesterday, at a late night workshop where everyone else was doing symbolic and pictorial drawings within a circular border and no one else was doing Zentangle® other than me. Given the purpose of the workshop, I think the NON-Zentangle drawings were a better idea (see the Mandala Secrets technique, which has nothing to do with tangling and is extremely interesting--I test-drove it several years ago and enjoyed it but it's not what I want to be doing just now).
Memory is such a tricky business. At this time of year I like to look backwards as well as forwards. "Liminal" was the title of my last post, and I am still there, in liminality. Doorways are the perfect illustration of that--they are transitional places.
I made this drawing 9 years ago today and just saw it again. I have no memory of what I was thinking when I drew it--it's probably a drawing from a photograph of an actual doorway somewhere.
Only after I'd pasted it in here did I notice the small question mark at the bottom of the drawing. What did I mean by that?
“The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.”
― Kiran Desai
Drawn by me yesterday, and hugely relaxing to do! I think it's been years since I used my Rainbow Lead Pencil--check out previous posts on the Rainbow Lead by looking in the right-hand column at the Categories section (scroll down and you'll see that category; click there to find the previous posts).
I have missed using it. Disorganization meant I couldn't find it for quite a while but I'm getting more organized and located my itty-bitty-stub of the original Rainbow Lead as well as a newer one.
What I love about the Rainbow Lead pencil is that you can try to manage it, but you really can never guarantee 100% what color is going to come out of the tip. I've learned to figure some of it out, but it still surprises me and I love that. It forces me to respond more creatively. In this case, it meant I somehow ended up with less color than usual, and that was fine. I like the opalescent look of this mandala.
Here are 2 more photos. In the first I was in the middle of the line work, and in the second I had finished and lined up all my tools (you can see the nearly-used-up stub of my original Rainbow Lead pencil there; I have to use a ""pencil extender to use the last bit of it.
Drawing this led to surprise after surprise with the colors. I love that!
Earlier this week I had the chance to go to zenAgain 2022, a class for Certified Zentangle® Teachers (CZTs) in Newport Rhode Island. And oh what a great time we had. This was a new tangle from headquarters, one of several they taught. I believe it's named after Martha's son Wyatt. I'm not sure I am done with this one yet, but I'm posting it for now.
We stayed at a hotel on an island just off the coast of the town and the view of the ocean from my window was magnificent. But having several days in a row to do nothing but draw and see wonderful art by others was the best part.
Really, I do have plenty of other jewelry than brooches, but there are indeed a lot of those. So here is the next one. I'm really enjoying these tiny drawings.
Having said that, I actually never wore this brooch much--it wasn't a favorite and neither is my drawing of it (which takes liberties and includes the tangle Tipple) but that's ok since it is keeping me doing a little bit of drawing every day, which is the goal.
And here's the sterling silver version from which I did the drawing.
This one brings back deeply transformational memories of travels to the Southwest decades ago with dear friends.
Continuing the series of quick drawings of old jewelry I own.
Whoops--I nearly forgot to include the actual sterling silver brooch below, next to the start of the drawing:
First 3 days of Inktober this year. I make a start but rarely finish. So far I'm not crazy about any of these tangles and so I changed 2 of them to such an extent that they are barely recognizable. (Tangles are: Rain, Delray, ISEA-U). In fact one of them isn't recognizable at all!
We'll see if I continue through the month this year. A class I'm teaching and some textile projects might interfere.
When I finished this tile I was really pleased with it--then I photographed it and blew up the photo and once I saw how incredibly shaky all the linework is (it doesn't show so much when it's this size), I was horrified. Yet another benefit of aging! But when I consider the alternative, aging is just fine with me. Being out of practice is also a likely cause.
What happened to these people, the Mimbres, who created such dramatic and elegant pottery?
Emerging from the Mongollon culture, they were a later version of that group which lived around the Mongollan Mountains in Arizona and New Mexico from about AD 200-1450. If I am correct, the Mimbres peoples lived toward the end of that period (1050-1200 or so).
Eventually, it appears that they abandoned their homes and cultural centers for unknown reasons. Just walked away, probably dispersing into other groups or other areas of the country.
Who were they and where did they go--and why? So far, we have no answers to these questions. They leave us their inspired, graphic, dramatic pottery, from which this tile is drawn. Here we have the fish, the deer, the turtle, and the caterpillar, all very precious and symbolic to them. We have the four directions, a stylized sun, some stylized feathers. While we can say something about what modern generations of Native/Indigenous Peoples would say about these symbols, we can only guess at the full extent of what they mean to people from this era. It's a definitely a mystery.
Only their art speaks to us about who they were.
To a Mimbres Woman
by Marty Eberhardt
I see your thousand-year-old thumb print
On the plain brown potsherd.
My own thumb fits perfectly
In the curve you left.
Other more elegant pottery bits
Lie among rocks and junipers
On this hill of dry grasses.
Red-on-white interwoven geometry,
A tasseled quail,
Designs fine as any
In the art galleries of the town.
But it is this plain brown piece that draws me.
My thumb seeks the curved place, again.
I see you forming the pot
From coils of clay,
You look out over fields of corn and beans
In the valley below.
Then, as now, a red-tailed hawk dips,
A horned lizard scurries under a stone
That forms the village wall.
Beyond the fields
Green cottonwoods mark the river
Between jagged hills.
The wind shakes their leaves like a gourd rattle.
In the quiet between gusts,
The river rushes below, monsoon-strong.
It is in these wild places,
Where our thumbs
Feel the curve of another’s hand,
Places free from cement, neon, asphalt, smog,
And deadened water,
Across cultures and countries,
Beyond all reason,
We find each other.
Here is another version of work I did in a class with Shie Naritomi, CZT. What a wonderful teacher. See my comments from yesterday on the background of this work.
As one person, I cannot bring peace to Ukraine. I cannot restore what they have lost: lives, livelihoods, homes, family, and peace of mind. No one person can do this alone.
But I can join with others to protest, to support. And I can take the time to sit quietly and calm myself, so that I make wiser decisions when I protest or when I support.
Drawing and meditation both do that for me. So does drawing AS meditation. The more peace and compassion I can develop within myself, the more peace and compassion I can bring into the world. Perhaps only in small ways, but if each of us were able to do this, it would be powerful.
So I have taken the time to draw this afternoon, breathing deeply and working line by line, one line at a time. It is calming. It gives me courage to watch the news tonight. Again. To witness the inhumanity. Again. It gives me courage to keep protesting, to keep supporting, to keep loving, despite it all.
Since I am on another map tangling kick, I am thinking about borders and boundaries and what happens when they are disrespected. My heart is with all the people of Ukraine, and extends to all the other wars going on all over the planet at this moment.
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
― Albert Einstein
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.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society