Ok, so, I don't like it. I don't like anything about it. I'm cranky. Ugh.
This tile is part of the Diva Challenge this week, using a tangle I don't prefer, called MacDee. (Everyone's taste is different, and this one--which I'm sure many folks will love and do beautifully--grates on me.) It's basically a plaid.
Can we talk about how plaids remind me of the uniforms I had to wear to school as a kid in a hyper-religious elementary school and high school? You would think I could get past this at my age, right? The first thing I noticed when considering doing this challenge was that memory. I sat with it for awhile and found some humor in it. I'm not sure whether my aversion to plaid arose from this, or whether it's just one of those patterns I would never have liked anyway. I suspect the latter.
So when I saw the challenge, I knew I it would be hard to complete. The other tangle is called Squid and I'm tempted to title this, "Squid in a Net," or, "Halloween Squid." LOL.
However, I did it--I sat down and worked it even though I didn't like it. It gave me practice, and practice is always worthwhile. That's the great advantage of an art challenge: being forced to work within constraints and with things one may absolutely adore--or may really want to ignore, like this one. I thought long and hard about whether I should skip this week, and finally decided I needed to do it and observe what happened as I did.
What I observed: monkey-mind came up big-time. It whined and complained the entire way as I drew. How ugly it was going to be. How pointless. How people who like this sort of pattern would do gorgeous things with it, compared to my effort. It wouldn't shut up and it certainly wasn't restful. The thing is, I was aware of it, and I'm usually not, but I am trying to be more mindful as I work. While I didn't get the benefit of Zentangle's® usual calming effect, I was able to observe how much monkey-mind wanted to stop the process and do just about anything else.
Monkey-mind is a quitter. Monkey-mind wants to give in to aversions and dislikes and turn away. Monkey-mind is frequently (even usually) afraid, annoyed, and unhappy.
But I don't have to be.
So I just watched, and kept working. I don't love the result. So what? I do love that I got the practice, and that I learned from it--about myself and about art.
There is always something to learn, and this challenge made me wonder how one works with colored pencil on a paper with this much "tooth." I have so much more to learn about working with colored pencil.
There's a reason these are called challenges. Wonder what the next one will bring?
I'm a day late and a dollar short with this one (a week late, actually) but here goes. Caroline Broady, our 16 year old CZT with mega-talent, created this tangle and issued it as Diva Challenge # 177. Quite impressive! I have been wanting to practice another new tangle, Maryhill, so I put that in the center and then "Truffled" around it. Somehow it ended up reminding me of the amazing Jellies (jellyfish), so I tossed some waves in underneath, along with a moon. Then I added some color randomly with my Amazing Dollar-Store Pencil (pictured just underneath). Unfortunately, the color just never picks up well in these photos, but you get the idea. Fun!
And now...on to all the piled-up chores!
This week's challenge: Stain your tile with your favorite beverage, then use that as a guideline. I used coffee (others may use tea, wine, whatever) and it only landed in the middle, with some splashes around the edges which I used when I could see them. Voila. A quickie, but fun. Following this is today's "selfie," an unusual one!
...and now for today's selfie (the SBS homework assignment for every day this week). This is a "blind contour" drawing, a common technique which involves DRAWING WHILE NOT LOOKING AT THE PAPER OR YOUR HAND. So whatever you are drawing can end up anywhere on the page, and some of these have truly bizarre results. I hope to god I don't actually look like this...I am lucky my eyes/mouth are sort of in the correct places. I tried really hard not to cheat by looking at any time, but I wonder if I may have sneaked a couple of glances. It's hard to do a blind contour! If you think it looks exactly like me, keep it to yourself. I don't wanna know.
This week's Zentangle® Challenge from The Diva was a tangle I had never seen before: Crux, by Henrike Bratz. And it was indeed a challenge; yesterday I took it for a test drive on a piece of scrap paper. Disaster! Ugh! My first tries were hideous.
I liked Henrike's illustrations, and the Diva's version, but wow, I had real trouble with it. Just couldn't get it.
So today, with great trepidation, I grabbed my Gelly Roll pens and a black tile and set to work. To warm up, I started with Squid, the organic tangle on the right of the tile.
Much to my surprise, Crux came out just fine. I have no idea why. Was it the warm-up first? It just flowed right out. Could have knocked me over with surprise. Any ideas on why this sometimes happens? Is it that the brain has had time to think about it overnight? Is it the beginning of muscle-memory from the practice yesterday, even though yesterday's results were terrible?
I am posting this before I change my mind. I am surprised to say that I like it. Even the colors are unusual for me; I never use pink. Next I'll swing by the Diva's website and see what other people are doing with this tangle.
The whole experience reminded me of my experience with high school algebra (seriously--read on and you'll see why).
Freshman year I took Algebra One. Up until then I had been a straight-A student in my academic career, although math was always a terrible struggle. Algebra One totally defeated me. I did not understand one single thing the entire year. At the end of the year I squeaked out a D, I think, the only D I ever got, and I think they gave me a D only because they couldn't bear to give an F to an otherwise A student. I knew Algebra Two was coming up in my Junior Year and began worrying the day Algebra One finished. Sophomore year we had Geometry. I did poorly at that also, but managed to grit my teeth and get through it with a B if memory serves. That summer after sophomore year I went into a full-scale panic, knowing what was coming up: The dreaded Algebra Two. I knew I could not do it.
Mid-summer I was practically physically sick with anxiety. Finally the month before school resumed I went to the library and took out an Algebra One book and brought it home. In a state of complete hopeless terror, I opened it and began reading.
I understood every word. It was a breeze to learn.
This was a complete mystery to me then, and even now. What happened? I aced Algebra Two and even enjoyed it...why? Did I mature somehow? Did my brain go to work on the topic after that horrible first year? What made the difference? I still would like to know.
Today's experience with Crux was a (very) mini-version of that phenomenon. Go figure.
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
and another quote I'm sure I've shared before:
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
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