What I've noticed:
The later in the day I tangle and the more exhausted I am, the better. Or so it seems as I observe over time.
That critical inner voice, sometimes quite loud during the day, apparently develops laryngitis by late at night when I'm tired. And so I frequently love not only the process, but also the results.
I like this one, done at midnight last night.
“The good news is that opportunities for love enter our lives unpredictably, whether or not we’ve perfected self-compassion or befriended our inner critic.”
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.
ZenLinea posted a wonderful video on Instagram on how to draw this knot, so two nights ago I decided to try it at about 2 a.m. when sleep was eluding me.
This was my first effort and I'd like to play with it a lot more, if I can ever find the time. I started off thinking it would be black and gray on the white tile, but somehow I began adding other lines and colors to the outside of the knot (the gold gellyroll, the yellow Prismacolor) and then the colors also crept slightly inside the knot as well. I think I finished around 3 or 3.30 a.m. and was able to go right to sleep afterwards.
Of course this afternoon I was looking at it again and wondered what it would look like if I ran it thru an iPhone app, so I gave that a try using the same photo:
Rather reptilian, don't you think? And soooooo different. But interesting for sure.
Done on a ten-inch square tan Opus Tile with brown and black Micron 01s, General's colored chalk pencils, white gellyroll pen, and mucho graphite. Completed over several days for the #zenuari2018 project day 20, "Maze." (This is not a maze; it's a labyrinth--they are two different things but often incorrectly used as synonyms.)
It's been that kind of week--labyrinthine. So many twists and turns. We keep walking and we trust we will find our way in to the center and then out again on this challenging journey.
I hope we are in the center now and will soon find our way out to resume our lives.
I am still far from home, helping out my friend who is receiving daily treatments. She is close to the end, however--only three more and she will be done and we will return to our respective homes. A huge complicating factor has been the sudden illness of someone in her family; it certainly has increased the pressure on her to finish here and go home. There is much uncertainty.
And yet, we know we just need to keep walking along on the path before us, and trust we will get where we need to be. In fact, we are already where we need to be, and we just need to remember that.
It took me a few days to do this piece as it's so large. I learned a lot in the doing and will try again for better results.
My friend also tangles and finds it therapeutic as she waits for appointments. She is talented and here is one of her latest efforts, a Zendala done on a tile which she had pre-treated with a Fine-Tec paint gold wash. Isn't this spectacular? (I have her permission to publish this photo)
Those metallic Fine-Tec watercolors are so inspiring.
"A labyrinth is a symbolic journey … but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world."
— Rebecca Solnit, in Wanderlust: A History of Walking
It's not my story to tell, so I won't tell it here except to say that it was a roller coaster of a day for the friend I'm helping out. Just crazy--good news one moment, then bad news, then maybe good...oy vey.
It's a very good thing that we both meditate. And a very good thing that we both do Zentangle®. Both practices helped us stay steady throughout the day.
I did two more new-to-me tangles this morning:
I always find that lots of plain linework is a great soother in times of stress. The Twilight tangle was perfect for that.
And now back to meditation...
"Stay in your seat come times of trouble. Its only people who jump off the roller coaster who get hurt. "
This nearly qualifies as what's known as an "inchie," a tiny drawing. But in fact, it's more like a "two-inchie," since I did it on a Bijou tile (2x2") with a gold gellyroll and shaded it with a Prismacolor yellow pencil. It's done for the Zenuari2019 project, day 16, "tiny tangle."
I'm away from home again and thus haven't tangled in two days. Or done anything except knit. Starting to feel a withdrawal. I certainly hope I can get to do some textile work or some more Zentangle® today or tomorrow.
"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us."
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
A couple of beloved friends are struggling right now. How helpless we feel when time and distance conspire against our desire to be present and helpful.
There is not much I can do from here at this moment, except send love. With that in mind I did this tangle last night, and dedicate it to all who are suffering right now.
I've been pondering this quote from an anonymous source (I've seen it attributed to several people):
"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives."
...and also this one, from Georges Braque:
""Art is a wound turned into light."
May it be so.
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...
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