The ever-turning Wheel of the Year has moved again here in the Northern Hemisphere; we're now at Lammastide, the part of the old agricultural cycle when the corn is ripe for harvesting along with so many other plantings. In the area where I live, corn is standing tall in the fields, and ears of corn are beginning to be sold in the various roadside stands, along with cucumbers, tomatoes...so much to harvest and too long to list.
My wish is for everyone on the planet to have enough to eat. I know it is not so now, but may it be so in the future.
Here's a tile with all new (to me) tangles, done on the last page of one of my handmade books. Tangles are Kauri Kunda, Scape, and Sikito. On a Renaissance tile with black Micron 01, graphite, and chalk pencil.
This one is my first try at the tangle called Windmill, by CZT Hiroko Matsuo. That's where the "Testing Testing" title of today's post comes from.
Done on a Renaissance (tan) tile with Micron 01 in black, graphite, and some light chalk pencil. This one has so many possibilities. I did it in one of my Bitty BookZ™ I'd made last month--this book is nearly full now.
I ran the same photograph thru an iPhone app, Painnt, and got this.
Maybe my creative mojo is starting to sneak back? I would love to get some textile projects going, especially a rug.
I've lost all my mojo! All my creative mojo, that is. No textile work of any kind is underway. I've barely been able to tangle at all. I am uninspired. This has been going on all month. Mercury Retrograde? The sticky weather? A less-than-pleasant though not at all serious recent medical adventure? All of those things? I dunno. But I sure hope I can find some mojo soon.
At least I managed to get this done today.
Some knots can only be resolved and undone with relaxation and patience. (Sridhar Ramasami)
The great advantage of being in a rut is that when one is in a rut, one knows exactly where one is. (Arnold Bennett)
Compare this one to the previous post where I worked that previous tile just as Maria did (basically copying her to learn from her). Last night and today I re-did it more in my own style, as a mandala. I added a few random things and a variation of the tangle Fanning (which I had never done before) around the edge, then shaded with a grey chalk pencil and highlighted with white. I'm liking the result, and feel like I've explored this "theme" created by Maria as much as I wish to right now. I'm done with it for for the moment.
Weather here is fiercely hot and humid. Not that far (20 miles) from me the heat index today was 115 degrees F, resulting from a high temperature and a dew point of 79. I had no idea dew points could even go that high. When I ventured outdoors to get the mail this evening it felt as though I was walking thru a vat of hot soup, wearing a sweater. It's been years since the weather has been this bad. Tomorrow will be the same; they are promising relief by Monday night. Let's hope so!
Some days are better than others. I just don't have it today. (Whatever "it" is.) Instead I have a very mild toothache, which I'll deal with in the morning. Staring at this blank page in a Bitty Book™ I made a few weeks ago, all I could imagine doing was drawing some random lines. Thank goodness for chalk pencils.
Time to go read a trashy novel, methinks!
As far as I can remember, I have only ever done this tangle once, and that was years ago. So I wasn't sure if this would end up becoming "Hellish" or "Ellish." I do like the way it turned out and I need to practice more to allow myself to relax right from the start.
Speaking of hellish, the outdoor temperature is warming up and humidity is just beginning to slide in this direction; my all-time least favorite weather. I can tolerate cold far better than heat. Ok, enough of that!
Yesterday I broke out my gellyroll pens, which I haven't used since I can't remember when, and played with another grid-based tangle, this one a fragment from the Zentangle® book, Reticula and Fragments. (A "reiticula" is just another name for "grid.")
In love with this weather? I'm happy for you! (You've certainly waited long enough for it after the long cold rainy spring.). "Hellish" or Coolish, we all welcome summer. There is so much to enjoy. May yours be a wonderful one.
"The difficult part of the process is the long exploration and discovery of your own soul and living with the results."
Tangle is Cirque, but doubled, and I added a few more things to it, like some Mooka and a spinoff of Crescent Moon. Used black & brown micron 01s, graphite, white gellyroll, general's chalk pencil, and a very small amount of Prismacolor. This tile is inside one of my first BittyBookZ™. See posts in June for info about those.
Gawd, what a week. I needed something round and sunny today so I made the above tangle on some pages in one of my recent handmade books.
Today is the first day I feel like myself in over a week. I had a medical test that went wrong. Nothing dangerous, but it's quite impressive how bad one can feel when something is seriously "off" but not dangerous. I have had zero, and I do mean zero, motivation to do anything for days and days.
Hurrah for feeling better!
Last week in the middle of my woes I had a bout of insomnia, and that's when I did the tile just beneath this. I was still trying to work on grid-based tangles, which are not my preference. The combo of "not my preference" and "feeling really crappy" added up to what you see below.
[Late last week] Oh, how my mood is matching the feeling of being "gridlocked," like the tangles I have been working on. I've been pretty sick this week, unexpectedly. Nothing that won't improve, but the improvement is slow. I've discovered--no surprise--that I suck as an invalid. I'm not good at sitting around. There are things I want to be doing that are physical, and I'm just not up to doing them yet. Frustrating.
Insomnia last night led to another grid-based tangle, C-Stem by Agneta Landeson. I've never tried it before:
I'm not crazy about how it came out but at least the process did enable me to go to sleep.
Grid-based tangles are not always my favorite type to draw, so I want to practice them more to see what I think and explore that resistance. The tangle below is called "Krokus" but I added so much to it that it's almost hard to recognize. I'm not sure but I don't think I've drawn it before.
And now the same tangle, but presented differently below. The grid isn't so obvious in this one. You can see the pencil lines (the "string") if you look, however.
I was so pleased at how easy it was to tangle with the tile actually part of a book. While I've been making books at the rate that some of us eat potato chips (you can't stop at just one), I hadn't tangled in any of them yet.
This mandala started 8 months ago. I did the outer border (you can see that HERE) last October and was flummoxed about what to do next. You know how these things sometimes have to marinate. I've had the filter itself (yes, a used coffee filter from the amazing Cheryl Cianci CZT, who drinks lots of coffee) since 2014. So this one marinated a very long time as a total blank, then again as a partially done piece, and finally it's finished.
"Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper, sprinkle cool patience."
"If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life."
Tangling on a tan coffee filter with a blue watercolor wash (prepped by Cheryl Cianci, CZT, after she first used the filter to make her coffee, rinsed it, and put the wash on it; then dried it--Thanks for doing all that prep work Cheryl!). Tangles are Mooka, and a variation of Flux, as well as the embedded letters technique without any letters. PN Blue Micron, General's Pastel Pencils, White Gellyroll, Prismacolor Pencils.
I managed to avoid all the other things I was supposed to be doing today when I heard that my friend Cheryl Cianci, CZT, was offering her coffee-filter class again. I only discovered this at the very last minute and raced out the door hoping to make it on time. I had taken the class about 4-5 years ago but my experience of Cheryl is that there's always something new and it was utterly relaxing as usual. She is the soul of kindness, and hugely talented.
Much gratitude to all who teach.
If you read the previous post, you'll know that I accidentally left one of these triangular tiles behind (so only had five of them as of yesterday) after a wonderful weekend of tangling. I re-drew it today and put together this pizza-like mosaic. It's the bottom one with the pinky-lavender color. Pizza-pizza! Speaking of which, I think I'll go have some (non-pizza) dinner.
Curses...I just got back from a long-awaited weekend of tangling, only to realize that because of a miscommunication I left this tile behind by accident. I may or may not get it back, so I'll have to wait and see if it turns up in my mailbox soon. If not, I am hoping I can re-draw it. It was one of my favorites. Thank goodness I took a photo of it before it got lost in the shuffle.
More to come once I have a chance to take pictures of the other work we did.
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.”
The day is bright, sunny, and chllly but I am sleepy anyway. I'm away from home helping a friend who truly doesn't need much help We've been having fun tangling. I did the tile above earlier while she was working on something much larger. Lovely to have a companion in art.
When I find myself fading, I close my eyes and realize my friends are my energy. --Anonymous
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.
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.
"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.
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.
Below is my version of a tangle called Pais, which is the Day 6 tangle in the Inktober2018 challenge. I'm curious as to why I seem to be keeping up with this challenge when I rarely can with others. Maybe because I'll be teaching a class soon and want to practice as much as I can, or maybe just because these tangles are "monotangles" (only one tangle requested per day, although there's no rule saying you cannot use as many as you wish). At any rate, I'm having fun.
Pais (the tangle name) used as a string with many other tangles inside--some Wud, Crescent Moon, Tipple, Striping, a hint of Diva Dance, Meer, and others. Done on a tan Zentangle® tile with a brown Micron 01, blue and white colored pencil, some chalk pencil. I had fun with the background on this one also.
Yesterday was an odd day. It's been a tough week politically (to say the least) and then I had a few additional major concerns about friends. I just couldn't settle myself, no matter what I tried.
Finally I dragged myself out of the house and went to see this wonderful art exhibit by Jen Luck Hale, below. I had seen the publicity and knew that colors would help me cheer up. And they did. If you are anywhere near Western MA in the next month or so, don't miss this one. It's not just "snowflake-y" cut paper, it's cut paper in great colors with nature as the theme. Plants, birds, fish, insects...it's all there. And oh, the colors! What a talented artist she is. From what I have read, she does NOT draw on the paper, but just "cuts by eyeing it." Wow. Read about her process HERE. Details and a couple of photos below.
Don't you feel better just looking at those colors?
This (below) is only a small portion of what is on display.
This is the final post in the series on the Zentangle® workshop I took last weekend with Martha Huggins and Molly Hollibaugh. I'd be the first to say how lucky I am that I had the chance to do this.
Here were the final tiles that we did, and their mosaics (if that language is foreign to you, have a look at the first post in the series, on May 20th).
Of course, we then put our tiles together into one large mosaic. Look at the variations.
And now for something completely different. After the above exercise, we went on and practiced doing "embedded letters." This was great fun. We could use our own initials, or someone else's initials, or just use initials of words with meaning to us. Here was mine:
Here's the wild mosaic that was made by everyone's embedded letters:
Such variation. Truly lovely.
And we finished - and ran a bit overtime, which meant we didn't get to do a mosaic on this one - with one tiny Bijou tile using Huggins:
It's no surprise that we were all exhausted after all that drawing. But good-exhausted. What a weekend. There was a surprise appearance by Rick and Maria, the founders of Zentangle, on Saturday afternoon, but the weekend was owned by Martha and Molly. Fabulous job, ladies. Thank you.
This was the final tile we did at the workshop that ended yesterday. I've referred to the Perfs (the official Tangle name) as "Pearls" in the title of today's post because they look that way to me.
Because the venue needed to ready the room for the next workshop, there was no time to do a class mosaic so I don't have a picture to show of what would undoubtedly have been a really magnificent collection of tiles. I really enjoyed creating this one, and would like to play more with this particular string. Thanks to Martha & Molly for a truly amazing experience.
When I got home last night it was smotheringly humid here, really unpleasant. But overnight the weather shifted. Here was Dave Hayes the Weather Nut's forecast this morning. It cracked me up!
"THE 411 FOR THE 413: SUNNY, WARM, SWEET, NICE, AWESOME, PLEASANT, KILLER, GREAT, LOVELY, FABULOUS, MORE PLEASE, AND THANK YOU..."
He turned out to be 110% accurate. Love him--so helpful. It is absolutely exquisite out there. I just took a long walk and spotted these phlox broadcasting their extraordinary color along the sidewalk. Most phlox here are shriveling up now, but because these are in shade for much of the day they're still going. In person, the color is nearly psychedelic, almost too much for the eyes.
This little beauty is a much smaller mosaic that the one I posted yesterday, but it is the same pattern I posted yesterday. I took this shot of "3-Z tiles" placed into a tiny four-person mosaic before everyone else at the workshop added their own tiles. Even though it's small, I had trouble remembering which was mine, but I finally determined it's at the lower left.
This is an even better illustration than yesterday's of how we all heard the same instructions, and we all used the same materials, and yet each person produced a unique result.
Life is like art - it is all about interpretation.
Just back from a workshop led by Martha Huggins and Molly Hollibaugh of the Zentangle® family. (If you are unfamiliar with Zentangle, click on that link and prepare to enjoy their well-done website loaded with art eye candy.) I was very fortunate to attend with a good friend, and we got to spend the whole weekend doing art. Such luxury!
I have many more photos to post but to start, here are examples of two tiles we did this morning. After both my own tiles, I'll post the mosaic from the group. Not familiar with this terminology? Not to worry, here's what I mean:
"tile" = a small piece of paper that we draw on, and
"mosaic" = the collection created when a class puts all their tiles together.
The fun of the mosaic is that everyone has heard the same instructions, but look at the assembled collections of tiles below (mosaic) to see how individual each tile is. And yet they go together wonderfully.
Here are my own two tiles, and the class mosaics follow.
The mosaic of most of the tiles based on Printemps. Some people used Renaissance tiles for this one; most people used white. Isn't this an amazing mosaic? Not everyone had time to contribute a tile but I think this was the majority of the class. We all heard the same instructions; note all the differences and yet they all work when put together.
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!
In my family, we would say goodbye to someone by waving and cheerily calling out, "Toodles!" It always implied a merry, carefree departure.
The Zentangle® folks just came up with this tangle and one of their grandchildren named it Toodles. In the tangle context, it hardly seems related to any type of goodbye, and is just a very versatile and totally fun tangle to draw.
Here was my first attempt (not altogether successful, but I like it anyway):
And after yesterday's involved work, I thought I'd like to try to keep things simple today, so this was my second attempt at Toodles:
Definitely a fun piece to do and so very simple.
Simplicity is nature's first step, and the last of art.
--Philip James Bailey
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