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.
Two more "enhancing" techniques taught over the last 2 days of the weekend:
Streamers used on the rays emitted from the central motif. The "pushbacked tangles" have all been faded with General's white chalk, leaving the bright main motif (with a punch of pink chalk pencil). Micron 01 in Black, graphite, white chalk pencil, pink chalk pencil, white gellyroll pen). Tangles are: Well Well Who, Sez, Moon Pie, and Ravel.
And here are the class mosaics, or as many as my camera could catch:
All based on the same directions. A careful look will show how each is so different from any other.
Drawing is like handwriting--very individualized.
The next day started off with this tile.
Here's the thing--Molly had pre-drawn a very odd string (string = an optional guideline done in pencil) on every student's tile. Very odd.
We were asked to tangle within the string, not outside of it. OKaaaaaaaay...
Off we went.
Once we were done, mine looked like this.
Lots of fun and very calming.
But still, weird.
I think we were all scratching our heads a bit, despite enjoying ourselves.
But then, we did the mosaic of tiles. AHA! Now it all made so much sense:
Hearts with a trick! I love it.
The workshop with Molly & Martha was designed to emphasize what's known as tangle "enhancers." This first one was the Tucker technique, where something appears to be almost hidden, tucked away under the paper. I was familiar with it but hadn't tried it much. If ever. This was fun to do. I think the grey pen section qualifies as another technique called "ghost tangles."
Below you can see the class "mosaic" of tiles. Isn't it interesting how everyone draws their tangles differently, even with the same directions? Drawing is a lot like handwriting--the same, but very different. One of life's paradoxes.
Next we did a mandala of border tangles using both brown and black Microns, graphite, and white and pink General's chalk pencils.
We used ModPodge on top of the tile once it was done to seal it, but not over each of the borders, just some.
Tangles included a portion of Marasu, Jonqal, Shattuck (with sparkles), Bales with enthatching), Well (with weighted lines), and weighted Printemps (there's a narrow beaded border thrown in there twice, plus dots). Lots of enhancers here!
Again, here is the mosaic of tiles for the border mandala. So many differences, yet so much similarity.
Two more pieces from last weekend's Zentangle® workshop with Martha Huggins and Molly Hollibaugh. And I still have others to post over the next few days.
You can see the text from this piece in my workshop explanation from my post two days ago. But here you can see the entire piece. During the workshop we tangled one side of these glasses, and I finished the other side today. Dark Gray Micron 01, graphite, pink and white General's Chalk pencils. Rose colored glasses indeed. Some of the tangles used were: Bales, Weighted Crescent Moon, Pokeleaf and Pokeroot, MoonPie, Mooka, Indyrella, and Florz.
We also did some tangling on wood, which turned out to be surprisingly easy. We then painted Mod Podge (glossy) on top as a seal.
Tangles here are Pokeroot, Fescue, Tipple, a variation of Florz, and Rick's version of Flux. I used a Black and a Brown Micron 01, as well as graphite.
At some point I'll flip it over and do the other side as well.
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.
Isn't it odd how we don't get the roses without also getting the thorns. Just like life.
As the saying goes, "it's been a week."
A death in the family stirred things up for me and for everyone who knew and loved the person. In times like this, I am grateful for my meditation practice. I was able to sit with the feelings, seeing them for what they are, and not run away from either the pain or the blessings. Those thorns were sharp and surprised me repeatedly. But the roses, in the form of kind and funny memories, have been worth it and will continue to be so.
And given what has been happening in the world right now, (tragedies too numerous to name), I know I am not alone in feeling that this week has been a tough one.
May we all seek and find our inner peace.
Ok, so maybe it IS odd. I had a lot of fun doing this. One thing about these knots--no matter how attractive or unattractive the result--they totally focus the mind while drawing. So much so that no other thinking happens. Or if it does, it is completely ignored in favor of focusing on the drawing.
I find this fascinating and reminiscent of certain meditative states. Quiet mind. Ahhhhhh...a treasure in today's world.
"We learn the rope of life by untying its knots." --Jean Toomer
"Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other." --Sojourner Truth
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.
I like this version better. A friend prefers the version below. The mystery of how we see color and our differing color preferences is always intriguing.
For this version, I took what I had below and used my Prismacolor pencils to enliven the colors. And also got a bit dotty. And added some graphite shading. And layered in more colored pencil. And, and, and...
This is the version my friend prefers, and it's the the original. It's all done in watercolor. I like it. I just like the one above better.
Microns 08 and 01 in black, watercolor pencils, graphite. Tangle around the edge is Foundabout, and I've used the Micron 01 to do some hatching as well.
Let me just add that it took me SIX TRIES to get this knot right. Talk about brain exercise.
Continuing the series here. Tangles are Debbie New's Imaritas and Imarisen, based on the painted pottery she saw at a museum.
And here was the sketch before I added the color:
The knots are like wonderful puzzles--it's nearly impossible to think other thoughts while figuring them out. Very relaxing, as long as one adopts what the is often called "don't-know-mind" in Zen and other meditative traditions.
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.
A couple of years ago I really got into drawing Celtic knots because drawing them has such meditative properties. I discovered it's nearly impossible to think while drawing them (not thinking is inevitably very relaxing). Eventually I forgot about about doing this and time passed.
There's now some type of challenge going 'round on the internet related to drawing them. I saw a couple of "prompts"--suggestions for how to start, but I couldn't understand them. So I tracked down their author and ended up taking a short e-course with her. So glad I did! This is my first attempt at what was a very different approach to drawing the knots than I'd ever heard before.
Just as meditative, but entirely different. I am very interested in learning more. She uses a stencil to create a grid, but I didn't have that so I just free-handed the grid and set about sketching. In the top part of the picture you can see my initial attempt, which didn't work. I set out to begin again (same language as meditation: "begin again"), and ended up producing what's on the bottom of the photo. While hardly a masterpiece, I am happy with it and plan to do more practice. Sure enough, it was equally impossible to think while doing this, and incredibly satisfying. If you want to try it yourself, go HERE and check out her courses.
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.
An illustrated alphabet. I'm making a start with the letter "A" but I've no idea how far I will pursue this. And I probably won't do the letters in order. This was great fun. I took a class with Kelly Barone (whimsybykelly.com) who is a wonderful watercolorist, art educator, and Certified Zentangle® Teacher (CZT).
On multi-media sketchbook paper (5x7") using a Micron 01 and graphite. Back to basics.
It's curious, the parallels I often see between meditation and drawing. In meditation, we might call what happened here, "striving." That is such a common issue in meditation--the idea that one has to get somewhere and work harder and harder to get there. It truly doesn't help. At all.
And here in this drawing I did the equivalent. I was using a smooth tile and chalk pencils. The paper, surprisingly, wasn't loving the chalk. It was the combination of the two, not something I could control. But I kept thinking if I continued working, or rather, OVERworking (a form of striving), I could make it better.
Well, uh-uh. Instead, it just got muddier. It would have been better if I'd used colored pencils rather than chalk pencils.
I realized this at the start of the tile but was having too much fun to make the switch.
I like it anyway because it was fun and involved one brand-new tangle and one that I forget to use. I often say this about the drawings i am not enamored of, right after I finish. Sometimes when I look at them later, I really do like them. Often, in fact. And sometimes I don't. But the reasons I'm happy anyway are: 1) just the act of drawing brings joy to me; and 2) learning art--and I most certainly am a learner--is all about quantity. Practice, practice, practice. As I said in my last post, any practice, even practice that produces something "meh," is bound to build skill.
Bring it on.
Whew, it's so interesting how after 3 months of not drawing (because I've been obligated to focus on textile projects with deadlines), it takes a while to get back on board. Between 2 major surgeries (all is well) and the need to focus on textile work, I have hardly drawn or tangled for a year. I just cannot believe how great it feels to be working this way again.
Beginners Mind, a meditation concept that is vastly useful in all areas of daily life, is helpful here. Begin again. Begin again. Begin again. And above all, practice.
Practice is the best of all instructors.
- Publillius Syrus
Everything is practice.
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.
This is only the finished linework for a Zentangle®-inspired piece; I will be adding the color for it, hopefully later today or tomorrow.
If you'd like to try this yourself, it's called "Circus Star" and is free on The Tangled Yogi's YouTube channel. She has an especially lovely meditation at the start of this one, using video footage from a morning walk she took near a lake in California.
AND NOW, IN THE "BEGINNER'S MIND" CATEGORY:
Last Tuesday I was lucky enough to take a digital design workshop with Lucy Richard from Wooly Soul Strings, called "Sketchbook for Hookers." (that would be RUG hookers, people, not the other kind.)
I've been wanting to learn digital art for years now but haven't had time, and I could tell that Lucy's workshop on the Sketchbook app (simpler than Procreate) would teach me the basic concepts.
This was a fabulous workshop and very much a lesson in Beginner's Mind. Talk about FLAILING AROUND. It was a humbling and hilarious experience. Fortunately Lucy is the soul of patience--I'm not kidding about this--and guided us through our bouts of flailing to success.
Or, what constitutes "success" for an abject beginner. Here's what i was able to produce. Yes, it is indeed hideous. But it's my hideous, and I'm proud of it. I can only get better. Right?
It helped to use a couple of mantras throughout: "It's ok, I've never done this before," or "I'm just learning."
And so I'll practice. Begin again, begin again, begin again. Just like meditation. I loved this workshop. Thanks, Lucy! The design possibilities are endless.
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