Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Challenge is a Light

One of the things I love most about the process of Zentangle: If I am paying attention, I can observe things about myself, not just the piece of art in front of me. ("Zentangle allows us to both lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same time"--Maria Thomas) 

This week's Diva's Challenge: "Create a tile or Zentangle Inspired piece using the William Morris technique of light over dark." When I saw this challenge, my first feeling was that I wasn't in the mood for floral. As soon as I was aware of this feeling, I realized how prejudicial that reaction was. When I think of Morris, I think of vines and florals and scrolled lines. I realized that, of course, we were being challenged on the technique of light over dark, but part of me jumped to the conclusion of florals, based on my own (limited!) preconceived notion of WIlliam Morris. Hurdle addressed: sometimes just being aware of a preconception is enough to crumble it to pieces. That's good news!
    Realizing my foot was in the mud of preconceived notions, I made a decision to not think about how best to start the challenge. I grabbed a Zentangle pre-strung tile, (I'm really loving these!) and began filling the spaces with 'Nzeppel, which doesn't automatically end up with black spaces. Oh well, cross that bridge when I get there. It was great fun filling the whole tile with this tangle. Little by little, a black "hole" began to emerge, so I quietly followed its lead. I love the black parts of a Zentangle, so my tendency is to keep it that way. But this process, again, asks me to shine the light on a tendency and find a way to disassemble its hold on me. And this weekly challenge is a way of breaking free, so the little Jelly Roll pen came out to play. Baby dots and done.
   The second tile was an even bigger challenge, since there were lots of velvety black spaces that I didn't want to disturb. But I shook off my tendencies again and reluctantly began to add white on the edges. The more I did, the more freedom I felt. I did give myself the treat of keeping a few areas velvety, but all in all, the challenge did its thing: it took me to a different place than I would have gone on my own, with my preconceived notions and habits. 
   Thank you Laura, William, Jane, and Maria. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Simple El-EGGance

Ok, so I just had to find an egg word and join in the Diva Challenge once eggain.

What really motivated me to do more on the challenge was browsing through the entries submitted so far. It's fun to get a cup of coffee, settle in, and walk down the blog hallways, peeking in each door, to see what beauty lies within. I was particularly moved by Lois Stokes' response to the challenge. The simplicity of her Zentangle tile really spoke to me.
   Lately my tiles have naturally become more involved. I have tons of fun with that, but today, Lois and the Egg nudged me into a place of simplicity. The egg itself, in all its simple glory, seems to whisper: "KISS" (Keep it Simple, Sweetie!). So that's what I did. 
   Again, in love with the elEGGance of limits, I used one of Zentangle's pre-strung tiles. Since circles are my favorite shape to tangle, I simply filled the spaces with whatever size egg shape fit. Coloring in spaces is my next favorite thing, so geez, how much more fun could I have this morning?
   Thank you, Lois, Laura, Zentangle, and the simple little egg. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting EggZZZZellent

In lots of people's experience, Monday mornings can be a drag. But for those participating in the Diva's Weekly Challenge, I would venture to say, not so. I look forward to what little tidbit of 'fun-ness' she will present each week. This week, by way of a computer glitch, the challenge was posted a little later than usual. There I sat at my computer, blank tile and pen ready to go. No challenge posted yet. Oh well, tangling is tangling, so I tangled away. I figured it would be double fun today, as I did a random tile in the morning and then a challenge tile later when the post got up.

I didn't realize until a day later, that my "waiting" tile, had eggs in it! So even though it was created before the challenge post, and not with the challenge consciously in my mind, I figured maybe the challenge vibes didn't need the computer at all. (Twilight Zone music here, maybe?)

The second one was doubly inspired: first by the challenge, and then by Margaret Bremner's new tangle, Diamond Panes. Once I had made an egg-shaped string, the tile said to me, "Please try Margaret Bremner's new tangle on me!" I loved how she used it in her sample: how the shape sort of floats above the new pattern. I could see why my little egg was so insistent.
   I also felt compelled to scan the challenge tile before shading and after, since I thought it would be a good example of how simple shading can make a difference. Even just a bit of shading around the outside of an object can make lots of dimension! One of the things I love about the Zentangle® art form is that simplicity is what makes it accessible to everyone. You can go simple or complex, and it's all fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rhythm Reminder

I'm still having fun with the pre-strung tiles. Using the "elegance of (someone else's) limits" is both fun and challenging, and somewhat communal, which I love. If you don't have any of the Zentangle® pre-strungs handy, ask a friend to draw you a string (or a whole pile of them to save for later!). Great fun.
   When I saw the post about Sue Clark's new tangle, Tri-Po, I had to try it. As true with many tangles that I first try, it took me some time to get the rhythm of it. I started the tile with the Tri-Po elements scattered in a few of the stringed sections. Some of them looked a little awkward, since I was still on my journey to connect to the rhythm. I added some auras that helped them connect with each other, and that, in turn helped me feel more connected to them. Wow... the circle of life in a few Zentangle strokes. Always amazing. 
   And because Mooka is nowhere near out of my system, the remaining sections were filled with them. I'm still finding my way to the rhythm of our new friend, as I naturally want to make my 'tendril' turn up instead of under. Mooka challenges my natural, or maybe habitual, way of being with a certain shape. I like when this happens.
   Comfort is good, but challenge is good, too. Our natural rhythms are a wonderful gift, and being aware of them is a wonderful thing. But what is also just as wonderful, is finding a new rhythm to dance to, new steps that take us out of our comfort zone and into a whole new kind of fun! 
   And because I try not to squelch or judge snippets that float into my mind, this OLD song came to me as I wrote this post. The song, called "Walk Right In," will show my age, and no doubt be an earworm for me in the next couple days, but the words seem to fit my process today...
Walk right in, sit right down
Daddy, let your mind roll on
Walk right in, sit right down
Daddy, let your mind roll on
Everybody's talkin' 'bout a new way of walkin'
Do you want to lose your mind?
Walk right in, sit right down
Daddy, let your mind roll on

"Walk RIght In" Gus Cannon, Erik Darling, Hosie Woods, Willard Svanoe

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fifteen and (not) counting

As always, Laura Harms' weekly Zentangle challenge fit right into my "life's lesson plan." The challenges have an uncanny way of appearing exactly at the right moment... pushing exactly the buttons that need to be pushed. How does she do that?
   Daved and I just took some time off in the form of a really long weekend. That meant three actual workdays that we didn't work (plus the two 'freebie' weekend days!). I came back to a pile of emails and rush jobs and needy kitty cats that missed their 'mommy.' We also came back to budding trees, all green and fuzzy, and a side yard of beautiful daffodils! Things had geared up while we were gone, and beginning a work week on a Tuesday instead of a Monday, it felt a little like the world had started back up without me. 
   No time to tangle? Hmm? Not even 15 minutes?

   I began with a Zentangle® pre-strung tile today. Laura's advice was to simplify. Even though I think I don't think about the string, once I reached for a pre-strung tile, I felt a lightness come over me. That part was already done! I opened my book of tangles and following the stream of lightheartedness, picked something simple, as I was trying to stay away from thinking altogether. I looked at the clock to begin. I went a little over my 15 minutes, but when that happened, it felt so luxurious that I did another tile. I used the same pre-strung tile on the second one just to see how different it could become. 
   It's always amazing how one string can float into so many different forms. There are a million creative ways to be with a string, to be with the time of day. We can structure our minutes and time however it works for us. We can allow room for all of it!
   I found that in the space between my deadlines and lists, there really is 15 minutes, even more. It turns out that was the best thing I could have done today. It helped me feel a little more balanced. It is what it always is, whether it's a Monday or a Tuesday. It all feels the same after a little tangle time.
   Thank you, Laura. And thanks, Rick and Maria for the pre-strung tile idea.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finished Cuff

I've finished my first Zentangle inspired beadweaving project. I was really happy to have found the perfect clasp for this peyote-stitch cuff: a button I bought about five years ago during a trip to NYC. It had been patiently waiting (as many buttons are) in my big button box.
   Next up: a two-inch wide cuff. (This one is one inch wide)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mooka Meander

Week 16 of Diva's Challenge: Mooka! 
   Zentangle presented a new tangle, called Mooka. With timing always being perfect and all, it fit right into the challenge for this week. I've been noticing these flowy shapes in Maria's tangles lately and hoped there would soon be a video to guide us into it. So, thank you Rick and Maria, for letting it loose on the masses! It will be great fun to see what everyone does with this one. I know I had tons of fun. I love how this tangle can meander in one place, or unfurl its tentacles to parts far away.
   Here are my first two:

Looking forward to doing more!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Calendar Recap: March

March was a month of great fun for me. My sons' birthdays, the FloatFest Zentangle retreat, lunches and breakfasts with friends, bead and Zentangle classes AND... SPRING BEGAN. But it's the little day-to-day things that are too many to mention, that make up the whole chunk of time that we call March. But looking at my tangle-a-day March, I can somehow feel them all at once in this visual diary.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Marching Away

March is gone. Around here, it's a lively month. Both of my kids were born in March, two years apart, so there is always a little birthday fun. 
    I was so inspired by Margaret Bremner's wedding gift to her daughter and son-in-law, that I did something similar to give to my sons for their birthdays. I didn't get a chance to scan them properly, so one is a little fuzzy. My oldest son is Phil, and he requested his initials, and he also picked the tangles he preferred. Alex is the younger, and people call him Ax (or Axle). I didn't give him a choice, for one, I started the project as an experiment with his letters first. I was so happy with how it was turning out that I let the cat out of the bag and showed them both early on what they were getting for their birthdays.
   I think they were happy with them. They let me take their picture to go with this post, so that is probably a good sign.
   Thanks to Phil and Alex as they inspire me all the time, and thanks to Margaret, because she does, too!

Ax and Phil