Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trippin' on Tripoli

Diva's Challenge week #28: Tripoli...
   I've been waiting for Tripoli. We could see it brewing for weeks in Maria Thomas' Zentangle blog offerings... a little here and there. Now it's time for us to trip the pen fantastic to create our own tangleations of this versatile (and addictive) tangle.
   I could not stop. I don't know if I even could say I finished one. The longer they sat around, the more I wanted to add and play. It's been a week of nothing but 'what ifs'. This is the joy of Zentangle for me. When the flood of 'what ifs' comes, I listen. That is my intuitive muse that whispers in my ear. And if I don't do what she says, she sometimes keeps at me : "add black" or "add dots". Sometimes I argue and sometimes I ignore her. But I am learning to get out of the way and let her be. When the intuition is rolling, there is no such thing as judgement or perfectionism. She doesn't really care if I finish a tile or not. She doesn't care if it looks pleasing or not. She just nudges each movement I make, allowing for one foot in front of the other... one stroke after the other.
   When I first began playing with Tripoli, I was worrying too much about something, and now I don't remember what it was. I think it was that my triangles weren't lining up into a very nice circle. After doing so many, it didn't matter. The more triangles I made, the less I worried (that is the magic of just making the lines). Once I let go, it was like knowing a song by heart... the pen just went. As you can see, there are lots of renegade triangles on my tiles, but these are the ones that feel like little kids who just can't stand in that single file line. It's ok. They just are like that. I also felt compelled to connect the spaces inbetween the triangles... and add a little Puf to one of the tiles.
   I just had so much fun, I didn't know how to choose which ones to post. There are quite a few here (and more I've started) , all of them feeling unfinished in the most appropriate way.
   Thanks, Maria, for birthing the Tripoli, thanks Laura, for adding it to the challenge, and thank you, Intuition for being so relentless.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The REAL Challenge #27!

Ok, so apparently I was skim reading when I read the Diva's challenge instructions on Monday morning. It didn't sink in at all that we were to use two SPECIFIC tangles: Dex and Verdigoh. It wasn't until after I posted my challenge and started visiting other participants' sites, that I realized, geez, they are all using the same tangles! Hmm. I felt a little like I had turned in my World History homework to the Geometry teacher. So poor me. I had to do the challenge twice!! What a heartbreak:) Actually, it's like scoring two desserts in one day, so I hope you don't really feel sorry for me.
   At first, I wasn't sure I was up for a grid tangle (Dex), especially when the frondy flow of Verdigoh was also in the mix. I wanted to get my inky little hands on that like NOW. But, staying in the moment, I diligently, and most of the time, lovingly, colored in all the little boxes of Dex. It was that exercise that put me right in the zone. Sometimes I have to squirm through a discomfort to get to the other side of the experience. As you can see, I had a hard time putting down the pen, and three tiles came out. 
   Tile number one, I created an Oopertunity when I made too many grid lines for my first Dex attempt (bottom right). So even though it looks like a whole other tangle, it really is just Dex gone awry. My pen was a little scratchy and worn, but I found it great fun to color in a scratchy, feathery background.

Another string set number two in motion...

Number three felt like it needed to start with a straight Dex grid. I suppose it was the curly-q other side of me that had to do Verdigoh in a spiral. I had lots of fun with the Sakura Jelly Roll white and got the tendrils of the Verdigoh to roll over  and behind the Dex grid. I will be playing a little more with this!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Diva's Duo Tangle: Triangular Travels

Maria Thomas of Zentangle has been teasing us with triangular tidbits for a few weeks now. The way she makes them go round in circles has been a mystery to me, so I've been trying the triangles over the last few days. 
   While playing with the triangles, and this week's DIva Challenge (#27!!), I was reminded of a tangle that Molly Hollibaugh (Maria's lovely daughter) showed us at the Certified Teacher Seminar in May 2010. I think she calls it Y-Knot. (Sorry, couldn't find an online version to link.) In keeping with the guidelines of the challenge – to use only two tangles, I combined Y-Knot with Hollibaugh
  I obviously missed the part about using Dex and Verdigogh! That will be part 2 of my challenge. Maybe part of my challenge in the future would be to slow down while I am reading the post!!
  Thank you, Laura, Molly and Maria for another inspirational challenge!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Big Time Fun

It's great fun to play with Zentangle® in a larger form. This Zentangle inspired art (aka ZIA) is about 8x12 created on a sheet of heavy vellum bristol 11x14. I might just make a visit to my friend, Framin' Dave.

Friday, June 17, 2011

art like a child

If you are in a room full of kindergartners and you ask, "Who in here is an artist?", most of the children will raise their hands. If you ask a room full of high school seniors, you might get a couple hands. 
   What if....
every child had a room full of paints and canvas, and each child got a hug and a kiss for the strokes they made? I wonder what the world would look like if that was our experience.
  A friend sent me this link about a 4-year old artist, Aelita Andre. You may have seen it, and if you did, it might have been in the context of how much money this child gets for her paintings. In this post, however, I'm just looking at what this child feels like to me as she is painting... with a beautiful intuitive and deliberate grace, she feels to me to be very connected in her moments at hand. 
   Does she appear to be thinking about form and light and composition? Not in my eyes. Of course, many of the grown-ups around her will chatter on about her abilities to use form, light, composition, etcetera etcetera etcetera. And many will make assessments about whether or not this is art, whether her parents are doing her a disservice, or are out for the money, or if she should be using grown-up paints, etcetera etcetera etcetera.
   I just want to look at her face as she paints and dances around, to see what pure joy in art-making could be like. That kind of joy and confidence comes from trusting one's own intuition. We are all artists, we all have intuition. But often we listen to the world's idea of what is good or bad, rather than trusting our own path and our own sense of joy.
   When I stumbled upon Zentangle®, I could feel the potential of this art form to help anyone, regardless of skill, get to that place of connection and joy. By letting the lines of a tangle engage us, such questions about what is art, is my line ok, is my composition a good one... can all fade away until we are left with just the joy of feeling pen on paper and the joy it can bring. The joy comes from letting all those other technical art aspects float away. It's the letting go that is so wonderful. Just look at Aelita's face.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Pablo Picasso

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spirals Three

What fun! The Diva presented the Week 26 Challenge as a spiral string. I was happy because spirals are my favorites. Anything that's round and round is gobs of fun for me. This challenge flows nicely from last week's zendala fun.
   My first was simple: two interconnected spirals. (Check out this video by Vi Hart to learn how to cross over or "snake" your lines. It's fun and much easier than you'd think!) I've also fallen head over heals with my white Sakura jelly roll pen...

I'm filing the second one under: Anything worth doing is worth over-doing. I just couldn't stop. I'm not very excited about the outcome, but I'm still learning how to not judge the looks of something, but rather to remember how it felt to do it. It was fun and I felt really connected to the moment, so here she be...

I had so much fun with the intertwining that I had to do another... 

Thanks, Laura for Week 26 of your awesome Diva Challenge.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mo-Mo and her girl

A little gift for my friend Monica, 
who is getting ready to welcome her new baby girl, Mila.

Finding what you aren't looking for

In a lovely turn of events, I found myself with two tickets to see Alison Krauss at Fraze Pavillion. It's a beautiful venue and I'd see just about anyone there. Summer night under the stars, music, people. It had been a while since I'd been there and was really looking forward to going. My brother, whom I rarely get to see, was going too, so that made it even more of a special night.
   The tickets weren't cheap and the concert was a sell-out, so what to do when, as soon as we leave the house to go, the skies open up and thunder and lightning clap the skies for miles. We sat at the restaurant at dinner, wondering and hoping and trying to talk the weather into changing. The tickets in our hands read 'rain or shine- no umbrellas'. Hmm didn't know that when we left the house with nothing but umbrellas. When the rain stopped, we figured, let's just go. Wet is not the end of the world.
   We found a good parking spot, and sat in our car until the second set of rainclouds passed over. Seems like everyone there was hip to the no umbrella clause but us. Raincoats, parkas, plastic ponchos were all around us. Wet is not the end of the world. As we approached the park, the lines were crazy. Apparently there was some trouble opening the venue or getting people checked through the entrances. We were drenched before we even got to the end of the line, which would take at least a half hour to move through. Ok. Wet is not the end of the world, but it's already feeling kind of ridiculous to be doing what we were doing. We spent good money, so do we stick it out and get our money's worth or go home and sit on our nice dry couch? Hmm.
   We decided to go home and start over. We live minutes away by car, so we thought we would get other shoes, dump the umbrellas, get our raincoats and just be late for the concert. By the time we got back, parking was blocks away, (I could use the walk!) and the lines were now even longer instead of shorter. The rain had stopped and the skies were clearing. The lines, though were not moving. The opening act was already on stage. Soon the opening act was finished and we still were in a line outside the venue. Every so often we would wonder if we should just go home. The only thing keeping us in that line was that we had no expectations of anything. Sure, we were looking forward to a nice nite of music under the stars, but we really knew that we were where we were supposed to be. Not that we even really wanted to see the show that bad. The most meaningful part was just hanging out with my brother, and just attempting to get out and have some other kind of fun than we normally have was worth the try.
  As soon as we finally found our seats, Alison Krauss and Union Station appeared on stage. Her voice alone was really worth the trouble. The whole band was great.
   About halfway through the set, the band took a little break and left one musician on stage. Jerry Douglas is the band's dobro player. I'm not really into dobros, so I wasn't expecting the next thing that happened.
   Sometimes during a live concert, I get distracted by all the visuals of a show. I often just close my eyes and listen to the music. There is something different about closing my eyes at a concert that is different from doing it with a cd. The energy of the music is alive, and somehow more crystalline in its delivery. 
   As I listened to the sound of the dobro, it felt like a door was opening inside me. I couldn't say why, but I started to cry. It wasn't a sobbing kind of thing, thank goodness, but the kind of thing that happens when you're watching a movie, and it all of a sudden touches you and there you are with tears on your face.
   I'm still amazed that a night beginning with so much conditional mayhem, could come to such a place of such stillness and openness. It's like I cleared out everything around me and let this crystal clear sound be more than just a sound from an instrument. It became a thread to something deep inside myself and outside myself all at once. I just wasn't looking for that, but then there I found it.
   Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Jerry Douglas and his beautiful dobro. And thanks to all the mayhem that brought that one moment to the fore.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Peyote FUN

A couple more peyote bracelet designs... I am having way too much fun. And I am blaming it on Zentangle.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Expectation of Order

It's nice to wake up in the morning and feel like I'm all caught up with things I need to do. Once in a while that happens. On those days, I feel orderly and in control (mmm hmm.) In those moments when things around me feel orderly, it feels like a comfort and a blessing. It's like the feeling when my house has just been cleaned, and all is right with the world. I just want to sit on the couch and enjoy how nice it is just for a minute until I resume what appears to be the chaos of beads and Micron pens. Or the cat decides now is a good time to get rid of the hairball on the nice clean carpet.
   There are different kinds of order. There is order as in the big picture scheme of things, where everything truly is in its place. A big part of me always knows that.  But then there is that self-imposed, 'gotta-get-me-some-comfort' kind of order - the one where I wake up and think I have it oh-so-together. That's my own narrow little view of what I want order to look like in my life and I often move forward with the expectation that things will remain orderly as long as I pay attention and stay in control (mm hmm yeah). Just when I think I know what my  own kind of order is, I get reminded that it's just folly.
   This week's Diva challenge (brought to us by guest challenger, Genevieve Crabe), is to create a zendala (fusion of Zentangle and mandala). She provided a template, which is great, as the start of a zendala is often the daunting part of it. 
   As it was much too early for the sound of my printer on a Monday morning, I didn't trace the provided template, but copied it by hand with pencil on a Zentangle tile. So long, Symmetry! It was then I became aware of my lesson for the day (day/life?) about the expectation of order. Because I had already bypassed the orderly symmetry of the zendala template, I figured I might just be asking myself to let go of my expectations of order, and let something else come through. What appeared to be chaotic on my tile (as opposed to the tidy and symmetrical template provided), would be allowed for as part of the big order of things. I gave myself permission to let go of my version of what order is.
   The magic of a mandala is still there, as it goes round and round, dancing from a center point and moving outward. Letting go was just what I needed. Once my coffee kicked in and I could be with the chirping of my printer, I did print out and trace Genevieve's template. But by that time, the lesson of expectation was still working, and lots of experimenting took place. I will savor the symmetry some other day!
   Thank you Laura, great idea to have guests! Thank you, Genevieve for giving me the right exercise at the exact right time! And thanks to Maria Thomas for inspiring the lacy fun on the second tile.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Off the deep end

I am immersed in peyote...
I am using a new program (new to me, well-used by others) that is helping me take my Zentangle tiles and turn them into beadweaving designs. Great fun, but not all of my Zentangle inspired work lends itself to a bracelet. The next best thing: use the principles and process of Zentangle® to create something that will translate into a bracelet.
   The more I messed around the more I realized, that designing in this program was no different than approaching a Zentangle tile. One bead (stroke) at a time, one color at a time, one block at a time. I begin with no idea, and let my mind and intuition deliberately wander, just like with pen on tile.
   Here is one of my new favorites ...