Wednesday, 29 June 2011

V Day

Hi, folks!  I decided that I liked the look of the ribbon "C" so much that I'd try drawing a ribbon on purpose for my last initial - "V".  It doesn't lend itself so well to a planned string, I found, but I persevered.  Zentangle is non-representational and non-directional, so I almost felt it fighting back!  It was only when I relaxed and played a bit more and focused a bit less that it came together.  This is what came out of my pen:

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Looking Forward to Vacation...

I'm taking a week off "work" (i.e. day job!) to spend looking after my 7 year old niece so her Mom can take a course and (hopefully!) kidnap her husband for a two-day mini-vacation...I'm looking forward to it, despite the exhaustion I can already feel.  My nieceling thinks I'm "Auntie Jungle Gym" and climbs all over, around and about me... I really love it, but it wears you out QUICK!  I'm already dreaming up a number of activities and adventures so I can have a bit of stationary time.  I love working with kids and playing with kids and talking with kids so I'm working hard to be sure I can get a bit ahead at the office so it's less penitential when I return.

After my last post I had a few emails asking about the "eyes" in the tile.  I've drawn these since I was a child and I'm sure there must be a million other individuals who do the same thing, but as I haven't seen instructions formalized anywhere, I thought I'd answer the emails with this:

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Duo Tangle

The charming Diva issued a real doozy of a challenge to us this week - to create a Zentangle Tile or Zentangle-Inspired Art piece using VERDIGOGH and DEX - and only these two tangles!  Eeeeeeeeeeekkk!  Yeah, I'll confess I found this challenge a bit intimidating.  Dex is so very linear and Verdigogh is so thoroughly organic..I hummed. I hawed.  I let it ferment all week, in fact, and never even TRIED to put pen to tile or paper.  Five days on I realized - DUH! [insert visual of forehead slap here].  The Diva didn't say we couldn't use TANGLEATIONS of the tangles, just that we had to use BOTH tangles and NO OTHER tangles!  Well, that opened up a whole world of play and suddenly it started working.  Synapses fired, neurons signalled and hand went to pen and the end, I think it looks rather like an old afghan or patchwork quilt, used as a picnic tablecloth with either the wildflowers and grass peeking from beneath or maybe that's actually the fringe of the increasingly ball-y yarn fringe of the afghan.... *G*

Happy Friday!
PS - I just discovered I have 89 FOLLOWERS!  Wow!  Thanks everyone - I feel very privileged that you want to share my art world with me; I'll try to keep new things coming for you to enjoy and stART using in your own ways.  Thank you!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Start

Well, it's officially summer at last.  One season closer to my favourite! I admit to preferring the damp, dark days of Fall.  On the other hand, the different lights of summer are fun - the bold, sharp blast of mercilessly exposing noon-time sun; the soft, clear, luninous early morning; the dusky, mysterious twilight; the liquid velvet of  night.... One wonderfully intriguing, ever changing aspect of Zentangle is the way you choose to finish each design.  Favourite tangles are often completely different in appearance when shaded in a new way.  Or sometimes you can change it up altogether!  In today's tile I chose not to shade ANY of the tangles.  Instead, I applied shadows to the ribbon dancing through the middle of the tile.  It's different from what I usually do.  Shading the tangles is something I particularly enjoy when tangling.  Somehow, today the ribbon demanded that particular type of attention.  It wasn't until I was done, however, that I suddenly noticed the random swirls I had made with a double pencil for the ribbon had actually been my initial, "C"!  What a happy surprise!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Child's Smiles - For Artoo

I don't know if anyone reading is doing the same, but I've been following the Caylee Anthony case since she was first reported missing ( I refuse to permit her mother extra publicity by stating HER name!).  The case is so disturbing on so many levels and the conduct of the mother is so reprehensible that it's entirely believable she is, in fact, guilty.  So many photos, clippings and videos of this precious, sweet lamb... her lilting toddler song to her grandfather, the sweet grins as she tried to mimic her mother's toothy grimace...I got out my pens to try to process some of the ugliness and was blessed with a vision of our Diva's littlest one, Artoo.  Precious lamb here, too, who will never be able to signal his joys with the same abandoned facial evidence of delight - no less precious for that, his eyes already speak volumes, at a mere few months of age.  I certainly can't feel sorry for him - he's boundlessly loved precisely as he is and rejoices in the most splendid parents and fabulous big bro - but I feel for his Mama to always need to look carefully to see his smirk of joy... how do these babies wrap around our heartstrings so quickly?  I've never met Artoo, nor will I ever meet Caylee, and yet I see their faces in quiet moments and add them in my prayers.  I was once told I must be shallow as I cry easily, and at the time I took the comment at face value and added a measure of hurt and guilt to my emotional baggage.  On reflecting as an adult in mid-life, I now believe I show my emotions so easily because they AREN'T shallow.  They run deep and overflow to prevent me from drowning in them.  They are large enough to encompass people I'll never know and keep me striving to live up to the ideals of humanity I value.  I only too often fail, but at least the wealth of feeling is always there, to catch me, close over my head to protect me, then lift me up to try yet again, once more, a little harder this time...So I was vibing on Artoo, and emotions and life and values and a million scattered thoughts resulted in this:

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tangleated Tuesday

Today was a strange sort of tried very hard to be a second Monday (with all the negative connotations associated), but it kept turning into a Tuesday after all!  My new keyboard was defective and for the first time our supplier actually picked up and dropped off as scheduled!  My dreaded rescheduling of an entire clinic day actually found everyone either home or with voicemail to leave a notification!  The clinic even had space available on the day required!  To top it all off I got to spend a fun evening with beading buddies, beading and designing and chatting, and all the while being filled in about the finds and fun a friend had going to her first ever Milwaukee bead!  It's funny how every time I started to sag into a slump, something terrific came up, slapped me, and said "wake up girl!  Life is GOOD!".  I can't say I enjoy being slapped (sorry to disappoint any readers so inclined *G*) but it was a wonderful day of affirmation.  With that in mind, I thought I'd share my little tile of CRESCENT MOON.  For some reason I just felt like drawing CRESCENT MOON, but each time I began a new section it would morph slightly, dancing from one common beginning along divergent paths.  Before I realized it I'd done not only this fun tangle, but a further four tangleations of it!  And how could I be expected to resist the opportunity to create a five-sided PARADOX?  I ask you, how? *G*  Ain't life grand?
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Spiral Out, Keep Going

The lovely Diva is back!  While Genevieve did a bang-up job standing in for her, it's lovely to hear that Artoo is improving, Chewie loves the summer and all is becoming well with the world once more.  Laura must have really enjoyed her short time away, because she's come up with the most wonderful challenge for this week!  Of late several challenges have centred around a provided string - "string theory", as it were.  The challenge this week is to design a Zentangle with a spiral string as the required structure.  Well, this one I just GOTTA love!  Spirals have been appearing in my life as long as I can remember and in so many different ways - physical, mental, emotional, name it, there's gonna be a spiral in there somewhere!  I was raised as a dancer and the spiral is an integral part of folk and classic styles of dancing around the world - from the fabulous Farandole to a dashing Broadsword or exquisitely executed Waltz.  When I was in therapy, learning how to overcome profound clinical depression and later the dissolution of my marriage, the spiral was a recurring theme, descriptive of my state of mind as I would get "stuck" in my attempts to make progress.  My artwork has always included spirals, both overt and disguised, hidden or as a central element.  Spirals encourage reflection on the importance and attainment of balance.  There is a geometric logarithm that when applied results in the "Golden Spiral" - an important element of Sacred Geometry.  Many a prayer and/or meditation has been made whilst walking a spiral maze.  The spiral pops up in the most ancient of cultures - as ornamentation of the body by way of tattoos and scarification, by ornamentation in all manner of metals and other adornments, either printed upon fabric or an integral, woven component of the actual weave itself.  Even mysterious designs etched upon the barren, rocky plains of Central America display spirals, visible only from the air!  I love the way Spirals get me thinking, and wondering, and lead ever onward to more and yet more interesting pieces of information or personal enlightenment.  I decided to play with intent for this tile and drew a spiral to start.  To ground it I chose to use a chain, then filled it from the centre outward (keeping going - geddit? Hehehehee.....) with orbs, from tiny TIPPLE, though my own tangleation of SEZ to PRINTEMPS, tumbling from the open end of the spiral and spinning right off the tile.... And yet, I wanted more...  So FEDR made an appearance to symbolize the growth that I find the ultimate lesson of the Spiral.  I hope you enjoy it:

Happy Monday!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

All Worked Out

Today I'm sharing a tile I did at work some weeks ago.  On my lunch I've taken to spending at least 15 minutes drawing; it sets me up for a more productive and less frustrating afternoon.  It also relieves the anxiety I start feeling when I realize I have 12 hours work still to do today and only 2 /12 hours in which to do it!  When I took another look at this tile I noticed that is seems bound by grids.  Everything is contained with very minor seed pods extending beyond the string containment.  I seldom seem to use so many grid patterns, too, but here they are in abundance.  Even PRINTEMPS is constrained within the string border...I'm thinkin' this is telling me about my current worklife in terms too clear to ignore!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

June Bugs

Well, the weird weather continues... we had a hellacious storm last night, knocking out power, denuding trees and having two tornados make a brief appearance in the next city over.  NOT your usual for Southern Ontario!  I was just getting used to the bugs and such from the garden when I noticed the unseasonably hot weather has had a totally unanticipated side effect.  There are flies in my office!  I work on the 7th floor of an older building, originally constructed as a nurse's residence at a hospital, back in the day they lived and trained in one location.  You'd think I was far enough away from any entrances to avoid the darn things, but no!  The only access to the building is a variety of screened ventilation vents and the actual exterior doors seven stories below and the darn things are still buzzing in my light fixtures!  *shudder*

With crawlies and creepies and bugs in mind, my tile seems to reflect this, as well as the wonky weather...
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dad's Back Forty

Having leapt so precipitously into full-on summer weather, the gardens have gotten short shrift compared to their usual pampering.  My dad was raised on a farm in the Netherlands and spents most of every average day and ALWAYS at least an hour even on busy, eventful days, puttering in his garden.  He does love his growing things and his big heartbreak this season was that the lattice-work arbor he built over forty years ago, and beside which grew roses from my great-grandparents' garden, didn't weather this winter.  It has finally gone the way of all things wood and rotted to the point of hazard, necessitating its removal.  It's just a plain, white-painted wood structure, but it always designated the yard "zones" for me.  Between the house and the arbor was playland - tag, tree climbing, sprinklers, etc., were all fair games in the kid zone.  Beyond the arbor was Dad's Back Forty - if you went back there, tread lightly, touch nothing, break no branches and pick no flowers!  Over the years he's built tall fences at the back of the property, heightened the chicken wire around the kitchen garden and hung glittering bits to discourage the vermin, but the darn deer are still his biggest consumer - literally!  We back onto protected parkland and enjoy deer, foxes, moles, ground hogs, feral cats, squirrels of umpteen varieties, blue heron, hawks, and myriad songbirds.  They all sample from my father's garden bounty and entertain us in every season.  Here's to our happy natural neighbours!
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Zendala Magic

This week's challenge is a "sit in" for our lovely diva by the ever-fabulous Genevieve Crabbe.  Genevieve was one of the first Canadian CZTs and is well known for her intriguing Zendalas.  As our Diva needs a break this week, Genevieve has graciously filled the void and come up with the 25th challenge of the week - Zendala Magic!  She provided a basic Zendala template (in two sizes, very thoughtful - thanks, Genevieve!) and we may fill it as we wish.  I have been intending to do some Zendalas but time has gotten away from me and I haven't managed to sit with pen and template to date.  Now THIS was a positive encouragement I couldn't resist!  I sat right down tonight and had a go...what do you think?
Happy Monday!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Drying Out....

Thank goodness the temperature has gone down and the breeze has come up, dealing most effectively with the humidity and brain-destroying heat that has had me down for the past bit.  It really came up suddenly this year!  Usually we have a couple of weeks of wind-up that helps to prepare for the summer season to come but not this year.  Oh no, this year just HAD to be different and did a full-on DUMP of summer weather in one fell (and foul!) swoop!  At least we now know what to expect and are stocking up on water, sunscreen and wading pools!  Is there anything more sublime than having a personal pool to cool down in summer time?  The dollar store has itty bitty baby pools that inflate and hold just enough water to cool down an overheated adult - the perfect way to while away an hour or so reading during a heat wave.  The gardens are pretty happy with things as they are - the rain of the earlier spring coupled with the sun now beating down has brought everything up at once.  It's pretty nice to see how lush the yard and gardens are...

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Puddle in Ontario

Apologies, lovely blogohood friends...a concatenation of events has kept me offline for about 10 days now.  Despite the best of intentions and missing you all (and your lovely, encouraging remarks and emails), I simply ran out of energy!  Yes, the relentlessly creative "me" was vanquished by simple work and weather!  I put in a week of solid 12 hour workdays (AND 10 hours on Sunday PLUS a qualified friend's assistance for the full stint on Sunday!!! - all of it unpaid!...see, Tracey?  You DO have company in your underpaid and overworked workaday world! *G*).  Just at the point the avalanche of work was cleared away, the weather just HAD to chime in!!!  We went straight from wet, overcast and cool (my favourite weather - I know, I know, but SOMEONE has to like it! *G*) to humidity and heat high enough to stop me in my tracks.  I'd leave the office at the end of the day and, upon exiting, it was exactly like walking into a wall of HOT.  Crazy, Dominican Republic-type hot!  Humid, fish could walk down the street hot!  Forget about eggs frying on the sidewalk, I'm talking eggs poaching in their shells hot!....Oh.  I guess you know what I mean by now...  Anyhow, I don't function well in that kind of heat.  I generally meet up with some beady buddies on Tuesday nights for some fellowship and fun and it was so hot we even cut that lovely "therapy" session short - not everyone could stay but two of us walked over to the local Dairy Queen for ice cream afterward and I STILL got home early.  Fortunately, today is finally less humid and I've actually gotten myself together and picked up pen and paper.  Don't get me wrong - I love the fact that Southern Ontario gets four clear, distinct seasons and I love the differences one from the next.  I'm not exactly complaining, I just don't function well in extreme heat and/or humidity.  Is anyone else like that?  It's like it gums up the brains (or melts 'em!) and eating, drinking, moving, you name it, is just too much effort, even something as essential as breathing and art (which, to my thinking, are about equally necessary to sustain life!).  So here is my somewhat sticky, but finally functional, tile - I missed you!

Happy Wednesday!