Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Challenged, and it worked

I think the Zentangle thing is getting my brain going in more creative ways. I've felt sort of "off my game" so to speak, in the creating business lately. Partly because my hands have been a bit out of whack... first the thumb on my right hand, then this week my left thumb went all haywire. Plus, I have these quilts hanging over my head that I need to get going on. I'm doing a swap with our wonderful piano teacher... I'll sew 2 quilts for her, and she's taught my kids' piano lessons all summer. With Girl's Camp thrown into the mix last month, I was just overwhelmed. And like all good procrastinator's, I just didn't do anything. But the little bit of tangling seems to have gotten my brain back to normal, and I'm just raring to go on so many things. I've got the quilts going (though with still lots to do on them) and I'm excited to get back to my darling dollies!!!

Anyway, here's my take on The Diva's Challenge #35. I didn't have good paper handy, so I did it on a post-it note. Not my favorite, but it's ok.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Inspired by Zenspirations

After popping my challenge piece for Challenge #34 on my blog this week, I went tangle-surfing and came across a video of Joanne Fink, doing the most wonderful tangle-esque monograms. Oh my goodness!

I have secretly dreamed of being a calligrapher for most of my life. I literally have pages of calligraphy letters I wrote when I was probably 10 or 11 (ok, yeah, I'm a packrat), with some of those inexpensive calligraphy markers. I have fountain pens and a number of books on calligraphy and I've given it a go so many times, but never with enough practice to actually get good at it... plus, I'm much better at learning from someone showing me, than from a book when it comes to hands-on activities.

So anyway, Joanne's little video was fabulous! Not quite calligraphy, but elegant and funky and fun all wrapped together, and there she is showing it to me... perfect! And though I've just started playing with the Zentangle thing, I think I'm not too bad at it. So I got out some paper... one of those extra little squares I had cut on Tuesday. My name starts with a D, so that seemed the logical place to start. My first one isn't perfect, and there are a couple spots that I'm critical of. But like a little pimple on your nose, I'm hoping no one else will notice if I don't actually point it out. Overall, I'm happy with it. Want to see?
Well, that was fun! But why stop there? So I decided to get a little more adventurous and do an entire word. THIS time I'm in love with it. Which is exactly the word I did...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tangled... not the movie

I've been a long-time doodler. Case in point...
Those silly things came from a variety of notebooks covering maybe 4 years (up to about 20 years ago). For at least 5 years, I carried a steno notebook or little journal with me almost everywhere I went. It started with a collaged journal made for me by my wonderfully talented friend, Vicki. I was already a pretty great journaler, and fairly prolific doodler, but that notebook led to me making maybe a dozen more, which were my journals and doodling pads for years. Not great doodles, mind you, just something to keep my mind from wandering during boring college lectures, various church meetings and such. But I had a family, lapsed some in my journaling (doing most of it now on the computer), and rarely found time or reason to sit and doodle.

Then recently I stumbled on Zentagle. Or was it Mom that did and told me about it? At first I thought it looked fun, but a little pretentious. Only on little specifically sized squares? Names for the "tangles?" Copyright? But it reminded me that I actually used to really like doing that kind of thing. And I've done some doodly drawing in the last few years for my scrapbook designs... but mostly in Photoshop. I started reading their website, checked out a couple books, glanced through them, rolled my eyes just a little, and didn't do any doodling. I was still hung up on it being too scripted.

But then Mom and Dad came for a lovely week-long visit. She brought notebooks for me and the children, to do a quilting unit study she found. But the first activity was to get inspiration from the Zentangle books and fill our notebook covers with our names and lines... all shapes and sizes of lines. I was hooked! Here's mine. I spent a few lovely hours doing it and was totally surprised at how relaxed I felt. I started to get the "zen" part of Zentangle.

So I checked out their blog, found a few other blogs and today I found a challenge. A challenge! I love scrapbooking challenges, and do them fairly regularly. A tangle challenge? Right up my alley! So I got some drawing paper and cut it into a 3.5" square.... well, 6 of them actually. I'll be needing some more, I'm sure. I got out my Micron pen (it's what they recommend, and actually I really have loved those pens for a very long time), and I went for it. Challenge #34, it turns out. Lovely! 20+ minutes of calm, even with the kids bustling around me getting lunch, chattering about what they'd been doing and asking for this, that and the other.

I don't think I'll be sticking this in an art gallery anytime soon. But somehow taking a few minutes to make deliberate strokes on a little, tiny square, put me in a lovely frame of mind... even to deal with a very whiny 5 year old who had to get a filling at the dentist today and apparently left all her smiles behind with the laughing gas. Ok, maybe I'm hooked.