Friday, February 25, 2011

A Curiosity

I'm not too sure what this is.  An elephant, maybe?  Wearing all the fancy gear?  If so, he must be trotting

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Zealand

Today I have been thinking about our brothers and sisters in New Zealand.  The Earthquake hurt so many.
I am hoping they can find solace.  I pray that more survivors be found and rebuilding becomes renewal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tangling with Colors

This is a review of Marie Browning's new book, "Time to Tangle with Colors".

I love this book.  If you don't read a word of the instructions, if you don't have any of the art supplies, if you never tangle at all, it is still worth getting for the sheer beauty of the pictures.  And she has Lots of pictures.

Browning is a Certified Zentangle Teacher.  Her professionalism shows in this work.  While it does include a few tangles, the book pretty much assumes that you are familiar with Zentangling.  She concentraits on just what the Title implies: Color.

The book does an excellent job of illustraiting different media and she packs a LOT of information into this book. She introduces the novice to the color wheel and basic color theory in just a few pages.  She covers colored pencils, watercoloring, and a variety of  technics I had never thought of applying to Zentangles.  She has obviously done her homework and explores all sorts of ideas that I can't wait to try.

She does assume that the reader has certain art supplies available.  Tombow Markers, for instance.   I agree with her that they are marvelous, but not all art supply stores carry them.  Also Glimmer Mists are not easily found in a store.  She does give online URLs for where to purchase them, but I usually prefer to be able to hold the product in my hand and look at it before I buy.  Frankly, that's the only negative comment I can think of, except she does leave me hungry to see more of her work.

As I said, I love this book.  It is a treat to the eye and makes me want to drop everything and go color a tangle.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Art Card made from Polymer Clay

Practically speaking, I worship at the alter of Procrastinatus.

Now, I don't want to, mind you. I think that Procratinatus is a sneaky God who steals away my good reputation through good intentions.

 In fact, lately I have made an offering to Procrastinatus, I pinned a cartoon on the alter for him. ( At least I meant to pin it, I never really got around to it. )

Anyway, the cartoon shows a devil, driving down the highway in a paneled truck with a big grin on his face. On the side of the truck is the name of the company he works for: The Good Intentions Pavement Co.

I meant to plant that garden last spring, but I never got around to it.

I meant to write a couple of blogs ahead of time so I would be ahead of the game, but it never happened.

I meant to do all sorts of things, but somehow time just slipped away.

For many years I beat myself up for this slavish worship of Procrastinatus, but then I realized that sometimes (not always by any means) Procrastinatus is a positive fellow.

 As many of us do, I tend to think I can accomplish much more than I am doing. So I load myself up with expectations that are unrealistic. Then I blithely comment that I "work best under pressure".

Well, that's not true, at least its not true for me.

I don't work best under pressure, it's just that without that pressure, there are some things that will never get done.

So Procrastinatus helps me from burning myself out, by putting off certain things until they are no longer necessary, so I don't have to do them. Without the help of Procrastinatus, I might very well be dead from exhaustion.

But Procrastinatus also has kept me from doing some things I really wanted to do.  Which is not so good.

As with many life experiences, Procrastinatus is not the bad fellow he is painted up to be. There are positive aspects to him as well as negative.

The real trick is to know when to invoke him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Friend

Paisley Trading Card 1a

In my previous post, I talked about Trading cards.  Altogether we do have enough to have a swap, but since some of the participants are taking Zentangle Teacher Training, I'm waiting just a little before sending out the details.  Until then, anyone can sign up that wants to join us.

Tonight I am thinking how grateful I am for my friends and colleagues.  One of my gifts is that I have excellent taste in friends. 

Tonight I am thinking of a friend who is a single young woman, currently taking classes to become a foster parent.   Her ultimate goal is to adopt a sibling group.  She wants children in her life but there is no partner on the horizon and she doesn't see any reason to wait.  
I admire her so much.  There are hundreds of thousands of children that need loving homes, but because they are not babies or because they have brothers and sisters they want to stay with, most of them will never know what it is to have a home growing up.  They will grow up thinking that no one loves them, that no one cares about them.  No child should ever experience that.  And such conditions do not lend themselves to healthy citizens and happy lives.  Yes, some foster children do very well and become wonderful warm human beings, but for most of the kids, they experience a totally unearned pain.  Because those children, too, are wonderful, creative, caring kids.  They deserve love and a home, just as all of us do.

So, to my friend, I salute you.  You will make a great Mom, and those kids will be blessed -- as am I, just to know you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Art Trading Cards

The story as I understand (I could be way wrong about this) it is that a few years ago, there was a huge art fest.  All sorts of artists were displaying their wares and demonstrating their art.  And as the day began to grow long, some of the artists looked at other artists work and liked what they saw  After a while, one of the artists approached several other artists and mentioned that he would really like to have some work done by them.  The other artists agreed, because they, too liked what they saw.   But they had a dilemma:  all the artists were there to make money.  If they were to trade paintings with one another, they would not have any paintings left to sell -- which was not a good idea.

Then one of the artists had an idea.  He pulled out a deck of cards.  Then he put Gesso (Sorta like a white paint) on one side of each card.  After the Gesso dried, he handed out the cards to the other artists.  Each artist did a sample of their work on some cards.  Then they went around and traded cards with other artists.  Each person then, got some artwork from other artists that they liked.

Well, it worked out beautifully.  Some of the artists made up their own decks of Gessoed playing cards and took them to other art shows.  The idea grew.  In some places, the artists even had an art show of nothing but the trading cards.  All sorts of folks came with cards of their own making and trading was wild.

The rules were:
  any subject matter
  any medium
  all cards had to be 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches
  Cards had to be a bit sturdy, not like on typing paper.  Card stock or firmer is the rule.
All cards have to be signed, dated (the year is enough) and a location where they were created (such as 'California, USA').  Usually this info was on the back, but it could be anywhere.

Great idea.  An easy way to collect art from your favorite artists.  The art is the perfect size to put in any of the plastic holders that folks use for baseball cards.

Originally, you were only supposed to trade or give the cards.  That's why they were known as Art Trading Cards.  But they really can be attractive little puppies, so some folks started selling their cards (like on eBay or Etsy), so those cards are known as ACEOs, which stands for 'Art Cards, Original or Editions' (some folks might have prints, hence 'editions').

Nowadays, many folk swap their cards on line. 

I'm wondering if anyone is interested in doing an Art Card swap with a bunch of other tanglers?  If so, post here to let me know and I will gladly host a swap. (actually, I'd like to do two swaps, one with color and one with the traditional Black & White only)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sometimes it's better just not to say anything

Today, I have nothing profound -- or funny -- to say.


I did this elephant some time ago for an Art Card Swap over at Swap Bot.  I am rather fond of it, mainly because it reminds me of one of my favorite folk tales. 

You all know the story, about ten blind men who wanted to know what an elephant is like.  Each man encountered a different part of the elephant, so one thought an elephant was like a rope (the tail) one thought the elephant was like a huge fan (the ear), one thought it was a snake (the trunk) and so on.  Each man thought that he and he alone really understood the nature of the elephant, when in reality each of them only had a small bit of the picture, but all the others had a small bit too.

I will leave it to you to decide what the elephant is a metaphore for.  Life.  God.  Art.  Zentangles.  Or whatever else might occur to you.

Anyway, hope you are all making it a good day.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Artoo Update

It seems that Artoo is home and on the mend.  Thanks to all of you out there who sent him good vibes.

I am so glad for him and his family.  Now I can relax and do the challange for the week.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Color Thoughts

Lately, I have been hungry for color.  Not sure why or what triggered it (Nothing to do with Feb 3 post.   Nope, nope, not a thing.), but this craving for color is not unusual for me.
I remember when I bought my first house, I was so hungry for color that I purchased the brightest dark blue I could find and painted the entire bedroom, including the ceiling, in the mesmerizing color.  Of course, it was not the best idea I have had.  The room was overly oppressive and dark.  I learned the lesson that sometimes color needs to be balanced in order to really appreciate it. 
I can remember that the artist Peter Max who was famous for his bright vibrant colors (from the 60s, Yellow Submarine?), said he was frequently asked ‘what was his favorite color?’, and he would always reply “I have no favorite color.  But I have Ten Thousand favorite color combinations.”
That’s me.
I love all sorts of colors.  I love the way they interact with one another.  Color dances for me.  It speaks to my spirit and calls me to gratitude.  My heart rejoices when I see a symphony of color  and I want to save it in my very being.  I usually prefer the bright clean colors, or the soft, dreamy pastels.  But sometimes even the muted colors will bring forth a song.

I do love the stark Black & White of Zentangles.  The sheer cleanness, the unambiguity of them (although I do love ambiguity, too) have a rhythm and melody all their own.

But lately I have been doing lots and lots of Zendalas.  But when I finish one, I almost always want to see it in color.  So I have been copying my Zendalas & coloring the copy.  The results, I like.
So I thought I might share with you a few examples of my Zendalas, before and after the color was added.
For your viewing pleasure:
Here is a nice little Black & White Zendala (before)
Now check out what happens when color is added:
I really like what happens.  For me, color adds depth and brings things to life.  Now, the Black and White can be stunning, but so can the color versions.  Here is another example:

  How about this set?

Or this set?

BTW, I should mention here that I was politely asked to leave Art School, because I could not finish the last two required classes.  They were about color theory, and I am partially color-blind, you see.

Moral?  Never give up your Art.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Thoughts for Artoo

Lately, I have been craving color, so the picture above is in response to that craving.  I will be writing an entire post on that later.

But for now,  Laura, from 'I am the Diva', has a beautiful son (Artoo) who was born prematurely.  Sadly, he has had health problems.  As I type this he is in intensive care because he is having trouble breathing. 

It is so difficult with the very little ones.  They are so helpless and we can not tell them in words that they are loved and cared for.  We cannot give them the comfort of knowing that we are doing everything in our power to help them.  We can only touch, hold, and make soothing sounds.  And we can pray, or send healing thoughts to them, or just send them loving energy.  And to be honest, I don't know how much those things help, but I do them anyway.

So for those of you who pray, I invite you to pray for Artoo.

For those of you who meditate, I invite you to send him your healing energy.

And for those of you who contemplate, I invite you to send him healing thoughts.

Blessed Be
So Be It

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Finding Something to Say

I was asked to preach about Spirituality, so I sat down to type up a sermon --- but nothing was coming.  All the ideas for a sermon that I had when I volunteered suddenly ran away and I was left with nothing spiritual to say.

 I was stumped. 

After all, who am I to be telling anyone else about Spirituality?   But it had to be done.
 So I was a bit Grumpy. 
I have days like that. Weeks, even. 
I think we all do.
Times when nothing seems to be going together the way we would like them to.

And I don't always handle it gracefully. 

My Mother used to tell me that the best thing to do under those circumstances is to change the subject. 

Changing the subject of your life can be tricky.  But I had to give it a shot.  Instead of sitting and wollowing in my ineptitudes, I looked out the window at the dark gray sky.

 I remembered the other day I was feeling very depressed on my way to work. That was a gray day, too. As I walked, I was working up a really good feeling-sorry-for-myself.

I was listing the many reasons I had for thinking I was being put-upon.
Imagine! Having to work for a living! Why couldn't I just be rich?
Nobody understood me anyway. Poor Me!

My mood was a dark as the sky.

Then I remembered that I liked Gray days, better than Sunny ones.

 It took all the wind out of my sails and I had to laugh at me.  Sometimes, you just can't take yourself too seriously, it takes far too much effort. 

The cats at my feet were becoming militant about food and protested loudly that they were being tortured beyond all reason, so I got up and fed them.   

Then Tammer, my twelve-year-old cat, crawled into my lap. She was warm and furry and purring. She settled down into a comfortable huddle and proceeded to gently clean the reminents of dinner from her beautiful face. Then she looked up adoringly and blinked at me before she purred herself to sleep.

 How can anyone, even a grump like me, stay irritated with that going on? 

So I looked out the window again and saw how beautiful the bare tree branches were against the dark gray sky.

 Who was I to talk of anything Spiritual? Who are any of us? 

I'll tell you who we are.
We are people who have lived and loved and learned.
We are people who don't know all the answers, but might have a clue as to a few of the questions.
 We have made mistakes, and sometimes we have learned from them, sometimes not.

 If we share our hopes, strengths and experiences, we just might find a friend along the way, and maybe even an answer or two. 

I don't believe that insight is given only to a few. I believe that all have access.

 So it's not my job, as sermon-giver, friend, or artist, to have all the answers.

 It's my job to share, my weaknesses as well as my strengths.

 I have heard it said that each of us has a light within us, a light that shines forth who we are, a light that can show the way to another.
I believe that.
I believe that we each have part of it, a piece of the puzzle, so to speak. And that together, we can see clearly what a beautiful world we can make. 

As I type these words, I am aware that not all the world is peaceful, that war is reality for a lot of good people.  I pray for all on both sides, for we are all the children of the universe. As children of the universe, or of God (however you want to say it), we are siblings to one another. We are, quite litterally, all brothers and sisters to one another. We dim our lights when we give in to hate. 

Thinking on these things, my own troubles seemed small. I was humbled by my own good fortune.

The cat in my lap stretched and a burst of purr came from her as she sank back into sleep.  As I looked at her, I thought, "Maybe that is my calling in life, to be a cat lap.   Maybe providing for her is my true purpose." 

I do not pretend to know the mind (or the priorities) of God.

 When I preach, I always end every service with the same blessing which I would like to share with you: 
Let your light so shine that all may see, and rejoice that you are. 

So Be It.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Searcher

Sometimes I feel as if I am looking for something, but I don't know what it is.  I know it's important, but I have forgotten what it looks like.  So, I just keep searching.

A lot of us are like that.  We search all our lives, looking for. . . for. . . for something.  There is an unfullfilledness, and empty space within.  And we know, or at least we think we know, that the void can be healed.

It is not always thus.  Sometimes we are fine,  We are whole, complete.  All is well.  But then the restlessness begins, and once again, we are in a familiar place, looking for something we know not what.  We almost remember it.  At the edge of our mind is an image that disappears when we look at it.

Maybe what we are looking for is not really what is important.  Maybe we are looking in the wrong places.  Maybe we have a preconceived idea of what it is, but the reality is quite different.  And maybe, just maybe, what is really important is the search.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome Feb.

Jan, 2011  is over.  Feb. has begun.  May we greet it with joy and peace.