Friday, February 22, 2013

It has been snowing all day here, and just when I was thinking I would keep my eye on the garden for crocuses! Some years, spring can not come soon enough for me.  Though I have learned to make the best of it by heading up to Mount Spokane, and hopefully ABOVE the clouds for some skiing.   It has saved my mood many a dreary winter's day. 

The skiing will have to wait until tomorrow, so I thought I would make my own spring in my studio.  First I painted on some watercolor papers getting them ready for a intensive collage day.  I was thinking about all the spring bulbs which will come up in our garden. The intense blue of the tiny bulb irises, the pale hues of the crocuses,the pinks and reds of tulips.  Such a sensual word....tuuuulippps!  Which then made me think of bees and how they seem to come by the truck load to pollinate these first buds of spring.  They have such a burst of new energy! One of the papers made it's own painting while I was contemplating such things: Garden in Spring

Spurred on by the sunny weather, which we did have before the snow, I started to clear out my studio of all it's old, old, old stuff.  I can't believe how many art supplies I have purchased over the years and kept until now.  Many are now dried up lumps. I suppose they were bought on such a day as this to cheer me up.  As there is nothing quite like buying art supplies and then coming home to try them out.
 Then there was all the failed attempts and half done works which I thought I would get back to and "improve".  Well, they are now improving the recycle bin.  It feels good to go through the old and start again and it's been too long since I've done that.  I usually get derailed when I find a half finished piece and start working on it again or cut it up for a collage, and so the job of clear out never is quite completed.  Such is the life of this artist, constantly following different paths.  I have decided that it is okay.  All these different techniques I've learned show up in different ways. Some in new art forms. I can also pass on all this tried and failed and tried again knowledge to my students.  It all works out.
Soon I will be studying the art of book binding/making with the wonderful book artist Timothy Ely.  I am thinking that it will involve many of the skills I already own.  We've been corresponding by email for about a year and it has been a lesson in persistence to find out when we could both get together to do this and it has finally paid off!  I'm very excited about learning from this master artist and as a bonus he isn't too far a drive from me!  Here is a link to his exquisite work:
I am working on the Zendala workshop at the Mellow Monkey on March 2nd, trying out different designs and tangles.  Here is one I did today in answer to all the snow outside. "For Spring"  It will be a fun class!
I leave you with the poetry of Mary Oliver. I love to read poetry and prose while  I eat my breakfast (I'm the early bird and it's usually quiet for b.f.). Lately I have been slowly devouring her book, A Thousand Mornings.  Here is the poem I read this week.  Yes, dispite the snow and wind today, for some things there are no wrong seasons.

It didn't behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn't stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn't
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

Think Spring!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hearts to Hands

The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about hearts and hands.  When I was a weaver I often felt a deep heart felt connection to the person for whom I was doing the weaving and would think about them often while I sent the shuttle flying back and forth.  The same thing can be done with Zentangles, if you have someone in your thoughts and heart you can devote a tangle or a book of tangles just to them.  Or if you need a little TLC, dedicate it to yourself.  Nothing wrong with a little reinforcement of self love.

Recently, a student, Kathy came up to me after a class with her sketchbooks.  She had been tangling for a while and had completed very intricate work.  She talked about tangling the hands of her loved ones and how she would put little meaningful tangles into each one.  For instance she drew tiny stick elk figures in her husbands' hand as he liked to hunt.  I asked to take a picture to share and here is her work of the heart.  Perhaps it will inspire you to take on such a heart felt project of your family or friend's hands...or feet, don't they count too?

On the subject of hands, right  after my Dad passed away a year ago I came across this excerpt from  Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh called Look into Your Hand:

"I have a friend who is an artist.  Before he left Vietnam forty years ago, his mother held his hand and told him, "Whenever you miss me, look into your hand, and you will see me immediately" How penetrating these simple, sincere words!

Over the years, my friend looked into his hand many times.  The presence of his mother is not just genetic.  Her spirit, her hopes, and her life are also in him.  When he looks into his hand, he can see thousands of generations after him.  He can see that he exists not only in the evolutionary tree branching along the axis of time, but also in the network of interdependent relations.  He told me that he never feels lonely."

Last week I lead the start of a monthly Zentangle class at New Moon in Spokane.  We were a fun and cozy group.  Since Valentines Day is coming I thought I would try to teach them the tangle Heart Rope by Bunny Wright from Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.  It was a bit complicated at first, but many variations were discovered and it all worked out in the end.  I am working on a video of this tangle and as soon as I can get my Luddite brain around the technology involved, I'll do it.  Until then here are the step outs for Heartrope.  I've come up with a fun variation that I will also share soon.

I have been reading out of the Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo and some days I think he wrote it just for me, it's so spot on with what I am experiencing that moment.  While I was thinking about hearts and hands I came across this excerpt in the same book:
"If you place two heart cells from different people in a petrie dish, they will find and maintain a third and common beat. - Molly Vass
...Yet we often tire ourselves by fighting how our hearts want to join, seldom realizing that both strength and peace come from our hearts beating in unison with all that is alive."
My husband and I will be celebrating Valentines at a special place this year.  I hope the door to your heart flies open to love from unexpected places!