Sunday, November 23, 2014

Untangling Zen

I have been playing in a new book for a week or so... I have been quite fascinated by "zentangles" drawings where people make very complicated and organized doodles. My doodles are usually not  terribly uniform and organized . I thought this book might lead me into more intricate doodling since every page contains a prompt (or starting point) such as the one illustrated above. Each page also has a thoughtful quote that can be thought about while working on the page - sort of a jump-off point for meditating. The example I'm showing here has the hand outline - but whether a person fills it in with patterned doodling or heads in another direction is up to the individual. We are told" It's important to remember there is no proper way to complete each drawing; the prompts are merely guides facilitating your creativity and mind's quiet" The quote on this page is "All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.- Swami Vivekananda". Research tells us that looking at screens- computer or television- before we go to bed is not a good idea as then it is harder for the body to turn to sleep mode. I have found doodling a page (and there are 365- enough for a whole year)  quite relaxing and the quotes are gentle but thought-provoking. However, I must confess that my pages often are more like cartoons or sketches than zen designs. For example, I turned a cat outline into Isabella with her collar on, walking through tall grasses through which birds were peeking.This inspiring quote- "Self-deception often arises because you are afraid of your own intelligence and afraid you won't be able to deal properly with your life. You are unable to acknowledge your own innate wisdom. Instead, you see wisdom as some monumental thing outside of yourself. That attitude has to be overcome- Chogyam Trungpa" inspired me to make one curving line become a mountain for a pilgrim seeking a guru in a cave!  Nevertheless, it is interesting to work on and I find I have moved from just doing black and white with a soft-tip pen to using coloured ballpoint pens - but that is for now. I'm taking it one page at a time and enjoying thinking about the quotes while doodling or drawing and unwinding. It is a nice meditative thing to do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Who's looking?

Here are the Burrowing Owls from this year's GuessWho?  Last year I did 22 Owls - this year only three. I wonder if I should do a different owl one next year- or should I go off on a different tangent? These owls were done with added texture  from heavy gel and also molding paste- and a bit of string gel in the grasses. Some gel can help with acrylics. I recall acrylics as holding the thickness and texture of brushstrokes more when they were newer on the market. Now they are more of the self-leveling type and gel is needed to get a feel of paint texture. I took a workshop from someone who is really into texture that is all applied at the beginning. Then he works in layers of transparent paint. It works for him but I like mixing colours and I also like to add gel either part way  through separately or with the paint as the layers are built up. I think I will choose to adapt some of the ideas from the workshop but also to use texture in my own way. I think this 10x10 benefited from the added texture. I've also added some texture to a painting I am working on that has pilings in the water. The texture is helping to separate the pilings from their reflections. You'll see the results later.