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Same & Different!

Hello! It’s been a minute, no?

I am happy to put my fingertips to keyboard and be back in communication with y’all. How have you been? Please drop me a line (so reminiscent of paper and pen) to let me know, I am truly interested. 

If I were to encapsulate the past six months, I’d say that it was like a mountain range—full of peaks and valleys that were a combination of exciting, fun, challenging, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. At this moment in time, I feel ready to use my foundation, recent learning, and experiences to move in a few new directions. 

What about you?

We’re past the habitual conversations of January about setting intentions, making resolutions, etc.. Honestly, I don’t mean to belittle such practices. Yet, I believe that every day is a new day with the potential to make changes. We can decide when and how often we need to check in with ourselves to step into dreaming big, charting a new course, or engaging in course correction.

What surfaces for me is grounded in my conscious understanding that my life/our lives are finite, creating a bittersweet tension and desire to search for the good, beauty, joy, and what’s possible every day. My North Star is a belief in being in connection with others. This awareness leads me to:

  • be grateful—for even the cold, grey, cloudy, ache-y days 
  • engage consciously with family, friends, and colleagues—who do I want to be and how do I want to interact in this moment in time
  • look at all my work and play with new eyes/actively choose where I will devote my precious time—letting go of what no longer serves me and picking up new and exciting endeavors
  • practice self-care daily—meditate, create art, read/listen/learn, and keep strong boundaries

Where are you at this moment in time?

What is your North Star—your values or guiding principle(s) that facilitate easier decision-making about the direction of your life and all you do? 

I can’t wait to create more of what I desire in my life and in the world… I hope the same is true for you.

More to follow…

Where do you find inspiration?

Where do you find your inspiration?

I am visual learner/experiencer—what I see usually has the biggest impact on me, as opposed to what I hear. More specifically, seeing art—paintings, drawings, photos—are what engages me most deeply and what I recall most readily.

Just the other week we went to the Joseph E. Yoakum exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. I was mesmerized by his landscapes. The movement is palpable to me. His use of color is so different than mine—it’s arresting. Yoakum’s drawings and paintings remind me of the Zentangle patterns I so love. His work makes me want to incorporate more tangles/patterns into the drawing that I do. I’ve done a bit of that in my graphic recording but not much… I sense an opportunity to experiment. (If you’re curious about this delightful, meditative art form, join me for a free session. You can learn more here.)

While at the museum, I found a book on Yayoi Kusama‘s work. I love the intensity of the color she works with and the patterns she creates. I bought the book (I’d been looking at books about her work for quite a while and this moment felt right) and I am drawn in by the artwork and poetry. I want to learn more about her life.

What has inspired you lately?

To be honest, right now I’m just sitting with wonder and delight. Perhaps that’s because I’m in the midst of playing with watercolors and Posca acrylic markers, inspired by Catherine Taylor‘s work. I am making my way through her online course. I am continually amazed by how easily I slip into flow… time has no meaning when I am painting.

 

Then yesterday, I received a visual created by Drawify’s founder, Axelle Vanquaillie, that combined some of my drawings in a way I had never imagined. I was gobsmacked! I had never thought of composing those drawings in that way to convey the essence of a session I will be co-hosting at the end of the month! I was inspired by Axelle’s collage of my own drawings—for me, the key is her vision of what is possible with the different elements. (If you don’t know of Drawify, check it out! While you can start with a free account, I’m happy to share a gift —a coupon code, Drawify2MonthHeroJill,  for two months of free access to Drawify’s Hero level.)

Where is inspiration leading you?

Just yesterday, I signed up for more training as a Certified Zentangle Teacher. Nine years after my first training with the creators, Maria and Rick, and more than a thousand students later, I remain inspired by the possibilities of this meditative art form… I know that the four-day experience in the fall will be immersive and intense. I am looking forward to it with juicy anticipation. 

What challenges you and brings you joy or peace or calm or…

What is on your calendar that excites you?

In these very difficult times, how are you making sure to feed your soul so that you can rise to the occasions we are facing? In part, I replenish myself through making art. 

I’m wondering what inspires you, what feeds you, or if you are seeking Inspiration and maybe some support.  I am curious to know how you are doing,  I hope you will be in touch. 

What brings you joy?

Almost every week since the beginning of the year I have experienced delight by enabling others to step into their Zentangle practice and to feel joy too. This meditative art form is a place of beauty, peace, and calm.  

What brings you joy?

As I reflected upon my Zentangle practice and teaching, I realized that it truly brings me joy. I feel totally alive and engaged with my pen in hand.

Zentangle for me is…

a simple (though not always easy) way to bring beauty into my life every day with ease

a lens for viewing life, a reminder to see my life with fresh eyes and new perspective(s), understand that I will make mistakes—it’s part of living—because I try new things and I get them both right and wrong. I am sometimes tired, my best efforts are not always my best work, and working through my missteps—by fixing them or making peace, learning, and moving on, is what enables me to grow. 

art & a science… I bring my own special flair to the guidelines for working with the method.

a reminder to step back and gain a new perspective… there’s always at least one more way to view a situation. I’m always thinking to myself and saying to participants, “Hold your tile at arm’s length and rotate it—90, 180, 270, and then 360 degrees. What do you find as you do so? Which view is most interesting or appealing to you?”

a way to recognize any struggles I’m having and choose a different path.

Poke Leaf is the lovely, organic pattern at the top of this piece.

How often do I say to folks, ”If you’re having a challenge with a particular stroke, try rotating the tile for greater ease.” 

about both comforting and challenging myself. I LOVE and work with about two dozen patterns regularly—they feel easy and comforting. The liveliness of Jetties, the wildness of Squid, the energy of Cadent, and the boldness of Knightsbridge delight me. And, I’m always on the lookout for changing up the way I do one of my “go-to” tangles and for new patterns and media, to keep me sharp and humble… aware of my growing edge.

“What if, instead of just shading the leafy part of Poke Leaf, I use my pen to color in the stem, shade the top of the stem and use the tortillon/smudger to move the pencil lead into the body of the leaf?”

These tangles (patterns) span four 12 inch square canvases.

 

 

“How might I create in a larger space/literally a canvas—how do I need to adapt to the new dimension? What tools will I use?”

a reminder, that there’s a time to put down the pen and walk away from my work… because I have done enough, and doing more may overwork the tile. 

I  caution myself at times, “There’s a time to pause and reflect. I can choose to pick up the pen or pencil again to continue or leave it for now.”

an opportunity to sink into the process, experience flow, and remain unattached to the result. 

There are times that I enjoy the drawing, learn a lot about the patterns and how they fit together yet don’t love the final look of the work. I counsel myself to walk away and return to the piece the next morning, knowing that I may feel differently about the tile then… or I will have learned from it and take that knowledge forward. 

just like so much of how I live my life.

What is your answer to my question, “What brings you joy?” I’d love to know!

If exploring Zentangle piques your interest, please look on my Calendar page to learn about the free class I offer each month and series that is a deep dive into this beautiful art form.

 

What inspires you?

Last Friday, at the Allentown museum (PA) I saw a piece that struck me as brilliant and inspirational…

As you can see from the description, the artist, Sam Gilliam, created a piece, then cut it up, and placed the pieces in a different configuration. I was gob-smacked!

I thought of my Zentangle work. I could create a piece and tear it or cut it up! It sounded exciting and scary! I’ve never done this—destroyed, torn up, or reassembled my work…

I approached the new adventure with a bit of nervousness because, in general, I like what I create. So I took a photo at the various stages of creation, the marker and paper, the shading that I added… and truth be told, to get a little more freedom, I made a copy of the piece before cutting it up. The piece didn’t need to be complete… I usually fill almost all the space on the surface yet since it would be a mash-up perhaps more white space was fine. I’m not sure about that thinking. It was liberating and maybe faulty—we’ll see!

 I did a bit of preliminary experimenting and didn’t like the results of tearing the paper so I decided to cut my work into pieces. I also experimented with a tile (what we Zentangle-lovers call the 3.5 inch square of Italian paper that we generally work with).

I was excited and curious throughout the process wondering how much to cut and whether I really cared if the pieces truly fit together like a puzzle. Does it need to be a perfect square or rectangle again? Is that overthinking it? Or, should I create more prototypes? It was beginning to feel kind of heavy, too up in my head—for now. I just wanted to see a few quick results, learn from them, and then take the plunge.

When was the last time inspired you were inspired? What did you do with the thought and feeling?

Here are the beginning stages of the process. Here are a few photos and a chatty video of my experience cutting up/re-purposing my original artwork

 

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(Click the link to watch the video.)

If you’re pressed for time, just watch the reel on insta, though it won’t show you my final design!

What do you think? I am still reflecting on the experience.

Envisioning the future through reflecting on my past … which is not to say that past is prologue!

Imagine me running full tilt toward the finish line… that’s how I felt on Tuesday—it’s a vision, right?

I was meeting with the students from the Baruch College Industrial and Organizational Psychology program (MSIO). My mission was to share information about talent development as a field, ATDNYC in particular (as the VP of membership), and address their questions about what the future might hold… i.e., “What if I want to switch fields now that I’ve just graduated?” “How do I narrow my focus, as I love all areas of I/O?”

I had taken on the task of creating a visual of my influences on my path as a visual practitioner. Then, I realized that I had to recognize my foundation—how I even started to think of becoming a visual practitioner—and believed that this information was even more important to the MSIO students. I created a visual of my academic background and training experiences and the key influences in each program.

Of course, I had all kinds of thoughts about the background—literal, metaphorical—and with the clock ticking (my strength of creativity getting in the way again!), I went with a simple yellow/golden pathway… reminiscent of the yellow brick road.

I have plans for the second path or stream, which will intertwine with what I have created already. It will be my journey as a visual practitioner. A third path is brewing in my mind, thanks to my buddy Julia Curtis. I am going to share an abridged list of places of work and my consulting clients to highlight the impact of my education and training. This is more complexity of design than I usually work with… and I both am enjoying it and feel challenged by it.

Over the next few weeks, I will share the ongoing process of creating this multi-path vision, which is beginning to feel like a 3-D drawing…

I hope that you will see this as an opportunity not so much to learn about me but rather an opportunity to ask the same questions of yourself and create your own answers… visually or in writing, perhaps collage. It’s the content that matters—choose a medium that calls to you. I hope you will share your creation with me!

PS: Since the event, several students have been in touch and spoken with me about the power of sharing the visual and my story to help them see possibilities for their futures. Understanding the variety of resources at their fingertips (ATD NYC and other organizations) also made them feel more relaxed and hopeful about receiving the support they want and need.