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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.

Looking backward to look forward

Gosh, I had a bit of a wonky week last week. I’m wondering if you have had the same experience of late?

I finished a training program, which was awesome! It’s such fun to see people’s skills grow throughout the bikablo trainings. And, I’m in the middle of a new, big, long-term project.

I have to admit it, I’m good at beginnings and endings, it’s that middle time in multi-month projects that really challenges me—maintaining the momentum while simultaneously working on short terms endeavors.

I have A LOT of pieces to manage with this project and I’ve noticed that the program that I’m in to support me has a really linear approach… I am a global/big picture thinker, so that’s a point of friction that I am working to smooth out. It’s a growth opportunity (and I work to frame it that way).

Gathering up all the pieces to the puzzle, seeing everything at once, and then creating order.

I am also, a lover of new and different things and a few one hour art courses (from the Brooklyn Art Library) popped up during my lunchtime which I felt the desire to experience. So the week felt topsy-turvy for me, which is fine, just different.

And, lastly, truth be told we had two weeks of unbelievably gorgeous weather and I did feel like playing hooky. Instead, I worked outside as much as I could and that was the right balance for me.

I am now looking ahead to the remainder of 2021 and reflecting on the year it has been, not just the past month, but January to June. For me, it’s been a time of challenges, learning, change, creating new routines, and working with new people—for the most part, great stuff!

So I’m wondering about you as we approach the middle of 2021.

Are you making time to pause, assess, reflect, and imagine how you will move forward?

What are you feeling good or great about from the first six months of the year? Making the time to celebrate our achievements and realize the foundation that we continue to create for success is so important.

What are you dreaming about for the summer into the fall and fall into winter (or winter into spring and spring into summer, depending on where your feet touch the ground)? What experiments might you create to work and play with new ideas, learning, practices, and collaborations for the remainder of 2021?

I’m finding inspiration for thinking differently about my living and planning both day-to-day and long-term in all kinds of places. Whether it’s:

  • plorking (playing and working) with a small, dedicated group of visual practitioners to introduce our work* to the world—supporting those who are planning their end of life experiences
  • an art exhibit of Calder’s sculptures or a cracked coconut (the latter as substrate for my Zentangle play)

  • a new way experiencing myself (a new body scan technique from the  Balance app — different than the way I deliver to others and so interesting to me!)
  • reading a variety of books (Austin Kleon’s, Show Your Work! and How to carry what can’t be fixed, by Megan Devine).

These sources feed me.

What is nourishing your right now? I hope you will share your finds and practices with me.

* Learn more about VEOLI/Visualizing And of Life Issues here. And, if you’re interested, join our Open House for visual practitioners on July 14th at 4:30 pm ET. Here is the link to register.

These sources feed me.

Bits and bobs of thoughts and ideas

The beauty of the blank page…

causes me to feel both anticipation and trepidation!

I love opening a new sketchbook or journal. The page, which I really see is a giant canvas, feels endless, and that is both delightful and daunting.

Those feelings bubbled up early last week when I opened up my Sketchbook Project booklet. Actually it was even before that. When I started imagining tangling (drawing Zentangle patterns on) the cover for my book, I had some ideas but they hadn’t come together. Truth be told they haven’t come together yet although I have taken the plunge and started drawing.

 

A different canvas was revealed to me as I opened the book.  Deciding to create on a two page spread, in which each of the pages was a different color and a different consistency, felt fun, different, and exciting. Here’s my work today, though clearly there’s more to be done! And then of course, I’ll turn the page again and start with the having to sort out whether to tangle across one page or two, choose an orientation, and perhaps venture into different media. Such a metaphor for working with what we have in front of us every day we have on this earth, right?

  • What are you planning? How are you feeling about it? 
  • Where are you now? 
  • What are you dreaming about? 
  • What designs/experiments will you create on the journey to your destination?

Planning new programming—a process that happens in my mind and on paper

On a different though related note…

I’m in the throes of designing and developing a membership program – it’s compelling and complex (not just complicated)! There are so many facets to consider. As I work with all the moving parts, I am beginning by asking my people to focus on the results that they want to achieve and then building the experience by creating the goals, milestones, and action steps and all the awesome content, activities and materials, we will use together.

This process of curriculum design and development, which is rather linear, iterative, and results-oriented is really the antithesis of Zentangle, which is organic, with a focus on the present and a letting go of or grasping for a particular appearance, aside from something that is aesthetically pleasing to the tangler. 

I LOVE both of these processes and believe that having a foot in both worlds grounds me.

How about you? Do you gravitate toward the more intuitive, organic approach, or feel more in sync with a more linear methodology or maybe you have crafted your own process and developed a melange of the two? I’d love to know!

PS: If Zentangle might be a delightful diversion for you, keep on eye out for my Creative Mornings Field Trip on July 13th and the FB Live sessions, on my Tangling With Jill (FB) page that I’ll be offering the coming weeks.