Thursday, November 26, 2020

Resilience and Facing Forward


Today is Thanksgiving Day 2020..I hope you are okay, safe and well.  I pray that we all are.  Here's a song for reminding you about that.  

The chapters in our lives...each one takes a kind of resilience and a kind of courage.  Right now our whole world is taking on a LONG and complicated chapter that affects everything we know and love. The pandemic combined with political change, racial tension that surely needs addressing, and terrible weather events that have affected so many people. So many economic fears and people trying hard to keep their heads above water.  Food uncertainty and schools in crisis.   

It's easy to get down as this goes on and on, isn't it?  Trying to find the positive things to keep us moving forward...looking for people with the resilience and the hope and the character that makes us feel that there is a future and that it will be better than the one we're living in. 

And we all know that our own awareness and attitude will keep us on the path.  But now and then we lose our way.  At those times I sit beside the path and take deep breaths, read a poem or two, find a tree to hug, a Zentangle to tangle, spend a quiet morning on our patio in the warmth and shade of the bottlebrush tree listening to the fountains.  

And right in the middle of this coping, Greg and I decide to add another layer of personal uncertainty...foolishness or bravery...we are not sure.  When the independent living apartments in Madison, WI where we have our names on a waiting list for three years suddenly calls...we are left breathless with a decision that needed to be made quickly.  So we said yes and within a month, had sold our home here in Florida and had closing dates there and here, hired a moving van, and started "burning our bridges" as we moved forward into a new reality for our personal lives as well.  

We have about 7 weeks left to finish up the good byes, decide what to pack, get Greg's DBS battery surgically replaced up at Shands Hospital, have a garage sale, try to prepare for -15 degrees in mid winter Wisconsin in January.  All the while trying to keep safe and well.  Just like lots of other people.  All without the physical support of family and friends available as we must stay isolated.  Lots of emotional support...just no one here to help pack the boxes or wrap the dishes in the bubble wrap.  (I sound a little whiney, don't I?). Really I am not worried about that.  We have plenty of time to do this slowly and with purpose.  But it would have been fun and give us closure to have done it with share the experience.  But it's the same for everyone.  We carry on.  We do it so that next year we can be together again.  

The word resilience comes up a lot in my world right now.  I thought the photo above was a good image for it.  I am sitting outside as I write this...on my favorite swing sing in the shade.  It is about 82 degrees here and it smells of flowers.  A bright little wren just shared the patio with me for awhile.  Anoles flit about hopping from tree to plant.  There is a slight breeze.  Soon (with masks) we'll join another couple across the street to have our turkey with the trimmings...outdoor on their patio.  We watched the Macy Day Parade on TV.  I made the traditional pecan pie.  A little bit of tradition.  We'll do a family zoom tonight with our loved ones.  One of our children and one of our grandchildren has had Covid.  But managed to recover okay with no hospital involved.  

Let's dream together of a new world we'll have when this is over.  Let's dream of us all doing it together.  So let's carry on.  Someone wrote:

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. ...Itʼs a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;
I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open Iʼll focus on the new day and all the happy memories Iʼve stored away, just for this time in my life.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Keeping pens and pencils and brushes alive in October!

I am doing little bits a pieces of my life these days...I sketch while Greg gets his haircut and after I get mine done.  I've put a little bit of diluted black ink into a watercolor aqua brush.  It makes lovely back grounds and shading!  


The Hawthorne Sketch group met on the 14th down near the pool in the picnic pavilion. This is an "interpretation" of how it looked there using crayons, white charcoal, white ink, cray pas, watercolor pencils.
All on black drawing paper.  Kind of fun to mix up the media now and then.  

I've shown my work for the Inktober project as I went along, but it is now finished.  31 prompts for the 31 days in October.  Everyone has the same prompts and it's just amazing to see all the wonderful interpretations online on the many Face Book groups that Zentangle lovers join!  

Monday, October 5, 2020

Wild and Wooly Art of All Kinds

This past week we all finished up with the Zentangle Project Pact #11 and it was fun.  Not my most favorite project pack but still interesting. It heavily leaned on finding the "golden mean" or the compositional spot that is the best for the center of interest AND introduced the new tangle tile size (3 x 5) called Phi.  

I am doing Inktober challenge again this year.  I have found the tangle version to be more fun for me.  31 suggested tangle patterns.  
    There is also an Inktober version which gives you "words" and then you invent sketches to go with the words.  This is fun too but takes MUCH more time.  It's not that I don't have time during a pandemic...but just not the "inclination" or incentive.  There has been an online raucous debate about the Inktober event this year and I decided to stay clear of it for now.  The founder has published a book and there is some sort of entanglement about copywriter infringement going on.  It has spoiled the event for so many people.  
    I love this Zentangle adaption of the tangle event (which is not tied to the previous one in any way).  Small bits of each of the tangles suggested.  These are the first 10 days.  

The Hawthorne Community Outdoor Sketch group met a few weeks ago down by the iconic garden gate.  I started a little pencil/charcoal sketch.  It didn't get too far but it was fun.

Each month beginning in October I do a 30-40 minute talk show on the local in house TV station here in the community. It is devoted to Fine Arts and I always interview someone in the community who has produced some art that we can then hang in the library for the rest of the month. Each month I give a 5 minute "art tip".  If you would be interested in seeing the art tip and the interview you can click here.
      In the month of November I am going to be giving a tip about card making using tape as a masking tool.  I beginning to put together some samples that I can present at the Nov show (First Friday).  
These are the first samples.  Some with watercolor, some with gouache, some with liquid watercolor sprayed on.  I have some other ideas too.  Watch for more coming later.  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Drawing in the Sweet Spot

 The "Project Pacts" are free to watch on YouTube.  1-10 are completed and each series has several videos to watch.  They are pretty much intended for experienced tangerlers who have already had at least one class with a CZT in person or on Zoom.  However, having said that, it is mesmerizing to watch Rick and Marie and Marie's two daughters complete the ink drawings before your eyes no matter what your experience.  

The above tiles are from Project Pact 11 or PP11 as we call it. 

Sometimes Rick and Maria put out a Christmas series too.  Totally fun with lots of cute ideas of how to incorporate the drawings into cards, ornaments, decorations, etc.  

We then tend to share our drawings online in FaceBook groups or Twitter accounts, etc.  And it's SO inspirational to see what different ways the tangles go as creative people design them!  

They are signed with a "chop".  Designed by each arts out of your initials.  Mine is an upside down V (Virginia) and the S for (Stiles) inside the inverted letter.  

The designs above are 4 different tangles.  Two mono tangles and then one where I've incorporated two different tangles together.  This particular pact is designed to offer ideas and suggestions about the new  3 x 5 size of Zentangle Tile.  Up to now we've had circles, triangles, and 3 different sizes of squares.  This is the first rectangle shaped one.  

The focus this time around is designing for the "golden mean" or the sweet spot in every painting or photo which makes the painting satisfying the artistically complete.  Note the little red square in one tile denoting this spot.  It's the spot an artist wants your eye to go first.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Lots and Lots of ideas floating around!

 This is a small painting (5 x 7) egg tempera on Aqua Board.  It is my response to reading a book about Andrew Wyeth for the Library Book Group at the Leesburg Public Library.  (We meet on Zoom on the 25th of September).  The novel is historical fiction by Christina Baker Kline called A Piece of the World.  Andrew's most famous paintings were done in egg tempera.  I got curious about that.  You can find recipes for it on line (of course).  There are various ones.  You should have "pure pigment" to add to your egg yolk but I didn't have any.  I have watercolor tubes, acrylic, gouache and ink.  I decided on tube watercolors for now but I think I'd like to dry powdered Derwent Inktense.  I have the bars of that and I could scrape the powder into the palette.  Anyway...I separated the egg yolk, and then you have to puncture the yolk sack and let the pure yolk run into a cup.  You add some white vinegar, some distilled water, and pigment.  It dries quickly once on a the board and it is very hard and permanent.  It was a fun experiment. 

The subject is from a photograph a few miles from our cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, taken in late August.  

As you may remember I am compiling a small accordion sketchbook of scenes from around my home here.  It was a suggestion recently on a blog I follow.  I liked the idea of having a memory of my home here and so am slowly moving around the house recording my favorite things.  Great for a rainy afternoon.  Below is the guest room which doubles as a hobby room for Greg.  

I am moving into several prompt groups now for fall.  One is a project pack for Zentangle.  That just started.  Zentangle has just introduced a new sized tile that is 3 x 5".  So the project revolves around finding the "golden spot" for this tile.

And I am prepping for Zen-tober which is a month long prompt for tangling during the month of October.  This time I am picking up on another idea of how to manage this rather quickly without taking up too much time.  This is 10.5" square and it has 31 blank spots.  The tangle list has been published and the idea is, of course, to complete one each day during the month of October.  I'll be publishing that on the blog probably every 3-4 days.  So be watching for that in October.  

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A potpourri of sketches: odds and ends in my sketchbook this week

The story on this tiny sketch is that a friend stopped by with this little tiny molded drink coaster holder the other day. All wrapped up with a ribbon.  "Thanks for the Chat" she said!  "Saw this and thought you might enjoy."
People are so nice!  Anyway, I decided to put this little kindness into my journal as well.  

Below are some "tangle fun" from my journal this week. These are NOT original designs.  I loved all 3 of them and found them on a great FaceBook Zentangle group that I love called Square One. On the group there is a weekly challenge and this week folks could just pick their favorite tangles.  

The group is highly talented and these examples are derived from basic tangles.  I love the idea that I can show beginners that once you learn a basic tangle you can go wild and crazy and creative with them.  
Obviously these are MY interpretations of their ideas but I can't really take credit for the idea.  I just wanted to keep them handy were I can be reminded how to do them. 
Plus they were very meditative to do.   

Thursday, August 27, 2020

HOME: a theme for sketching

It seems like whenever I start upon a "theme" for some journal work, I like to have some sort of special place for it to reside.  It need not be a whole new could just be a section of a journal.  BUT sometimes it's just fun to "make" a little quick and easy accordion folding journal to keep the theme in.  Giving it a title and it seems to help "the set up" for inspiration.  "Home" seemed like a good one.  Simple, to the point.  

I added a title (in Zentangle®, of course)

This theme (which some of my community friends are taking on with me this fall) is about recording the place where I have lived for 12+ years and which I know will not always be my home.  Life happens and I know that at some point, Greg and I will head back to Wisconsin.  This will be a nice memory of a home I have truly loved and represents many of our retired years.

The idea is based on a Tuesday Tip sent by Koosje from Sketchbook School this past week. Her idea (since many of us continue fairly housebound right now) is in fact to embrace this.

I decided to put a cloth tie on this little journal (accordion folded).
I just used some of my gel print papers for the front and back cover and glued in a bit of a cloth tie.  Voila.  

Here in Florida the days continue in the high 90s and also extremely high humidity.  So sketching outside is not very comfortable as of yet.  It should not be too much longer.  We are praying now to get through the hurricane season well.  Then on to slightly cooler and more enjoyable weather for outdoor things. 

 There are about 25 small pages.  I just taped the cut watercolor paper with my home made washy tape at the edges.  
Wishing you all a very happy and healthy and safe Labor Day weekend.  

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sketching Indoors in Hot Weather

While central Florida steams under 95 degrees it's just too crazy to try to be outside sketching.  You just melt.  

So while just trying to keep my pens working...I went to my jewelry box.  This is a crocheted necklace. It is handmade and I bought it at a craft fair a number of years ago.  Made from a collection of multi colored buttons!  

Struggling with this blogger format now as Google (who should be #1 in computer programming) is making a huge mess of the current upgrade. Really, it's causing no end of issues with all of the bloggers who may be switching to Word Press soon.  A shame.  It has so many nice features.  

The middle of a pandemic when everyone is stressed to the limit is NOT the time to start revamping a blog site.  

Hoping to get to more art this coming week.  Been making birthday cards for the grandkids, writing long letters, and learning how to moderate Zoom meetings so I can start up the book club again.  
Hanging in there.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Project Pact #10 in Zentangle

Periodically Zentangle (Central) offers a series of "project pact" videos to just fire up the Zentangle groupies everywhere.  The idea is that you will buy the "kits" from Zentangle and then tangle along.  The kits include the pens and papers and etc that you need to complete the videos that are offered free on YouTube.  Just google "Zentangle Project Pacts".  Each one is a series of videos.  
If you wanted to buy a kit go to

BUT you do not need to buy the are encouraged to make do with whatever you have around your studio in order to follow along.  They often provide a pdf as a supplement so that if you want to run them off, it will help you with doing it on your own. That is always the way I've approached them.  If I were going to use them in teaching Zentangle I'd never expect students to "buy" a kit.  (The kits range from $10-$30 each).  

So anything you see here printed off is a pdf that I have cut out and glued into the project.  Most pens and materials can be either improvised or purchased separately from art supply sources or local art stores.  

I just happened to have a small 4 x 4 notebook that I picked up somewhere (garage sale?) and it fit the bill perfectly.  I've had to draw all my own strings to fit the book, of course,  but that was a fun part of the challenge.  The 20 sided die I still had from a previous kit BUT they are for sale inexpensively on Amazon.  

Here's an example of one of chapters in the project (there are I think 12 chapters).  Only about half of the tangles are demonstrated for each of the days.  Then you are encouraged to use some your favorites to finish it off.  With 20 tangles per day...there is no way I could finish this "as we go along".  So I just start with drawing the strings based on the video and then fill in some of the tangles that I like.  This section above is based on "textured tangles" and "drama tangles".  Drama meaning a lot of black/white contrast.

This section is based on "crazy" or slightly "wonky" tangles.  You can take regular tangles and make then crazy. Or you can find tangles that were wonky from the beginning!  I still have 4 to go.  Wonky appeals to me.  You won't be surprised by this!

This section above was all about "spiral inspired" tangles.  A bit of a challenge on this one.  Remember there are 20 of each topic.  So this is just 10 on this spread.  There is another 2-page spread following it.  

The idea of the whole thing is that you toss the die and whatever # shows is the tangle you start with on your tile for that day.  The names of the tangles are recorded on another page.  It's a way to make a "random" tile without going through the step of "deciding" what you are going to tangle that day.  Most tiles require several different tangles to complete.  So you then pick a section and throw the die and off you go.  

Of course you always have a few preliminary decisions to make when doing Zentangle.  Size and shape of a tile, string, color or just black and white.  But once that is decided the little book and die can be employed to help finish it off.  It's also just fun to look through.  

I'll probably post a few more completed pages later on.  It's a nice project for keeping you meditatively inspired during the pandemic.  

Monday, July 20, 2020

July Art

When I did the composition on this I left room on the right to add a few more flowers.  So hopefully you will see this again....someday soon!  

A little sketch experiment done from a photo.  

The Hawthorne Outdoor Sketch group met the 13th.  We nearly melted even though we got down to the river by 8:30.  By 11 we had to leave.  95+ and high humidity. Whew.  But we had a nice time.  6' apart and when visiting we wore our masks.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Working to Find Hope

"Recalculating" (collage, ink, acrylic on paper) 8 x 8

Kenneth Samual writes this morning:  "Social grievance and angry protests across the country.  School systems thrown into quandary over online learning.  Stagnant business operations and economic growth. Racial tensions at boiling levels.  Political polarization and personal stress.  Over-zealous policing and under-funded mental health resources.  Mounting pressures imposed by an unabated pandemic. Social malaise spiraling upwards."

It seemed like a fairly good summary of what is up with life right now.  Kenneth is the pastor of Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, GA.  Great name for a church.   

Last night after I watched PBS's Amanpour & Company (my new favorite interview show)after which I turned out the lights and turned to reverie...I found myself silently weeping. Social malaise translates for many people like me into personal malaise.  

The show last night was actually a re-run of her May 8 show but I had not seen that one.   Her choice of guests and solid interviewing and her slightly distant viewpoint (from London) give the show a real poignancy.  She, and her 3 other interviewers, are smart and to the point.   Like taking a painting and placing it at a distance so you can actually see what is going on...weakness and strengths. 

She interviewed Jane Goodall for one.  (An amazing women to be sure).  Among many thoughtful comments Jane mentioned that she fears her beloved Chimpanzees in Africa will in fact get Covid 19 from humans at some point.  Jane points out we are all living too close together now and we've taken away the environments that kept us safe like the forests and wide plains and lost our ability to think in "the long view".  

Here in Florida, the pandemic is spiraling out of control AGAIN and now I have found that someone I know (from church) has tested positive.  She is young and I pray she won't be too ill.  She has a young child.  But who has she passed it on to?  Luckily I haven't been with her for months.  But I find it chilling as the circle draws tighter.  

I consider myself fairly stable person.  A fairly positive person.  But believe me, these days I am concerned. The fact is that the spirals of hurt and anguish keep coming over and over again so that our futures and hopes and dreams keep getting pushed farther and farther from us.  I see videos of a "normal a looking grandmother" doing a sit in in a grocery store because she was asked to wear a mask.  I think for some people the edge is a lot closer than for others.  And I am worried a little that I am getting pushed in that direction too.  

One of my friends suggests not watching the news.  I thought about that.  So just try to pretend that nothing is happening?  Well, I know they are just saying not to get "consumed" with the news which is so disheartening.  I understand that.  With so few distractions, a person can be overwhelmed.  I get that.  We limit ourselves to the New York Times Brief in the morning (online newspaper) and then PBS on TV at night.  

This Sunday night I will zoom with my great granddaughter, Violet Virginia,  in CA as she celebrates her 2nd birthday.  All the grandparents will be present (from Illinois and Michigan) as well as some of the aunts and uncles.  This will help bring me back into the focus of those I love so dearly. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Life Goes On

You have no doubt seen bits and pieces of this group of "littles" or "smallies" on and off from time to time as it proceeded along.  

It took me 3 months to do this page.  

It is my ninth completed page...I've started these on Jan 21, 2019.  
9 pages in 16 months. There's no rhyme or reason why some months I jotted down a square almost every day...and this time, it was 3 months to finish one page.  

But the slower pace this time is for all the reasons you probably could think of yourself: a loss of the sense of time as reality, lethargy toward creative process, a feeling of purposelessness, anxiety about the future, loss of personal connections,  and being overwhelmed with the huge events affecting all our lives.  

Speaking of which...This morning's NY Times briefing had an amazing list of the things that the authors felt worth listing that have happened since January 1...the first 6 months of 2020. 

And we haven't gotten to the election yet.  

The list helped me to get some perspective on why I feel overwhelmed in so many ways.  And why our country and the world is reeling from one event after another.  
As the title does go on.  Balancing it is difficult but we have no choice. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Quiet Summer in Florida

Outdoor sketching in the summer here in Florida is touch and go.  Many days in late June the predicted high is close to 100 degrees and that's the real temp.  The humidity is stunning!  

So I head out by 8:30 if possible and close up by 11.  
This week we had 5 of us out sketching around Pete's yard (which is next door to my house!  (How convenient is that!).  

Just barely behind Pete's striped awning you can see a tall strange plant (called an Agave) that is in my yard and is now about 15' tall.  Much taller than the house now and it's blooming (even as I speak) odd yellow spiked flowerets are popping out up there.  Two days ago there was no color.  What an amazing Dr Seuss plant!  

The stalk looked like an asparagus on steroids for awhile..growing 6" a day for two weeks until it sprouted out what look like a hat tree at the top.  Then the pods and now the flowers.  

So on Tuesday morning the group scattered around about Pete and Katie's lovely yard sketching.  Keeping our social distance but chatting now and then.  Listening to the splashing fountains and sipping iced drinks.  

This being our first summer here (even though we've lived here for 13 years!) we find the flowers that have bloomed all through the park to be fascinating and new...things we've never seen before. 

The languid way that life evolves in the new...even if it were not a pandemic...things start moving so slowly.  Like moving through a thick liquid.   The clubs and and activities are always really limited in summer.  But they used to have shuffleboard and bingo and the art room would be open and exercise groups and day trips planned for lunches out.  You know.

This year there is nothing that involves a group except the pool.  Statistics show the virus on the uptake again in FL and no one wants to take a chance.  People get together on screen porches 6' apart to have cool drinks in the evening and chat.

 I love curling up in the late afternoon to read and keep tabs on the beautiful clouds that move in and often bring brief and hard rain.

Yesterday a small (4') alligator climbed out of our pond in our yard to have a bit of sun.  YIKES.  

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Only More So

A small collection of thoughts describing one day where I slipped through "a-day-in-the-corona virus-life".
(note Greg and I are trying to fix our weather radio which has not been working correctly.) This seems important as we are now in the hurricane season.  

The Leesburg "En Plein Air" groupies met  on May 28th in downtown Leesburg to sketching "about the town" doing more urban sketches.  I slipped into a tiny little garden across from the library where there were 3 bubbling fountains and a nice old house that had been restored for Beacon College to use as their Ad Building.  So quiet there.  I experimented with some mixed media on this one: crayons, wc pencils, ink, wc.  

After sketching the group met at the local coffee house (otherwise deserted except for us and two young boys who were serving us.)  We were able to spread out "fairly well" to social distance.  My first time in a group for months. You start to feel "shaky" when you get into groups.  

We laid our sketches out on the table.  

Three of us at Hawthorne Park met down by the Fruit and Veggie Truck last Tuesday morning.  We got lucky with the weather as it was sunny but with a breeze and not too hot.  

The events of this week with protests about police violence and racial inequity have compounded the angst and frustration we already have been feeling as we watch over 100,000 people die in our country of a virus that haunts our world.  In between these monumental and cataclysmic international events, our normally strange and amazing  lives try to continue.  But we know we are all changed now.  Life will never be the same as before...

Babies keep getting born, people get sick, people are lonely or are afraid, people show enormous kindness and love, people have anxious and frightening problems, we make good and bad choices, we are happy, sad, lonely, amazed, and anxious.  Living in electric- like snippets of time just like before all this happened...only more so.  

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Joys of Being Outdoors

About 5 of the outdoor painters from Leesburg area gathered at Venetian Gardens last Thursday (the 14th of May) for some sketching and painting.  The gardens are just about 4 miles north of Hawthorne Park.

Although I have painted here fairly often I never really knew much about it's history.  

In the late 1930's the gardens got it's start as a Federal Emergency Relief Administration project. It was designed to create work to feed Leesburg in the midst of the Great Depression.  Locals were able to plant gardens there to actually produce food for their families.  The gardens have had many many changes and improvements as the years went along.  There was a pool for locals to swim for many years, a baseball diamond, boat docks, islands and bridges (many of those remain). Although the pool is gone.  

In the past two years a large new "community" building (called "The Venetian Center" has been built there and was just dedicated last November.  That is what you see above.  This is a nice new venue to be rented out for weddings and other events.  

According to what I read, another building is set to built here at the park nearby which will be a restaurant.  Covid 19 may slow those plans down now, I all restaurants are in jeopardy and having difficulties.  And the economic downturn will no doubt impact these plans too.  

We could not do our usual lunch out afterwards due to "social distancing" right now.  But some gals brought picnic lunches. It was in the upper 80s and very breezy that day.  Quite pleasant.  And it is always uplifting to be outdoors sketching!  We are "hoping" weather will let us try a painting time in downtown Leesburg next Thursday!  So far weather looks good. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Pandemic Days and Trying to find Reality

"The Art Library and Back Corner of my Studio" wc and ink on Arches hot press paper 9 x 12

"Front Corner of Studio" wc, Tombow pens, Faber Castell pens, Arches hot press 4 x 8

The pandemic carries days and months flow together now.  Every sort of emotion is on display.. in our own towns, across our nation, in other our own homes...on the television, on social media.  They range from anger, to disbelief, from creativity to dismay, from despair to resignation, from fear to a kind of holy stillness.   

Garrison Keillor writes...

Old man in a black winter coat looking out on the rooftops of New York, and a slim blond with violin scars on her jaw, and we talk about the boxes of useless unused stuff in closets that should be dealt with, and it brings to mind a fit of shelf-clearing years ago, an old unread book I opened and found, pressed between the leaves, a piece of yellowed handstitching: “Elizabeth Crandall is my name And America is my nation. Providence is my home And Christ is my salvation When I am dead and in my grave and all my bones are rotten, if this you see, remember me, when I am quite forgotten. 1845.” A fellow writer, long gone, and the thought isn’t original but the stitching is perfect. The perfection is stunning.

Sometimes as I sketch around my home and yard...I wonder if this will be seen in some generation far far away in the future...papers yellow around the edges.  I am tempted to write in small small print..."when you see this, remember me. 2020". 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day During Pandemic

ink, crayon, oil pastel, wc pencil

Pandemic Mother's Day.  I sure hope I am NOT saying that NEXT May.  I know you all feel the same!  It's not knowing how long, that begins to get under your skin after awhile.  

I must say that it was wonderful to Zoom my 3 children and their families and my granddaughter and her children too today.  A nice family virtual gathering and the children had beautiful flowers delivered yesterday.  So nice.  I feel very loved and cared about.  

You get excited to have a haircut too.  A friend here in the park was willing to do it and none of us have been out of the park.  We felt it was okay to do this.  THAT was great. (ink and watercolor pencil). 

There have been virtual art gatherings during the week.  That was nice and two virtual church services today...both up north and here in Leesburg.  Spiritual encouragement...kindness, prayer, and music.  They all help.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Journaling in Pandemic Days

One of the websites my daughter, Julie, sent me had a ton of ideas about how to "journal" your way through the pandemic...or at least commenting now and then in writing about how things are going for you...what do you see...what do you you are coping or not.  I thought this had merit.  So I started with my 6 Pandemic Zendalas and put them into my journal.  

Then I designed some spaces around them conducive to more patterns and some space for writing.  It felt good to release my thoughts about what was going on around me.  I remember thinking about someone recently interviewed talking about some of the positives that could come from in the matter of being more comfortable with yourself, in sensing what is important in life, in sharing more with people you haven't seen in a long time, in more heightened sense of wonder at the natural world...etc.  I began jotting some of my thoughts and where we are statistically at this point.  How my thinking has changed over the last months.   

But then too, the interviewed person added, you must realize that is a "privileged" view of the pandemic.  If you are not ill, if you are not afraid (for yourself or loved ones), if you are sheltering inside in comfort with enough food, etc.  That is the privileged way to see one's way through a shelter in place issue.  There are so many that will not have that view for obvious reasons.  They are doctors and nurses on the front line,  homeless, sick, economically shattered, unemployed, losing a business they loved, hopeless, angry, trying to cope with young children, caring for people with disabilities, living in a nursing home, or having mental or marital problems that make them unsafe.  

So it is that we must expanded our thoughts to encompass the world view of this as well as our own personal view.  For me to worry if I have a mask and whether or not we'll run out of fresh bananas and have enough hand sanitizer and jig saw puzzles is one thing. But there is a whole other side to this that one cannot put aside.  For me to grumble about whether I should clean a closet or bake brownies or sit on the patio to sketch is a very privileged view of what is going on here.  

I am not living the life I thought I'd be living.  No one is.  But I am so grateful to be where I am and that my children and grandchildren and great children are able to be safe.  I pray all my blogging friends are safe also and that you are able to stay well and keep sheltering until we know things have started to turn around.  It's way too soon to go out shopping at the mall. We need to remember that boredom is not a reason to bring danger to all the people out there.  Stay home.  Listen to qualified medical folks for their opinion when it's time to go out more.  

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Finished with Zentangle Project Pact 9

The "gratitude" project is finished.  Designed by the founders of the Zentangle method, the 9 videos divided the project up into manageable size.  

At the close of the project I decided to fill in the empty spots that were left around the words I had chosen to honor in gratitude.  In other words to feature the words too, instead of just covering them up by layering the Zendalas one over another.  Pretty as that looks.

Laughter, hope, friends, family, trees and love were my 6 words. So the tangles surrounding the words are just "playing" around myself after the project was done.  

It was a pleasant project and very meditative and I was sorry to see it over.  

It's been a kind a strange week for me.  Nothing special that I can think has caused it except the accumulation of a lot of isolation and a lot of bewilderment and now and then interrupted sleep with odd dreams. I know I am not alone in this.  It's a very very strange time all over the world. 

It's as if life is now two dimensional instead of three.  We listen to the news in the evening for about an hour and I read the online newspaper in the morning.  We are doing a lot of the same things as other people.  Trying to keep our sense of humor, trying to balance things.  But I am finding it more difficult as times goes on.  I am sure you all feel the same way.  

Monday, April 20, 2020

Pandemic Zentangle Project

Periodically the Zentangle® family gets together and tries some new creations.  Sponsored by Zentangle founders, Rick and Marie and their come "project Pacts".  This is #9.  All of the instructions for all the packs is free online.  All different kinds of fun ideas.  Such creativity.  The Packet components can be purchased online.  But usually the materials are things you can find around the house if you have done Zentangle before.

Every Christmas is a pack called, of course, the 12 Tangles of Christmas.  This particular one "unofficially" called the Pandemic Packet.  
And it's a wonderful distraction.  

The Demos arrive in your inbox about 2 pm every day during the project.  If you want to do them that day (or some other day) whatever is fine.  There is a Face book group for sharing what happens.  

As you can see above there are 6 Zendalas (4.5" across) and they are prepped by doing a "string" using some suggested organic tangles.  Options are always open, of course.  

Then the 6 videos on "suggestions" of how to fill the Zendalas arrive one per day. So there has been one prep day and now 3 days of the project.  

Here are my first three.  And then below my friend Maureen is taking the challenge too.  Note how the same and how different they are! 

Maureen even chose to cut out her Zendalas with fancy scissors so the edges have a nice design.  When we have all six done, I'll post them again so you can see how they look all finished.  

These are also known as "grateful" tangles.  In the white space we are supposed to be lightly writing something we are thankful for.  I'm going back to do that in the morning.  There are so many!