Sunday, May 31, 2009

Run away, run away!

I am running away this week.
I will (try) to bury my feet in the sand and screw my head back on. Sometimes life just moves too fast around me and if I try to keep up... well, what's the point?
I figured I'd pack today and then try to relax, play some wii with my husband then take off tomorrow morning. But the cat's in the cradle, the kids have the flu... there's an important retailer's meeting tomorrow morning (early!!) and I got an email, last second, telling me that I had not gotten an email that had told me my illustration was unacceptable and I need to redo it. What would you do? I think I know what my friend Jen would do. Well, maybe not. She is rather responsible at times. Needless to say, I want to runaway NOW and not come back. And now I remember WHY I stopped doing free-lance. I guess I'm not very good at reading peoples' minds and my email server is out to get me in trouble.

When I get back I will back-track and write about the Spring Into Warner event and my Open Studio and the Gnu Preview party and I'll post the pictures and I'll set up some new classes and I'll learn some French and clean out my closet... OK? Bye.

Tangle of the Week - Btl Joos

OK, Here's one of my own tangles! I created this one while working on the journal challenge. I have always used stripey... things in my drawings, but this one has sprouted tendrils that I love. You can just keep adding more and more and more! Just be careful not to say the name three times fast or who knows what will happen!?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Zentangle Challenge

The WCANH group has just begun a new "challenge". This one is a round robin of Moleskine accordian journals and Zentangles. Should be a lot of fun. For mine, I divided it up as four pages with a frame and a wavy "string" going across every page. The fifth page is to try and tie each artist's pages to the next ones. I'm asking each artist to try and incorporate some letters and/or words into their tangles. In this one I put an Escher quote and the words "Art Child".

I was inspired by a birth and a death this week. Rick and Maria - the founders of Zentangle, have a new grandbaby - that's the birth. And the death - my grandmother died on Monday. So the quote applies to them and to me as well. Art kids all.

I probably don't need to say that this week... sucked. The memorial service is next week, so I imagine next week may be tough too. Except, I intend to run away for a few days to Maine and stick my head in the sand. That should help alot. BUT, back to tangles, working on this zentangle was very soothing. I thought about babies and my grandmother and artsy people and things I want to do and accomplish before I die. Maybe this image is very complex and chaotic, but to me, it is orderly and multi-layered. I decided that, yes, there is an awful lot to do. The list never seems to end. But that is a good thing... because it does end, and not always when you die. Perhaps the secret of life is finding a way to time it perfectly! Imagine dying the very day you finish everything on all your lists. Last item: take a nap. I've been thinking so much about my Grandmother and her life and I finally think I know why I feel so sad. I think it's because she completed her list and just existed for these last few years with no goals, purpose, desires... nothing. That's a living purgatory. Whenever I have had to take anti-depressants, it's been like that. Flat, gray, nothing. I would rather scream, cry and do stupid things. Because there is always the possibility of things improving. But when you are in purgatory, you can't even see dying as a goal. No purpose at all. Nothingness. uhhh...shiver. The thought is so claustrophobic it makes me queasy.

So now I know. My sadness is my own fear of having no purpose. I learned this by zentangling. Interesting.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tangle of the Week - Shattuck

Shattuck is one of my most favorite tangles. There is so much flexibility. I like to draw it as a more organic, plant-like shape, but if you do it flatter and straighter, it looks more basket-woven-ish. If you "mess-up" the back and forth weaving pattern, it still looks cool! And try having your rainbow arcs meet in the center, instead of near the veins, and you get an amazing braided pattern.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My Grandma Magda died yesterday.
It was such a beautiful weekend and so many great things occurred, but they seem rather distant now. I'll write about those things on my studio blog.
My head is full of so many confusing thoughts - I've lost people before, but I've never felt so much guilt and... loss... before. I keep hearing people say "she was old" "she's been gone for a while now" "she's in a better place". All true. But it's so permanent. She was a very lively person until she had a heart attack, then a stroke and then little combinations of those until she was no longer recognizable. The person we've been visiting at nursing homes for the past few years was not really my grandmother. She perked up a little about a year ago. I liked to bring Lilah (age 1.5 at the time) to visit her because they both ate the same foods, wore diapers, had similar motor-skills and got excited over new nail polish colors! The last time I saw her laugh - for real- was about six months ago. She was sitting in her wheelchair, Lilah and I were sitting on her bed. She made a comment about being forgotten... Lilah threw "fat kitty" at her. Gramma caught the cat, and threw it back at Lilah. It bounced off her head and fell to the floor. Gramma started laughing. We were all giggling as the cat went flying back and forth.

The last time I visited her was on Easter. She didn't care at all that we were there. If anyone touched her or moved her chair she would scream an awful high-pitched wail. I almost burst into tears right there. But Alex and Lilah were freaked too. I decided I wouldn't go back.
I did go back, yesterday, when we got the call that she had died. I wasn't going to look at her, but I did. I was kind of relieved to see she looked exactly like she was asleep - about to start snoring. But her face was so smooth. I always think of her with such smooth skin. My grandmother was so beautiful. Even when she was "old". But in the last few years, as her spirit left her, she looked like someone else. I was glad to see that she looked like herself again, in death.

I try to console myself that she is now with the two people she always loved the most - her husband and her lost baby. (Merike died in a shipwreck when she was about 2.) But I don't feel better at all. My daughter is 2 and ... ack. And she never appreciated the daughter who survived. I wonder if that is why she held on for so long... to try to patch up past hurts?
I am glad that I took her to California to visit my brother. I'm glad I took her to Arizona to visit her best friend. I wish I had forced her to go to Estonia to see her family again. It's so ironic - she was afraid she might die there and have to be shipped "home". That was ten years ago. I've been missing her, her food, her traditions, her listening, her useless advice - given with love ("the man of the house is always right"). Every time I've visited her in the past year, I've mourned her loss. It's no surprise at all that she is dead... and yet, it feels so unfinished. She survived so many things and she was hanging on for the past few years... for what? What was the purpose of everything she went through?
Some things Magda survived:
• Being the youngest in her large family
• Tuberculosis when she was a teen - it wiped out half her class at school and her beloved sister
• Invasion of Estonia by Russia
• A shipwreck during the war
• The loss of her baby daughter (drowned)
• Hiding in Germany for 5 years
• Retrieving her mother-in-law from a prisoner camp
• Starting over in America
• Caring for the sick mother-in-law
• Caring for a sick husband
• Raising my mom
• Raising all of us kids
• Breast cancer
• Heart attacks
• Strokes

I love you so much, vanaema.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tangle of the Week - Knightsbridge

Yes, Knightsbridge is a "basic" pattern, but it has unlimited customizing options. Also, this simple grid is the basis for many advanced patterns. Once you master the straight on grid, you can wiggle the lines and really distort things. A tip I learned for coloring in checkerboard squares, is to always color the square that is touching the corner of the one you just colored. If you jump around "black, then white, then black..." as soon as you hit an object that is in front of the checkerboard, you can get confused. By going corner to corner, you circle the object and fill in more reliably. Of course, if you do "mess up"... just go with it and do random squares filled-in. That makes a cool pattern like an old tiled floor. Try it on purpose!

To get the "bubble" effect as shown above, draw the circle first, then the checkerboard lines around it. The checkerboard IN the circle should be drawn larger, as if it is being magnified. It's very cool - practice!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring Into Warner & Open Studio

On May 16th, the town of Warner, NH celebrates Artists... and Fairies. There are lots of free and low cost events like fairy house building, a kids' play, dance demonstrations and lots more. Artists are to be found all over town selling and demoing. And I will be having an Open Studio (in the Belfry, above Wingdoodle) from 10am to 1pm. I hope lots of people visit me so I won't have time to gaze longingly out the window at all the concerts and cool things happening on Main Street. But that's why my Open Studio only goes til 1pm. Becuase I want to eat Fairy sundaes and build a fairy house with my kids too! Hey, I'm no martyr. And what's the fun in planning an event if you can't play too!? See you then! :-)

OPEN STUDIO!! May 16th

Open Studio on May 16th from 10am to 1pm.
See what I'm working on,
eat snacks,
ask me questions about Zentangle!
And take part in "Spring Into Warner", too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tangle of the Week - Poke Root

In honor of Spring, finally, showing up in NH. Here is a tangle with growing things.

I didn't like this pattern when I first tried it. I kept seeing the shapes as "ping pong paddles" and had trouble drawing them. When I shifted my perception to see them as "berries"... wow! that's cool! If you like drawing them as "paddles" you can actually get some interesting pine cone effects or even fish scales. If you are really having trouble with it, try perfecting "poke leaf" first. And be sure to try it with an aura around the final layer!


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