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After another long dry spell of feeling completely uninspired but nonetheless itching to create, I decided to try out Zentangling. A friend had recommended it to me as a nice meditative practice that didn’t require much thought or planning. So I got out my nice new apple green sketchbook that I bought myself a while back but had yet to use, and some pens, Googled what this ‘Zentangle’ process really entailed, and launched right in. And indeed it was meditative and nice, but I felt a bit frustrated as well if I’m honest. My abstract ‘doodles’ seemed childish and boring to me. But as I drew little intricate circles, I started to think about how this looked a bit like grains of sand, or the bigger circles like sea urchins, and the swirl ‘string’ I’d started out with reminded me of waves on a stormy sea, and a nautical theme kind of started to come to mind. I’ve been working on a story for a while now that is based on a seafaring village and a storm at sea, and the two kind of merged and I started to think maybe I could turn this zentangle into an artwork kind of based on those sorts of themes. So a big thumbs up to the Zentangling for helping with brainstorming when you don’t have any ideas, but I’m not sure I have the patience for pure Zentangling, which is meant to be purely abstract pattern and only black and white ink. I like colour too much and although I like the abstract motifs as a kind of decorative touch, I like my work to have some semblance of a story to it as well. So what started as a Zentangle ended up really not a Zentangle. In the end, I came up with this:

Sea Shanty

Sea Shanty

This was an interesting and new experience for me in many ways. It feels very different compared to my usual ‘style’ – whatever that may be. I’m not a pen & ink sort of artist usually. I have friends who are professionals in this medium, and compared to them, I feel like a rank amateur, like a little girl playing dress up with her mother’s clothes. I also tend to plan ahead before I start on a work, but this time I wasn’t planning to do anything except put down some random geometric patterns on paper. But nonetheless I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out for a first attempt, as well as the process. I enjoyed getting to feel absorbed in creating again, something I haven’t really been able to do much lately. This reminded me I must make it more of a priority in life, and make more of an effort to try, even when I’m not feeling the Muse’s presence particularly. This seems like a good method I think for getting me into that mindset when I don’t really feel like I can, which is really useful.

If you’d like to try Zentangle, I can highly recommend it for quieting the mind and relaxing. Adult coloring books, move over! This is much better, because you are really creating something, rather than just decorating a pre-existing pattern with some colour. There is a tonne and a half of stuff out there on YouTube etc, showing you what Zentangle is, how to get started, and some examples of patterns you can use. I found watching people drawing these patterns is itself pretty hypnotic and zen. The basics of Zentangle are really kind of simple – just doodling really, with starting structure, and within bounds. Give it a go sometime!

And here’s a ditty to act as the soundtrack for this piece… 😉

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It never rains but it pours. Today has proven prolific – three paintings! I didn’t sleep much or well last night, so woke up feeling rather low and felt in need of some soul nourishment, so decided to take today off just to do some painting, and it has done me the world of good. I feel so much better… You can take the girl out of the art, but you can’t take the art out of the girl. Or something. Shush up, I’m tired…

Colorado Wood

Colorado Wood

I started out with this watercolor sketch, using a Google streetview that I originally found for last month’s Virtual Paintout – the theme was Colorado. Again, I had intended to take part, but just didn’t get around to it in time. Story of my life these days… Grad school’s FUN!!!! (This month is Elba; I had a look and couldn’t find anything inspiring about it. No wonder they exiled Napolean there…) Anyway, I’m not terribly happy with it – the forest looks like it’s floating, and I gave up and moved on to something else out of sheer frustration…

This (in watercolor and ink).

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

Sticking with the nautical theme, I decided to do an acrylic painting as well, of another underwater scene. There’s something really calming about doing underwater scenes.

Shipwreck

Shipwreck

And to finish off this (mostly) underwater-themed day of painting, here’s an underwater video by a recent music obsession of mine, Warpaint. Enjoy.

Warpaint – Warpaint

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