There is a golf term called “the yips,” but I think it applies to anything that requires steady hands. Basically, when it’s most important to have muscle control, the muscles, or the brain, don’t cooperate and you twitch. There have been studies of the neurology behind it, and I won’t go into it, but suffice it to say I’ve suffered from my own version of the yips, especially with a permanent marker in my hand. I’ll have a beautiful curve flowing across the page and–urp–a tiny jerk spoils the line.
Through a chance encounter with someone who teaches it, I learned about Zentangles. Once again I won’t go into detail because you can follow the link if you’re interested. When I looked into it, I loved the images and the idea of a meditative sort of doodling. I’m a big doodler anyway, so I decided to try it. There are certain standards and parameters, and I doubt if I’m following them strictly, but it doesn’t matter. Once I have some black lines down I can’t resist coloring them, and that’s what is the most fun for me. Since the drawings are small (3.5 inches square) and I do them strictly for exercise, there’s no pressure and fewer hiccups, and if they do occur they’re incorporated into the drawing.
The other thing that I’ve found interesting about both Zentangles and my whole mail art obsession is the power of having a boundary. A big canvas is really hard to get started on, but a 4×6 postcard is a nice little space to fill, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to gesso over it.
I have been drawing and coloring Zentangles to stay loose. I am far from accomplished, but these are a good start on my new meditative art practice.
Next week is grandchild week, this week is winding down, and I’m wrapping up a period both productive and restful. Before I go back into granny mode, here are two more pieces I really like. “Booklove” is going to the Lackman Library in Lenexa, Kansas, for an exhibit of post card art celebrating books and reading. I realize the quote will elicit giggles from middle-schoolers; so be it.
“Floats and Flipflops” wraps up the series of summer cards. Maybe it’s time to start planning for Christmas.
Reminder: if you’d like to receive an original Jillybeans post card, just send your mailing address to email@example.com. No cost, no obligation, international addresses welcome. My little gift to the world.
Please send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive an original jillybeans card. No cost, no obligation, just my tiny gift to the world.
As mentioned previously, I was ready for more professional-quality markers. So I went to Jerry’s Artarama, which is an artist’s date unto itself, and after a pleasant browse around settled on a set of 24 Concept markers, plus a couple of extra colors. The orange in the set is a bit pallid, so next time I’ll get a brighter orange, too. One thing I like about these markers is that you can buy them individually as you use them up or to supplement colors. Because they’re alcohol markers they do show through on both Bristol board and poster board, so I’m having to glue a postcard back onto them. I also made a color key because the names aren’t very helpful–“pale pink” is warm and “light pink” is cool.
I still use the Crayolas, and I let my granddaughter try to the new ones, carefully, with supervision (“remember, they’re permanent, and please don’t squish the tips). When she was finished she carefully arranged them all in color order.
When she was here last week I asked her to paint something that could be used for a card. She did a watercolor monoprint, which she sent to her mommy.
Here’s what else I’ve done in the past couple of weeks. Having a blast with the summer collages. Might have enough images for one more. I’m also trying to come up with an idea for a library mail art exhibit in Kansas. I love books, libraries and mail art!