Note to Self:

So while the power was out–yet again!–there was time to finish a piece started days ago. 

As I sat on the upstairs balcony one day with the sky sprinkling some water our way, I was inspired by the view of the lagoon through trees and over rooftops. We haven’t lived here long, and I am not used to thinking about using the balcony for creating, especially since I need to lug out a chair when the weather is comfortable enough to sit outdoors. Taking out my sketch pad, I penciled in the hills, water, and a few of the trees. A day or two later, using my (limited) imagination and “artistic license,” I added a variety of Zentangle patterns to fill in the rest of the drawing. The intent was to use official patterns exclusively for the composition. 

[Note to reader: Since this was not a Zentangle meditation, I can talk about mistakes and what I learned. Since I am not only a rookie at any art form but also a rookie well past her prime, I don’t mind sharing my self-criticism and am not looking for sympathy or consolation. I am merely sharing my “thinking aloud” commentary.]

My first obvious mistake was to fill in the area behind the palm on the right with Tipple. It looked OK in pencil and without being completely filled in. In ink and fully filled, the choice was obviously wrong. I had used two busy patterns (Tipple and Verdigogh), one on top of the other–not a good choice, especially since I was particularly fond of that tree. Maybe this mistake is so glaring to me because of how I felt about the tree. The second mistake was to use Nipa for the background hill on the left. And then there are the rainbow and umbrellas, both of which are too bright and primitive. And the starfish don’t recede. And the balance is off. And…

[Note to self: Think of the whole composition, not just the immediate section. Plan accordingly.]

The biggest mistake relates to the color media and some of the colors themselves. Some of the colors are just wrong, like on that background hill. The Nipa pattern probably would have been fine if I had thought a bit more about the colors. Maybe my original thought was to use it partly as shadow, but I was too far removed from the original sketch to remember.

[Note to self: Keep timely notes on a piece as ideas surface.]

Regarding the media, almost every form of color was used to create this picture–a media blitz of classic Prismacolor Premier pencils, water-soluble Prismacolor pencils, Lyra Aquacolor crayons, Koi pan watercolors, and… Oh, wait. That’s it. Only part of my color arsenal. Only water-based media. (No oils or markers. No oil pastels. No acrylic color. No brush pens). It just feels like more because each day that passed added a different medium to the composition. I’d like to blame the erratic style on the excessive use of media, but it’s simply my lack of planning, even though I was experimenting. I should have changed some proportions and patterns long before I took Micron pen to paper. Still, far too many media, used over the course of several days, as I tried to figure out how to save at least a small part of what remained black and white. 

[Note to self: Decide on best media before and during pattern selection for final tangles; keep a balance between patterns and medium to be used. Plan.]

In fact, it looked better in black and white. I simply got carried away. 
[Note to self: Keep it simple!]

Happy tangling!


About DrEMiller

Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Home: Sint Maarten. K-12 teacher for 13 years (Special Education for 10 years); Post-secondary educator since 2002; Education consulting since 1995. When teaching, held teaching certificates in K-12 special education, reading specialist; and secondary social studies. Doctorate: Educational Psychology Programmer/analyst for 10 years, including project management and training of corporate execs.
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