Saturday, September 13, 2014

What I Did on My Kripalu Vacation

My Kripalu adventure was amazing!  I needed to get back to basics and to reconnect with my love of simple patterns, tangling in my comfort zone, and creating from within.  Here are my individual tiles as well as some group mosaics including a few of my tiles.

Does anyone else see a hummingbird hiding in my Munchin tile?  It was totally unplanned, but now I can't stop seeing him in there.  

This one started out as a central string that everyone thought resembled a mother and child.  My dear friend and fellow CZT fell in love with it because it reminded her of a ram.  Of course, I added some legs and a tail and gave it to her.  :-)  Enjoy, Karen!  XOXO
Group Tripoli mosaic.  Mine is in the third row down, second from the end.
Group tile mosaic.  Mine is in the bottom row, third tile over, upside down.

Kripalu with Rick and Maria!

Maria, Rick, and Me!
Kripalu.
I got to go to Kripalu!
I got to go to Kripalu with Rick and Maria!  Squee!

Okay, I'm over the shock, but I don't think I'll ever be over the amazing adventure.

I spent a lovely, although warm, weekend at Kripalu in the Berkshires for a Zentangle® retreat taught by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, the co-creators of the Zentangle Method.  Several sessions were taught by their lovely daughter Molly too.

It was a beautiful weekend filled with visual inspiration, nature, creativity, ideas, and old and new friends.

I enjoyed several Zentangle® classes that brought me back to the beginning and allowed me to refocus my artistic efforts where I am most comfortable.  I have been veering down challenging paths of color and technique and feeling somewhat frustrated when my artistic desires do not match my hand's readiness.

I saw this weekend as a special way for me to reconnect with the art form that I love and to strip away the newly formed barriers that I have allowed to interrupt my flow at times.  I will still admire the amazing artwork I see and strive to be inspired by it, but I will no longer allow this art to diminish my feelings about my talent or my process.  I am an artist, and the Zentangle Method allows me to embrace my individual talent.  I don't have to be anyone else.  I will continue to express what is inside of me!  Even if a tile isn't my favorite, it can be an opportunity to practice further or to try things in a different way.  My journey never ends; it merely takes different directions sometimes.  I love knowing that I can always come back to the center anytime I need to for inspiration, comfort, and revitalization.

I have loved each of the classes I have taken with fellow CZTs as well as every class I have taught.  I learn something every time and am constantly blown away by how amazing this process is.  Still, there's something amazing about hearing something from the heart.  Rick and Maria are truly special people with a passion and inspiration that cannot be duplicated.  It was a joy to hear their love and joy while they taught again.  I learned a variety of new ideas to enhance my art and my teaching.  It was a thrill to be in such a creative room!

If the artistic inspiration weren't enough, the beauty of Kripalu and the Berkshires added to the experience.  Here are just a few shots from the Kripalu grounds.







In addition to the Zentangle® workshops, I enjoyed a Kripalu yoga class, amazing (although sometimes completely bizarre looking) food, and the peace that comes with a weekend away without distractions.  It took a little while for me to get used to the rule about no cell phones, but I did reasonably well.  I was thankful for a few places we were allowed to use devices so I could check in with my family.  It's hard to be completely shut off from the world, although it was nice to take a much needed break from most of the distractions.





The Thing with Ing

I always love it when a new pattern emerges from the creative minds at Zentangle®.  Of course people create patterns all the time as we are all inspired by shapes around us, but there's a special energy that develops when a pattern emerges from Rick, Maria, and Molly, the heart of Zentangle.

This week's Diva challenge invited us to play with the new pattern Ing.   I've had a few opportunities to play with this pattern, and I like how flexible it can be for filling options.  The simple external line structure is wonderful to fill with a variety of shapes or other tangles.

My first tile created for the SquareOne: Purely Zentangle® Facebook group features a central Ing surrounded by some Static.  I love the simplicity of the pattern and wanted to aura the external shape of Ing.


The next tile also features a central Ing.  I think I really enjoy mimicking the outer shape.  This time I used my aura to create Tripoli on each side with different fillers.  This is quite the triangular tile.  I love how filling Ing with Paradox makes it tricky to see the initial structure.  A chameleon pattern.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

For the First Time (in Forever)

I finally understand.

If you know my life (or live with a young child), you probably understand why I'm constantly singing "Let it Go" in my head.  It is impossible not to hear those hauntingly beautiful words and melodies when I'm in the shower, in the car, or just around the house--whether my daughter is with me or not.

Sometimes it can seem haunting to have a Disney song in your head incessantly, but I just love the idea of letting go (skimming over the Frozen plot points of leaving your family, hiding your true nature, and being a recluse).

When we tangle, we choose to breathe, to let go of our cares, and to trust that the Zentangle® method will allow us to enjoy some time to relax while creating interesting artwork.  I am especially reminded of this fact each time I am fortunate enough to teach a class.  It is a nice reminder to me about slowing down and recalling how I felt the first time I tangled.

In a recent class at the Burlington Public Library, I was especially excited to teach an entire class of seventeen first-timers.  This enthusiastic group did an amazing job creating their first Zentangle® tiles.
I love watching the excitement when people figure out how fun and easy this method is to do.  It reminds me of my early days and helps to rekindle my creative spark as well.  There is something truly magical that happens when people combine pen, paper, and pattern.

I love the sense of joy that is generated we people get together with friends and family, put down their devices, and share a little time creating something lovely.  Then we get to add in the beneficial relaxation and the feeling of creative accomplishment for an even greater experience.  We don't need to bottle that experience; we need only take out a tile, a pencil, and a pen to have that feeling all over again.

Whether it's your first time tangling or your 401st, I hope you let the Zentangle® method take you on a wonderfully relaxing journey each and every tile.

When you pick up a tile, you can choose to let everything else go (singing optional).

Monday, September 1, 2014

And Bijou Was His Name-O

I am participating in a Bijou tile swap with fellow CZTs.  We are all loving these tiny tiles as well as our new Zentangle® friend's philosophy on life.

Our swap was to send five Bijou tiles using tangles starting with the letters:  B-I-J-O-U.  To learn about these tangles, visit TanglePatterns.com.


Each of my tiles features an individual letter.  Here are the tangles that I used:

B - Biscus and Birds on a Wire.  This was my first time trying Biscus, and I thought it was a very fun tangle to use.

I - IX.  Maybe it's because I attended my Certified Zentangle Teacher training in the IX class, but I've always loved the pattern introduced for my group.  The delicate, repetitive lines really speak to me.

J - Jetties, Jilli, and Jalousie.  This one was a bit trickier since there don't seem to be as many tangles that start with the letter J.

O - Ojo, Oke, Orbs-la-Dee, Onomato, Opus, and Organza - I had a lot of areas to fill and tried several new patterns.  It can be a fun challenge to try to fit patterns into small spaces like borders.

U - Umble and Undling.  I love the boldness of Umble.  I had never used Undling before and think I'll be using that one more often.  It has a subtle and effective look when shaded.

And BIJOU was his name-o!

Stripes: Staying Inside the Lines

For this week's Diva challenge, we were asked to play with stripes.  I worked on a 2" Bijou tile from Zentangle®.  I love these little guys!  This one was part of a Bijou swap with fellow CZTs.

I drew my pencil string as diagonal lines across the tile.  This tile features tangles starting with O including Onomato, Ojo, Oke, Orbs-la-Dee, Opus, and Organza.  It was the first time I had played with many of these patterns.

When drawing stripes or lines, it's fun to think about how to fill the areas.  Do you fill between two lines as in Onomato (the tangle with the large circles)?  Do you follow a single line as in the fluttery Organza (the one that looks a bit like fans) and fill around it?  Either way, you can't go wrong as long as you're enjoying the process.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Square One: Verdigogh

This week's Square One: Purely Zentangle® group focus was to use the official Zentangle pattern Verdigogh. This is one of my favorite patterns to do.  I love the botanical feel of this pattern combined with the repetitive line work involved in its creation.  

I often create this pattern as a curved stem with branches filling a tile.  For this piece, I thought it would be fun to explore Verdigogh as a border.  I drew the rectangular "stem" and built my needles in different directions.  I added a few on each side and turned my tile repeatedly to allow the needles to cross sides in various places.

I thought the piece was complete after adding the little berries and almost stopped there.  I couldn't decide how I wanted to shade the piece since it was already fairly busy, but I just kept picturing tiny orbs in the center.  I created an inner aura around the needles and immediately thought I took it one step too far.  Before I had a chance to second guess myself or to let the outcome dictate my artistic process, I filled the center with orbs.  I had been so relaxed creating all of my fine needles that I didn't want to stop tangling.  I didn't want this journey to end.  

Circle.

Circle.

Circle.

Sometimes the very simple repetition of one basic shape can be entirely relaxing.  I write about this often, and it certainly applies to the whole of the Zentangle® method.  It's true that tangle patterns repeat and can create a relaxing experience while creating them, but I find that some patterns are more relaxing to create than others.  When a pattern has fewer steps, as in the case of these tiny orbs, they can be especially calming to create.

I thoroughly enjoyed filling all of the small negative spaces with mini auras and circles.  I added a little shading at the end and am quite pleased with the result.

This tile was a perfect example of how this process should go.  Sometimes I get caught up in my head even though I know I should trust the process.  I've been feeling stressed lately, and I really needed to rediscover my sense of relaxed focus.  I sat down with this tile tonight, tangled, and didn't look up from my tile until it was complete.  I needed that!

A couple of my Verdigogh examples are in the fantastic new book, Pattern Play: A Zentangle® Creativity Booster by Cris Letourneau, CZT and Sonya Yencer, CZT.  Here are some of the ways I like to play with this pattern: