Saturday, May 23, 2015

April Showers Bring May Tangles

It seemed seasonally appropriate to offer a My Tangled Garden class now that it is spring.  We had a lovely evening growing tangles reminiscent of vines, grasses, and blooms.  Some fluttery friends even  visited the gardens.

One of the tangles we grew was Scrolled Feather by the fabulous Heather Williams.  It is a pattern that requires a little bit of extra focus, but the end results are so worth it.

While illustrating this stunning pattern, I thought about how I approach challenging tangles.  If I see an inspiring pattern, I often sit down to try my hand at it.  Some flow from my hands easily, while some take a little bit of practice.  Scrolled Feather, though beautiful and elegant, took me a couple of tries to feel the flow.  I think that if a pattern speaks to you, it is worth it to try a little longer to make it work for you.  We all have things in life that we have had to practice until we became comfortable with them.  Like walking or riding a bike, sometimes tangling or practicing certain patterns can benefit from a little extra perseverance and focus.  The results will be worth it!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Flitter's Friends

When I created my tangle Flitter, I realized it was similar to other dandelion-inspired tangles.  I played with a few similar designs in my Tangle-A-Day calendar when I came up with Flitter.


One of my favorites is Dandi by CZT Sandhya Manne.  I especially love using this pattern in garden ZIAs.  It is similar to B'Dylan by CZT Mary Beth Schoonover too, but they build differently.  The third column reminds me of a large AHH by Zentangle®.

I love how tangles can be reminiscent of each other but inspired by unique items or experiences and have different step outs.  We are all surrounded by the same patterns and shapes, which makes them part of our communal artistic language.  It is beautiful to see multiple people be inspired by a similar shape.  Each person brings his or her own ideas and creativity to the pattern making it special and unique.

I know there are other tangle friends similar to Flitter.  Please let me know if you find some so I can include them here.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring is for New Beginnings

Tangling, like spring, is an opportunity for new beginnings.  Whether it is just learning to tangle for the first time, trying a new pattern, or embarking on a new creative endeavor, our Zentangle® practice allows us to grow, to blossom, and to bring joy to ourselves and others.  

I had the honor to teach a Zentangle® Basics class for a lovely group at the Wilmington Memorial Library recently.  The group was made up of beginners as well as a few familiar tanglers.  It was lovely to see how excited people became as they learned they could create stunning artwork in a short amount of time.

At the end of the class, several people commented about how relaxed they felt and how they just may have found a new passion.  I hope their love continues to grow.

Here are the stunning tiles everyone created:


My New Pattern: Flitter

My daughter loves the Disney Fairies movies.  They are sweet, fun, colorful, and clever.  The animation is stunning to go along with the fantastic natural world of the fairies.  I enjoy the films too (I'd better since we watch them so often) and would love to think of sweet fairies helping the seasons change.

In the first movie, Tinker Bell, we learn the story of how the fairy is born and learns about her true talent.  I have always loved watching as Tinker Bell is born from a baby's first laugh.  She floats through the sky in a flower seed until she reaches Pixie Hollow, gently lands, and is magically transformed into a fairy with the help of a little Pixie Dust.  I've tried to find an image online, but the closest I can get is right after she is transformed (from The Disney Wiki).  For a feel for the beauty and a look at her seed-turned-dress, check out this video clip from Disney.

The shape of the floating seed has always captivated me.  I was tangling in my Tangle-A-Day calendar one night while watching the film with my daughter.  I started adding simple curved lines until they made a small, delicate cup.  Next I added a swan like stem with a little top to it and added some shading.

I showed my daughter, and she said, "It's Tinker Bell!"  Whenever I use this pattern, she squeals with delight that I am drawing little fairies being born.

I present the step outs for my new pattern, Flitter:


Flitter can be used as a border, a fill, or a focal tangle, depending on your piece.  I look forward to seeing what you create with my fun little pattern.  Let's channel a little fairy magic into our tangling, shall we?

The Renaissance Reveal

I had the pleasure of teaching a fantastic Renaissance Zentangle® class recently.

We tangled our first tile with some familiar and new patterns exploring the use of black and brown Micron pens.  I asked everyone to look at the tangled tile, and I noticed they weren't quite impressed… yet.

Then the magic started to happen.  As each student applied shading, highlights, and colored contour, the tiles transported us back to the Renaissance days of chiaroscuro art.  The tiles came to life filled with vibrant texture all created by different pencils.  The room filled with oohs and aahs!  I am still in love with the Renaissance tiles for this very reason.

I think the tiles make it easier to begin to play with color in a way that is warm and comforting without needing 100 colored pencils, although that is wonderfully fun too.  I love how these tiles pop with just a little added highlight.  It becomes fun to adorn tangles and to see how dramatic the tiles can become.

Check out the amazing tiles that everyone created:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

This Boot is Made for Tangling

There is a fantastic group on Facebook called Ornation Creation featuring artwork created by tanglers around the world.  What makes this group special is everything features, and is inspired by, templates and art by Ben Kwok.  Ben generously provides the templates for everyone to enjoy, and the resulting art is amazing.  His templates yearn to be tangled, colored, and explored!

I have only done a few so far, although I love many of his templates.  I think I got overwhelmed thinking that I had to produce large versions of the templates.  I just realized that I can print the templates in a smaller scale to work on them in a more comfortable format or size.  I created this vintage boot in my 5x7" journal using an 005 Pigma Micron.  

It was fun to think of patterns to use in the different sections.  My scan doesn't seem to show all of the shading, which is my favorite part of this piece.  
I studied Victorian culture throughout college and read many long, obscure novels from the era.  I always joke that I could have been a Victorian in another life.  The second I saw this template, I knew I had to tangle it.  I see many tangled boots in my future.

Templates, stencils, and other tools can be a lot of fun to enhance tangling.  They can inspire creativity and encourage us to try things in new ways.  They can also introduce some additional stress.  Once I start to add other tools, I can find a little intimidation and questioning creeping into my process.  As much as I loved the boot, I found myself looking for patterns that had the shape I wanted rather than freely tangling.  I enjoyed tangling this piece and am pleased with the end result, but it wasn't quite as relaxing as if I had randomly picked patterns and let the process carry me on my creative journey.  I practiced a bit on a scrap paper first rather than letting the artwork unfold as it wants to without a preconceived idea.

Working with a template or on a specific project can move away from the intention of the Zentangle® method but can still be enjoyable.  Once I selected my tangles, I enjoyed the relaxation of tangling in small areas.  Sometimes I like working on a piece like this to push myself creatively.  

I also love knowing that I can return to the relaxing, free-flowing Zentangle® method anytime I want so I don't have to think about what comes next.  It is freeing to realize that the method is always there and only a tile away from me.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Finding Color in the Darkness

I've been battling a nasty cold and haven't had much energy for anything let alone whining on the couch.  Not very zen.  I can get pretty down when I don't feel well, and I sometimes find it hard to see the light at the end of the tissue box.

Today I am feeling slightly more human.  
I left the house.  
I ate normal food.  

I tangled.  

If anything will get me out of my funk, it is tangling.

I had been inspired by several posts on the new Square One: Purely Fun Zentangle® Facebook group inspired by the fabulous Meredith Yuhas, CZT.  After such inspiration, I knew what would make me feel better--playing with color!  I used a black Zentangle® tile and filled it with some Fife and Fescu then colored areas with Prismacolor pencils.  I added a little highlight in the intersections with some white charcoal pencil.

This piece makes me happy.  It reminds me that there is always color and light even on the darkest days.  Even if I feel horrible, I can find comfort that it is temporary and that I will feel better, brighter, and happier soon.