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Monday, December 31, 2012

Tangler's Block?

What do you do when you get tangler's block?  Although the Zentangle® method is relaxing and non-representational, it's still possible to get stuck on which pattern to create next.

When I get stuck, I often flip through idea books, my scrapbook, or ideas I've pinned on Pinterest.  I also like to look at some of my past artwork.  Sometimes I need something new to get me out of a tangling rut since it's pretty easy for me to end up using the same tangles for a while.

CZT, Sandy Hunter started to offer some kickstarters to help get over tangler's block.  She pulls four tangle pattern names from a jar, and we tangle with those patterns.  She's up to the fifth one so far, and I'm already hooked!  It's been great fun to learn some new patterns and to try to figure out how to put these tangles together.  I started with #5 and am working backwards.

#5 tangles:  Bridgen, Worms, Planateen, and Pendrills.  I loved playing with Pendrills.  I've decided to call this one "Kudzu" because it reminds me of the invasive plant taking over a roof and other vines.

#4 tangles:  Girlande, Popsicles, Tearce, and Sand Swirl.  Wow, did I love Sand Swirl!  These were all new patterns to me and a lot of fun.

#3 tangles:  Tipple, Ahh, Pokeroot, and Verdigogh.  I already knew all of these patterns so I tried to so something new with them.  I pictured a wreath at first and started with the Tipple in a circle.  I can't believe I did that without a string!  Next I built the inside of the wreath with Verdigogh and Pokeroot, but Pokeroot just had to jump outside a bit too.  

This has been a pretty fun way to spend an early New Year's Eve!  I may have to make my own tangle pattern jar to generate my own kickstarter ideas.  Thanks, Sandy!

Tangling for Readers

I finished my bookmarks for the Worldwide Zentangle® Swap.  I had so much fun doing these that I know I'll keep it up.  I am a librarian with lots of book lover friends.  I even got a laminator!

Here is the ZIA (Zentangle Inspitred Art) that I created to cut into bookmarks.  At first I kept trying to use each tangle only once, but then I realized I'd be cutting this piece into smaller ones and could repeat patterns.  

I was surprised by how easily I could cut this piece into bookmarks.  It probably helped that I knew that this was the end product, and I was excited to send them on to other tanglers.  Besides, the more bookmarks I sent, the more I'd receive in the mail.  I can't wait to see what other people came up with!

Here is the ZIA cut into three bookmarks before laminating and adding ribbon.  I've definitely learned that art scans better before laminating.

Here were the first two I created using Twinkling H2Os as the background color.  I couldn't decide which to send and had to keep one of these for myself.  Four bookmarks is good enough to send, right?  :-)

Here's another ZIA with the Twinkling H2Os in the background.  I couldn't cut this one up because I fell in love with it.  This one is staying with me.  It's a bit large to be a bookmark, so I'll have to think of something else to do with it.  I love the colors!

Now it's time to start a new book to put my tangled bookmark in!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Some People are Angels

We all have them....

People who make our lives a little easier, happier, and better.

These people are angels.

They may just do a nice thing once in a while, or they may be there for support every day.  However they help, their efforts should be greatly appreciated.

Take a few minutes to think about all the angels in your life, and if you can, say thank you.

Here's a little thank you for a special someone in my daughter's life.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Love Heals

The third Zendala I created this week was for a "CZT Love Heals" event to create Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA) for the families affected by the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I again used my Mandala stencils but put the dots off center.  I knew I wanted to work with hearts to send my love and positive energy along with my artwork.  I drew several hearts then filled them in, largest to smallest.  The hearts are in a spiral growing larger as they get closer.  I usually prefer the standard black and white look of Zentangle art, but for this piece, I wanted to experiment with color.  I tried to use bright, colorful, rainbow-like colors, thinking of the way a child would like to color.

This was my first time playing with my new Tombow markers and blender pen.  The colors are lovely, but I still have to experiment with how they blend, bleed, and shade.  I love how the larger hearts almost bulge and look puffy due to the patterns and shading achieved with the markers.  

The requirement for this artwork was that every stroke had to be created with thoughts, prayers, and positive energy.  Even though I am not thrilled with the end result because my emotions got the better of me, I can say that every stroke was made with love.  I was devastated when I learned about this tragedy, and I've had a hard time coping with it especially now that I am a mom.  

While I listened to the news and details unfold, I sat in my car crying and tangling.  I am once again thankful to have the Zentangle® method to help me center myself and to help manage my emotions.  After a while, and a very shaky looking end product, I felt calmer and able to return to my day (and give my daughter a massive hug!).

Zentangle art isn't about perfection.  I'm not a computer, and I can't draw perfectly straight lines or perfectly round circles.  I can, however, use the Zentangle method to help myself and others heal.  

Here is my "Love Heals" submission:

What I Did on My Christmas Vacation


I think this has been the most relaxing vacation I've ever had, despite the whiny toddler with yet another cold.  Maybe I'm surviving that because of the tangling.  :-)

I'm still having a blast playing with my Mandala stencils.  Here is the second one I created starting with a blank tile:

I built my Zendala pattern from the center out adding a variety of pointed and slightly rounded shapes.  I filled in the center with one of my favorite patterns, Inapod, by Carole Ohl.  Next I moved to the outer edge for some of Rick's Paradox and one of the new Diva Dance patterns.  Then I couldn't decide what to do.  I liked the second row of "leaves" blank, and the librarian in me thought they started to look like books.  I added an extra border to the edges and decided to leave it be.  I wanted some circle on the outside and filled a skinny border with Keeko and orbs.

I had a great time shading this one thanks to tips from Cris Letourneau.  I love how Inapod looks puffy and rounded.

Since I'm having such a wonderful time creating my Zendalas, I've decided to teach a class on this in February.  Check out the details on my workshops page.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Zendala Holiday

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're having a lovely holiday with fun, friends, and family.  As the holiday season can bring along its share of stress (yes in the form of fun, friends, and family), Zentangle® might be a welcome relief!  Give yourself a few minutes to unwind while creating some beautiful artwork.

Santa was very good to me this year because he brought me a set of Tombow markers and a set of Mandala stencils from Genevieve Crabe.  :-)

I've mostly worked with the pre-strung round tiles by Zentangle with an occasional free-form piece on one of the blank tiles.  I've taken a Mandala class before and could pull out a ruler and other tools, but I haven't had the patience.  I know, I know, Zentangle is not about rushing.  If something is an obstacle, however, it can interfere with my actually creating.  Thanks to Genevieve's stencils, I feel like I can create Zendala strings on my own that enhance my Zentangle experience!  Yippee!

I drew my dots and let my Micron pen fill in the shapes.  I was surprised by the fact that I wasn't obsessed with lines that weren't straight or perfectly curved.  Zentangle art is handmade art!  I knew that once I filled in the spaces with tangle patterns it wouldn't matter if some were a bit off.

I realize now that I should have scanned my tile before filling in the tangles, but I was so excited I couldn't stop myself.  I enjoyed the entire process from the string to tangles to shading.

Here is the end result for my first official Zendala that I created:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

(Book)Marked experiments

I'm participating in a "Worldwide Zentangle Bookmark Swap" through Facebook with approximately 80 other tanglers this December.

I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do, so I experimented with a few things.

First I tried tangling on a paint sample card that I had planned to trim down to a bookmark size.  The Micron pen was far too slippery on the glossy card so my ink smeared in places.  The pen didn't show up as well on the orange areas and was very dark in the white divider spaces.  If I try this again, I'll certainly use a different pen or try to find a paint sample that isn't so glossy.  I liked the color gradation though.  Here was my bookmark attempt #1:

Back to the tangling board!

Next I thought of working on a large piece of paper to create a ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) piece that I'd cut into several strips.  I started it but didn't get too far before I lost my inspiration a bit after my colorful paint strip didn't work out.

Then I remembered that I had been experimenting with the watercolor/salt background technique that I had learned from fellow CZT Suzanne Binnie and thought I'd try it with my Twinkling H2Os.  I tested out the colors and the technique on small scraps of watercolor paper and left them to dry.  I thought the colors looked cool, but then I forgot about them.

Wait, why don't I make bookmarks out of my painted scraps?!?!?!  They were the perfect size for bookmarks.  I created one large tangled strip over the green/brown shimmery background.  I had so much fun, I did this all in one sitting.  I cut the piece in two and made two bookmarks.  I remembered to tangle on the back side of one before laminating.  Oops.

I love how they came out, but I should have scanned before laminating.  Note to self for next time!  I finished them off with some funky ribbons from my scrapbooking supplies.

Now I can't decide if I should send one or both.  I like them so much I just might have to keep one for myself.  :-)  Here they are:

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Diva Challenge is 100!

Congratulations and thank you to the Diva, Laura Harms, on reaching her 100th Zentangle® Diva challenge.  Her blog is inspirational, humorous, and enlightening--about art, family, and life.  Each week she has opened up her life--the joys and troubles--to an eager audience.  Her stories and struggles remind me of why Zentangle is so important in my life and in many others' lives.

With Zentangle, "Anything is possible one stroke at a time."®

Even the difficult or stressful times can be broken down into something less daunting when we think of them in smaller segments.  Just think about the next step... the next word... the next stroke.  You don't have to figure it all out at once, and you don't have to put that added pressure on yourself.  Just take it one step at a time.

Laura, or the Diva, challenges tanglers around the world to try new ideas every week.  From new strings to new tangle patterns, we all get a chance for creative exploration.  We've created projects to honor people and events and to raise awareness.  No matter what the "challenge," Laura has given us all something special each week.  

If you aren't taking the weekly Diva challenge, I encourage you to do so.  You can start at the beginning or just jump in.  Read the rules, and get tangling!  All experience levels are welcome--especially since everyone can create Zentangle art!

This week's challenge for the big 100 was created by Maria Thomas, co-founder of Zentangle®. In honor of the Diva, we have three new patterns called "The Diva Dance."  I learned the new patterns and knew I wanted to do a Zendala featuring all three patterns.  I didn't realize how long this tile would take to complete!  True, it's been a crazy week, but I enjoyed picking up my Zendala over the days to add a little more Foxtrot, Waltz, or Rock n Roll!  These patterns really encourage focus and relaxation.  

I'm quite pleased with how this Zendala came out.  I hope you like it.  

Thank you Laura!

And 1... 2... 3... 1... 2... 3...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Here we go "Loopy Lou": Diva challenge

I was a bit stymied by this week's Diva challenge posted by CZT Margaret Bremner.  We were challenged with creating a borders with loops on each side which ends up creating a bunch of smaller shapes in the middle.

I created my border then looked at my tile for a long time.  I put it down.  I thought about it and picked it up again.  Still nothing.  I didn't really want to fill each individual spot with a different pattern.

Then I figured I'd start on the larger segments and put in some Flux.  Still stuck, I put Flux in all four "corners" of the piece.

I liked the Flux and thought it would be fun to put something behind the leafy pattern to make the leaves pop up.  I looked at the shape of the string and thought of Isochor and filled in the rest of the tile.  This duotangle or "tango" ended up being a lot of fun once I got past my mental block.

I was pleased with the patterns, but I could still see my original loopy string inside of Flux.  I was SO tempted to get an eraser, but I have learned not to from Rick and Maria.  There are no mistakes in Zentangle®.  I took it as an opportunity to play with more shading.  I did my usual shading for Flux and then decided to use the back end of my shader to make circles in my leaf shapes.  I ended up blending in some of the string lines making the leaves have more color instead of really bold lines in the middle.  As always, it looks better in person, but I was psyched with how it came out.  As my daughter would say, "Yeah Mommy!"  Maybe I should give myself a break once in a while and just see what happens.  Zentangle® is really helping me with my perfectionist tendencies.  Thank you!

Hmm, what else in life might work better if we just gave ourselves time to get past feeling stuck?

Here is this week's challenge result:

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like a Diva challenge

Do you hate Mondays?

If you did the weekly Diva challenge, you'd learn to love the work week kickoff!  As the first Monday of the month, we were tasked with a UMT (Use My Tangle) challenge to use a pattern created by a fellow tangler.  This week's UMT features Keenees by Donna Hornsby CZT.  Though not actually inspired by bikinis, these little orbs offer some tangling tushie fun.  :-)

I'm still on my stencil kick prepping for my holiday card class, so I started with a stenciled tree created with my Cricut machine.  I thought Keenees might make a fun tree garland so I started there with my red Micron.  Next, I filled in the rest of the tree with green Shattuck, Finery, and Verdigogh because these patterns reminded me of pine needles.  I needed a star on top and opted for Fengle with a gold gelly roll pen with some fine black orbs inside.  I used sepia on the W2 tree trunk.

I've found that I don't like shading with my regular pencil when I use colored pens in my tangling.  I think the gray is too stark for some reason.  I tried shading with my Inktense pencils this time using green, brown, red, and yellow for some highlights or shadows.  These pencils didn't smudge as well as I had hoped they would--probably because they're made of ink.  I may have to invest in some other colored pencils for shading.  I like how the Keenees garland looks when shaded though.  The scan makes the green pencil more yellow, but I think it's still pretty cool.  I love how Shattuck and Finery almost look made for each other!

Fengle is one of my favorites, but I don't think I liked it as much with the gelly roll pen.  I couldn't get the same level of detail, but I think it's still pretty cool.

This was a fun one to do on a bonus day off while my daughter was in school.  I could take my time with all of the tree-like strokes, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process.  

So would this qualify as an Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Red and Green Keenee Treenee?