MomZenArtist on Instagram

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Looks Like a Sunny Day - #1

I am ever so thankful to have the Zentangle® method in my life.  On a regular basis, I relax while creating beautiful works of art.  Even when I don't like the end result, the process of focusing on one pattern or one stroke calms my racing mind and helps me put aside my worries.  I no longer eat when stressed; I tangle.

Sometimes life's issues can't be tangled away.

We just found out that our young daughter has to have surgery soon. It's fairly routine and will be worth it in the end, but it's still scary.  She's strong, and she's young enough that she won't remember any of this later on.  Logically, I know everything will be fine.  As a mom, I'm terrified.

I've decided to create a tangle a day through my daughter's surgery.  She loves to sing the "Mr. Sun" song with me.  Each day, I will create a Zentangle inspired piece related to the sun.  That way no matter how we all feel, we'll have sunlight surrounding us. 

If you feel like tangling something sunny, I'd love it if you'd share with me.

Here is my first tangled sun.  I love how the colored version came out (created with indirect coloring with Tombow markers), but I'm including the unshaded black and white version too.  In case you're wondering, I felt much better while tangling and coloring, but the stress came right back when I put my pens away.  I wonder what the record is for consecutive tangling....

"Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

That's Just Shady

Do you love to shade your Zentangle® artwork?

Check out the new book, Made in the Shade: A Zentangle Workbook by CZT Cris Letourneau.  Cris details a variety of ways to shade individual tangles, Zentangle tiles, and Zentangle Inspired Artwork in this informative and handy workbook.  Shade along as you go!

I'm also excited because some of my original artwork is featured in the book.  :-)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Strung Up or Strung Out?

Yes, I'm still awake.  it's 2:31 am, and I just had to post my other piece since I finished it.  I created this week's Diva challenge tile while catching up on Downton Abbey.  Tangling plus British dramas might be a dangerous combination for my sleep habits.

For this week's challenge, we were to use a funky string with points off in various directions.  I copied the string in the morning but didn't get to tangle until the evening.  I wasn't sure where to start.  My initial instinct was to fill all of those lovely triangle shapes with Paradox.  Sensing that this might turn into another Paradox monotangle, I looked for some pattern ideas.  I love to flip through books, Pinterest, and my past work when I get stuck.  Tangler's block is just like writer's block.

A new place I go when I get stuck is to visit CZT Sandy Hunter's site at Tanglebucket Studio.  Sandy has created kickstarters with four randomly selected patterns from a jar.  As usual, I had only used two of these patterns before, so this was perfect to get me unstuck.

I played with Verve first.  I can't believe how close my lines are!  I was in the zone on this one.  Next came some Dust Bunnies and Purk (a fave).  I've used Beadlines before as a flowing tassel.  For some reason, the lines of the challenge string kept calling to me, so I used the Beadlines to fill in much of the string with a few extra tendrils hanging off.

So here's my efficient tile combining two challenges in one:

It's 2:41 am and time for bed.  My husband is going to kill me.  Maybe it's a good thing he doesn't keep up with my blog.  :-)

Enough is Enough

How do you know when enough is enough?

  • When you run out of time?
  • When you get bored?
  • When the world tells you so?
  • When you don't have the energy?

What if you got to decide when enough was enough?

Although I find the Zentangle® method of creating artwork relaxing and enjoyable, I have learned that I cannot work on a project before bed.  Here I am at 2am having just finished two projects that inspired me, and I am wide awake.  I was too excited to share my creations with you.

Erin at The Bright Owl challenged Zendala lovers with a new template this week.  Instead of working on a Zendala tile, I opted to use my brand new Strathmore Toned Tan paper.  I traced my template, and went at it.  This paper arrived the same day as Erin's new challenge, so it seemed meant to be!

I had an amazing time watching the tangles come to life when I shaded with my new Prismacolor pencils.  The white highlights in Purk are much more impressive in person.

I completed the entire center and was in love with my work.  Was it enough?  Was it finished?  Was I satisfied?  Enough wasn't enough.

Sometimes I worry that in wanting to do more, I may go overboard and not like the end result.  Even as a CZT, I have to remind myself that the Zentangle method isn't really about the end result--it's about the journey.

I stepped back, put the piece down for a few hours, and looked at it again.  It wasn't enough.  I wasn't done playing with this piece yet.  I drew the circle around the inner Zendala thinking I'd fill in the full circle.  That wasn't enough.  I was so in love with this new paper that I wanted to do something different.  I thought about doing a background tangle to make the Zendala pop in the center.  I considered N'Zeppel but ended up with Ibex.  It's not a pattern I use often, but I had a blast doing it (hence being up at 2am).  I shaded Ibex, added some shading around the inner circle, and voila!

Hmm, maybe one more post before bed....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tangling Fun at the Peabody Institute Library

What a night!

I had a blast teaching a Zentangle class at the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody, MA.  We had a stunning and intimate setting in the Sutton Room filled with a parquet wood floor, built-in wooden book cabinets (what you really picture when you think of a grand library), old books, and an amazingly detailed ceiling.  The room was filled with tangle pattern inspiration!

The class was a surprise to me because about half of the participants had already been creating Zentangle art.  The Zentangle method of creating artwork is amazing.  It brings a group together regardless of artistic talent, previous experience, or other abilities in a welcoming, creative, and relaxing space.

I heard it all--

from "I can't do that." "I made a mistake."  "I don't like mine."
to     "Wow, I did that." "Look how cool that looks." "I didn't think I could do it, but I did" (said with a beaming smile).

It was an honor to teach for the group in Peabody, and I hope they enjoyed every second of it.

Without further ado, here is the first tile these artists created tonight:

What a stunning job!  Thank you to the Peabody Institute Library and for the attendees for a wonderful evening.  I wish everyone an exciting journey into the relaxing realm of Zentangle art.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Challenges--Personal and Creative

This week the Diva poses another "string theory" challenge.  The string is in the shape of the logo of the Moebius Syndrome Foundation.  The Diva's dear son "Artoo" has this syndrome, and their lives have certainly had a variety of challenges.  The Moebius Syndrome Foundation defines the disorder as:
Moebius syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that is present at birth. It primarily affects the 6th and 7th cranial nerves, leaving those with the condition unable to move their faces (they can’t smile, frown, suck, grimace or blink their eyes) and unable to move their eyes laterally.
Laura, aka the Diva, chose this string for the challenge because Moebius Syndrome Awareness day is January 24.

In honor of Moebius Syndrome Awareness day and "Artoo," here is my Diva challenge piece:

Laura has opened her heart and life to tanglers around the world.  During her weekly challenges, Laura shares stories about her family, their travels, their happy times, and their trying times.  It is saddening to read when "Artoo" is sick or hospitalized again, but I'm glad that Laura and her family have a lot of wonderful support.


Sometimes we challenge ourselves to try something new, and sometimes life throws challenges at us.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's Black, White, and Red All Over?

My Zendala!

Here's my latest Zendala creation from scratch.  I really love creating my own Zendala shapes to fill in with fun tangles.  I was excited to work with red and black on this one and was surprised by how much I didn't want to fill in the areas with dark sections.  I liked the linework enough and wanted it to stand on its own.  I love how Paradox came out in the center and how it pops with shading.  I was tempted to fill the dagger areas on the outer edge with solid black before going with some more red.

I love being able to experiment with new things.  I love letting my art take me in directions I didn't anticipate.  When I started this Zendala, I didn't know where I'd end up other than having some red.  I would have expected to fill in my Bunzo or the negative space in Hollibaugh, but I surprised myself.

Let things evolve in life.  We can't have it all planned out.  Zentangle® art, like life, doesn't have a predetermined outcome.  The best way to make it further along in our journey is to try things.

Tangles used:  Paradox, Bunzo, Hollibaugh, and Jetties.

Zendala Dare 41

This week, Erin at Bright Owl gave us a flowery looking Zendala Dare template for the 41st challenge.  I had a lot of fun filling this one in, playing with light and dark in my tangle selection.

I started with Betweed in the leafy sections.  I love how they came out!  Next, I added Hollibaugh toward the center opting for a lighter background.  I thought that Meer did a great job as a mid-level tone followed by Striping on the outside of the design.  I think the end result looks more like a ceiling fan above a tower of floors than concentric flowers.  :-)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Shall we Tango?

This week's Diva challenge is a duotangle or "tango" of two tangle patterns in one tile.  The Diva has proposed that we use Auraknot and Bunzo together.

Auraknot hasn't been one of my favorites to do because I think it's a little tricky.  I refreshed my memory on how to do it, and created my center design.  I was pleased with how it came out, and I realized that Auraknot, like many other complex tangles, is still just "one stroke at a time"®.  Even patterns that seem complex can be broken down into simple steps.  I find that doing patterns like this really gets me into a Zen mood.  When I repeat the aura shape inside the knot, it's quite relaxing.

I adore Bunzo so I thought I'd play a bit with some color variation.  The Auraknot is done in sepia Micron, and Bunzo is in sepia, black, and a brownish color.  Here it is:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Colorful Dare

This week's Bright Owl Zendala Dare (#40) template reminded me of a star with some maple leaf thrown in.  Erin (aka Bright Owl) had a hard time with this template because she didn't like it that much and started tangling with negativity in her mind.  It's so easy to do this when creating art, when driving to work, or when trying something new.  If we lead with negative thoughts or misconceptions, what kind of results are we likely to have?

I know that when I tangle, I sometimes create a string or part of a tile that I don't love.  If I find myself struggling to finish it, I put it aside immediately.  I never force myself to finish a piece if it's distressing me somehow because it defeats the relaxing and centering purpose of Zentangle® method for me.

I come back to the piece another time to see if I can do something else with it.  Before becoming a CZT, I would discount my work saying it wasn't that great and probably wouldn't complete it.  Sure, there are pieces I like more than others, but I try to look at each one as a learning opportunity.  A lesser piece, in my opinion, still allows me to try out new patterns, techniques, or colors in a safe environment.  It's not the Sistine Chapel, people!  After I became a CZT, I've learned to give myself permission to try again without having to worry about the end result.  So what if it's not perfect or that interesting to me?  I make sure I keep every piece (unless I'm giving it away as a gift) to help chronicle my artistic journey.

If my 2-year old daughter gave up when she first learned to walk, where would she be now?  Each bumbling step she took over a year ago was part of her learning process.  She practiced, tried, fell, and got back up.  It was all essential to learning how to take her own steps in this world.  If a 2-year old isn't intimidated by such a major milestone, who am I do be intimidated by a 3.5" piece of paper?

Knowing that Erin thought her Zendala Dare was trying this week, I made sure I just went with it.  I took Ronnie's suggestion last week (thanks!) and printed the pattern on paper, traced it, and transferred the pencil lines onto my work surface.  I immediately decided to try something new--my metallic Gelly Roll pens.  I tangled the entire thing this way without a black pen and had fun playing with color.  I love these pens although I wouldn't want to use them on a daily basis because they aren't as fine as working with the lovely Microns.  Nonetheless, it was a blast filling in patterns and watching this Zendala come to life.  I started with the Flux leaves, moved to the inner stars areas, added some Crescent Moon, and finished with the outer triangles.  Here is the colorful end result:

Here's another Zendala I created this week using a pre-strung tile.  I had a blast with parts of it, but I did not like how my center experiment came out merging Cadent and Huggins.  I kept going, finished the tile, and now when I look at it, I see the lovely Paradox, my new tangle friend Featherfall, and my tangleation of Crescent Moon.  This tile represents perseverance despite negativity or attitude.

We all have days where we don't feel our best or most optimistic.  I hope that when you're having one of those days that you can give yourself permission to not have to be perfect.  We're always much harder on ourselves on those days, with our artwork as well as other aspects of our lives.  Maybe instead of holding onto the angst, try letting go and accepting the outcome whatever it may be.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Itsy Bitsy Phicops

What's new?  It's a new year and a new Monday which means a new Diva challenge and new tangle pattern!  Is that new enough for you?  :-)

This week's UMT (Use My Tangle) challenge is from the Diva's husband (and birthday boy) B-Rad.  I wasn't sure if I'd like Phicops at first, but now I'm a believer.  I can't believe how easy this pattern is to create and to tangleate (alter).  There are so many fun possibilities!

And now for a song:
The itsy bitsy Phicops
Swirled onto a blank tile.
Down came the pen
And swooshed the edges round.
Up popped the peaks
To fill with lines and shades.
And the itsy bitsy Phicops
Fills up a tile again.

Does anyone else think that Phicops looks like the Sydney Opera House?

I did two tiles today to play with this new pattern.  I see this one ending up in my usual bag of tangle tricks.  The first is a Zendala tile that I filled with Phicops (and a little background Amaze).

The second was a tile that I had started ages ago but never finished.  I guess I didn't like the string that much so I stopped after working on the Socc piece of it.  I had another loop in my string and filled it with some Phicops.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


It's a new year and time to try new things!  I decided to try my hand at the weekly Bright Owl Zendala challenge.  I've been loving Zendalas lately but haven't jumped in on these challenges for a few reasons. At first I wasn't sure how to create the original weekly pattern to fill.  Then I didn't really want to print out the design on random paper and either fill it in there or figure out how to transfer it to a better paper.

Obstacles get in the way of doing what we want.  With Zentangle®, I love that the obstacles are removed from the process, allowing me to enjoy, relax, and create whenever I want to.

I liked Erin's Zendala Dare 39 post about "ZenDon't" and thought I should try it this week.  The challenge, in addition to using a particular Zendala design, is to stop the resolution madness.  Instead of pledging to do a long list of things that will never actually be completed (ok, let's face it, started), Erin talked about "anti-resolutions" from Jenn at Girl Defying Gravity.  The "anti-resolution" is a way to take off the pressure by reducing the load on each of us rather than piling up a bunch of unrealistic expectations.  Rather than saying, "I will do" to various goals, it may be easier to say, "I won't do" to things that could be pared back.

I usually do ok with resolutions, but I'm game to give it a try.  :-)

Here is my anti-resolution list for this Zendala Dare:

  1. Don't not start the Zendala Dares just because I'm joining midstream.
  2. Don't let an obstacle or misconception get in the way of creating.
  3. Don't use black pen.
  4. Don't use my usual or familiar patterns.
I'm quite pleased with my end result and the way I responded to all of those "Don'ts."
  1. Don't  - Jump in.
  2. Don't  - I used my Mandala Stencils from Genevieve Crabbe to create an approximation of the string.  I had to tweak the design to fit in a few places, but I think it still works.
  3. Don't - I used sepia tone Microns throughout the design.  No black pen here at all (even though it looks like it because that never-used sepia pen was nice and juicy).
  4. Don't - I have never before used any of the patterns seen in the tile.  I used:  Flutter Pie, Venetian, Vermal, and Eye-Wa.

Thanks for making me think outside the box this week and for making me find the positive in "Don't."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

MomZenArtist on Display

Thank you to the Tewksbury Public Library for exhibiting my Zentangle® artwork for the month of January.  If you get the chance, stop by to see it in person.  :-)

This exhibit accompanies the class I'll be teaching at the library at the end of the month.

Tangling Around

Before Christmas, I wanted to try tangling some ornaments as gifts.  I used the clear, round ones found at craft stores.  After filling with glue and different glitters, it was time to tangle!  It was a bit tricky since the surface is slippery, the ornament is difficult to hold, and it's not a flat shape.  This is a perfect exercise in letting go of perfection.  Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun!

I used the Identi-Pen from Sakura to create these ornaments.  I tangled on a larger scale and used only a few patterns on each ornament.

I hope the recipients loved the finished products!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013: I Resolve....

It's a new year and a chance for new beginnings.  While many of us, myself included, opt for the usual pledges to eat better and to exercise knowing that it won't happen, I've decided not to do that this year.  I'm already working on improving my eating habits and have been feeling so much better.  One of the main reasons I feel so great is that I have my Zentangle® art.  I know, it sounds corny, but it really helps me relax and feel centered.  One of my colleagues told me that she can tell it's helping me handle stressful situations better too.

So what should I resolve to do in this new year?  I'm already creating and trying to blog regularly.  I'm already trying new things with my tangling--new patterns, colors, formats, classes, etc.  I am in love with creating and teaching Zentangle® art so it's a given that I'll keep going with that.

I know!  I used to love scrapbooking.  I have an entire room filled with beautiful scrapbooking supplies and photos just waiting to be honored.  I've been pleased with how many items I've been able to use in my Zentangle journey, but most of my stash takes up space instead of bringing me joy like it should.

My problem was scrapbooking turned into a stressful hobby.  Instead of remembering the events as I glued and coordinated, I agonized over where everything should go on a page.  I expected every piece to be perfect.  Striving for perfection prevented me from creating and from enjoying my craft.

Thanks to the Zentangle® method, I have learned to create without fear, pressure, or stress.  Rick and Maria say that "Anything is possible, one stroke at a time."®  I truly believe and apply this philosophy to much of my life already.

Now it's time to take scrapbooking one photo, one layout at a time.  I resolve to apply what I've learned while creating Zentangle art to my scrapbooking.  To do this, I will set aside some time each month to enjoy scrapbooking.  It's not about finishing or having a perfect album.  It will be about taking the time to play with color and design while remembering the fun and crazy days spent with my toddler.  Maybe if I do some tangling on my layouts they'll be a bit more relaxing too!  I'll share some of my "scraptangling" success here too.  :-)

What do you want to do in 2013?  Take it one stroke, or one step at a time, and it might not seem so impossible.

And what would this epic post be without some artwork?

Here are the remaining two "kickstarter" tiles inspired by fellow CZT Sandy Hunter.  These were fun to do and are a great way to get unstuck.  Even while creating Zentangle art, I get a little stuck when I can't decide on the next pattern to try.  I love the fact that I've completely learned to stop being a perfectionist with my artwork.  I messed up on the first tile below, but I just went with it and modified the pattern a bit to make it fit.

#2:  Printemps, Kandysnake, Quiltz, and N'Zeppel - I use two of these patterns regularly, but the others were new to me.  I goofed on Kandysnake at first but recovered nicely enough.  What a fun pattern that is!  I couldn't stop using it.

#1:  Featherfall, Peanuckle, Jetties, and Chillion - Featherfall was the only new one for me in this batch, and I loved it!  It's a great flowing, feathery, billowy pattern.  I adore Peanuckle after learning it at my CZT training.  I played with the shading on Chillion a bit to try to make it more interesting.