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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Love and Simplicity

The Diva, Laura, is not hosting a weekly challenge because her grandmother just passed away.  I'm very sorry for the family's loss and hope that everyone will enjoy their fond memories of special times together.

In memory of Laura's grandmother, I'm posting my very first Diva challenge tile here for challenge #1: simplicity.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's Not Easy Being Green

Oops!  I picked up a green Micron instead of a black one for this week's Bright Owl Zendala Dare (#46).  Well, when life hands you lemons... make a green Zendala!

I started with the Striping and Crescent Moon in the outer bulbs.  I liked the inner bulbs but thought I wanted to do a single pattern in the center.  Phicops to the rescue!  I love how they come out.  Some Fescu filled in the inner and outer areas.

I needed some shading, but I've learned that I don't really like regular pencil shading with colored pens. I used my Prismacolor colored pencils to add some color and shading.  I'm not sure I'm using these correctly, but it was fun to do.  That's all that matters, right?

Here is this week's Zendala Dare:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sharing Zentangle

I've had the most wonderful weekend filled with tangling!  

Yesterday I gave a private lesson to a dear friend who has had a stressful year.  It was lovely to sit and tangle with her.  Here are the tiles we created:

I also taught a Zendala class in North Chelmsford.  It was awesome to see how people used the tangle patterns in different shapes.  I hope everyone will share their finished Zendalas with me when they're done!

Zentangle Isn't a Quandary

Life poses a lot of quandaries.  How do we act?  What do we say?  Which choice should we make?

Fortunately, with the Zentangle® method, there are very few quandaries.  Just pick up a pen and tile and start tangling!  No fear, no worries, no expectations.

This week's Diva challenge was to use the new official pattern Quandary.  I've been having mixed feelings about this pattern.  I find that any pattern that looks better with evenly spaced items is a bit tricky for me to do.  Of course that means I'll keep playing with it until I feel more comfortable with the pattern.

I love Carol Ohl's tangled love pattern/string and decided to create a Valentine with variations of Quandary and similar looking patterns.  It's isn't a quandary who I choose as my Valentine each and every year--my wonderful, darling husband.  We haven't been able to celebrate Valentine's Day with our daughter recovering from surgery, so I don't think he'll mind this Valentine being late.

I think my closest Quandary is in the bottom half of the two hearts toward the top.  Maybe it worked for me because it was a smaller space.  :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Daring Zendalas

This week's Bright Owl Zendala Dare #45 reminded me of a wreath at first, so I think I intentionally picked tangles that weren't leafy to start.  I ended up with some flowers on the outer edge though.

I was flipping through the Joy of Zentangle book and decided to try a few patterns that were new to me.  I ended up filling the entire tile with patterns from this fun book.  I used Soup Bowls, Floating Discs, Twilight Zone, Flora, and variations of King's Crown and Bubbles.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Do I Have To?

I spent a lovely gray day doing something I love.... tangling and sharing the Zentangle® method with others.  I had a wonderful time teaching at the Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover to an eager group of new and returning tanglers.  I made sure to mix up the tangles so everyone would learn patterns that were new to them.

This class had such a wonderful energy with thoughtful questions and focused tangling.

One of the great questions was, "Do I have to divide up my tile?"  There are few "have tos" with the Zentangle method.  I love how freeing this art form is.  The border and string can help take some of the fear out of starting--if a blank canvas is intimidating, break it up into smaller pieces.  If the border and string feel confining, just start tangling anywhere on the tile.  It's up to you how you want to proceed each time you pick up your pen.

I often tangle without the border and string, but sometimes I feel less creative, or my mind is full of thoughts.  During those times, I find the string and border freeing because they help me to get started.  These are tools to help with our tangling, but tools should not become barriers to creating.

The 20+ attendees explored a variety of fun patterns including some of my favorites like Bunzo and Indyrella.  Someone said that a pattern looked like a fingerprint, so I threw in some Seaswirl to add another fingerprint feel.  I love how my lesson plan evolves along with the class and the comments and questions I hear.

I had a fantastic time teaching this class.  Several participants had the best smiles throughout the entire time.  I felt those smiles and swear they popped into my Bunzo and other smiley-looking patterns.  :-)

Thank you to the Stevens Memorial Library and my fellow tanglers for a lovely afternoon.  Here is a sample of the tiles they created.  Some people had to leave early, so we weren't able to capture their beautiful artwork, unfortunately.  Didn't everyone do a great job?

This mosaic includes the finished tile as well as a partial second tile with some more patterns and the option of working with a border and string or tangling freeform.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentangling with Teens!

I had fun showing a bit about the Zentangle® method to the teens at Memorial Hall Library during their Valentine's Day party.  We used white MDF words from the craft store and tangled with different colored Sharpies.  We had a lot of fun, and the teens came up with lots of unique patterns.

Didn't they do a great job?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Year of the Snake

For Chinese New Year, the Diva challenged us to create something snakelike for the Year of the Snake.

I created my "snake" string by taking one of my daughter's lacing strings and laying it on my paper.  I roughly traced the outlines.  I decided to play with some scaly patterns for this ZIA and used Bales, Cadent, and Huggins.  I just found an awesome new pattern by Shoshi called Y-Ful Power.  I thought it was a lot of fun to create and to shade.

I filled in my snake shape and shaded to make it rise above the rest a bit.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Hip to be Square

This week's Bright Owl Zendala Dare template had a variety of squares and some guitar pick shapes.  I decided to try using the template on a regular Zentangle® tile to keep with the squares.

Most likely from fatigue, I wasn't feeling particularly creative when I picked up my tile, but I hoped that tangling would inspire me.  The squares encouraged me to use some Paradox in a different way.  I tried picking up my pen around the petal/guitar pick shapes, continuing my line on the other side.  I quickly learned that this idea was better in my mind than on the tile as the fun spirals created within Paradox were all hidden!  Oh well, just keep on tangling.

I had thought of doing something roundish in the other shapes, and I knew I wanted to use a red pen.  Valentine's Day might be creeping into my mind this week.  :-)  My pen just connected the lines, so I went with it.

Next up, shading!  I had a lot of fun shading around the boxes and within Paradox.  I love how the boxes look raised or stacked on top of each other with some simple shading.  I wasn't expecting to like that look at all, but I'm glad I was wrong.  My funky Paradox trick didn't work right, but the shading was an unexpected bonus.

If something doesn't turn out like you pictured it in your mind, is that really a bad thing?  Maybe it's just time to think about it in a new way.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tangle a Day

I try to tangle a little every day.  Whether I'm completing an entire piece, playing with a new pattern, doing a challenge, or learning about new techniques, I come pretty close to tangling daily.  I find that I get the greatest benefit from regular practice with the Zentangle® method.

We all have things that we love to do--crafts, sports, exercise, gardening, cooking, travel, and a wide range of other activities.  How often do we get to do them?  Of course some, like travel, are expensive and require time off from work so they don't fit into our daily lives.  What if you read travel guides and journals, researched your next dream destination, and put the money away for your next trip instead of splurging on a morning coffee or other item?  There are ways to enjoy the things we love on a regular basis even if it doesn't seem possible.

Fortunately, the Zentangle® method is easy to use daily.  Rick and Maria have designed it so it's simple, quick, portable, and removes all barriers to creating.

I'm happiest when I'm creating, but my past crafts had too many barriers so I didn't do them.  I complained that I couldn't find my craft room let alone use it.  I set aside time to prep the room but never quite got around to crafting in it.  My serene play space became an obstacle and something I dreaded.  How motivational and fun is that?

Thank you for tangling!  I have a lot of supplies of different sizes, but I can always keep the regular tiles, pens, and pencils nearby for instant tangling relaxation.  I bring a cosmetic bag filled with goodies everywhere I go--work, the car (for when my daughter naps), waiting rooms, and even the hospital for my daughter's surgery.

I worked in my 2012 "Tangle a Day" calendar by CZT Carole Ohl.  I wasn't that great about filling mine in last year because I worked more on tiles and other papers.  I haven't splurged on this year's calendar yet, but I don't see any reason I can't tangle away in last year's!

I brought the calendar with me to the hospital, and I drew strings in several boxes so I wouldn't get hung up with tangler's block.  I found the string ideas on TanglePatterns.  This page randomly features strings 36, 34, and 26, all strings I hadn't tried previously.  Unintentionally, I chose a blank page that happened to have the right date for the surgery.  hehe.

After last week's Diva challenge, I wanted to play around with Dansk some more.  I definitely like this pattern in a confined space better than free range.  It's very fingerprinty.  I've been on a Kandysnake, Bunzo, Jetties, and Purk kick lately too.  My Kandysnake didn't want to stop growing!

I worked on the left and center pieces during the surgery and finished the rest of the page and shading after my daughter was in recovery.  It was helpful to have this project to keep me busy.  It was especially nice that I didn't have to worry about how it would turn out.  Process... not product.

The process helped me relax, and the end product is a reminder that even in stressful times, I have a wonderful way to manage.

Some Sun for a Snowy Day

As I look outside at the 2+ feet of snow, I think it's a good day for some sunshine.

I haven't been able to post for a few days while my daughter had her surgery.  Despite a few bumps in the road, she did great.  We're so happy to be home while she recovers, and we're especially glad we got out of the hospital before the storm hit.  We would have been snowed in!  Thank you to everyone for the kind comments and support during this stressful time.

Here is my final installation in the sun series for my daughter.  Having my Zentangle® art is a lifesaver for me, and this week, it really was!  Even though we knew everything would be fine, it's still hard to see such a cute little one so upset and scared.  I'm glad that I gave myself this sun project to keep up my spirits and to help keep me focused.  I love how the Zentangle method takes the pressure off by not having to know the end result of a piece.  We can just take it "one stroke at a time."®  I gave myself a theme for the week to help take a little more pressure off and to help motivate me with some color and purpose.  It really helped.

This is a pre-strung Zendala tile with narrow sections.  I wasn't sure what to do with this one, so I challenged myself to figure it out.  I've been hooked on my Splendor inks this week.  I inked the tile in sunny colors and then tangled over the top.  I'm thinking that a very juicy pen over the ink may have contributed to a bit of bleeding, but it worked out in the long run.  I actually prefer pens that aren't as juicy because they're a bit more forgiving.  I've been known to use my Microns until the color/number on the end of the lid are long faded away.  These pens really last!

This string was a bit tricky to figure out, so I picked the inner section and started with some Diva Dance.  It was interesting to do it in a narrow section, and I was pleased with how it came out.  I loved the contrast with the "white" space in the adjacent coil, so I knew I'd leave that empty and let the sunshine be free.  I moved on to the long streamer areas with some Purk, Zander, Flux, and Bunzo.  There's some modified XYP in the outer border.  It can be a challenge for me to come up with ideas for border areas, but I love a challenge!  This tile was a lot of fun to shade.  Many of my patterns were detailed, and in the tiny spaces, they look even more detailed.  I think the shading helps to define the different swirls and areas.  What do you think?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Basking in the Sun

This week's Diva challenge was the UMT (Use My Tangle) pattern Dansk by CZT Margaret Bremner.  The pattern is similar to others I've done recently like Sand Swirl, but for some reason, I couldn't get the hand of this one.  Just like with other skills, there is always something new to learn, and practice yields a better result (the perfectionist in me is resisting the phrase "practice makes perfect").  I'm going to keep playing with it, and I'm still posting my first project.  I've come along way and am proud to share each piece instead of hiding the "lesser" pieces from view.  Each piece is part of my artistic journey much like each step of an infant builds up to running.  A misstep or "misstroke" here or there isn't cause to worry; I dust myself off and try again.

After my Dreamweaver trees, I wanted to keep playing with my stencils and ink.  This ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) is a journal page.  I started with the stencil lizard then stippled ink on the rest of the page in sunny and rocky hues.  Next I tangled over the ink starting with the "sun" in Dansk.  I'm thinking I might prefer this pattern smaller or confined in a string.  I love opportunities to play with patterns until I find the right groove!  Indyrella flows from Dansk, and N'Zeppel (Random) is the rocky area.  I tweaked the lizard, and there you go.

This is "sun" number 5 for my daughter.  If you'd like to share some sunshine for my family, please do!

Anyone who knows me is aware of my love of lizards.  :-)  It's not uncommon to find lizards and lizard artifacts in my home or crafting.  I love this cute little gecko from Dreamweaver!

The Diva, Laura, is giving away one of Carol Ohl's amazing Tangle A Day calendars. To enter, visit the Diva's site, and leave a comment saying you'd like a chance to win a calendar. You get an extra entry if you share the giveaway on your blog. If you like The Diva's Weekly Zentangle page on Facebook, you can get an extra entry! Contest will end this saturday at midnight. Good luck (although I'm hoping to win)!

Let the Sun Set on Stress

We had just accepted the fact that our daughter has to have surgery this week when she got sick with a bad cold.  I'm waiting to hear back to see if she can have her surgery as scheduled or if we'll have to delay.  I'm so happy I can tangle my worries away (ok, mostly away). Whenever the surgery happens, I'll be sure to have all of my tangling supplies at the ready.

Here is my fifth "sun" for my daughter.  It's a sunset behind some lovely trees.  This ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) was created with a stunning Dreamweaver stencil and several Splendor inks.  I loved how the trees looked when inked, but I was itching to do some tangling!

I couldn't decide if I should tangle the white trees or the inked areas.  I opted to tangle the white trees, but I bet I'll be doing the reverse next time.  :-)  I had to think about patterns that would work in the tiny tree areas.  After tangling, I decided to ink over some of the low branches so it looked more like a forest than treetops.  I like seeing some of the ghost branches underneath.
I adore these stencils and inks.  If you haven't checked out Dreamweaver yet, I encourage you to do so!      Wayne Harlow of Dreamweaver was in my CZT seminar.  It was amazing to see his work in person.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Man! I Feel Like an Artist

Erin gave us a wonderful Zendala challenge at Bright Owl this week and a thoughtful post about how Zentangle® makes us feel like true artists.  After reading her post, I can't stop hearing Shania Twain's song, Man, I Feel Like a Woman so here's my rendition Zentangle style:

Man! I Feel Like an Artist by Emily Classon, CZT 9
Parody of Man! I feel Like a Woman by Shania Twain

I’m gonna tangle now-Knowin’ I know how
Gonna get my Micron out
Wanna make some art—really use my heart
Yeah, I can create no doubt
No inhibitions-make no conditions
Start with a little line
I ain’t gonna worry about the end result
I only wanna have a Zen time

The best thing about being an artist
Is the prerogative to have a little fun

Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy-forget the eraser
Oh, oh, oh, really go wild-yeah, drawin’ with style
Oh, oh, oh, get in the action-feel relaxation
Color my tile-do what I dare
Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to draw the way I feel
Man!  I feel like an artist!

It’s just a small tile-no worries for a mile
The chance to draw, color, and play
We don’t need much time-we don’t need much space
We’re gonna tangle worries away

The best thing about being an artist
Is the prerogative to have a little fun

Oh, oh, oh, thanks Rick and Maria-I have lots of ideas
Oh, oh, oh, really go wild-yeah, tanglin’ my tile
Oh, oh, oh, with border and string-I can draw anything
Stay in the lines—though not confined
Oh, oh, oh, tangle with me-yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like an artist!

The best thing about being an artist
Is the prerogative to have a little fun (fun, fun)

Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy-forget the eraser
Oh, oh, oh, really go wild-yeah, drawin’ with style
Oh, oh, oh, get in the action-feel relaxation
Color my tile-do what I dare
Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to draw the way I feel
Man!  I feel like an artist!

I owe such a debt of gratitude to Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.  Learning the Zentangle® method and becoming a CZT have been life-changing for me.  I've always felt crafty, but now, thanks to them, I truly feel like an artist--so much so that I'm submitting my original art for consideration for different publications and creating public art displays like this one at the Tewksbury Public Library:

In addition, I'm more relaxed, I'm more focused, and I have a calmer approach to everything I do.  Friends, family, and coworkers have commented that I am different thanks to my Zentangle practice.  I'm even losing weight because I'd rather pick up a Micron than a snack to relax.  I don't think there's a single aspect of my life that hasn't been touched by Zentangle.  Thank you, Rick and Maria!

I'd also like to extend my appreciation to a few other special people who have helped me along my artistic journey to date:
  • My dear friend and CZT Toni Henneman (Artist in Wonderland) for introducing me to the world of Zentangle art.
  • CZT Susan Smith for inspiring me with her classes 
  • CZT Cris Letourneau for allowing me to contribute to and help with her amazing new book, Made in the Shade: A Zentangle Workbook.  This book has awakened my passion for shading!
  • My fellow tanglers and CZT IX for the wonderful training and bonding experience.
  • CZT Laura Harms, aka I am the Diva, for her weekly Zentangle challenges.  I have learned many new patterns while stretching my creativity each week.
  • CZT Erin Olson at The Bright Owl for her creative weekly Zendala challenges.
  • All of the CZTs and fellow tanglers I've "met" online.  The ideas, inspiration, tips, and support have been wonderful.
  • My students for teaching me something new each time and for allowing me to share my passion.
  • My loving husband, my darling daughter, and my mother for their unending support, babysitting during my CZT training, and my constant discussion about tangling.  :-)  
  • Thank you to everyone for your support and comments throughout my creative and blogging adventure.  I'm pleased that my words have been beneficial to someone else.
If you're still reading this epic post, here's my Bright Owl Zendala Dare for the week.  I LOVE this template and had an amazing time with it.  I started with Flukes on the outside.  At first I thought the lines were too close together, but I like the small, detailed look it had.  Erin challenged us to use patterns that make us feel like artists.  For me, lately, that's been Flux and Paradox.  I was stunned by how flowery and pretty Flux came out in the center.  It was so delicate that I didn't want to surround it with anything.  Erin's beautiful Zendala was an homage to Zinger, so I threw a few of those in for a pop of dimension and color.  I wrapped it up with some Paradox and shading for what has to be one of my favorite pieces ever.

Since I'm still working on the suns for my daughter, I added a little pop of sunshine into the Zinger "flowers" so this is sun # 4.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tewksbury Tangles!

I love to see how each Zentangle® class I teach will turn out.  They're always fun--especially because each crowd has a different makeup and feel.  I love the fact that I learn something new in each class too!  

I taught at the Tewksbury Public Library last night for 23 people including a couple of people who have tangled with me previously.  The tanglers had fun chatting, visiting, and sharing ideas, but each time we put pen to paper, something very interesting happened....

When people are tangling, I love the audible sound of focus.  How can I hear silence?  I like to think I can hear the stress drifting away with each stroke of the pen.  In Tewksbury, I think the participants were the most Zen (I think I need to make Zennest a word) of any class I've taught to date.  Everyone was silent while creating their beautiful pieces.  It was wonderful to get caught up in that silent focus and relaxing feel in the air.  

Group energy can build excitement or cause stress, but did you know that group energy can create calm and peace?  It was a lovely experience!  Thank you to my Tewksbury tanglers.  Here is the lovely result of that relaxed focus: 

Didn't they do a beautiful job?  I'm so impressed.

One of the best things I learned in this class was a photo tip.  One participant suggested I put my mosaic board on the floor to get an overhead photo.  Finally!  I can get tiles to photograph that look like squares rather than weird oblong shapes that don't reflect the full beauty of the pieces.

Here Comes the Sun

Yesterday was a very windy day, but the sun managed to find its way through the clouds.  It's nice to know that no matter how dark or gray a day might be, the sun will always reappear.  :-)

I'm combining two tangled suns for my daughter from yesterday and today.

I've been intrigued by IBEX and my brown/sepia pen colors lately so I did my second sun with those colors.  I'm love with my first sun, but I want to try some variety and not watercolor all of them.  I think this one has a bit of an Aztec type of feel.

Here is today's sun which started with some red Diva Dance in the center.  Then I added "rays" with different patterns.  Other than the Dance, the other rays were done with metallic Gelly Roll pens.  I wasn't too sure about the sunniness of this tile until my sweet daughter saw it on the screen and proudly told me it was a sun.  It's toddler approved!

If you're looking for some tangling inspiration this week, try adding a little sunshine to help my family get through this week until my daughter's surgery.  If you do, please share your lovely creations with us!  Thank you.

Thank you to CZT Kathy Barringer for creating a sunny tangle for her Diva challenge this week.