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Friday, May 31, 2013

Try Try Again

After posting about my first experience with this week's Diva challenge and my less-then-favorite tribute to Bales, I was inspired to try again.  

I started with a border and strings that reminded me of a landscape.  Immediately I knew I'd be coloring this piece in when finished!  I filled each section with a different variation of Bales and tried to play with the size and angle of the grids.  Here is the black and white result:

I had so much fun working on this piece and enjoyed the different fields of Bales.  I grabbed my new Tombow Irojiten colored pencils and filled in each of the sections.  I used every pencil in the Seascape Dull Tone, volume 7 set.  The pencils colored smoothly.  I liked working with them.

Here's the final, colored in version.  I'm much happier with this piece!  Even so, I'm even happier that I didn't let the first try get me down or stop me from making something new.  I challenged myself to try again and to play with my new pencils at one time.  I'm so glad I did.  

The Bales Have It

I usually love monotangles, a work featuring different versions of a single tangle pattern.  For some reason, this week's Diva challenge working with Bales was not my favorite.  I love Bales; I think it's a nice, easy pattern with a lot of variations.

I used a big single Bales as my border.  It was fun playing with some variations in the corners.  I think what I was going for in the middle didn't work, but that's ok.  It's beneficial to practice and to play with patterns or ideas until they feel right.  Even in pieces that I'm not in love with, I can always find an area that I appreciate for some reason.  Maybe it's a pattern or some shading, or maybe it's the fact that I tried something new.

Through my Zentangle® practice, I've learned to let go and to accept that it's OK not to love a piece.  The important thing is that some minor dissatisfaction doesn't stop me from trying again.  With past crafts, I'd give up when I couldn't get something right. Knitting was not my friend.  I could do basic stitches, but I got frustrated which wasn't fun. I have a big bag filled with yarn and needles upstairs that I will probably never use again (time to donate!).  With the Zentangle Method, however, I never give up.  I know that this is just one small piece, and that I will have many more in my future.  It's so freeing to know this.  I relax while creating pieces and enjoy knowing that the process--not the product--is the most important thing.

I think it's brave to put a piece that I don't like up for all to see.  I believe in practicing what I preach.  Every tile or piece is part of my artistic journey, and even though I've been tangling for several years, I'm still learning and growing as an artist too!

My hesitation and feelings about this piece must mean that I have to try another one soon!

I love this art journal that I have, but it's difficult to scan because of the spine.  I end up having to take pictures so they're not exactly the right tone.  You get the idea though, I hope.  :-)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tanglers of the Round Table, er, Tile

When you try something new, does it sometimes feel like you need to wear armor or have a spear with you just in case?  It can be scary to try new things and to think outside of our regular mode.

Not so for my recent Zendala class.  Look at the great job they did!  The tiles on the left used a pre-strung Zendala tile.  On the right, the tanglers created their own strings.  I bet their filled in pieces look amazing!

I think working with Zendalas can seem a bit daunting because many of the spaces are smaller.  Most patterns can be created on a smaller scale.  You can also take the challenge to find new patterns that fit into tighter areas.  Remember, the string is a guide, and even if trying to keep the sense of balance, you can always ignore some of the lines to make larger areas in which to play.  Like practicing on a Zentangle tile, strings are there as tools, guides, or things to ignore completely as you see fit.

It's fun to think about whether to fill in every space or to leave some gaps in the design too.

Huzzah to the Zendala tanglers!

Christmas in May!

I love when a new box of art supplies comes to my door.  It's like Christmas pretty regularly around here.  Even when it's an order of books or Zentangle supplies to sell in my classes, it's always fun to receive inspiring new items.

The latest box contained goodies just for me!  I ordered a set of the new Tombow Irojiten colored pencils.  They are attractively packaged in little boxes.  Like most new things, ranging from craft supplies to clothes, I typically admire them and don't want to use them.  Sometimes I like the newness to remain, and sometimes I'm a little hesitant to jump in.

Why is that?  Do kids hesitate to rip open a box with a prized new toy inside?  Well, maybe with all of the fasteners used to keep toys permanently attached to packaging, but that's not quite the same.  :-)  Kids would likely devour the packaging if it meant being able to get to the toy goodness inside.  Toddlers, would squeal for the packaging itself!  As an adult, I hesitate.

The good news is it took less than an hour for me to crack open the box, pull out a pencil, and start tangling!  I bolstered up a little creative bravery by posting about my new acquisition with my fellow CZTs.

I've only used ten of the thirty pencils in this set, but so far, I like how they glide across the tile.  I used the fluorescence set (vol. 7).  Upon initial experimentation, I think they color more smoothly than the Prismacolor pencils, but I think the Prismacolors are more saturated and have a better fill.  It will be fun to explore with my new pencils more.

Here is my first piece with the Irojitens on a pre-strung black Zendala tile.  I have to play with scanning these darker tiles a bit more because it took a fair amount of editing to get the colors to be remotely close to what I see in person.  The pencil is a bit shimmery in person which is lovely.


Sometimes people can do a little thing that can mean so much.  Back when my daughter was having surgery, I created art with some kind of sun in it each day until the surgery was over to help me get through that difficult time.  A few fellow tanglers created suns to share, and I was truly touched.

This week, I received a belated, but highly appreciated sun from CZT Sandy Hunter.  Sandy, like I have been known to do, created this piece but never got around to sending it (I'm currently looking at the tangled photo mat that I forgot to send for a swap).  After all this time, I had forgotten that Sandy had offered to make something, so it was an extra surprise when I opened the envelope!  I was touched by the beautiful ATC (artist trading card) that Sandy made for my family.  Her beautiful line work and color would bring some cheerful sun to anyone's day!  I don't think there's such a thing as being late with thoughtfulness.  :-)

To top it off, she even decorated my name on the envelope!  She tipped her hat and told me that the balloon was an afterthought thanks to her disruptive cat.  I never would have known!

Thanks, Sandy.  :-)  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It Isn't Always Black and White

Well, for this week's Diva challenge, it is.

The Diva, inspired by Rick and Maria's "Ebony and Ivory" pieces at Blog Zentangle, challenged us to create pieces with an equal balance of black and white areas or patterns.

For my first piece, I drew four diagonal lines for my string and filled every other section with a thicker black Micron pen.  Next I tangled some of the black on white areas, pausing to add some white on black in the adjacent sections.  I noticed that all of the patterns I had started to use began with the letter "B" so I kept going in that fashion.  This tile features the following patterns:  Betweed, Bunzo, Beadlines, Batch, Bluebonnets, Bubbles, Buttercup, Block'd, and Binial.  I love how Bubbles, by Suzanne McNeill CZT, can look like SpaghettiOs!

I wanted to work on a second piece without pre-coloring my tile.  I basically used two patterns and love how my little Sand Swirls (by Karry Heun) are trumpeting Mooka!

This was a very fun challenge that appealed to my interest in balance and light and dark.  The first piece was a bit tricky to think about as I had white on black on white.  I think I prefer to use the white pens on black tiles, but this was an interesting idea to try.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kooky Kuke

I love this week's Diva challenge pattern!  In a UMT (Use My Tangle) challenge, Laura asked us to use a pattern created by a fellow tangler.  This week's choice was Kuke by Katy Abbot, CZT.

I've been hooked on Zentangle's new black Zendala tiles and how cool the metallic Gelly Roll pens look on them.  I took a blank tile, drew a bunch of lines with white Gelly Roll as a string, and started to fill in the sections with Kuke.  I ended up filling the whole thing just with Kuke because I was having so much fun.  :-)  I used white Gelly Roll, silver Slicci, metallic blue Gelly Roll, and stardust Gelly Roll pens to fill in the different sections.  I left my Kukes "seedless" since the Gelly Roll pens have thicker nibs.  This piece is so shimmery and cool in person!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Zendala, or, a Round Tile Walks into a Bar

It's fascinating to create Zentangle® art using round Zendala tiles.  Whether you follow a pre-strung Zendala, make your own string, or just treat the tile like a regular blank canvas, the results are all amazing.  There's something soothing and inspiring about working on the slightly larger, round tile.  I love having a little more room to play while still working on a manageably sized piece.

The latest and greatest black Zendala tiles are fast becoming a new favorite of mine.  Here is a tile I worked on this weekend.  I used a silver pencil to create a light basic string of circles and half-circles with a high-tech tool--one of my daughter's mini Play-Doh containers.  ;-)  Circles are very easy to find and to create.  Grab a glass, a plate, a pill bottle/lid, an old film canister, or any combination of these.

Here is my tile celebrating my mother and all of the wonderful mothers in my life.  I hope you are able to celebrate the moms in your life--near, far, or in fond memory.  Happy Mother's Day!

I had a great time teaching a Zendala class this weekend!  The attendees did an awesome job practicing on a pre-strung tile and trying their hand at their own Zendala strings.  Thanks, ladies!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tangle at Home

I love offering Zentangle® home parties.  People love relaxing with wine, friends, and the wonderful Zentangle Method.  Although we might not get through as many patterns or as much detail as in a full two-hour class, the fun experience, the bonding, and for those who are imbibing, the wine, make it all worth it!

The other night, I taught Zentangle Basics to four enthusiastic tanglers--two first timers and two who have tangled with me previously.  I love when friends and family members share their passions with each other!  After the class, people have a new interest to do together.

We worked on one tile with several different patterns.  It's amusing to see what people think of different patterns or the shapes that they see.  If you liked (or still do!) looking for shapes in the clouds, it's impossible to see tangle patterns without seeing intended and unintended shapes.

My favorite comment of the night was that the pattern 'Nzeppel reminded one tangler of patio stones.  She enthusiastically told us of her plans to create a massive artistic patio filled with 'Nzeppel stones.  :-)  I don't think I'll ever forget this comparison, or the fun personality behind the comment.  I know I will now refer to this pattern as looking like "patio stones" and will smile remembering the fun experience we had tangling together.

Students hopefully learn from their teachers, but it's even better when the teacher learns from the student.  Whether it's a new idea, a way to improve my instruction, or something entertaining, I love when I learn something while teaching.  It's a good thing I learn something new each time!

Here are the fabulous tiles this group created.  I hope I'll get to tangle with them again soon.  Didn't they do an awesome job?

Which Schway?

This week's Diva challenge was to use the latest official Zentangle pattern, Schway.  It's a very fun pattern to create, and it evolves in an interesting way.  I love this one.

I decided to use a brand new black Zendala tile for my creation.  The tile is pre-strung with a spiral-looking string.  I filled each section with some Schway with different metallic pens.  I love the look of metallics on the black tiles.  Each section of Schway has a different filler, although some are hard to tell with the smaller places.

When you play with the black tiles, remember that the gel pens have a thicker nib and have a very different feel.  I think that patterns that have less detail tend to work better.  Of course, all's fair in love and tangling, so give every pattern a try to see what works for you.  Shading has a different feel too, and it's so fun to see what happens.

I'm not sure this is finished.  I may add some more metallic shading in between each section, but I haven't decided yet.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May and June Classes Added

Want to know what to do with your Zentangle® practice after you've taken a basic class?  Join me for two wonderful advanced classes this May and June.

Zendala - Where Zentangle and Mandala meet.  Tangle in the round.

My Tangled Garden - Grow a magical garden with flowy, organic tangles

Read more about these classes on my workshops page.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Come This Schway!

I love love love the new official Zentangle® pattern, Schway.  These tiles show my "folded tile technique" all done with shading.  This pattern is a blast to do.  I love the variety of different ways I can enhance each little arrow shape.  Aura, lines, orbs, full coloring, fill with a small pattern, and more!  Try your hand at Schway, and let me know what your favorite fillers are!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Do. Or Do Not. There is No Try.

It may be a bit extreme for me to be quoting Yoda, but there it is.  One thing I've learned throughout my Zentangle® journey is to not be afraid of doing new things.  I love how freeing this method is and how it allows me to practice a wide variety of things--all while keeping me sane!

Back in February, I created a piece to submit for a quote/art book by Lesley Riley.  I just learned that my piece did not make the cut for the print edition but may be included in an online collection of artwork.  I'm a little disappointed, but I'm more pleased with myself for doing something new.  This was my first major art submission, and I'm proud of myself for submitting!  I didn't just think about it.  I didn't just talk about it.  I did it.  I created a piece that I think is really cool, and I sent it in without any expectation.  Congratulations to all of the artists who were selected!  I can't wait to see the submissions.

The quote from which I found my inspiration is from my favorite author:

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. George Eliot

I interpreted this quote as meaning we cannot handle all of the chaos of life and that we live in our own shelters just to survive.  I immediately thought of rose-colored glasses.  The tangles represent the noise or chaos, and we use the glasses to protect ourselves.  I can't believe I drew glasses!  I put my glasses on my knee, and sketched them.  Not bad for someone who can't draw a thing.

I love this piece even if it didn't get selected for the book.  As a reformed perfectionist, I think it's very important to do things even if they may not work out.  All that matters is I'm pleased with my artwork and proud of myself for trying.  I'm not discouraged, and I'll keep trying!