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Friday, June 28, 2013

Pattern Peeping: Mooka

I love shopping.

Even when I'm not buying anything, I love to browse at certain stores.  A recent trip to a favorite housewares store was fun for pattern peeping.

I found this fantastic set of flatware that looks like it's adorned with the freeform variation of Mooka.





Here are some of my
past Mooka-filled pieces


I use Mooka in all of my gardens too!

Which patterns do you find in the world around you?


Fun at Work

Do you have fun at work?  Do you enjoy spending time with your colleagues?  Do you love what you do?  

Another great way to love going to work is to do something special like tangling together.  Last week, I taught a Zentangle® class for 17 employees at an area library.  Most were beginners, although a few have attended some of my past classes.  

I loved sharing the Zentangle® Method with a large group that already knows each other.  The dynamic was a little different because the group already had camaraderie and inside jokes.  

After some quiet and focused tangling, and even before I encouraged everyone to peek at each other's work, the group erupted into enthusiastic discussion about the tiles they had just created.  "Ooh, I love how you did that!"  "Look at how that came out!"  It was wonderful to hear how supportive they were of each other and how eager they were to admire each other's work.

At the end, one woman told me that she had doubted that she'd be able to learn Zentangle especially because she's not a fan of most meditation practices.  It can be hard to turn off our minds when someone tells us to (even if in a calm and supportive way).  It's automatic with the Zentangle® Method, and it just works.  This same woman who doubted at first told me that she had a wonderful time and that she really enjoyed the class.  

I always love the quiet concentration I hear while people tangle, but when a real team comes back together to share, the excitement is even greater.  

I hope the class had as much fun as I did.  I gave everyone a mini tile to tangle as part of a larger ensemble piece.  I can't wait to see how it all comes together.  They will have a handmade memory of their tangling experience together.

Check out the tiles they created.  Didn't they do a great job?


Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Gardens go Tropical

If you follow my blog, you know I'm a tad obsessed with tangled gardens.  I love how free and flowing they are to create.  I find them completely relaxing and a joy to draw.  I've added a fun new element thanks to Cherryl Moote's book, The Tropical Tangled Garden.

Love love love love love!

The theory is similar to the current gardens I create thanks to a fantastic lesson by CZT Meredith Yuhas, but now I'm exploring a few additional pattern designs as well as using my Derwent Inktense pencils to add some exciting new color.  

This was a test piece for a MINDFUL swap I'm participating in this month.  Every pattern has to begin with one of the letters in the word "mindful."  I used patterns like Monster Leaf, Mooka, Flux, Fescue, Figure Eight Fern, Dragon Air, and maybe a few more.  I have a different background I'm using for the final pieces, so I'm not sure that those will have as much color.  I'll put them up when they're done.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

First Kiss

Do you remember the first time you kissed your true love?  

There's something about firsts.  They're special.  They're unique.  No matter how many times you try, they can't be repeated exactly the same way ever again.  There is something honest and freeing about experiencing something for the first time.

I love the excited enthusiasm I see and hear when I teach the Zentangle® Method to someone for the first time.  From the gasps of realization when people realize how easy a pattern can be to the "wows" when people see their finished pieces, people's first experiences with Zentangle are amazing. 

I had the pleasure of teaching a lovely group of beginner tanglers this past weekend.  Look at the beautiful job they did!  I love watching people discover the joy of Zentangle.  I feel it's an honor to be the person to welcome them into the community of tanglers.  
Do you remember the first time you used the Zentangle® Method?  How did you feel?  Even though my first time was several years ago, I still fall in love with the Method every time I use it.   

How do you feel when you do something you enjoy?  For me, tangling is a way to relax, to let go of life's stresses, and to reconnect to the world as a focused individual.  When the chaos of the world settles in my mind, I love to take a few minutes to myself to practice a pattern, to create a tile, or to explore my art.  Maybe it's my Type A tendencies, but I have difficulty meditating.  It seems selfish to me and is not the best use of my time.  I'm the type of person who multitasks while multitasking, and I often find it difficult to turn off my overly productive mind.  Thanks to the Zentangle® Method, I truly feel like I can bring my thoughts to a peaceful halt while enjoying some quiet and creative time.  I become transformed by the sense of calm and the freedom I feel to try new things with my tangling.  Without all of the thoughts and concerns, I can explore my art without fear or doubt.  I believe that clearing out my mind leaves me open to new ideas and new approaches that I would never have been able to consider while stressed.

How do you feel?



The Art of Sport

Do you ever feel unsure when you're facing a new challenge?  As I read this week's Diva challenge, I had NO clue what I would create.  The task was to create art using new patterns or patterns that we think are new.  Well, that threw me.

Would it still feel zen?  Would I get stuck trying to think of something new?  Would I miss drawing my favorite patterns or learning other ones?  What if I couldn't think of anything?

I've only created two patterns to date.  I enjoy working with official Zentangle® patterns as well as the amazing creations by CZTs and tanglers worldwide.  I love finding patterns in the world, but I don't typically find myself drawn to deconstructing them.  I guess I leave that to other creative minds to uncover.

Fortunately, I had already created a string of sorts inspired by the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I used a Zendala tile and had created the spoked B.  While watching game 3 of the Final, I filled in a variety of hockey-inspired shapes.  I started filling the outer rim with sticks, the Bruins' B with pucks, and the center of the B with nets (Blackhawks', of course!).  I needed something to fill the spokes, and thought the Stanley Cup was the only image missing (not for long!).

I couldn't leave the tile without some Bruins' gold.  I used my Tombow markers to color in the yellow areas and to color the outer rim black.  I used a thicker Micron for the B before realizing I had a black Tombow marker.

This project was a lot of fun, and even better, the Bruins won game 3!  I like to think that my zen focus transferred to the game.

Inspiration can come from anywhere.  If you feel stuck, look around or think about the things you enjoy.  You just might find an idea in a place you'd least suspect.

Go Bruins!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Unlocking Grids

I sometimes think that it could be fun to do a whole class just on grid-based patterns.  It's amazing how versatile a simple grid can be!  Color in alternating sections, fill them all with smaller patterns, or embellish the lines for a woven look.  There are a lot of possibilities.

This week's "Grid (un)Locked" Diva challenge focused on the patterns and designs within a grid or square.  I created one piece using white Gelly Roll pen and black Glaze Gelly Roll on a black tile.  The texture and interplay of color was cool, but the piece does not scan well enough to bother posting it.  Experiment with this pen yourself to see how interesting it looks.  :-)

Instead, I will share a landscape-inspired piece featuring a variety of grid-based or grid like patterns.

The big question.... do I shade this piece or color it in?  At first, I thought I'd use watercolors or something else to color in the areas when I finished tangling.  Now I just can't decide.  What do you think?


It didn't take long after posting for me to color this ZIA in fully!  I used an indirect coloring technique with Tombow markers and a blending pen.  This was very fun to color!





Sunday, June 9, 2013

Gardens Gone Wild

I love teaching every one of my Zentangle® classes, but my current favorite is my garden on.  The designs are fun to create, the development of the garden is natural and free, and the organic patterns are a joy to create.  The tanglers seem to enjoy the class as much as I do, or, at least I hope so!

Today's class of six tanglers created amazing secret gardens.  We explored a variety of patterns as well as shading and highlighting techniques.  I always love how everyone learns the same patterns but puts an individual spin on each one.  Didn't they do a beautiful job?  


What made the class even more interesting for me was the opportunity I had to test out a piece of teaching equipment from a fellow CZT.  Thank you to fellow CZT Susan Nutting for letting me test out her Twirly Whirly Board to teach my class.  I loved finally being able to turn my "tile" while teaching as I instruct my students to do.  For the first time, I could teach Paradox without getting everyone confused.

Here's the instruction piece I used to guide today's tanglers:


I loved being able to build my tile or piece as everyone else did.  It was great to tilt the board when needed to shade or to enhance a section.  I used another sheet to demonstrate some different patterns, and it was MUCH easier to be able to turn the board as I would with an actual tile.  I think I'm hooked.  It's a great product, and I may just have to get one.  Thanks, Susan!

Tiptoe Through the Garden

I think my tanglers are in for a special treat today for the "My Tangled Garden" class.  I've added several new patterns and a Zendala with a watercolor background for them to try out.  Here's a sample I made for the class.  I can't decide if it looks like a garden or a beach, but I love it!  It was fun to work with the watercolor wash, but it does a number on the Micron.  Make sure to keep some scrap paper or paper towel nearby to clean off the nib.

Let's tangle!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fun for All Ages

One of the many things I love about the Zentangle® Method is that it's great for all ages.  Tangling with kids is exciting because they're often eager to try something new and are less afraid of making mistakes.  Why is it that we lose some of that enthusiasm and replace it with nervousness as we get older?  Does the world give us too many messages that squash our creativity or our ability to take chances?  Sure, I'm less likely to jump on a crazy roller coaster than when I was a teen, but I understand gravity and pain more now and can weigh the benefits vs. risks of doing something.

Do adults see the whole world as a big roller coaster that might be scary or might have danger associated with it?  Where is the risk in trying something new?  Where is the risk in playing?  As I've asked before, what's the worst that can happen?

I taught a Basics lesson at a home party last night with ten participants.  Most of the new tanglers were 7-17 along with a few adults.  It was fantastic to have five boys in the mix too!

I always love watching how each person approaches a pattern or learning how to tangle, but this class was even more exciting to watch.  Of course adults and tanglers with art backgrounds can bring other experiences into their Zentangle practice.  What I didn't expect, however, was what interesting experiences the young boys would bring to their new practice.  They enjoyed the logic and puzzle-like aspect of tangling.  As I started to describe a pattern we were about to cover, they enjoyed looking for the end result on the sample art I had on the table.  It became a fun game to discover the pattern before I drew it.

Fearlessly, the kids also jumped ahead of me and kept exploring their own designs, which adults are sometimes a little hesitant to do.  The enthusiasm was infectious!

I think everyone had a great time, and several of the boys made a point of coming up to me after to thank me and to tell me they had fun.  I'm sure the chocolate didn't hurt either.  :-)

This was a very memorable and wonderful class for me!  I hope I've inspired the group to continue tangling.  I always think this is a wonderful parent/child activity to share!

Check out the beautiful tiles they created:


Friday, June 7, 2013

Through the Keyhole

I'm getting ready to teach the next "My Tangled Garden" ZIA class this weekend and thought I'd practice with a garden.  I started with a pencil keyhole border then tangled my organic patterns inside.  After highlighting, shading, and coloring a bit, I added some wood like texture to the outer area to suggest looking through a wooden gate or door.


High Five!

My daughter loves to give high fives, or as she says, "high fibes."  After watching a very cool video of an easy technique of "drawing" a 3D hand, I knew I had to make one!  This was very easy and fun to do.  I used my Microns for the lines and Prismacolor pencils to fill in the areas.  I may try tangling the next one with wider gaps between the lines, but I wanted to get the trick down first.

Here is one of my hands and one of my daughter's.  I had to tangle her initials too.  :-)  This could be a great family activity.  Father's Day is coming up!





Thursday, June 6, 2013

Birds on a Wire

This week's Diva challenge was a lot of fun!  As per the Diva's UMT, Use My Tangle, challenges, we were asked to experiment with a pattern submitted by a fellow tangler.  I had never seen the pattern Birds on a Wire by Mary Kissel, and I don't know how I lived without it!  The pattern is reminiscent of Fescue and Mooka yet has a lot of variety.  Fill the base with small patterns, or embellish the "birds" for a different look.

My challenge piece this week is another watercolor resist bookmark in the making (laminating and pretty ribbons coming soon).  I used Birds on a Wire in several sections, playing with different embellishment.  What fun!


Even my daughter likes this pattern!  In our rubber stamping, or "arts and crafts" session as she called it, we played with an ocean set that had a wave stamp that looks very similar to these "birds."  Then again, I may just be seeing patterns again everywhere.  It's funny how that happens now.  :-)




Pattern Peeping: Keeko

Patterns are all around us.  Once you get hooked on the Zentangle Method®, you're likely to see the world in pattern-filled new ways.  It becomes fun to see which tangle patterns you can find in textiles, architecture, and nature.

I'm going to start a new blog segment called "Pattern Peeping" featuring different patterns I find in everyday items.  Feel free to share photos of the patterns you find too!

This week's pattern was found in a tank top at Kohl's featuring the official Zentangle pattern, Keeko.


Here are some past examples of my art using the pattern Keeko:



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Simply Resistible

I have discovered a new favorite way to play with my Zentangle Inspired Art or ZIA!  Watercolor with a resist.

Here is a piece I created with glue, Twinkling H2O watercolors, and Micron for tangling.  I used a little white Gelly Roll pen for highlights and to enhance the glued areas.  I had so much fun with this piece, I hated waiting for the drying time in between.  When it was time to tangle, I couldn't put it down!

I see many more of these in my future.  Want to learn some ways to do this?  I also see a new class in my listing soon.  :-)


I've also made several bookmarks with watercolor paint.  These are part of an annual creative pay-it-forward gesture.  I give a creative item to five different people, and they pledge to make the same offer to five people.

Let's share the creativity!

Here are a few base bookmarks waiting to be tangled.  On the right is one of the almost finished pieces.

I have to laminate and embellish a bit for the final product.  I hope the recipients will like these!

They were so fun to create!