Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sweet Inspiration

My students always amaze me.

I love how excited they are when they first experience the joy of creating Zentangle® art.

I love when they have that "ah-ha" moment when they realize how easy it is to create something beautiful or how simple a complex-looking pattern actually is.

I love when their enthusiasm spreads to their friends and families.  People are so impressed when they see what their friends have created.

I love when my students share their art and inspiration with me!


I taught a fantastic class for one of my regular tangling students and her friends the other night.  It was wonderful to explore a variety of new tangles, some string ideas, and, of course, a relaxing and creative evening.  

It's a fun challenge for me to develop a class knowing that some of the participants have tangled with me previously.  I always want to provide something new and interesting in addition to the amazing creative energy that comes from the class setting.  For Jen's class, I explored teaching several patterns that I hadn't taught in my other classes.  I love trying new ideas too.

Here are the tiles created by this great group of tanglers:



Shortly after the class, Jen Dagenais sent me a photo of the tangled cupcakes she made.  I spy some tasty looking patterns in there including Static, Bunzo, Indyrella, Diva Dance, Umble, 'Nzeppel, Keeko, Huggins, Poke Leaf, Jetties, Schway, Poke Root, Zingers, Cadent, Quib, Printemps, Flux, Sand Swirl, Crescent Moon, Florz, and more.  

Wow, we've learned a lot of great patterns in our classes together, Jen!  :-)  Thanks for sharing your frosting art!  


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Galactic Hello Kitty

Come on, with a title like that, you know you want to read my post.

My daughter is in love with Hello Kitty.  As much as her daddy and I resisted buying all things pink for the first 2.75 (yes, that's how old she says she is) years, we're having trouble fighting the urge now.

She likes pink.  She likes Hello Kitty.  She is a girlie girl. We are updating her bedroom with a pink Corvette bed with Hello Kitty sheets.  I am in shock, but we both love to see her happy even if we have to endure some pink.

In working on the previous Diva challenge, pink subconsciously entered my tangle.  The duo-challenge (2 patterns) was to use only Cirquital and Opus.  I started to add a few Cirquital orbs with different fillers around my black Zendala tile.  Next I used my white Gelly Roll pen to fill the rest of the tile with Opus.

I wasn't sure that I liked the piece until I realized something VERY important.  During my tangling, I had managed to channel the secret home galaxy of Hello Kitty.  The pink-bowed, bulbous-headed feline clearly hails from a bright pink planet surrounded by a sparkly, swirly sky.  The more I look at the tile, I giggle picturing tiny white kitties running around plucking pink bows off of trees.  Of course, bows grow on trees in Hello Kitty land.

I also realized that parenthood may make a person a bit crazy at times.  It's worth it.  She's way too cute and sweet for us to mind about a little pink--even if our whole world starts to look like Hello Kitty barfed all over it.

Blast off into orbit and meet Hello Kitty's galaxy:


It's Never Too Late

When tangling, do you ever start a tile, think "meh," and then put it back down?

This has happened to me in the past.  I would start a piece and feel unmotivated to finish it for some reason.  Maybe I got hung up on a pattern or didn't like my initial string.  Maybe I just couldn't focus and enjoy the process enough.  Whatever the reason, I think I did the right thing by putting the tile down.

I'm a librarian by day, and I've never believed that we have to finish books we don't like (with the exception of school assignments, I guess).  There are so many wonderful books out there to explore.  Granted, I do try to get through them even if I'm struggling.  I try to find a character or plot that is interesting enough to keep me going, but if I can't find anything redeeming, back to the library it goes.

I have the same philosophy about tangling.  I love learning new patterns, trying challenges, and experimenting with new ways of creating my Zentangle® art.  I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I get frustrated sometimes especially when trying something new.  I try not to beat myself up about it and move on to something else.  If a pattern is causing me to get frustrated, that's the signal for me to put it down until another time.  If I try again and still get frustrated, I don't force the issue.  Instead I pick a pattern that I love or one that comes easily to me.  Challenges have to stay fun for me to stick with them; if I feel like I'm forcing myself in some way, I lose my zen.

For this week's Diva challenge, we were tasked with creating a 2-pencil string.  I had done this ages ago for her second ever challenge back in my earlier tangling days.

I found a tile that I had started in 2010 after I took the challenge the first time (see below).  I had done the 2-pencil string but never tangled the tile.  I remember being frustrated about how the lines came out and feeling unsure about where to go from there.  When I found the tile this time, I immediately wanted to tangle it!  I am in a different place with my art and my approach to tangling.  The other good news is I didn't throw out the tile.  I always try to keep pieces even if I don't like them.  There's always the chance to work on it again in the future or to find something I do like about it when I'm in a better head space.

I saw my 2010 string and knew I wanted to tangle just the inner areas leaving plenty of white space.  Here is my 2013 entry for this week's challenge:


Here is the tile I created back in 2010 in response to this challenge.  I even used some of the same patterns without knowing it!  I love to see how my tangling has evolved over the years!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Art with a Heart: Tangle-A-Thon 2013

Tangle-A-Thon 2013
Relax - Create - Help
Visit the Tangle-A-Thon 2013 page for all the details.  Don't miss the awesome list of prizes too!  

Register today to start getting pledge donations.  The more money you raise, the more chances you have to win an awesome prize.

 Saturday, September 14 (10:00 AM - 4:00 PM)

Be a part of the first annual Tangle-A-Thon fundraiser to benefitTeamWalk for CancerCare at Lowell General Hospital. 100% of funds raised will help to provide support services for CancerCare patients and their families. Tangle-A-Thon is an inspiring day filled with creativity, learning, and creating hope for CancerCare patients through our fundraising efforts. Discover your inner artist with the meditative Zentangle Method of creating artwork through structured patterns. If you can write your name, you can create beautiful art with the Zentangle Method. Learn how to relax and unwind while creating beautiful art. Register, gather pledges, and come for a day filled with tangling fun, lessons, prizes, and meeting fellow lovers of Zentangle. Beginners to regular tanglers are all welcome! Click here to register, or here to donate / sponsor a participant.
Click here to print out the pledge collection form. 
Register Donate

Learn more here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Yet Another Challenge

I've backed away from some of the tangle challenges recently.  I love the Diva challenges and know I'll get back to them, but sometimes a creative challenge can turn into a real one.  When the goal is more about finishing and posting my art by the deadline rather than enjoying the challenge and trying some new pattern or trick, I know it's time for me to step away from the challenges.  Creating Zentangle® art should be inspirational, relaxing, and fun, and it should not feel like homework or cause stress.  

The tangly famous Sandy Steen Bartholomew has a new line of tangle card packs coming out soon, so she's offering some weekly contests.  The winner gets one of the not-yet-available packs!

This week's challenge is to use Sandy's pattern, Y.A.F. (Yet Another Flower).  I tend to enjoy flower patterns and thought this challenge might be fun to motivate me.  YAF is easy to create, and it has a lot of options for tangellations.  I'm glad I played along with this challenge.

For my challenge, I started with the rim of my flower pot then added my YAF blooms.  I connected the two with some Quib-like stems.  I filled the flower pot with Bales, 'Nzeppel, and Copada.  When I saw YAF, I immediately thought of violets, hence the purple tones.  I used some direct and indirect coloring with my Tombow markers.  This is definitely one of my favorite ways to color in a ZIA, or Zentangle® Inspired Art. 

Next week, Sandy will ask people to vote for their favorite piece using YAF.  If you like mine, I hope you'll vote on Sandy's BeezInk Facebook page.  :-)  Thanks!

Thanks to Sandy for getting me interested in a challenge again.  Maybe I'll keep it up.  I think my goal will be to use the challenges as tools.  If they help me get out of a rut, or if they inspire me, I will participate.  I want the challenges to be fun without feeling like a obligations.  Don't we have enough of those in life already?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pattern Peeping: Bales

My family had a lovely barbecue on the Fourth of July despite the crazy heat in Connecticut.  Being on the river in the shade helped cool us down a bit.

I didn't expect to find my pattern peeping example in this way.  My family had some chairs covered in the pattern Bales!  I think this is one of the most common patterns I see.  I find it in clothing, pillow covers, and curtains almost every time I go to a home decorating store.

Here is some of my past art featuring Bales:






Putting It Together

While I was on vacation in Connecticut, I finished my second 9-tile ensemble set.  This is the "curvy" set for a swap with other tanglers.  Below is my finished set before swapping.  I can't wait to see what the finished piece will look like with tiles from other tanglers.

I managed to squeeze in the last Diva challenge using the Birdie Feet tangle by Owl Loving April.  It is an easy pattern that has a lot of possibilities.  I created an aura around the feet and filled the background with Keeko.

Psst.... Can you spot the new pattern in this ensemble?  Come to my next class to learn how to create it!