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Friday, January 31, 2014

The "D" Word

Thank you to the seven tanglers who joined me for a class in North Chelmsford last night!  We had a fun group ages 11 to adult.

Didn't they do an amazing job on their first tile?  I love how each person interprets patterns differently with his or her scale, vision, and shading.  This art is individual and personal.  It's what you want to make of it and where the artistic journey takes you.  

The "D" word came up last night, as it often does in class.  I don't think of "doodling" as a bad word.  Bad words are the ones that I don't want my daughter using.  In the Zentangle® world, we use terms like "tangling" or "Zentangle® Method" to describe the process of using deliberate and intentional strokes to create beautiful and relaxing art.

Check out this interesting Zentangle® blog post with all of the comments about Zentangle® and Doodling.

I think of doodling as mindless or random scribbles.  If you like doodling, go for it!  There's nothing wrong with doodling at all.  One of the many things I love about the Zentangle® Method is the sense of relaxed focus that I achieve by the intentional strokes and structured patterns that I draw.  When I tangle, my brain tunes out the stresses and dialogue that readily occupy my mind.  I love that I can stop the whirling chaos that often permeates my mind when I'm not paying attention.  I don't get this same sense or this meditative grounding with general doodling.

I have known many people, like the very talented artist in class, who have considered themselves long-time doodlers.  This artist showed me her gorgeous artwork including free-flowing, bold, organic designs.  Each line she drew was clearly intentional.  She wasn't mindlessly letting her pen dictate her next stroke; she let her art inspire her purposefully with each twist and curl of her pattern formation.  While her art did not have the structured patterns that we use with the Zentangle® Method, it was intentional, creative, and certainly beautiful.  Her method could be called doodling if that's the term she likes, but her process was deliberate and not mindless.

I think it's important to find something that you love to do regardless of what you call it.  It is important to nourish your passions.  As an artist, I prefer to focus on the art rather than stress about what it's called.  Sure, as a CZT, Certified Zentangle® Teacher, I follow the official recommendations and wording from Zentangle's founders, Rick and Maria, because I believe in this method.  I also believe that there are many other art forms or artistic methods that bring people joy.  If you love it, please stick with it!

A rose by any other name....

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Catching Up

I am shocked by how well I'm doing with the 365 Days of Art challenge,  It really is true--pick a New Year's resolution that you love, and you just might stick with it!  I may miss an occasional day, but I have some days where I tangle many pieces, which I think makes up for it.

Behold, my latest Tangle-A-Day 2014 calendar pages!  I think I have to go back to scanning the pages rather than taking photos with my iPad, but you get the idea.  I love to use the pages of this calendar to practice new patterns, to play with ideas, and to create art.  

Playing with flowy patterns.
Playing with a new favorite, Wheelz.
My pattern WGT, grid seeds, and circle practice.
Playing with Portia from Tangle Library.  Not sure about this one.
Playing with patterns from Tangle Library. Fun!
More fun Tangle Library practice.

Bravery: Letter Edition

I am not fond of my handwriting.  After years of note-taking and scribbling, I still am not used to my writing.  In my scrapbooking days, it was torture if I had to manually write a journal entry; I always typed them.

That's why I'm so surprised that I'm starting to play more with my lettering and even enjoying my handwriting all thanks to my Zentangle® practice.  The philosophy of Zentangle--taking it "one stroke at a time--is really transforming my entire life!  

I enjoy practicing letters and playing with different pens and papers.  It's fun to see which swirls and lines I can create.  Like my Zentangle art, it's handmade, doesn't have to be perfect, and it's a reflection of who I am and what I'm feeling at that moment.  It's all part of my artistic journey filled with new lessons and adventures each day.  And practice makes it more fun!

Here is my entry for Sakura Color Products of America's quotation contest.  The challenge was to submit a favorite quote using Sakura products.  I used a black Zendala tile and the white and Metallic Gelly Roll pens.  I love how color shimmers on the black tiles.

I look at this piece, and I smile.  I don't immediately dislike my handwriting.  Instead, I think about how fun this was to create, how colorful it is, and how many more ideas I'll get to try in the future.  What a change!  

I often like to ask myself, "What's the worst that can happen?"  If I don't like a piece, I can start a new one.  If I don't feel confident with a tangle pattern or technique, I need only to practice some more until I get my groove. I find that I am able to pick out one area or one pattern that I truly love even if the rest of the piece was practice.  I think we're rarely perfect at something off the bat, but we expect ourselves to be.  Thanks to my Zentangle practice, I've learned not to be so hard on myself and to accept each creation as it comes.  It might be perfect, or it might need work.  It might be a jumping off point for my next creation.  Whatever it is, I find something that I like about it and treasure the fact that I can create beautiful art each day. 

The quote is from one of my favorite book, The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot.  Having a young daughter now makes this quote resonate with me that much more.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Daily Tangling

Week two of my 365 Days of Art challenge went well, although I forgot to write about it.  

I'm loving Michele Beauchamp's new pattern, Mak-Rah-Mee.  It combines the feel of Keeko and Mooka into a fun, flowing pattern.  I let the pattern fill half a week in my Tangle-A-Day calendar.

I used one of my daughter's bowls to create a string of circles for the other page.  I love filling in circles and their intersections with different patterns.

This week, I worked on some more ATCs for the swap and practiced many new patterns.  I'll share images of those soon.

I love being creative every day and have enjoyed finding a few minutes to explore my art.  I'm worth the time!

One Little Word

This week's Diva challenge asked us to think about one word for the year. This word can be a motto, inspiration, or focus.

I thought about where I'm at in my life and what I'm looking forward to in the near future.  I have had a lot of changes recently, including leaving my job, and I'm still happily adjusting to my new life.

My word for 2014 will be:

I choose to embrace my life, my new adventure, and everything that comes along with it.

One of the reasons I left my job was to be happier, healthier, and to be able to live each day with the Zentangle mindset.  I am embracing my choice and my efforts toward a more mindful life with less stress.  I truly believe the Zentangle motto that "Anything is possible, one stroke at a time," and I embrace living positively and reducing the negativity in my immediate world.

I embrace my loved ones often, now that I have more time to do so.  I am approaching each new day I have with my daughter with excitement, energy, and the knowledge that each second with her is precious.  Okay, maybe the frustrating ones aren't always as high on that list, but I still treasure even those and our time together.  We are both happier, and I know that my being less stressed is helping my entire family.

I will embrace laughter, fun, and spending time with the people who mean the most to me.  I had been too busy and sometimes forgot to enjoy the little things.

I embrace my art, although sometimes I let the craziness of the world interfere with my passion for creating.  My New Year's resolution is going well; I am embracing a challenge to create art each day.  I love this challenge and the fact that I have given myself an assignment that inspires and motivates me.

For this challenge, I trusted myself to play with my lettering and a single pattern--Mooka.  In the past, Mooka posed a challenge for me; now it's one of my favorite patterns!  I embrace my art for what it is.

I embrace a healthy lifestyle.  In the last year, I have lost thirty pounds by changing my entire diet.  I am calmer due to my regular Zentangle practice, eating differently, and reducing the stress in my life. I will continue to devote my energy to these things that have made me successful and a better person.

I embrace myself and my ability to truly be the person I want and deserve to be.  I am happy, and I embrace the understanding that that is a wonderful thing.

What is your word, motto, or guiding force for 2014?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

365 Days of Art: Week 1

Woohoo!  I made it through the first week of my 365 Days of Art challenge!  Ok, I realize that one week of a resolution isn't that impressive, but I know people who have already abandoned their ideas of eating healthier, exercising, or getting organized.  I think the key is finding a resolution to do something you actually enjoy--like creating art!

This week, I've worked in my Tangle-A-Day 2014 calendar for each day of the week.  I've posted the first two pages here for your oohing and aahing enjoyment.  On January 4-6, I was feeling inspired by shapes so each square features patterns with a circular, square, or triangular feel.  It must be my preschooler rubbing off on me!

I've also been working on my ATC (Artist Trading Card swap) and Pay It Forward bookmarks.  Another side project I have is updating my tangle book and practicing a ton of new tangle patterns.  I'll share more information about that project next time!

How are you doing with your resolutions?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pay It Forward

For the last few years, I've participated in a creative pay it forward game on Facebook.  The idea is to create something handmade--art, food, a letter, etc.--for five people.  Those five people, in turn, create  something for five other people.  The gift is a surprise and can show up at any time of the year.  It's a lovely way to do something nice for others.  Paying it forward encourages us to share kindness and creativity with others.

Here are some bookmarks that are in process for this project.  I started with a blank page then added a yellow lettering background with a stencil and Dylusions ink spray.  Next, I used the Dylusions "Flossy" female figure stencil and Twinkling H2Os to create shadow figures.  I played with coloring some of the skirts in and leaving some as silhouettes.

I'm starting to like how these are coming out!

Next up:  tangling!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

White Zentangle Tile, Glimmer Mist, black and brown Microns

Happy new year!  It's 2014 and time to start anew.  

I hear many of my fellow tanglers say that they love their Zentangle® practice, but they forget to tangle.  I get it.  Life can easily interfere with our creative ambitions.  It can sometimes be hard to take a few minutes for yourself when everything else gets in the way.

For 2014, you get a blank slate for the new year!  Pick up a pen and start.  It doesn't matter what pattern you choose or what the end result is... just tangle.  Once you start, you can get yourself out of a creative rut and enjoy your journey once again.

Did you make a New Year's resolution?  I decided to work on a creative one because I, too, often lapse in my tangling.  As much as I love it, and as much as I benefit from my regular practice, I find myself bogged down on the craziness of life as well.  

Not in 2014!  This year, I'm taking a pledge to create art of some kind every single day.  I am joining the 365 Days of Art Challenge.  For each day of the year, I will strive to create some form of art.  I'm keeping it easy since this is an ambitious adventure, and I will leave the creative expression open for exploration.  

I might create a tangled tile, work on a larger piece, make a greeting card, make a gift, practice lettering, or do whatever inspires me!

I am thrilled to have Carole Ohl's new Tangle-A-Day Calendar for 2014.  It's a lovely way to create art each day.  Carole provides perfect boxes just waiting for tangles along with patterns and beautiful artwork.  I will probably post those pages at the end of each week since multiple days are on the same page.  

As with any resolution, I think it's important to be realistic.  I have to make allowances for the inevitable.  There will be occasions beyond my control that prevent me from creating on some days, and I can live with that.  My goal will be to make up for it the next day so I don't get off track.  Or, maybe I'll tangle a little extra some days to cover those unexpected days.

I hope you all have a happy and creative new year!  If you've made a resolution, try making it flexible enough that you can make it work.  

My tile also fits in with the Diva's 2014 challenge this week.