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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Square One: Verdigogh

This week's Square One: Purely Zentangle® group focus was to use the official Zentangle pattern Verdigogh. This is one of my favorite patterns to do.  I love the botanical feel of this pattern combined with the repetitive line work involved in its creation.

I often create this pattern as a curved stem with branches filling a tile.  For this piece, I thought it would be fun to explore Verdigogh as a border.  I drew the rectangular "stem" and built my needles in different directions.  I added a few on each side and turned my tile repeatedly to allow the needles to cross sides in various places.

I thought the piece was complete after adding the little berries and almost stopped there.  I couldn't decide how I wanted to shade the piece since it was already fairly busy, but I just kept picturing tiny orbs in the center.  I created an inner aura around the needles and immediately thought I took it one step too far.  Before I had a chance to second guess myself or to let the outcome dictate my artistic process, I filled the center with orbs.  I had been so relaxed creating all of my fine needles that I didn't want to stop tangling.  I didn't want this journey to end.  




Sometimes the very simple repetition of one basic shape can be entirely relaxing.  I write about this often, and it certainly applies to the whole of the Zentangle® method.  It's true that tangle patterns repeat and can create a relaxing experience while creating them, but I find that some patterns are more relaxing to create than others.  When a pattern has fewer steps, as in the case of these tiny orbs, they can be especially calming to create.

I thoroughly enjoyed filling all of the small negative spaces with mini auras and circles.  I added a little shading at the end and am quite pleased with the result.

This tile was a perfect example of how this process should go.  Sometimes I get caught up in my head even though I know I should trust the process.  I've been feeling stressed lately, and I really needed to rediscover my sense of relaxed focus.  I sat down with this tile tonight, tangled, and didn't look up from my tile until it was complete.  I needed that!

A couple of my Verdigogh examples are in the fantastic new book, Pattern Play: A Zentangle® Creativity Booster by Cris Letourneau, CZT and Sonya Yencer, CZT.  Here are some of the ways I like to play with this pattern: 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Square One: Twing

This week's Square One: Purely Zentangle® group focus was to use the official Zentangle pattern Twing.  I have played with this pattern a few times before, but it clearly hasn't stuck with me as a regular or favorite pattern.

After refreshing my memory about the pattern, I immediately thought of Auraknot.  I drew some Twing-like points to mimic the shape.  Next I added several rays of Twing coming from behind the Auraknot star.  They came out fairly small so I played with different fills.  I liked the extra white space but thought the tile needed one more expression of Twing.  I drew exaggerated points almost creating an aura around the center star.  I then continued the steps to make this shape into a wide Twing.  

I am wondering, however, what I'm dreaming about these days because many of my tiles seem to have tentacles.  I haven't been sleeping well, and I may be getting to the root (or tentacle) of the problem!  I think the solution is more tangling.
Square One: Twing (and Auraknot) by MomZenArtist

Friday, August 8, 2014

Good Things Come in Small Packages

I am loving the new addition to the Zentangle® family--Bijou!  In addition to his lovely story, he offers a fun tin of tiny tiles.  They are 2 inch squares of the same paper as the larger tiles, and they are so fun to play with!  They're great for monotangles, creating a smaller reproduction of a larger tile, letters, and more.

I especially love Bijou's reminders to slow down, breathe, and relax.  I've been feeling a little stressed this week, and I really need a kind little snail on my shoulder to remind me about these simple things I can do to improve my life and my art.

For this week's Diva challenge, I created a mini mosaic Zendala with four Bijou tiles.  I lined them up and then loosely drew a Zendala design.  I didn't grab a ruler or stencils.  I breathed and let the shapes form.  It's okay that they don't all line up perfectly.  It was quite freeing to just guess where a line might go and to let it evolve as it did.  I pictured Bijou gliding across my tiles, changing his mind slightly, then wiggling back on his original course when my pen skipped a bit.  Pens, like snails, don't always follow a straight path, right?

I enjoyed filling in my shapes with different tangles and adding some shading.  The process was relaxing and inspiring.  I realized that I never color the tadpole-like blobs in Ennies and thought I'd see how they came out.  I really like the contrast of the bold shapes against the gentle orbs in the center.

Thanks, Bijou, for reminding me to take a little break for myself.  I needed it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Square One: Cadent

If you're looking to get back to basics, there's a fun, new group on Facebook called Square One: Purely Zentangle®.  The group was created by CZTs Jenny Perruzzi and Chris Titus.  It's open to CZTs and tanglers of all skill levels.  The goal is to have participants post only 3.5" tiles tangled with pen and pencil in black and white.  There are a lot of great groups for color, templates, and other ideas, so it is refreshing to get back to Square One.

Chris and Jenny have started adding challenges for us to play with while we tangle.  This week they asked us to play with a favorite pattern, Cadent.

I was inspired by a stunning piece created by Maria Perez, which included an excellent use of the dewdrop technique.  I play with that one from time to time but have yet to feel like I've mastered it.  So this looked like a good time to try it!

I started with my dewdrop of enlarged Cadent and was pleased with how it came out especially after I shaded it.  Then my tile got a little wonky.

I'm not sure if I put too much pressure on myself or tried to make my tile too complicated.  As much as I know better, I, too, can forget to just trust the process and let the art flow.  I thought too much about playing with Cadent variations rather than just letting my dear friend Cadent evolve on the tile.

I built outward from the dewdrop adding a frilly layer, then some tendrils, and finally the outer band.

I'm not in love with this piece, but I am pleased with my dewdrop attempt.  I think this tile will serve as a reminder to me to just let it happen.  When I try to do something specific with my tangling, I get frustrated and lose the wonderful meditative focus that I achieve from my regular tangling.

The next time I go back to basics, I need to remember the real basics--love what I'm doing, breathe, take it one line at a time, and don't think about the outcome.

That said, I do kind of think this piece reminds me of a Quidditch snitch bursting across the tile.

Initially Tangled

Last week's Diva challenge was to use the initials in our name to pick the tangles for our artwork.  I took the opportunity to find patterns on that I had never used.

To go along with my EC, I chose Escalator by CZT and author, Suzanne McNeill and CO2 by Antonine Megger.  I opted to use my middle initial, but since it is also E, I just added more Escalator.

I love how this tile ended up reminiscent of Escher's impossible stairs in Relativity.  I was always a big Escher fan, and I know that part of my love of Zentangle® art is related to this stunning example of lifework and shading.

I filled the tile with Escalator going in different directions.  I found it easier to do if I completed one set of stairs before moving on to another one.  I added an inner aura in the three negative spaces then put some cute CO2 bubbles around the outside so they could float behind the stairs.

I had a lot of fun with this one!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Surrounded by Beauty

I recently taught a Zentangle® Basics class at the Merrimac Public Library.  We had a great group of beginners and a few current lovers of the Zentangle method.  Check out the stunning view we had while tangling.  The room was surrounded by trees, gardens, and a variety of birds flying around while we tangled.  Art, nature, and a library - what else could we need for inspiration?

One of my favorite parts of the class was when people chose to use different ways of filling in the foundation pattern, Crescent Moon.  Some people filled with solid black while others used smaller lines, alternating filled lines, and cross hatches.  I always figure that I am there as a guide so the student can interpret the patterns in his or her own unique way.  Like meditation, the Zentangle method is a very personal experience.  I am so impressed by the tiles everyone created.

The students were invited to play a bit more with the second tile, and most of these weren't completed in class.  Look how imaginative and individual the Zentangle method can be in each person's hand.