Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cinderella Swirls

My daughter has been bitten by the princess bug and has started her journey into the world of Disney. After falling in love with Frozen and The Little Mermaid, she wanted to try watching Cinderella. I had not seen the movie in a decade or two and was surprised by some of he animation. Sure, it wasn't nearly as impressive as Frozen in storytelling, animation, visual effects, or music, but I enjoyed it in different ways.

It is hard to be impressed with older animation when faced with the computer-animated beauty of a movie like Frozen, but older films remind us of earlier advances. Each movie, Disney or otherwise was remarkable in its day.

Movies make us nostalgic. They can also make us see new sources of beauty--like tangles.

While watching Cinderella, I couldn't help notice all of the swirled patterns used throughout the story. The railings in all of the staircases had a serpentine structure. Cinderella's pumpkin coach blossoms with swirls and curls as vines transform into wheels in an elegant and flowing fashion. And of course, Cinderella mops the massive tile floor covered in the epitome of tile patterns, Florz. You can catch a glimpse of some of the images on the Cinderella photo gallery page.

When I saw this week's Diva challenge was to play with circles, I immediately had to tangle Cinderella's carriage. I drew three circles for the carriage and two wheels. I tangled in white and filled with colored pencils. Crescent Moon seemed fitting in a circle-inspired piece.

I love how tangling can be random and evolving or can be inspired by something specific.

I am drawing my magic want for some tangling magic for you... Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

And the Rain, Rain, Rain Fell Down, Down, Down.

Since my life is a Disney movie, I must quote a favorite song from Winnie the Pooh in my title.

This week's Diva challenge was an easy one for me--playing with the official Zentangle® pattern Rain.  I like this pattern and think it can be a good one for tangleations or variations.  The construction is fairly easy, and it's a wonderful way to relax with some very simple auras and lines.

I picked up my tile and immediately pictured a Rain-styled border.  I drew the structure but didn't fill in the triangular shapes until I saw how the rest of my tile developed.  I then knew I had to draw one of my favorite patterns, which starts out with a mini Rain, Cat-Kin by Mimi Lempart, CZT.  Next I filled in some big pearls in my border and loved how those came out!

I think I should have stopped there.  I'm not always good at knowing when a piece is done.  I know it doesn't matter as long as I am having fun and enjoying my sense of relaxed focus and creativity.  I think I got hung up on the fact that I was using a Renaissance Zentangle® tile and thought I should manage to fit some brown in too.  There are no rules, Emily!  After drawing my first brown background line, I knew I'd taken it one line too far for my taste.  I was having fun exploring, so I kept going (that's a good thing!).  I added more skinny Rain and filled the centers with tiny lines.  Still not knowing when enough was enough, I thought it needed more contrast and added some white Rain bolts without the aura since the white pen was thick enough.

I think the piece is interesting, but I still wish I had trusted my instinct to stick to the border and Cat-Kin.  Maybe I could have created an inner border with Rain in the brown pen to satisfy my idea that the Renaissance tile had to have brown.  To quote my daughter, I was just being silly.

I sometimes have to remind myself to let the rain wash over my preconceived notions sometimes and just let the tile take me where it wants to go.  Or when I do let it take me, like in this tile, I hope I can  remember to enjoy the journey even if my ideas get a little wet along the way.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Out of the Darkness

I was not left in the dark during last night's Inverted Tangles class!  I spent a wonderfully relaxing evening with four repeat visitors for my first ever class exploring the magic of black Zentangle® tiles.

Surprisingly for me, I was in a pretty dark place before class started.  Drama and stress affect us all, and I was feeling both.  

Once my students arrived and we started talking about the fun things we were going to learn, it was like my day and the worries just washed away.  Instead, I channelled my energy into the joy of watching the white Sakura Gelly Roll pens float across the black tiles for the first time.  I breathed as we added ghostly highlights to our tiles.  I embraced the fun of trying something new with my students and of watching them learn and explore on their own.

The energy in the room was as electric as the glowing tiles everyone created.  It was a magical experience and one that I desperately needed. After class, I felt like I could walk on water, leap over buildings, and succeed at just about anything that came my way.  That's pretty amazing after feeling low and stressed only two hours earlier.

The Zentangle® Method is transformative.  In a short amount of time, it took a human ball of stress and created a relaxed, creative, inspired, and inspiring individual.  

This particular group of women chose to join me on my Zentangle® journey last night.  They trusted me, despite my initial mood, and they let me guide them through creating these stunning pieces of art.  They trusted the process and didn't panic when presented with new tools.  They breathed, tangled, laughed, and created stunning art together.  There is something special that happens when a group of talented, like-minded, creative individuals comes together to share something as simple as tangling.  Just look at the class tiles.  They all look amazing, and I bet you can't tell which is mine! 




Here is the second tile that we started, but not everyone had a chance to finish.  I love how unique and special each and every tile turns out.  Little masterpieces!



I am truly thankful for my Zentangle® practice, being able to teach and share my passion with others,  the amazing community of artists I have joined, and my wonderfully creative students who inspire and challenge me every day.

Thank you!



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Family Fun

I love teaching my classes.  Each one is different with new energy, comments, and inspiration.  Class can be very fun when it is with a group of people who know each other.  I had the pleasure of teaching a home party recently for seven family members.

The Zentangle method encourages people to be supportive of their own artwork and to admire the beauty in the creations of others but can be even more powerful when loved ones get together to share the experience.  Knowing about each other makes it that much easier to appreciate when a person succeeds or struggles with trying something new.

I think this family did a wonderful job!  I hope they had a great time celebrating and relaxing together.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Punzel, Punzel, Let Down Your Hair

This week's Diva challenge was right up my alley (not just because we started watching Disney's Tangled (no pun intended) with my daughter for the first time).

The Diva, Laura, challenged us to create a duotangle, a term coined on the Diva's blog, using the patterns Well and Punzel.  Until recently, Punzel was on my do-not-tangle list. The pattern just didn't click with me.  I often made the center chain, the Chainging, too elongated so the braided sections would look skinny and strange to me.  I couldn't figure out how to make the beautifully flowing chains that others were creating.

There's no right or wrong with tangling, but sometimes, I think there can be discomfort with patterns.  Like I encourage my students, I try to let go of the idea of what a pattern "should" look like and focus on how I feel while creating it.  I find that I get a little frustrated by patterns that look better when they have a bit of precision.  I have learned, however, that my frustration can create a mental block that prevents me from exploring certain patterns like Punzel.

Thanks to fellow CZT Pixie Russell, I learned how to find my own comfort with the pattern.  I look forward to exploring it more to see what else I can do with it.  I know I shouldn't compare my art or my process to others, and I truly believe that practice and eliminating barriers can work wonders when I'm stuck.

Sometimes, we all can use a little help from a talented CZT to help us get unstuck and to help the tangles flow again.  Thanks, Pixie!




Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Liking Lines

I love tangle patterns with repeating straight lines.  Finding them the most relaxing, I have long since abandoned my fear of perfectly straight lines in favor of breathing and drawing each single line.  I love how tightly drawn lines come together in patterns like IX and Zander.  I can create oceans filled with Printemps watching my lines coil and coil into a relaxing wave or swirls.

Thanks to the Diva (based on Carole Ohl's pattern Tink), I got to play with Somnee, as the Diva's new pattern is temporarily named.  This easy pattern, drawn Hollibaugh style, looks like gears, pulleys, or other interesting, movable contraptions.

I had been working on some bookmarks for a swap ages ago but had not yet been inspired to finish them. I love the backgrounds I created with Twinkling H2Os and stencils, but I couldn't decide how I wanted to tangle a few of them.  The second I saw Somnee, I knew I had to tangle one of my goddess dresses!  I love how it looks like armor, crochet, and a harness all in one.  I may also have been inspired by the fact that I've just finished watching the first season of Game of Thrones.

Thanks for the challenge, Laura.  I needed this one to get me unstuck.  Now on to the rest of the bookmarks!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Black Magic

I love to learn new things!

At Tangle U, I picked up a fantastic new technique for working with black Zentangle® tiles from the fabulous Marie Browning, Tombow goddess and author of many crafting books including Time to Tangle with Color.

Marie led us through an exercise using Tombow's new Irojiten colored pencils. The wide range of beautiful colors is interesting to layer.  This easy technique is like magic because the colors and tangles come to life quickly before your eyes.

Here were the pieces I created during Marie's class:



I've been pretty hooked on this technique since class and came up with these two tiles.  I am pretty much in love with the black, white, and red one (I'm sure there's a zebra joke in there somewhere).  For these two tiles, I used my Prismacolor colored pencils.



My daughter selected the colors for this tile:


Isn't it fun to try something new?  You never know what you might come up with when you let yourself play!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Beyond Inspired

Wow.  Wow.  Just wow.

Okay, maybe I have a few more words to describe the fantastic, amazing, creative, inspiring weekend I spent with 100 plus CZTs at Tangle U.  It's been a few days, and I am still overwhelmed by my fun and stimulating weekend away in Portland, Maine.

I was so immersed in my weekend that I neglected to take photographs of much of what was happening.  I hope that my art and words will fill in the blanks for you.  Trust me, it was an amazing adventure.  Check out CZT Cris Letourneau's blog for a snapshot of the weekend.

First I traveled to Portland, Maine.  It was an interesting city filled with pretty architecture, restaurants, and shops.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend checking out The Holy Donut for the best donuts I have ever had.  They even have gluten free!  We stayed at the newly renovated, beautiful Westin Portland Harborview.  

Now for the tangling!

It was a pleasure to meet many of my CZT colleagues for the first time and to reconnect with others I had met at past events including my CZT IX training.  

We spent three creative days tangling with our illustrious teachers including the following:

I'll have to take several posts to share all the fun new things I learned!  I was intrigued by the easy ways we explored working with the black Zentangle tiles.  Molly brought us some goodies and a technique from Maria Thomas, co-founder of Zentangle®.  We played with Zenstones on black Zendala tiles.  I love the ghostly look the Zenstone creates.

I hope you can join me for my Zentangle® Inverted class this month to explore ways of working with these black tiles!