Tuesday, July 25, 2017

To Not Fitting In

This week's Diva challenge by guest blogger, Elisa Murphy, CZT, really spoke to me.

She wrote about the worries and joys of not fitting in.  I had immediate flashbacks to my middle school and high school life when I, too, did not fit in.  I was voted "most unique" in my senior yearbook because I didn't buck the system; I went to another galaxy, found their system, and bucked that one too.  I was the crazy metal chick in a sea of preppies.  I took every '80s fad to the Nth degree.  When neon was in, the kids turned off the lights to see which parts of me would glow.  When spandex was in, I rocked it like a hurricane (please tell me my fellow glam rockers got the reference).  When it was time to feather my hair, I teased and waged war with my curls for hours until they succumbed to a swooshlike backwards wave.  I defended students' rights to wear ripped jeans to the Vice Principal.  I did all of these things simultaneously, ironically, and happily.  I loved my style at a cost.

I sought to be popular but just wasn't that kid.  I looked different and thought differently.  I embraced my uniqueness but struggled like most new-to-hormones pre-teens do.  It's hard to be one of the herd when you're the spandex-rocking, jelly-bracelet-covered, blazing neon sheep.  Even the coyotes are afraid of you.

Over time, I tamed my ways (damn boring '90s).  I settled into a great adult life with my family and friends.  I learned that I can be who I want, quirks and all.  I don't need anyone's approval; I can fit in with me!

'Nzeppel is a favorite tangle of mine.  Elisa picked it because it is a weird tangle that doesn't quite fit in.  Sometimes it's a grid, and sometimes it's random.  It can fit into any shape or flow on its own.  

For this challenge, I decided to try my hand at the new overlapping technique, Tranzending, on a Renaissance tile.  'Nzeppel and Flux can be misfits together.

Thanks for the trip down wacky memory lane, Elisa.  I laughed at the store the other night when I saw the '80s influences--ripped jeans, studs, and open shoulders.  I wasn't a misfit.  I was just ahead of my time.  Rock on, tanglers!
Tile by Emily Classon, CZT, MomZenArtist.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Learning from My Student

I love to share the Zentangle® Method with my daughter.  She enthusiastically tells everyone that she loves tangling because there are no mistakes.

Before Christmas, we went to a paint-your-own-pottery place so she could make some holiday gifts.  I felt inspired to try to tangle on one of the ornaments.  I had wanted to create Waybop but didn't have enough room and decided to try the lovely Stella instead.  The paint bottle nozzle wasn't quite as fine as I had hoped, and I thought my ornament came out too blobby.  I was about to go wash it off and start over when my daughter stopped me.

She reminded me that there are no mistakes in Zentangle and that every piece is beautiful in its own way.  She told me that her art teacher says that a true artist knows how to turn a mistake into something new.  I could hear my voice in hers as she mentored me in this moment.  I heard her teach me as I teach her about embracing opportunity, being accepting, and learning from each experience.

I didn't erase my blobby Stella and added some dots and Printemps.  I signed and dated the back.  This piece will be a lovely reminder of how much I learn from my daughter.  She teaches me to live in the moment and to appreciate everything.

We had been watching the Grinch Who Stole Christmas a lot at that time.  I think my art heart grew two sizes that day.

We went back to the pottery place around Valentine's Day to create some new projects.  I had always wanted to make this tree platter and finally found the nerve.  It's not tangly, but it was so much fun to do!  I was proud of myself for attempting something new.

And So It Begins

New Year's Resolutions are always a mixed bag.  They're full of wishes and enthusiasm for the next year.  They welcome new ideas with determination and hopefulness.  Unfortunately, this is often temporary. There is a silent expiration date on resolutions for most people (yeah, me too).  That diet goes out the window within a few weeks; exercises go from full steam to lifting the remote control.

I think the key to a successful goal for the year is to pick something you actually enjoy (not power lifting or embracing your inner love of kale).  I love art.  I love Zentangle.  I love how I feel when I take a few moments each day to focus on myself.

Carol Ohl, CZT, has a fabulous Tangle-A-Day calendar that makes it perfect to achieve this goal quite easily.  Each day contains a spot just waiting for artistic expression.  She has stunning artwork and step outs along the way too.  

I have purchased several of these calendars over the years and have yet to complete one.  It's not for lack of trying or desire though.  Each year, I end up with the mistaken belief that the book needs to be something specific.  I get wrapped up in my head instead of letting the tangles guide me.  

2017 is the year!  This is the time I will embrace this book for what it is--an opportunity for me to collect my artwork in a convenient and portable location.  I've decided that each day will let me explore a new tangle so I can create a kind of tangle library for myself by the end of the year.  If I get behind, I can catch up at my convenience.  If I'm feeling very tangly, I can move ahead.  As long as I keep tangling and enjoying the Zentangle Method, it will all work out beautifully.  Sometimes I go a bit out of order because I might have an idea for a certain day (holiday, etc.).

I'll be sharing some of my completed pages here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
January 1-3, 2017, MomZenArtist, Emily Classon, CZT
January 16-18, 2017, MomZenArtist, Emily Classon, CZT
February 1-3, 2017, MomZenArtist, Emily Classon, CZT

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Winter in New England is always weather mystery.  We can have a mild winter or one that ranges from deep coldness to mountains of snow.  One day can be freezing cold; the next day might be 60 degrees.  One of the things I love about living in this area is the fluctuation and variety.  Our weather is creative!

Speaking of creative, I'm having so much fun creating these Lynn Mead-inspired snowflakes!  this one was done on a Renaissance tile.  I love how the shading and highlights make the flake pop.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Let It Snow

In November, I had the great pleasure of attending a retreat for Certified Zentangle Teachers in lovely Ogunquit, Maine.  I learned a variety of inspiring new techniques from fellow CZTs and was taken away by their creativity!  I reconnected with my tangling friends and made new ones at the fabulous Beachmere Inn.  It was a rejuvenating weekend for the body, mind, and soul.

One of my favorite new projects included techniques taught by Lynn Mead, CZT.  We explored the idea of creating open space for tangling or shading inside our tangles, convergent shading, and this stunning snowflake design.  I adored Lynn's classes and was thrilled to be able to experience her clear and inspiring teaching style.  By the way, if you'd like a fantastic tangle book for on the go, check out her Tangle Decks!

Here is the original piece that I created in Lynn's class.  It's shimmery and elegant in person; a photo doesn't do it justice.
I've been playing with different open snowflake designs to prepare for an upcoming winter class I'm teaching.  It's been fun to try these techniques on Opus and black Zendala tiles along with different pens and inks.  I love how the shading/coloring technique really makes the snowflakes pop.

Merry Oopsmas

I was having so much fun celebrating Christmas with my family that I completely forgot to share my cute little tangled tree with you.  Oops!  I hope I won't get coal in my stocking this year.  Since there are no mistakes with Zentangle®, maybe you'll give me a pass on this one.  Teehee.

This little tree was created on one of the fun new 3Z tiles with black, green, and red Microns and some gold and clear sparkle Gelly Rolls.  The tree was inspired by the stunning work of CZT Ann Clapper.

I hope you had a lovely holiday season and that your only tangles were art.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Family Tree

My daughter and I were working on a craft project for the holidays.  She wanted to make a tree with fingerprint leaves. I pulled out a tile and drew a quick tree trunk. Next, she added some fingerprint leaves; I filled them in with small tangles.

We love to try different art projects.  No matter what we create, we always have fun exploring new ideas and being creative. It's one of our favorite times together.

I think this is the beginning of a new collaboration!  I see a tangled forest in our future.