Zentangle is...

The Zentangle® Method, created by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, is an easy to learn, fun and relaxing way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Gratitude String

Zentangle. A method to mindfulness. A style of process-oriented art. A community. This is what comes to mind when I ask myself, "What is Zentangle?"
This week, I began leading a group called "Zentangle SparkPeople". SparkPeople.com is a free website that exists to help users with fitness and weight loss. During January 2012, there were 10 million visitors to the website. I've been on since 2007, when I started using it to track my exercise, get support from folks who suffered from IBS, depression and asthma. Some time ago, I joined a Zentangle group, which had gone inactive until I became the group co-leader last weekend. Learning the ropes, I've been trying to "visit" different members--a phenomenal bunch!-- and get a feel for their needs.
We are reviewing the 8 steps of the Zentangle Method. Quick! Without peeking, what are they? (If you had to peek, it's okay. But ask yourself, "Am I rushing my tangling, just to get to the finished product?")  Here are the 2 sides of the bookmark I made for my beginning students.  (Feel free to use these.)

Step one: Gratitude (and appreciation). Since our team goal is to "tangle with gratitude for 3 blessings every day", I've tried to think of what that might look like. Here are my thoughts:
  • Use a string that divides your tile into 3 sections. Inside each section, in pencil, write a blessing. As you tangle in each section in ink, focus on your gratitude.
  • Make a journal for your gratitude tiles. Cut an 8 x 4 in. cover and fill it with 10 sheets that are 3.5 x 7 1/4 inches.
  • Appreciate your tools, be they paper and pen or twigs and petals. Appreciate the people who have made this possible, the time, the space, the ability. Some people take a minute to give thanks for the food they are about to eat. Why not give thanks for what we are about to experience and create?
  • Divide your tile into 4 sections. The empty space is for the unexpected blessing.
There is so much to be grateful for, isn't there? But it can be so hard to stop, to step away from our crazy lives and breathe with gratitude.  For me, practicing gratitude is now like brushing my teeth. It's an important part of my mental hygiene!

How do you practice gratitude? Are you partaking in the full benefits of the Zentangle Method?

Thanks for visiting with me. I wish you a gratitude-filled week!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Drawing with your non-dominant hand

My right hand is recovering from a procedure I had done this week. (Nothing serious.) I miss drawing! This morning, I decided to draw with my left, non-dominant, hand. I'm sharing this post because this was a powerful Zen experience that made me slow down and accept my situation with gratitude and appreciation.

Thanks for your visit! Have a relaxing week.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Diva Challenge #365: Puf

Is it anticlimactic to celebrate post #201? In all my gardening frenzy, I totally forgot to mark my 200th post last week!
Puf, the tangle of the week, was one of my first, and my favorite tangles. I teach it a lot, but just call it Bales with a continuous line inner aura. (Puf would be easier for folks to remember, wouldn't it?!) I find continuous line auras  s o o o  relaxing. Since this week has been  s o o o  stressful, I enjoyed it on three different occasions: first in my 3.5 inch handmade journal and then in my art journal.

"We have 2 ears and 1 mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak." --Epictetus

Another journal page, sans Puf
"To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings." --Mary Baker Eddy

After all the rain we've had, the stars of the garden this week are mostly mushrooms!

Thanks for your visit. I apologize for not getting around to see your work lately. Screen time and sitting are difficult right now. I hope to get back out and around the cybersphere soon!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Diva Challenge #364: Remake of a Classic

This week's challenge, to remake a classic, didn't really catch my fancy at first. I just didn't feel like going back through my old tiles. (Or maybe the problem was finding them! I have a stack on my desk, a mobile in my entry, a bulletin board in my closet, two albums on my shelves and "streamers" in my office.) I decided to take my demo tile from last Sunday's aura class and remake it instead.

My "streamers"

Tile #1

My remake (L) and the class tile (R)

Looking back at the challenge today, I decided I really did need to go back in time a little further than last week. I found the tile I drew in my first class with a CZT, in February 2015.  I've drawn this "tile #1" composition dozens of times now for intro classes, and enjoyed exploring other possibilities. I'm looking forward to sharing it with future students.

Spending more time in the garden has been great, but I haven't been tangling as much. I decided to follow a Kitchen Table Tangle video I had missed, with "Articulated Molygon".

First try

And an entry in my art journal

""One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

When I wasn't drawing fantastic crawlers, I was in the dirt, pulling weeds after the generous rain. Here are the stars of the garden this week.


Japanese spirea, with a visitor

Thanks for checking in! Hope you have a beauty-filled week.

Friday, May 18, 2018

More auras for Laura!

This weekend, I'm teaching a continuing class on auras. (Pretty timely, as this week's challenge was to use auras.) This is an aura sampler I made for a demo tile. It shows the many ways to aura that I could recall. Can you think of any more? If so, leave me a comment and I'll add it to my list!!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Diva Challenge #363: Laura's auras

I love the fact that our Diva CZT, Laura Harms, has "aura" in her first name! To celebrate her May birthday, we were to use auras on our tiles this week.

Yesterday I attended "Red for Ed" day in Raleigh, the capitol of North Carolina. From all over the state, over 20,000 teachers dressed in red rallied for education. Rivers of red flooded the streets and squares. We called for increased spending on students, more schools and more competitive salaries for teachers. (North Carolina is sadly below average for all of these.) The largest education rally in the state brought in news crews from all over the country, as reporters followed what is now the 6th state in the US to see teacher protests. (To my great surprise and delight, I was interviewed by a French journalist from Le Monde!) In spite of the rain and muggy heat, we all took pride in showing our unity and dedication to the kids of our state.

Lining up to march

TV crews interview 2 marchers

Today I took advantage of a break in the rain to do some weeding in the garden. These small red leaves from a redbud tree caught my eye.

Thanks for your visit! Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Diva Challenge #362: Somnee

A confession: I have not tangled much this week. Instead, I've been "drawing", i.e. designing and planting, my garden. Here are the stars of the week:

Between gardening sessions, I did some substitute teaching and taught an Introductory Zentangle class at our local makerlab. I felt that my hands no longer knew how to hold a pen, after so many days of digging, shoveling and raking. I did manage to do two tiles with Somnee, this week's Diva Challenge. With plants on the brain, I really wanted to try an "organic" version of this tangle, but didn't have time. Maybe next week?

Happy Mother's Day to my stateside friends!

Enjoying the patio with my daughter outside the restaurant after Mother's Day brunch

Thank you for visiting! Have a lovely week!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Diva Challenge #361: Amanda Day

It's good to be back! Thank you, Diva, for this week's Earth, or as her son Artoo calls her, "Amanda", Day challenge. I repurposed a cracker box for my tile, and used a plastic cottage cheese cup for the string. (I'm now collecting these for a class on Paradox in circles.) Starting out, I wasn't very happy with the direction I seemed to be taking. As time went on, I started seeing elements of nature: sunshine, rain, waves, wind, mountains, flora. 


During our two-week break, spring came and went! I thoroughly enjoyed getting out for some walks in the forest and some work in the garden. I witnessed the opening of my first peonies! Rebirth ensued. 

Between walks and gardening (and some substitute teaching), I continued to "grow" my art journal.

"Dawn". Listening to the birds before sunrise is a life-giving force for me. When I googled "Why do birds sing at dawn?" I found an intriguing answer that went into the journal. "I sing for I have survived the night." The cherry blossom tangle is "Ying", by Cat Kwan.


"Dream". This page started with no conscious connection to the prompt, just a desire to play with leaves. I googled "What does it mean to dream about leaves?"  "It is time that you shed the old memories and struggles of life. Enjoy the changes of life. Be courageous and bold to face the changes. Life would be boring with no changes." New leaves can't grow until the old ones fall.


"Unfurl". Helen Mirren said,"If it were all truly known and planned and determined, [life] wouldn't be worth living, just a giant to-do list waiting to be crossed off." The Cadent tangleation came from Rick's latest Kitchen Table Tangles.


"Ripen". From Brigitte Bardot: "Il est triste de vieillir, mais agréable de murir." (The translation should probably be "mature" rather then "ripen". Poetic license!)


"Presence". Playing with stamps on coffee filters and tissue paper, I created this after finding a quote from Winnie the Pooh. "If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever."

Thanks for visiting! Have a pleasant week!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Where to go for String Support

Here are some useful links I gave in today's "String Theory" class.

Here are some of the ideas for strings I mentioned.
  • Letter
  • Number
  • Stain
  • A shape you trace (lid, coaster, tile, leaf, etc.)
  • Rope strands
  • Ribbons
  • Stack of wavy or straight lines
  • Another tangle. Hollibaugh for "ribbons", Printemps for a spiral, Bales for a wonky rectangle.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Diva Challenge #360: Tripoli and Shattuck

It's Wednesday, and I'm ready to post! That doesn't happen often! With a fairly busy end of the week, I took to my art journal this morning after prepping a page titled "Emerge" yesterday. If you saw my post last week, you may recall that I've been trying to incorporate more Zentangle into my art journal.
Last night I returned to my small handmade 3.5 journal to play with Tripoli and Shattuck, two of my favorites, and some Koi watercolor pens.

This morning, on to the big journal. I did the tangling before I knew if I would use "emerge", which seemed tricky. Once finished, I looked for a quote. The quote inspired the addition of color, which, for me, brought it all together.

"I'm very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time. 
But when you're painting out of your unconscious, figures are bound to emerge."
-Jackson Pollock

I like this. Here are some other pieces leading up to it.

"I am neither of the east nor of the west. No boundary exists within my breast."--Rumi

Inspired by creationsceecee video

Started with a giant bleed-through, ended with Zendalas! (Templates from Zendala Dare)

Thanks for your time. Have a lovely week!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Diva Challenge #359: Finger String

Most of my art time this week has been in the company of my art journal, with very little Zentangle involved. I have mixed feelings about this. I'm having so much fun working on a larger surface, problem-solving, playing with paint and glue and paper and ink and sparkles and text and...everything! The Pinterest pages and the youtube videos just delight the senses! Michele's recommended creationsceecee videos are so relaxing and instructive. But I am missing Zentangle, too, with its structure.
So this week, I decided to combine the two, or at least try! (Yesterday, after subbing in a sixth grade class, I needed something quiet and soothing!) I traced my hand in the journal, and immediately thought, "That's a lot to tangle!!!" So I drew a stacked string behind it. The bands were wide, so I picked up my gold Shadow Gelly Rolls. Filling them in, I made some mistakes, but just kept going. This hardly thrilled me!! The empty hand puzzled me. I had thought I would leave the negative space, but the dots from the Rhodia paper just didn't work.  The journal52 theme for this page was "Release". I hesitated, but put down some blue acrylic for a sky.  Clouds, then some shading,  highlights and my reminder to "Let go".

(5.5 x 8 in. /14 x 21 cm) 
I like how it finally came together.

Thank you for visiting! I look forward to seeing your tiles!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Diva Challenge #358: Pickpocket, or Mistakes

Mistakes. According to Einstein, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." They prevailed in my artistic endeavors this week! A hot mess of mistakes. Trial and error. Attempts gone awry. I used to tell my middle school students, in their moments of frustration, that learning is messy, not pretty or comfortable!
Our Diva challenged us to use Tomas Padros' new tangle "Pickpocket".  My first attempt, not shown, taught me that I need to be focused on the connecting lines that imitate the "telephone" lines Maria describes in Huggins. And then, those pesky triangles, that remind me of the "Play" and "Rewind" buttons on my old tape player, which remind me of how old I am. Can I still learn? Ha! My second attempt saw me focused on direction--under, over, left, right. Not my personal forte, but I did it! My third attempt turned me on my head again, so out came the giant black marker to reclaim the space! My final attempt  s l o w e d  me down, and almost made me snap at my husband when he asked me a question!

Marks-a-Lot to the rescue!

My art journal, where I collect favorite quotes and try to learn how to keep paint and ink from falling off the page, reflected my experience with Pickpocket. If you were here last week, you may recall Michelle Obama's quote: "Just try new things. Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?" I continued in this vein with a quote from Mary Tyler Moore: "Take chances. Make mistakes. That's how you grow." I had this nice background that I created with watercolors and a straw.

I finished the page with some tangles and the quotes, and then without scanning, went back to work on the previous page. This was a simple page, where I just wanted to play with texture and acrylic. Forgetting to put wax paper behind the page, I spritzed it and finished the page with a quote from Chuck Palahniuk. 

And then I laughed out loud when I turned to the next page and saw the results!

Lesson 1: Don't forget the waxed paper! Stay away from the Gelly Roll! Laugh if you goof!

Finally, two more pages where I seemed to maintain my focus a little better!

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection." --Leonard da Vinci
Photo courtesy of Duke Performances and Steve Olivia

Remembering a childhood friend who recently passed away

Thanks for checking in on me! If your week is messy, have a good laugh!