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, September 23, 2017

Diva's Challenge #333: Changing seasons and coziness

The Diva's guest bloggers, Juliette Fiessinger and Kellie Fellinge, asked us to identify a cozy tangle or two and explore what makes it cozy, and specifically relate this to changing from summer to autumn.

Autumn here in Chapel Hill brings blue skies, golden sunlight and cooler temperatures. (There is a saying, "If God is not a Tarheel, why is the sky Carolina blue?" NB for those unfamiliar with Carolina Blue and Tarheels: Carolina Blue is the team color for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tarheel teams.) Following an often steamy summer with lead skies so heavy with humidity that the sun and sky look white, autumn rolls in on a rich and vibrant wheel of color. The brilliant red leaves on our local dogwoods and sweet gums and the bright yellows of the tulip poplars pop against this brilliant blue sky, rivaled only by that of southern France, as my humble sky experience goes. I frequently find myself staring up, and mumbling, "Would you look at that sky?" It is truly one of the most joy-giving natural elements of my life. As for coziness, I always look forward to pulling out my husband's grandmother's quilt in the fall, with its tones of rust and turquoise. I chose to use N'Zeppl and Tripoli for a puffy, quilt-like look, with a touch of Nymph for the radiant sun.

What element in Nature brings you great joy?

For some reason, Ibex was on my mind this week. It's becoming a favorite tangle. Here, I used a blue-black Plastic Nib Micron with a brown.

Tomorrow, I'm teaching a class on diptychs. (Wish me luck! It's my first time.) I've been exploring. Here's a simple one with brown and blue microns. 

Thanks for visiting!  Have a cozy week!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Square squared: Diva Challenge #332

Monday? Already?
I've been out of town for a few days visiting my daughter and son-in-law in their new home. What a joy! They treated my royalty! Now I know why their city, Charlotte, North Carolina, is called "The Queen City"! I really appreciated spending time with them, as I know how busy they are.  I love exploring new places, and this was no different. I requested a special trip to see the city skyline at night / sunset. This was totally awesome, even if the photograph isn't!!

I had dutifully prepared my Diva tile last week, but then didn't get around to posting it. As you can see, I was still in my Poke Weed juice phase.

How many squares are there?

I made this card for my friend Mary Lou, an avid gardener who would love to rip my Poke Weed plants out of the ground! I thought this card my soften her up a bit:

"A weed is but an unloved flower."

Before going on my trip, I spent some time preparing for an upcoming class on diptychs. On the Mosaic app, I love the work of @midoriCZT. She had posted a diptych that was cut out and back lit.
Here's my exploration of that idea, with black paper, Moonlights, vellum and a votive.  I plan to try again.

Thanks for your visit! Have a happy week!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pourquoi pas?

This week, there was no Diva challenge. I am hoping that this is a sign that she is basking in the glory of back-to-school week....
Feeling like I was on a roll, after posting twice in the last two weeks(!), I'm sitting down at the computer to check in and share what's happening chez Sparrow. We have, unlike so many Americans, had the most beautiful weather, as summer fades to fall. On my morning rounds of "the fields", aka my small garden, I marveled at the ripe poke weed and decided to follow my inspiration.

Juicy beauty ensued.

In the late afternoon, my beloved Lar and I had a date in downtown Durham, one of the "hippest" towns in the country right now.

View from The Durham rooftop bar

Here we are looking proud to be so hip.

From my journal this week, it would seem that I've been slacking off. Never! I've spent lots of time preparing for a Zentangle for the Holidays class I'll be teaching next month. Petal envelopes, pillow boxes, dodecahedrons, oh my! I wouldn't want to spoil the excitement, so I'll be sharing those after the class! 

Blue black (Pigma Micron PN) is the new black

"Madama", a new tangle by Marguerite Samama, CZT

My tribute, in pokeweed berry juice, to Simone Menzel, CZT, with "MySwing" and "MySpin"

"There is holiness in color. It is the queen of art."
-Susan Vreeland, Lisette's List

What colors in nature show up in your art? Do you have any natural juice inks in your tool bag?

Thanks for checking in! Your comments motivate and inspire me. 

Have a wonder-full week!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Diva's Challenge #331: Petoskey Stones

What better what to start this week's blog post than with a tribute to Petoskey stones, the state stone of Michigan. Both a rock and a fossil, these gorgeous stones feature adjacent hexagons with a "mouth" in the center and tentacles that reach out to trap food. I created two tiles for this week's challenge, and could have kept going but for the knowledge that my drawings, as fun as they were to do, would never achieve the magic of the real thing! I really hope that I can hold one some day.

My first attempt used a hexagonal reticula. 

My second attempt started with a hexagonal reticula, too, but with the fragments touching each other. I used a recycled Cheez-Its box. (I ate the contents first. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our art!) I really love the color of the cardboard, which is peaking through in the bottom right corner.

This was too much fun!

This week, I also finished an Opus tile that I had started a year ago. When it began, it had this really strong direction that I somehow lost (forgot?) one day!! I set it aside, looking, thinking. Finally I decided that it needed color. The cayenne and turmeric stains had begun to fade! Once I filled and colored the Molygon, we were in business once again! Bit by bit, I added a few more inches of tangles here and there. The whole looked like a crazy bouquet in a vase that leaned to the left. The final moment , when I knew I had finished, brought a strong sense of satisfaction and confidence. The "knowing" was very intuitive, not rational at all.

(Thank you, Anne Marie, for letting me know I forgot to post the picture!!)

How do you know when you've finished? How does it feel? Do you look at your work with a technical view or an intuitive feel? 

Thanks for stopping by. Your comments motivate and inspire me more than you know! I really appreciated the "welcome back" words last week!

Have a creative week!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Catching up, again!

I must apologize for my absence over the past 5 weeks, which have been exceptionally turbulent with unexpected good-byes to some dear friends and changes in our normal routine.  Life is good. I am grateful.

Diva Challenge #330: Plates
I had not used a plate string since my obsession with them a few months back. I enjoyed doing this one on a background of Orange d'Espagne and Lilac Prismacolors, with a copper Jelly Roll.

Diva Challenge #329: Reticula and Fragment D-2
As some of you may know, I have a terrible sense of "proprioception", or knowing where I am in space. (Laugh heartily here.) In yoga class, I'm always the one turned the wrong way, or helplessly looking around me to see how I should be positioned. In PE class, when we learned to tumble, I always went off the mat. I tell you this because when anyone mentions flipping and rotating and mirroring images, I break into a cold sweat. Using the D-2 fragment for this tile gave me a chance to chill and S  L  O  W     D  O  W  N.

Diva Challenge #328: Aloha
I really love the flow of the Aloha tangle, which looks like a pen did a hula dance. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but once I got it, I didn't want to stop, so I switched to a silver pen and did some more in the background.

Diva Challenge #327: Lisbon Fragment
Another fragment, although less spinny than the previous one! I had trouble keeping the lines straight and matching them up, but had fun trying! A nice high-focus tangle!

And Zen some...

A "Fairy Tangle" with bits I found in the garden

A collaboration with my daughter, Gabrielle

Playing with color in my journal. Zendala Dare #4

Mooka Therapy always makes me feel better.

Remembering my dear friends, Fran├žois and Fran├žoise, in their time of mourning.

With Gratitude

Thanks for remembering me and visiting! Hope to be back next week!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Diva's Challenge: Heart(string)

Another busy week chez Sparrow! I'm just back from spending 3 days with my "grans":

Their (human) parents were away for a few days, preparing an upcoming move to a new home. I enjoyed having some quality time with the grans, and I believe they enjoyed it, too!

While I was away, I managed to pay tribute to my adoptive home on Bastille Day. I have never been a car person, but I must confess my amour for the Renault 4L. It is to France what the VW bug is to Germany: a simple yet functional car for the people. I found a coloring page that had a picture of one, and tangled it Friday night. I used a Pigma Pen 10, whose thick line made this easy on the newly achy hand and forearm.

If I ever have another white 4L, I'll do this to it!

On Saturday, I did my rest, icing, compression and stretching exercises that I recently discovered during a workshop last weekend at the Durham Comics Fest: Injury Prevention for Artists. The teacher, Kriota Wilberg, is an artist, choreographer and massage therapist from New York.  Her illustrated guides "No Pain" and "First Aid for Drawing Injuries" are comical, yet informative. Once I had done my warm-up, I drew my heart string for the Diva's challenge. (I had in mind a tile on the cover of "The Book of Zentangle".) Still a bit wobbly in the hand and wrist, I used a Pigma Pen 05 for an easier and more comfortable experience.

Before I sign off, just a tip I learned last weekend. I know some of us tanglers struggle with wrist pain. I learned that wrist and hand stretches, while beneficial, may not be enough to do the trick. Frequently, the wrist and hand pain are caused by tightness in the chest and shoulders, even back. Stretching the whole body gets everything loose!
Thank you for your visit! I wish you a pain-free and zenful week!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Diva's Challenge #323: Home

This week the Diva challenged us to "create a tile that reflects your home". Home. Hmm. As a former ex-pat, I identified with Josephine Baker: "J'ai deux amours. Mon pays et Paris." (Well, France, not just Paris.) Home was France, for 12 years, until I married Lar and settled here in the US, now 20 years ago. My bi-continental notion of home was making this week's challenge, well, a challenge.
Then I remembered my invitation to our neighborhood's Fourth of July parade, which began "E pluribus unum, out of many, one." Our tiny neighborhood of 62 homes, boasts neighbors from all over the world who live side by side and put on parades and games for the little ones,  potlucks and book clubs for the older ones and generally look out for each other. It is my home, as of almost a year now. On a larger scale, it represents the symbol of the US, the melting pot. And on a still larger scale, it is my dream for our planet.
I had been practicing Pea-nuckle, a tangle that had its own challenges for me. It seemed to fit the bill for this idea of home. Each stitch is a whole, yet dependent on other stitches to weave this cloth that binds us all together. I would have preferred that my tile not have a gaping hole in the middle of the stitches, but it is what it is.

Thanks for visiting! Have a thoughtful week.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Diva's Challenges # 321 and #322

Exciting news! My spinach has germinated! Oh, right. You don't know that I've been spending most of my daylight hours putting in a "kitchen garden" that will resist the insatiable appetites of the local wildlife--deer, rabbits, chipmunks, birds, squirrels and who knows what else.  This is to explain my recent absence from the blogosphere. I've been tangling daily, posting on Mosaic, but not hanging out with you all :( It's good to be back!

Last week's challenge was to use our non-dominant hand. I had done this once before, for a Diva Challenge, I think, with a wonky N'zeppl. This time, we were asked to use aura tangles. I had been a bit fascinated with an unidentified, Warble-like tangle, and decided to go with that. (Please tell me the name if you know it!) This was an awesome exercise that helped me focus on making one, simple stroke, over and over, without moving my non-dominant hand. The trick was using my dominant hand to put the tile in the right position. A powerful reminder to always, always, turn the tile and keep your drawing hand comfortable. Slow and easy, relaxing.

Later, I did this with my dominant hand for fun.

And on the flip side:

Aquafleur, this week's challenge, has always been problematic when I get to that last little bit that tucks into the center. I decided to combine it with Shattuck, using a new embellishment trending on the Mosaic app, transzending. The goal is to try to achieve a sense of transparency. 

In this week's T3 on the Mosaic app, Rick asked us to explore tangling with our chop.

This Mooka was so much fun, I tried another so I could play with my watercolor markers:

Finally, I taught a Zendala class last Sunday, and made a pillow box with two Zendalas. I cut out the top and turned it into a shadow box frame for my brother's picture.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by. I apologize for my delay, but I should be out blog-hopping again once the fence is up. Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Diva's Challenge #320: Dansk

This week's challenge involved using Margaret Bremner's tangle, Dansk. Margaret's distinctive style, with its swirls, bold graphics and "simple" lines, always leaves me drooling! I've tried to use some of her tangles before, but sans magic. They just kind of sit on the paper, staring back at me! I was anxious to try Dansk again. In my first attempt, I combined it with wonky Tripoli, a long lost fav that I recently reunited with. And guess what? Dansk just sat there. So I tried to spice it up with some graphite ghost tangles. Nothin' doin'. Sigh.

I thought I'd give it another go. It finally made sense to me in this tile! (I haven't tried it again since. Don't want to test my luck!!!)  S   L   O   W   I   N   G down for the auras worked wonders in getting a feel for the texture of Dansk.

In other news, I made a 3.5 x 3.5 inch Zentangle journal this week. (Our muggy heat wave has me staying inside.) I used some water color paper for the cover, which I "washed" with bubble wrap. Inside I used  10 sheets of multimedia paper. This was my first handmade journal, inspired, once again, by Michele Wynne's June 7 post.  I really love the size. It tucks perfectly into my "Go-Tangle" wallet from zentangle.com.

Have you read the latest Zentangle blog by Julie Willand? She reminded us of our "humble beginnings". Rick, Maria and Molly followed up on the Mosaic app by posting their first tiles and inviting us to do the same. A wonderful exercise!

2/8/14, my humble beginning

And lastly, this morning I picked up my blue pen, after admiring Marguerite Samama's Delft Delights on Mosaic. As I tangled, I thought about my family. (I often do when I'm tangling.) I finished the tile, and then remembered a picture of my brother in 1948, when my family lived in Holland for two years. That picture was the finishing touch on the tile.

Thanks for stopping by, and staying until the end of my lengthy post! Have a lovely week!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Diva's Challenge #319: Beads of Courage

This week, the Diva asked us to BEad INSPIRED by the Beads of Courage organization, an arts in medicine program that helps kids with serious illnesses tell the story of their medical journey by making necklaces with colored beads that represent different medical procedures they have undergone.  (On their website, I was pleased to see that they are present in the two major children's hospitals near me.) Laura organizes a color fun run fundraiser every year, with all volunteers and all the proceeds going to Beads of Courage. She is a diva in so many ways!

I used bubble wrap to apply the watercolor and remind me of beads and the splashes of color you get during a color run.
Have you ever done a color run?  Is there a Beads of Courage hospital near you?
Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Diva's Challenge #318: Diptych

I now believe the Diva is PSYCHIC!!!! This is the second week in a row where she has challenged us to do something that has been on my list of "must trys". This week, we took a tile and folded it in half, on the diagonal, to create a three-dimensional piece, with a "hinge" in the middle. Maria had done many of these on the Mosaic app, as well as a video. Even so, I wasn't sure how to go about this. So, in the spirit of the Method, I began with gratitude and appreciation. The rest followed quite painlessly.
So much so, that I made two of them.

On Facebook, I recently saw a video to make your own fidget toy--from a sheet of paper!  This had me so excited! I wished I was still teaching middle school so that I could teach it to the kids! But since that's not about to happen, I'll share it with you! This flexible prism has four sides. You can turn to prism inside out and thus change the sides that you see. I used Mooka, N'zeppl, Bales and Crescent Moon for the different designs. It was really fun to make, and I even like to play with it! Reminds me of the changing patterns in a kaleidoscope.

Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderfully dimensional week!