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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

314, 315, 316...

I've got some catching up to do! If you're on the Zentangle Mosaic app, you've seen my entries for the Diva challenges 314 and 315, but if not, here they are!


Molygon, using the "14 Shades of Gray" technique

Now for 316!

This challenge was to use stripes for a string.  I have a confession to make.  I haven't had any caffeine in three days, and somehow, in my resulting brain fog,  recalled that the challenge was to use ribbons!!! I love using ribbons, and especially teaching the border or ribbon tangles. For this tile, I wanted to do something different, so I tried twisting the ribbons. Not sure that I pulled off the twisting ribbons,  and I definitely didn't follow the directions, but I had fun!
Thanks for stopping by! Have a stellar week!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Diva's Weekly Challenge 313: Happy Amanda Day!

This week's challenge is to honor our mother Earth, or Amanda, as the Diva's adorable son Artoo says. What a great challenge! As I write, my dearest Lar is on a bus coming home from the Climate March in Washington, where over 200,000 American earthlings showed their love for the planet. (I'm so proud of him. He left at 3:30 a.m. this morning. 5-hour trip, one-way. I'm hoping it will not be longer coming home! 93 degrees Fahrenheit, 34 Celsius. 8 hours standing, marching, chanting, carrying a banner for NC Climate Justice.)
My tribute to the earth was quite wimpish in comparison! I recycled a frozen pizza box to make my tile. Ta-da. ✊

(I like the color, texture and weight of the cardboard, and have decided that I'll use some of these in my classes to introduce white ink and white charcoal.)
On another note, I completed my first commissioned work this week, a monogram. Here are three versions. Do you have a preference?

Thank you, as always, for stopping by. Have an environmentally friendly week!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Diva's Weekly Challenge #312: "Coffee, Tea or Me?"

This week the Diva has asked us to tangle with a stain for a string. One of my dear friends had her retirement luncheon this week, a pot luck. I've been interested in learning to cook Lebanese and Moroccan food for the past few months, and decided to take a stab at a beet salad with rose water,lemon zest and pine nuts. I'd never stained a tile with beet juice before. (I never have any luck with wine, tea or coffee stains, for some reason unbeknownst to me!) I was so pleased with my beet juice stain I almost left it alone!!! I kept some of the juice, and will definitely do this again!

After three months, I finally finished my review of the 159 Zentangle original patterns this week.  (I'm still missing "Ravel", whose step out I never found.  Please let me know if you know where it is!!)  Using a random number generator, I chose a string from tanglepatterns.com and five or so tangles.  My focus was on the process, the method, rather than the product.  The elegance of limits.  So much freedom to follow your pen and tangle from the heart. I loved this exercise, and highly recommend it, in some form. You might just try it once. You might take your "Top 20 Tangles", à la Michele Wynne's post this week, and use only those. You might do a series using a certain type of tangle--organic, ribbon, grid-based, etc.   Here's my final entry, albeit sans string:

What's your experience with randomly chose strings or tangles?
Thanks for visiting! Have a serendipitous week!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Diva's Weekly Challenge #311: A square and a circle

When I saw this week's challenge to use a circle and a square for the string, I recalled that I had recently renewed my acquaintance with Vitruvius, a Zentangle original, that is simply squares in circles in squares....

Thanks, as always, for visiting. Peace and blessings to you.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Diva's Weekly Challenge #310: Frunky

Welcome back to my journey in the wonderful world of Zentangle!
I thought I'd start this post with some news from the Mosaic app. I love seeing its posts and tutorials from Rick and Maria and feeling like I'm in a class with them. This week, we revisited Crescent Moon. I did these in my "special" sketchbook. I used Prismacolors to get the tan background--Orange espagnol and Lilac--before tangling on top.

Maria challenged us this week to use tangles as strings. I had just finished this Crazy Huggins sampler, also in my "special" sketchbook. (I have a few samplers that I've done to help me remember patterns that I like to use for certain situations. For me, it's a useful tool, since I tend to go blank quite easily!!) I might do this again, with more white space to better highlight the different fills.

Fascinated by some plate-like tiles I've seen on Mosaic that use colored ink tempered with graphite and white charcoal for different tints and tones, I copied one of Maria's, as a study.

Here's where I ended up:

I used my Magnetips pens for the blue, yellow and violet. (The blue one was really light, and I add some Koi watercolor brush and Micron. Oh, well.) I also used zenstone shavings on top of the line work for half of the tiles, in place of the white charcoal. I'm thinking about doing this again with colored pencils to intensify the colors.
If you don't have the Mosaic app, I really encourage you to give it a try! You can get a "lite" version for free, or subscribe for $2.99 / month, or $24.99 / year--less than many Zentangle books, and, for my money, a better tool for studying and deepening your practice.
The Diva' Challenge was to use Frunky, by Katharina Konigsbauer Kolb. I used it in one of the bands on my yellow tile.

Thank you for visiting! Have a colorful week!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Diva's Challenge #309

Noom repus. Sounds so scientific, doesn't it? Flip the letters and you have "super moon"! To answer this week's Diva challenge, I decided to draw Noom on a black tile with a zenstone background. I recently saw someone on Mosaic recycling tiles by covering them with black Permopaque marker and drawing over them with white ink. Intrigued (and frugal with Zentangle tiles!), I realized that I had a stock of tiles I had done in my Intro to Zentangle classes that I no longer needed. Covering them with Permopaque seemed to rough them up enough to really hold on to the zenstone shavings. (File your zenstone on an emery board until you have a tiny pile, then rub them into the paper with the flat end of the stone. Blow away any excess when you're done.)

Last weekend, I took a 2-hour class on making Pysanky, Ukrainian Easter Eggs. These use a batik method, which was totally new to me! Our patient instructor helped me understand the steps for applying the wax and dying the egg, going from light to dark. We used a kristka to apply the tiny bits and lines of melted beeswax at each stage.  As in Zentangle, there are no mistakes! So when a giant blob  of wax dripped onto my thin line, I had to figure out how to incorporate it into my design. :\ 

I used a Sharpie to try to clean things up a bit once I was home. My egg was so dark! Not what I imagined for a symbol of light and renewal!  Now that I have a better understanding of the batik process, I may give it another go later.
To give you a better idea of the beauty and art of Pysanky, I've included some pictures of eggs done by a master craftsman, Henry G., who happened to show up at our class! His talent and experience--over 40 years!--are apparent.

Have you ever tangled an egg? 
Thanks for visiting! Have a joyful and restful week!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Diva's Challenge #308

Mac 'n' Cheese. Comfort food. Familiar. Memory-filled. Easy. Go-to.

This week, the Diva challenged us to do a tile with our "mac 'n' cheese" tangles. Mine was not at all what I would have expected. First, when I went to choose a tile to use, I saw my Renaissance pre-strung Zendalas, which I still have after 2 years!! I love doing Zendalas, but have never felt totally comfortable with the tan paper. I decided that the Zendala love would overcome the tan fear :)  Second, I chose a string that seemed Mooka-esque. Mooka, one of my comfort tangles, seemed like a good idea, until I started drawing and couldn't identify any sections of the string. What was I going to do?!?
Jump the fence!! After all, a string is a guideline, not a hard and fast border, right?
I started slow and easy, still under the doctor's orders to limit drawing to thirty minutes a day. Not something I'm comfortable with, since I usually stay with a tile until I'm done. Squid came to mind. And from there on out, over a few days, things just happened. I like the results.

Happy Spring! Or Autumn! Thanks, as always, for stopping by! "In-joy" your week!

Ghimghoul Garden, here in Chapel Hill

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Diva's Challenge #307

Have you ever known someone who lived their life as if creating a piece of art? Before jumping into the Diva's challenge, I thought I'd share an inspirational experience that my beloved and I had yesterday: a trip to the Goathouse Refuge, one of the largest no-kill shelters in North Carolina. Founded by an Italian sculptor, Siglinda Scarpa, it offers a loving haven to more than 300 cats, all well-fed and cared for. There is a gallery for her gorgeous pottery and a collection of wonderful gardens. The whole property is just a joyful ode to nature, from the cedar post and vine fences to the bird feeders hanging high up in the trees to the hilarious guinea hens running about to the kitties basking in the sun. It is the realization of Siglinda's childhood dream of creating a place where sick and abandoned cats could live happily.

A porcelain birdbath in one of the gardens

Another garden enclosed with cedar and vine fencing

Kooky guinea hens

The cat compound

This week's challenge was to use Indy and Mazzy's new tangle "Zingo". I made my tile while watching their Kitchen Table Tangle video, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thanks for visiting! Have an inspired and artful week!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Diva's Weekly Challenge #306: Amphora

Hello, Blogosphere!
It's been a while, but I am back with an attempt at Lily Moon's beautiful Amphora tangle. Lily is a rock star in our Zentangle world. Her Amphora tangle is way out of my skill set, but I decided to give it a try. Totally unsatisfied with the results, I dug out my notes on Maria's tutorial for glowing black tiles. (I believe this has only appeared on the Mosaic app. Please correct me in the comments if you know where to find it online.) I just did a few of the shapes, as my hand is still unhappy with me. Maybe I'll go back later and do the whole tile. I had to "resurface", i.e. cover the existing white lines in black. I had read about this technique on Mosaic, without really understanding it. On my tile, when I applied white charcoal pencil over the black ink, the texture from the lines from my white Gelli Roll appeared underneath. You can see a trace of it in the top spiral. This could be an interesting technique to explore.

In other news, I have fallen down another rabbit hole: Mexican nichos (not nachos!!!). These are basically shrines. What I fancy are the gorgeous colors. While recovering from my hand injury, I found that I could use my fat Moonlight and Koi pens and colored pencils to do simple frames that reminded me of the shadow box that is used in so many nichos.  I'm really happy I discovered these! The colors delight me! (On a side note, yesterday my wonderful son-in-law presented me with a box of Magnetips pens in all the brightest colors I could dream of! Look out!)

Thanks for your visit! Have a delightful week!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Diva's Weekly Challenge #304: Waybop

It's been a bit of a rough week here in the Sparrows' nest. Apparently my furious bouts of knitting and tangling last week  caused a lot of inflammation in my right hand and hips.  I was diagnosed with "trigger finger" last Wednesday, and ordered to avoid sitting and, of course, drawing. What's a Zenspar to do?
Today, I tentatively picked up  my pen for the Waybop challenge. Surely after 10 days sans tangles I would be fine. I managed to finish the Waybop line work when the pain made a reappearance.  "Nevertheless, she persisted" would be  appropriate here, but don't tell the doctor!

Thanks for stopping in! Have a lovely, tangle-filled week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Diva Challenge #303: Happy Valentine's Day!

This week, the Diva challenged us to make a valentine. (This fit in perfectly with my plan to knit a cap and make a card for my beloved Lar.) And I got to use the "Tangles by Type" feature on tanglepatterns.com!  So much fun! As a general rule, I'm not much for the heart-y tangles, but I enjoyed doing this and like the results. 

Lolo, Heartvine, Minline and Puffle

Have a sweet week! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Diva's Challenge #302: Hamadox

Drawing Hamadox was a treat for me--so relaxing and soothing to turn the tile and then add the rounding at the end. Thanks, Laura, for introducing me to this zen gem!

My daily acts of random number generating have continued this week. Here are a couple that I posted on Mosaic.

String 040, by Sue Jacobs

String 035, by Anne Marks

Thanks for stopping by! Have a relaxing week!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Catching Up!

Three weeks have passed since my last blog post, and it feels good to be back! I won't bore you with my activities since the inauguration of our "so-called" president, but know that my days have been full...

Enough! On to some Zen...

I've started a new (for me) approach to tangling. As you may recall from my last post, I have a new toy, a random number generator. I had numbered all the tanglepatterns tangles, and then done a separate list of official Zentangle patterns. Every morning, I pick 6 numbers. (Hmm. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket... I digress!!!)  The first is for the string. (These are handily numbered on tangle patterns.com) The next 5 are for official ZT tangles, but I may use fewer than 5. Grab my coffee, and sometimes my glasses--ha!--and off we go. My focus is P R O C E S S, rather than product. I love not having (being able to!) think, but just moving the pen, then shading. Since I'm doing these in a small journal, I usually finish in less than 30 minutes. With a smile on my face.

This morning's act of random tangling. String #63, by Anne Marks, with Xircuss and Quib.

Now for some catching up:

Diva's Weekly Challenge #299: Drawings

Diva's Weekly Challenge #300: Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

Diva's Weekly Challenge #301: Paradox / Diva Dance Duotangle

And finally, I just want to share my new pencil pouch. This was tons of fun! The pouches are available from zentangle.com. I prepped it with ModPodge and used my Identapen with a gray Fabrico marker for shading.

These were all posted on the Mosaic app. I'm @JenniferSparrowCZT21.
Have a fantastic week!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy New Year! Diva Challenge #298

Happy 2017! Please accept my best wishes for health and happiness in this new year, along with many thanks for all the joy you brought me last year.
It seems like months have gone by since my last post. I have been busy with so many different things. Over the past almost 4 weeks--gasp!--I had the joy of reuniting with family and friends for the holidays. There were three particularly special reunions during the week after Christmas: one with my best friend from middle and high school, one with my brother and sister and one with a former 6th grade student who is now 32! Words really can't describe the happiness and wonder I felt with each reunion.  New Year's Eve found me struggling to stay awake by tangling.
These first 13 days of 2017 I have been following in the book "The Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and Yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts". I've been trying to integrate some of the themes into daily Zentangle meditations. (I may do a post on these later.) Oddly enough, the first one was "Senza Paura", without fear, which I saw reflected in our friend Michele's blog.
As you can see, I've been playing with water colors.  When we were hit with 1/2 inch of ice and 6 inches of snow last Saturday, I asked my dear Lar to do an art project with me. He kindly accepted, and we, using Michele's amazing tutorial, did several sheets of water color washes. Then, we cut one of them to 10 inches square, divided it into 9 squares and made a string before cutting the squares apart. So far, we have tangled 4 of the 9. I'll post the ensemble when we finish.
Delighted to be snowbound for 5 days, I bought the new 2017 Tangle Guide and started cataloguing ribbon tangles that work well for the "romanancy" technique. What a rabbit hole! While working on the ribbon collection, I saw that I needed a better way to access my tangles. (I had previously been keeping everything in a sketchbook.) Since space is at a premium, I decided to use Bristol strips cut to roughly 3 x 11 inches.  Pretty straightforward and cheap!
I've also numbered all the patterns in the Tangle Guide so I can use a Random Number Generator to choose tangles.
Yesterday, I was honored to give a Zentangle lesson at the local Memory Café, where folks diagnosed with Alzheimers, as well as their family members, meet up to socialize and relax. Here is their amazing work! Such fun!

Lest I forget, today's Diva tile with "Orbs-La-Dee" and yet another attempt at "romanancy".

Will Jennifer ever learn perspective? Will she be forever prisoner to lines that refuse to be parallel? Stay tuned for next week's episode in the ongoing saga of Romanancy!
Thanks for hanging in there with this long post! I'd love to hear where the past 4 weeks have taken you in your tangling adventure!