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.

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!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Diva's Challenge #317: Snapshot!

This week we were challenged to incorporate a snapshot into our tile. Thrilled to see this, I had for weeks been thinking about making a "frame" for a photo of my mom at age 19. I loved the colors in the faded memory from 1941, and decided that a Renaissance tile and sepia pen would do the trick.  Because of the lack of detail in her left arm, I decided to tuck it behind the tile. Cutting the buttery soft paper was the most difficult part of this challenge, but I am pleased with the results.

So pleased, in fact, that I did another! This time, I wanted to honor my sister, who spent hours cataloguing and digitizing over 300 family photos from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Her birthday is June 1. Perfect timing! I found several great images of her with my mom, but this one was my favorite.

Isn't she adorable?

I used my computer to get the sepia tones I wanted, and carefully cut out the picture. This time, I opted to print it on regular paper and glue it to the prestrung Zendala tile.

I am so excited about this technique! I simply love old black and white photos, which I've collected over the years while thrifting. And I can now use my Renaissance Zendala tiles and sepia pens!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a memorable week!

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