Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My 40 Tangles Birthday Project

In case you have been wondering... "What ever happened to Sandy's 40 Tangles for her Birthday Project?" Well, I didn't get 40, closer to 30, but that just proves that I am still young at heart, right? But what I did get were absolutely beautiful tiles!!! I love the way that people incorporated their own patterns, words and even objects of importance to ME - into their tangles. One on the left there even has a cat and the Eiffel Tower (I went to France in Sept.) I got tangled tiles, envelopes, notebook pages and even a SHELL!



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tangle of the Week - Pane & Beedle

I got a bit behind with patterns, so here's a two-fer - Pane and Beedle.

I think they look rather Holiday-ish. Good background for a wreath or a cozy fire... These two tangles are ones I designed based on some carved woodwork (Beedle) and a stained glass window (Pane). Although Pane also looks like a coffered ceiling or wood paneling. To make it look more dimensional - after you shade the top and left sides of each section, try smudging (with your finger) across the upper left corner of the back square (or rectangle).

Beedle doesn't need step-outs to draw. It's just like Pearlz - a row of circles - but you can alternate circles with ovals. To have white beads, just add a little crescent of shading near the bottom of each bead. For black beads, draw a little circle (or oval) at the top of each bead. Leave that part white and color in the rest. Easy. Remember, to make something look like it is in front of the picture - draw it FIRST. Everything else goes behind it.

Oh - and Happy Holidays! If you are feeling a bit bah-humbuggy (I admit I am) and stressed by all this... stuff... right now. Take a break and do a Zentangle. Look around at the beautiful lights, candles, wrapping paper and create your own new tangles. Appreciate the spirit of the holidays. Then you can use the resulting tile as a gift card or stocking stuffer. Very practical. :-)

My Zentangle Alphabet Book!

   From my Etsy site:
"AlphaTangle - A Truly Tangled Alphabet" is an adorably teeny (4" square) book of alphabet letters created from Zentangle patterns. All the official Zentangle tangle/patterns have names and I have created each letter from the patterns starting with those same letters. The original art was drawn with a Micron pen and shaded with pencil. I designed and laid out the book and it was printed by Brayshaws, a local printing company. I hope it provides inspiration for fellow Zentanglers.  I am happy to sign your copy!
Note: the books are available at wholesale for brick and mortar shops and CZTs. Please email for info.

It is finally done! I actually completed all the alphabet letters by the end of the summer. But it took me longer to do all the scanning, clean-up, layout and printing stuff. But, the important thing is, I DID do it. Yeah! I get a very weird feeling of satisfaction at holding a little stack of these books and thinking "Mine!" But now, the really hard part... I need to get them out of my hands and into Zentangle, and potential-Zentangle, enthusiasts' hands.  If you would like a copy (or two - they're small!), the books cost $9.99 plus $1.50 for s/h. You can buy one from my etsy store (Bumblebat) or you can send a check to Beez Ink Studio, PO Box 359, Warner, NH 03278 and I will send it right out! I also have some copies of  Cloth Paper Scissors with the Zentangle Journalling article ($7.99) and the Studios Magazine with my tangled studios (also $7.99).

Friday, December 4, 2009

You're Invited to a Tangle Share!

Come to a Tangle Share on December 12th between 11 and 2. Stop by The Belfry during the Warner Holiday Shopping Tour and show off your Tangles! Everyone wants to see what you have been creating. Or perhaps you have not yet taken a Zentangle class and would like to see what it's all about? Or you are already addicted to Zentangle but you're having a hard time explaining it to your friends and family!? Bring them along - everyone is welcome. Work on a group tangle, eat yummy snacks, get a collectible Tangle ATC. Stop by anytime between 11 and 2.

Live too far away but want to show your stuff and get the Tangle Card? Post your Zentangles on the Beez Ink Studio page on FaceBook. To get the Tangle cards, send me a SASE (self-addressed STAMPED envelope) and I'll mail 'em to you.  [Beez Ink Studio, PO Box 359, Warner, NH 03278]

Tangle of the Week - Ennies

Ennies takes a bit of practice. I didn't like it at first. Now I find it strangely satisfying. With the right shading (I like to put a little shading just under the edge, over the circles - the caviar) the design actual seems to be moving. Depending on the time of the month, it can seem a bit like sperm and eggs. But, at least for the past few weeks, it looks a lot like the inside of my head! Has anyone out there learned how to love the holidays? I really want to... I just hate this time of year. Could be that I know winter is coming too.

Say It with Letters

Thought I'd let you know about a very cool source for "things to paint". My friend Deb Damboise owns a company called "Say It with Letters" located in Manchester, NH. She has a ton of interesting "wood" (mdf) shapes and alphabets in stock and she can also do custom cutting for a ridiculously reasonable price. I send her line drawings and I can get my shapes up to 48 inches! On my other blog I did some memorial pieces for my cat who died last week. All the parts, except the letters are my designs, cut by Deb.  This piece, "Tweet", is her cloud shape, covered with embossed metal and acrylic paints.

If you are interested in learning to emboss metal, there is a class at Wingdoodle this weekend and they also sell the Ten Seconds Studio supplies there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Contenders

Phoebe's the kitten (6 months)

Dexter is about a year old

And Charlie is 3 years

I know looks aren't everything, but cast your vote for which fur-baby you think we'll pick! :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Article - Yeah!

As a recovering freelance illustrator, I have to admit that seeing two magazines next to each other on the Borders newstand - each with an article and art by ME! Ohmigosh-I don't have the words to describe the feeling!!! I hope this isn't all of my 15-minutes of fame, because I'd really like to do some more articles.

SO - I have an article on pages 54-57 of the Winter 2009 Cloth, Paper, Scissors - "STUDIOS" Magazine!! My two studios are "featured studios" which means I get more pages. Still, there were a lot of photos left out. Probably doesn't matter except that I described areas and spaces that have no accompanying pics. If anyone is interested in seeing more photos, let me know and I can put up a page with more info.

I really love showing (off) my studios. The rooms themselves are like artworks to me. And my whole reason for creating is to share or show what I make. It must be another one of those ironic curses. I'm an extreme introvert and I crave long blocks of time alone to make stuff and I suck at multi-tasking (and baby-sitting!). And yet, without the human interactions and deadlines... I have no reason to make anything.

A magazine deadline is a GREAT reason to make stuff!!

Note: the article has pictures of my Zentangle cabinet - in progress, and my tangled bathroom floor! And if you haven't yet read my other article about Zentangles and Journals in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, it is still on the newstands for a few more weeks. :-)

Rum Tum Memorial Art

It is my habit to try and create some kind of art when a fur-baby dies. So I made two for Rum Tum. The first is her memorial angel-cat piece and the second is kind of like a portable mural. I will probably make a mural piece of my still-living cat, Lilo Bean, as well.

The memorial/shrine piece is mostly acrylics and the background shrine part is black gesso with colored pencils. It is much more vibrant in real life, but I ignored every rule of photographing artwork in my haste to post it here!

The portrait is almost 2 feet high, or so. I decided to keep the cat faces sort of folksy and graphic and just make her eyes more 3-D.

We are a two-cat family and we are all missing cat number two. Even Lilo Bean seems a bit confused and lonely. So, when I read the newsletter from W.A.G - We are Animal Guardians (we got Rum & Lilo from them) I decided to find out if they have a new fur-baby for us.

Sheila at WAG said she'd had 48 calls today - almost all wanting to turn in cats and dogs. Only one looking for a new pet. If anyone reading this lives in NH and has been thinking about a new pet, please do consider contacting them. They are a no-kill shelter and they foster out the animals. Sheila says the kittens are easy to place but there are many lovely, older pets who never get their own homes! All the animals have been checked, neutered, vaccinated, etc. And you can "test" an animal in your home to see if it is right for your family. She said they also have an amazing program for seniors who are afraid that their pet will have no where to go if the owner dies or moves to a nursing home. WAG takes the pet back, no problem. (They also need monetary donations badly right now!)

Our family has an older female cat and a toddler child, so Sheila had to do some serious thinking on what cat would fit in here. She sent us photos of three cats and we all crowded around the screen to argue the merits of each! I'm leaning toward "Charlie" who reminds me a lot of a past cat I had, named Sakhi (Sakhmet the Egyptian Goddess of War and Pestilence - she mellowed with age.) Except that he looks like he has a sweeter disposition. After all, I don't want him to eat my baby, right? "Dexter," the gray tuxedo cat looks sweet too and Lilah really liked his photo - he was sniffing a bouquet of flowers. And the B&W kitten, Phoebe.. adorable. It's hard to pick just one - I can't wait to meet them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rum Tum Teaser

Studio Cat and Golden-Eyed Muse
I will miss your purrs and your sage advice:
"All things seem better after a snack and a nap in the sun."

I am heart-broken to let you go.
But there is no cure for a Jellicle cat who cannot purr.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tangle of the Week - Jetties

Here's one in honor of my daughter's 3rd birthday next week! (Three years old, omigosh!!)
Jetties is a three year olds dream - rubba-balls everywhere. Yippee!

Oh, you noticed, rats! Yeh, you're right, I didn't finish drawing in all those stripey balls on the front of the card. You can help me out. Did I mention it's my daughter's birthday? I'm too busy getting ready for her party - the one she has been talking about since September! And...

... if you noticed the little poll that I had on the side of this blog about what you'd like in a book...?
Well... YES! I am doing a book about Zentangle and I need your help. You may, or may not, know that there are about 102 "official" tangles. These are the patterns that the Certified Zentangle Teachers learn and then teach their students. I only plan to include a few of the basic ones in the book - the ones that are building blocks for other patterns. SO... I need NEW TANGLES!!!

Have you invented a new pattern? If you have, and you'd like to share, email me a jpeg with a sketch of the steps, the name of the Tangle ("untitled" is not acceptable - name it after your kid or pet if you have no clue), and your name.  (email it to : sakhmet at tds dot net)  I reserve the right to choose between any similar designs and to make minor alterations if necessary. If I use your tangles in the book, I will put your name with it (unless you just want your initials or something). This is so exciting!!

And if any CZTs are reading this and panicking, this book is intended to get more people excited about Zentangle and interested in taking classes. I received a lot of emails after the magazine article appeared asking where people could take classes or learn more. The book is geared more towards those who already have some experience tangling.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Hampshire Magazine Zentangle Blurb

Article about my store, Wingdoodle, and Zentangles in NH Magazine!

There are a few things in this article that will make Rick and Maria at Zentangle squirm - and a few that made me squirm too - but in general it is good press for Wingdoodle and Zentangle. I did not write this article! They called and interviewed my mom while I was in France. They did ask me to send artwork, and I sent it, but in the actual magazine article they used someone's art from the web. I really hope they got permission!! But for the online version, they used my art, but credited the other artist.

Judging by the title; "Googling Over Doodling The New Zentangle Craze" it sounds like perhaps the article was originally longer and more about what they found online. But then, maybe, it was cut down?
Whatever happened, it's nice to get a bit more coverage!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Intergalactic Orchestra

There are a few really fun benefits to owning a 12 year old boy who adores Star Wars. Really!! Here's one: Alex's grandparents gave him three tickets to the "Star Wars in Concert" show at the Verizon Center as his birthday present. And he let me have one of the tickets. This show was so amazing the only words I can think of to describe it are...  laser beams, fog machines, pillars of fire, 3-story screen, C-3PO (well, the actor, actually). Star Wars music is like cartoon music - the old cartoons. You don't realize you are listening or affected by it, but it is in your blood. The orchestra plays the first few notes of the piece and you KNOW who will appear on the screen. Big, black and brooding. His creepy breathing. Darth Vader is the scariest character alive. I'm sorry, but Darth Maul is  no match. What's a little make-up (OK, a LOT of makeup) and a few horns (double light saber is cool though...). As kids, we watched all those movies, not understanding the complicated politics or relationships or even WHY Vader was the way he was. And we loved the characters as if they were our family. Princess Leia was and is the most kick-butt princess ever. Amidala just flits around trying to balance her complicated hairstyles... But this concert gave me new respect for her too. And now I need to do what my son has been telling me to do for years... go and watch ALL the movies in the correct order. The new ones never made sense to me because they seemed backwards. But hearing the story, simplified and in order with the compelling music, OK, time to do it all again. I hope I didn't annoy Alex last night when I whispered things like, "That movie came out when I was seven!" or "Oh! That one came out when I was YOUR age!" Man, I'm old. But I did notice that 75% of the audience was my generation and 25% was Alex's or younger. And this was the only concert in my life where the mini-vans cheerfully let me back out into the patiently waiting parking garage traffic. The Force was with us.

(There was an incredible display of costumes and special effects outside the arena!)

Mega Munny and Mini Yoka

She's huge, powerful, totally tangled! She's Mega Munny!


He's teeny tiny itsy bitsy, has no super powers whatsoever, but he likes to break-dance.
Meet P. Bear, the mini Yoka.

I finished both of these creatures this week. Meg is about 18" tall. I started her at the Fall Festival and finished at my Open Studio last weekend. She wanted to be a Zentangle Princess, but as soon as I drew the stripey panties, she turned into a super hero - with an oceanic theme. Note the seashell bra, shrimp tattoo, and squid on her head! Shelley found me the perfect fabric for a cape, sparkley blue lamé. But when she puts it on she looks rather WWF or Nacho Libre and I'm not sure that's the look she's after.... Besides I have it from a very reputable source (the Incredibles) that capes are quite dangerous for super heroes. Meg is going to hang out at Wingdoodle for a while and protect my sanity.

P. Bear is teeny, like around 2 or 3 inches. He's a Panda Bear and, despite his size, he has already left home. He is off to the adFunture/DKE Toys Custom Yoka Show at Designer Con in Pasadena, CA on Sat. November 21. So if you live near there, and aren't busy, go visit him. Tell P. Bear I said "hi" and I hope he's doing OK, and to let me know if he needs any money (plastic, of course).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gift Tags

This angel started as a black and white Zentangle that I am using for our town's Holiday Shopping Tour (on Dec. 12!) and I turned it into a painting for my own enjoyment (see entry, Nov. 9th). But I since decided to use it as my store's (Wingdoodle's) holiday image. I just created a holiday gift tag with her and if you would like to get a bunch for your own packages, they are available at Zazzle (click for link).
 The reverse side has a mini image of the complete painting and the words "To:" and "From:" If you punch a hole just above her head, you can string the tag onto ribbon. Ooo-aaah!

Journals, Sheer Heaven

  Jessica from posted about my Cloth Paper Scissors article on her blog "Whatever...Whenever". Besides just being really exciting to be talked about (in a good way!) this is a funny example of how things can go full circle.
  In the article I use her product "Sheer Heaven" to make transfers. If you haven't tried it, read my article (!) or visit her website where she has a great video demonstrating the magic stuff. It's a thick, tracing-paper-like, unrippable paper (developed for other purposes) that was, accidentally, discovered to make near perfect transfers onto any absorbent surface. Forget all those messy other techniques! Mostly, the ideas revolve around transfers of inkjet images, but I have had great success with pigma pens and colored pencils too and... Ranger's Adirondack Color Wash sprays. Yep, weird, right? I am a very neat artist - I can paint an entire room with murals and not use dropcloths (my sister has another word besides "neat").
  So these sprays are what I consider "icky-messy" but I love the colors and effects. So, say I want to get these colors and effects in a journal or altered book? What a disaster that would be! But you can put a piece of Sheer Heaven in your sink, spray lots of colors, let them run and splotch, then dry. This lovely artwork can then be transfered with the alcohol spray method into your journal. All neat and easy. Or better yet, die-cut the Sheer Heaven and transfer the colorful shape! Cool!
   And since I am shamelessly promoting Sheer Heaven (because I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!) be sure to explore the rest of Jessica's website - she also offers wonderful classes online. I have taken a few of her journaling classes and her digital photo class too.  I have been drawing and painting and creating altered books and journals since I was born, but I wanted to take her class because (It sounded like fun) I wanted the discipline of having to get my homework done on time. Also I didn't have time to go to a class (I had a new baby). Besides the ego-booster of getting positive feedback from Jessica and fellow students, I actually learned a lot of new, useful and fun techniques. And the photo class was a great way to - discretely- admit that, even with all my years of photography experience - I had NO IDEA how to use my DIGITAL camera. There, now I am out. Since Jessica is an artist, she had great, visual, decriptions of scary concepts like apertures and shutter speeds. Oh, I GET it! So, go sign up for a class. And since she inspires me so, I hope to be able to offer an online Zentangle class - sooner or later!

PS - These tiny envelopes were die-cut using Sheer Heaven that has been sprayed with different colors on EACH side!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Angels? Fairies? Tangled.

I designed this angel for our town's "3rd Annual Warner Holiday Shopping Tour." In the ads and on the posters she is holding red shopping bags. I was inspired by the Klimt paintings that I have been researching lately. Klimt's images have realistic painted faces and then the clothes are more geometric, abstract, and full of patterns. And he uses lots of gold.

I think of my painted version as more of a holiday fairy or muse than an actual angel. I was kind of bummed that the one for the ads and poster isn't getting much face time. She's being shrunk down to nothingness in favor of more text. Maybe it's because I am 90% illustrator and only 10% graphic designer... but I think posters and ads should be all about the image. So I have decided to use my painted version for my own holiday ads and cards. I made a giclee print of her too, which I have for sale in my gallery at Wingdoodle and I will put on Etsy soon.

What I think is interesting about her, either version, is that everything, except her face, is created from tangles! Gives new meaning to "tangled hair," eh?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tangle of the Week - Drupe

Drupe is cool. It's like a flower stuck inside a cage. If you have been wondering about using color with your tangles, Drupe looks really nice. And the color makes it look even more 3-D, don't you think?

We Get mail

In response to all the messages...
Wow! Thanks, people - I told Glenny I'd like to be considered as a teacher at Portland too. I hope I get to meet you all! I have been wondering if an online class would work. In general, I think Zentangle is best learned in a class from a trained instructor. Yep, I'm partial since I am a trained instructor. But I learned it from the kit and practiced for a year before I got training. I was amazed at how different the experience was. Many patterns just make more sense when they are demonstrated. But everyone has a different learning style. I am working on a little book and the Zentangle people are too. But these are both more gallery and inspiration type books, not how-to's.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Zentangle Classes

Early Winter 2009 Workshops

Zentangle 101
Learn the basics of Zentangle - a relaxing form of meditation that uses pattern-making to focus your mind.  No drawing experience necessary (Really!)            Class= $35    Kit fee= $10
Sun. Nov. 15, 1-3pm
Wed. Dec. 16, 10:30am-12:30pm

Zentangle 102
Need more? More Zentangle patterns.
Zentangle 101 required. Bring your kit.
Class= $35  
Sat. Dec. 5, 10:00am-noon
Wed. Dec. 30, 10:00am-noon

Tangle Share / Open Studio
Bring your Zentangles to show off at my Open Studio during Warner’s Holiday Shopping Tour. Work on a group tangle, eat yummy snacks, get a collectible tangle ATC! (Bring your friends, family, kids).     
Sat. Dec.12, 11:00am-2:00pm   Free!

Note: Kids, ages 8 and up, are welcome to take these classes if accompanied by a parent (or grandparent!)

For more information please visit the "Classes" page at Beez Ink Studio online:
For more info about Zentangles in general, visit:

NH Open Doors Weekend

BEEZ ink Studio invites you to visit 
during New Hampshire Open Doors.

Sat. Nov. 7 & Sun. Nov. 8
from 10-5

Downstairs, In the Beehive, I will have new works including prints and hand-painted objects. I will also be demo-ing how to create a Zentangle and selling copies of Cloth Paper Scissors (with my article!!).

Upstairs, in The Belfry, I am hosting an Open Studio and Y-Art Sale. I've been trying to clean out my studios to make space for new projects.
Some things I'm getting rid of: Mac computer & computer stuff, camera, sewing machine, rubber stamp supplies, art and craft materials, unpainted furniture & wood things, lots of books on tape (some unopened), craft videos, big easel, paints, solder...
I know! I really needed to clean out!!
Oh, and some art too. :-)

Please come and visit!

Beez Ink Studio is located at
19 E. Main Street in Warner.
Call 603-456-3515 for more info.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Go Bruins!

Here's the Bruins crown my dad made. Felt, paper, stamps, charms. Very manly - nice job dad! Who says real men don't craft?

And just in case you need MORE proof... check out the crown Ken made - using the same materials! Very art-y Ken. Nice!

Artgirlz Art Party

We were so lucky to have an art party on Saturday with Tracy and Sue from Artgirlz in Rhode Island. Artgirlz is (are?) known for their pewter charms and felt beads and things. I personally am in love with making little people using the charms - arms, legs and crowns especially. For this event we made big, paper crowns! They started us off with pre-splattered watercolor paper - ingenius really. No blank sheet of paper staring back - we all dove right in - not even waiting for everyone to arrive! Even my father got into it - he made a Bruins crown - Go Dad!

It was absolutely POURING outside - very dismal. But inside we were giddy with gluesticks (and cupcakes!) Which got me thinking that we need more of these silly, fun art parties. Especially in the winter. Cabin fever parties... hmmm....  So, if you live within a day's drive of Wingdoodle (Warner, NH) and like to mess around with craft supplies, eat cupcakes, and laugh alot... be sure to stop in at the store, phone, or email (info at wingdoodle dot com) and say "Please, please invite me to the next art party!" Oh and let us know if you have a great idea for an art party project! I'd love to make some Artgirlz Snowpeople - but I'm up for anything.

Jen is the Queen of the Forest

 The Royal Family (you may call me "your Highness")

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zentangle Article in Cloth Paper Scissors!

Anyone who hasn't seen it yet, should run out and get a copy of the Nov/Dec issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine! (See cover above)

My article called "Add Pattern to Journals with Zentangles and Transfers" is on page 80!!! Whoo-hoo! It really is exciting to see your art in print. This is why I originally became an illustrator. I've put a tiny image of the first page here to get you excited. I know, I know - you can't read any of it... I didn't want to violate my contract with CPS, but I wanted to get you intrigued. If you have been trying to get your friends interested in Zentangle, buy them a Zentangle kit and/or some supplies, and package them with this issue of CPS. I can't think of a more perfect Christmas gift. :-)

I ordered 25 copies to sell at Wingdoodle. If you want a "signed" copy, just call or email the store. We also have all the Zentangle supplies. If you order a magazine along with any tangling supplies (kits, tiles, Microns, ATCs), we will ship them to you for free! (While supplies last.)

Tangle of the Week - Man-O-Man

I suppose you could keep adding rings, but after four, it looks more like mosaic and less like a manhole cover. Nothing wrong with mosaics though! So see how long you can keep it going before you completely lose it. :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Zentangle: Art, but not for Art's Sake

If you do a Google search for "Zentangle", 137,000 hits appear. At this moment. Try it again in an hour and there will probably be more. Some of the sites that show up are images with real Zentangles, some have zentangle-ish images, and some are blogs where artists and crafters show their zentangle-ish art but swear they thought of it long before the evil Zentangle-people coined the term and started scamming people into buying a kit to learn how to doodle. It is very hard to resist commenting on these blogs, but I don't think my opinion would make a difference to these people and there is just no point in arguing with them, so I keep my mouth shut. But I can write my opinion here, since this is MY blog gosh-darn-it!!

The most important point is that Zentangle was not designed to be a new art form, but rather a method of using art that is basic and comfortable and familiar to all of us as a way of meditation. A way that anyone, even non-artists, can enter "the zone." To relax, and yet, focus, at the same time. A TRUE Zentangle has steps that set up a ritual, just like other forms of meditation. You can't just enter that state of calm by closing your eyes and saying look at me, I'm meditating." You light a candle, put on quiet music, sit cross-legged, hum, whatever. So too with Zentangle. The creators do not claim to have invented the equipment, the patterns or the concept of meditation by drawing. What they did create were the steps, how to go about this particular process. Its like yoga. It's been around for ages and in so many different forms. Does it matter where the poses originated, or who your teacher studied with? All that ultimately matters is how the poses and the practice make you feel. And how do you learn yoga? From a book? A teacher? A kit you bought at Borders? Make it up on your own?

As you cruise the internet looking for Zentangle art and ideas, you start to see the difference between "doodles", Zentangle-ish art and Zentangle art by people who have had some training. Doodles are easily recognized as what they are because they are random and done in a thought-less way. Usually done while doing or thinking about something else. Unrelated. Talking on the telephone or daydreaming in a class or meeting. Zentangles are unplanned, but deliberate. The patterns are built "one stroke at a time" and they build on each other. The tangler doesn't "tune out", but rather "tunes IN". You become incredibly focused on what is evolving beneath your pen. You forget your worries for the moment. It is also very easy to see the difference between Zentangle art and Zentangle-like art. One dead giveaway is the dark lines outlining the "strings". Strings are guidelines that fade into the design when used properly. The characteristics that make a piece look like Zentangle: black and white, dense patterns within shapes, some shading - are what make some artists shake their heads and say "that's nothing new." But, again, these characteristics are not what make a real Zentangle, they are just the "look" - the end result. Zentangle is not a technique like watercolor or oil painting. It's more like... sand mandalas. It is horrifying for us to watch the monks (or anyone!) destroy those elaborate, gorgeous, detailed mandalas that they have slaved over for days - laying out each grain of sand, section by section. But, for the monks, it is all about the process, not the finished piece.

That said, Zentangles do make beautiful art, but I find that they lose their meditative calming powers when I actually am forced to care how the final piece will look. So I think of these artsy pieces more as illustrations with Zentangle-like qualities. Although, quite often when I create (not including free-lance jobs, ugh) I feel a great joy, sense of contentment and ... peace. I don't know where the image is going and I dont care. I am loving the colors flowing together, the happy accidents, the image that emerges from the paint. Life is good. THIS is what the Zentangle-originators are trying to pass on to you, to me, to anyone who cares to know that amazing feeling. What you do with these skills is up to you.

Resenting Zentangle, or its creators, is like resenting an inkjet printer, or Epson. These are tools to help make your creativity a reality. Use them and be happy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Round Robin

I have no idea what month I am on... I got back from France and found THREE books waiting for me! Yikes. So - enough whining - here's what I did for the first one. The instructions were to use a basic geometric shape for the string. I used circles and spirals and since I am...ahem... in a bit of a hurry to get these books caught up... I combined all my pages into one Zentangle. Looks sproingy, eh?


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