Friday, January 31, 2014

January Journal

I didn't expect to take as many online classes this year, but I have already signed up for at least two and I'm trying to decide on the Sketchbook Skool class too. Lilla Rogers' MATS Bootcamp starts on Monday... and I have been doing my best to keep up with Journal52.

Accountability seems to be the key to my actually keeping up with a class or finishing any project I start. Accountability to you all gets me out of bed most days! I will post my journal pages for Journal52 here on the blog at the end of each month. If I don't - you all should feel free to make a fuss. OK?

It's not too late to join if you want to play along. It's an easy-going group with Chelle posting one prompt each week with some cool ideas to try. If you are also doing Journal52, please feel free to put a link to your own art in the comments below. We'd all love to see!

I used a lot of Sheer Heaven in these pages. The first week, "Up Up and Away" - was based on a steampunk-tangle piece I did for the book The Beauty of Zentangle. I did a pale transfer of just the girl and her skirt, turned her into a hot air balloon and painted over the whole thing with watercolor, and Inktense pencils.

Up Up And Away - Sandy Steen Bartholomew

For week two, "Somewhere, A Simple Place," I transferred a photograph I had taken of a fairy house my kids and I built on a beach in Maine. I drew the text (lyrics from a song by Phillip Phillips) with Micron pen, and painted over the pale photo with watercolors and colored pencils.

Somewhere, A Simple Place - Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week Three, "You Make Me Smile" - again, started with a transfer of my favorite photo of my kids. Then Microns, acrylic paint, pencils, and paint pens. I wanted to express not only that my kids make me smile, but how happy it makes me that they make each other happy. Complicated, right? Alex had been away at summer camp and we finally arrived at family visiting day. Lilah was beside herself with anticipation. We knew that she had missed her brother, but as soon as she saw him walking towards us up the dirt path, she flew at him on her little legs. She "launched" herself at him actually, knocking him down, and attaching herself like a barnacle. A happy barnacle. Alex obviously had missed her too. :-)

Lilah art directed this piece. She insisted the word "SMILE" be a rainbow. I think she was right.

You Make Me Smile - Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week Four, "Building Character," took an interesting turn. I have been using this workshop as a way to push myself to draw the way I "used to". Or rather, to get back to working the way that I used to, when I loved making art, before I started drawing the way I "had to" for work. (Very complicated.)

I am usually inspired by something, an image, a quote, that leads to my own artwork. I don't just draw. I have to start somewhere. Quite often something pops into my head - which is why I really love prompts.

This is a piece I had done last year. I made it into a poster on Zazzle...

I thought the quote went really well with this assignment, but I had a "better" idea of what I wanted the art to look like. My girl looks a bit... defensive. So I redrew it from scratch. As I worked, my little character's outfit changed as I added my Bumblebat's wings and dress, and the whole thing took a bit of a steampunk turn...

character sketch - Sandy Steen Bartholomew

I drew it with a brown Micron pen, then colored it with watercolor and Inktense pencils.

Character - Sandy Steen Bartholomew

I liked the finished piece a lot! But, I had an image in my mind of an architect's drawing... sort of a sepia-blueprint. Like a design or patent sketch. I know I accuse my daughter of being a little Art Director, but I think I have another one inside my head... yes, I did it over again!

I'm not completely crazy... I started with a Sheer Heaven transfer so I wouldn't have to do all the work again.

I like to draw with a Col-erase brown pencil when I intend on leaving the lines (not erasing them). I went through the drawing putting back in all the straight lines and curves. Again, the image in my head changed... so here is what it all ended up becoming...

Building Character - Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Now that I think back on the process of creating this character, the quote seems really appropriate. I spent two full days (and late nights) working on this journal prompt. It's not real "work" - I don't get paid. It's not even created for someone - as a gift or a dare. It was just an idea. Something that was rattling around in my head and it needed to get out.
Hammer and forge, indeed

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Pederson Ladies

I thought we would take a little break from the Tangle Library APP rush... breathe... ahh, yes, tangling is calming, right? ;-)

Barbara Pederson sent me the following notes and artwork and I think they are lovely. Be sure to look closely at the details in the tangled hair. I also love the way that the paper texture actually creates a new background "tangle" in the colored piece.
Thank you Barb!

I am just a beginner but I did this last night and I just love it. Your book inspires me and the set of cards really help me to think of where patterns will work in my tanglelation.

Here's what I did...
I love making one of your "ladies" and filling in the patterns. I can think of so many ways to do their hair and clothing...  it's so much fun.  Thanks so much.   
- Barb Pederson

Barb Pederson
I so enjoy this craft.  It is so freeing.  Since I started drawing the "ladies", the ideas just keep coming and coming.  I especially like doing their hair.  So much fun I can't stop!  
- B

Here are a few others I am working on:

Barb Pederson
Barb Pederson

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I have an APP! I have an APP! I have an APP!

Here's the official description-information-stuff:

This app will show you how to draw 40 gorgeous tangles by published author and Certified Zentangle Teacher™ Sandy Steen Bartholomew. These tangles are structured patterns that are easy to make and fantastic to look at.  All you need is a pen, pencil, and paper to start making beautiful art! 

Once you've created your masterpiece, use the built in photo tool to take a picture of your work and file it with the tangles you used.


- 40 tangles from Sandy's "Tangle Cards - Yoga For Your Brain" card pack. Each tangle includes a picture of the finished pattern and step by step visual instructions so you can make them yourself.
- Filter the tangles by shape, shade, and more to find the perfect tangle for your composition.
- Star your favorite tangles to easily find them again.
- Use the built in photo organizer to take pictures of your finished drawings. You can later review your photos organized by the tangle used.
- Also includes a quick start guide to tangling for those new to the process or who could use a refresher.

(Note: This app is not created by or affiliated with Zentangle, Inc.)

Tangle library is designed for iPhones and iPads.

Check it out!!

Demo video, Part 1:

(If you can't see the video, click here to see it on YouTube)

And then, Part 2:

(If you can't see the part 2 video, click here to see it on YouTube)

Want to SEE the face that belongs to the voice on the video? Ian McDowell is the genius behind the Tangle Library App. Visit the Tangle Library web site to learn more.

Got questions? Got opinions (for the developer)? There's a FAQ page for that!

And LIKE us on Facebook so you'll be kept up to date on additional tangles, or if it becomes available for Android phones (we'd need an Android Developer for that).

OH! You want to buy it for yourself!!?? You can get it here:

It will be available for a limited time at a super-special introductory price... then it will go to it's regular price of $4.99 (still a bargain).  Please remember that the App is sold through Apple on the iTunes store. If you have a problem purchasing it or downloading it, I can't help you. You will need to contact them.
If you have comments on the App itself, Ian would love to hear them.
We'd both love to hear praise!
And we appreciate any help in getting the news out to the rest of the world.

I hope you love it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tangling Around the World

Actually that would be a good title for a world-wide Zentangle Challenge!

For now, I wanted to show you editions of my books that are coming out on the other side of the world.  Last June, Totally Tangled came out in Dutch, that was very exciting...

And now, my publisher sent me copies of my books in Chinese and Japanese!

Here is the Chinese Totally Tangled:

I think it's pretty cool how the Chinese characters are also filled with tangles! I wonder who did the new art?

They put the original cover as an interior page:

And they divided the book into chapters, each with it's own title page:

The rest of the book looks pretty much the same. On the back cover they put random quoted reviews from Amazon. There is one from "Quercus Design" which is my own sister! Too funny - but kind of ironic that it's on the Chinese one, not the Japanese book. My sister studied in Japan for a year - she could have read that book.

This is the publisher's info, Cube Books - cute the way they did it with the table and chair.
[If you still don't own the English version of Totally Tangled, you can get it here.]

The Japanese book is from Boutique-Sha... The cover looks sort of like Joy of Zentangle, and it lists Suzanne's, Marie's, and my names...

 ... and some of the inside looks kind of like Joy, but reformatted.

But then it starts feeling odd, since there is a lot of my artwork that has been... "re-combined".

And then I noticed that entire pages from my other books have been tossed in...

And the gallery page includes some stuff from Suzanne's fabric tangle book - and my apron. I think this page looks weird in comparison to the rest of the book - which is nicely packed with tangles. These pictures are all cut and pasted from different places but without any explanations or context.

 On the other hand, the text-filled pages are really pretty in their own way...

 If you can get this book, and read Japanese, I imagine this is a really good deal. Three books in one, like a "Best of..." book. Seriously. It's packed!
[Again, if you need Yoga for Your Brain or Joy of Zentangle in English, you can get them here.]

This Yoga for Your Brain book is also coming out from Cube Books:

If you'd like to see inside it, click here.

I admit it is a thrill to see my books translated!! 
If you are not fortunate enough to live in the East or in the US, and have been despairing the lack of access to tangles... your salvation is here! Or, rather, it will be here, tomorrow.... ooo, I'm such a tease! ;-)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Perfect STAR for "The Bauble Tree"

Just before Christmas, I released my ebook, "The Bauble Tree," with step-outs and techniques and ideas... and a challenge to show me what you do with it. Rita Nikolajeva took the challenge even farther by integrating the Bauble tangle with a new tangle of her own design - Auseklis.

Here is what she posted on my Facebook Studio Page:

by Rita Nikolajeva
Love "The Bauble Tree"! Here's my version of the Baubles, arranged as a star, with golden inner aura (done in my new favourite gold pen - Pilot Choose Gold 07).

Just in case, my step-out for the eight-pointed star I used in the previous ATC. "Auseklis" is Latvian for "morning star", it's an ancient symbol based on a double cross. It offers protection against evil and forces of darkness, and keeps safe the soul of a sleeper. Stars are usually female in Latvian mythology, but Auseklis is a he-star, and often referred to as the bridegroom of the Sun.

AUSEKLIS by Rita Nikolajeva
 Don't you agree, this would be the perfect star for the Bauble Tree?! And this also shows that Bauble can be used in so many different designs other than just a tree shape.

I'd love to see what you all come up with! You can get the ebook HERE and feel free to post your creations on BeezInk Studio's Facebook Page, HERE.

My Word for the Year is "Excavate"

I was driving home on the highway tonight, when I had a Vision. Or maybe it was a reverse vision?

I had just spent four hours at a tiny, Western-themed, BBQ saloon in a NH summer lake resort town - that was shut down and boarded up for the winter. (The town was boarded up, not the BBQ saloon). I'm not sure if any of the adjectives in that long sentence really go together... but, well, that's where I had been.

It was the kind of dinner where you start as sort-of-strangers and end up completing each others' sentences! Honestly, the only reason we stopped talking and went home was because the saloon closed. And turned out the lights. Then we got the message and left. :-)

We talked about art (all four of us are artists), and work, and ex-husbands, and then... labyrinths, quantum physics, manifesting... you know, the usual dinner chatter. But all of this is still new to me. The whole idea of going out to dinner and meeting new friends - especially other "square pegs" - seems so out of my comfort range. But as the evening evolved, I realized that wasn't true. I USED to be more social. I USED to have friends and actually liked leaving my house. I USED to crave adventures and ideas...

One of the ladies asked if I have always felt out of place or did I ever feel like I belonged somewhere. No. Nothing has ever felt permanent or rooted. When I bought this house and renovated it, painted it, mural-ed it and studio-fied it - then I thought it was "mine." But the divorce showed me just how impermanent people and things are. Although I am currently still living here, I know this house is just borrowed.

As we all hugged, climbed into our cars and drove off into the freaking cold, dark night... I kept thinking "did I ever feel like I belonged?"

I was in a good mood though and didn't want sad thoughts bugging me so I turned up the radio. I found myself singing along to "Red Red Wine" and that's when I had the Vision. It was so strong I knew that if I closed my eyes and then opened them again (too bad I was driving a car at the moment!) - I would see the canals of Venice in front of me. I was seventeen years old. Just graduated from High School. I had my left arm hooked with my friend Christie's elbow. We were sharing a Walkman, dancing over the Rialto Bridge. We sang "Red-red-wine you make me feel so fine..." as we twirled around tourists. I could feel the sun, the blisters on my feet from walking around Italy for weeks, the blush on my cheeks when an Italian guy smiled at us... my absolute joy in just being alive and in that particular moment.

Me and Jen and Jen in Venice, Italy. Age 17.

And then I was driving along I-89 again. In the dark. 44 years old with two kids and 27 years of later experiences that are not nearly as vivid as that one moment in Venice. It hit me that one of my kids is almost the age I was in that vision. And then, weirdly enough, I suddenly understood WHY vampires are usually around 17 years old. All these Twilight stories and Vampire Diaries I've been reading have characters who are struggling with the idea of being "frozen" as a teenager. In Twilight, besides the whole issue of becoming a soul-less, blood-sucking monster, Bella's big dilemma is if she becomes a vampire as a teenager, she will stay that age forever and never get to experience a normal, human adulthood. But when she becomes a vampire (sorry to spoil it for you) not only does she stay young forever, but every sense becomes heightened. She sees, hears, tastes... experiences life in a way mere humans can't. Huh. Maybe "adulthood" is overrated? I think I had done most of my forming and "becoming me" by the time I was twenty. Everything after that seems like just check marks on a "to-do list" for adults.

Christie and Me in London. Age 17.

Now that I am on my own again and trying to figure out who I want to be...
I want to be the person I was when I was 17. I'm not saying I want to give up all the experiences I've had since then, or my kids, or any of my life. But I want to be that person who felt anything was possible. I never felt like I had all the time in the world, as some teens feel. Doctors had put an expiration date on me. But maybe that added to the sense of "nothing to lose" and "do it now or never."

When I got home tonight, I went looking for my scrapbook of my adventures to find a photo to show you. I haven't looked at them in a long time. I was stunned by all the other places I went that year and the next... besides Italy, I went to Japan and Egypt and Mexico... and Brown University and School of Visual Arts and RISD... so much packed into one scrapbook (and there were at least 6 other books on that shelf I haven't looked at!) Time and stories whizzing by!

I had another memory of being on a train hurtling through the Italian countryside. Windows wide open because everyone in my car was smoking. It was so hard to breathe - I had my head out the window. A station sign flew by that read "POMPEII"! And with all my soul I wanted to stop the train and explore Pompeii! How could we just pass by a place I had wanted to visit all my life? But it was gone, and I still have never been back there.

And now time, like that train, feels like it is moving so fast and I don't know where it's going. I see things flying by and wish I had the courage to scream "stop the train" or the courage to just jump off and explore. I get glimpses of things I want to do or try, even knowing they could be big failures, and I do think I am brave enough to try... but the prescribed steps or the acceptable way of proceeding - especially at my age - are highly distasteful to me. And while I am trying to reinvent the wheel... the train keeps moving...

"Did I ever feel like I belonged...?"

Yes. The vision of Venice reminded me that I DID once feel like I belonged. But it wasn't in a house, or a town, or even with a group of friends. I belonged in a moment. In myself. In a feeling. All these years of "trying" to fit in - as a wife, a mom, a board member... whatever... I managed to forget who I was.

Last year, my focus for the year was on "learning" - I overdosed on taking classes! This year, my word for the year is "Excavate." Like the archaeologist I intended to be, I will use my training to spend this year excavating the layers, the stratigraphy, of my life and my art. Some things may be better left sealed in a tomb! But it seems worth the risk to me, now, to see what jewels may still be buried there. Besides, "excavate" sounds so much better than "regurgitate," don't you think?


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