Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Today I decided to do something I rarely do; I used a string that I'd drawn some months ago.  I have a bunch of tiles and pages in my sketchbook with strings on them that wait for lazy days to be used.  Sometimes you just "have" to try a new tangle and oh hey, look, a string that would just suit.  Or other times you feel a need to find that zen zone without the necessity of engaging actual cognition on the path - gee, whaddaya know, a string is right here, waiting for me.  I had occasion to tidy up my work area and whilst doing this task I decided I needed to use this peculiar string.  I have no recollection of drawing it, so I have no idea WHAT I was thinking, but it was definitely an odd one.  For some reason it tickled my fancy and I just had to see what would happen with it. ASSUNTA made another appearance within, as well as PAUW, one of my newly designed favourites I'll draw up for you soon.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 22 August 2011


A Monday is a challenge all by itself, isn't it?  Just getting back into routine and facing what may not be your choice of activities for the day...yet we do it / them, over and over again.  Interesting that we build our own mazes in which to race our days away...

The fabulous Diva is back with her usual intriguing challenge "de la semaine" - which you'll find here.  This is a new tangle and one I've not used before so it was a little shy today and would only come out and play in one segment of this tile.  Perhaps next time it will feel a bit bolder!

Happy Monday!

Friday, 22 July 2011

I've Been Pinned!

Wow!  I was just surfing around and guess what?  I've been pinned!  Pinterest is a sort of community bulletin board where people "pin" shots found around the web of things that catch their eye.  While the photo is from the official Zentangle.com blog (credited, naturally!) and misidentified as a BELT rather than a CUFF, it's my bead embroidered cuff they show!  And it's been RE-pinned three times!  How exciting to think that people are looking so closely at the Zentangle blog and being so open to the art form expressed in various media...great times we live in, 'eh?

Check it out here.

Also, another initial installment - I present the one done for another friend, BL:

Happy Friday!


The air in my office is broken and it was so hot (my thermometer registered a shade under 90 degrees Fahrenheit!) that a) my computer died and b) I was fairly par-boiled, myself!  When I got home to the relative cool of a basement room, I stretched out to cool off and just woke up this morning!  So, my apologies for "missing" my Thursday posting.

I had it all lined up to share, so here are the initials of another buddy, SB - whaddya think?

I hope it WAS a Happy Thursday! ;-)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Initialize a Buddy!

Quite some time ago (a year? or so?) I was first playing with initials and tangles.  In fact, it was flipping through my "fun stuff" sketchbook, a gift from my friend Ruth, that inspired last week's challenge stand-in for our Diva.  All this time later and I still haven't found a string for one good buddy - whose name is an awkward three initials - but at the time I did do several for other friends (with the more common single surnames!).  I thought you might like to see one, so I present to you RH:

Happy Wednesday (and don't melt)!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Revisiting Fairyland

Well, Southern Ontario is starting to feel a bit more akin to Southern Sudan as far as temperature goes!  It's really, REALLY hot!  You know how people prepare for 100 year scenarios - such as 100 year flood level, 100 year rains, 100 year gale, etc?  Well, apparently day after tomorrow is to be a 100 year HEAT around here - one of the hottest days recorded in the past century!  Wow!  Makes me want to peel my skin off to cool down [insert nightmare-inspiring image here] and to think I prefer temps in the mild/moderate range.... *sigh*  50 - 68 degrees Fahrenheit suits me to a "t"!

Thinking that the fairies themselves may need to lighten up and let a bit more air through their bower, I've done Carol's challenge again.  I found myself fancying a wafting, cool breeze lifting the ribbons to let the fairies dance through....

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Welcome to Fairyland

Well, our lovely Diva seems to be enjoying her time with her boys (Artoo's home! 'Yay! *G*) and the clever Carol has filled in with a guest challenge that seems perfectly timed!  I've just spent the better part of two weeks with my seven-year-old Nieceling who happens to LOVE fairies!  She had a fairy-themed birthday party last year.  Her older cousin, the sweet and thoughtful K-kins, is now well-established in the double-digits.  When K-kins was quite young her Gran helped her create a little "fairy garden" at her family cottage in Northern Ontario, which is where my Nieceling spent the past week.  Apparently the generous-hearted K-kins bequeathed her fairy garden to my Nieceling last summer.  She had great joy walking me through it and loving all the wilderness within...

With lovely happy thoughts of sprites and lights, I can offer up this as my challenge response this week (and I THANK GOODNESS I'm home to do it!):

Happy Monday!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Hello Again!

Hello, lovely art people!  I apologize for leaving you alone for so long, especially on the week I was privileged to guest challenge for our fabulous Diva!  Unfortunately a family situation came up that required a quick reboot of my plans and the better part of a week away again.  *sigh* The office will take even LONGER to catch up!  On the other hand, my sister is getting better, her daughter is absolutely delicious and how on earth can you ever regret the opportunity to help the one and enjoy the other? *G*  I am in desperate need of a week of sleep but oh boy!  It was exhaustingly fabulous.  My nieceling demanded plenty of play in the lake, drawing with water on the deck (we had as much fun watching the patterns evaporate as we did making them!) and at least TWO (count 'em, TWO) art projects daily.  My imagination had a great stretch and my body had a great workout.  I'll get myself pulled together and hopefully I'll be able to post by tonight or tomorrow.

BTW, while I was away I went up over 100 followers!  THANK YOU EVERYONE!  I am honoured, surprised, humbled and delighted.  I had plans to do something special to mark this milestone, so I'll try to get it all together and surprise y'all later this week.

Happy Sunday!

Monday, 11 July 2011

I'm Ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-ck!

Hi, people!  I'm back from my "vacation".  I spent a lovely week minding my 7-year-old nieceling and completely draining all my stamina and resources to keep up with her!  What a week!  We discovered a HUMUNGOUS labyrinth someone painted on a dead-end crescent near her home and we walked it every day.  We also found a GINORMOUS parrot that spent each morning on a perch in it's owner's front yard - that bird had to be over two feet tall, not including its tail!  Wow!  And it would say "hello" very nicely, too.  My neiceling and I were both quite enthralled...

As a result of my time away, I didn't have any art to post last week, nor even time to keep up with the wonderful art I know so many people posted - I will get caught up, although it may take some time!  I look forward to checking out what I missed and sharing more art later this week.

In the meantime, I think I can "technically" claim to have done the challenge for the week as I was honoured to provide The Diva's Challenge this week so she could take a short break without interrupting the momentum.  So to see what I've done, go here.

More later! *G*

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

V Day

Hi, folks!  I decided that I liked the look of the ribbon "C" so much that I'd try drawing a ribbon on purpose for my last initial - "V".  It doesn't lend itself so well to a planned string, I found, but I persevered.  Zentangle is non-representational and non-directional, so I almost felt it fighting back!  It was only when I relaxed and played a bit more and focused a bit less that it came together.  This is what came out of my pen:

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Looking Forward to Vacation...

I'm taking a week off "work" (i.e. day job!) to spend looking after my 7 year old niece so her Mom can take a course and (hopefully!) kidnap her husband for a two-day mini-vacation...I'm looking forward to it, despite the exhaustion I can already feel.  My nieceling thinks I'm "Auntie Jungle Gym" and climbs all over, around and about me... I really love it, but it wears you out QUICK!  I'm already dreaming up a number of activities and adventures so I can have a bit of stationary time.  I love working with kids and playing with kids and talking with kids so I'm working hard to be sure I can get a bit ahead at the office so it's less penitential when I return.

After my last post I had a few emails asking about the "eyes" in the tile.  I've drawn these since I was a child and I'm sure there must be a million other individuals who do the same thing, but as I haven't seen instructions formalized anywhere, I thought I'd answer the emails with this:

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Duo Tangle

The charming Diva issued a real doozy of a challenge to us this week - to create a Zentangle Tile or Zentangle-Inspired Art piece using VERDIGOGH and DEX - and only these two tangles!  Eeeeeeeeeeekkk!  Yeah, I'll confess I found this challenge a bit intimidating.  Dex is so very linear and Verdigogh is so thoroughly organic..I hummed. I hawed.  I let it ferment all week, in fact, and never even TRIED to put pen to tile or paper.  Five days on I realized - DUH! [insert visual of forehead slap here].  The Diva didn't say we couldn't use TANGLEATIONS of the tangles, just that we had to use BOTH tangles and NO OTHER tangles!  Well, that opened up a whole world of play and suddenly it started working.  Synapses fired, neurons signalled and hand went to pen and tile....in the end, I think it looks rather like an old afghan or patchwork quilt, used as a picnic tablecloth with either the wildflowers and grass peeking from beneath or maybe that's actually the fringe of the increasingly ball-y yarn fringe of the afghan.... *G*

Happy Friday!
PS - I just discovered I have 89 FOLLOWERS!  Wow!  Thanks everyone - I feel very privileged that you want to share my art world with me; I'll try to keep new things coming for you to enjoy and stART using in your own ways.  Thank you!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Start

Well, it's officially summer at last.  One season closer to my favourite! I admit to preferring the damp, dark days of Fall.  On the other hand, the different lights of summer are fun - the bold, sharp blast of mercilessly exposing noon-time sun; the soft, clear, luninous early morning; the dusky, mysterious twilight; the liquid velvet of  night.... One wonderfully intriguing, ever changing aspect of Zentangle is the way you choose to finish each design.  Favourite tangles are often completely different in appearance when shaded in a new way.  Or sometimes you can change it up altogether!  In today's tile I chose not to shade ANY of the tangles.  Instead, I applied shadows to the ribbon dancing through the middle of the tile.  It's different from what I usually do.  Shading the tangles is something I particularly enjoy when tangling.  Somehow, today the ribbon demanded that particular type of attention.  It wasn't until I was done, however, that I suddenly noticed the random swirls I had made with a double pencil for the ribbon had actually been my initial, "C"!  What a happy surprise!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Child's Smiles - For Artoo

I don't know if anyone reading is doing the same, but I've been following the Caylee Anthony case since she was first reported missing ( I refuse to permit her mother extra publicity by stating HER name!).  The case is so disturbing on so many levels and the conduct of the mother is so reprehensible that it's entirely believable she is, in fact, guilty.  So many photos, clippings and videos of this precious, sweet lamb... her lilting toddler song to her grandfather, the sweet grins as she tried to mimic her mother's toothy grimace...I got out my pens to try to process some of the ugliness and was blessed with a vision of our Diva's littlest one, Artoo.  Precious lamb here, too, who will never be able to signal his joys with the same abandoned facial evidence of delight - no less precious for that, his eyes already speak volumes, at a mere few months of age.  I certainly can't feel sorry for him - he's boundlessly loved precisely as he is and rejoices in the most splendid parents and fabulous big bro - but I feel for his Mama to always need to look carefully to see his smirk of joy... how do these babies wrap around our heartstrings so quickly?  I've never met Artoo, nor will I ever meet Caylee, and yet I see their faces in quiet moments and add them in my prayers.  I was once told I must be shallow as I cry easily, and at the time I took the comment at face value and added a measure of hurt and guilt to my emotional baggage.  On reflecting as an adult in mid-life, I now believe I show my emotions so easily because they AREN'T shallow.  They run deep and overflow to prevent me from drowning in them.  They are large enough to encompass people I'll never know and keep me striving to live up to the ideals of humanity I value.  I only too often fail, but at least the wealth of feeling is always there, to catch me, close over my head to protect me, then lift me up to try yet again, once more, a little harder this time...So I was vibing on Artoo, and emotions and life and values and a million scattered thoughts resulted in this:

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tangleated Tuesday

Today was a strange sort of day...it tried very hard to be a second Monday (with all the negative connotations associated), but it kept turning into a Tuesday after all!  My new keyboard was defective and for the first time our supplier actually picked up and dropped off as scheduled!  My dreaded rescheduling of an entire clinic day actually found everyone either home or with voicemail to leave a notification!  The clinic even had space available on the day required!  To top it all off I got to spend a fun evening with beading buddies, beading and designing and chatting, and all the while being filled in about the finds and fun a friend had going to her first ever Milwaukee bead adventure...fun!  It's funny how every time I started to sag into a slump, something terrific came up, slapped me, and said "wake up girl!  Life is GOOD!".  I can't say I enjoy being slapped (sorry to disappoint any readers so inclined *G*) but it was a wonderful day of affirmation.  With that in mind, I thought I'd share my little tile of CRESCENT MOON.  For some reason I just felt like drawing CRESCENT MOON, but each time I began a new section it would morph slightly, dancing from one common beginning along divergent paths.  Before I realized it I'd done not only this fun tangle, but a further four tangleations of it!  And how could I be expected to resist the opportunity to create a five-sided PARADOX?  I ask you, how? *G*  Ain't life grand?
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Spiral Out, Keep Going

The lovely Diva is back!  While Genevieve did a bang-up job standing in for her, it's lovely to hear that Artoo is improving, Chewie loves the summer and all is becoming well with the world once more.  Laura must have really enjoyed her short time away, because she's come up with the most wonderful challenge for this week!  Of late several challenges have centred around a provided string - "string theory", as it were.  The challenge this week is to design a Zentangle with a spiral string as the required structure.  Well, this one I just GOTTA love!  Spirals have been appearing in my life as long as I can remember and in so many different ways - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual...you name it, there's gonna be a spiral in there somewhere!  I was raised as a dancer and the spiral is an integral part of folk and classic styles of dancing around the world - from the fabulous Farandole to a dashing Broadsword or exquisitely executed Waltz.  When I was in therapy, learning how to overcome profound clinical depression and later the dissolution of my marriage, the spiral was a recurring theme, descriptive of my state of mind as I would get "stuck" in my attempts to make progress.  My artwork has always included spirals, both overt and disguised, hidden or as a central element.  Spirals encourage reflection on the importance and attainment of balance.  There is a geometric logarithm that when applied results in the "Golden Spiral" - an important element of Sacred Geometry.  Many a prayer and/or meditation has been made whilst walking a spiral maze.  The spiral pops up in the most ancient of cultures - as ornamentation of the body by way of tattoos and scarification, by ornamentation in all manner of metals and other adornments, either printed upon fabric or an integral, woven component of the actual weave itself.  Even mysterious designs etched upon the barren, rocky plains of Central America display spirals, visible only from the air!  I love the way Spirals get me thinking, and wondering, and lead ever onward to more and yet more interesting pieces of information or personal enlightenment.  I decided to play with intent for this tile and drew a spiral to start.  To ground it I chose to use a chain, then filled it from the centre outward (keeping going - geddit? Hehehehee.....) with orbs, from tiny TIPPLE, though my own tangleation of SEZ to PRINTEMPS, tumbling from the open end of the spiral and spinning right off the tile.... And yet, I wanted more...  So FEDR made an appearance to symbolize the growth that I find the ultimate lesson of the Spiral.  I hope you enjoy it:

Happy Monday!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

All Worked Out

Today I'm sharing a tile I did at work some weeks ago.  On my lunch I've taken to spending at least 15 minutes drawing; it sets me up for a more productive and less frustrating afternoon.  It also relieves the anxiety I start feeling when I realize I have 12 hours work still to do today and only 2 /12 hours in which to do it!  When I took another look at this tile I noticed that is seems bound by grids.  Everything is contained with very minor seed pods extending beyond the string containment.  I seldom seem to use so many grid patterns, too, but here they are in abundance.  Even PRINTEMPS is constrained within the string border...I'm thinkin' this is telling me about my current worklife in terms too clear to ignore!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

June Bugs

Well, the weird weather continues... we had a hellacious storm last night, knocking out power, denuding trees and having two tornados make a brief appearance in the next city over.  NOT your usual for Southern Ontario!  I was just getting used to the bugs and such from the garden when I noticed the unseasonably hot weather has had a totally unanticipated side effect.  There are flies in my office!  I work on the 7th floor of an older building, originally constructed as a nurse's residence at a hospital, back in the day they lived and trained in one location.  You'd think I was far enough away from any entrances to avoid the darn things, but no!  The only access to the building is a variety of screened ventilation vents and the actual exterior doors seven stories below and the darn things are still buzzing in my light fixtures!  *shudder*

With crawlies and creepies and bugs in mind, my tile seems to reflect this, as well as the wonky weather...
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dad's Back Forty

Having leapt so precipitously into full-on summer weather, the gardens have gotten short shrift compared to their usual pampering.  My dad was raised on a farm in the Netherlands and spents most of every average day and ALWAYS at least an hour even on busy, eventful days, puttering in his garden.  He does love his growing things and his big heartbreak this season was that the lattice-work arbor he built over forty years ago, and beside which grew roses from my great-grandparents' garden, didn't weather this winter.  It has finally gone the way of all things wood and rotted to the point of hazard, necessitating its removal.  It's just a plain, white-painted wood structure, but it always designated the yard "zones" for me.  Between the house and the arbor was playland - tag, tree climbing, sprinklers, etc., were all fair games in the kid zone.  Beyond the arbor was Dad's Back Forty - if you went back there, tread lightly, touch nothing, break no branches and pick no flowers!  Over the years he's built tall fences at the back of the property, heightened the chicken wire around the kitchen garden and hung glittering bits to discourage the vermin, but the darn deer are still his biggest consumer - literally!  We back onto protected parkland and enjoy deer, foxes, moles, ground hogs, feral cats, squirrels of umpteen varieties, blue heron, hawks, and myriad songbirds.  They all sample from my father's garden bounty and entertain us in every season.  Here's to our happy natural neighbours!
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Zendala Magic

This week's challenge is a "sit in" for our lovely diva by the ever-fabulous Genevieve Crabbe.  Genevieve was one of the first Canadian CZTs and is well known for her intriguing Zendalas.  As our Diva needs a break this week, Genevieve has graciously filled the void and come up with the 25th challenge of the week - Zendala Magic!  She provided a basic Zendala template (in two sizes, very thoughtful - thanks, Genevieve!) and we may fill it as we wish.  I have been intending to do some Zendalas but time has gotten away from me and I haven't managed to sit with pen and template to date.  Now THIS was a positive encouragement I couldn't resist!  I sat right down tonight and had a go...what do you think?
Happy Monday!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Drying Out....

Thank goodness the temperature has gone down and the breeze has come up, dealing most effectively with the humidity and brain-destroying heat that has had me down for the past bit.  It really came up suddenly this year!  Usually we have a couple of weeks of wind-up that helps to prepare for the summer season to come but not this year.  Oh no, this year just HAD to be different and did a full-on DUMP of summer weather in one fell (and foul!) swoop!  At least we now know what to expect and are stocking up on water, sunscreen and wading pools!  Is there anything more sublime than having a personal pool to cool down in summer time?  The dollar store has itty bitty baby pools that inflate and hold just enough water to cool down an overheated adult - the perfect way to while away an hour or so reading during a heat wave.  The gardens are pretty happy with things as they are - the rain of the earlier spring coupled with the sun now beating down has brought everything up at once.  It's pretty nice to see how lush the yard and gardens are...

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Puddle in Ontario

Apologies, lovely blogohood friends...a concatenation of events has kept me offline for about 10 days now.  Despite the best of intentions and missing you all (and your lovely, encouraging remarks and emails), I simply ran out of energy!  Yes, the relentlessly creative "me" was vanquished by simple work and weather!  I put in a week of solid 12 hour workdays (AND 10 hours on Sunday PLUS a qualified friend's assistance for the full stint on Sunday!!! - all of it unpaid!...see, Tracey?  You DO have company in your underpaid and overworked workaday world! *G*).  Just at the point the avalanche of work was cleared away, the weather just HAD to chime in!!!  We went straight from wet, overcast and cool (my favourite weather - I know, I know, but SOMEONE has to like it! *G*) to humidity and heat high enough to stop me in my tracks.  I'd leave the office at the end of the day and, upon exiting, it was exactly like walking into a wall of HOT.  Crazy, Dominican Republic-type hot!  Humid, fish could walk down the street hot!  Forget about eggs frying on the sidewalk, I'm talking eggs poaching in their shells hot!....Oh.  I guess you know what I mean by now...  Anyhow, I don't function well in that kind of heat.  I generally meet up with some beady buddies on Tuesday nights for some fellowship and fun and it was so hot we even cut that lovely "therapy" session short - not everyone could stay but two of us walked over to the local Dairy Queen for ice cream afterward and I STILL got home early.  Fortunately, today is finally less humid and I've actually gotten myself together and picked up pen and paper.  Don't get me wrong - I love the fact that Southern Ontario gets four clear, distinct seasons and I love the differences one from the next.  I'm not exactly complaining, I just don't function well in extreme heat and/or humidity.  Is anyone else like that?  It's like it gums up the brains (or melts 'em!) and eating, drinking, moving, you name it, is just too much effort, even something as essential as breathing and art (which, to my thinking, are about equally necessary to sustain life!).  So here is my somewhat sticky, but finally functional, tile - I missed you!

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Sonshine

We seem to have jumped from a cold, wet, dark early Spring into full-fledged, fiery Summer up here in southern Ontario.  In keeping with this, and as my finish example from last week's challenge, "With A Little Help From My Friends", I am sharing the string and resulting tile from a collaboration with my 22 year old son.  My son is an artist, too, although I don't know that he recognizes this himself yet.  He writes the most amazing lyrics and poetry with a depth of understanding WAYYYYYYYYYY beyond his few years.  He also makes the most incredible art.  From early on he always processed his life through writing and drawing and by his early teens had developed a really singular design aesthetic to his work.  He created little characters that made repeated appearances in his artwork and developed a really unique and proficient style of pen work.  He is the third person I asked to draw a string for me; my parents also participated and their strings have already been shared.  I only asked for a single, continuous line that could be as long or short, curved or angular, open-worked or crossed-over as he chose.  This is what he drew:

And this is what I made of it:

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Here We Go Loopy-Loo...

Yeah, I know... now you have the same earworm I have!!! *G*  I had so much fun yesterday I thought I'd try it again today; combining this week's challenge with the tangles that I found from the wedding of William and Catherine.  As I mentioned yesterday, I found the hats of the lady guests quite entrancing.  There was so much to see - texture, materials, unusual shapes, all kinds of design rules respected and broken - that I find myself poring over the photos of the guests quite as much as the bride and groom!  There was one particularly interesting hat in a deep blue that I just loved, and found it evoked a tangle I had just used recently, but not drawn up and shared.  So here it is! *G*

Today's string was drawn by my father:

And this is what I made of it:

And here's the step-out of the new tangle, LUPE:

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

With A Little Help

La Diva has excelled yet again and so I am driven to try the challenge!  This week it's to be done "with a little help from my friends"; someone else is to provide the string for your design.  Wow!  Cool idea, girl! (tipping hat).  I chose the three members of my family under my roof tonight - my dad, my mom and my son.  I took a Zentangle tile to each one in turn, along with the pencil, and asked that they draw a continuous line, in any direction they wanted, crossing itself or not, as they wished.  Three totally awesome strings later, I was ready to play!  This is the string my mom drew:
Cool, huh?  Here's what I made of it:
I really had fun, even though this was the least complex string given to me.  It also introduces the second tangle inspired by the recent Royal Wedding.  Mesmerized by the hats and fascinators and other accessories worn by the lady guests, I found myself watching with amazement the peculiar feathers bouncing from every direction.  Peculiarly stiff and never curling, yet bending and bobbing with each motion, a stripped shaft tipped with a pruned plume, I found these unusual adornments utterly irresistible.  I wanted to somehow capture the peculiar proportions and bouncy, bobbing style, which led me to design the following new tangle, FEDR:
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 16 May 2011

New Tangle

As promised, I've been working up the tangles that the recent British Royal Wedding drew to my attention.  You may recognize this particular one from my second entry to the lovely Diva's "Royal Wedding" challenge.  One thing that had struck me as a singular statement was the beautiful, classic yet lush, elegant yet feminine, full but soft draping to the skirt of Catherine Middleton's gown as it flowed to the side and merged into the train.  The graceful lines were iconic of her style and somehow immeasurably appealing.  I did promise I'd work up the tangles, so as time permits I will keep my word.  Here's the first:
Happy Monday!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Classy Sunday Fun !

What a great day!  Today was an Act 1 (Zentangle basics) class.  We held it at Ruth's condo, which is a warm and welcoming nest in which to work.  Our students were lovely ladies who drove as much as 1 1/2 hours to attend!  What an honour to be able to introduce them to Zentangle.  We had so much fun and the tiles completed were each so very different, one to the next.  That's one of the things that I love best about Zentangle - the endless possibilities!  I had such a great time teaching that I forgot to ask if they'd mind having their photo shown on my blog, so I can only offer you a photo of their first tiles.  Didn't they do a great job?
Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Yup, that's a good word, all right!  I spent the weekend attending a workshop led by a buddy who is not only an amazing artist but a really good soul.  Another good buddy, hosting the event, redefined the word "hostess" with her lavish and thoughtful caretaking throughout the entire weekend.  The whole thing was a whirl of creative excitement and wonderful play and exploration, but - OOF!  Exhausting!

Of course our lovely Diva came up with a serendipitously perfect challenge - to use the new official Zentangle tangle pattern, Oof!

After a couple of nights' sleep, I today took pen in hand and had myself a bit of a solo play time.  Here's what happened - four tangleations:

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Royal Wedding Again

It was so fun doing Laura's challenge du semaine that I decided to play with it again.  There's so much possibility with the layers of humanity and history all congregating to recognize and celebrate a single event...I've started playing with tangles inspired by aspects of the celebrations and hopefully I'll have a series to post quite soon.  In the meantime, here we go again! *G*
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Royal Wedding

The Diva has issued her latest challenge (drumroll, please)...ROYAL WEDDING! (Note to self; why didn't I see this one coming? *G*).  Of course, this was too intriguing not to pop into right away.  The wedding was SOOOOOOOOOOOO all over all media that it was, quite literally, inescapable!  I was pleased to see that Catherine chose a truly lovely, classically styled gown with wonderful modern touches and fabrics treated with respect by real artisans.  The interaction between William and Catherine was a treat to watch - I felt rather like a voyeur!  They truly seem to care for each other, and not in a light or superficial fashion.  The small gestures and glances were quite telling and I enjoyed the clips I saw.  The pomp and pageantry was fun (viewed on the small screen only; I don't think I could live through such a crush of people in real life!) and while the television hosts were irritating, banal and trite, with the sound off it was a great show!  I saw lots of inspiration for new tangles, which I'll work up time permitting.  In the meantime, here's the first impression to flow off my pen:
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

More Morris

Well, it took me until Saturday afternoon to create the time, but I finally managed to finish a piece for the Diva's current challenge, "More Morris" (Challenge 19 already, for those who want to know!).  This was a challenge for me, not only due to time.  I don't usually place a great emphasis on black grounds in my work and I had to keep this in the forefront of my mind while creating the design.  I found it needed to be a constant and deliberate choice for me - who knew that linework was so much more natural an expression for me?  Also, it would have been much easier to work in my usual style and simply use a white pen on a black ground, but I was trying to stretch and do something different with this piece.  The Morris effect that's been under recent discussion is the technique he employed to great effect, of working in "spots of light" on a dark ground.  This gives the work of William Morris great depth and dimension as well as a more complex textural effect.  So this is what I was aiming for.  Unfortunately, I'm not very happy with the way the white gel pen (Sakura Gelly Roll) went down over the black ground (Sakura Pigma Micron).  Perhaps I should have let the black ink cure overnight before adding the white accents...hmmm.  Food for thought and future experimentation.  At any rate, enjoy (I hope - crossing fingers*G*)!
Happy Saturday!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Carving Out Another CZT Tangle

Today's tangle was designed by my fellow, CZT, Ruth.  Ruth has the capacity to look at the exact same thing as everyone else, yet see something more than the usual.  This pattern earned its name from its origins in a section of moulding at our CZT training site.  Detail oriented, Ruth focussed in on a segment of wood beading trim and brought to life this elegantly simple tangle.  I haven't used it yet, but I'm gonna!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Rainy Day - Flowering Tangle!

Continuing my week of posting new tangles, I'm offering up a tangle that I like to use as a filler.  It works well into long, narrow shapes or can be branched out to offer a more luxurious effect.  It's drawn from a memory of my years in Folk Arts.  I think it was an Austrian pattern, a kind of stylized blossoming stem, that caught my imagination.  I can remember being entranced by the smoothness of the embroidery in which it appeared and how fascinated I was to think that someone had the skill to produce this work of art.  I have used it here and here and here.  I hope you like it.
You know, it's really become quite a fascination to do a week-long exploration of things.  It seems to both motivate me and allow me sufficient time with a concept to explore it reasonably well - at least to the point where I think it begins to reflect a little more "me" with each use.  Does anyone out there have anything specific they'd enjoy seeing in a series of explorations?  I have so many ideas myself that I may be the only one interested in....but who knows?  Tell me if you have something you'd like worked out and I'll see if I can oblige!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Today in Tangles...

..I present to you, KOHN.  This is a fun tangle that I've been drawing since childhood.  I can't remember how / when it first showed up in my artwork or why I devised it, but something about it feels right to me and so it's hung in there long after other "favourites" have been worked out, done over or abandoned outright.  I've used it here and here and here...*G* Can you tell I like it a LOT?  I hope you do, too!
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 25 April 2011


I've been having so much fun seeing other people using the tangles I (or Ruth!) design, that I'm going to keep it up a little longer.  With the Easter themes of rebirth and renewal, I thought this tangle would be an appropriate offering for Easter Monday.  During my CZT training, one assignment was to look about our surroundings and devise a tangle from our observations.  This is one of several I came up with.  It has its origins in the gigantic braided rag rug on the floor of the bedroom I was in.  I've always loved rag rugs - hooked, crocheted, braided - and I've always loved the way fabric that could no longer be used up or made to do would have one final incarnation as a rug.  I always tucked my children into bed so they were "snug as a bug in a rug".  I've even used a woven willow paddle to beat rag rugs on a laundry line for my Dutch AND Scottish grandmothers!  This tangle is also very easy to adjust to suit your artwork by adapting the segments via further inset patterns and visual textures - have fun and play!
Happy Monday!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Live Your Beliefs

This is a wonderful season, with many significant things happening - many of the world religions commemorate significant events, there is the annual renewing of growth, life and rebirth, the return of longer days and migrating wildlife... the very air is fraught with promise.  Whatever your beliefs, however you manage your spiritual needs, wherever your heart finds peace or mind finds solace, always remember to live your beliefs.  No one can take them from you.  "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still".  You may choose to  flaunt your beliefs or hold them close and private in your heart.  They are yours; inviolate.
Happy Friday and Easter blessings.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

I am having an amazing night!  Ruth's tangle ORGANZA got a mention on Linda Farmer's site, tanglepatterns.com!  Whoo hoo!  You go, girl!  How exciting!

As if that's not enough to get the endorphins racing through the bloodstream, I got home from work today to find Sandra LaFaut's beautiful "Bluebird" had arrived in the post!  Oh my goodness, I haven't words to describe this treasure - the tangles, the watercolour, the composition - there is NOTHING about it that I don't LOVE.  I will be studying and admiring and basking in its beauty for hours and hours and hours....  Isn't Sandra a marvellous artist?  And such a generous, kind soul, too; what an unbeatable combination!  Here's the art card itself; isn't is just FABULOUS?

During my CZT training seminar I was introduced to the fabulous Inktense pencils and their possibilities.  Well, I finally got some and have tried a couple of small trials to see how they work and how I may want to use them with Zentangle.

First I tried a watercolour paper postcard, and applied the inks in a scrumble type of technique. After the paper was thoroughly dry I used my Sakura Pigma Micron to tangle.

For the Zentangle tile, I reversed the process of application and first tangled, then inked.

You know, these pencils are astounding!  The colour is brilliantly intense and deliciously saturated and there is no build-up (that I can see) on the pen nib.  The pen is as profoundly black as ever without any bleeding.  I can recommend them highly as a fun item to add to your tool box of art supplies.

Hasn't this been a wonderful day?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Rainy Tuesday

Well, it's my favourite weather today - rain!  And yes, I am serious! [can't you see my serious face?].  I really love the rain - blowy, blustery, wet and wonderful, misty and delicate, torrential - however it comes it feels GOOD.  I like the moisture, the sound, the delicious scent of the air once it's been well-washed, the strange light in the sky before it breaks open and even the crashing of a midnight lightning strike!  I am blessed to live with protected parkland for my backyard neighbour and it's wonderful the way the critters respond to the weather.  It's fun to see who comes out and who goes into their den, who flicks their fur/feathers/tail and gets on with business while another creature cannot be found for love nor money if there's any type of precipitation in the air at all!  In honour of this wild wetness, I am showing you two tangles today - LEAU and AGUA.  I used them in my ZIA here, and this is only the second time I've shown original tangle patterns.  I hope you like them!
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 18 April 2011

EggZZZZcellent Monday!

Oh la la, Diva!  Once again the Mistress of Mystique has issued a challenge worth jumping right into!  This week's challenge (in honour of Easter, new beginnings, spring and other noteworthy wonderfulnesses) is to use the shape of Eggs in your Zentangle or Zentangle Inspired Art.  Well!  This is just up my alley!

I love eggs - the shape, the colours, the surprise of discovering the shells below unknown birds nests, the joy when gifted with a perfect robin's shell, bisected beautifully by the emerging frail feathered friend...The shells are so beautiful and the contents so amazing - whether the source of perfect protein or the creation of a new life, they are wondrous environments and objects of great beauty.  Despite their fragility, easily crushed with the fingers alone, they can support unbelievable weights and even provide a sharp and slug or snail impassable border for delicate plants.  You can start seeds in them, then plant the entire thing - shell, dirt and seedling - in the garden as is.  They can be  carved, painted, dyed or etched.  Smashed flat they can mimic ancient craquelure for a decorative paint finish.  Powdered they are an excellent compost amendment or calcium binder.  The eggs themselves are a wonderful source of protein, tasty and self-contained.  The whites make delicious and delicate meringues.  The yolk is an essential for the creation of egg tempera, a lacquer-like, transparent paint used since ancient times for fine art and decorative work.  Russian Icons hundreds of years old still glow with the luminous beauty of the egg tempera used in their creation; the same technique that lives on today, passed down from master Icon painter to their apprentice(s).

In celebration, and in answer to the challenge, I offer the following:
Happy Monday!

Saturday, 16 April 2011


I am so excited!  I just checked mye mail and thought I'd enjoy a short surf and WOW!  Sandra Strait, aka Molossus, over at Life Imitates Doodles, has linked to the post for Ruth's tangle, ORGANZA!  Gee, I feel so legit! Heheheheee *G*

Friday, 15 April 2011

Happy Friday !

Happy Friday, everyone!  In celebration of the end of the work week and anticipation of the weekend, I've decided to start rolling out the tangles my fellow CZT, Ruth Howell, and I have been devising.  Since it's proven so popular with a number of artists (seen here, for example) I've decided the first one should be ORGANZA, designed by Ruth.  It's a pretty and fun tangle that is also delicate and variable - somewhat like Ruth, in fact! *G*
You can also see it used as a tangleation here, and here and here and here.  I think I'll stART a Tangles page to collect the directions together in one central location for ease of reference.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

One More Day To Go!

Isn't it great to think that there's only one more day-job day to go then the weekend is here?  It's so funny.  As little kids every day is exciting and new and here we are, "all grown up" (I'll admit to the statement being more than a little suspect as applied to me!), and we wish our lives away?  Zentangle has really brought back to me that sense of delicious anticipation.  I've been beading since I was 10 and, believe or not, I have two degrees in dance, yet somehow the zone had retreated from me.  Then Zentangle occurred!  Well - what a wonder!  Once again I have a metaphysical place I can go where there is no demand greater than the moment, no moment beyond the one I'm in... Ahhhhhhhh - it's like the perfect bubble bath: plenty of water that never gets cold! *G*  As I lift my pencil the dream begins.  The pen is next and it opens the door into that lovely suspension of time and need and plan and decision...  I do love my zen-zone!  Kit mentioned that she liked my turn of phrase - "zen of the pen".  I think I'll keep using it; it really does describe the place I go to make this art.
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Ahhh, Tuesday !

Poor day!  It felt like Monday all day long and the poor thing never got a "feel" of its own! *G*  On the other hand, it's one day closer to the weekend (and my first Zentangle class!).  Plus, my folks are home from an extended stay in Arizona and I do miss them when they're away, although I suspect my Dad really misses his garden most of all and Mom loves the "dry heat" and beautiful desert so much I don't think she misses ANYTHING up here - well, maybe her grandkids! *G*

At any rate, you may have noticed my lack of posts last week.  It appears the winter blahs, or spring bunions, or something equally annoying, has provoked a hibernation response in me.  I have been going to bed so early it's ridiculous!  I do apologize and will exercise better self-discipline and get my posts done earlier in the evening if possible.

There's always so much to do, isn't there?  Day job, housework, family, friends, miscellaneous freelance work items, daily chores... I wish these things were more fun.  Cris recently mentioned the Flylady (if you don't know about her, go visit - the site is amazing!).  This site has really helpful tips and ideas to help you accomplish those pesky chores and daily interruptions.  I have some friends (and family - I can't believe we're related!) that find real joy in housework.  I do love a sparkling clean place with a wonderful fresh smell (NOT from air freshener!) but find the chores to achieve it rather un-fun to the max!  Isn't it funny how the sheer repetition of laundry, dishes, etc., can feel like a forced march in full gear, dragging on for hours?  Yet repeating tangles endlessly simply has time flying past, completely unremarked!  This week's challenge by the Diva was a good reminder that you CAN do anything 15 minutes at a time.  I'm going to try to push this tomorrow night and get some REAL WORK DONE in the basement.... wish me luck! (the good kind please - just in case! *G*).
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 11 April 2011

15 Minutes of Fame!

Yes, the Diva has done it again - issued a challenge too attractive to let wait.... take a scant 15 minutes.  Add a pen, a pencil and paper.  Subtract distraction.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste.  What a great recipe for a Zentangle!  It was interesting to note that the time suddenly seemed so short.  Time really does fly when I Zentangle.  I enter the zone, as it were, and time loses all meaning.  A ZIA may take hours or minutes and I really have no idea how much (or little!) time passes while I am lost in the zen of the pen.  A Zentangle, as opposed to a ZIA, can be completed readily in a short 15 minutes.  I will make a point of doing more Zentangles.  It's so grounding and focusing.  In short, relaxing!
It's fun how the mindfullness of the tangles removes the planning, and yet I still see a picture!  In this case, a kind of a morphing squidlike, octopus-ish, tentacle-y sea creature, moving majestically across the page... okay, I have mentioned being more than adequately endowed with an imagination, right? *G*  I'm really looking forward to teaching our first Zentangle class this weekend!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Classes are up!

Just a very brief update that the Classes page has been updated to include the classes on offer, as well as the currently scheduled offerings.  I'll be teaching with my fellow CZT™, Ruth Howell.  We've currently scheduled two beginning level classes in central Hamilton, Ontario, but we're happy to discuss travelling to other locations.  Lots of exciting plans on other fronts, too, so I'll post as things start coming together.  Post with artwork coming later....*G*

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Mookolour (or Mookolor for those using US spelling!)

A couple of brief notes - I have updated and amended the Zentangle Glossary (link to the left) with input from the creators, Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts (and could one of you savvy ladies on blogspot PLEASE tell me how to make anchors within a page? - or guy, as long as you can help! *G*).

Also, as has everyone I appear to have been swallowed whole by the Mooka bug!  It keeps cropping up all over my artwork (and I wouldn`t have it any other way!).  Today`s little bit of happiness uses two varieties of Mooka and adds in a little bit of a my favourite podlike flourishes, filler blocks and COLOUR.  Yes, it`s been raining on and off since Sunday and the sun is rather shy.  Since Spring around here seems to need a fair bit of cheering on, I`m doing my bit when and how I can.
Happy Wednesday!