Sunday, 27 February 2011

CZT - That's Me!

I am now a fully accredited Certified Zentangle Teacher!  Yahoo!  Today's post is short, but in response to our lovely Diva's challenge (late as it is), I am offering the following:
Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Well, just finished my first day at CZT training - fun!  I got my lovely Maria Thomas-inscribed field journal and name tag and drew my way through the entire day.  I don't have a lot to share yet as I'm not really at a place where I can easily photo and edit and upload (at least, by my thinking! *G*), but I'm having a lot of fun with my buddy, Ruth, and enjoying the class and people very much.  Homework today was to design a tangle based on something seen here at the conference centre and I had one spring into my head in two minutes flat, but I'm second guessing myself now - it seems far too simple - and am off to have another look around and see if anything more inspirational throws itself in my way...
Happy Wednesday!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Grow Dreams

I am finally home.  The past month at work has been exceptionally difficult trying to keep everything consistently up to date and deal with the constant, urgent priorities that flux and change practically each moment - and all while packing up two offices for the seventh move in seven years...  I am exhausted.  We are being relocated the very day I return from my week away.  As I return home on Saturday I already know I'll be going back into the office to pack up the few remaining items on the Sunday.  *sigh*  Another day of my life lost... but now I slough it off!  I reject delivery of any more stress and upset and worry.

I am off to grow dreams!  I am going on a trip I've waited for, planned for and eagerly anticipated for months now - I'm off to Whitinsville next week for my Zentangle training and I hope that maybe, at the end of it, I'll be awarded the coveted CZT designation!  I'm packing my pens and a journal or two, updating my car club membership (I'm driving) and hunting for twin-size bedding... I'll be clad in optimism and my dear friend Debi's gorgous jacket (my favourite in the world!) that she is lending me.  I love it and can use the spiritual armour.  All this and another great (and brave!) friend, Ruth, is going to keep me company and also attend!  Ruth is not only a muti-faceted and greatly talented artist, but also a highly educated and dedicated homeopathic practitioner; my western medicine makes sure the machine works, but Ruth's therapies make it worth running!  Ruth isn't only going for a 9-hour drive (each way!) with me, but didn't back out even when I told her I'll play new country music all the way... Heheheheee  Actually, I love many forms of music so I doubt it'll be all of ANYTHING on the drive.  A big snow-storm is scheduled for Sunday night and we set out early on Monday morning so hopefully things will have cleared by then.  I may or may not be able to blog while away, so don't give up on me if I'm gone for a few days, alright?  In the meantime, please enjoy my drawing, "Grow Dreams", which features an Artoo tangleation, Ruth's lovely Organza and a plethora of other tangles:
Happy Friday!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Thursday Trick AND Treat

The trick is that somehow a darn cold bug didn't get the message I wasn't accepting deliveries and moved right on in!  *sniff*  Silly thing!  My lovely homeopathic doctor (and good buddy) Ruth has me all doctored up and hopefully I'll be fit again shortly.  Until then, the perpetual sniffling doesn't lend itself to terrific artwork - sorry folks!  On the other hand, I also have a treat.  I RECEIVED some excellent artwork in today's post, which I am delighted to share with you.  The fabulous Phine has sent me her ATC, "Out of the Blue", all the way from Germany!  How cool is that?  It came in a pretty Zentangled envelope and inside it was held protectively to cardstock with a clever swirly punchout and nested carefully in a sleeve of harlequin paper.  I am beyond thrilled!  Have a look - isn't it lovely?
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Hearts For You!

Wonderfulness keep piling up; this little baby blog has brought so much positive energy into my life already I think I'm going to have to figure out some way to pay it forward.  So many of you are coming by to check out my artwork and even returning!  Then there's the wonderful people that manage to make the time to send me a comment and give a little feedback; wow!  To think that people I haven't met are willing to invest their sensibilities and start a conversation... It is truly humbling and I thank you all.

Today's HUGE HAPPINESS is a pretty big item.  The very talented LeAnn Weih over at her Summers Studio blog makes exquisite ceramic pendants, etc. for jewellery makers to use in their designs.  Well, it turns out she's into Zentangles also and happened by to see my "Monday Night at the Emerg" post.  As an artist she zoned right in on the floral tangle and has turned it into something very, VERY special and beautiful.  Then she asked my permission to post her pendant, mentioning and linking to my post for her inspiration!  I love people with ethics!!!  Even better, I love seeing art spawn yet more art!  And she has done exactly as promised and her post today makes me feel even more honoured than I already did.  She has shared a sense of her creative processing and development, as well as the final result.  It's a real treat to see how someone else works their way towards their art (ps - she'll let you in on a few secrets from my own resume!).  Take some time to check out her work; it will be worth it, I promise!

I somehow missed mentioning Valentine's Day in yesterday's post, folks - my apologies, but I've been divorced nearly as long as I was married, so it's not a high-priority holiday for me.  On the other hand, I do want to send you lots of love as a tiny payback for what you've shown me, so I sat down tonight to draw you a valentine.  This Hearts For You!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Monday, Monday...

Well, I've been well and truly gnashed by the ATC bug - it seems every time I have a few minutes between tasks I just have to grab a card and make another one!  It's like potato chips, you know?  You can't make just one! *G*  I've had such fun, I even did our lovely Diva's challenge this week on an ATC!  A very, VERY simple version, but hey, sometimes simple says everything we need it to doesn't it?  And with this being Valentine's Day, a little bit of Artoo managed to send a whole lotta love!  See?
And of course, having been well and truly bitten, I've gone a bit pen-crazy with the ATCs:

On the other hand, what better way to go?  I can't believe I get to attend my workshop in Whitinsville NEXT WEEK already... I can't wait!  I just KNOW it'll be worth the 9+ hour drive to get there and I'm already thinking about what I need to pack.  Definitely my pens! *G*

Happy Monday!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sunday ATCs

I seem to have ATCs on the brain since my lovely Italian surprise (thank you, Black Pumpkin!  I don't think you have any idea what you may have started here - heheheee!).  These cards are a mere 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches large; filling them with a string that isn't too intricate for the dainty size, then tangling them in a way that remains visible and pleasing... it takes a bit of consideration to end up with something that suits the constrained space and also pleases aesthetically.  At any rate, I was a bit worn out today so I spoiled myself with an art break and made two new ATCs to trade (Black Pumpkin and Phine, let me know if you like any of the ones posted yet - I know I'll be making more so don't worry if you haven't seen "the one" just yet..!).  I tinted one with pencil crayons and the other with a black pencil crayon.  It's interesting to see the completely different feel that colour or shade gives to a piece.  I really can't decide if I prefer them either way; both techniques have something special to offer.  I'm also really excited because it's only one more week before I take my CZT training.  After that I'll be planning Zentangle classes, etc., I hope (accreditation is NOT a guarantee, but I'll do my best to make the cut!) and I hope to have permission to cross-link to the official Zentangle sites and definitions, etc.  I'm so pumped!  Do you think my little ATCs capture any of that?
Happy Sunday!

Friday, 11 February 2011

You Make My Heart Sing!

What a wonderful world I have fallen into – the blogosphere is full of such considerate, kind people.  Today I arrived home from work to find an envelope from Italy (!) containing the most beautiful, and MY VERY FIRST EVER, ATC from Timeless Rituals / Black Pumpkin!  She even put in a cute piece of cardstock unlike anything I’ve seen around here – this should be fun for collaging!  Check it out, but then keep reading - it keeps on looking up!

My day was exceptional from this alone, but wait!  There’s more! *G*

When I started this blog a scant six weeks ago I really didn’t expect anyone to notice.  My artwork isn’t exceptional in any way and certainly not the calibre of much that I’ve enjoyed browsing on the 'net, but I was challenged to “put my art out there” and so I did.  Well, guess what?  You noticed!  I’m blown away that I have ANY followers, let alone this number!  Wow!  Thanks, everyone!

Still more!  The fabulously talented Margaret Bremner, CZT, noticed a tangle on one of my posts and not only tried it out but credited both me for the blog image and my buddy, Ruth Howell, the designer of this particular pattern!  She gave us a shout-out and everything!

Still MORE!  The ever-fabulous and talented Kit, CZT, liked one of my posts enough that she gave me a shout-out on a round-up she did yesterday, with a mention in the same post as Laura Harms, Melissa, Catherine Langsdorf and Carole Ohl!  Oh, my goodness - I am humbled!

And still MORE!  I was contacted by an artist asking to link a post on my blog that she credits with inspiring one of her exquisite ceramic pendant designs.  She’ll be posting on Monday and I’ll cross-link so you, my friends, can also enjoy her work (which, by the way, is gorgeous!).

Another online friend has also promised me a lovely ATC that I’ll share when it arrives… what a fabulous bunch of artists I get to enjoy online!  Your generosity of spirit, genuinely constructive criticism and utter lack of malice has impressed me greatly.  I am surprised in a positive fashion each and every time I log on – someone has taken the time out of their day to remark on my art, or another person has posted a piece of art they want to share… life is good!

I'm feeling so much positive energy just now and basking in the deliciousness of it all... I just had to put it to good use so I sat down and drew a "thank you" to everyone for your encouragement, and for managing to stick with it and make it to end of this marathon post.  Thank you, and I appreciate you!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with uplifting possibilities.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Copic Shading

Today's post is actually a small postcard I made specifically to play around with some Copic markers for shading.  I'd heard so much about these markers and their uses and decided that I would reward myself for keeping my cool in the face of extreme provocation recently.  I was able to pop into a local scrapbooking shop and found the markers - what a display!  It's practically overwhelming!  I chose a series of deepening greys as I thought they'd complement the Zentangles nicely.  Well, home I went and got out my Pigma Microns and blank postcards... I think I love the way these markers work!  I found I could get clear, crisp shading right into tight details and corners and with the graduated shades of grey I could choose to make the shadow as defined or nebulous as I thought suited my artwork.  Where have these been all my life?  I can't believe I had to be 47 to discover Copic Markers! I definitely have to make up for lost time here, so I think I'll be inflicting more examples on you soon.  What do you think of this tangle?  Don't the Copics make a pretty shading in it?
Happy Thursday!

Open Hearts

Time constraints have limited my opportunities to check out the responses to Laura's latest challenge, but I've been thinking quite a bit about her baby boy, Artoo, and the hearts and minds around the globe bending their will to help him heal... what a wonderful world we have!  I have always said beaders are the nicest people around, but now I realize that it's ALL creative souls.  Not the art snobs, not the insecure people who only feel confident when they can run someone else down, but those who feel a genuine internal NEED to create.  Here are all these wonderful artists, some professional, the majority squeezing art into lives already ridiculously busy with work, family and community, and yet they lay aside their own challenges to send love and hope to a tiny child they will (probably) never meet.  I was inspired by these thoughts to offer up a second take on this challenge - a heart made with a combination of two previous challenges (simplicity and double-string) - and dedicate it to all those fabulous, thoughtful, decent, considerate people who make this world worth living in.  In short, this one's for you!  I hope you like it.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Challenge #8 - Heart for Artoo

A friend's baby son is experiencing some hard times just now - barely graduated from dual full-leg casts to boots and braces, the poor bunny has a viral infection with respiratory distress that has landed him back into the hospital.  Yes, I mean Artoo, the younger of our lovely Laura's two great boys.  With the upset and worry and activity, she was gracious enough to find time to keep us informed and even posted a challenge this week.  Thanks to her husband's inspiration, we are to create a heart for Artoo, combining any two of the previous challenges.  With such a worthy purpose OF COURSE I had to sit right down and do it right away, tonight, because no one should keep a baby waiting!  I've chosen to make my riff off of Challenge #1 - Simplicity, and Challenge #6 - Ixorus.  I am sending it with all my most concentrated, passionate prayers for quick healing and sweet health plus an extra dose of support and peace for the harried Mommy and Daddy:
Happy Monday!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday in Colour

Today was fun - all afternoon spent beading and then all evening spent tangling!  In such a great environment I felt the need to bring out the pencil crayons and play a bit in colour.  This is actually a tiny little tangle - it's done on an ATC (2.5 x 3.5 inches).  This made for a challenge - to make an interesting string in such a constrained space, fill it with some pattern without overwhelming the tiny dimensions of the shapes, and then add colour, again without overpowering the entire composition.  I found my brain blanked out (I do have an excuse - I was the teacher this afternoon!), and had my friend, Ruth, give me the name of a tangle and that's what would go in the next open space.  It was actually a really fun way to fill a string.  I made the string and did the artwork, but Ruth chose each pattern.  It was like a collaboration with only one pair of working hands.  Fun!  Do you think it worked?
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Balloon All To Myself

Today I am answering Sandra Strait's challenge - Tell Your Story, Be Part Of The Art.  When I needed a break this evening, I picked up my Zentangle journal and created a quick, simple string.  I tried to fill the spaces as quickly as I could with the first tangles that came to my mind; not too much forethought or planning.  When done I enjoyed the shading and sat down to consider.  Hmmm - what is it?  What is it telling me?  What memory does it summon or thought provoke?  I am in the unique position of being the middle of four children (older brother, two younger sisters are twins!).  As a child treats were rationed carefully (all the love we could handle, as long as it was free!) and something as silly and short-lived as a helium balloon was seldom seen.  In my mind's eye I can see a young girl in her sixties summer jumper, spinning in the park, eyes to the sky, arms wide, watching her balloon twirl above her - I can feel the warm sun, smell the grass, experience the building dizziness... what do you see in this?
Happy Saturday!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Friday Affirmation

Another crummy day-job day (I know, "same old, same old"... *G*) with four unpaid hours of overtime.  Arriving home at bedtime, tired and hungry, I ate and turned to my computer where I found an email from an online friend.  Susan ( was continuing a conversation about the necessity to find time to be creative and how a friend of hers could benefit from Zentangle.  Zentangling is pretty much the perfect creative pursuit for the harried lives we sometimes lead.  With very basic and minimal supplies, a few moments of stillness - waiting in line, sipping a coffee, riding public transit - is really all that is needed to nourish our creative souls.  Every act of creation I commit is my connection to the greater universe, a touch of the divine in my mundane life, an opportunity to rejoice in possibility.  I really appreciated the reminder from Susan, and so I got out my Zentangle journal and tangled away.  While I don't think this is necessarily my best work, I now feel content, peaceful and satisfied.  NOT how I returned home today!  In fact, I may just fall right asleep after I sign off! *G*  So here is my very simple, very quick, very helpful (to me!) little tangle du jour:
Happy Friday!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Four Elements

Another ZIA for you (Amy, this is a recently-coined short form for Zentangle Inspired Art; I like it as it's so much faster to type!*G*).  After yesterday's post I was feeling really grounded and positive and happy with how things were going.  Then work happened. *sigh*  I needed to find my feet again and my play journal drawings seemed to help.  The early works seem so free when seen after a gap of some months.  I like the patterns and linework.  Even the lack of shading is somehow appealing to me.  Looking backward seems to be soothing.  Hmmmm.... every night I pray - not a traditional prayer, perhaps, but more of a thought conversation.  Invariably when I begin to "talk" about the present stresses, asking for guidance / tolerance / forgiveness, I find myself led by the hand, back to the things of real worth - family, friends, relationships, the absolute wealth of gifts we all overlook every day.  I've called this ZIA "Four Elements" as it seems to embody four precious gifts - Air, Fire, Earth, Water.  I've always been drawn to water and I'm never happier than when I'm near it.  The earth and its many forms is an ongoing fascination - clay, metal, stone... it's endless.  Fire is an atavistic connection to my very soul and I've felt the need to "touch" it as long as I've had a memory.  Air is not only essential, but invigorating or soothing, compelling or repelling and always, always changing.  With these gifts we are able to survive and thrive.  Without them we cannot continue.  And yet, these four elements have been present for aeons prior to us and will exist long after.  Maybe looking back is what provides the perspective to appreciate the now.  Maybe the real appeal of my early tangling efforts is the challenge they represented and how far I've travelled since beginning the struggle to master this new expression of my art.  Maybe it's knowing that the journey has begun and promises to last... I hope you like this drawing, and I hope you enjoy your own journey.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Reaching Up

Today I've pulled a piece of ZIA out of my play journal to share.  As life has gathered its complications over the past few years, my stress level has risen and I began to lose close contact with my innate optimism.  This made me sad to think about; dear friends once christened me "Mistress of Rainbows" for my relentless optimism.  Sometimes life gets tough.  There is always someone who has it tougher.  Life can get complicated.  There is always someone whose life is infinitely more complex.  Life gets crazy.... you get the idea.  And yet, our own experiences are valid.  Their impact on us is real.  The emotional toll is authentic.  Even while acknowledging that "life could be worse", I think it's also important to realize that the smaller challenges we may be facing are equally deserving of notice, and overcoming them is equally reason for celebration.  Every small act of creation I commit (yes, these words are deliberately chosen) is a tiny symbol of my revolt against the ugly, the hard, the harmful, the unkind, the negative.  My placing pen to paper, bead to thread, metal to form, is my personal revolution, my declaration that life is meant to be good, that we have the power within ourselves to make it so.  The sketch I share today is an early work; unshaded, simple in design, limited in tangles, and yet it remains a piece of work that I am profoundly pleased with in some visceral way.  At first I though to call it "Reaching Out", but then I had another look and realized that what my hand is REALLY doing is reaching UP - up towards the Creator, up towards opportunity, up towards the sun....  Can you see this or does it show something else to you?  Is your response the same or different?
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Double Strung - REDUX

Gee, I'm having a lot of fun revisiting previous challenges from the Diva (  Today I played with the double-string concept again.  I made this voluptuous, twisting string and got stuck.  I liked the string, but what to do with it?  Since my imagination tends to follow a bent (not TWISTED, just BENT! *G*) path, I decided to fill in the spaces with only grid-based patterns.  Then I took yet another bend in the path and decided that all the grid patterns also had to be CURVY (see what I mean? okay, maybe twisted is possible...).  Once I was happy with this, the "ribbons" formed by the string needed to be filled.  This time I decided that only lines could be used.  Not only that, but STRAIGHT lines to fill the CURVY ribbons (yes, twisted is showing real possibility here....).  When these were completed the overall design felt a bit like a roller coaster, but somehow lacked life.  Life?  Let there be life!  I "grew" some lovely vines from the indentations of the form and voila!  I finally liked it.  In fact, I liked it a lot - do you?
Happy Tuesday!