Friday, December 31, 2010

Anyone up for a Zentangle Retreat?

Because art is so much fun to do with other people, it seems to me that a Zentangle Re-treat would be something fun to try and work out.
   As I poked around with the idea, little signs along the way led to Oakwood Retreat Center in Selma Indiana. This sweet and earthy little farm is out in the country, and they love to host  groups that in some way nourish the spirit. I'd say Zentangle does just that, so we've planned a long weekend retreat for March 17 through March 20. It begins on the evening of St. Patty's Day (Thursday) and ends on the first day of Spring (Sunday). And we'll throw a full moon in, too.
   We're calling it Zentangle® FloatFest: A Re-Treat for Zentangle Lovers. The idea is to provide a time and space for people who love Zentangle to connect with others, get away, learn something new, relax, do nothing, do everything, do a little, do a lot. We want to provide a space where each person can 'float' with their own Zentangle experience. There will be structure for those who like that, but there will also be the freedom to pick and choose what each person feels is right for each moment.
   We are still forming classes and activities, and as we have information to share, we will share it here. If you would like more information or have specific questions, send me an email at (Subject line: FloatFest)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eye Candy in Motion!

This video appeared on my Facebook feed this morning from artist Amy Kollar Anderson. Amy is a Dayton Ohio artist who works in acrylics. Her work is full of wonderful patterns (and other things!). I thought you all would like to see this time lapse creation. It's fun to peek into another person's process. Thanks Amy, for showing us yours!
   Make sure you click the link to see more of Amy's wonderful work!

Monday, December 27, 2010

String X Two

This week's challenge from the diva herself, Laura Harms: A Zentangle tile that begins with a double string (made with two pencils side by side). Fellow CZT, Margaret Bremner mentioned this on her blog and has already created some stunning tiles using the double pencil string. This is my first try with it, and I'm sure it's not my last, as it is LOTS of fun! Can't wait to do more. Thanks Laura and Margaret, for the inspiration! Looking forward to next week's challenge!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Open the doors, Nancy!"

We had planned to get to the grocery early today. All bundled and ready to go, I sat on the couch waiting for Daved to finish folding the clothes (the angel that he is). It was just before 8am, he was watching TCM, and the movie, "Pollyanna" was about to start. I hadn't seen it since I was a kid, so I played with the thought of staying put to watch it. Grocery... old movie... grocery....ok...old movie it is! So off came the scarf and coat, and we settled into the snow-flurried morning with Hayley Mills and Jane Wyman.
   I was surprised at how much I was enjoying the movie, as I'm not one to watch most movies more than once. At one point, I noticed some sniffling sounds coming from the other couch. Ok, good, so I wasn't the only one.
   "Pollyanna" is a story about optimism, but for me, it was more of a story about inspiration and how it moves between people. At one point in the movie, Jane Wyman, who plays the intimidating auntie, must make a choice between (what I saw as) control and allowance, love and fear. Would she allow the inspiration all around her to move through her or would she cling to her illusion of control?
   "Open the doors, Nancy," she said.
    What a wonderful little sentence! I'm so "glad" that I allowed myself to set aside the grocery plan and stay and watch this movie. I think that "Open the doors, Nancy" might be my mantra for the coming year. New Year's resolutions don't do much for me, but I will adopt a good mantra once in a while:)
   We did go to the store, the plan being to make a big bunch of veggie lasagna. We had more veggies than could probably fit into our pans, and I always feel confused when I try to remember which layers go in what order. I'm reading the box, and fearful that all the ingredients that lay before me will never fit in to those pans. If I had been on my own, I would have done the safe thing, but there was Daved egging me on to put more stuff in there. I tried to argue about the mess it would make, and what it might waste, and we would have to open another bag of cheese..blah blah...and he could have easily let me win the argument. But somewhere there was Aunt Polly whispering, "Open the doors, Nancy." I heard her. I gave into D's playful badgering, stepped aside and let him at it.
   As I sat with Aunt Polly's words, I watched as he put more and more into those pans, put them in the oven, cleaned up the kitchen and left me to write this entry. It doesn't matter now if the pans overflow, if they even taste good, whatever. It was fun just to open the doors and allow.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A friendly star

My friend and fellow CZT, Peg Farmer, made this Zentangle Christmas star. Before this little beauty found her home on my tree, her 'formal' portrait called for some pink (the color of love). She looks very pretty in pink, I think. Thanks, Peg!

Merry Christmas, everyone. 
Whatever brightness comes our way this season, maybe we can carry it with us for a while, and then pass it on to someone else:)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tangle a Day Calendar...Soon!

Well, it all came together, so there will definitely be a desk calendar ready for 2011! The printer says it will be ready on December 30 so I say, Yippee! I'm excited about this calendar because it's one that YOU get to design. The months are laid out in light grey (like strings) and the type is outlined so you can tangle inside or out... you can make notes, you can practice tangles, you can make a whole month into a piece of art! 

The calendar is 12 x 18" and is padded at the top. Each month has its own page. A sample page gives you ideas on how you might want to use your calendar. The paper is a smooth white cover stock. If you like a smooth feel with your pen, you will like it. I like using the .005 on this stock, but you can fool around and see what you like best. Shading works best with a regular pencil and a blending stump.

If you'd like to order a calendar, visit the Openseed Etsy site (you can click the pink box in the column on the right, too). The calendar will be ready December 30.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I can tell.

I can see by this tile that I've played a little too much Zuma Blitz (an online video game)! I'm really starting to notice how my environment plays into my Zentangle tiles. It wasn't like I said to myself, "Wow, there are cool patterns in the Zuma game." (Although that has happened often.) It was more like, after I saw the tile, I said, "Wow, I have lotsa Zuma on the brain!" Either way, it's all fun. It does make me wonder what insights may come to me if I looked back on my piles of tiles. Hmm... dating them is a good idea... sort of like a Zentangle diary!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Fellow CZT Laura Harms from Saskatoon is offering up (or throwing down) a weekly Zentangle challenge to anyone who has the notion to participate. I love a good throwdown (in a more partying context, not a fighting one!), especially one with a theme. The theme for this first week is "simplicity."

   Inspired by Laura's tile, I sat with some simplicity for a while, but it took me a minute to really be able to GET simple. My first tile went like this... starting simple enough, but then it kept talking to me and making me do other things to make it not so simple. Oh well, I was listening so that's what I did.

I sat some more with simplicity, and I could feel it wasn't ready to come forward just yet. I started two more tiles and I could feel they were going to get all tangled up and hook me into another spiral of detail (which would be really fun, but...). I laid them aside for another day, and started anew. I felt that for me, this little exercise was about getting to a place where detail and thought give way to deliberate rhythm and repetition.
   Finally... "Ahh", with an added bunch of rays and a spiral middle. Just what Dr. Laura ordered! Thanks, Laura. That was fun!

Monday, December 20, 2010


At the Zentangle Certification Seminar, we were all gifted with a piece of Dove candy. Inside each wrapper is a little sentence. Ever since then, I keep a bag of them on hand to treat myself once in a while. Yesterday this was my yummy little gift:
"Satisfy your sense of surprise."
I try to do what candy wrappers (and fortune cookies) tell me, so I did a Zentangle tile. One of the things I love most about the art of Zentangle is the elements of wonder and surprise. Not having a plan or expectation leads to surprise. Sometimes a it comes from the tangle itself (such as Afterglo, pictured below), but always there is that possibility at the end of each tile.

MMMM. Chocolate and a Zentangle surprise. Now that's some fun.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

They talked! (and I listened)

Cathy Helmers made two more Featherheads for the Openseed Etsy shop. These hand-drawn Zentangle inspired babies had gone everywhere together so far, hanging out at Cath's house, then coming to my house and hanging around on my easel, chitchatting about who knows what, but staying safe away from my three kitties (oooh, yum, feathers!).

When it came time for their portraits, I took Flora's first, although she didn't seem too happy. I couldn't figure out why her little spirit just wasn't coming through for the camera. But oh well, keep moving. I took Fiona's portrait, and the same thing happened. Pretty soon I realized they belonged with one another. Once I put them back together, they shined the way they always had. (I swear I could hear them say "Thank you, honey!" ) So I called Cathy and asked her if they could be listed as a set, since it was sort of like finding two little kitties at the shelter and taking them both, since you couldn't bear to break them up. (done that)
   So the happy twosome are now listed on Etsy, and happily wait for their new home! If you are in the Dayton area and want to see other members of the Featherhead family in person, visit Gallery 510 in the Oregon District.

Always listen to artwork, whether it be your own or someone else's.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Hurry hurry!
    I woke up yesterday with a clear vision of a different kind of Zentangle inspired calendar (other than the one I just printed). For almost a year it percolated, and I just never saw it graphically work out in my mind. Until yesterday.
    I say hurry hurry because I know I have the resources to kick this out before THIS year ends, or at least have it ready as the new year happens. I don't know if I'd be patient enough to wait till next year, either. But even with all that information, it's my intuition that tells me to move forward with it. Now whether it ends up getting done or not, we shall see.
    Because today is December 17, I don't have much time, and my tendency to hurry through the process will most likely end with something about the project that I may regret. You know, how if you blow dry your hair waytoofastinahurry, it usually doesn't do what you like it to do. Or you make some food really fast and it burns. Or if you swipe your credit card too fast you just have to do it again because it didn't take? 
   Not only does a conditional outcome of haste ("haste makes waste") often leave us unsatisfied, there is a whole aspect of the PROCESS that we miss. If I blow dry my hair in a deliberate way, paying attention to each movement, I will probably like the conditional outcome better, but more than that, I might enjoy the actual process of it... of just being in a moment. If I pay attention to what I'm cooking... taking time to do each step with an awareness, hmm... might taste better, but the actual cooking of the food would be more fun as well. Now the credit card, I always want to get that over with:) But really, every moment holds an opportunity to be real and wonderful in and of itself.
   Take your time and be with the moments. The process of Zentangle is a perfect exercise for slowing down. Because there is no planned ending, it's especially easy to let the moments be what they are. Each deliberate line, each slowly made mark, a moment. Each moment its own little world. Relish each one. Wherever that process takes you, well, it just takes you, and there you are.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Even though I barely "do" Christmas, I like the symbols and words of the season. They are imprinted on me from my history as a child of parochial schools, and a culture that just can't help itself at this time of year. Once I decided to stop the madness for myself (overdoing the hoorah at every turn), I settled into the parts of the season that I feel connected to. There are few "shoulds" anymore for me, so I enjoy those parts that speak to me, and let the other parts fall away. 
   This year I'm having lots of fun with my favorite words combined with my favorite art form (Zentangle, if you hadn't noticed). I have no idea how many of these will happen. They seem to just present themselves as the days go by, and the snow falls, the soup stews, and the tea brews.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The Openseed Etsy store now offers two members of the Featherhead family: Benny and Francis. You may be familiar with their bro, Zenry, who posed for the Zentangle blog. Other members of the Featherhead family are available at Gallery 510 if you're in the Dayton Ohio area. They are fully posable and love to hang from stuff!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Verdigogh

A little color on "Verdigogh" for the holiday... I've turned this one into a holiday card available on Etsy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nature's Way

A friend of mine (yes, a lovely Zentangle freak) sent me this cartoon by Mark Tatulli. We thought it illustrated an essential aspect of the Zentangle art form: organic pattern. I wrote to Mark, and he gave me permission to post it here. Thanks, Mark, for letting us share it, and thanks for creating a very cool cartoon!
   Nature is boundless with patterns, and aren't we lucky for that?
   We also thought it a "hmmm" that Mark's initials (see his signature far right) are kinda familiar:)

© 2010 Mark Tatulli/Distr. by Universal Uclick

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I've finally finished my Zentangle@ Inspired Calendar for 2011! It's kind of cute... only 7" x 10", with coil binding. I love that it's black and white with a touch of red. If you'd like one of your own, or as a gift for your tangle-lovin' friends, visit my Etsy site. If you need more than one, send me an email and we will fix you right up. If you live in the Dayton area, the calendars are also available at Gallery 510 in the Oregon District.

You will also find a little Walt Whitman and Joni Mitchell fun in the Etsy shop...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Dayton Ohio's first snow has arrived. So I celebrate it with my favorite pastime. With a little bit of Zentangle's Ahh, and Sandy Bartholomew's Gust, this is how the day feels to me...