Monday, January 31, 2011

Floating with the Fuzzies

I think I set a record for myself for days gone without tangling: 5 days! The flu bug flew into our house again, and got me good. I know there are some people who can go through their normal day even if they have the flu (heck, I see it in commercials all the time!), but I'm not one of those. I camp on the couch with my cats and kleenex and wait for the Flu Fuzzies to go away. (I am naturally a couch potato so this isn't all that bad!)
   The part I don't like is how messed up the dreams get. And of course, Zentangles come and go all through the dreams, but not in a good way. All night long I find myself trying to control and make right all the lovely lines in my head. Controlling a Zentangle isn't much fun. Letting one happen is all the fun.
   So, I waited for the Fuzzies to leave me, and then I finished my calendar. I also found Laura Harm's new challenge, can I say-- a breath of fresh air for me. Such a simple thing: breathe. But such an essential thing. It's the perfect little nudge I needed to get started again. I'm looking forward to my time with this challenge!
   In the meantime, I present the end of January 2011, and onward to the next wonderful month ahead! I hope those of you who are playing with the Tangle-a-Day calendar are having just as much fun!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Diva Challenge #6: Ixorus

This week's Diva challenge was double fun for me. I hadn't had a chance to try out Zentangle's new pattern, Ixorus. So not only did I have the thrill of the Monday morning challenge discovery, I was thrilled to learn a new tangle! I did the first two on Monday, and the last one happened this morning. Even though the third one doesn't have the little half moon elements, it was completely inspired by the basic structure of the new tangle. Great fun! Thanks, Laura and Maria!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Love Time

It's getting about time for Valentines. The shape of a heart just begs to be tangled and I can't resist. A few greeting card offerings on Etsy are available for the season (and all year round since love is always a good thing).

The inside of the heart was done with Puf, and then each stripe was filled with baby orbs.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The "Z" Zone

It's contagious. The "Z" Zone.

The last few times I attended the weekly beading group, I brought a Zentangle tile to work on. Just needed a break from the beads for a while. I was surprised that for two weeks in a row, the person sitting next to me (2 different people) commented that they just had to look away or they would get no beading done at all. It seems that watching a person do Zentangle, possibly has the same effect as actually doing one. Mesmerizing, calming, just plain fun. If you haven't yet seen Rick and Maria's "Betweed" video, check it out, and I think you will feel what I mean by the "Z" Zone.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not Knowing

"Any creative act comes out of not knowing."  Eckhart Tolle

In the process of Zentangle, there is no preconceived idea of what is to happen with the instrument in your hand. Even if you have an inkling (hmmm), chances are, the ending will look nothing like the inkling. These two tiles "happened" to me yesterday. They were lots of fun, so thought I would share (in order of how they were created)...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Calendar Week 3

I'm beginning to look at my Tangle-A-Day calendar less like a calendar and more of a journal. I can feel all the things I'm looking at and doing are finding their way into the day's Zentangle. Even though my "plan" for January was to start at the beginning of the alphabet, other things are sneaking in. Orbs, for instance. This week's challenge from the Diva colored lots of what I did this week...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grow where you're planted.

Greener grass sometimes looks like the place to step sometimes. Some days it's tiresome to stay in the place we are. Same stuff, same people, same job. Most of us feel restless sometime or another... unchallenged, unexcited about the things at hand.
    How do we know when it's time to step out or just stay put? Often we stay with something for the safety it provides. There is comfort in familiarity! When we examine our own patterns and look ourselves in the eye, we know the answer to why we stay or want to get out. Just as often, our childish entitlements get the best of us and we start to think we deserve better than where we are. 
   A friend and I were lunching and talking about such things. She had recently decided to make a change in her life. That felt right to her. So she took some vacation time to be still with her decision. In the stillness, she realized that the change wasn't so much in doing something different, but in allowing a difference in what she was already doing. She didn't have to jump off any ship or burning building, she could redefine and recreate and add to her current situation.
   How cool. I'm so grateful for her sharing her insight! Today's Zentangle tile is in honor of her process:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sending the zeros 0000000000000

It's already week #5 in The Diva's Challenge. As they say, "Time flies when...."
    Laura's post about how she came to this week's challenge is very interesting. It really shows the power of our own intuition. There are signs and symbols all around us everyday that guide us to just the place we need to be. Some days we are aware, and other days, they may float right by us. 
   As I began my tile using orbs (hardly a challenge, as I love them so much; it's my 'go-to' shape when I get stuck), I was thinking about her story. I then realized that as I created the orbs, they were feeling like zeros. In my own personal little stash of symbols, the zero represents for me, a place of neutrality and calm. My other half and I often say to each other: 'Send me some zeros." Meaning, send with me all your calm and neutral intent. We usually say this when one is to embark on a particularly trying endeavor.
   Laura had a trying week and the circles had special meaning for her. I found it really amazing that Laura was calling for us to send her some zeros. What a magical world.
   Here are my zeros, Laura (and anyone else who could use some calm!).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Calendar Week 2 Finished!

Here's a peek at the end of my tangle-a-day calendar week. I'm loving my morning tea time (ok, somedays it's afternoon tea time) with one little 2x2 space to tangle. 

  Today, after a whole year of looking at the lace canopy that hangs over my bed, it finally came to me how to do the pattern I see everyday. I've tried to do it many times and it never seemed to capture the feeling of the lace. This morning it occurred to me what was missing: the rounding!! Having reminded myself about the rounding technique earlier in the week, I guess it must have been hanging in my brain somewhere, waiting for the right time. Once a name for this tangle (lower half of day 15), comes to me, I will post the steps. Anyone have any ideas on a name?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Name Game

Linda Farmer of has issued a Zentangle challenge. Why are these so much fun?? Not sure about the answer to that, but all I know is, I can't resist. This one seemed like it would be interesting, and it was! The game is to find tangles that begin with each letter of your name and create a tile using these tangles.
   I used: Chainging, Ahh, Rain, Onomato, Locar and Emingle. Lots of fun, these challenges. Thanks, Linda!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


As I was playing with the Week 4 Challenge, (such a great starting point that can last the whole week!) I tangled Afterglo, but then it came over me to round out the shapes made by the auras and strokes through the auras around the stars. 
   I continued the Challenge by adding it to my "Tangle*a*Day" desk calendar. Here is Afterglo (Day 10) before the rounding:

By rounding, I mean to round the corner of each little 'box' or stripe you see around the star. Each shape will get a little corner crevice filled in with black. The effect made me think of a butterfly wing, and also added a little (healthy-type) drama to the day of January 10:

It was tons of meditative fun to round all the corners inside the stripes. Try it out sometime with any tangle that has corners. Experiment to see what kinds of shapes emerge, and pay attention to how it changes the tangle!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Challenge4: Audio to Visual

Laura Harms' Challenge Week #4 has us dancing under the stars!

Laura provided a music video for us to listen to and interpret visually as a Zentangle tile. As I started the music and closed my eyes, the feeling of the song came over me. I gotta say, it was a very different way to start a Monday. I hadn't even had my coffee yet, and after hearing the song, I really didn't need any.
   In the spirit of play, I began my tile. The string was basically a circle in the middle that I pretty much ignored once the play began.
   The name of the song (Starry Eyed Surprise) immediately made me think of the tangle, Afterglo, which I often find myself doing with star shapes. And usually when I play with this particular tangle, I am very surprised at where the lines take me.
   It was lots of fun to use my ears to hear what I then would intuitively feel about what I was hearing, and then using my eyes and hands and pen to record what I felt. What a stream of crazy fun! I had a lot of fun meandering through the squiglets and stars... 
come on come on
the fun has just begun  
tonite I'm seein' stars

ps: YFM! (Yay for Monday!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Confidence of Playing

Last week's Zentangle challenge (presented by Laura Harms), spawned a wonderful circle of comments about process and product. "Making art" can be a little nerve-wracking sometimes. In focusing on the outcome ("art"), it's easy to bypass the really fun part: the process. Beginning with our eyes shut called forward (for many, but not all) some doubt and (hopefully low-level) anxiety. That's just because of what we are expecting of ourselves (some nice art?).
   Notice when kids (or adults) play, they make things up and change things as they go. That's the fun of playing. The lightheartedness we bring to play allows for a certain confidence in what we are playing with. Playing with Zentangle is the perfect playground for lighthearted confidence to emerge. There is no preconceived image to attain -- just a meandering string that will get filled or not, today or tomorrow or two weeks from now.
   I love how each participant is playing this little challenge game. What a joyous symphony of play!! It makes me happy to my toes to see so many people joining in. Thanks, everyone!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Calendar Play: Week 1

It's been a few days since I've tangled on my Tangle-A-Day calendar, so catching up was fun. For January, I thought I would start with a string running all through the month. This way, the days are connected instead to each other instead of sectioned off one by one. 
    My first idea was to start at the beginning of the alphabet, and each day, do a tangle beginning with whatever letter was next. It's a nice tidy thought, but I soon remembered, oh yeah, I am not that tidy. I think I will use the alphabet as a starting point, but I already see things sneaking in there that aren't part of that system. Of course, not any of that stuff matters. Just having a little blank space each day is what I like. Allowing something to emerge into that space will be the fun part. 

I started the year with a heavier pen (an old fashioned fountain pen), then switched over to a Micron .005. Because the paper has a harder surface than I usually use (a real Zentangle tile), the thinner point works better for me. When shading, I use the Zentangle pencil and a blending stick.

   If you are playing with one of these this year, send me some photos. I'd love to see what you are doing with your calendar!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Challenge #3: Eyes Wide Shut

Laura Harms' Week 3 Zentangle Challenge: Shut your eyes and create a string!
   Staying ON the tile was a challenge with my eyes closed. I kept veering off toward edges unknown (appropriate, yes?). The thing I found most challenging (and since this IS a challenge, also right on) was trying to find a visual balance in my string after I had made it. When we walk with our eyes open, it's much easier to balance than when we close our eyes and try to walk. The information that our eyes send us really helps us navigate!! I know that sounds obvious, but I realized how much I take it for granted.
   As I opened my eyes and tangled away, the process felt awkward and weird. I think it was about finding that balance, knowing I had no control over what the string was asking. I felt like I was trying to compensate for a flow that I couldn't feel. It was as if I didn't really make that string, someone else did! My little left brain was screaming up a storm to 'fix this and fix that', 'pitch it and start over', 'make it prettier'. It's funny how when I begin in a place of little or no control, the left brain freaks into gear trying to get more of it.
   'Just let it be.' How many times do I have to tell myself this? Bunches. So I overworked the first one, shading it almost to death, I don't know. I did feel like I needed to do another to see if I could shake off the feeling of needing to control it so much. I kept it simpler (taking my cue from Week #1). Even though I was consciously more aware of my quest for balance, the second tile was much more relaxing. My left brain finally got the picture. It's ok to be uncomfortable with a process, and it's ok if I end up not liking the result. But just having the awareness of all these things feels like a wonderful gift. Thanks, left brain, and thanks again, Laura!


Monday, January 3, 2011

2011: Begin with the Z

For the past five years, a group of creative friends gather at my house on New Year's Day for what we call Creative Beginnings. The idea is to begin the first day of the new year swimming in a creative intent (as well as eating the last bit of holiday goodies).
  Last year, we began with learning Zentangle. It's been a really fun year, and looking forward to some more zzzzs this year.
   As the new year begins, one of my friends, who has yet to dip into the z-space, announced she was now ready to "begin with the Z."
    I like the idea of beginning at the end of the alphabet. Let's see how we can shake it up this year.