Sunday, July 27, 2014

I love my life!

Seriously, I love my life. Have I mentioned that lately? This past week I hosted the annual meeting of the Student Explorations in Mathematics Editorial Panel. Wednesday afternoon we had the good fortune to take a field trip to the Library of Congress. I think it may be the most beautiful building in D.C. Just look at the beautiful colors and patterns in this selfie. We enjoyed a behind the scenes tour and unfortunately, I am unable to share pictures with you because we were in areas where cameras are not allowed,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Can't miss a bargain.

A nearby A.C. Moore store has converted from a retail store to an outlet store. As a result they are liquidating their entire stock and everything in the store is at least 40% off. Cha-ching for me! This past weekend I loaded up on supplies then spent the rest of my time playing in my art journal. I also prepped at least a dozen layouts and am looking forward to building the pages. Ahhhhh, a creative weekend plus shopping at a discount. Life is good!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Lovin'

The older I get the more I miss those long, lazy summers of my youth when time was in abundance. I have so many interests that I want to pursue and projects that need completion, but there are not enough hours in the day outside of a 9-5 work week. Some of my interest are beginning to converge--I've spent a lot of recreational time playing in my art journal lately--this is an opportunity to combine Zentangle  and lettering. Time to get the camera out and share some of the spreads that I'm pleased with. I've also begun Bible Journaling which has combined my need for a creative outlet and spiritual study. I haven't done any more with the Influence Network other than the Bible Journaling class. There is a newly released course on blogging that may be my next step with the Influence Network.

That's my quick update for now.

Summer officially begins Saturday. I hope you are finding time to do all of the things that you love.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


This week I discovered  The Influence Network an amazing, uplifting community of creatively minded women supporting each other to make their online lives meaningful. I was so impressed by the concept and mission that I joined as a Lifetime member--I must be honest that I do not completely know what that exactly means for me, at this point I just wanted to support this group that is supporting others. From just browsing the site and looking through the magazine it seems that most community members are much younger (and more energetic) than I am....that's okay, hopefully their energy will rub off on me and maybe some of my experience will be useful to someone else.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekly Challenge #136

Congratulations to Laura Harms! This week her cumulative blog views crossed the 1,000,000 milestone. I am not surprised, I know that visiting her blog is on my personal "Must DO" list each week. I do not always post a response to the weekly challenge, but I always stop by the see what creative idea she has posted to inspire the Zentangle community. In fact, there are many weeks that I drop by multiple times to see what other Tanglers are doing with the challenge.

This week Laura posted Weekly Challenge #136  asked us to add color to the typically black and white Zentangle designs. I love color and have enjoyed this challenge. I played with it all week from a variety of perspectives. First, I did some of the traditional black on white ZIA then filled the patterns with color. Next, I used colored pens and made each pattern a different color. Finally, I used some watercolor paint in spray bottles to splash color on the white tiles then tangled on top of the color. As I sit here surrounded by the various ZIA that I created this week I think I am most pleased with the watercolor background pieces so those are the ones that I have selected to share with you.

As always, your feedback is welcome. I learn so much from you and appreciate your comments.

Thank you for visiting my blog.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Well, well, well...

I really do enjoy being part of the Zentangle community. Everyone generously shares their art and support. Earlier this week I posted one of my first pieces in response to The Diva's challenge #135. You can see that effort here.  I just wasn't happy with how it turned out and asked other tanglers  for advice.  Fellow Zentanglers shared thoughtful feedback. All week I've taken the posted advice and continued to play with the new tangle "Well." My favorite aspect of the Diva's weekly challenge is seeing the unique ways that each tangler approaches the task. For example, check out this post from A Little Lime. She had the idea to randomize placement of the dots as well as use a freehand approach to the pattern. You can see her steps here. This is my ZIA using the random dot technique. I did not use a string, I also let my work bleed off the edges of the tile.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

String Theory


Yes, this response to Challenge #129 should have been posted in July. I traveled three times that month, so July is mostly a blur in my memory. Last night I realized that I never shared my tile. I had a lot of fun with this one. I'm learning to let go of the feeling that I have to fill the entire square---this one is almost full, so I obviously need to continue to work toward that goal.

While I'm playing catch-up. Here are three pieces that I did in August.




Tanglers, I need your advice

This week I've accepted Challenge # 135 from the Diva and that is to use the new official tangle "Well" that Rick and Maria announced in their September 3, 2013 newsletter. I really like the tangle, but I am just not getting the results that I want and I am hoping that other tanglers out there will kindly give me some advice.

After practicing the strokes for a long time last night I ended up with this tile. As you can see I do okay on the first few steps of "Well", but when it comes to the final step of closing the loops, or making the petals, things just fall apart for me (see top left corner). Can anyone see where I am getting off track?

I do like the look of the 'half-baked version of "Well," but would still like to be able to follow the steps to complete the pattern.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Birds on a Wire

The first Monday of every month is the UMT challenge. (UMT = Use My Tangle). This week's challenge is to use a new tangle developed by Mary Kissel, CZT. The pattern, Birds on a Wire, is deceptively simple.

I spent Monday just practicing the strokes trying to get comfortable with the pattern. Tuesday I started incorporating the pattern into tiles using a variety of strings. Nothing was coming together for me. I need to come up with a system for pairing the various tangles, some work very well side-by-side; other, not so much. I never really came up with a combination that was pleasing to my eye. I know that there aren't supposed to be any mistakes with Zentangle, but I have to tell you that what I ended up with was just a hot mess. :-)

One bit of success I did have was with a little shading and color. For some reason, this challenge just cried out for color. Having learned my lesson from last week I stuck to colored pencils--I think colored pencils allow for a lighter hand so the color complements the patterns.

The best part of the weekly challenge is seeing the many different interpretations posted by everyone else that plays along. Several of the other tanglers saw swans in their ZIA. I saw flamingos.

September 10, 2013 UPDATE

I never was satisfied with my results using this tangle. Here is one of my efforts.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Challenge 120 Redeux

Here is another attempt at responding to the the Diva's Weekly Challenge #120. It could probably use some shading. See the previous post for my reflection on why I am reluctant to shade. I did add a bit of color to the center piece--now that I look at the scan I realize that the dark blue ink is barely detectable.


What I have learned about Zentangle I've had to teach myself. I would LOVE to take a class with a CZT. Unfortunately, none of the CZT's in this area have responded to my e-mails. If anyone is willing to help, I would appreciate it if someone would print out this piece and show me what you can do with it using some shading. 

Shading and Color

Last night I had another bit of insight about myself. I realized why I am so hesitant to add shading and color to my ZIA--such embellishments usually ruin the piece. Case in point, this is the enhanced version of my response to Challenge#120 that I posted Wednesday. I didn't like the way it was turning out, so I just stopped. I think it would have been better had I used colored pencils instead of a new set of Pilot markers. Put it down to another lesson learned.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lack of Precision

One thing that I really admire about the ZIA other Zentanglers produce is how precisely they draw the patterns. The lines are crisp and clean. Each tangle looks almost identical, as if it had been stamped out rather than drawn freehand. I obviously lack the same precision. Last night, as I was practicing in my sketchbook, I realized why my ZIA looks so sloppy--if I hold my pen tightly I can manage more uniformity in my strokes--the problem is that holding the pen so tightly makes me tense and ultimately defeats my purpose if doing Zentangle in the first place.

I was drawn to this art form not only by the beauty of the work Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts produce, but also by the philosophy behind it.  I can get lost in my doodling. Rick and Maria describe Zentangling as a type of meditative practice. The concept is really simple--draw, "one stroke at a time," in a repetitive manner to create patterns. As you repeat the patterns the mind is allowed to rest--similar to resting the mind through meditation. Don't just take my word for it, check out some of the testimonials on the Zentangle site. Over and over this art form is described as "relaxing," "brings focus," "peaceful," etc. these are the qualities that I find most beneficial in Zentangle.

So please pardon my sloppy lines. As I continue the practice I hope my strokes lose the jerkiness and acquire some flow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weekly Challenge #120

This week Laura Harms (a.k.a. The Diva) challenged us to monotangle using Bales and it's variations. I still need to do some shading or coloration, but for now I'll post my ZIA 'as is'. I am glad that she selected 'Bales" it is one of the easier tangle patterns. Some of the others get complicated--I think this pattern is truer to the spirit of Zentangle.

Hopefully posting it at this stage will motivate me to finish it and show you an improved version before the week is out. I am so pleased to have recommitted to the art form that I may even try some other variations and not even post this one in response to the challenge.


UPDATE: I did add some color to this piece, but I think I like the original version best. You can see the updated version here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tangle *A*Day Fun

I've dabbled at Zentangle over the past months. I'm not really sure what was holding me back. Then, this past weekend, I tangled for HOURS. I am completely caught up in my tangle*a*day 2013 calendar for Zentangle practice. Thank you Carole Ohl for offering this handy little way to explore and practice tangles.



I still need to work on shading, but other than that I am pleased with how this ZIA turned out. On most of the other entries I've just practiced different patterns. For this one I was watching TV and tangling at the same time and it just spilled out of my pen.

I've been sporadically playing with Laura's weekly challenge for a few months now. This week I think I will be brave enough to actually post something to share with the group. For now I'll just share my practice with the Bales tangle.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Zendela Bookcase?

I saw this on Facebook and just had to share. Do you think the home owner is a Zentangle fan?

This is a screenshot so the URL is not a hotlink. You will need to type it into your browser.