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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On a "clear" day . . .

Before I started my stationery company, Pendragon, Ink (many years ago!), I used to do a lot of painting. Painting was always fun. It kept me excited about life and and always thinking of the next canvas to cover or series to start. In a painting mindset, I noticed everything and was constantly ​taking notes or making sketches for the next day's endeavor.

One of my favorite parts was at the end when I often added a coat (or two or three) of gloss varnish to the surface of my (dry!) finished piece.

Just so you know, this is an occasional personal preference, not an absolute. I am not suggesting one has to varnish all their art! But this is an element on my palette of choices that I like the look of. I like how it can add depth and richness and increase color saturation. With a few coats it resembles those beautiful old paintings in museums that I love. Imagine, for example, an old table that you have just sanded, the wood all bare, and then you add a coat of varnish/shellac/urethane . . . what a difference!

Anyone who knows me, knows how quickly I do just about everything . . . I eat fast, cook fast, sew fast . . . well you get the picture. I paint with acrylics instead of oils for the same reason . . . Speed! But to me, acrylics seemed a bit flat or dull, so the varnish provided a look that the acrylic paint alone could not.

I was thinking about this the other day while I was tangling. "Hmm, I wonder what would happen if I varnished a tile?" But just to varnish a tiny tile every time the need arose would be a lot of work and clean-up . . . not what I wanted.

So I tried something different. I grabbed a bottle of clear nail polish and went to town! It was a dream come true! Here was this miniature handy-dandy brush, right in the the bottle, just the right size and I did not have to clean it afterwards! I had so many half filled bottles of all kinds of clear coats. The one I used here  has a very subtle pink tint to it, just a whisper. But it brought out a whole new feeling of life wherever I applied it.

These tiles have about 3 coats on them. The first coat seals the paper, the second adds a bit of luster (you can stop at this point) but I added another for depth. Wait for each coat to dry before putting on the next. Of course follow the directions on the bottle. I use this in a room where the smell won't bother anyone. (Molly tells me that I can also try ModPodge, a water based varnish, for a similar effect. Ah . . . another project to look forward to!)

You can see on this diptych (a 2-paneled artwork) . . .

. . . that I varnished the right side panel, and not the left so you can see the difference.

On this next heart piece on which I varnished the upper left corner . . .

. . . to create a dramatic difference dark to light.

Next, I was experimenting on a tan tile, (one I had in my collection, that I did not mind if I screwed it up) and just varnished the "orbital cone-shaped whatch-a-ma-callit" in the middle.

It was pretty dark to begin with and got darker. When the coats were dry, I went back in and added white dots on the surface, and they just popped right off the paper!

If you decide to try this, start with a tile you don't mind experimenting with. You don't have to cover the whole tile. In fact, on each of these I only varnished small portions. I liked how it was more interesting than covering the whole tile.

That marvelous feeling I got from varnishing my old paintings returned. . . like a dear old friend. . . .

I'm not going to do this to all my tiles for sure, but once in a while it might be cool. It's just a nice addition to my growing bag of tricks!

What have you added to your bag of tricks that you can share with us?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

tHE ART of Zentangle

Happy Valentine's Day!

Maria writes:
In my readings lately, I discovered that Zentangle is quite "hearty". . . and in more ways than you might have imagined.

Definitions from my trusty dictionary:

HEARTY: adjective
  • Warm-hearted
  • Genuine
  • Heart-felt
  • Wholehearted
  • Exuberant
  • Unrestrained
  • Strong and well
  • Substantial
  • Abundant . . . AND
  • Nourishing
Nourishing I think, most of all, nourishing. It feeds our heart, frees our emotions. It supports our needs, wants and enhances our lives. One needs heart to create beautiful things. And in my heart, I just know these things.

Rick writes:
In our English language, "art" is found within "heart."

What a delicious metaphor for "drawing" on your heART's inspiration.

How do you access heart-felt art? Our Zentangle suggestion is to do it one stroke at a time.

Put your heart into each simple stroke with deliberate and loving attention. Leave the next stroke's concerns to the next stroke. When it's time for that next stroke, approach it with an open heart. Gently allow your heart (and mind) to open to what unfolds as you tangle and be gentle and relaxed about your expectations.

As you practice the Zentangle Method you begin to trust your heART more and more. You learn to trust that you'll know what to do when it's time to do it. You begin to discover the beauty that flows from within. You discover how good that flow can feel.


This blog post is the companion for this newsletter.

In that newsletter, we showed this tile:

This step-out shows how Maria adapted the basic waybop tangle for this tile:

We invite Zentangle Mosaic subscribers to post their creations using this step-out under the hashtag:


If you are not yet a subscriber, you can still download the app for free and search that hashtag to see what everyone posted.


Here are larger views of the fun heart images from the newsletter:

Indy, Molly's seven-year-old daughter, was watching our "Kitchen Table Tangle" video for waybop and decided to do one:



And for some more definitions . . .
  • Heartener: giving courage or confidence
  • Heartsome: giving cheer or spirit
  • Heartstring: hmm . . . what's your definition?

We wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why are Zentangle Mosaics Fascinating?

I love the fountain pen Maria gave me for Christmas. I keep that pen and a blank book with me all the time to capture ideas that suddenly sparkle but which can, just as suddenly, vanish dream-like without a trace.

So now I write whenever an idea sparkles. And as I write, that initial spark usually sparkles other ideas and I write those, too.

When I tangle, I never know where my starting strokes will take me. But I trust the process and proceed one stroke at a time. I’ll write the same way – one subject at a time – and together we can watch where this takes us.

To answer the questioning title of this essay, “Why are Zentangle mosaics fascinating?” I suggest that Zentangle mosaics are fascinating because each tile is unique.

If you’ve had the pleasure to be in a Zentangle workshop with a CZT* and placed your tile in a mosaic, you know how good that feels. At that moment all your self-criticism chatter disappears. Your tile remains unique, yet it fits the overall mosaic beautifully. And when you think about it, that mosaic exists because it contains each person’s unique expression of his or her creative flow that could only have happened at that moment. In other words, because your unique tile is there.

That good feeling inspired us to create our Zentangle Mosaic app with its Waterfall mode where tiles flow in and out of a mosaic that fills your screen. If all the tiles in the Waterfall display were the same, there would be no reason to keep watching it or to scroll through it.

A Zentangle tile does not need to meet some standard of excellence to be part of a mosaic. And, who would even begin to judge that? Your objective in tangling is not to create the perfect tile.

Your objective is to enjoy that exhilaration of creativity that flows as you make each pencil or pen stroke and then discover where those take you. Admire your tile as you turn it this way and that. Then place it in the mosaic . . . a mosaic that is uniquely beautiful because of your tile . . . a mosaic that could not exist without your tile.

Two things to remember about a Zentangle Mosaic:
  1. Its unique tiles make it fascinating
  2. Without your tile, that mosaic would not exist.

Comments invited.

Best always,

* Certified Zentangle Teacher [list]

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Grate Time in NY NY

Rick and I had the good fortune to spend a couple of unexpected days in NYC this week. Our really loose schedule was to enjoy grate meals and see grate art! Well, we got the last part right! HAHA (We did find some pretty great food and beverages, but I digress. . . .)

On our second day out, the wind was howling and the rain was colder than . . . well . . . it was cold! The museum we wanted to go to was not open yet. Rick spotted a lovely old cathedral on the other side of the street and suggested we go in to find shelter.

Again, our angels guided us to a place unexpected.

It was warm and inviting and the quiet was oh, so, soothing. We sat a bit to take in the enormity of the structure, admiring the huge stained glass windows, the beautifully weathered woodwork, the statues and the ceilings.

But, what caught our eyes most, were the humblest pieces of art, I am sure were not on any list of exhibits. The grates in the walls, of cast iron or brass, were truly works of art. Each one seemed to be different. Shapes, sizes, and textures. (and warm!)

Rick had the camera out and acted like he was at a fashion photo shoot, bending this way and that, changing the features on the camera to make sure he got the details just so. (My hero. . . )

So the rest of the day, no matter where we were, that's what we saw. The most beautiful collection of functional art. I love that whoever created or designed these, made sure he (she) made them special. I wish I could thank them for their work. I hope someone did.

So, when I got to the task of translating them to tangles, some interesting things started to happen. I wasn't as successful when I tried to duplicate them exactly but if I studied the composition and found what it was I liked about a piece, and used that, the tangles began to form.

So, on this first one, you see the duplication of that first tall stone lattice grate, with carefully intersecting circles. I could do it, but I don't think I could easily deconstruct it. Too fussy.

On the next tile, I did the grid lines the same, with heavier vertical. Then I drew some random looping circles and shapes behind the vertical lines with an 01 Micron. After I was happy with how it looked, I went back with an 005 Micron and aura-ed every shape on both sides of the lines. Then I "mitered" all the corners ever so carefully to give it dimension. This I like much better!

Then I started going through all the other grate pictures and took inspiration from them and tangled away with a reticula and fragment approach . . .

All in all, a grate day!


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Twelve Days of 3Zs - Gratitude!

Thank you all for the outpouring of creativity, sharing and appreciation!

We randomly chose one commenter from each of the twelve days' blog posts AND we randomly chose one person from each days' Zentangle Mosaic #hashtags. Each of those 24 names (23 actually, there was one double!) will receive:
The blog posting winners:

  1.  KrisMis 
  2.  Kat Van Rooyen 
  3.  Peter Fruehwirt 
  4.  PamS 
  5.  JackieSaundersCZT19 
  6.  Anonymous - Jackie CZT XIII - was written in the actual posting. 
  7.  Maureen Stott 
  8.  Jadene Ridinger 
  9.  Ria Matheussen 
  10.  Quwatha Valentine 
  11.  Donna Pilato 
  12.  Doveina Bolen

And, the Zentangle Mosaic posting winners:

  1.  JuttaGladnigg 
  2.  AnnetteCZT20 
  3.  JenniferSparrowCZT21 
  4.  GaleShermanCZT 
  5.  MicheleBeauchampczt7 
  6.  WanyiCZT18 
  7.  MariekeSCZT 
  8.  Eveningstarlight 
  9.  Danita 
  10.  PamS 
  11.  IngSR 
  12.  Banksia
Please email "zentangle [at] gmail [dot] com" with your shipping info so we can send you your gifts!

Last week the Zentangle staff visited the Providence Biltmore where we will hold next years CZT training seminars.

While there we shot this video (one take, no edits!) to celebrate this fun series.

Words and links:
On the last day of 3Zs,
    Bijou showed to me,
    huggins hugging huggins,
Wandering icanthis,
Not so boring drawings,
Tangled auraknot-ings,
Perky pokeleafs peeking,
Dark and naughty knightsbridge,
Swirling molygon-ings,
Gold, glowing tipples,
Some marasu encircling,
Winsome bits of shattuck,
Fetching diva dancing,
And a tile full of tripoli!

If you thought we were a big company, well, here we are . . . family, friends and neighbors who love to work with each other and for all of you in this worldwide creative and appreciative Zentangle community. We never take it for granted. Thank you!

And thank you again for all who commented, shared and enjoyed this year's Twelve Days series. We are in awe to watch this renaissance in Zentangle Art. We love that this creativity seems to build on itself, inspiring others (and us) to explore new possibilities . . . and then share it back with everyone.

You can see so many of these sparkling creative gems on the Zentangle Mosaic app (free to view on iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone). We are so proud of and grateful for all the artists who have allowed us (and everyone) into their "portphonio" of Zentangle art.

Here's a mosaic of all twelve day's 78 tiles. Each row represents one day!

'Til next year,   Our Best Good Wishes for a wonderful life.


Rick, Maria, Bijou, Alfie and all of us at Zentangle HQ!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

On the last day of 3Zs . . .

On the last day of 3Zs,
Bijou showed to me,
huggins hugging huggins . . .

Wandering icanthis,
Not so boring drawings,
Tangled auraknot-ings,
Perky pokeleafs peeking,
Dark and naughty knightsbridge,
Swirling molygon-ings,
Gold, glowing tipples,
Some marasu encircling,
Winsome bits of shattuck,
Fetching diva dancing,
And a tile full of tripoli!

Alfie worked with Maria and Rick to arrange the book just where he wanted it. Then he told us to come back in an hour . . . well, maybe two hours. But it was worth the wait!

After those pictures were taken, Alfie asked us to remove the book from the table. He said that Bijou and he had some more work to do and once again, they sent us away.

When we returned, we saw that they had arranged all the tiles in order of each day!

As we said in our first day post, we will be sending out gifts. We will choose one person at random from each of the twelve day's blog commenters and we will choose one person at random who posted tile(s) the Zentangle Mosaic app for each day's hashtag. Each of those chosen people will receive:

We will do the choosing on this coming Saturday at noon eastern time (GMT -5) and we'll announce the 24 recipients in another blog on Saturday or Sunday.


Thank you all for playing with us for these twelve days!

The hashtag for today's tile is: #12thdayof3zs

For this last day we used a version of huggins that we call crazy huggins.

The elemental shapes of crazy huggins are:

  •  an orb and 
  • simple curve.

You may find these guidelines helpful as you explore crazy huggins:

  • Use an even number of orbs
  • Add curves using the principle of "take off and land"
  • Never cross one curve over another
  • If a curve is already connected to an orb, the next curve must connect in the same direction as the previous curve connected to that orb
  • You can add additional orbs anywhere and anytime
  • When adding auras, add it to the outer curve of the telephone shape (of two orbs and one curve)

Here's the step-out:

As our 12 Days come to an end, while we are sad to see it finish, the most wonderful thing has happened!

We experienced a true renaissance in Zentangle Art. It seems that all of a sudden we were witnessing tiles from around the world that seemed to explode with creativity.  They were 
so alive, interesting, personal, and spectacular. Everyone here noticed it. What happened to cause this? 

Well, it could be the season.  A time of joy, gratitude, giving, reflection . . . perhaps it was just time. It has been what . . . 13 years since we started what we call Zentangle? Word has spread around the world! People are enjoying the benefits of this simple method of putting pen to paper and sharing it with each other.

If you have not already,  please, see for yourself this "renaissance" on our "Zentangle Mosaic" app. (It costs nothing to just browse through the hundreds of thousands of tiles from around the world.)  We are so proud of all the artists who have allowed us (and you all) into their "portphonio" of Zentangle art.    The stories and descriptions from the artists and the comments from friends and other tanglers come together to create a world of love, support, teaching, learning and understanding. It is magic in the best way.

Congratulations and thank you to all who have participated both in word and/or art, to make this year's 12 Days series a gift for all.   Especially, to all of us at Zentangle Central.

'Til next year,   Our Best Good Wishes for a wonderful life.

Rick and Maria, et al


See you later this weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On the eleventh day of 3Zs . . .

On the eleventh day of 3Zs,
Bijou gave to me,
Wandering icanthis . . .

Not so boring drawings,
Tangled auraknot-ings,
Perky pokeleafs peeking,
Dark and naughty knightsbridge,
Swirling molygon-ings,
Gold, glowing tipples,
Some marasu encircling,
Winsome bits of shattuck,
Fetching diva dancing,
And a tile full of tripoli!

Alfie is so pleased with himself that he got all of the tiles on one side of the book!

Once again Alfie had fun making this mosaic . . . eventually. First he asked us to add a leaf to the table to accommodate the additional icanthis tiles (what an appropriate coincidence!).

So today our table reminds us also to "Create, Praise, Savor and Embrace"!


Thank you all for continuing to play with these twelve days!

The hashtag for today's tile is: #11thdayof3zs

To see the guidelines for these 12 days, go here.

We will give out a prize for one randomly chosen poster of each day's tiles on the app and also for one randomly chosen commenter on each day's blog post. (We'll announce the winners shortly after the twelfth day.)

And here's icanthis:

We published this newsletter yesterday introducing yesterday's and today's tangles. Both are new and we think you will enjoy them as you get to know them.

See you tomorrow!