Monday, December 17, 2012

Diva Dance

Today Laura Harms of the enchanting I am the Diva CZT blog posted her 100th Challenge! This one is guest hosted by none other than Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, founders of Zentangle...they came up with a new tangle with three variations in honor of the Diva and her challenges that have connected and inspired tanglers all over the world.

You can see the step-outs for drawing Diva Dance here in Laura's blog. Give it a whirl! It is fun and it develops quickly. As I was completing my tile, I couldn't help but think of Diva Dance as a visual representation of Laura's journey and message--that bumps in the road happen, and there will be dark times...but you just keep going, you work around what life throws at you. You have to! Just keep "aura-ing"--keep growing and giving, adjusting whenever you need to, and having fun when the opportunity arises. But always, always adapting to challenges and difficulties.

I love that this tangle looks like a topographical map. After all, we are all finding our way, and yes, sometimes we have to make up our own maps. Sometimes we also make up addition to Diva Dance, my tile features two variations of my newest tangle, Paushalöv. Step-outs (and an explanation of the name) to follow later this week!

Happy Tangling, everyone! And Happy Holidays! What a busy week this will be...if you have time, I'd love for you to leave me a comment. I don't get many, so I cherish each and every one!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Loop Love

Featured in the loops: Festune, Paushalöv, Riveting,
and Gneiss. Around the loops is a series od Auras with
rounding, similar to Auraknot. Auraflow???
 Still to come: shading!
I have been out of the loop for several weeks--I've had what I think was a cold plus a sinus infection. Eeew. Throughout this, I've been pretty good at starting challenges on time, but not so good at getting them completed and posted. I hope to make up for that in this post--I have several tiles featuring step outs to one of my original tangles that I mentioned here in my blog a looooong time ago (in this post). Riveting. It is a precursor to Ving (click on Ving for the blog post that features the stepouts to Ving I posted a while back), but is actually more complex. 

This is my looped string prior to tangling...

Only the first of the tiles in this post is intended for this week's Diva Challenge: the Looped Border String Challenge, brought to us by a guest host: the oh-so-talented Margaret Bremner, CZT, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Can you believe this is Challenge #99!!!) Margaret is the artist/author of a wonderful Zentangle blog entitled Enthusiastic Artist as well as a soon-to-be-released book entitled The Art of Zentangle: 50 inspiring drawngs, doodles & ideas for the meditative artist. (Click on the link to pre-order it from Amazon!) The Looped Border String Challenge is based on a blog entry that Magaret posted earlier this year: click here to connect.

Steps to Riveting by Amy Broady, CZT
I filled the largest loop with Riveting, a tangle I came up with in 2010. Riveting is a grid-based tangle that utilizes the overlapping (or should I call it “underlapping”) quality of Hollibaugh. This is the tangle that I contributed to the large group tangle that we completed at CZT training (#4, October 2010).

I named it “Riveting” in reference to the rivet-like dots as well as the converging lines that are riveted to a converging spot in each division of the grid. Of course, I also like to think of my tangle as “riveting” in that it is so fascinating.

So, here are visual step-outs to Riveting...

I have a document in which I elaborated on the step-outs with text...but it will take me a while to get them posted. I've discovered that it is no easy task to publish a document (pdf or Word) within my Tanglefish blog, so I have to do a work-around which involves printing the document and scanning it, which is more than I can handle tonight. :-) Plus, I think the visuals really say it all...the text is just explanation of that which is illustrated.

Keenees, Kardz, DL Neumba, Rick's Paradox, and a
variation of Cadent.
Next, showcasing another loop, is my response to last week's Diva Challenge #98: The Keenees Challenge. Keenees is a fun tangle brought to us by Donna Hornsby, CZT, of Forth Worth, Texas. On either side of the Keenees, which is in the central loop, is DL Nelumba and Kardz, also by Donna Hornsby. Donna is an artist, graphic designer, technical writer, and a person of many talents; she runs a business (and writes a blog) enitled Pegasus Papers.

And finally, also sporting its share of loops in the form of the tangle known as Echoism, is my response to the Diva's 97th Challenge, "No Strings Attached" in which we started tangling without the benefit of a string to guide us. I started with Ibex, a tangle that challenges me. Once I had "ibexed" enough--and I was pretty pleased with it!--I drew an aura, and started tangling around it with Echoism. And regretted it almost instantly. I did NOT like what my rendition of Echoism did to my composition!!!

Ibex, Echoism, Keeko, Shattuck

So then I had to find the motivation to keep going. I called upon Keeko to move me forward, and then Shattuck, and then the magic of the pencil and tortillon. Shading the Echoism section was the most difficult...I had to find a way to make peace with that whole area that just looked wrong to me. I chose to add tiny black "beads" to the intersections...and to have some fun with shading. I stuck with it and saw it through. Finally.
Having found a way to "finish" the Echoism section in a manner that satisfied me, I used the same idea in the Zentangle Ganesha I completed for Dilip (explained below; see Gift of Ganesha).

Remember, it's all about the process! The end product is just tangible evidence of the journey, of the time spent creating and contemplating penstrokes. (And pencil blends!)

That, my friends, is the whirlwind summary of (some of) what I've been up to. Also, if you have not yet seen my last post, Gift of Ganesha, I invite you to check it out. You will see my contribution to an international Zentangle collaboration that initiated with a CZT in India. Also in that post is Paisley Boa, a tangle I am pleased to share with my Tanglefish readers.
Let me know what you think of anything that I've posted, be it words or images. It's always nice to know that my blog posts are viewed & read by the people who find there way here! But please be kind about the layout. Please?! It's unfortunate and it drives me crazy. I have fits over things that I arrange and things that I can't arrange...and none of what I do looks the same when it is published, anyway!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gift of Ganesha

Earlier this year, a Certified Zentangle Teacher named Dilip Patel embarked on a Zentangle quest and in return has both given and received an abundance of gifts--gifts in the form of Zentangle Ganeshas.

Dilip lives in Bengaluru, India. He is, in fact, the only CZT currently listed for India at the official Zentangle website.  He authors a fascinating and inspiring blog entitled "Things Often Speak to Me". I encourage you to visit it and spend some time exploring Dilip's thoughtful blog entries and learn more about his commitment to publish 100 Zentangle Ganeshas by December 31, 2012.

For those who are unfamiliar with this Hindu deity--Ganesha--I offer this from :
"Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. ...Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu Deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four)....

As a Christian, the idea of Ganesha is interesting to me, but is not a part of my faith and spiritual belief system. As an artist, I am attracted to elephant imagery and am fascinated by the Ganesha images I found as I searched the internet for resources and information. I was slow to attempt a Zentangle Ganesha, but today I finally put my reluctance aside and prioritized this little piece of art. I am humbled by the beauty and cleverness of the Zentangle Ganeshas that are posted in Dilip's own effort seems awkward to me. I think it's the eyes. I was trying to make them exotic and expressive of wisdom and kindness; I fear they turned out droopy and sad. But I offer it to Dilip in support of his goal, with gratitude for his idea and willingness to share his journey and blog about his quest, and in sympathy for the recent passing of his mother-in-law.
I regret the poor image quality--I do not have access to my scanner at the moment, and will try to update it with a clearer scan in the near future.

I'm not even sure it is complete--the empty background bothers me...and yet I do not have a current solution.

In addition, I would like to offer a new tangle in this post--though again, I do not have access to a good image. So as soon as I have some time at the family desktop, I will post step-outs to Paisley Boa--a version of which can be seen here in Ganesha's trunk. (Note: done! See below!)

So my version of Ganesha presents you with a gift--a tangle I came up with in the spring of 2011. I was just waiting for the right time to share it.

I can post some of my tiles that feature Paisley Boa in future Tanglefish entries...I think this entry is long enough for now. :-)

If YOU use Paisley boa in your art, I'd love for you to send me a photo or scan! The quickest way for me to get it would be for you to send it to abroady (at) comcast (dot) net, and put "Paisley Boa" in the subject line. Or you could put a link in the comment section below.

If you have any questions, just post them in the comments below (or send them to the email address I listed above).

Happy Tangling!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Zest for Zinger

Happy Thanksgiving! I am enjoying this special day in my hometown with family. Feels so good to be "home" enjoying the holiday in the house I grew up in! More on my Thanksgiving Day in my next post. Yes, my day had its Zentangle moments. (Big grin!) But first: the Diva's Weekly Challenge #96.....

There's a new/old tangle that is enjoying some wonderful and well-deserved publicity this week...from "Zentangle Central" in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, it's Maria's ZINGER! Maria Thomas has been using this little gem...well, it's more like a bloom...for a long time. But even after years of appearances, it had not yet been established as an "official tangle." All that has changed can read about it here in the latest Zentangle newsletter.

Zinger, embellished with Gneiss, Onomato, Wud, Zewm,
Copada, and Meer. I apologize for the poor image quality;
I am away from my scanner right now,
so my iPhone camera had to suffice.
Though the tangle has just been officially announced, I was there at the CZT Training Seminar in October 2010 when  Sue Clark offered the name "Zinger" in response to this fun little design. It's not so much a traditional, space-filling tangle, but is an abstracted botanical-ish arrangement of marks that adds a whimsical touch, like a renegade vine with a funky flower that has escaped from the garden to take root in Zentangle designs. The "bloom" is sort of a cross between an exotic, multi-tiered mushroom cap, a spiral stack of soft-serve ice cream, and a cornucopia. Kind of reminds me of a beehive, too. On a stem.

And so here are my official submissions for the Diva's Zinger Challenge. The first is a traditional Zentangle tile, while the second is a ZIA design I created on shrink plastic for a mini-ornament. I mailed it yesterday to Jo-Ellen Mathews, a CZT in Indiatlantic, FL. Jo-Ellen is putting together a little tree decorated with Zentangle-themed tiny ornaments for the Jingle Mingle Holiday Tree Auction and Raffle, a fundraiser for Cure OM (Ocular Melanoma), an initiative of the Melanoma Research Foundation.

My initial idea was to tangle on clear shrink plastic, and gild the back with gold leaf once it was shrunk. Unfortunately, I had some trouble shrinking the clear shrink plastic--it kept curling up (typical) and bonding to itself (not so typical, and not desirable when a flat ornament is the goal!), so the finished product was not what it needed to be. (You can see the designs in their origianl state, pre-heating, below.) I eventually gave up on the clear shrink plastic, and moved on to Shrinky Dinks brand "Frosted Ruff n'Ready," which seemed to ask for colored pencil.  I actually love the "wrong" side of the colored shrink plastic once it has been shrunk--the color pencil is so intense, and has the appearance of velvet.
The "wrong" side

The "right" side, which should be smooth and clear, ended up with some imperfections once I shrunk it--I'm not sure why. It looks almost like fingernail marks, though I don't remember sinking my nails into the surface while it was still soft! There was no time to do it over yet again, so I decided to embrace it, imperfections and all. :-)

I just wish I'd added color to the Zingers...I probably just would have used white, but it would have made them "pop!"

1st attempt on clear shrink plastic,
prior to shrinking. It started as a 3.5" circle.
I was bummed that it didn't shrink well.

3rd attempt, on Frosted Ruff n'Ready
Shrinky Dink material, prior to shrinking
2nd attempt on clear shrink plastic,
prior to shrinking. I wasn't as happy
with this design. I wish I hadn't
colored in the stems. Those dark
stems make it look kind of
like a peppermint, though.
I had so much fun working on the ornament, despite my shrinking woes. I'm sure I complicated things by using an embossing heat tool instead of the oven. I don't like to use my kitchen oven for art processes, so I have some craft-designated toaster ovens that I use for polymer clay and shrink plastic. They are currently in my classroom, however, and I was making the ornament at home. So I was determined to use the embossing heat tool, which I have used many times for shrink plastic. Usually I have pretty good results. Plus, it's so cool to watch it shrink out in the open (rather than behind the glass door of the toaster oven).

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Socc Rocks!

The tangle Socc was offered to the Zentangle world by CZT Erin Olson almost a year ago. You can find instructions and read her blog entry about it about it here, including the meaning of its name, which has nothing to do with foot apparel! Erin offers a weekly Zendala Dare on her blog, The Bright Owl; I encourage you to check it out!

I bring this up because Erin's tangle Socc is the focus of the Diva's Weekly Challenge (#94). I'm really grateful that Socc was selected for this month's UMT challenge (the first Monday of every month has a "Use My Tangle" theme, with tangles submitted by readers selected by a random number generator). This tangle proved to be inviting and fun...and it nudged me back into the Diva Challenge world, which also makes me sit down at the ol' S&K to write a blog entry. :-)

It's not that I haven't been engaging in Zentangle...quite the opposite! You can read about one of my recent Zentangle adventures here on the Zentangle for Kidz blog. I had a truly wonderful time teaching a delightful group of students and parents who came for six after-school sessions of tangling together.
Featuring Socc and Mooka with a little Tipple thrown in.

But back to Socc! Here's what I came up with today, a beautiful autumn day here in east Tennessee. 

Unfortunately, this beautiful day found me sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and aching. I stayed home all day (in bed 'til noon!), but the day was too pretty not to sit outside for a few minutes in my favorite tangling spot: my own front yard, which was transformed earlier this fall by Steve Rhule and his son Nick and their BeeGreener crew.

I'm so excited about the outdoor space they created for me, er, for our family. I think I love it more than any of us because I now have an amazing, custom-made sculptural bench that I can sit on to tangle as I enjoy the gurgling of the fountain. I sit on it sideways, with my back against what looks like the armrest, bend my knees, and put my feet up. The fountain is such a neat feature; I'm actually going to try something new: uploading a little video, just so I can share it with you. If you see a blank space at the bottom of the post, give it a little time; I have found that it takes the video a few minutes to upload.

My view from the bench as I tangled today. The light was beautiful!
One of our front trees...brilliant crimson today!
This is another view from my bench!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Copada Amor

Copada. I love this tangle! It is offered to us by Margaret Bremner, CZTone of my Zentangle heroes! Her Enthusiastic Artist blog (click on the title to connect to the home page) is a treasure trove of design and inspiration...she is one of the first of a growing number of "Canadian Wonders of the Zentangle World"  (CWZW), along with Laura Harms, the Diva who provides the weekly challenges that you see me respond to in many of my blog posts. So this week their powers are combined in the UMT (Use My Tangle!) monthly challenge (Click here to connect to Weekly Challenge #85: UMT v. VIII: Copada).

Copada. Margaret chose this cool tangle name from a collected list of random, computer-generated nonsensical words--you know, "those strange 'words' that proved I wasn't a robot, before the 'words' became seriously peculiar," as she put it.

So here's my first-in-a-long-while entry to the Diva's Weekly Challenge....

So I should probably address why I haven't posted anything since mid-July. For those of you who are not teachers who started back to work in early August.

I am one of those teachers. After having a lovely summer off, I officially started the new school year back in early August, though my preparations began even before that. And the start of the new year is always intense...both as a teacher and a mom. My C-gal started high school this year (really?! yes. really.) My son "Poseidon" (pictured in this post) is in his middle year of middle school. So back-to-school means lots of exhausting changes to our family schedule. But it's all good! The year is off to a great start, and frankly, it is indeed nice to be back in the classroom teaching again. I am fortunate to have one of the best jobs in education today: I teach art to students ranging from Kindergarten to 5th grade. It has its challenges, of course, but I can't imagine a job I'd rather have. Those kids bring such smiles to my face, such joy to my heart! And I work with an amazing range of colleagues. I am truly blessed by my job as well as my family.

This past week I began with the the beginning Zentangle lesson for a few of my 5th grade classes. YAY! I can't wait to teach more. (I have a total of four 5th-grade classes, but only get to see two or three of them a week due to the funky Encore class schedule combined with my job-share arrangement.) But before I introduced Zentangle to those 5th grade classes, I introduced it to about 100 art teachers in my district at a county-wide art teacher meeting. I couldn't give them a full intro lesson, as I only had 30 minutes, but fortunately I will have more opportunities to share Zentangle with my art education peeps throughout the school year. My next opportunity with them will be September 21st. I'll get to teach this session in my own classroom! No, I can't fit 100+ in there all at the same time, but I'll be teaching them in smaller groups, about 25 at a time...similar to my usual class sizes. Should be fun!

I'd better get going--time is short these days, but I'll try not to neglect my blog for weeks on end anymore! I can't tell you how many times I wrote posts in my head--posts that simply never made it to the keyboard to end up in the blogosphere.

I'd be thrilled to get some comments...about my Copada tile, about how much you've missed me, about how you wish you could be one of my art students, etc. ;-) Really, it's just nice to read that someone notices what I do and has a reaction to it, whether it's a compliment or a question or a suggestion.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

C-Gal's Sea Star

Caroline created this beautiful Auraknot ZIA on a note to someone special.

I'm glad the glitter glue scanned well. It's a fun addition to her design.
Yay, Caroline! I'm so proud to post this to my blog and share it with the Zentangle community!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Auraknot Noir

Auraknot is such a friendly tangle...I just want to hang out with it and take it places! Introduce it to my other art parties so it can mingle with other tangles....

In the second Auraknot tile that I am submitting to the Diva's Challenge this week, I chose to pair the latest official tangle with the first one I learned: Crescent Moon. I completed this on a black Zentangle tile with a white Gelly Roll pen. I used a white charcoal pencil for just a little bit of blended lightness around the edges.

I've been wanting to work more on the black tiles for quite some time, and this was a perfect opportunity. I did most of the line work at my son's guitar lesson on Tuesday. I love tangling while sitting in on Joseph's lessons. I get to hear everything, but don't intimidate him by watching. C-Gal enjoys going to the lessons, too. On this day, she was recovering from the oral surgery she had that morning, and her medication was starting to wear off, so she a bit uncomfortable. She simply enjoyed watching as I drew a line, turned, the tile, drew another, turned, drew another, and so on.

So down below are a few pics of Joseph. I had mentioned in a previous post that he had transformed into a Greek god...given that this is the Tanglefish blog, you can only imagine how cool I thought it was that Joseph had to dress up as Poseidon for a Greek Fashion Show at the end of the school year. We had a ball pulling this costume together! Blue pillow cases (thanks, Tuesday Morning!), a homemade beard (created from the fluffiest furry fabric we could find) a Greek fisherman's cap, a beaded, sequined vest (weighs a ton!) that a colleague had picked up at a Brooklyn stoop sale and given to Caroline a few years ago...and a custom light saber Joseph had put together as his Spring Break souvenir from Disney this past March, to make a great light-up trident (thanks to some cardboard and tinfoil), complete with sound effects. Oh, and a crushed velvet cape in silver. And a fishing net that had been in Joseph's dresser drawer for years without him even knowing about it. But I knew. I had bought it when I thought his deep blue room would have a nautical theme.

And here's Poseidon on his birthday a few months ago, with the guitar that I got him with. He asked for nothing for his birthday except a few helium balloons for his group's Euro Fair table display on Finland since the Euro Fair just happened to fall on his birthday. So I had to think of a good gift to surprise him with. I think the guitar plus lessons was not a bad choice! He's progressing well, and I love to hear him practice.

Here it is before I added white charcoal
 outside the the Crescent Moon perimeter.
Back to Zentangle: here's a small image of my tile before adding the white with the charcoal pencil. I rather liked it like this, and it was difficult deciding whether or not to add any white highlights. But Zentangle offers opportunities to explore the wonderful concept of "what if," so I went ahead and forged forward with the white pencil (after scanning it first to have a record of the "before" look). What do you think? Do you prefer it with or without the blended white charcoal at the edges? You won't hurt my feelings--I like it either way!

 In my next post I'll be bragging on C-gal and sharing her first Auraknot ZIA. :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Glorious Auraknot

The newest official Zentangle Tangle has been named; it's official! Auraknot. I LOVE this new tangle! Read all about it here. Congratulations to Mattie Arnold for coming up with the winning name, and to Jeanne Kero for figuring out how Rick & Maria draw it. You can see Jeanne's step-outs here. I was sooooooo "off" in my efforts to figure it out--but I had so much fun trying!

And, yet, I am a WINNER!!! YAY! While I did not deconstruct and diagram it correctly, nor did I come up with the winning name, I was one of the folks who did actually submit my efforts to the new tangle contest...and so, my name went into a drawing, and was one of five drawn for a bonus prize! Yippee!!! I don't know what it is, but I'll let you know when it arrives. :-)

So here is my first tile featuring Auraknot:


I completed the entire tile in the waiting room while my C-gal (that's Caroline) was having oral surgery this morning. Nothing serious, just a step in her orthodontic plan, but it did involve tooth removal and putting a chain on another tooth that has not yet ascended into place and was heading in the wrong direction. She had to have general anesthesia and get stitches--both of which were firsts for her. She did great, and the tangling helped keep me calm as she was in surgery.

Before I go, I have another Cool WiP tile to share:
I had started this one for the Tanglation Nation: Cadent challenge (#75)
Like most of my Cool WiP tiles, it still needs shading.

Also, I finished my Pietro di Fiore tile; you can see it here, along with another Cool WiP tile.

As always, I'd be so happy if you left me a comment. Thanks!

Fiore di Pietro

Last week I the linework for the Diva's 77th challenge: Fiore di Pietro, a beautiful new tangle created by Rho Densmore in memory of her brother-in-law. It was a work-in-progress at that time, but I have added shading and it is now complete.

Fiore di Pietro, Pweeko, Ving, and Tipple.
Rho, please feel free to use this in the tangle book you are creating for your family.

To see it side-by-side with the unshaded version, click here.

Note to the Diva: Please don't put this in the slideshow
unless I have removed this message from the caption!
Here's another tile I have started using Fiore di Pietro and an olive green 05 Micron, which produces a bolder line than the 01 that I usually use. It's completely different from the first one I did. I don't love it, and I certainly don't think that the linework is complete. It evolved from a series of efforts to compensate for marks that I put in the wrong place. I am still contemplating how I want to finish it. I'd love to transform it in a way that makes me really excited about it. So, I am posting this in the spirit of celebrating process over product, and to make good on what I said I'd be doing in my next few posts: sharing tiles in the "Cool WiP" category.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cool WiP & Fi di Pi & Cintronica

WiP: Work in Progress. Need I say more? Of course I do. Even if I don't need to, I will.  After all, that's why I have a blog: to elaborate on my ideas with anyone who cares to take the time to read them. :-) If that's you, then thank you for reading!

I have just returned home from a delightful family vacation...I thought I'd be blogging from the beach condo, and tangling up a storm, but that didn't happen. Instead I read...and shopped and dined and slept, and took in a show (SHOUT! The Mod Musical), and enjoyed time with my inlaws and nephew as well as my husband and kids. So now I feel very relaxed, but also waaaaay behind on Diva challenges and blog posts, as I was already behind before I left on vacation!
My next few entries will feature unfinished tiles--ones that I started for various Diva challenges, including this week's challenge, UMT v. VI: Fiore di Pietro (Challenge #77). Fiore di Pietro is a new tangle by Rho Densmore, CZT, in memory of her brother-in-law who passed very unexpectedly a mere two-and-a-half weeks ago. It's a beautiful tangle, full of possibilities to explore. Click here to link to directions. This first tile in which I've utilized Fiore di Pietro is incomplete in that I haven't yet shaded it...but I am so eager to get a post up, after skipping a few weeks, I want to go ahead and share it! I'll post it again after I've shaded it. (DONE! 7/10/12) I love seeing other people's work mid-process, so I hope you can enjoy mine in stages.
Tangles used: Fiore di Pietro, Pweeko, Ving, Tipple
And here's the finished tile. Rho, you are welcome to use this, if you wish.
Also in the WiP category--make that the Cool WiP category; I wouldn't post something if I didn't think it was cool--is a glorious new tangle from Zentangle! It is currently nameless. (!!!!!!) Rick and Maria posted it to the Zentangle newsletter and blog last week and challenged us to name it and draw step-outs (the diagrams that break down a tangle into simple steps). 
My proposed name is Cintronica, after Tina Cintron (see explanation below). I completed these step-outs super fast on vacation at Hilton Head Island on the coast of South Carolina last week. I jumped right to task as soon as I saw the newsletter about the new tangle and the name/step-out challenge. I had to rush through them for fear that I'd peek at directions if someone else posted their version before I'd finished mine. I allowed myself very little time to do this, as our family was about to head out for an afternoon of kayaking. (Our first ever kayak excursion...and it was WONDERFUL! Our tour group enjoyed the presence of a lone dolphin who surfaced in our area numerous times...once a mere 15 feet or so behind me!)

My step-outs, messy thought they are, and crudely photographed with Caroline's iPad, are as follows:

About the name I propose, Cintronica, and it's origin: Tina Cintron has an instructional DVD that I purchased for use in my classroom. The DVD's focus is on watercolor resist techniques, but a bonus feature is that she shows how to draw basic Celtic knots using a configuration she calls "Headless Dancing Man." Headless Dancing Man is a square whose sides are extended in four different directions, as seen in the first diagram of Step 2 of my step-outs above. If that figure is turned diagonally, it really does look like a block-bodied stick man that is missing his head and doing the can-can. Or about to do a cartwheel.

Headless Dancing Man is a great way to start an endless number of Celtic Knot design variations...and as such, has become an important figure in my teaching. Thus, when I saw this new tangle that utilizes the concept I learned from Tina Cintron, I wanted to propose a name that honors her. The "ca" I added at the end of my proposed title is short for "cabin," as in "log cabin," the tradition quilt block construction method that utilizes strips of cloth. My daughter Caroline has a tangle that we call DecoLoCa (see it used here on the egg), which is short for Deconstructed Log Cabin, which is also inspired in part by the log cabin quilt block.

About my Cool WiP concept: This past school year our PTA adopted a food/cooking theme for the annual back-to-school activities and membership drive. It was a fun theme; I thought of our art room as "Smorgasbord Studio," though I never officially named it that by making a sign. I also tried to think of unusual ways to work the theme of "food" into the art curriculum. I  had a lot of ideas that never made it to fruition (note the pun I worked in there? FRUITion?!), but one of my ideas that I did bring to life is the Cool WiP board: Cool Work-in-Progress. I had a bulletin board that I would occasionally post impressive artwork-in-progress by my students. Sometimes I even gave out a Cool Wip wristband that I made up as an award that students could wear home to show their parents that their artwork had been honored. I didn't get it going until late in the year, though, so it wasn't a main feature of the artroom and class routine...but next year I want to carry on with it and make a bigger deal about it to get the students excited.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far! As always, any comments you post are cherished. 
Happy tangling!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eccentric ZEWM & VING

This week's Diva Challenge (# 74) is entitled "String Theory v. X: Eccentric Circles".
Here's the prompt she gave us: "For this challenge - draw a string of eccentric circles ... and get a-tanglin'."

She also let us know that, "according to wikipedia the definition of eccentric is:
Adjective. eccentric (comparative more eccentric, superlative most eccentric): not at or in the centre...not perfectly eccentric or elliptical orbit having a different center." (I modified the formatting a bit to take up fewer lines, as this is going to be a long post!)

She encouraged us to start with a drop shape and draw cirle-esque shapes radiating our around it. Lots of room for interpretation, though she did provide us with two great examples. Thank you, Laura! I love this challenge prompt!

"Eccentric Vergecho" is the title of my first effort to meet the challenge. (The "g" in "Vergecho" is a soft "g", like a "j" case you were wondering! And the "ch" is a hard "c" sound like a "k", as in the word "echo.") I decided to utilize only two tangles, and that they, despite the roundedness of the string, would be tangles that are composed of straightish lines. One tangle uses straight-ish lines that converge and the other utilizes straight-ish lines that echo the contrasting segment directions of a zigzag. VING and ZEWM.

If you have read my archived entries, you might remember "Ving"--a tangle that appeared in my non-dominant hand tile. It just showed up there, and I asked if anyone else could identify it. It's a little like Munchin, but is not so random. And it's a little like Sanibelle by Tricia Faraone, CZT, though Sanibelle is gloriously organic, and this tangle is more geometric...yet despite its geometric base, it conjures up seashell and plant structures. In a post entitled "Diamond Dance" I decided that I would name it "Ving" and provide step-outs. It's taken me a few months, but better late than never. Here they are:

And here is a little selection of ways I have played with Ving:
A few little Ving-balls and Ving-tiles I came up with today...
it was so fun I decided that I simply must draw up those
step-outs for Ving and share it with you!
I have also created step-outs for another tangle that I have never seen named. I have seen this tangle in other people's work, but have NEVER seen it identified! It is similar to Shattuck (an official Zentangle tangle, click here for directions by Sandy Steen Bartholomew)...but has a different personality. It doesn't feature the double lines that divide Shattuck into sections, though it could. This tangle works great as a border or in any long, narrow space. I struggled to come up with an appropriate name...and settled on Zewm. It does come together pretty quickly! But I didn't want a name with "O"s in it (zoom), as it is a straight line tangle. So I took a long hard look at all the letters that are formed with straight lines and selected "E," "M," "W," and "Z" because they utilized zigzags... and, in the case of the "E", parallel and perpendicular lines. Just like the tangle.

I really hope I have not missed anyone else's publication of a name and/or step outs! I know I didn't "invent" this pattern...but since I love to use it, and I know others do too, I thought it needed its own identity.

Here it is in a Valentine ATC I created for a swap in 2011:

Well, that's about all for today! I never finished the post I started last week...and I still haven't written up more details on my fabulous family vacation...or revealed how my son became a Greek god this spring...or mentioned the fun I had presenting Zentangle to Fine Arts Blount, an art guild in Maryville, TN last week...So much to blog about! So come back and visit me again!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Zambra! ZIA with Limonescent Crescent Moon

I completed a second tile for the Diva's Challenge Crescent Moon Challenge (#72). YAY!

On vacation this week in beautiful Asheville, NC, we dined at some incredible restaurants. Our first night in town, we enjoyed a fantastic meal of tapas at Zambra! (the exclamation point is part of the restaurant's name). There, I came up with an idea for another tile, and traced the base of my wine glass. Then the tapas started coming, and I put my tangle supplies away in order to enjoy every last bite.

A few nights later, we ate at Limones. Another fine meal! There, I traced the octagonal base of the salt (or pepper) shaker, thus completing my string. And then began one Crescent Moon variation on the outside of the octagonal shape, and another variation on the inside of the octagonal shape.

So, even though this looks very much like a traditional Zentangle tile, it is actually more accurately identified as a ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) because I used tools while generating part of it...a true Zentangle tile would be 100% freehand drawn, in my interpretation. But traditional or not, I really enjoyed creating this tile. And I really enjoyed this vacation with my family. More details, including links, to be shared later! Right now I am wiped out and it is time to sleep!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Crescent Present

Crescent Moon is like a gift--a present from Zentangle, as it is so satisfying and so versatile. It is also a great tangle for keeping you in the moment--the present. You have to really focus on coloring in those half-circles and spacing those auras, but it's such a joyful focus. It's no wonder Crescent Moon is used by Rick and Maria and probably nearly every CZT in introductory classes. It's a classic.

And Crescent Moon is the focus on this week's Diva Challenge (#72). I am excited about this challenge, as it will give me a place to send students to see a ton of beautiful ways that Crescent Moon can be utilized and tangleated. Without further ado, here is my first contribution to this Tanglation Nation Crescent Moon Challenge.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pea-nuckle Pasta Parfait

Molly Hollibaugh's new tangle, Pea-nuckle, does actually remind me of pasta--cavatappi, to be precise! Those hollow, ribbed spirals that I didn't even know about until recently. Such a cool pasta! I'm not sure what parfait has to do with it...but I liked the way it sounded. And Pea-nuckle indeed comes together in distinct layers.

The Diva chose Pea-nuckle for Challenge #71 (click to connect to her blog post about it), and I am barely getting it in before the end of the week. It was the last week of school, for me as well as my kids, and was a doozy, but I didn't want to miss yet another challenge! I do plan to go back and complete #71, the Sepia challenge. But here is what I "knuckled down" to complete and submit this week:

It was fun, and I enjoyed the challenge of making
Pea-nuckle come together. My way of striating it in this tile makes the foreground shapes look like striped zucchinis or super long, skinny watermelons. (Such a food-focused blog entry this is!) So I think next time I will not do it quite this way. As I was working, I had several ideas for several other approaches I'd like to try with this tangle, but for the sake of getting the tile done, I forged ahead and just strove to be consistent. I did not even use another tangle...I just added auras to the background, with a few swirls and some weighting/rounding thrown in to keep things interesting.

Today I enjoyed a delicious lunch with my parents and my kids at the Tomato Head in Maryville--what a treat! In fact, though none of us had it, I do believe they serve cavatappi as the pasta on the kids menu! Mostly Tomato Head is known for delicious pizza and salads, sandwiches, and burritos. It offers a wide range of vegetarian options, and the food is always fresh and interesting, not to mention yummy.

Afterwards, a short stroll down the street brought me to an art studio where I met Cindy McDannel, an artist and teacher who had contacted me earlier this spring to do a demo in June for Fine Arts Blount, a non-profit artist association in Maryville. I'm all set up for the June meeting! Just a quick demo. Should be fun!

In other news...I stopped into the Knoxville Book Arts Guild's meeting last week to introduce Zentangle. Thanks to Louise Ragle for inviting me...Louise had seen my presentation to the Smoky Mountain Quilters back in  April, and thought her book arts guild would enjoy learning about Zentangle. I think they did, and I know that I truly enjoyed learning about this local group. I met some wonderful artists, and can't wait to go to future meetings. Zentangle and book arts are a fantastic match!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Groovy Grin

I'm smiling because I completed a Diva Challenge tile earlier this week!

Challenge #69 is the fourth UMT Challenge ("Use My Tangle"), and I am so glad to be introduced to a new-to-me tangle: "Groovy" by Eden in Georgia. Her blog is Cut'n It Up...and Sewing It Back Together.

This isn't going to be along blog post (how uncharacteristic of me!). Here's my tile using Groovy:

Groovy, plus Mooka, Udine, Tagh, and Floo.
Maybe I'll get a second Challenge design turned in this week! Time will tell....

Happy Tangling,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Two Tangles & Two Scout Events

This week's Diva Challenge (#68), a Duo Tangle challenge, had us utilizing two-- and only two--tangles: Hibred and Strircles.
I don't think I've ever utilized either of these tangles, so I had to step out of my comfort zone on this one. So here it is:
Hibred and Strircles
I goofed up so many times on Strircles...I just had to keep improvising variations as I went along. I had fun, though.

Once again I finished my tile and am posting and the very end of the week...maybe next week I can be a little less last minute! I did start this one much earlier in the week, though: either Monday or Wednesday afternoon. I began it while waiting in my van in the parking lot in the afternoon heat...not typically what one does for "fun," but I actually did not mind the wait at all since I had my Zentangle Kit with me and the weekly challenge on my mind! But alas, my parking lot wait time was not enough to finish, and I had to hunker down and complete it late Saturday night.

So that covers the two tangles.

Erin in the Center, her mom Jackie on the left,
and yours truly on the right.
Now for the two Scout events! I'll tell you in chronological order. A week ago Friday I had the wonderful opportunity to help a Girl Scout Troop earn their art badge. One of my former students, Erin, was coordinating this badge, and she contacted me earlier this spring to see if I could come to a meeting and provide an art experience. I was thrilled to say yes! I planned a more traditional drawing activity for the troop, but also offered Zentangle as an option. Guess which one she chose?!

18 Scouts attended the meeting, and a few Moms were there, too. Caroline was there to assist me (Thank you , Caroline!)  We had a fantastic time. I was so happy to see several of my former students (who attended the elementary school where I teach, but have moved on up to middle school), as well as several girls from Caroline's school. I brought in all my Zentangle books and lots of tiles to display, and some posters...and my computer so I could show them all the online resources that are available...but the majority of our time was spent hands-on, creating their first Zentangle tile.

Troop Mosaic

The second Scout event was with the Boy Scouts. My son and husband are at the Spring Camporee this weekend, and Caroline and I drove to the campground this evening to see my son Joseph get surprised with an honor: he was selected by his troop to be a member of the Order of the Arrow. The OA is like the honor society of Boy Scouts, so you can just imagine how proud I am of him! I don't think I've talked about Joseph in his blog before, as it's a Zentangle-focused blog, and he doesn't tangle (yet!), but since I was talking about Scouts, I just had to share the news. Proud mama moment!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Crazy post title, huh?! Let me explain.

I was talking to my youngest nephew earlier this week, and he had just learned about the Panama Canal. Which made me think of the best palindrome of all time: A man, a plan, a canal: Panama! I always wished I could come up with a palindrome as cool as that.

Friday afternoon I had a small group of 5th graders working on a special collaborative project in the art room during a smidgon of free time that they had. One of them was wearing a cool screen printed shirt from Hawai'i. Pictured and named on the shirt was the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a fish, the state fish of Hawai'i. I just love the name of that fish! Yes, I can say it! I hadn't thought of that fish in a long, long time, and it made me smile. And made me wish I could name something with a long, unexpected awesome-sounding name like that. (I am familiar with this fish from a unit I taught many years ago about Hawai'i.) Speaking of Hawai'i, I need to shout out a friendly "aloha" to Lois And Earl Stokes, two CZTs who live on the Big Island.

Stay with me, now! The title will soon make as much sense as it ever will.
This week's Diva challenge, to use the Earth as our prompt, introduced us to a new name for Earth, brought to us by the Diva's oldest son, Chewie. Chewie has renamed our planet Amanda. So in their household, they celebrated Amanda Day last Sunday. Sweet!

So I figured if Chewie could rename Earth, I could come up with a palindomic (is that a word? or did I just invent it?), unexpected, awesome long name for my belated Earth Day (aka Amanda Day) post. I love the way Amandamandala runs together and sounds so neat. I almost went even longer by adding the word "day," which coincidently also adds "Amy," to the arrangement of letters
(Amandadaymandala'aladnamyadadnama), but it didn't all fit on one line in my post title bar. And it was just too ridiculous.

This design is a first for me: it is my first Zendala design! A bif thank you to Sandy Hunter, a CZT from Texas. Click here to visit Sandy's latest entry in her tanglebucket blog! And click here to see her beautiful Earth Day/Amanda Day tile. Sandy sent me a blank Zendala tile earlier this spring, and I've been waiting for inspiration to hit. It seemed to me that Amanda Day deserved something special, like a Zendala design. So I took my beautiful round Zendala tile out to my front yard this afternoon, sat on a dilapidated bench that we will be soon getting rid of--thank goodness it didn't collapse!--and took in the fresh air, glorious beauty, and joyful sounds (birds, dogs) of a gorgeous spring day in East Tennessee. And I tangled. In color, for a change--I thought that Earth/Amanda deserved it. I was trying to stick with Earthy-colors, but one of my green Microns is a bit bright! I tried to make it work.
I strove to use tangles that are reminiscent of land and water, plant life and sea life.
I wasn't sure which background to use. So here you see some of my other options...which do you prefer?

This post is now officially too long to write on a completely different subject that I am extremely excited to tell you about... that will have to wait until my next post. So visit me again soon! I have more to tell!
Happy Tangling,