Monday, July 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Deb Ward

Deb will laugh when she sees this.
She hinted after I posted yesterday that HER birthday is September 2.

So I took the hint.

My friend Durinda read yesterday's blog and decided that I should be doing these cards on commission! And what would I charge?

Hard to think of charging for something that is so much fun!
(And Deb...the card is going in the mail in August. Watch for it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Zentangle Birthday Cards

These are nice quality card stock and I decided to keep the 3.5" square size and I drew funky numbers first.

So the one on the left is my hubby's Aunt Cordelia who will be 98. Hopefully you can kind of find the 9-8 on the cover? I doubt she's ever seen one of these so I printed directions on the inside for finding the "hidden numbers".

Then our grandson will turn 11 next week too so there are two funky "ones" on the one on the tipped slightly. Both have some very lightly shaded color pencil added. I also hid his name and "happy birthday" in the design and inside the card I asked him to see if he could find them.

Sure is more personal and fun to get one of these than some $4.00 generic goofy Hallmark card. Just another thing to do with Zentangles!

I found an old wallpaper book at a garage sale on Friday and I am thinking I'll use it as a background for a Zentangle now too. Also a really cool find...a set of alphabet stamps (50 cents). These are going for big bucks on eBay!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Participate in a Webinar? Who Me?

Kind of looks like serious business here, doesn't it? That's my iPad in front of me and I am tucked into a quiet corner in the Minocqua Public Library (WI) using their WiFI connection which is free and faster than mine at home.

Here I am adjusting the earphones at the start of the program. 4 pm EST and 3 pm CST (me the latter) in Wisconsin.

Here is one of the first slides up.
The Webinar was titled "Untangling Zentangle" and hosted by Australian Artist, Kass Hall.

I first heard about this when my Florida friend Cynthia alerted me to it and I registered (free) and thought I'd give it a try.

First I had to download an app called "GoToMeeting" in order to set up my iPad for this event. (Also free.) I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to SEE Kass talking (just hear her live from Australia). And I heard the presenter who introduced her and then collected questions participants typed in and read them to Kass. I think some Webinars are set up for visuals and for interactive talking. But this one was a short one (one hour) and so they stuck to a power point presentation and Cass's narration and discussion.

When there was a slide up that I wanted to keep I simple took a photo of my iPad screen! There was enough time to do that.

Like all art forms, there are rules but they are made to broken.
She has just written a book called Zentangle Untangled which you can buy at Kind of cool to be listening to Cass from Australia while I sat in WI! I think I will get her book. Looks great. There will be another webinar on August 29 on Journals. Another technology adventure for me!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


When you look at patterns, think about patterns (and designs) and repeats motifs ...they seem to pop up just about everywhere. Ever noticed that? All Zentangle lovers report this if you read their blogs...they find new patterns in old cathedral walls in Europe, in the hotel carpets in Quebec and everywhere in nature.

I picked up a new book to start called The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson...a friend loaned it to me months ago and I am just now getting started on it.

It is about, wouldn't you know, a woman who runs an embroidery business and she is immersed the patterns for shawls and dresses. Embedded within the first story is a second story about a 16th century woman ALSO involved in patterns in Turkish rugs and fine dresses. (Who lived in Cornwall where my husband's ancestor's hail from!). Serendipity. I love it.

This painting called "Tangled" is a re-do of a wc I did many years ago when I was practicing poured painting and negative cut outs. It is is similar to one I did last week and I probably painted both of them int he same time period. It is very relaxing trying to figure out where to make a ribbon or string appear a second time, if at all.

The character in my books says, "embroidery is an improbably hobby for someone as disordered as me, but it's the very precision of it that attracts me, the illusion of control it offers. When engaged in stitching a new pattern, I can't think about anything else....the calming exactitude of the discipline." Just so. Like Zen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Parallel Universe

I have been somewhat fascinated by many of the "universe" science shows on TV lately. And I am a fan of fantasy and science fiction literature.

The idea of a "parallel" universe is one that always touches a chord of resonance with me. What if. Just what if.

This painting explores that in whimsical fashion. A world beyond which we cannot know or see but "might" be there...maybe even duplicating our world in some other way? The dictionary says one meaning of parallel is occurring or existing at the same time
So I have peeked behind the lush orchard fruits and leaves in sort of an Alice- through-the-looking-glass way.

My apples in sunshine watercolor was pleasant enough but to me but it lacked punch, surprise, or a story....things I love in a painting. I'd like people to "look twice" and then maybe even come closer to see "whatever is going on here?"

It always seems to me when I add a Zentangle approach in black and white to an otherwise colorful air of mystery, surprise, fantasy begins to unravel the subject matter.

So I call this painting "Parallel Universe". 11 x 15, Arches cold press wc with ink and graphite.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Resolving a problem area

This is a close up of the upper left corner that I was mulling over earlier today.

If you scroll down to the one I posted earlier today you'll see this area is blank and I am fussing over it.

I decided to extend the frame up to the top, place one more "interesting" tangle on the top of the frame and add the chord there which shows up later in other places in the painting.

Here is the bottom left corner just showing a close up of the interesting texture choice in that area.

The final painting (at least for now).

"Trying to Keep the Memories Together"

I have, as you know, selected a few old watercolors that went into the "oh-boy-this-isn't-going-anywhere" file box. Often they have some actually interesting subject matter but I have not been able for some reason to "compose" the painting.

Excellent chance to play with Zentangles!

Using the Zentangle patterns as illusions to old fabrics I have put them together with a painting of our old oil lamp here at the north woods. I know I did this a number of years ago because my husband's glasses on the table are old plastic frames! And the old copper bell was his mother's "ring-you-to-lunch" bell here which we now use in Florida for that purpose (up here we need a louder bell and I use my old retirement school bell for that now!). So anyway I had been, I remember, practicing painting lace in this painting after taking a class at Dillman's. Arleta Peche...the QUEEN of painting lace. Oh MY!

So I got that far and fizzled out. So I have renamed the painting "Trying to Keep Old Memories Together" and am having a lot of fun with the tangles.

My last part of this is to use the negative space in the left hand corner more creatively without over-burdening the painting.

One idea I have is to extend the tangled picture frame that you can just see in the left bottom side of the painting into the left corner coming up under the pink checked cloth and having some gentle and not too distracting tangle in that part of the frame. The painting already touches the mat in 3 places so I don't want to go up too far. Any suggestions?
Arches 140# cold press. 11 x 15 watercolor, ink, graphite.

Friday, July 20, 2012

En plein air Thursdays

Thursdays we have a small north woods Wisconsin group at gets together at various locations to en plein air paint.

I got out my long un-used acrylics yesterday to see if I could remember ANYTHING about using them.

It does "come back" a little but I definitely need to work on this more. I have been priming my canvas with GOLD paint lately and it works out kind neat. This canvas was being re-used and actually had some pinks and other colors and I was painting over this and ended up liking having the multiple colors behind my sketch!!! I used to use "orange" as a primer and I do like that as well...but try gold once and see what happens. Nice and shimmery.

The restaurant was the building just behind me and we ate up on the second floor after painting with a lovely view of Lake Minocqua!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


A few of my older paintings from my "chair" series turned up in the painting box the other day and I held them out for "experimentation".

Obviously not all paintings call out to have Zentangles in them!

I do think sometimes you can "surprise" a viewer with adding them. I tangled the lampshade and the flower basket. Then I needed something to tie the painting to the sides. I am not sure if the tangled strip adds or detracts. I decided not to use one tangle all the way across thinking the strip too large for that kind of commitment. I also thought of adding some color to the Zentangle strip but have not decided yet. I could pick up some of floor tile colors in it. The fact that it is black and white lends itself to keeping it from over taking the painting. And there are already repeated patterns in the watercolor itself in the cushions and on the floor and the lampshade. 11 x 15" 140# Arches cold press.

Zentangle-Inspired Art

Just an experiment.

I took an old watercolor that I did years ago and re-invented it. Then cropped it.

Just a fun little wild mix. I wanted to see how the ink Zentangles might look ON TOP of a watercolor. It's a little harder to manage as the ink soaks in differently than on a smooth unpainted surface.

And on some parts I did the "shading" with watercolor and not pencil as you would do with a black/white/gray piece of art work.
I think you can enlarge this image by clicking on it. The idea of having a center of interest is somewhat "lost" on this painting but I could get that back by using gouache and softening out the painting edges.

The original wc was about 15 x 22" and on cold pressed 140# arches. This cropped image then is about 12 x 15 I think. The original painting was done as a "poured" painting first and then negatively painting to define sort of "ribbons" criss crossing. Then I did some wc patterns on a few of the ribbons which I left in the painting. I like this effect as the softer wc patterns lay down in the background nicely.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

WHAT to do with a Zentangle?

A few more posts on this topic of Zentangle.

One of the things that seems appropriate if you are going to spend time on these little "works of art" is WHAT do people do with them?

I am still exploring the possibilities.

This particular one, my "love" Zentangle, I am going to give to a friend. I found a little plexiglass frame at WalMart ($1.00) and it seems like the perfect setting for something that could sit on your desk or dresser and remind you of a special friend or a special thought. Below the art work I have a quote from the friend and on the back I put a second tangle and a note about WHAT Zentangles are and signed my name and dated it. Since the back is clear have the option of adding more art work or a poem or a photo or whatever.

Certainly you could tangle someone's initials for them. I have found a dozen or more ideas of what people have done with theirs from lampshades to book marks, from coasters to decorating clothing, from pillows to quilts, from journal covers to greeting cards, and the list is going on! Suzanne Mc Neill's Zentangles are so beautiful...she combines her Zentangles into her watercolor paintings! Click here to see some of her work.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Zentangled out....

Well, here are the last 3 Zentangles for a little while. I am heading into a wc project right now so I want to post these before I tuck them on the shelf.
I warned you these were addictive, didn't I?

They are all on white paper but I see that my lighting was different when I took photos of them.
All 3.5" square Canson cold press WC paper using .01-.03 permanent pens.

The first two were done with a "string" as a perimeter..that is a light pencil line drawn randomly around the edge of the cards. Then filled in rather randomly as I chose different patterns to practice. For those of you who are not "tanglers"...there is a whole set of "vocabulary" that is used...I am new to it too. Each of the patterns has a funky name so that people who want to know how to do one can go to and find it and see the directions on how to do it. Some of the designs are copyright but openly shared. I guess if I invent one and post it I can claim it. Not that this interests me.

This last one, just for variety I actually drew lightly the letters to a word and then tangled the letters to see how that might work.

My friend, Kendra, says these would make dynamic coasters! If they were maybe glued to cork backing and then coated heavy with a clear protective covering. Interesting idea!!! Pretty neat gift for someone!

I guess I should probably sign these somehow. Seems like some folks just design in their initials somewhere. I'll have to think about this. Remember you can go to to read about how these got started and to find out about the materials, books, and how these are used. I am looking for a Zentangle instructor who might come and do a workshop for my Leesburg FL Fine Arts group this winter. There is a list of instructors online. So I'll see what I can find.

Weather here in northern WI has dropped 20 degrees today after a storm went through last night. The midwest (south of us) has been like 104 for days on days and is suffering a drought. We are about 3-4" ahead in rain up here near Lake Superior. So green here. I sure hope they get some rain in the midwest or the crops are going to be ruined! I hear that the cows have stopped giving milk!!!