Monday, 17 June 2013

Growth in Zentangle (R) Inspired Art (Part Two): A New FB Group Adventure

In my last blog posting, I talked about the idea that expanding our tangle "vocabulary", the number of tangles we know, expands our creativity, by giving our imaginations more possibilities. If we have a piece in mind, we have more to draw from, to express it. We can also let our minds wander over the tangles we know, for inspiration on a new piece. Our range is wider, and our confidence grows, in the fact that more and more, we can combine and manipulate tangles to bring our ideas to life. 

I talked about how I was beginning a journey myself, in which I would take a few new tangles a week, and practice them, and then produce a tile using some or all, and any of the newer tangles I wished to use. I would draw patterns from, and from the blogs of artists who publish their own tangles. 

As a background to what I'm about to say, you might want to read Part One of  this post,

For the past few weeks, I have been doing sort of a private challenge. The first week, it was between Ninna Hellman and I, and the second week, Robin Jayne Buys joined in. Ninna set the challenge.

It was a doozy! The five  tangles were so diverse,  and some so difficult, that I despaired of ever pulling them together. The string she chose seemed the most difficult possible, for the patterns. At one point I actually wrote her and told her I couldn't continue. I was completely stressed out. Then I talked with Robin about it, and she had that "happily challenged" attitude and turned out a tile in about 20 minutes. So... I tried to take the same attitude and have another go. Inspiration struck, and this was the result.

I learned 3 tangles I will definitely use again, and a big lesson in persistence, and how to view a challenge that seems insurmountable. Pretty good life lessons too! I was really happy with this ZIA.

Now to the point of this post...

Robin Buys and I will be opening a group on Facebook, called Imagination Station. It is aimed at everyone who wants to expand their "tangle vocabulary". Beginners are as welcome as are those of us who are seasoned, and everyone in between. Often even the most experienced of Zentangle influenced artists fall back on the same favorite tangles, time after time!

Since I was on this journey anyway, I thought I would make it more fun, and invite you to join us along the way. We plan to name about 3 tangles for the week, point you to their source for step outs, and then, if you wish, at the end of the week, you can post your creation using at least 2 of the tangles from that week, and any others that make you happy!

You are free to post any work you have done, with the sole requirement being that you name the tangles and tangellations you used.

This is not boot camp. Take from it what you will. There will be no expectations of participating every week, or posting your pieces.. although that would be wonderful. Robin and I will choose the tangles, each week in the beginning... and as we go on, we will ask others to pick the tangles. That way, there should be lots of variety. The tangles will range from the most basic, to the more complex. Even the most complex can be drawn by anyone, with enough practice.

So, come on over to Facebook and find us, at . Join in the fun!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Growth in Zentangle (R) Inspired Art: Feeding Imagination by Expanding "Vocabulary" (Part One)

Before I get into the main topic of this post, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of my family. My "grand furkid" Roxie, has come to live with us,and we are thoroughly smitten.

Roxie was rescued by our daughter, 3 years ago, and she's a 7 year-old Boston Terrier. A true diva, and a real character, Roxie's dainty little ways have stolen our hearts. 

Her "Kong" is her most treasured possession...

Pretty girl

Her funny ears, which thankfully were never cropped, tell us all we need to know about how she's feeling.

We're so grateful to have Roxie. She brings many smiles and much laughter, every day. Rescues Rock!

Now to the main reason for my post today. Earlier this week, I was chatting with a Robin Buys, a dear friend on Facebook, and an amazing Zentangle influenced artist. You can see (and hopefully like and share her FB page) at  and her fantastic blog, at We both exclaimed over what is, for me, the most beautiful piece of Zentangle Inspired Art I have ever seen. I was saying that I thought I would never have the imagination or the talent to produce a piece like that. Robin said something to me that really fired me up, and motivated me to the new activity I want to show you today. She said, "As you expand your 'vocabulary' of tangles, you will be able to imagine, more and more, the many ways tangles can be used."

I gave that some thought, and decided I needed to make a focused effort to learn more tangles. I've become a bit complacent about that. In imagining how I would do that, I decided I'd try a new way of recording and organizing the tangles I learn. I have cumbersome binders full of step outs, that I never use because they are hard to organize, and very, this is what I came up with, after some thought.

I decided I would learn a pattern by producing an ATC (3.5" x 2.5") out of good, heavy bristol, with the tangle name, author's name, and a swatch of the completed pattern on the front, and the stepouts and notes on the back. Here is an example:

I learn the pattern by drawing the step outs, and then go to my workbook to play with the pattern. By the time I've done that, the pattern is indelibly etched in my brain.

For portability, I will carry these ATC's in a duotang with 9- pocket sport card pages. They look pretty good in there, and of course, both sides are visible through the clear plastic.

Then I got thinking that it would be fun, since I will have a basically unused Rolodex that holds 3x5" cards, to take it one step further.  I would photocopy both sides of the ATC, and affix them to the front and back of a rolodex card, which will sit on my art table. I can imagine myself getting stuck, and "spinning" for a pattern!

Here are copies of both sides of my "Dentri" card, temporarily affixed (for the picture) on a 3x5 rolodex card. I realized as I posted the backside picture, that I will want the card the other way around... but you can see I have room for some notes. I also draw the step-outs in ways that make sense to me.. not necessarily the way they are published.

So, I'm busy expanding my "tangle vocabulary" and developing a nice library in the process. 

I hope this might inspire some new ideas for you, as well.

Til next time, tangle happy!