Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bale me out!

After I had finished the first Bales challenge I was thinking about other ways I could do it. When I thought about spirals I knew I just couldn't go to sleep until it was done. So this one went very quickly. And, I got a decent nights sleep too!

I used my pencil to draw a spiral string in first. I then came up with some grid lines that fanned out from the middle. From there the bales pattern was easy to just fill in. Tangleations came next - and they were fun too! Shading of course, makes everything pop.

I realized after I was done that the way I had done this spiral grid could be used for almost any tangle that is based off a grid pattern. Coool!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton

When I was a kid I went to a summer camp in upstate New York. There were many happy memories there. One of my favorite memories was when the entire camp would sing camp songs in the mess hall. So when I learned the tangle 'Bales' this song always plays in my head. 

Jump down, turn around,
Pick a bale of cotton.
Jump down, turn around,
Pick a bale of hay.
Oh Lordy! pick a bale of cotton.
Oh Lordy! Pick a bale of hay.

Bales is one of my favorite tangles. It's like macaroni and cheese. It's not too hard, it's like comfort food. And it lends itself to lots of tangleations. 

I started by coloring a zendala tile a pale yellow color. I found a template from the ones on 'The Bright Owl'. and used my light box to trace it on the tile. This template is number 34.  I then used an orange Tombow marker to do all the shading. I used the colorless blender marker so the color faded out the way I wanted. I did all the tangling with a red micron pen. At the end, I added a little more shading with colored pencils. The orange at the outside is the marker used solidly.

Follow Erin AKA, the Bright Owl at

Banbury 5-26-13

I took yesterday off to relax with my family. Today I'm sharing with you the pictures from the Basics class on Sunday. Lovely group of ladies. One gal even drove up from Indiana! They all did a great job and the pictures show that. Click on the pictures to see them in detail!.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ebony and Ivory

The latest challenge from 'the Diva' asks us to use black and white in equal measure. At first I wasn't too excited about this challenge and thought I might skip it. But wow, I'm glad I pressed on. The two tiles above show my second attempt first with my first attempt below. I thought I was way too busy in the bottom one. So while there is still a lot going on in the upper tile, I tried to stay with tangles that "played nice" with each other.

I meant to take a picture before I had any line work in at all, but at least you can see an early stage. Those of you that are quilters may recognize that I used a common quilting stencil to get my shapes in. I then used a black Sakura Identipen to color in the solid black sections. The Identipen is great for this because it has two nibs. The thin one helped me get the outlines in while the fat one filled in the sections quickly. I then went back to my regular micron for the black linework. The white line work was done with a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. In the top tile you will also see a little shading. The regular pencil did the black while a white chalk pencil added highlights.

Schaumburg Public Library continued.

Last night I returned to the Schaumburg Public Library for the second part of my Zentangle presentation. It was a large group and I enjoyed seeing the artwork participants had done during the time since the last class.  We dove in headfirst to continuing Zentangle with Cadent and Paradox - and more.

Be sure to click on the picture above so it enlarges on your screen. The participants did some wonderful work! I got several new ideas on tangleations from them!

I got home and shortly after I went to bed my son woke me up to tell me there is a bat in the basement. Yikes! We didn't get it out last night so that's my job for today! Wish me luck.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tangles from Marie Browning

Today's tile shows tangles that I found in the book Time to Tangle with Colors by Marie Browning. When I first got that book a whole new world of color for my zentangles opened up to me. I learned all about the wonderful world of Tombow markers and so much more. I practically copied some of her tiles step by step just so I could figure out how to get the same effects. I used several of the tangle patterns featured in the book to do today's tile.

I did this tile on one of my hand colored tiles with a sepia colored micron and shaded it with a prismacolor pencil.

This is part of my continuing challenge to myself to use tangles by different artists (that have created multiple tangles) and to use them together in a single tile.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kuke Salad

'Kuke' is the new tangle pattern that is featured in this tile. Katy Abbot, CZT came up with the name and posted the step outs here. She was inspired by cucumbers. It's a fun little tangle that also reminds me a lot of the beads that can be made with the colored polymer clays.

I decided to go all the way with the cucumber theme. I chose a colored tile that had a fresh, green feel and added other tangles that reminded me of a fresh, cold salad on a hot summer day. We actually hit 91 degrees yesterday so it felt very appropriate. I used a green Micron pen and shaded with two green Prismacolor colored pencils.

My trees are blooming again in my front yard. I have absolutely no green thumb so I'm thankful that they survive on their own! I had to take some pictures to share with you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tangles from Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Today's tile was inspired by tangles that came from the books from Sandy Steen Bartholomew. Sandy has several books out. Totally Tangled, Yoga for the Brain, and Zentangle for Kids. Her books are fantastic! They are always the books I recommend when my students ask me which ones they should purchase. They cover the basics, they have great tangle patterns, and Sandy gives such wonderful insight into helping you see tangle patterns on your own. And her style of drawing is just such FUN!

The tangle patterns used here;
Btl Joos

Since yesterday was Mother's Day, I want to take today to thank all those who have taken on the duties of a mom to help me along my way. In the world of Zentangle, Sandy has been like a fairy godmother. She has helped me see the wonders of Zentangle through her own 'twinkly' glasses.

This is actually part of my continuing challenge to myself to use tangles by different artists (that have created multiple tangles) and to use them together in a single tile.

This tile also uses one of the stings from Linda Farmers string ideas on
This is string 46 from Pat Ferguson CZT.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Which Schway? Pink or blue?

I decided to do another tile using the Schway tangle. (See Monday's post for links.) This time I wanted to use one of my colored tiles and see what it would look like with color. No, I'm not announcing anything - for me or my children. I was inspired to try out the theme as I was reading about Princess Kate and the royal guessing game about her baby.

You've been seeing these colored tiles on my blog for a while now. I  hand color them in a variety of colors. Each one is unique. Well, I have an announcement. Right now, I'm selling them in my classes. If you are in the Chicago area you can stop by before or after any class to check them out. If you are attending the HOOT convention in Columbus this August, I will have a booth there. 

If you are not in my area you can either email me privately -  sj60010 at gmail dot com - or you can wait until I figure out how to get an Etsy store set up.

They will sell for $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00. Shipping will be additional.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Walk this 'schway'

Rick and Maria added a new tangle pattern this past week and I couldn't wait to try it out. It's called 'Schway'. It was shown in  this newsletter. All the step outs are there too. I found it a fun tangle pattern to work with. There are lots of ideas that Rick and Maria show on the newsletter but I decided to keep the first time I played with it fairly simple. As I looked at the pattern I felt it was almost an optical illusion so I picked another tangle pattern that also gave me that optical illusion feel. 

The other pattern is one that I found a while back. It's called Wiltshire 1 by Liz T. and the steps can be found through the Flickr group here

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Blind string

Blind string challenge. This tile was begun with a blind string. I placed my pencil at the edge of the tile, closed my eyes and went for it. It was not what I wanted. It left too much white space. But that was the challenge so I just accepted it and thought about ways to "make it work!"

I enhanced the string with a blue colored pencil so you could see what I had to work with. And, after a day or so of looking at it, I got some ideas of what I wanted to do with it. I think that is the beauty of doing the Zentangle challenges. It keeps encouraging me to stretch my creativity. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Vernon Hills - Cook Memorial library

I've been visiting libraries lately, and meeting some wonderful people. It's such a pleasure to introduce them to Zentangle and see the excitement grow in the room as they discover all the benefits to Zentangle.

click on picture to enlarge

Last night I was at the Vernon Hills library. They had 50 people sign up and even went to a waiting list. Wow, that's intimidating! I was lucky that my son had just gotten home from his first year at college the night before so he was able to help me out. He's a good kid. He had never seen me do a full presentation before and I think he enjoyed it too!

I'm always amazed how I can teach the exact same patterns and the results have such diversity. When I get home and crop my picture for the blog I always take a few minutes to appreciate what everyone has done. There are some wonderful tangleations here.

Thank you for inviting me! I hope to be back soon.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

String ideas - string 50

Strings can be a fun or frustrating part of the Zentangle process. In my classes it's not unusual to get the 'deer in the headlights  look when I tell my students to create their own string. They are crucial to getting you started but they shouldn't totally control what you do with your piece. That's probably why there are so many challenges put out incorporating string ideas. 

On there is a section called string ideas. Its a wonderful resource with 50 strings drawn out for you. I've been watching this site as new ones are added and even have one of mine featured. (with more to come I hope)  The site had a special surprise for its 50th string idea. It's one drawn by Maria Thomas, the wonderfully gifted co-creator of Zentangle! It is so elegant in its lines that I had to try doing tangles with it. I'm not sure it is everything I want it to be - but remember, there are no mistakes in Zentangle, so I can always revisit this string later and see ho I'm inspired next time.