17 April 2011

Primary School ABC's

I just had to share these 
beautiful tangled letters 
with you all!  

They are from a local primary school group,
grade four (ages 9 and 10).

Aren't they awesome!?

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

The children have added their letter
to the front of a recycled paper book each,
and will keep their Zentangles in these books. ☺

13 April 2011

Pen Dancing Lightly : drawing in Time

This week I was challenged (by Laura Harms a.k.a. "I am the Diva") to "do a Tile or Zentangle inspired piece within fifteen minutes.  Dots, Border, String, Tangles and Shading - all in fifteen minutes."

This may sound a little daunting... especially to those of us with a tendency toward careful, exact drawing techniques, but here's a tip for you.
I've discovered a fun way to approach Laura's 'challenges.' I just picture her, way up there in Saskatoon, thumbing her nose at me, and saying, "I dare ya!" And, if it's a particularly daunting challenge, I also check out her local weather... which is often a bit of a giggle (for me). Et voila! There I am in a playful mindset. Ready to dance my pens across the paper to the tune she has set for the week.
Before I go on... for those of you who like musical accompaniment to my blog posts (Hi Shelly!), here's the song I've chosen for this particular pen dance. ♪♫♫♪♫

For fifteen minute drawings: you can play this song four times
(and still have 36 seconds left over for a final shading touch

...and don't forget to write your initials on your artwork)

What fun this challenge turned out to be!
I so love playing these mini drawing games each week (thank you, Laura ♥).
First, here is what I accomplished, blank paper (tile) to end product, in fifteen minutes:

(Click images to embiggen)
Shattuck, Flux, Mooka, Jonqal, Paradox, and others

Process: I set the timer on my watch (without looking at it as I drew) and, on my first attempt (just) made it from start to finish in the time limit.  I admit to drawing a smaller string than usual (no edge to edge work for this one!!), and to shading it with my finger rather than taking the time with a paper stump... but I didn't 'rush' this drawing.

Technique: I drew at an easy but continual pace, using my current fave tangle patterns, and used faster variants for some of them as I drew.  I drew Jonqal with stripes instead of solid shading; and I drew big fat tendrils for my Mooka furls.

Bonus: There was a happy 'chewy centre' with this challenge, too. Quite serendipitous. I went to get the kitchen timer today to photograph the tile I'd drawn Monday night. Yes, it's a Panda timer. 1, 2, 3, "Awww!" But, see if you notice what I did...

It's white and stationary — a Chancy State of Existence in this household, as my ever-moving partner will tell you. (Of course, stationery is fair game too, but that goes with saying... doesn't it?!) So, of course, it was just begging to be tangled! And, of course, I did (and used some great new tangles on this one – click through on the links in the caption to find the instructions for each).

(Click image to embiggen)
Flux, Donna Hornsby's Keenees, Sue Jacob's Ace,
Cristine Letourneau's Esses, and Laura Harms' Artoo

I think that the message for this week is all about Participating in Life, and Making Time to do so.  So I strongly encourage everyone ("all humans eligible," as one blogger commented!) to go and check out Laura's weekly "I dare ya!" games.

Also, check out Shelly's poem "Today" (and her fifteen minute tile, too — wow!).

You can do this.
Take the Time...
Make the Time to be the Living Embodiment of your Dreams.

This can be a scary path to dance, I acknowledge that, certainly.

Although, as Willian Shedd wrote, "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." But, with great respect for William's wisdom, let me propose an alternate view for you to consider: much as it may seem safe to stay 'in the harbour' or 'on the sidelines,' a spectator, there is no safety in living your life without thought and awareness.

Following on from there... I'm reading a book at the moment by one of my favourite authors (and poets), Oriah House: The Call. I would like to share with you two of her poems (knowing that you'll likely go looking for the rest!). [Note: these are only excerpts... click on the titles to read the full poems. And find Oriah's books on Amazon (or Book Depository for free shipping).]

In The Call Oriah writes:
I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as my own.
Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.
But always it says: Wake up my love. You are walking asleep.
There's no safety in that!

.....read more.
And a natural segue to that prompting (just right for this week's post) 
in The Dance Oriah writes:
I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want! Let’s do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me
.....read more.

I'm sending love today to a dear friend,
who loves Ronan's song too (and introduced me to it).
Hugs to you, girlfriend! ♥

I Hope You Dance 
[Ronan Keating]

...and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance (rolling us along.)
I hope you dance (Tell me, who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,


05 April 2011

Mooka much?

On the Zentangle blog this week, a brand new tangle (pattern) was revealed!

It is called Mooka, and it's creation was inspired by the wonderful Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Maria Mucha.  Maria and Rick have also released a wonderful video, demonstrating Mooka (their first video, for the tangle Betweed, is also a must see).

This week, I am the Diva challenged us to, "Create a traditional Zentangle tile or ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) using the new official tangle: Mooka."

Having found myself so thoroughly addicted to drawing Mooka (on everything that sits still) that I'm loathe to spend more than a few minutes with the computer, I've decided to forgo my usual wordy blog entry and just post photographs of some of my Mooka ZIA (try saying that fast a few times – it's fun!)...
and then I'm going to Mooka* some more...

My new "chop" (KJ) unveiled — tangled up in Mooka
(Click on images to embiggen)
Moleskine Mooka'd
Thanks for the hat, Moira! 
I Mooka'd it.
Mooka Trio
More Mooka (actually... this was my first attempt)
Mooka'd Hat again (more views)

*I'm convinced that, although Mooka (the tangle) is clearly a noun... the word also makes a pretty nifty verb: "to Mooka"

— So... do you Mooka much? I do!!

04 April 2011


Suits all levels of experience

A Zentangle® art group, sharing tangles with Kit

Saturday 9th April
12:30 —or— 1:30 to 4:30 pm
Lenah Valley, Tasmania
(Directions will be emailed when you register.)


You can now sign up for Kit's art group classes right here!

If you've never tangled before, come along early (at 12:30 pm) for an introduction to tangling. All beginners welcome. Artists and non-artists welcome. No experience required - truly! And all equipment provided (included in class cost).


If you've tangled before and would like to learn TEN new tangles we haven't yet covered in any of our art groups so far... come along at 1:30pm and we'll do ten tangles. Yep - 10 brand new tangles!

Some of Kit's original tangle designs will be
taught for the first time this weekend!

Click on Read more>> below for the details...

01 April 2011

"...see the crazy gypsy in my soul"

This week I am the Diva challenged us to tangle using "only curved lines. A curved string paired with curved tangles and curved lines..." and to "explore how this challenge made us feel after last week's angles and straight lines."

Rather than creating a traditional Zentangle (black and white, on a 3.5 inch square Zentangle tile), I opted for ZIA (Zentangle inspired art). I drew this challenge in my Moleskine watercolour art journal, so the original is about 205 x 130 mm (8 x 5 inches).

I was surprised that it wasn't as 'easy' as I thought it would be. Last week's challenge evoked such a strong emotional response in me that I assumed I would feel much more comfortable not being 'confined' to drawing with straight lines.

Well... Laura did talk about 'balance' – and the principle held true. What I discovered, as a result of participating in both these challenges, is that my favourite curvy tangles are enhanced by straight lines and vice versa. Just like the principles for shading a Zentangle, it's contrast that really makes tangles dance!

Challenge #15: Love your Curves, Baby
I didn't shade this piece. I decided I preferred the beauty of the stark black and crisp white, as a contrast to the curvy design. Of course, by the time I'd finished, I appreciated the difficulty of avoiding straight lines completely (and, particularly looking at the area of Nightsbridge, I'm not sure that I succeeded 100%).

This challenge did, however, send me off on a philosophical tangent (another of the existential ponderings I seem to be 'drawn' to exploring!). Before I continue, however – having just read through this post, I would like to begin by thanking Rick and Maria for Zentangle (again).

And now, on with this week's musings...

As I was appreciating the 'wandering' nature of the delicious curves I'd drawn in this ZIA, I began to reflect on the wandering path my life has taken in leading me to this particular art form!

Last week, in Sydney, I had the luxury of a long conversation with Chinese and Western calligraphy Master, William Lai (of Will's Quills). We discussed the best tools (nibs, inks, and paper) for tangling with a pointed calligraphy nib. We discussed the philosophy of art and the artistic process (as we always do), and the difference between 'making' art and 'allowing' art to happen. I could happily sit at William's feet (and yes, I mean that quite literally) for days on end, learning from him.

Will's Quills website - Click here to visit this wonderful store.
William's views on art, the artist and the artistic process are "Zentangle wise." Talking with him is like receiving the gift of a Life lesson. However, I've never really felt like I'm trying to comprehend some obscure artistic principle that he attempting to teach. Instead, I always feel as though he is showing me the truths that I already carry within myself. This time, I came away knowing that I can trust my instincts about my art (even more completely than I have in the past).

At one point during our conversation, William asked me, "When did you know that this [Zentangle] is what you have to do." I answered, without hesitation, "April, 2010." It wasn't until later that day I realised the significance of both the question and my answer.

In asking that question, William clearly and correctly intuited that I have to do Zentangle. And, by answering with such certainty and without stopping to think, I was not telling William a date (that was not the point of his question, of course). My answer gave me the gift of knowing that I know that Zentangle is what I have to do! (How's that for existential?)

Being a Zentangle artist was not, for me, an impulsive or casual decision, "Hmm... I think I might do Zentangle." In fact, it wasn't really a 'decision' at all. It was a sure and certain knowing that

This. Is. Me.

Yes, of course, I'm a partner, sister, daughter, calligrapher, graphic designer, and many other things... but each of these is a label, whereas Zentangle feels like Home. I cannot think of a different or better way to express this.

My entire life has been leading me here. Graphic design training, life science illustration, desktop publishing, watercolour painting, calligraphy... and even web design and counselling: each of these points on my journey has been bringing me home to Zentangle.

Before I found this place, I felt that my soul was nomadic in nature. I wandered from one chapter of my life to the next, never really knowing definitively what I wanted to be when I grew up (if I ever do 'grow up', of course – I have yet to be convinced of the wisdom of that, but that's a story for another day).

My life has been, and continues to be, a wonderful adventure! I've been exploring – certainly. And experiencing and appreciating all that life has brought my way. But from here on in, whatever direction my life's journey takes, I know where I belong. The "crazy gypsy" in my soul has finally sunk her roots down deep.

Billy Joel, You're My Home

When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
Well I never had a place that I could call my very own
That's all right, my love, 'cause you're my home

If you're wondering about the practical outcome of my visit to Will's Quills: I brought home some new pointed nibs and a pot of Chinese ink called Yuen Chung – Heavenly Origin (Extra thick SUMI black ink).

While I can't personally vouch for its origin, it most certainly smells heavenly! Those of you familiar with that beautiful and unique smell of high quality Chinese inks will know what I'm talking about. If you haven't yet played with Chinese ink... I strongly encourage you to do so!

Yuen Chung ink stays glossy and sleek black even after it has dried. It shines and glistens like the twinkle in William's eye when he has a chance to philosophise about the artistic process.

In answer to questions likely raised by the photograph above:
There is just one more part of my conversation with William that I would like to share with you.

William explained that there are always four key components in making an artistic mark: the paper, the ink, the tool used to apply it, and the artist (which includes the artist's spirit, intent, ability, mood etc.).

He also suggested that, whenever you try out a new tool, or paper, or ink, (or all three!) – keep a detailed record in a notebook of all four of these factors. This is how you learn what works, what doesn't, and how to replicate an artistic mark you created years ago (and may otherwise have long since forgotten).

Just for fun...

Here are a couple of photographs of my bird friends in Sydney.

Rainbow Lorikeet
Kookaburra's Breakfast

(You may recall that I promised a post of Zentangles and ZIA from our Tuesday Tanglers group. This is still 'in the works,' and still on the way! My internet connection is less than reliable right now... hence the delay for this week's post. But everything should be sorted out and working properly soon.)