Saturday, May 5, 2018

Drawing with J and J

Today I spent a lovely drawing session with mother and daughter J & J. We explored a few different tangles and a couple of different paper types:


We started with a basic design set on a 3.5 x 3.5 tile (left), and then experimented with drawing a Maryhill mandala and then Paradox on coated rainbow paper.

I had fun, ladies, and I hope you did, too!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A springtime mandala

I'm taking a course through the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota called Healing Imagery. The topic for this week was the healing power of mandalas. Our assignment was to make one without any particular planning using materials of choice. I made this one using acrylic paint and black ink. I had a general theme of springtime in mind and listened to Akanda Mandala Mantra on the Insight Timer mediation app (by Jaya Sarawsati) for inspiration.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


This is my first try with a Zentangle technique called tranzending:

I started with a basic mandala design inspired by a drawing in African Gold Ornament Designs byDiane Victoria Horn (see below) and saw an opportunity to try adding some larger, transparent patterns in another layer, which is basically what tranzending means. Adding the Mehndi leaf design over the dashes of blue lines around the border felt like a safe and easy place to begin. I then added some shading and highlights around the leaves and found that it created a visually interesting effect.

I didn't know where to go from there, so I made a few photocopies of the mandala and tried different patterns for the center. After a few attempts, Betweed won. The auras on either side of the Betweed look like gills to me (an image from Shape of Water?)

Design adapted from African Gold Ornament Designs (40).

I started with a blank zendala tile and used a compass to draw the basic circles. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Friday night mandalas 2

I drew a second mandala last night an old favorite pattern, Ovolution by Sandra Chatelain.

My version in this particular drawing looks more uniform and less funky and relaxed than the basic design. Sandy adds weighting to both ends of the line strokes, and she uses more sections. ((Have a look here.) Her Ovolution has a down-home feel. By comparison, mine, quite honestly, looks somewhat sterile, but I don't mind it. There is something about the suspended circular movement and symmetry that is fun to make and view -- at least for certain moods.

This was a good exercise for practicing line quality and weighting throughout, a little like Diva Dance.

It's also interesting to understand what inspired this design and to see a couple of variations of it. Navigate here for more details.

Friday Night Mandalas

I've been work a lot in the round lately, creating mandalas on standard 3.5 x 3.5 Zentangle tiles.

This pattern is called Maryhill (by Betsy Wilson).  It's fun and easy to draw, though it might be little challenging on days that you have a lot of wobble in your straight lines. It can be drawn in the round as shown, or in any other shaped space.

This is a pattern like Paradox in which distinct shapes emerge that seem to have been drawn as separate elements, though they weren't. In other words, the blade-like structures in this pattern are not created by drawing blades. Instead, they emerge in each slice of the pie with shading. I also experimented with a white pencil to create brighter highlights

(To learn how to draw Maryhill here:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lake Harriet Community Ed -- Last Session

What a great time I had with Lake Harriet Zentanglers these last two weeks. I hope we have a chance to do it again sometime. Here are some pictures of our drawings:

This was the first time I worked with triangular tiles in a class. It was great fun.

We also experimented with scratch tiles during our first meeting last week. The white tiles are samplers for 'Nzepple, Tripoli, and Quandary.

We closed our two-session course with mandalas. Time did not allow us to finish them in class, but I'm sure they'll get done at home. These are so cool! Please, LHTs, if you finish your mandala, send me a picture.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Mandalas and scratch-art Zentangle at the last session of OLLI

We were all very pleased with the different look and feel (while drawing) of scratch-art paper Zentangle tiles. I wish I hadn't thrown away the packaging for this paper so I'd know where to go to buy more of it. I bought it many months ago and am finally introducing it in classes I teach. I was a little concerned that participants would find the new materials awkward to work with. Actually, most people found it easier.

I also had the group start a mandala to finish up at home. They seem to be crying out for some color, don't they? OLLI participants, please send me pictures of your completed mandalas, and I'll make sure to post them here.

Happy tangling, everyone!

Lake Harriet Community Education, Session 1 (Wed,2/28)

Class mosaic:

Many beautiful moments in these tiles! Looking forward to next week. :)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Another scratched composition


Working from black to gold (with each scratch) is an interesting change from drawing as usual, and the tool is very easy to handle. Unfortunately, the image does not show the shiny quality of the gold foil that creates all of the patterns. (The picture in the previous post shows it better --it's really pretty!) To bring out the golden color of the foil even more, I have cut off the black borders of the original tile and pasted the remaining, smaller drawing onto a renaissance tile. I'm really enjoying this technique!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday morning centering

This morning at breakfast, I drew this using a paper tile coated with a thin layer of black wax. To make a drawing, you need to use a tool (shown below) that will scratch away the wax to reveal the gold foil underneath.

I drew this using standard Zentangle-esque pattern designs that invoke traditional African decorative motifs. I have a book with more of those that I'd like to revisit for more ideas. 

Either of these tools work well to scratch away the black layer of wax:

OLLI Class 3

We had another fun-filled session on Thursday (2/22). We reviewed the tangles learned so far.  Here are a few of these with links to video tutorials for each (all by Ludimila Blum):

Crescent Moon . Hollibaugh   Florz . Printemp . Bales . Shattuck

We also learned three new tangles: Fife, Huggins, and Paradox. I've posted my teaching tiles here with links to videos showing how to draw each one:


Next week, we'll be doing mandalas :)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

OLLI Class #2 (Feb 15)

Our Zentangle OLLI group met yesterday for the second of four-session series.

I introduced three new patterns for the main tile -- Shattuck, Jetties, and Bales (with a little Maelstrom thrown in).

We also did a 2 x 2 monotangle using Hi Cs, which I have challenged everyone to finish up at home and share next week. I wish I had taken a picture of this tile before adding color to give a better idea of the basic pattern structure. Suffice it to say that Hi Cs is versatile and can look very different depending on if or how the spaces in the design get filled in.

This journal cover is also structured with Hi Cs. Some of the similarities of the basic shapes are obvious, but comparing this drawing to the one above also shows how much difference fill designs and color can make. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Osher Lifelong Learning Class #1 (of 4)

Today was the first meeting of a four-session series of Zentangle with OLLI participants. Here is our class mosaic:

As usual, the variation in composition is so much fun to observe. Differences come from a variety of strings, differing sizes for each of the patterns, differences in line quality, different decisions about how much or little to fill the space, and other factors. No matter...every session is a new adventure. Thanks, everyone! I'm looking forward to more fun next week.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Mandala with Paradox and Rain

This mandala emerged after watching a You Tube video by Kristin Uhrig about creating dot mandalas. This mandala is completely different, but watching her work on her gorgeous design put me in the frame of mind to work in the round. I was also inspired to try out a simple technique from the video for finding the center of the circle that will become your mandala. Here's how it works:

This is a screen shot from Kristin's You Tube which shows her simple idea for locating the center of the circle you've traced. Simply trace another circle on a separate sheet of paper using the same template. Cut it out, fold in half and once again into quarters, and snip the folded point at the top of the quartered circle. Unfold and voila! Place the unfolded circle over the mandala-to-be and lightly mark its center through the hole. Such a simple way to solve a thorny problem. (When doing any kind of drawing in the round, it's extremely helpful to mark the center of the circle, regardless of whether you are aiming for a symmetrical design or not).

After I marked the center, I penciled in a vertical and diagonal line to create four quarters, and I drew a symmetrical string freehand from there. The color is fluid acrylic (Golden brand) painted in with a small brush. I also used white and graphite pencils, and three sizes of micron pens (005, 01, and PN). The circle template is 3 1/4" in diameter, which fits well on a 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" Zentangle tile.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Paradox and Diva Dance

I followed a Zentangle Kitchen Table Tutorial for working one tangle into another, in this case, Diva Dance into Paradox. This was an interesting study and really gave me a feel for how to plan a bit to make different patterns work well together in more complex ways than just placing them side by side.

I'd like to thank Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas for providing such amazing follow-through in Zentangle. I started following this drawing process almost five years ago, and through time, I have been amazed and grateful for the founders' commitment to continuing education, which is so important to developing mastery in anything.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mandala with a gold leaf heart

Fourteen months ago, I attended a Zentangle refresher workshop in Rhode Island. One of the techniques covered was gold leafing. As a practice exercise, we created a gold leaf heart in the center of a blank mandala.  Just a couple of days ago, I returned to the mandala and drew around the heart.

Now that I have finished it, the title of a Thich Nhat Hanh book, The Sun My Heart, floats into my awareness. Here is a brief excerpt:

Meditation lets the sun of awareness rise easily, so we can see more clearly. When we meditate, we seem to have two selves. One is the flowing river of thoughts and feelings, and the other is the sun of awareness that shines on them. Which is our own self? Which is true? Which false? Which is good? Which bad? Please calm down, my friend. Lay down your sharp sword of conceptual thinking. Don't be in such a hurry to cut your "self" in two. Both are self. Neither is true. Neither is false. They are both true and both false."

Sunday, January 14, 2018


After a two-month break, I am eager to return to my Zentangle blog. 

In Zentangle world, Project Packs are a new and exciting way to keep up with the latest tangles and techniques. I bought the first one and had a great time learning to create beautiful designs on black tiles with white jelly roll markers. Even though I've been drawing with the Zentangle community for over five years, I had not ventured much into the black paper realm until experimenting with the materials and tutorials in PP1. Here are a few of the projects:

This was a pre-strung zendala tile. The focus of this tutorial
was striping (in the middle). 

Rick guided this tutorial on Paradox. Triangular tiles are
beautiful, so I appreciated having the chance to practice
using one. 

This Renaissance tile was included in PP1. As Maria explains
in the the tutorial, this design was was inspired by a bowl
full of pumpkin seeds. I had never tried using white ink on
a beige tile before completing this exercise.

This tile depicts a monotangle using Crescent Moon. 

This was so much fun to draw and such a simple idea. The
object shown was built up from a simple grid pattern
called Bales (one of my personal favorites) with the center
squares filled in with auras. 

This design was made by following the basic moves for Bales
but changing the the rounded forms to pointy ones. 

This a new tangle called Dewd. I need to practice this
one a little more. 

And finally, Printemps with pearls and auras.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I met with a few students and a colleague Friday night to do a little Zentangle drawing. We made some beautiful images together. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mandalas at Lake Harriet Community Ed

Participants and I had fun drawing mandalas in our focused Zentangle workshop this evening:
Undu, Shattuck, Jetties, Bales+, Tripoli, and Tipple

We also spent a little time with Betweed and B'twined.

I had such a great time with this awesome group of people. Many thanks to Mary, Kristen, Megan, and Anj for sharing the drawing time with me. Also thanks to Steve B. for organizing the meetings.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

First session MCE (Lake Harriet) class

What a great time I had this evening with students in the Minneapolis Community Education (Lake Harriet) Zentangle workshop. I showed participants some basic moves and tangles, and we drew a couple of awesome tiles. Here are pictures of our mosaics:

Paradox and Tipple -- These are really beautiful!

Crescent Moon, Hollibaugh, Florz, Printemps, and Tipple
As usual, the variations in string designs make such a
difference in the overall look of the tiles.
I look forward to another great session next week!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A little more tangling

I made this one this evening (a bijou tile). I'm a little more intuitive and a little less deliberate in my drawing these days. I don't really think about tangles specifically as I draw the tile. I just let the pen move where it wants to. 

Betweed therapy

I was feeling sad today because our parakeet has a broken wing and there isn't anything we can do for him. I hadn't drawn in a while, so I made this 3Z tile. I hope Herbert's wing heals.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Another decorated tile

I continue to experiment with drawing on marble tiles. For this one, I used Montana extra fine acrylic markers to go a little aboriginal:

I rarely draw animals, but the symbolism for the turtle is inspiring (from

The turtle symbolism is characterized by the association with the Earth and earth symbols of groundedness and patience:

  • Symbol of the world, of the Earth
  • Ability to stay grounded, even in moments of disturbance and chaos
  • Slowing down, pacing yourself
  • Determination, persistence
  • Emotional strength and understanding
  • Ancient wisdom
The turtle is also linked to the spirit of water and the fluid nature of emotions.

Drawing with Iris and Zinnia

My husband and I went to Kansas and Nebraska for a family reunion and the eclipse. Despite some clouds, we enjoyed a good view of the eclipse as it approached and reached totality. It was truly awe-inspiring and well worth the 8-hour drive. The evening of the 21st, I had a chance to spend time drawing with two of my nephew's children, Zinnia (8 years old) and Iris (10 years old) before heading back to the twin cities. Both girls love to draw and were excited to learn more about Zentangle. Here is their work:

Beautiful job, girls! I look forward to future drawing sessions!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Another marble tile

I started this tile as a tester for colors and then just decided to work with it to see if I could make it pretty enough to be a stand-alone piece. It's pretty wild! Working on it was a very good learning experience for getting a better feel for the limitations and possibilities of drawing on marble. I will definitely offer this as an advanced class somewhere along the way.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Experimenting with color

I was eager to try color on the the marble tiles I've been working with. I went shopping yesterday for color that would work on marble, but the advice I got was that alcohol-based color, which I already have (Copic markers) was probably the best place to start. After working out an open design within the same matrix I've been using, I gave the markers a try. Here is the result:

The color goes on unevenly because the stone is not completely porous, but it works well enough. The unevenness is actually kind of pretty, though it may not show in this picture. I do not yet know how well this color will hold up. I'll need to let it dry for a couple of days and then apply a coat of stone sealer to see what happens.

After working with this tile this afternoon, I realize that unfinished ceramic may be another medium to try for a smoother-looking effect. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

The set of four together

The marble tiles arranged together make a new piece of mosaic art:

I look forward to making more of these! 

Marble tile number 4 (in a series of 4)

Here's the last tile:

This one uses Betweed as the fragment pattern. Such fun to make!