Posted in Zentangle

Quiet day…

Today was the first quiet day–afternoon, actually, but still quiet–that I have had in quite a while. I am finally happy with my temporary work space setup, and continue to await construction completion and furniture delivery. But this afternoon…

This is the first experimentation I have done in quite a while. I used a Magic Pencil (available at many art stores and at Amazon), which changes color as you draw. I’ve done a few of these in the past on white tiles, but this is the first time I tried it on a black tile.

For the shading/highlighting, I used General’s Charcoal White, a sort of white pastel type pencil that is the “official” whit shading pencil of the Zentangle community. Despite its versatility when used with other media, I found it difficult to use as effectively as I would have liked with the very waxy Magic Pencil. As I said, an experiment. For two reasons 1) to test hoe the two pencils interact; and 2) to ease my way into using black tiles again.

Black tiles are great until you draw your first white Gelly Roll pen on it. We are used to seeing black ink on white paper, but less often see white pen on a black surface. Thus, originally, it took me many months to feel brave enough to tangle on black tiles. So I deliberately purchased a big box of the tiles. The moment I had lots of them, my fear disappeared, and I was drawing all sorts of beautiful designs while experimenting with several brands of white gel pen. The moment I found my perfect combination (a fine-line Angelic gel pen), I took to black tiles like s fish to water.

After Hurricane Irma, when I had fewer supplies than I was used to (I thought all were lost during Irma, but was flooded with donations from the Zentangle community), my fear of tangling on black tiles returned in proportion to the decrease in my supply of these tiles. For me, it must be the knowledge that I could “ruin” lots of black tiles and still have many more left to explore.

I think I spoke in previous posts about the generosity of the Zentangle community (especially of Zentangle’s HQ and many of the CZTs (Certified Zentangle Teachers) and regular tanglers from the Zentangle Mosaic app (available in free and full subscription forms from Google’s Play Store for Android devices and from the Apple Store for iOS versions for iPads and iPhones). They sent tiles (mostly white, and in various sizes and shapes), as well as Micron pens, Zentangle and other B3 drawing pencils, sketch pads, colorful Prismacolor Pencils, watercolor pencils, color Microns, color staining tissue, watercolor sets– well, everything and anything anyone has seen me use on the app. One CZT, @JodyGenovese, even sent me river rocks to tangle! It seems the community loved my color-touched tiles as much as (more than?) my black ink on white paper tiles.

Alas, I finally had to break down and buy a box of black tiles again, even though I waited until we reached the UK. And I did take advantage of those black tiles again! Unfortunately, there are only so many supplies you can cart around the world, so many donations and personal purchases were shared as I traveled, and before returning to Sint Maarten.

It took me months to get back to my island home (St. Martin island) and discover that many of my blank tiles and tangling supplies were in great shape after Irma. As Irma was threatening to bear down on us, I stored as many raw paper and pen supplies as I could in watertight plastic storage containers. I doubted that they could survive a hurricane of Irma’s strength, but the boxes had been expensive enough when I bought them, and I figured my supplies had the best chance of surviving in them. Well, as unpacked or paper box packed items and books turned to pulp around these boxes, and the Irma-given skylight in the ceiling let in all water possible, the items in the boxes survived! Among the supplies were many black tiles and white gel pens and pencils.

It took a while longer to set up a quiet place for meditative tangling, but a few days ago I succeeded, and drew my first white on black tile in ages. That’s the one featured. I was afraid I had lost both my passion for tangling and my ability to produce creative tiles, but I learned with this featured tile that maybe I just need more practice–maybe start at the beginning again– to regain my confidence as well as my meditation abilities.

Sometimes all I need is a bit of encouragement from the wonderful people on the Zentangle Mosaic app, and a stack of black tiles, to find my niche again.

Thank you to all who helped with stuff and with emotional support during a very trying period of my life. I am all set now to go out into the community and volunteer to teach with free supplies to community groups who continue to help those in need, whether children who need to learn to sit still for 15 minutes, or adults dealing with serious health and post-Irma trauma issues. The Mosaic community has provided me with so many supplies to share that I needed extra suitcases and several parcels to bring supplies home with me to share with those in need. I need to buy a few items where Irma shorted me, but I have plenty of supplies to get started here in Sint Maarten (the Dutch side of St. Martin, where my home is). One school has already asked me to teach it’s teachers so they can pass on the anxiety reducing Method to their students. Other organizations are considering. Other groups are putting me in touch with yet more groups. I hope to be really busy soon, and leave the house and contractors to themselves and my Cujo-wannabe dog. Sharing the Zentangle Method. Rings me incredible joy and peace. I want to share that with my ravaged community as we all pitch into the rebuilding effort.

Happy tangling!

Posted in Zentangle

Tangling and Oil Painting

Tonight, I did something different and fun. I attended a sip’n’paint event to help sponsor talented SXM (Sint Maarten) kids to travel to NYC for a week to learn not only more about their particular talent ( singing, dance, painting, etc.) but to also take a workshop about the business end of the professional artist. The painting event was led by world renowned St. Martin artist Sir @RowlandRichardson, who showed us how to paint a still life of three colors of bougainvillea in a simple jar vase.

We used exactly three colors–blue, red, yellow–and white to produce a lovely pallet of colors. Here is a photo of my work tonight. How many distinct colors can you see? Certainly more than the three we started with!

This is not to highlight my lack of talent with oil paint, but to show the influence of my Zentangle work and patterns on Zentangle-inspired art ( ZIA). In essence, I tangled a painting of real-life bougainvillea in a simple jar-style vase. Not only that, but it’s my first genuine still life work. That is, working from the real thing instead of a photo.

Note the number of poke leaf and flux in this painting, adding dimension to the simple patterns through how the paint was applied.

I will never be a famous artist, but I am really proud of this silly little piece encouraged by a famous artist, but completed because of the Zentangle Method®️. Tangling is so simple and versatile that it adds richness and texture to a piece that would have been completely flat and dull without my grasp of Zentangle patterns and techniques.

You may not be into Zentangle for the stress reduction, but if you are an artist, the method is definitely worth exploring for its patterns and unique shading techniques. I am proud to be a CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher). Thank you, @MariaThomas and @RickRoberts! Without your influence, even a master artist like Sir @RolandRichardson could not have helped me do any better than apply dabs of color and hope for the best!

Happy tangling!

Posted in Zentangle

Hurricane Irma’s Anniversary is Past, Isaac on the Way…

We returned to Sint Maarten on May 1, with promises that our house would be ready for us. Instead, two months after staying in a rental condo because the only thing completed was a new roof (2nd in under a year!), we moved into a single room in our house with our 2 pets, a cat and a dog. We now have two bedrooms and baths, and a nearly completed kitchen. I have no idea when the dining and living rooms will be complete, but I am ready to toss everything that’s left of those two rooms (well, what survived of the dining room, anyway) and just purchase furnishings from scratch. I’m tired of sitting on armless chairs for which we can’t find room, as construction stuff takes up so much space. Today, after firing our first electrician a month ago, the replacement was forced to cut all the wiring just to access them–the previous guy not only drastically skimped on wiring (no wiggle room if anything went wrong) and placed 3/4 of the house on a single circuit. The last time I experienced anything like that was in my first house in the early 1970s that still contained the original rural wiring from the 1930s!

Some good news was that our second cat–he ran off after Irma and refused to come back–was reunited with us during the second week of August. He had been on his own for over ten months, was barely held together by skin and fur, and still took 3 days to lure home. Now he never leaves. After a check-up at the vet, we were all amazed that he was reasonably healthy. Of course, now he is always hungry! At least he looks like a real cat again instead of a Tim Burton character!

Today I tangled for the first time in a while. And it shows.

The shading is off, the simplest patterns wouldn’t emerge, not even using “first tile” tangles.

I don’t know whether I was more disappointed in the process or the result, as neither seemed to work out for me today. Yet, just a month ago I finished a project started several months back in the UK, to where we were transported after our evacuation after Irma’s devastation of our island of St. Martin a year ago. Here is the 9″x9″ sketchbook tangle.

Quite a difference, right?

Maybe today’s tangle went wrong because of the anticipation of Hurricane Isaac that’s following Irma’s path. I’m hoping Isaac stays relatively weak, as the repairs on our house after Irma haven’t been completed, and we have absolutely no hurricane shutters. Our contractor will be measuring for plywood tomorrow to give us some protection. That will be a great relief after Irma tore our old shutters apart.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another catastrophe skipping into our home, it seems. We are not the only ones with an incomplete home, but that doesn’t make us feel much better. I love this Island, but I just want to feel safe from hurricanes like Irma.

Until next time–hopefully my tangling will improve again!–I wish you happy tangling!

Anyone attending ZenAgain in Providence, RI, in November, shoot me a comment. I will be anxious to meet you. If you are part of the Zentangle Mosaic community, thank you for all the moral and supplies support during this interesting season of my life. Isn’t life supposed to settle down once you’re past 65?

Again, Happy Tangling!

Hugs to all,

Ellie (DrEllieCZT)

Posted in Zentangle

Back on the Island!

So much has happened during the past year–job, devastating hurricane, moving on two continents, quit job, and finally back on the island of St. Martin, but still not back in our Sint Maarten home.

You probably heard about the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma back in early September of 2017. She was the fiercest hurricane on record in the Atlantic and Caribbean. And she took aim at our Island of St. Martin and tore us to shreds. After six days of shelter at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC for short) we were evacuated to St. Kitt’s, where a sister veterinary school–Ross University–offered us shelter, a change of clothes, and medical attention for our pets. We spent two nights there before being further evacuated to O’Hare Airport and put up in two wonderful resorts–one week in one, five in another–while waiting for work visas to come through for (wait for it–) the U.K.

So many stories to tell, and they will come. However, I want to share the tangling I did while we still had power, even as roofing nails tore from the top of the house, and glass was curving and pulling out of sliding door frames.

These two were done as the storm raged over head. The tile below is one I tangled as the storm was merely anticipated.

Other tiles were lost to the water that eventually poured from our new glass-less skylights. Little seemed to survive the hurricane. We sat in our tiny kitchen with our next-door neighbors who rushed over during the calm hour-long eye–their home far worse than hours.

An hour or so after Irma moved on, security guards from AUC came looking for Professor Joe (my husband), and escorted us to the shelter of the school.

It was a while before I could tangle again. Aside from a lack of materials for the first few days (another story for another day), I simply was too shocked to do much except help where help was needed.

But more on the adventure in subsequent posts.

Wishing you health and safety,

Dr. Ellie, CZT

Posted in Zentangle

It’s a String Thing #212

Sint Maarten is currently not in a condition for tangling or visitors, but this blog post is cheerful and fun!

The Tireless Tangler

Adele Bruno was in the path of the latest hurricane to hit Florida. After finally receiving their electricity back and other services she was back this week with It’s a String Thing challenge #212. This week’s string is pictured above and the 3 tangles used were:

Wrapped by CZT Gale Sherman (stepout)

Danzer by Prairie Kitten (stepout)

Ok-Rah bt CZT Lisa Buckley (stepout)

I really liked the tangles but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t manage to find my zen and both of these were a disappointing mess! But here is my confusing picture of both tries together.

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Posted in Zentangle

New Pattern: Marito

A new pattern from tangler Cyndee Pelley! Enjoy this repost frm her blog!
Thank you for sharing, Cyndee!

The Tireless Tangler

Two months ago as I was playing with the pattern Trefoil, it occurred to me to try and make the triangular framework into more of a curved ribbon style. The day before I’d seen CZT, Suzanne McNeill’s pattern Wavy Lines on Pinterest and somehow what came of that experimentation plus the Wavy Lines visual became my new pattern, Marito. It is a nickname for my little boy who was very much on my mind while I was working that day. While Marito has a similar look to Wavy Lines, it’s a different process as well as having many ways to vary the look. Marito has 2 versions, one using a more triangular shape and one that is rounded. It is great for borders as it allows for a wide variety of embellishment possibilities. I love it particularly for gem borders. It can be as simple or fancy as you want…

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