Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Challenge me, willya? THANKS!

Laura Harms, C-ZED-T from Saskatoon, is posting a weekly challenge on her blog, I am the diva. The blog can be found here:

This week's challenge (Week #2) is to use a "double-pencil" string. I found I had done this before knowing I had.

Here's my response to the challenge.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Duckies

or, why Sharpie pens (though good for many things) are NOT the same as Sakura Pigma pens!

Check out my little "feathered" friends... I bought two, planning to use one on the antenna of my car for locating it in the parking lot. (I swear that the Air Force ought to paint its stealth aircraft the color of my car because I can NEVER find it in parking lots, but that's material for another post....)

I thought that the Sharpie pen, what with being labeled PERMANENT and all that, might be a better choice for something that would out in all manner of weather. HOWEVER, look at what happened! The PURPLE ink is not a choice I made. It's what happened to the Sharpie ink after about 10 minutes on the duck. The black lines are made by, you guessed it... the Sakura pen.

So, now you know. And I do too.

And, by the way, I've just posted new class schedules for Spring 2011! YAY!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Can you make them in color?

Frequently people ask if it's "OK" to make a Zentangle in color. I reply that the traditional tile is done with black ink on a cream background.

No one ever said it was "not-OK" to make colored Zentangle-inspired art work though, right?

And here is some of the finest I've seen.

I recently visited the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio, where there is a fabulous collection of the glass art of Dale Chihuly. This photo was taken from beneath one of the sculptures.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who IS this guy, and why is he staring?

He's John Trentwith, a prominent "resident" at Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery, where I am a volunteer tour guide and where I recently held a Zentangle class.

You might still be confused.

Why is he staring at you from this blog post?

Because on his monument, high in the air, are some carvings. They form a funereal swag of rosettes and decorate the base of his marker quite nicely.


And, those rosebuds, and John himself, were the inspiration behind the tangle pattern I developed called (what else?) Trentwith.

You can find it on the Tangle Patterns page!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Y, oh Y!

I must admit: I've been a little scared of this pattern...

Oddly, in my BRAIN I get it; in my hand, not so much.

Usually, it's the other way around. I can draw a pattern but can't verbalize the strokes.

Practice, breathe, practice, breathe....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

An Entire Building?

Here's a view of the old Post Office building at 30th Street in Philadelphia. These towers are on all four corners of the building, with this gigantic tangle on two sides. In addition to these tower panels, there's a frieze that runs just below the roofline that has a complementary pattern.

My friend Patti said (after taking a class), "I see patterns everywhere now!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Saturday was my very first, honest-to-goodness Zentangle class, and I couldn't have done it without the help and support of many folks!

So here's a hearty thanks to my pal Beth who provided the opportunity and to my ever-lovin' who schlepped the goods around and to my cheerleading friends who rah-rah-rah'd me all the while.
And, of course, a great big thank you to the students who took the plunge and signed up for the class based solely on "what the catalog said." Their enthusiasm still has me bubbling, days later. This tile contains all of their "chops," interpreted Zentangle fashion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tick Tock, Around the Clock

So, here's a cool thing...

There's a guy who made the human clock... pictures of people holding times of the day...

and the same guy made the human calendar... pictures of people in a calendar grid ...

Now, he's doing a MAIL CLOCK.

The deal is that you send a POSTCARD with the time you have chosen (He's got it all programmed at his website so that he doesn't end up with four thousand "high noon" cards and no three a.m. ones.) by the date you are assigned and VOILA! your post card becomes the official representation of that time.

I tried for 9:10, as that's my birthday but had to settle for my age. I figure that if someone is seeing my age, it's a rare sighting, as it's in the middle of the night.

Here's the link, in case you're interested in joining in!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Faintly Freaky But Kinda Cool, Nevertheless

Here's a postcard I received from Rebecca in Zurich. (I belong to Post Crossing.)

The picture struck me as some weird kaleidoscopic giraffe part. I flipped the card over to read the description. It said that the image is of Polyplectron bicalcaratum... sounds faintly chemical in nature... but NO! It turns out to be a type of pheasant, and this image is a magnification of the feathers.

Look closer... there are patterns everywhere.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stand Still!

Ah, if only this little critter hadn't wiggled so much! (The lines would be straighter!)

Yep. You really can put these patterns anywhere!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A beautiful place to make art

Laurel Hill Cemetery is one of the jewels of Philadelphia. Founded in 1836, it is the second oldest rural cemetery in the United States and home to some of the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen.
Class participants will learn some traditional patterns, but I plan to introduce some patterns based on the stone work that can be found there. The Patterson Lion, shown here, has some lovely tangles on the base.
The date of the class is November 6, and the session starts at 10:00 a.m. The workshop will wrap up at lunch time, leaving ample time for folks to take the cell phone tour of the oldest section of the cemetery.

To register, click this here link, right HERE.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Secret Thrill

So, is this a "guilty pleasure"?

Someone asks, "are you an artist?" and I get a secret thrill every time - EVERY TIME - I say, "yes, I am."

Of course, I also always imagine myself to be a slender artist who looks positively fetching in a beret.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Work in Progress

Here's a shot taken in my studio, of work in various stages. I'm finding that sometimes I need to "rest" a tile while working on it.

Some just zoom out of the pen; others need a bit of aging.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Greetings Earthling!

Each year, Philadelphia enjoys a music-filled weekend called the XPoNential Music Festival. For many years, I've been privileged to be part of the volunteer crew that helps to make it happen.

Each year, I've been delighted to provide a little treat to the folks who work so hard to make the festival special. This year, SPACE ALIENS have landed! These little critters are made to dangle from our volunteer and staff credentials and provide, I hope, a little lighthearted silliness.

This year, I'm posting the picture here and I'm hoping that people who adopt one of the little wayfarers will stop a moment and post a comment or two and maybe even a picture of their new friend.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sparkly Sparkly!

I love a good fireworks display! And what are they, but tangles in motion?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Playing With My Food

I began drawing this border tangle the other day, and developed a fierce craving for pesto!

Of course... PIGNOLI!

Tonight's dinner includes zucchini. Wonder how that will work?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Monsters Made To Order

I've recently returned from a very short (two days), very long (three thousand, two hundred fifty four miles, round trip, flying from Philadelphia to Detroit to Kansas City to Hutchinson to Kansas City to Memphis to Philadelphia) trip to visit family. (And boy! are my arms tired!)

While there, I met Braylee and Allycia, daughters of a niece-in-law. I have no idea how many "cousins removed" that is. In an effort to keep these girls (4 and 8 years old) entertained, I dragged out my sketch pad.

And so began the operation of "Monsters Made To Order."

Is your pet monster tall or short?

How many eyes does your monster have?

Does your monster have hair?

Is it long or short? Curly or straight?

How many arms does your monster have?

How many legs? How many feet? (Not always the same answer!)

This guy - or one very like him (I believe that more feet and eyes might have been involved in the original) - is my favorite.

I drew monsters with hair so long and curly that it wrapped around the page.

I drew monsters with ten feet, each foot wearing a different type of shoe!

I drew daddy monsters (with tattoos!) and baby girl monsters.... monsters wearing Hawaiian shirts... monsters with wings...

Is there a business concept in here?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Honestly, Those Tangles Are Everywhere

Now, if this isn't a natural born tangle, I don't know what is!

This feline fellow is Boris, one of the "International Cats of Mystery" with whom I share my home. And, yes, the other one is named Natasha.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Victorian Tangles

If I was asked to list functional items - things that are made to do the job they do and nothing more - I'd probably list items like "hammer" or "bedspring." I'd probably also look to the past and add "milk bucket" and maybe even "radiator." But I'd be wrong with the last one, as this picture clearly shows.

This is a radiator from an upstairs bathroom in a Victorian era building. It's cool and swirly enough on its own, but I can't help but think of the many stories behind its arrival and installation...

Consider that the radiator, at its basic level, is simply meant to provide warmth to a room.

But the designers of this radiator wanted STYLE in addition to substance!

Then I consider the image most people have of dour Victorian businessmen (and let's be realistic - they were nearly all men). I contrast that image with the rampant swirly flourishes on this functional item and wonder what it is, exactly, that drives us - humans - to inject beauty in the most unexpected places.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tangles are everywhere

Like this is something we don't already know!

This was a photo of a photo of a railing in a Philadelphia building. Tangling in wrought iron... somehow all that banging might work against the quiet serenity of making a Zentangle.

I snappped another photo of a building in University City that has a fabulous piece of work on it. Unfortunately, the photo was blurry. I think I must have had the setting on my camera dialed in for close up work. Next time I'm there, I'll shoot it again.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Like a beaker!

I'm graduated!

So, here I am with my initial post on my new blog touting my latest pursuit: Zentangle Instruction. I've got an official diploma and everything!

I'm actually pretty excited about teaching this art form. I've already got two classes in the works for Autumn, with more to come. (That's certainly the plan!)

If you are interested in learning more, please email me. Stay tuned to this blog for more details about my classes and a few random other thoughts as well. You can check out the official Zentangle site at You'll even see my name in the list of Certified Zentangle Teachers.