Friday, January 29, 2010

Tangle of the Week - Punch

Here's one of my own designs that will be in "the book." (Seems like some ominous music should play when those words are said...)

I like Punch because it looks super messy and some of my students start to panic (ye of little faith) and then, once you color in the black part, everything takes shape and makes sense. Kind of like life, eh?

The key to making it look 3-D is to put a little arc of pencil shading under the top edge of each circle. The idea for this Tangle comes from our visits to the Boston Childrens Museum. They had (have?) a Recycling Center with long strips of colored mylar ribbon that had been punched with circles to make confetti. It's cool stuff. So you can "lay" the punched ribbon over any Zentangle pattern, but I've found that the bigger and busier the pattern, the better it looks.

The slightly messy part on the right? I was experimenting to see if I could make it look like glass blobs were sitting on the flowers. I added a little highlight and a shadow, but I don't think it works very well on the black background. It needs a bit of shadow under the blob too and it won't show up on black. Ah well. That's the point isn't it? Experiment!

Spring Zentangle Classes

    Feb 10 & 14  Junk Mail Art ... $35
   Wed. Feb. 24, 10:00am-12:30pm  Zentangle 101 ... $45
   Sat. March 6, 1:00-3:00pm  Zentangle 102 ... $35
   Sat. March. 20, 10:00am-12:30pm  Zentangle 101 ... $45
   Wed. May 12, 5:00-7:30pm  Zentangle 101 ... $45
   Wed. June 2, 5:00-7:30pm  Zentangle 101 ... $45

Zentangle 101
Learn the basics of Zentangle - a relaxing form of meditation that uses pattern-making to focus your mind.  No drawing experience necessary (Really!)                            
Class= $35    Kit fee= $10

Zentangle 102
Need more? More Zentangle patterns.
Zentangle 101 required. Bring your kit.
Class= $35  

Junk Mail Art
Take a handful of junk mail and turn it into a fun book of doodles and Zentangles! Using a technique I learned from artist Carla Sonheim, we’ll use gesso and watercolor to turn envelopes and flyers into a canvas for our imaginations. No art experience necessary. All materials supplied - however, bring some junk mail(envelopes, tags, postcards, etc.) - if you’ve got it!
This is a two part class. Instruction on Wed. Feb. 10 from 5-8pm and Open Studio- Sun. Feb 14 from 2-4pm. Please email with questions. Class= $35

Note: Kids, ages 8 and up, are welcome to take these classes if accompanied by a parent (or grandparent!) Please sign up at least a week before class. Classes with fewer than 3 students will be canceled.

For more info and a printable pdf of this schedule and registration form - please visit my website: and click on the link for "Classes".

Art & Soul ClassesI am also teaching at Art & Soul in Hampton, VA on May 20, 2010. I'll be doing an all-day "Zentangle In-Depth" class and an evening "Zentangle 101".  I'd love to see you there!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stampbord Contest!!

I just got the Stampbord email Newsletter and it had a banner saying "Click here to see the Contest Winners!" So I did... imagine my surprise when I saw the winner was ME! Cool! I did Zentangle flowers on the little Stampbord tiles with acrylic paint in some areas. If you haven't yet tried it, the Stampbord surface is really nice to tangle on. It's a very smooth, white clay surface that can be scratched away rather like the scratchboard we used in grade school. But better. Not that any of us ever makes a mistake in Zentangle... but isn't it nice to know that corrections are easily made?

I think the prize is lots of Stampbord to play with. I still have a bit left from the last time I won the contest - tee hee hee! If you would like to try some, send me a SASE with a bit extra postage and I'll send you some tiles. (I'll put in as many as are covered by your postage - fair?) I don't mind sharing! Send your SASE to: Sandy Bartholomew PO Box 359 Warner NH 03278.

(The tiles are from 1" to 2" or so, some square, some rectangles.)

Friday, January 22, 2010


My grandmother took care of us kids when my parents split and my mom went back to work. She taught us to sew, to row a boat, how to catch frogs, how to paint still-lifes, how to paint a fence, to pick blackberries, make kringel, pasha, apple pie, baked pierogi, stroganoff, gingerbread cookies, and how to swear in Estonian (or at least yell commands - I never learned the swears like my sister did. Or the drinking songs). She also taught me that life is not fair, and family is the point.

I've been missing her like crazy these past few weeks. With kids sick and home from school and daycare I realized just how valuable a devoted grandmother can be. In this case, a great-grandmother! She always wanted to help out and never felt it was a burden to watch my son. My own mom - although a great person and we get a long fine - does not care much for that kind of grandma sort of thing. She still works full time, although officially retired, she doesn't cook or bake, and she doesn't have any traditions she wants to share with the family. My generation is kind of the lost-generation. We don't fit in anywhere and we are all still searching for our roots and our paths. I think its because we had parents who were changing the typical roles - working moms, divorces, distant relatives, mixed religions... all that. Everything changed for them and now we are supposed to feel free and confident to blaze our own trails. Rush confidently into the future. All that. But the truth is... we all secretly want to know what the rules are. The traditions, etc. After all, where's the fun in breaking rules - if there aren't any!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Inspiration Pays a Visit

I've been needing a shot of Zentangle inspiration lately. I've been working on this new book and drawing tangles for hours and hours. Working out complicated designs... Anyway, my head was starting to feeling squishy and stringy (you already know this, right? You've been practicing "Squid"?).

Today I got the BEST kind of re-inspiration in the form of two Zentangle gurus. Well, THE gurus. Rick and Maria from Zentangle stopped by my shop and studio on their way home from a vacation in Vermont. We talked for hours about ideas and patterns and the funny origins of Tangle names. By the time they left I was really feeling like there is definitely a purpose to all THIS. Thanks guys!

Something we talked about that I wanted to share with you all is "names".  Have you been wondering about the strange names that many... well, all... the Tangles have? There is a reason! A great example is Poke Root. A few posts back we talked about how it can look like mushrooms or my ping pong paddles, or berries. Now, if you know that Poke Root is a plant and it has round berries, you will never be happy with your Tangle if it doesn't look like round berries. Right? But if it had been named Pokey or you just didn't know what it was (I didn't) then you might draw your mushroom shaped Poke Root and add your own embellishments and be thrilled. By naming a pattern with a limiting name, like Holes or Balls or Fern, the tangler gets trapped in seeing it as an object to be drawn "correctly". If you give a Tangle a silly name, name it after your dog, switch letters around... whatever... you free it to become whatever the tangler needs it to be at the moment.

I have never been very good at coming up with titles or names, but now I understand the importance of spending a few minutes thinking about it. Try using a name from another language even. I'm working on a pattern that looks like (I think) a Eurpean city skyline. I'm thinking of calling it "CUdad". "Ciudad" is less limiting than "city". The names are really only for reference. And they can be very useful. I received some very interesting variations on my "Pane" tangle. And I love seeing someone write: "This is my tangle called ____. It is based on "Pane" by SandyB but uses a twist and some contrast..." When you look at Pane, you might see boxes, or a carved wall, or a geometric background. I saw a stained glass window. If I had called it "Window" it would have been hard to see the other options. Does this make sense?

OK, once you've got that all down. The next important thing is to think of all these Tangles as building blocks. There are basic patterns - like grids and circles and Crescent moon - that are the foundation for hundreds of other patterns! Challenge yourself to combine them. For example: take something like Knightsbridge (basic checkerboard) and combine it with Keeko (basket-weave crosshatching). What do you get? Did you put the cross-hatching in the black or the white squares? Did you blow Keeko up big and use each section as if it were the checkerboard squares? See how many different ways you might combine things.

OK enough - I need some popcorn and a sprawl on the couch! (and I'd love to see what you all come up with! - leave a link in your comment if you want to show off any of your own work.) Goodnight!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tangle of the Week - Squid

Can a pattern express emotion? Hmmm...
Well, today I am feeling VERY "Squid".

Do you ever feel like... your life is basically really good. But you are so overly aware of the things that are NOT good, that they block out the good stuff? So many things that I have worked so hard at, are starting to happen - to work out, right now, but I've never been good at multi-tasking and my head is starting to swim. I can't say "no" even to the things I REALLY don't want to do. I don't want to let anyone down, but... sigh...
So Squid is me - I am Squid. All those reaching arms... and yet, such nice, juicy... eggs (? berries? what ARE they?) are right there.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tangle Trading Cards on SALE!

I just wanted to let you know that Zazzle is having a 50% off business cards sale. So if you have been wanting a bunch (100/pack) of my Tangle ATC (trading cards) for your own use or to use in classes, they count as business cards! You can use my link here: Trading Cards

Just enter: 2010BIZCARDS in the "Promo Code" box in your shopping cart.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In response to a comment...

Laura from Saskatoon left a comment and I didn't feel I could answer it in a sentence or two, so I'm answering it here, in a post. Also, I've received emails along similar lines, so I figured there might be others wondering the same thing.

Laura said:  Hi there, I've just bookmarked your blog! I am totally addicted to zentangle, like crazy.
I was wondering if I might be able to pick your brain about Zentangle certification, and what your experience was.

I was introduced to Zentangle by a friend just before Christmas this year, and quite frankly, i haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I ordered my Zentangle kit Christmas Day. Then, the day after commenting to a friend that i'd love to be able to teach Zentangle, i received the newsletter from Rick and Maria with the dates for Certification.

One of my resolutions this year is to pay attention to 'coincidences' in my life, and to be more creative daily. This seemed to fit together all too nicely.

i guess i was just wondering if you've been doing workshops and how that's been working for you. And also to get a first hand account of what the certification seminar is like. All my gut feelings are pulling me towards this, but the logic in me needs to hear it from someone.

I appreciate your time, and any help you might like to pass along.

I reply:  Wow Laura! Welcome to the addicting world of Zentangle!! I too followed a path of coincidences and doors opening one after another. But it was a year between my discovering Zentangle, and attending the certification workshop. I LOVED the workshop. I loved being in a room with 50 people who all were as excited as I was. I loved seeing Maria's studio - what an inspiration. The workshop is 4 days of learning tons of patterns, "how to teach a workshop", and networking like crazy. I had not planned to teach when I took the workshop - I just wanted to know more. I do teach, because I am so passionate about this subject. There are quite a few CZTs now and by next year there will be over 200! In New England there is a bit of a glut and it can be hard to deal with the competition. Quite a few people go to the certification because they see this as a chance to make a lot of money... like a franchise. That sucks because it hurts all of us who are just really passionate about Zentangle. I spoke at the second certification workshop and I have a hard time NOT sharing all my great ideas ;-) so I was shocked and a bit hurt to later see an attendee teaching a class based on art from my private sketchbook. (With no credit given). And someone else is teaching at an art retreat using material from my CPS Magazine article - some of the patterns are in her sample images as well. It's life. Imitation is supposed to be flattering and all that. But it still sucks. Ah well.

I love teaching Zentangle because there is a look students get when they realize they can DRAW! They can create. I am an illustrator and I have taught all different kinds of art classes, but this one really makes people happy and excited. I am worried about how easy it is to get certified and the "borrowing" of ideas, but I keep going because I really believe this is a good thing overall. A very important thing to keep in mind though - and this is a problem in any area really - if you turn your Zentangle passion into a business, it no longer relaxes you in the same way. I am always thinking of things to teach, or an article, etc. I need a new way to relax now! :-)

Studio Photos and Tangle of the Week

I finally did get the extra studio pictures up on my website. in the article in STUDIOS Magazine, I mention a lot of things that aren't in the photos they chose to print. After all, there's only so much you can fit in four pages. So I've uploaded a ton of other pics and views and added my comments. This link will take you to the Gallery on my studio website: Beez ink website. If you can read quickly, and would rather see it as a slideshow, go to the same link, but click the "Play Slideshow" link.

As added incentive for you to visit the gallery, I have included the Tangle of the Week IN the photo gallery! BwaHaHaHa! How evil is that? Hey, I figure if I am not sleeping at night, there must be others of you up at 2am reading blogs, right?  OK, well, I'm not really that evil, so if you are frustrated by the hidden tangle, leave a comment and I will consider putting it up here as usual. Maybe. If I get some sleep. Cheers!


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