Pat Mathes,CZT
Facebook: GramTangles

Monday, September 28, 2015

Square One: Zenith

This week's focus pattern is Zenith.  I have worked this one as a circular border, and this time decided to see what would happen if I did two strands and kept adding auras in between.  The shading is where it really popped out.

Our Tangled Lives Week 39 - TIME

Time - as I am in the autumn of my life, and enjoying every moment of it, I decided to use autumn as the basis for my prompt.  "Let this fall be a time to gather the things that bring you Comfort and Joy."  The things that bring me Comfort and Joy - well, didn't we just have that prompt?  So it all goes together.  I used a stencil I created for an upcoming class (made from leaves from my yard), pan pastels stamped around the stencil, tangled and then shaded with pastel chalk pencil.  And ironically, this meshed with the Diva Challenge this week to use a stencil so I was able to use my process for both.

Diva Challenge 237

This week, the Diva has a guest challenger, Charlotte Carpentier.  She challenged us to use a stencil, but unfortunately I did not read quite clearly enough.  I did use a stencil, but didn't really use it as a string.  I used it as the template.  It a stencil I have been working on to use in an upcoming class for a fall card.  I created the stencil from leaves from my yard.  Here is the actual stencil.  You can see that I have used it a couple of times - it is almost getting its own character.

I then used pan pastels to create my image, and tangled within the image.
But I didn't stop there.  I shaded using pastel chalk pencils in the fall colors.  And then did another chalk overlay with a different stencil.

Celebrate first class at Joann's

On Saturday, I held my first class at Joann's in Westminster, Colorado.  I had a class of 3, a mother and two daughters.  We had a great class.  I think they enjoyed it.  We ended up in the stockroom, as there was a scheduling conflict and rather than have noise, we elected to move to the stockroom for the focus.

They each did two complete tiles - and we made a mosaic of them.  Ironically, I had my own first tiles to add in with theirs so that they could see that I also started out very basic.  It was a fun class and we talked about a second class next month.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Diva challenge 236

Diva has given another creative challenge.  Draw on something you wouldn't normally use.  I will share my tangled pumpkin I created last year.  My first attempt at tangling on something other than paper. This one of our fall arrangements at home. One tangled, one blinged our (for my granddaughter who loves the bling) and one plain.  Some other smaller ones will join as time goes on. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Twinkling Leaves

We had a great day today. Fellow CZTs Irena Lesner, Holly Williams, and CJ Petersen came to my house. We followed a technique showed by Deborah Pace to use twinkling H2Os to paint leaves, then tangled on the leaves.  We sure had a lot of fun doing this.  At the end of the day, here are our WIPs.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dragon Swirl Mandala

Those of you who follow me know of my love for mandala/zendalas.  Rarely do I use a template - I would rather take compass and protractor in hand and create.  I came across a You Tube video by Alena Light of a mandala called Dragon Swirl.  This is actually her patterns.  I wanted to learn the composition and do some shading on it.  I was fascinated by how this piece came about.  I thought I took a picture before shading, but can't find it.  The shading was amazing - took me two evenings to finish.  The photo doesn't do it full justice, but close. This is on 12"x12" watercolor paper.  If interested, you can find her video at

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Week 38: Ladies and Gents

This week's prompt was a puzzler.  Ladies and Gents.  Design restroom signs.  Or do a piece showing feminine/masculine study.  I needed the calmness yesterday that designing a zendala brings, so decided to yin/yang a femiline/masculine piece.  I went floral and organic with pastel colors for the feminine side, and angular contrasting colors for the masculine.  I worked out frustrations with it, made a few changes in design due to oops moments, and here is the result.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Square One: Opus

Our pattern focus this week is the official tangle Opus.  Now when I look at Opus, it seems simple but elegant.  I don't use it much as I don't know what to do with it.  I have seen some brilliant tiles already this week showing it in various ways so I may have to rethink that notion.

But I see Opus in an iconic column or temple (iconic is probably the wrong word - I am not a history scholar -  but I think you know what I mean).

So I went dramatic with my tile.

Diva Challenge 235

Diva Challenge this week is to draw parallel strings with pencil and fill them in - in other words, stack and tangle!  Here's mine - I have Crescent Moon, Keystone, Printemps, Cubine, Nzeppel and Onomato.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Experience the Blues WIP

Here are some of the WIP from class.  Can't wait to see the finished pieces.

Blue Light Zendala

I showed my granddaughter how to create a flower of life this week using only a compass for an 8th grade class project.  So I was playing around with it and kept going.  Ended up with three layers.  I call this the Blue Light.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tangle Deck

A new wonderful tool by fellow CZT Lynne Mead.  

I have linked in a blog post by my friend and mentor, Sue Clak at Tangled Ink Art.  Take a minute and check it out.

Journaled and Tangled

I had this piece in my journal for a while and kept putting off working on it.  I finally finished it.  I used Eni Oken's materials and patterns and patterns from  Akua Art mixed in with other favorites.  This is the journal that I use to work on two or three pieces and then others to fill it in.  It is a way that I practice connecting or composition for a better word.  It is an area I feel less comfortable with so I do these pages to gain confidence.  I show you two parts - the first is the WIP with no shading.  The bottom one is the final piece.

Tangled Lives - Week 37

Our prompt this week was about our mother.  I was so lucky.  My mother was my favorite person.  It's funny, I started writing this page, and ended up rambling.  I didn't even go back and read it - I didn't feel I needed to.  My plan was to do some botanical tangles on the  page, but when I looked at it, I wanted to keep it just the way it is.  Nothing added.  That's how special this felt.

But I should have gone back and re read it.  My oldest son was 13 when my mother passed away, not 32.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Diva Challenge 234 - CanT

This week is a UMT  - Use My Tangle - featuring CanT created by Chris Titus, CZT while in attendance at CanTangle. Here is the step out.

I wasn't sure what to do with this.  There are a lot of variations, and I decided to do a monotangle and change it up a little.  Here is my version.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Experience the Blues class

We had a class today in Colorado Springs that was so much fun.  7 students.  Two of the students were CZTs and the others had varied amounts of time tangling.  First of all I want to share the video of them doing a warm up to rid themselves of rigidity and get into the flow of movement.  I will post pictures later of their work.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Square One: In A Pod

This week's focus pattern is Inapod, created by Carole Ohl at Open Seed Arts.  I really have some fun with this one and have used it a lot.  Here is the step out for Inapod.

For my tile, I started with diva dance which morphed into InAPod, which ate the Tripoli!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Our Tangled Lives - Week 36

Our prompt this week was mind mapping.  I took this to a level of controlling the chaos of my mind.  This week, my granddaughter had an assignment in 8th grade U.S. History where they used a dreamcatcher to list the positive attributes of U.S. History, and the negative attributes.  I took this a bit further and let the negative already be thrown int o the abyss of the inner hole, and only listing the positive thoughts in my mind.  I sat and created a list of one liner thoughts that were in my mind at the time.  So here is my dreamcatcher with the negative or bad dreams already removed.

A new experience

We had a wonderful workshop with fellow CZT Sue Clark this week.  We worked on creating houses in the style of Margaret Bremner.  The paper is 5" x 11" gray Stonehenge paper.  You lay down a slight background wash and then "see" objects in the wash.  Where a moon might be, clouds might be, a pond, a true, a house - you get the picture?  Well, that's how you get the picture.

You can see the wash in this one.  Mine was actually very light.  I will do again with a darker wash so give more depth to the piece.  So I ended up using color to give it some depth.  Here is my finished piece.  I ended up with a village.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Post With No Pictures from Sandy Hunter, CZT

Fellow CZT Sandy Hunter has written a post about the difference between doodling and zentangle that is well worth a read.  With her permission, here is the link to that article.

a post with no pictures.

“I don't really care what the "rules" of Zentangle are! I'm not a’s my art and I’ll do what I want!” 

I see this subject get kicked around on Zentangle fan forums from time to time. I don’t normally engage because I don’t really feel like handing angry people a stick to beat me with, but it’s hard for me to see something so inherently good and useful be misunderstood. So, I want to try to explain it. Please bear in mind that this is my own point of view and I'm not representing anyone else.

Books and Pinterest and YouTube videos are all wonderful sources for patterns for doodling/tangling/patterning/line weaving…. but all of those words are used interchangeably, and that’s where the conflict arises. The confusion seems to come from the fact that that people will refer to any intricate piece of line art as Zentangle, because they think that’s just the latest buzzword for ‘that thing I was already doing years ago in the margins of notebooks’. 

It is possible to place identical drawings side by side where one is a doodle, and the other is a Zentangle. The reason that’s possible is because the art itself does not make a drawing a Zentangle. The art is the byproduct of the complete mental immersion in the process of ‘tangling’. It all depends on where your mind is when you do it. If you’re in this for the art, the rules don't matter one iota. Doodle/draw/sketch away. But if you’re craving a temporary, effective escape plan from pain, grief, or stress (or you just need a mental break) read on, because this information just might come in handy one day.

Yes, the rumors are true: there are rules (guidelines, really) with Zentangle. And they don’t exist to crush your spirit. Think of them as stout little pillars that work together to support a single purpose: to refocus the mind. Zentangle is mindful. Every rule exists to make that complete mental immersion possible, and sustain it.That's no easy task in a fast-paced culture (with a constant barrage of distractions) like ours.

#1: The first step in starting a Zentangle: a border and ’string’, drawn lightly in pencil. 

Reason: The pencil line, or string, creates sections to draw within. The string line is merely a suggestion and a place to begin. It is drawn lightly in pencil so that it will disappear behind the ink that follows. Some people have never faced a blank piece of paper and been intimidated and overwhelmed by it, but for those who have, something as simple as having a place to start is a huge relief and can easily mean the difference between success and failure. 

#2: Zentangles are completely abstract.

Reason: This eliminates the preoccupation with whether something looks ‘right’. If it’s supposed to look like a bird but something about it doesn’t look the way it should, that is what you will be preoccupied with. This actually eliminates a whole bunch of other mental hurdles that go along with drawing specific things, e.g. proportion, placement, what goes around it, etc.

#3: Zentangles are drawn only in black ink. 

Reason: This keeps the tangling process as right-brained as possible. To keep the focus on the repetition of the patterns, the slow, deliberate drag of the nib across the paper, the ink soaking into the paper in its wake. With color, decisions must be made: Paint or gel pens? Or marker? How many colors? Which ones? Where do I add them? Do they work together? If you start to add color, that is what you will be preoccupied with. And limiting drawing materials can inspire creativity in surprising ways.

#4: Patterns should be created by drawing repetitive strokes… structured, non-representational, and easy to draw in a limited number of steps.

Reason: The goal is to focus on the strokes of the pen used to create the pattern, and the controlled breathing that happens along with it. The primary goal of drawing a Zentangle is not to draw complicated tangle patterns. Some people are in it for the Zen, some are in it for the art… and there can be a pretty big difference in the way it looks. Which brings us to…

#5: No planned outcome. 

Reason: This aligns with minimizing decision-making. Relaxing into the process and just letting a Zentangle unfold as it appears line by line is calming, and it’s fun to see all those little nuances coming together here and there when opportunities present themselves. 

#6: Paper, or ‘tiles’, are 3.5 inches square.

Reason: Zentangles are designed to be finished in a short time. They’re friendly. They’re manageable. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something beautiful from start to finish in one sitting. The small size also makes it portable (Doctor’s waiting room? No problem. Two-hour wait for an oil change? Yes please!). And because it’s small, it’s easy to turn, making drawing in one direction over another more comfortable. 

#7: No using stencils, rulers, or graph paper. 

Reason: In short, there is no zen to be had in the preoccupation with perfection. There’s a certain joy in letting the pen wander without being confined to a grid or rigid space. Imperfection makes art more interesting… embrace it! Also, see #2. 

“It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.” -Edmund Burke

#8 No erasers. 

Reason: Anything that interrupts the drawing process is going to create a shift in focus. Then it becomes less about drawing those slow deliberate lines and breathing, and more about fixing/changing stuff. Just keep drawing and let it evolve. Get comfortable with the idea that mistakes can be turned into something good and unexpected (and exciting!).

If you’re not a rule-follower, it’s ok. Not following these rules does not mean your line art is in any way bad or wrong; it just means it’s not technically a Zentangle. I’m a CZT and 99% of what I draw isn’t technically Zentangle... I’m here for the art too. It's good to know the difference, but don’t let it be a label and keep you from enjoying the journey. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Week 35 of Our Tangled Lives

I'm only a day behind in getting last week's prompt posted. Our prompt was to find an item that brings joy into your life every time you look at it or use it. Well, I would have to say that would be my Micron pen and my colored pencils and pens.  And all my artist supplies.  So to find an item - one item - not possible.  So I picked the quote:  Find JOY in the Journey.  My JOY in the Journey is Zentangle.  So I created a line drawing using Helen Williams' pattern Tumbleweed and Meringue with a side of mooka and fescu.   My journey is creating the tile - I love linework and find it to be soooo relaxing.  And a Zendala using Tumbleweed as a ribbon, with some linework, poke leaf, Printemps, Nzeppel, and a modified Zenith outline on the zendala. I love the geometry of creating my own zendala string.  For this one I used Genevieve Crabe's stencil and created my own string.  Lately I find I have been using Tumbleweed frequently and exploring the different ways I can use it.  Helen Williams has a unique style and I do envy the looseness of her art.

Here are the individual tiles I used

and here is the finished Journal page.  I kept the page simple as the artwork is the essence of the page.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Square One - Yincut

This week's focus pattern is Yincut.

This is a fun pattern and makes for some great linework.  As I was working mine, I made a mistake new opportunity and it morphed into Socc by way of Bunzo.  Oh well.  So I added some mooka and called it done.

Diva Challenge 233

The Diva is back from her summer vacation.  The guest bloggers have been great, and quite a few of them fellow classmates from Seminar XV, but we do miss The Diva.  Her challenge to us this week was to use the newest Zentangle pattern, Zenith.  This was just recently released and I actually had not played around with it yet.  So this was an excellent opportunity to do so.

The elements of this pattern are a straight line, curved line and a bit of aura.  Well, I call my version Aura de Aura.  Because I kept putting an aura on the aura.  And I do love working in the round and wanted to see how it would look as the outer ring of a mandala.  And I like it.