Hello 2020!

It’s hard to believe we’re in a new year and a new decade! Time flies by faster every day it seems.

I’m not super into Resolutions, but I usually like to take the first few weeks of the new year to reflect on the things I want to continue doing in the new year, or things I want to improve on. However, this year I am kind of hitting the ground running so I don’t have as much leisure to take my time!

I have multiple classes coming up here in the Madison, WI area. The first is at Revel DIY Craft Bar, which I am super excited about! These ladies have been killing it and are really doing something successfully that I had thought about doing a few years ago – creating a place that people can go to do a little crafting in a chill environment. Their projects are totally accessible and not terribly expensive. I’ll be teaching an introductory level class there in mid-January…and hopefully it’ll be successful enough that we can add more workshops in the future! If you’d like to sign up click here

I am also going to be teaching at Madison Area Technical College in February! We’re starting off with a 3-week series of Discover Zentangle®. We’ll go through all the foundational areas of Zentangle and create a really nice base understanding and hopefully create some new Zentangle enthusiasts! You can sign up here

But, back to resolutions, or the lack thereof. Because I don’t have a lot of time to reflect and plan this January, I’m starting to feel just a touch overwhelmed. I have a lot going on between preparing for classes, normal work responsibilities, and chores and whatnot that need to be done at home. Not to mention having fun and creating art for the sake of creating and having fun!

A zendala I did with my mom over the Christmas break. We followed along the Zentangle 12 Days series on YouTube

What I’ve found that works for me, and maybe it will work for you too, is to focus on one or two things that I can actually control. They can be small things, or big things, but make sure they’re manageable. Last year, I started to focus on what I was eating and making sure to get out and go for a little walk every day. That turned into some amazing changes for me! I started feeling better, getting more active, and my confidence went up – all super helpful things when I also decided to get back into my degree field and find a new job.

This year, there are so many things in the air! With the loss of my Skillshare platform I am really starting to feel the anxiety from that, but I am also really excited about teaching the aforementioned “brick-and-mortar” classes. I’ll also be taking on new responsibilities at work. AND, I have my Patreon now which is a lot of work especially in the beginning stages where I need to plan AND produce content fairly quickly! I feel like my mind looks a lot like the Zendala up there!

A couple of commission pieces I did for a friend. A little out of my comfort zone, but fun to create and I am really happy with them!

So, what are some things that I can focus on to maintain a little control when life is crazy? I’m not sure yet! I know one thing I want to do is to do more meal prep. Eating healthy is great and mostly easy to do, except it’s a lot of work when you have a million other things to do. So once or twice a month I will do a big meal prep session so I can focus on other things the rest of the time.

I also want to do one creative focus this year. I think I will start participating in one or two challenges per month so that I am not too overwhelmed, but also making sure that I am keeping up my own art practice!

The great thing about my un-resolutions is that I can adjust them! If they’re not working or they’re not meeting my needs in any way, I can change! There’s no failure here, no mistakes, just a redirection. A tangleation, you might say 🙂

So you’ve made it this far and I appreciate you reading all my ramblings. I hope you’ll try out so un-resolutions. If you need a creative outlet, please consider my Zentangle classes – if you’re not in Madison I have my Patreon that will be a great resource!

So, here’s to 2020 and letting small changes have big impacts…. or something motivational like that 🙂 And if all else fails, just put your pen to paper and get your tangle on!

Cheers!

Sarah

Returning to my tangled roots

It’s been almost 9 years since my first experience with Zentangle®.

It’s hard to believe it’s been that many years, especially when I look back and realize I had no idea how profound an impact that experience would have on my life.

*The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.

Learn more at zentangle.com.

I was a recent college graduate, working in my first “real” job (I’ve since learned that all jobs are real!), and floundering a bit in my personal life. I needed a hobby, an outlet. Something creative. I liked to color in coloring books, but was starting to feel it just wasn’t enough. But, I didn’t know how to draw or knit or build anything.

My mom mentioned one day that we should try this Zentangle thing. What the heck is it? Doodling? Drawing? I didn’t really understand, and I was really quite skeptical. But, mom offered to pay, so hey why not? (Also, I love my mom and love spending time with her, so this was just an added bonus).

Leading up to that first class I did very little research, I had seen some “Zentangle” things and was already feeling overwhelmed. I even had a co-worker, who was wonderfully artistic, show me her “Zentangle” art she created just from looking at pictures on the internet. What the heck! I’ll never be able to do that! That’s so complicated. So, I started to worry.

Fast forward to the day of class. We got to the stamp shop it was taking place in. Mom’s friend joined us (someone I consider a friend myself now too!). Class started and something flickered inside me. As class went on I was more and more amazed! This is so fun! This is so simple! I wish I had this all my life! I found out the CZT was teaching another “intermediate” class that afternoon, so I signed up for that too! By the end of the day I had 6 hours of class time under my belt, a bag of supplies to take home, and a fire burning brighter than I’d felt in a long time. A Tangler Was Born!

My very first tangle! I’ve saved it all these years and love showing people where I started.

Looking back, it really is amazing. I had no idea that this little thing would turn into such a huge part of my life. I’ve obviously since become a Certified Zentangle Teacher myself. But I also now consider myself an artist. I’ve tried different mediums, I even took a Drawing 101 class at the community college and drew actual things! I still prefer abstract – more for the flow process, it’s easier to relax when I’m not trying to perfectly capture the shadows in a still life picture.

More than anything is that Zentangle has brought so many wonderful people into my life. I’ve been able to share this love of mine with people all over the world through social media. But I’ve also taught classes in-person, attended workshops, and joined communities that gather around this silly little thing called Zentangle.

So this week, when one of the handful of ways I share my classes and inspires other just dissolved before my eyes, I was heartbroken. But, I cannot dwell, I have to move forward. So I’ve decided to go the route of Patreon. I had considered this platform months ago but decided to stick with what I knew – oh how life has its own plans! This platform allows me to set up several options to be accessible to students, both financially but also personally! I want to watch my students grow and be able to communicate with them regularly and offer more content than just Zentangle, but more Zentangle-inspired things like drawing spirals or mandalas, or using watercolors. I have a lot of content lined up, on top of re-packaging and sharing the content that I had shared on Skillshare. I also plan to have some Sip and Tangle live video sessions, too. It’s great to be able to do everything within one platform!

So, I know I’ve posted a lot this week, and you’re probably tired of all my ramblings : ) But, I hope you’ll come check things out on Patreon and continue on this Tangled Adventure with me!

My first tile – revisited!

All new Patrons in December will receive a 30 minute Tangle Intro video where I revisit that very first tile I created in my first Zentangle class. I’ll muse about my experience but also show you step by step the Zentangle method and how to create the tile as well!

Until next time!

Cheers! – Sarah

A Series of Unfortunate Events…

Hi friends,

I wanted to send out a quick update about my Skillshare classes. I received a few replies this weekend about my links not working.

Turns out, Skillshare has deemed my classes no longer worthy – they no longer meet their guidelines. I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what guidelines they don’t meet, so I’m sure you can understand why I am devastated.

Unless a drastic change occurs in their communications with me, I’ll likely be moving to a new platform to bring you my classes instead of investing time in something that may not even fit their new requirements.

Do you have a preferred platform? Give me your feedback, I’m all ears to ideas!

Thanks for sticking with me! If you care to send me a note or leave a comment I could sure use a pick-me-up!

-Sarah

Searching for that “it” factor

It’s that time of year again when I realize I am truly awful at regularly blogging! What can I say? I prefer drawing to writing and other responsibilities!

Mental Health day from work turned into drawing a lot, a lot, a lot of lines!

I’ve spent this year trying to identify my creative aesthetic. What do I love doing most? What do I love most about others’ work? What pushes my creative buttons, inspires me to continue on? What makes me go “Oh, I love that!” or “How can I do that myself?”

A lot of this introspection and observation also reminded me of my Dynamics of Psychology in my undergrad program. While the first half of the class had me scratching my head and questioning everything I had learned about psychology thus far, I’ve realized years later that what I didn’t seem to learn in that class left an impression on me. Without getting too sciencey and breaking my own brain trying to explain, I’ll explain a little about what I absorbed from that class.

Fractals are everywhere. Repeating endlessly to eternity, forming the fabric of the existence of everything physically tangible. How it relates to psychology? I dont quite remember, but they’re pretty! And they consist of repeated lines and patterns. Sound familiar?

Fractals in kale!

And, humans and other living creatures will continue to behave a certain way until they approach an event or stimulus that causes them to change their actions or way of thinking, even if minutely. That small factor can completely change their lives both immediately and forever. Kind of like the butterfly effect, but not really. Again. Repeated behaviors, linear until they’re not.

Hmmm… brain broken yet? Mine is a little!

So how does this relate to my art and Zentangle practice? Let’s go back to my journey to discover that “it” factor.

It comes down to auras. Repeated lines. Echos. Halos. Vibrations. Rings from drops of water in a puddle. The steam rising from a pot of boiling water. Rays of light emanating from the sun and the moon and the stars.

So what if I just draw a line and aura it over and over? What if my pen gets bumped and now that line is no longer perfectly straight? Aura that new silhouette, that’s what!

And so, I set about to intentionally focus on auras in my work. Sometimes a border, sometimes wiggly lines over and over and over.

So now, a technique introduced to me by the Zentangle Method has woven itself into my life and my creative work in a way that I can only explain as revolutionary.

Am I being dramatic about a silly little concept? Probably. But for me, this epiphany and exploration has been really grounding and a great wellspring of creativity for me.

A 9x12ish canvas painted with super matte black, and tangled on with white ink

So, do you want to learn how to harness the power of the aura? I have just the thing for you (you saw this coming, right?).

Yep, I have a new Skillshare class available! I had every intention to publish this class 3 months ago, but life and excuses, excuses.

As always I am giving my email subscribers a free access link and a 2 months free link – use whichever you prefer! Skillshare does require an account, but if you’re just using the free access link you shouldn’t need to enter any payment information. If you decide to use the 2 free months, you will need to enter payment information. But, I know for a fact that it is SUPER easy to cancel your subscription and Skillshare doesn’t make it difficult or give you a guilt trip for doing so.

Free Access Link: https://skl.sh/2qOyUTQ

2 Free Months Link: https://skl.sh/2QThdxc

If you can leave a review, you’ll have my eternal gratitude! And I’ll have your feedback to use to improve or keep doing what I’m doing!

Examples from the Auras class

I hope you’ll enjoy!

Summer is winding down…

Ha! As soon as I said I might start blogging on the reg, I should have known that was a lie. Summer is now winding down, and it’s my favorite time of the year: fall! and my birthday! At the beginning of summer I started a new job. It occurred right after my last post and it’s been a whirlwind summer ever since! I’ve actually been working two jobs as I stuck around and helped my old employer out while they found a replacement. I love my new job and everyone there is amazing. I hope to stick with them a long time and grow in my adult education background.

I’ve also had a lot of fun this summer. Ted and I took a bus down to Chicago and had some amazing deep dish pizza followed by a trip to WNDR museum – super fun and super Instagrammable. My mom came to visit, which was so wonderful and so needed! We went kayaking, which I’ve never done before but can’t wait to do again! I showed mom around Madison…now I’m looking forward to my BFF’s visit next week for my birthday! I love my birthday, and even more so here in Wisconsin because the weather is always amazing — not hot like it was growing up in Phoenix! We’ll get some kayaking in as well as a little Ice Age Trail light hike, eat some good food, and catch up!

I have been working on another Skillshare class the past few weeks. Since I’ve been working with auras so much in my practice recently, I figured I might as well find a way to share my approach with the world! It’s funny timing, too, because Zentangle HQ also released their Project Pack series that featured a lot of auras. I find it curious how so many tanglers seem to be on the same creative wavelength. If you haven’t checked out Zentangle’s videos yet, I highly recommend them!

If you’ve followed me on Instagram you’ve seen me playing with a lot of fun art supplies and techniques. I recently picked up Blackest Black acrylic paint from Culture Hustle and it’s gloriously black (read the amazing back story to this pigment here). I painted a canvas with it and I am currently working on tangling over it in white with one of my fountain pens. I was really excited to discover a white fountain pen ink, and I think it’s really going to increase my white on black tangling productivity–as well as help me reach my goal of using all/mostly sustainable and renewable art supplies, one less thing to throw in the garbage! And, it’s going to look awesome! I haven’t decided yet if I will sell it or keep it, I guess it depends on how it actually turns out!

So, as summer comes to a close, keep a look out for my next Skillshare class! It’s going to be thorough and include several different completed tiles. I’ll also start working on my next class – white on black!

A peek at my upcoming Skillshare Class

I have received a few reviews on my older Skillshare classes that have mentioned the video and audio quality. It’s been something I have wanted to go back and change for a long time, and as time goes by I think it becomes a more glaring issue… but that happens when technology is constantly updating! So, I have high hopes too for going back and updating my older classes over the next few months so that the videos are shot with more modern technology 🙂

Until next time!

Tangle.Sip.Repeat.

-Sarah

Two weeks in a row, say whaaaat?

Last weekend I had a lot of fun watching everyone join my new Skillshare class! I have high hopes for this class and it’s renewed my motivation to get a lot more classes out and more regularly.

I also had a chance to finish a small watercolor commission for a friend. She wanted a large watercolor piece to hang in her bedroom, over her bed. We chatted about size and budget and decided that a tapestry with a print of the watercolor piece would be the best route! She’ll also get the original. It was a nice change of pace for me to work with my watercolors after working so heavily on my computer the previous week. The looseness of how watercolors can be used is a dramatic contrast to working with technology and deadlines!

One of several layers. Using a beachy palette that I just love!

While I was waiting for one of the layers of paint to dry (and there were many!), I was playing around with my Rotring Isograph pen. The ink had dried up a bit, so I had to clean it out and get it writing again. Once I started to get the ink going again I was playing with a few tangle-y elements and out popped this cool pattern!

Rotring Isograph with white ink, on black Zentangle® Apprentice tile

I named it Spirawings, and I’ll share here with you the deconstruction and a video! It’s basically a Frankenstein’s monster of multiple tangles – Joki, Mooka, Dra-wings. So, I won’t say I created it, instead I composed it.

Pen: MonteVerde Regatta Northern Lights,
Ink: Noodlers Cactus Fruit Eel

I think Dra-wings is a pattern that this is closest to. But it’s also a pattern I just.cannot.do. I don’t know why, but it just turns out like mush. So Spirawings is probably the closest I’ll ever get to what is intended by the steps.

If you’d like to watch me complete the steps, check out my video on Youtube, just below. I’ll also have it posted on Instagram! Otherwise, feel free to download a copy of the steps I created just for you!

If you haven’t already, check out my Skillshare class! There are still a few free links available, but they do expire on June 7th! You don’t need to enter any payment info in order to use this link, but you may have to enter your name and email address (Skillshare likes to make sure you’re human and not a robot I think). Link: Choose Your Own Tangle Adventure

I am going to try and revive this blog a bit, so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me more often! I expect to write a little bit each month!

Until next time! – Sarah

Principles of Zentangle® Series: Part 1: Deliberate Focus

Zentangle® is a lot of fun and leads to a lot of special and beautiful outcomes. But there are so many principle aspects of Zentangle that make it so incredibly unique from other forms of art and meditation.

One of those principles is the idea of deliberate focus. This concept centers on the goal of creating one stroke at a time. Every time you set your pen to the paper you should focus on that one stroke or line you’re creating at that very moment. You may know in the back of your mind that you are completing a certain named pattern, but at that very moment all that matters is that one line.

In doing so you allow yourself to slow down and enjoy the moment. The act of tangling becomes less stressful because you are not worried about perfection or how this line may affect another. You’re also allowing room for creativity and possibility. Possibility leads something wondrous.

So, next time you’re sitting down with your tile and your pen, focus on that one stroke. Watch how the ink spreads across the paper, how it interacts with other lines you’ve already put down. Focus on how you’re holding the pen, what it feels like in your hand. Notice the texture of the paper and how the pen travels across it. Take a breath between strokes.

Pretty neat, huh?

Give it a try and let me know in the comments what you experienced.

Cheers!

Sarah, Zen & Zin

*THE ZENTANGLE® METHOD IS AN EASY-TO-LEARN, RELAXING, AND FUN WAY TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES BY DRAWING STRUCTURED PATTERNS. IT WAS CREATED BY RICK ROBERTS AND MARIA THOMAS. “ZENTANGLE” IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ZENTANGLE, INC. LEARN MORE AT ZENTANGLE.COM.