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

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

On Following “The Rules”…

Happy Labor Day, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying this extra day to rest. I wanted to share something near and dear to my heart, the reasons why I love Zentangle® so much and credit it with my creative awakening. I’ve included here some wonderful words by CZT Sandy Hunter on the “rules” that separate Zentangle® from other forms of art such as doodling or line weaving. Here is a link to the post, I hope you take a moment to check out her site, it’s chock full of goodies!

 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

a post with no pictures.

“I don’t really care what the “rules” of Zentangle are! I’m not a rule-follower…it’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 a 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, these guidelines 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 guidelines (they’re just roads to a destination, 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 mindfulEvery guideline 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 steps 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.
• ❃ • ❋ • ❁ • ✿ • ✽ • ❀ •
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