Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Botangle Home Studio Opens this Month with Gemtangles Class!

I'm very excited to announce that I've finally gotten it all together to open my home studio to classes! My announced June 11 class filled up so fast that I actually increased the class size from six to ten. But as you can see in my studio classroom photos, there is plenty of room, and the more the merrier!

I am looking forward to this opening with special door prizes, and enjoying a festive break in our Estes Park backyard with cake, coffee, tea, etc. We will have to fend off a few humming birds and butterflies! 

Sorry for missing my April post, but I was so busy trying to get all the logistics together for this milestone decision to be successful. Offering classes in my home studio had to wait for reliable weather (we had a big snowstorm in May with 31 inches) and some behind-the-scenes tasks to be completed.More exciting than the actual opening is being able to share it with some of my long-time students. I can't wait to see their progression. No better way to initiate such an occasion than with bling! We'll be creating Gemtangles like the ones shown below from a previous class.  

Since I am booked solid for my first class, I decided to offer another Gemtangles class on June 25. There is still room to sign up. As I mentioned in my original email announcement, though Estes Park might be a jaunt for you, you can make this a fun day excursion. I have scheduled class for four hours in the afternoon to give us plenty of time to finish and enjoy a break. That said, you could come to town early, have a delightful lunch, drive to Rocky Mountain National Park, or shop a bit in town. Here's a link to sign up or share:
My studio classroom waiting for you!

Studio classroom in Estes Park, CO.

One of my favorite Gemtangles on a Z3 tile. Such a blank tile is included in the classroom materials kit.

This is our model for the class. Experienced tanglers can, of course, improvise.

One of my Gemtangles.

These last two photos were taken at my last Gemtangles class held at Two Hands Paperie in Boulder, CO.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Month of Three

We're nearly halfway into March, the third month of the year, so I'm focusing on the theme of three by posting my first drawings on the fun, three-sided Zentangle tiles called 3Z. These 3.5" x 3.5" equilateral triangles are made of die cut, deckled-edged, 100% cotton archival paper.

Six tiles placed together create just one of many possible designs.

The 3Zs  have been out for a while, but last weekend was my first chance to break mine out and play. What a delightful canvas! Because the surface area is pretty small, the results develop quickly.

I love using particularly bold tangles/patterns that create strong contrasts on the value scale, and striking compositions. What's even more fun is the way you can puzzle these tiles together with different combinations for a different look. They also snug up with a good match to the standard square Zentangle tiles.

The triangular shape of these tiles just calls for a middle focal point of some kind; here I've used gemstones, a 3-d sphere, a braid-like belt, and an inverted triangle to draw in the eye.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Flash Card Fun!

I recently taught a class at Two Hands Paperie. Because the shop has so many things that speak to my heart, my crafts, and my passions, I always buy things after I've taught my class. Not a very wise way to make money!

Anyway, on that particular Saturday after teaching, a box of manilla vintage flash cards displayed on one of the antique shop tables caught my eye. I was immediately transported back to my school days (decades ago).

Amazing how such triggers bring back memories of long ago with such clarity: memories of adding, subtracting, multiplication, and division with my grandmother who was a first grade teacher flashed through my mind. We had hours of fun together with those cards sitting on her floral-print davenport, i.e. couch! Learning with Grandma was in no way arduous. She always whipped up refreshments and special treats; we laughed and learned, and I was so proud to have a "real teacher" teaching me. She even took me to her classroom sometimes.

How could I make these cards more memorable, I thought? "Zentangle" them came to mind almost in a "flash!" So I purchased two - now I'm sad I didn't buy them all - to give it a try.

Here are the two flash cards I tangled around. Next time I'm at Two Hands, I plan on stopping by to get more. I encourage you to try "tangling" on ephemera and other unusual things you haven't thought of. I can image tangling on old letters, stationary, books, maps, stamps, etc. The possibilities are limitless as you might already know.

I hope these bring back fond memories for you too!

These were all done while watching movies, sports, or other T.V. shows.
That makes me feel as if watching T.V.  hasn't been a waste of my time. So maybe these aren't the best in terms of execution, but spontaneous they are!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Got Weather on My Mind

Today I'm getting ready for a week in Seattle where I'll be attending the American Meteorological Society's Annual meeting; a job-related trip. So I'll be immersed in panel discussions, presentations, symposia, poster sessions, etc. that focus on the science of weather and climate. That's why I've got weather on my mind!

I have been too busy to work up new drawings to show you so I decided to share tiles drawn years ago that reflect my mood. These little journal entries have the feel of swirling wind, sunshine and rays of warmth, rain and snow, and funky clouds, ala Zentangle.

It also happens to be my birthday today, and I came into this world during a major snowstorm. Schools and most of the businesses in town were closed down that year on January 21. Luckily, my parents' neighbors had some heavy car that got mom to the hospital safely. Because of that event, my Mom and Dad always called me their Snow Baby.

Here in the Rocky Mountains (though beautiful and sunny earlier) the snow has begun to fall, as if to give me another birthday present. It's been a good day!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year and Kids Rock!

I can't believe that I let December get away without posting. I had every intention of showing you results from my December class at Two Hands Paperie on Bijou tile ornaments. But you know how it is - holidays, visitors, work, family, life just gets in the way sometime. Not that I'm complaining about any of them. We had a lot of good times in December with family and friends. I count this class among that fun. So let me show you their results.

The small, intimate class was as enthusiastic as they could be, with no fewer than three kids ages nine to twelve, if I remember correctly. Normally, the classes at Two Hands are for adults and the owner called to ask if I would allow kids under twelve in my class, and that the mother assured her girl and boy were both very "artsy." I said yes, of course. Who doesn't want to promote art in our youth?! I'm so glad that my parents always supported my interest in any type of art or craft, messy as many were; like a potter's wheel in the basement!

Kids are delightfully uninhibited - all three created beautiful ornaments and had no problems learning the tangle strokes. They just dove in! That's a refreshing reminder to all of us adults who agonize too much over this line and that dot!

Not to short shrift the adults in class. They were every bit as eager and adept as their results show. This particular ornament bedazzled us all. The student used sparkling gel pens on it, which you don't see here as well as in real life. It worked so well with the crystal dangle.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more active about my blog posts. I hope you all have success with your resolutions - especially if they include adding more Zentangle to your routine. Until next time, Happy Healthy New Year!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

From the tiniest acorn grows the mighty oak

I love acorns probably as much as squirrels do! Maybe it's because gathering them in the park across from my childhood home was like finding a treasure of scattered pearls in an enchanted forest.

Maybe it's their earthy nutty smell - or the mighty trees they fall from. Maybe it's the juxtaposition of their design; smooth shiny, often brilliantly colored shell compared to the bumpy, woody, dull or neutral-colored cap.

Intrinsically we all love acorns for the power they hold. That is so aptly illustrated in Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous quote, "The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."

Anyway - I've often incorporated acorns in my work, whether as a botanical illustrator, fiber artist, or now as a "Zentangler." Here are a few examples. I hope they give you food for thought and inspire you to realize your own strength and confidence in self expression.
The original "Botangle" drawing in black and white that I then colored as shown above.
This is a miniature piece that I drew in colored pencil for a "Drawing on History" class I taught at the Denver Botanic Gardens School for Botanical Illustration. It is in the style of famous 16th century artist Joris Hoefnagel. He was commissioned by Emperor Rudolf II to illustrate the Mira calligraphiae monumenta  or Model Book of Calligraphy that inspired this piece.

I've been obsessed with fiber and fiber arts for decades. Here are some colorful acorns that I felted and adorned with the caps from real acorns. A few real "McCoys" are scattered amongst that I recently gathered when I visited my daughter in Houston.

P.S. Did you know that there are BLUE acorns?!!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Look at These Gems!

A beautiful collection of  my students' "Gemtangles"
waiting to be completed with embellishing "tangles."
Now look at the "gems" who drew them!

What fun it was today creating Gemtangles" or "Gemzens" with this lovely bunch of ladies! I was so surprised when I showed up to class that I knew each and every one. Though they had taken classes with me in the past, this was their first time ever making gemstones. I am so impressed with their results that I had to share them.

This Sunday afternoon customers streamed into my favorite, colorful, jam-packed-with uniques-things-store, Two Hands Paperie, where we held class. The ladies were so engrossed in their project that they didn't take note - or notice the many onlookers amazed at what they were working on. They were too busy adding shading here, veining there, feathering-in highlights, and adding the finishing touch; sparkles with white gel pens.

We started by learning some pencil stroke techniques that I taught as a botanical illustrator at the Denver Botanic Gardens. I included other traditional illustration techniques; color layering and grisaille (a method of painting in gray monochrome, typically to imitate sculpture, and in our case form.) Our first practice mini gems included a drop shadow with reflective light; not so traditional, but they make the 2-D drawing so believable, and as if the little stones are glowing.

Next we progressed to our main attraction; the big gem that would be embellished with tangle patterns. Here are some of those plain stones, smooth and burnished, some already with highlights and veining.

One of my sample pieces.

My sample for this class.