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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.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

My Most Unusual Zentangle Canvas

When my friend Debe asked me if I'd do a creative project for her, I immediately said, "yes!" Debe and I are soul sisters when it comes to creativity. She's a superb quilter with a great sense for design and color. So I knew that the application she had in mind for my Zentangle skills would be ever so creative. So here's the story.

Debe and her husband recently purchased a cute house in Frutta, Colorado, on the Western Slope. The bungalow is a wonderful little fixer upper (especially after the water pipes froze over the winter and flooded the whole place!) They've been redoing floors, drywall, kitchen, painting, etc.

Additionally, this is a house that has an unusual feature:
When you walk in from the back patio, you face the furnace room. From there you turn one way into the living room and another way into the master bedroom; not a really desirable look. But it would be too costly to change.

So brilliant Debe said, "why don't we have Annie zentangle something on the panel covering the gas heater." And I did!

I'll show you a progression of my project leading off with the final piece mounted on the heating element. Debe plans to paint the heater too to make the whole thing more attractive.

In any case, this has been my most unusual canvas to date!




Luckily this project came up during the summer months, and I was able to work on it nearly exclusively from my back yard.




Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Next Classes Posted

I am pleased to announce that my next two classes at Two Hands Paperie in Boulder have been posted. Click on the photo captions and read all the details for signing up. Space is limited to six in both cases so sign up soon!

These will be really fun - something new for those of you who have taken classes with me in the past. I look forward to seeing familiar faces there!

Gemtangle 
Gemtangle
Gemtangle Class - October 23



Bijou Class - December 4

Bijou dangle