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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Art, Method, Sales and a "J"

Maria writes: 
​So . . . at breakfast early this morning, (drinking a perfect cup of coffee that Rick had just made) . . .​ I was emailing a woman from Australia who sent us photos of some of her work. She thought they looked like Zentangle art. She created them about 35 years ago. ​

I replied to her that we know that pattern drawing has existed throughout history in many (all?) cultures​ and in different mediums. However, we developed the Zentangle Method as an easy-to-learn and fun way for almost anyone to enjoy this artform . . . people who may not have knowledge of it or know how to go about drawing in this manner.

In writing my letter to her, something occurred to me that I had not thought of before.

I have been creating art and selling it since I was very young. At about 5, I sold my painted rocks at the local church bazaar and I sold every last one. I have sold paintings, illustrations, typefaces, invitations, illuminated manuscripts, awards and presentations, designs for china, gifts and signs, to name a few. (I am sure there are others in the last almost 60 years of my art) The only two things that are on my (artistic) bucket list, is to create a wine label and movie credits. (So, if you know someone who has a winery or is a famous movie producer, please, if you can, casually drop my name, I would be ever so grateful!)

But I just realized this morning that (I believe) neither Rick nor I have ever sold any of our Zentangle tiles. (Of course, I have an occasionally selective memory, but for the most part. . . . )

We have given them away, donated them to non-profits (that may have sold them), traded a few, but in all the exhibits and gallery presentations, we just put them out there for people to get familiar with the art form. While we do market tools so others can create Zentangle art, and seminars so others can teach this art, it just struck me this morning as fascinating that neither of us have ever sold any of our original Zentangle tiles.

We feel that Zentangle is unique in terms of art. Rather like yoga, meditation, or contemplative stillness . . . there are no blue ribbons, no critiques or bad practitioners . . . a personal art . . . to have, to hold, to appreciate, to be grateful for . . . and a community of artists . . . to admire, to encourage, to share with and to learn from, and again, to be grateful for.

So, I wonder what made it different than all my other artistic endeavors. I had no problem selling those.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Rick adds:
When I began keeping bees about 7 or 8 years ago, I had the idea of selling honey. I still keep bees and I love it. But now I don't sell the honey. We enjoy it as a family and now we share the rest. Maybe there's a parallel since our tangling and my keeping bees are both labors of love and not what we depend on for income.

We love that other people sell honey. We love that other people enjoy selling their Zentangle art. It just seemed so bizarre that we had never thought about this until now, so many years later.

Maria continues:
We will send a tile to a randomly chosen responder, as we have in the past. (again with the giveaways. . .)

The winner of the 2 tiles from the last blog is:

Roslyn, please email your snail mail address to zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.

Oh, yeah and just for a bit of eye candy . . . here's a piece I did for my grand-nephew who just graduated high school.

He was also the youngest CZT for a while. I used the classic (letter in a box) format for an illuminated letter, but thought a creative young guy like Joe would appreciate something unexpected, a bit quirky, not so heavy. I did this on a Renaissance Zendala and mounted it on a cream paper on which I tangled a border. I used Micron black and brown inks, graphite pencil, white charcoal pencil, a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen, 24k gold leaf and a watery blue gouache.

I held it out, turned it this way and that, and decided I liked it . . . enough to give it away.

Tangle away!


Sunday, May 31, 2015


Maria writes:

What is all the hullabaloo with erasers? Can we really erase something we have done?

When I look back at why we included this principle in the Zentangle Method eleven years ago, nothing exacting comes to mind. Although, as an artist, I tend not to do rough drafts or purposeful sketches. I do think about my work before I start. I have a sense of what I want (or need) to be in the composition. I like the idea of creating as I go along. This has served me well. It has given me a space that allows growth and unexpected change in my art over time.

Rick and I agree that Zentangle tiles we create with no plan in mind, and which include so-called "mistakes" that happen along the way, shine above all others.

Zentangle provides, aside from other fabulous things (!), an opportunity to take chances, try new approaches and forge ahead, no matter what happens.

I love how this has meandered into my private everyday life, helping me not to schedule too much, or be upset by the inevitable "plan B" that sneaks into our days.

Our motto used to be "Embrace Plan B," but now that has changed to a more accurate description, "Embrace Plan Z!"

Rick adds:

Often I start a tile like I might plant a seed. When I plant a seed (tangle), I know where I put that seed in my garden (tile, border, string). Then I watch it grow and take its own twists and unexpected turns . . . much like I imagine some authors feel as they write their books, not knowing what their characters will do until a decision point arrives.

Maria and I recently enjoyed reading this article from the BBC, "Are erasers in school 'instruments of the devil'?" and we thought you might enjoy it, too.

I can remember times in my life when I wished I had an "eraser." But now I feel so grateful that I did not have one. Otherwise I might not find myself here/now with Maria and our family . . . and our extended Zentangle family.

Please share with us your thoughts about erasers. We will randomly choose a commenter (for whom we have contact info) and send that person these two tiles from us both.

With thanks,


Click image for larger view.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Welcome Seminar 19 CZTs!

Please welcome and meet the 19th class of Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) who recently came to Providence, RI . . .

This blog post is a companion to this newsletter so that you can enjoy the newsletter images a bit larger.

You can find these and other CZTs in your area at this link.


With best regards,

Rick and Maria

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Welcome Seminar 18 CZTs!

We wish to welcome and introduce to you the 18th class of Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) who recently came to Providence, RI from 16 countries around the world . . .

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China*
  • Ecuador
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand*
  • Oman*
  • Singapore
  • Spain 
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • UK
  • USA
* New countries!

This blog post is a companion to this newsletter so that you can enjoy the newsletter images a bit larger.

You can find a CZT in your area at this link.


With best regards,

Rick and Maria

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Flux and . . .

This blog post shows larger images introduced in this newsletter and announces the winners of our previous two blog posts.

First, the winners:

We had so many great comments on our last 2 blogs. Thanks to everyone for taking the time.

For the silver tray blog, "Tray Bien, Merci" our random draw of commenters picked
  • J Bee
  • Michele Taylor
  • Chriss
. . . and for the stained glass window blog "Family, Passion & Gratitude" our random draw picked
  • Mary Reichs
  • Donna Cyr
  • Ginny Styles
Please send your snail mail address to Maria at maria [at] zentangle [dot] com so we can send you your present!

Again, thanks.


And, here are larger images from our recent newsletter.


© Serragulturk | dreamstime.com

Thanks to all for playing!

Best from us both,

Rick and Maria

Click images for larger views.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Family, Passion & Gratitude

​Over a year ago, we decided that our porch, where we spend most of our at-home time​, was in need of a bit of color. The outside door has a transom window above it that seemed ideal; not too big, not too small -- with the sun peeking through this south facing window all day long.

We have recounted the story of the Birth of Zentangle so often, that we wanted to memorialize that day, and thank the "angel" (?) whom, for lack of a better term, we credit for bringing it to us.

As we discussed this we realized we already have quite a few angels that have made their home here at 27 Prospect Street. We didn't realize how many as they arrived randomly from here and there, without fanfare, without ceremony.

There's one on the outside of the house, that I painted many years ago (a "putti") inspired by the Sistine Chapel ceiling (here seen watching another angel that visits often . . . "UPS Bob").

Verdigris cherubs watch over the opening between our living room and dining room.

There are etchings we purchased in Boston on a sidewalk sale near the Museum of Fine Arts.

One favorite, an old lithograph of beautifully colored cherubs with wings of butterflies, rather than feathers, called out to us.

And many other angel-inspired images have gathered in our home:

Rick and I designed this window with a friend who creates art in glass. His dad was a master stained glass designer and creator, and our friend grew up amidst this mastery. Coincidentally, his dad (recently passed away) was my teacher when I studied this art form (just enough to put glass in my kitchen windows) over 35 years ago.

We unveiled this window at our recent "Zentangle Christmas Party" (postponed for months by our abundance of snow!) Rick had rigged up spotlights outside. We called everyone together on the dimly lit porch and Rick, holding a dimmer switch behind his back, gradually turned on the lights.

We enjoyed sharing this unveiling with our family and friends we work with. It was the first time anyone else had seen it.

It looks nice in the day, too . . . even a cold, gray day!

There are all kinds of details that make this window personal, take your time to enlarge it and enjoy the bluest blues, the ochre-y wings and the tangly bits here and there . . . the symbolism and the craftsmanship.

What do you see in it?

Let us know in the comments and we'll forward a print (or two) of this image above to some randomly chosen commenters.


We will announce the winners randomly chosen from our previous blog and this one in our next blog.

Click images for larger views!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tray Bien, Merci!

On a recent trip through Putnam, Connecticut, a quaint town full of antique shops, Rick and I wandered dusty aisles in search of what . . . we knew not.

We were about to leave when I spotted an old (perhaps late 1800's) crystal inkwell. Looked to be a petite ladies possession, delicate yet heavy. (Can that even be?)

It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but Rick bargained the bargainer into a palatable arrangement. Lovely!

As he was paying the gentleman, I spotted this treasure . . . an old silver-plated tea tray, 13 x 21 inches, badly worn, but begging for a chance to find a new home. For $5, I knew I had to "rescue" it!

The center of the tray was a mess, not something I wanted to put out on the dinner table right away. But its stained center offered memories of delightful patterned melodies. I knew we could easily bring it back to life, make it sing again!

After about an hour with a Sakura® IDenti™Pen, it became our newest treasure. I think it will wear pretty well without a finish over it. We'll see. And I think I prefer the idea that in a few years, I might do a different design on it.

What do you think??

AND. . . 

What interesting things have you tangled lately? Share it with us and we will (randomly) choose 3 and send some goodies your way!

Life is good.

Maria (and Rick) . . . and Bijou, too!

Please reply with some sort of name (not as anonymous) so we can distinguish your name as a winner!!

Click images for larger views.