My Blog

Catch up – and cortisol?!

It’s been ages since I posted – I can’t remember all the things that have happened since August last year!  I have been tangling, usually daily.  Putting pen to paper mindfully helps keep me balanced and centered, and I think it might be able to do that for you too.  There seems to be more research coming out showing that practicing art helps reduce stress.  Here is one study published in the Journal of American Art Therapy magazine about how the study participants felt more relaxed after a session of unstructured art;  they found that many of the study participants’ cortisol level dropped by the end of the class (cortisol is often called the stress hormone.)  Although as a CZT I am not an Art Therapist, CZTs do find our students report a feeling of well-being after a Zentangle lesson, or after practicing on their own.  So get to it!

Here are some of the tiles I’ve worked on in the last few months..

oh!  And BTW, you can see more of my tiles – faster – on Instagram:  @justTangleCZT

Happy Tangling!

There is nothing like tangling to clear my mind.

Black pen and graphite in cream paper.  Simple repetitive lines, no expectations of the result. No mistakes. Breathe.  Enjoy drawing each individual stroke.  If you can’t find your zone, slow down by trying to draw a stroke only on each out breath. My favorite way to slow down is to watch the ink come out of the pen onto the page. 

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

Patterns @Liberty and Hampton Court

Liberty department store in London is a cornucopia of patterns, starting from the exterior architectural design.  This is continued inside with beautiful details such as the carved wood below.


Liberty also has it’s own proprietary design called Iphis shown on this handbag.  This design reflects Art Deco design.   Another design I admired is on the front cover of this embossed leather diary.

A lounge chair fabric was particularly beautiful, as was wallpaper outside the women’s loo.

Hampton Court Palace also had many designs, including the ceiling of the Royal Chapel.  The brickwork outside was also beautiful.  I could’t believe how many differently designed chimneys I saw.  Absolutely amazing.

Once you start tangling, patterns appear everywhere!

Two art galleries…

We had time to visit Hampton Court Palace with the amazing Cumberland Art Gallery.  I was *so very* lucky to have time and space to see amazing works by artists such as Rembrandt, Holbein, Gainsborough.  My favorite was this Gainsborough painting Diana and Actaeon, c1785-8  This photo from the Hampton Court web site doesn’t do this artwork any kind of justice.


What I really enjoyed about the gallery, was it was not crowded, meaning I could really get an opportunity to look at the artworks up-close.

We also had time to visit the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, where RAA members exhibit their (purchasable) artwork.  This is a totally different vibe, with modern art covering every wall-space possible.  Here are some of the artworks that I loved:

It was a great space, with lots of positive energy.  It was also very inspirational, considering the Art Journal Summer School I was working on!

Next post will show you some of the patterns I spotted!

Art journaling in the UK

We visited my kids’ grandparents in the UK, and instead of spending my artistic time tangling, I was art journaling.  It’s a real stretch for me, because I’m not an artist!  I came to this very unusual (for me!) class because one of my friends suggested we do an art journal summer school together.  The primary teacher is Marieke Blokland of – she is fun to listen to, and is also a really great teacher.  If you want to try out art journaling, you can do her fantastic free mini-workshop.

What is terrifically cool, is the only reason I had the confidence to try this (intimidating -for-me) class, is Zentangle.  The Zentangle Method has taught me to enjoy the process, to rely on instinct, to go with it – this translated perfectly into confidence for taking this new class.   And without really trying, regular Zentangling for the last year-and-a-half has meant I can now draw a line where I want it to be!

I really enjoy Marieke’s relaxed style of teaching while learning to use different media including watercolor crayons, acrylic paint, acrylic paint pens, watercolors and collage.  The different projects in each lesson have really stretched me in many ways; some I have really loved, and others weren’t my cup of tea (and Marieke says this is totally fine!  What one person enjoys, another doesn’t).  Here are two of my current art-journal pages, for the class “Noticing Beauty” that is taught by guest artist Mary Wangerin.   Finding beauty everywhere is also something I have learned from Mindfulness.  So when Mary suggested drawing something beautiful from our environment, it was easy for me to choose drawing a dragonfly and a bee, that were both in Grandad’s garden.


Next post I’ll talk about the patterns I found, and show you some of the beautiful artwork I saw!


Passport and Tangling 

Like many others I always knew when my passport is expiring. Except when I get the date wrong. Badly wrong. Suffice it to say that I almost ran out of blank tiles while waiting for this document to be prepared.  Here are two of my meditations 🙂