Artist Focus: Anica of Zen Linea

Hello and welcome to The Tireless Tangler!  It’s been awhile since I posted here and a lot of changes are in the works! One thing that hasn’t changed and won’t change is the Artist Focus posts highlighting these incredible artists and the personalities behind the art. I’ll be honest and say that I sometimes am stunned and amazed at who these artists are and how they arrived on my radar! I’ve been admiring the artist this week for quite some time. Her lovely style and composition always combine to create something incredibly beautiful! As I prepared this focus, I was almost speechless at the wonderful person behind the art. This week’s artist in focus is the talented Anica of Zen Linea! Many of you will recognize her art from Facebook and Instagram. I will let you see for yourself what she has to say. Let me introduce you to Anica aka (also known as) Zen Linea!
 
 
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“Hi, my name is Anica and I’m very happy to be the featured artist on thetirelesstangler.com.

 

 

 

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I am a 42 year old living in Croatia. If you asked at least 90% of my friends and acquaintances to describe me, they would tell you that I’m a wife and a mother to a teenage girl, that we own a beloved Maltese dog. They would also know that I’ve been working in the financial industry for 15 years, taking the CFO roles for the past 12. My husband’s and my love for music and traveling has brought us to many cities, countries and a few continents, seeing dozens of concerts of our favorite rock bands and getting to know fellow concert goers with which we share our passion. 

 

 

 

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Then there is also that precious area of my life that I tend not to disclose to everybody. My nearest friends know just how passionate I am about arts and crafts, as well as those fellow artists that know me from some craft forums, closed Facebook groups or other social network outlets.

 

 

 

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As a kid I loved to draw but my professional life took me into other directions so I doodled on every little paper at hand, while keeping my nose stuck mostly in spreadsheets or specific software I used for work. After I gave birth to my daughter, who will soon turn 16, I got the sudden urge to make something with my hands. I purchased some beads and wires and made a set of Christmas ornaments that I use to this day. Later I decided to develop the wire working skills and started making jewelry. I connected to a group of Croatian crafters through an internet forum and spent hours making intricate jewelry pieces. At that time I stumbled upon Eni Oken’s web page and invested in her stunning tutorials. After I decided that it is a shame to waste so much time on craft materials, I started purchasing silver supplies and gemstones and finally decided to take a formal class so I now own a title of a Contemporary Jewelry Designer that accompany my Master of Economics title. I was smitten with jewelry making for a few years, but my daily job started to occupy me more and more, which led to less and less jewelry making.

 

 

 

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Fast forward a couple of years and two years ago I came across Eni Oken again, only this time it was to find out that she switched from silver and pliers to pens and pencils!!! You can imagine my excitement when I found out that there is this structured doodle art form called Zentangle! I was immediately hooked, started an online search and tried to get my hands on as many books and art supplies as possible. I discovered many talented and supporting artists which inspire me on daily basis. So here I am today, with an album full of drawings, drawers full of supplies and a brain full of ideas.

 

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I started from the old-school white tiles with black pen for line drawing and graphite pencil for shading. Then I discovered tan and grey tiles and fell in love with the use of white pens and pencils. Getting good quality art supplies can be a challenge in Croatia so on a trip to the US I purchased a big set of Prismacolor pencils. They sat on the shelf and challenged me to try them out for some time, before I finally grabbed them and fell in love with using them for coloring and shading tiles. It is so important to be curious and fearlessly try different directions. I find that my interest in art making is helping me face challenging life decision that not only affect my hobbies. I’ll try to explain why that is so and what Zentangle means to me.

 

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There are many things that I love about Zentangle. Not being a patient artist who works on the same piece for days, weeks or months, I appreciate the small format with a standard 9×9 cm tile size. It is so comforting for me to see a small blank paper tile, as opposed to a big white canvas. You can have only a few fairly cheap supplies, carry them in a purse and draw almost everywhere. You can pick and choose among working on an intricate piece or a simple drawing that can end up being as impressive, or even more so. And even if you opt for a complex piece, you can finish it at one take, right after getting back from work. I tried meditation as a means to relax and recharge but I find my mind wandering and obstructing the process. With Zentangle I suddenly find myself breathing calmly, focusing on one line at a time and everything seems to be so peaceful and simple, just as life should be. My alias that I use on social media sites is Zen Linea (linea is a Latin word for a line) and I believe that those two words are the nucleus of Zentangle art form. There is a lot to learn from mindfulness practices, and Zentangle is a perfect choice for those who tend to express themselves through art. There are many who believe that they can’t draw even a straight line and change their mind while using Zentangle method, getting self-assured and taking back the power, not only to tackle paper and pen, but also other life challenges. That is the power which Zentangle represents to me.

 

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My goal is to keep exploring, try new techniques and art forms and never stop being a curious child with a passion for making things. There is nothing more rewarding than taking something raw and simple, being that a pen and a paper, a piece of wire, an acrylic paint tube, some modeling clay, a piece of fabric or a wire, and turning it into something new, giving it a new life. That’s what everything is about and I’m confident that it pays off to pursue this passion and share it with others. 

 

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I have an Instagram account (instagram.com/zen.linea) and a Facebook page (facebook.com/zen.linea) so you can check and see what I’m up to. I am not a traditional artist by profession but I’ll be delighted if my work sparks someone’s inspiration for creating. I am so grateful to many great artists I stumbled upon through all the past years that led me to what I am and what I’m yet to become.”

 

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Anica is so wise in so many ways! It has been a real honor and privilege to get to know her better! I’m a real fan of her art and I encourage you all to follow her social media!  It’s always a wonderful surprise to see her newest posts! I also invite you to see my first video featuring Anica’s art on YouTube! This is where I beg you to like and subscribe to my channel! Anica’s art is so awesome with music! https://youtu.be/J-K6Tfdi5l4
 
I have so many new artists to share and you will love them all! As always, dont forget to leave a comment or like! That’s how I know I’m doing the right things, or complaints are also a chance for improvement! See you soon for the next Artist Focus!

Artist Focus: Philippa Napper

Welcome back to thetirelesstangler.com and also pattern-collections.com. I have another terrific Artist Focus post for you. Many months ago, I did my first artist focus on a friend from the UK, Sarah Fowler. This week’s artist in focus is Philippa Napper, who is my 2nd artist from England. Philippa is an artist for whom art seems instinctual. (This is my impression) She seems to know which direction to go while I’m floundering for understanding. It is true that she has some education in the arts, but she seems to follow her heart and the results are absolutely amazing! Here’s what Philippa shared about herself, her family and her art!

“I am 42 years old and live in Birmingham, England. I went to University in Liverpool to train to be a PE teacher, but I also had Art & Design as my second subject, although I didn’t actually teach it until my 14th year of teaching! I teach in an inner-city Church of England School in Walsall – just north of Birmingham, which is predominantly Muslim. This might sound odd, but the families really respect the Christian values, which are essentially the same for any faith, and so they send their children to us. It gives us all – pupils and staff – a really good lesson in respect, tolerance and understanding of the differences which make us who we are. We accommodate children from all around the world who, at the last count, speak 67 different languages! I absolutely love the kids at our school.

During school holidays my husband and I head off to a place called Snowdonia in Wales and we walk in the mountains with our dogs or spend time on the beach. On rest days we sit outside in the sun – reading, listening to music and tangling. This is when I am at my happiest..

I first heard the term Zentangle when I visited the art department of another school. One of the teachers was telling me how the children were making 3D sculptures of beetles, covering them with plastic and then decorating them with Zentangle designs. This was in 2014 when adult colouring books were becoming HUGE in the UK, so I was enjoying switching off by doing this, but found myself thinking that I wanted to draw the designs as well as colour them in. I never got round to Googling Zentangle though…

In the Spring of 2015 I discovered a Zentangle ‘bookazine’ by CZT Anya Lothrop. It was really influential because it had step-outs and examples so I now had some context.

It was this that started the Zentangle journey for me. In the beginning I drew in an A6 sketchbook that I took everywhere with me. Often while the kids were getting changed for PE I’d be hunched over this sketchbook grabbing 5min here and there. Staff meetings were great because I’d sit near the back and just tangle away. I’m sure I’m not the only one amongst us that will testify how tangling actually helps you listen and retain information too. I’d look to something I’d drawn and could remember exactly who was talking and what they were saying at that point. Shame it’s hard to convince people of this!!

This (Above) was my first ever proper composition. I hadn’t heard of strings at this point so I just drew instinctively. The second one is supposed to be my take on Umble. I did most of it during parents evening waiting for my appointments to turn up!!

Not long afterwards I found out that our inspiring headteacher was leaving the school. He was such a big part of my professional life I wanted to use my brand new Warm Grey Copics to create a piece for him incorporating the work ‘Magnificent’ which he always used to say to us in staff briefings. Despite this being my first big piece it’s still one of my favorites. Sadly I forgot to take a photo when it was complete so in this picture the orbs are white. Luckily you can’t really tell its incomplete!

After this I kept on tangling at every opportunity – Friday evenings became my ‘art night’ when I would shut myself away upstairs, put on an audiobook and draw for hours!

The next big ‘breakthrough’ was in the summer of 2016 when I started drawing lots of Marie Penzing’s tangle ‘Zing Zing’. I produced a tile using my new Polychromos and I just thought ‘this one is a bit special’. Thankfully I managed to churn out another two to make a Zing Zing triptych! This was also the first time I started doing Sandswirl in the way that I now call ‘Sandswirl 3D’ because it uses echo lines like Eni Oken’s ‘Mooka 3D’.

Since summer 2016, the last 12 months have been largely about colour, and distressed tiles in particular. I’m not a massive fan of graphite – I’d rather use grey Copics for shading, or go full on colour; either watercolour, pencil crayons, or coloured Copics.

This is Zing Zing, and the ribbon is To-To (my only tangle to date!) Done with Copic Original Markers on A4 special Copic suitable paper.

Couple of Tangle It! Facebook group #Go-To tiles from Summer 2017.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This is my absolute favorite colour piece: Drawn on A5 watercolour paper with Inktense Blocks that I just swirled around on their side to create some blocks of colours, and then just got the water brush and mixed them all together. Then used different coloured microns and polychromos.

It’s framed in my study!


And finally, my two most recent, and arguably best, tiles.

I have to say I am so thankful to have come across Eni Oken on Facebook. I have stated elsewhere that I believe the art we produce in the ‘Shading and Exploring Zentangle’ group has really taken Zentangle to another dimension, with regard to the 3-dimensional pieces that are being created. I absolutely adore it – it’s exactly the kind of art I love to produce. With the addition of Art Club Eni has helped me to add those tiny details that make all the difference – weighted lines, darker lines for outside edges, dramatic shading. It’s like the marginal gains maxim in sport. “His belief was that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.” ( https://jamesclear.com/marginal-gains) – talking about British Cycling coach Sir Dave Brailsford)

Zentangle has become a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As for the future, I would really like to attend the CZT training one year. I would like to go into Old People’s homes and teach Zentangle as a means of keeping their minds active and maybe with the patients with dementia, art may be as effective as music is for unlocking them, just for that moment. I don’t know but I feel it’s got to be beneficial. That would have to be voluntary as there would be no money in it, so for now it’ a future plan.

Just got to get a passport and start that ball rolling…….”

I think Philippa AND her art are extraordinary! The fact that she added the pictures of her kids (dogs) and said they were rescues, told me she is a kindred spirit. She is currently rehabbing her foot which means we get to enjoy her online a lot right now, so I am enjoying the interaction while we have her before she returns to work. Working with such a diverse group of children must be extremely rewarding! I feel quite blessed to have another friend from “across the pond”!

Enjoy Philippa Napper’s art and don’t forget to check out her new pattern “To-To” in my Tangle Step Outs in the above menu or here at Pattern-collections.com.