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.

Artist Focus: Tracy Lucero, CZT

This week’s artist focus features CZT, Tracy Lucero. She’s a bit of a mystery and  tends to stay in the background! But when she does post, WOW! It’s something spectacular! I had no idea she was a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT)! I first became aware of Tracy’s art in Eni Oken’s Art Club. Tracy’s art had a polish to it that you don’t usually see in beginners like myself. I began to watch for her posts. When she joined the Facebook group Tangle It! Pattern Club, I started planning this article! I love merging the art with the artist!

 

Here is what Tracy shared about her art, life and the Zentangle ® Method.

“Hi everyone!  I’m Tracy Lucero and I live in Overland Park Kansas, USA. I have a wonderful husband, 3 boys, a lovely daughter-in-law, 2 Great Danes and a cat.  I’ve been interested in art for as long as I can remember.  Drawing, painting, crocheting, mosaic, etc.  The list is long and I love trying new things.  Probably the one thing I’ve always done though, is doodling.  Drawing on pretty much anything I could get my hands on – even things I shouldn’t be drawing on.  🙂  

I don’t quite remember how, but I found a book online called, “One Zentangle A Day” by Beckah Krahula, CZT.  The introductory pages talked about the creators Rick and Maria, the history of Zentangle and most importantly, the  Zen that comes from tangling.  I was hooked.  I worked on the lessons each day until I finished the book.  It was so much fun and I loved the “structure” of learning each tangle and creating little pieces of art combining different tangles together.   I joined the Zentangle blog and when the Seminar dates were announced in 2016 to become a CZT,  I knew I had to go.  I have an extremely stressful job, so when I got done with Seminar, I couldn’t believe something in this world could be so uplifting and people could be so kind.  I hadn’t felt that happy and at peace in a long time I realized.  It was quite literally, one of the best experiences of my life.   The positive, creative energy from CZT Seminar #23 was so wonderful.  I’m pretty sure I drove my husband crazy when I got home and went on and on about it.     

One of my favorite things about Zentangle isn’t just the art, it’s the sense of community, love, friendship, and positive support from people I don’t even know.  It doesn’t matter if you’re from Kansas City, Canada, Switzerland or anywhere across the globe, everyone is just there to be encouraging and helpful.  I went to ZenAgain in Nov 2016 and it too, was such a great experience.  I joined Eni Oken’s Art Club this year and I find I really enjoy the structure of learning a specific lesson and working on that challenge until the next one comes out.  The positive feedback and “caring critiques” have really helped me to grow as an artist. Seeing all the stunning artwork posted is so much fun.  It’s not always easy to post my artwork online, but it’s getting easier and more fun as I become more confident in my ability.   I look forward to more learning, meeting new people and growing as an artist.”

Tracy is another member of this great, compassionate community, that continues to awe me with it’s creativity and warmth for others. If you would like to follow Tracy’s Facebook page, you can find her here! There are many, many stories like Tracy’s, and each one is full of encouragement and hope! Take a moment and visit Zentangle.com. Find out for yourself why this Method has changed so many lives!

Embedded Letters and Eni Oken’s Art Club

It’s been quiet….too quiet. I haven’t posted for a couple of months. Last year, between July 4th and August 14th, I lost 3 dear people to suicide. All I’ve done since is to keep getting out of bed every day and to hold my little boy close. I’d like to say it’s gotten easier but really the pain is as fresh as a year ago. I’ve taken a couple of months to get my emotional health sorted out and taken a break to spend time with my grandson who is struggling with the same losses. The good news is that I feel I’m fighting through it and I hope to blog some without stressing myself with a lot of work. Thanks for your support and understanding.

I’m particularly grateful for Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, founders of the Zentangle® Method, and their video series called “Kitchen Table Tangles” (KTT) on the Zentangle ® Mosaic App via YouTube. They took a new look at several classic tangles and I found mine took on a new life! The most recent video was about embedded letters. Basically to camouflage the drawn letters with simple tangles and embellishments making them blend into the art piece. I incorporated Eni Oken’s 3D Mooka into many of mine (I will talk about Eni in a moment) and I’m addicted to drawing them! Here are some of my attempts.

And last I used a simple S curve embellished with Eni Oken’s 3D Mooka.

I recently joined Eni Oken’s Art Club. Eni is a CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) and artist with 30 years of experience. She has many ebooks and videos for purchase that incorporate the Zentangle ® Method with her art techniques. If you are searching for Zentangle art on Pinterest, you have certainly seen her art. I started with her book 3D Tangles, Shading Fearlessly, added 2 more and then she added Art Club! Art Club allows you access to her newest book or video, plus every new lesson that she releases from that point on, for a reasonable monthly fee. I love it! I’m addicted to her lessons! I’ve spent many happy hours practicing these techniques and I’ll be focusing on my journey with art club as we move forward. If you’re interested in Eni Oken’s Art Club, start here on Eni’s website.

It is good to finally be back to writing! Now that school has started I have more time for art exploration! Come back soon for the step out to my new pattern: Marito!