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.

Diva Challenge #338

This week’s Diva Challenge was to do “white on black”. It’s been some time since I have worked on black much. It took me back to my first pattern, Apcorg. I drew it on black a lot! So I decided to do Apcorg this week. I finished quickly and felt I hadn’t done much so I tried it out on a Zendala black tile. I’d never used a genuine black Zentangle ® tile before nor a zendala tile so I tried it out.

I have to say I’m not a fan of how my white pens performed. The genuine black zendala is very good paper (Fabriano) and appropriate for wet media. Unfortunately, this means it likes to soak up ink. I used both my Gelly Roll and my Uniball Signo. They rolled on okay but by the time I would finish the next stroke, the last would be soaked in and no longer looked crisp and white, making me try to redraw lines. It gave the piece a rather blurry appearance. I don’t know if they offer the apprentice black tiles in Zendalas but it’s a much better draw on those tiles with black. This is my opinion, So see for yourself. I think square is a nicer look than in the round.

And lastly, because I’m a girl and love sparkling things, I added some clear glitter pen for pizzazz to my first tile.

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!

Artist Focus: Debra Huff

 

 

Welcome to thetirelesstangler.com! Home to some of the greatest abstract art you’ll see anywhere! (Oh and some of my art too! 😀) This week’s artist does not disapoint with her incredibly beautiful work! I think besides her art, what I love about Debra is that she struggles with the same insecurity as I about displaying her art. Once you’ve seen it, you will be amazed at this but it’s how most of us feel. Now imagine this blogger is bugging you for art and a bio and you’re really stressed! Thank you Debra, for sharing your beautiful art and story with us all. You inspire me. 

 

I’ve been a fan of Debra’s art for some time. She seems to hide in the background but when she posts, its always stunning. She has an innate ability that brings out the grace in patterns and finds organic ways to combine them that is, well, inspiring.

 

 

Debra Huff

 Here’s what Debra shared about herself, her art and the Zentangle ® Method.

“Hi, my name is Debra Huff. I can overcome my fear and call myself an artist. 

I stumbled on Zentangle about two years ago. I have an auto-immune disease that affects my lungs, heart and other systems. I had a sudden decline with my heart and felt a driving need to find something new I could learn and grow with as well as reduce stress while living with very limited activity. 

 

I came across an article in Psychology Today about meditative drawing called Zentangle. I googled the word and saw images that reminded me of childhood squiggle drawings that I would fill in with shapes and patterns. I read everything I could find online about Zentangle, bought a multi media journal and began drawing. 

 

I found Zentangle Facebook groups and challenges. I lurked trying the challenges and filling pages. It took a lot of courage for the first posting, but there was such a positive response I continued. 

 

 

The lessons, feedback and suggestions on Eni Oken’s Shading group spurred my growth and ignited my passion to learn more and more. 

 

 

 

The community/world connection was started with Stephanie Jennifer‘s Traveling Tangle Project. I couldn’t get enough of holding this beautiful start from someone halfway across the world, that was made just for me. 

 

Each group I am part of holds that special community. There is compassion, connection and love that fosters hope in the craziness of today’s world through the Zentangle meditative art.”

 

 

 

 

 

You can find and follow Debra on her Facebook page here.

 

I chose Debra this week for a couple of reasons. First, of course, her artwork is incredible. To know she’s been drawing for just 2 years means there may still be hope for myself and others who struggle with calling ourselves artists. The second reason is that she mirrors the struggle that I, and so many other new artists, have in trying to appreciate and share their own art and ideas. She is as supportive and compassionate to others as they are to her. After all, we all share this journey. Some are more successful than others, that’s true, but the real lessons and values found in the Zentangle® Method aren’t really about art at all. They’re different for each person, as we each gain something intensely personal from Zentangle®. As different as we all are, this shared journey is cherished by all of us. It’s what makes this community so special.

A few of the Zentangle groups Debra and I share are:

Eni Oken’s Art Club on Facebook (Art Club members) (enioken.com)

Tangle it! Pattern Club, Pattern-collections.com on Facebook 

Shading Zentangle and Beyond (Eni Oken) (those who follow Eni’s ebooks and lessons) enioken.com

Square One:  Purely Zentangle 

Zen and Zin Facebook group (DrShazia Azmi)

The Traveling Tangles Project (Stephanie Jennifer)

 

Artist Focus: Carlos Cano

Welcome back to thetirelesstangler.com! This week I’m bringing another incredibly talented artist, Carlos Cano, from Spain! I’ve had plans to feature Carlos for weeks and I’m so glad I can now showcase his amazing art! Carlos’ story is a fascinating tale of artistic progression. Personally, I am a big fan of the first picture below! Let’s get to know Carlos Cano!


“Hi, I’m Carlos Cano, and  live in Madrid, Spain. Since I was young I liked art in general, and drawing in particular. My initial attempts were drawings with ballpoint pen, first only in black and white, and little by little I introduced some color. I have to say that I have always been a simple amateur, I have never received any kind of art (except zentangle, I will get to that). My drawings were always abstract, in somewhat twisted ways, so much so that some friend always said that what I drew was “guts.” Sometimes I relied on something from my surroundings, but I always experimented with it: I was looking for shapes to attract me.
One of the things I always tried to achieve was color gradients, which took me for hours with the ballpoint pen. I also started to test gradients with stippling, but with this technique I did less drawings
I have always enjoyed experimenting with shapes and techniques, and always tried to go to all the art exhibitions that I have been able to. After each exhibition, when I got home, I came back loaded with inspiration, and I turned in blocks of drawing trying to do something similar to what I had seen (which I never got, but that really amused me).

 

Let me show you some of my old drawings, with ball point pens, and one stippled: 


This is an amazing example of stipple (using tiny dots to shade or make pictures). I’ve done these and they are incredibly time consuming but the effect is very cool!
 

 

In 1988 I left up drawing and began to try many other unfinished activities (including learning Japanese, or play rock guitar)

Three years ago, I took again a pen thinking on try some idea. In this case I used fountain pens, also drawing with dots. I did four drawings. The next is the one I prefer:


 

 

But it’s not good idea stippling with fountain pens: the ink always dries, and it changes color. And the nibs, well, they oxidize and also change the ink color.

Then, I discovered zentangleand before I learned the technique, I made the next attempt, also with stippling and fountain pens:



 



This astounded me! All small dots! I can’t imagine the time this took! Stunning!  

 

Since 2005 I have been attending Zentangle classes with María Pérez-Tovar, and I have always tried to experiment with the different tangles, modifying them and trying different ways to use them. For example, these are some personal versions of three tangles. Tri-BeeInapodNiuroda


 

 

I’ve used also some sense of humor in my drawings (the first is a version of the tangle Drawings, the second was for Halloween:

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I’ve mixed different media in a drawing, as in this hand I’ve used micron, alcohol markers, color pencils and stippling:

 

 

Spend a minute looking at this. There is so much subtext and the attention to detail is to be appreciated! I think my favorite element is the single Printemps on the index finger. A perfect example of the line weighting we’ve been working on in in various groups! Perfection!

 

Recently I have recovered the desire to experiment with other techniques, and I have redrawn with colored ballpoint pens. This has been my first attempt for more than 30 years.

 

Ballpoint pens are what’s really amazing about this and all of them. With a pen like Pigma Micron or other technical pens there is a nib with ink flow like a felt tip pen. Stipple takes a light touch down for each dot. Ballpoint requires pressure with a circle movement each time. No big deal. Until you work on this scale. Incredible!

 

In this drawing I’ve used Copic markers as color background, and ballpoint pens:

 

 

 

 

One technique I discovered recently is that of shaving cream. With it you get backgrounds of random colors very interesting. I use it with liquid watercolor, although you can also use food coloring, even acrylic paint. My way of drawing on these backgrounds is not very orthodox: I try to draw shapes following the colors of the background and then modifying and adding figures as they occur to me. I must say that my way of drawing is formed by 90% of improvisation, and some previous idea that I quickly modify as I discover possibilities in what is coming out.

The following sequence shows more or less of what I’m talking about:
 
 

 

The next example correspond to a version of StaubKorn’s Pico:



 

With patience and imagination, you can transform any background in what you want. For example, I transformed a partial blue tile in a “tree of life”:



I’m still in awe of Carlos’ techniques both old and new! I’m going to try the shaving cream trick for sure! I’m so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to get to know these artists from across the world! You are a fascinating bunch and I cant wait to show you who is next!