Zentangle® on Leather Jewelry

View a YouTube – Enjoy a slide show presentation on the creative progression of the Art of Zentangle®.


     In a previous blog post I mentioned a slide show presentation I gave at Tangle U. It’s my pleasure to share it with all of you, I had so much fun putting the images and memories together. The slide show shares the creative progression of Zentangle over the years. It features some of the art work I have done as well as the events I have attended, the classes I have taught, and the wonderful people I have met along the way.
Cindy 1 Leather
Cindy sharing one of her Zentangle designs.
      Design Originals published ‘Zentangle Basics’ almost 5 years ago, it was the first book about the art form to be published. I have never lost the excitement I feel with each new book published and tangle project completed. I enjoy sharing Zentangle with new students and am lucky to have many other CZT’s (Certified Zentangle Teachers) willing to teach classes with me at my Creative Arts Studio in Arlington, Texas.
Cindy 3 Leather
Sandy Hunter, Linda Stoker and Pat Uraquat having fun with tangles on leather.
     Recently, Cindy Shepard CZT, taught a Zentangle on Leather class at the studio. Her fabulous leather jewelry was featured in the ‘Zentangle 5’ book.  The students created a pendant, a leather bracelet, and learned some tips and tricks for working with leather. Micron pens are a dream on the painted leather, we used a spray top coat to ensure durability. Cindy has worn her leather jewelry for several years now, and it still looks great. I have been with her several times when people have tried to buy the pieces from her arm and neck so it was a real treat to see how she creates them.
Cindy 2 Leather
Tangled leather jewelry made by students from the class.
Zentangle Pattern, enjoy and create!!
                        Zentangle #139
Clay tiles on Pear Cardb139
clay tiles b139
Clay Tiles

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com

Gelli Arts® Printing

    View a YouTube – my favorite creative tools, paints and processes for Gelli Arts® printing.



Gelli Arts printing… have you tried it? 

     If not, you are in for a real treat. If you have, then you are probably like me, you have tons and tons of prints in your studio just waiting for the next project. I have so much fun with Gelli plate printing. I love experimenting and creating on BOTH paper and fabric. To share my ideas, I have authored a book, ‘Gelli Printing’.


    Not only does the Gelli Printing book show all the basic instructions, innovative tools and tips for printing on paper, fabric and silk scarves, it also includes a variety of ways to use your prints. You’ll love all the tips and techniques about working with this revolutionary printing surface.


Paula loves her Gelli print papers – ready for collage!!


     Gelli printing classes fill up quickly at my studio, Sparks Studio for Creative Arts. Paula Pillow, one of the contributing artists in the book recently gave a wonderful class ‘Gelli Arts Printing and Collage’, students spent a portion of the day working with tools and textures to create papers and then used them to create a collage on canvas or watercolor paper. Much fun was had by all. Can’t wait for the next Gelli class.


Connie Alexander having fun with Gelli Arts at the studio class.


Linda Doutre with a table full of Gelli experiments.


    The Gelli Arts Plate is an economical way to experience printmaking. The plates come in a variety of sizes. The plates are portable, durable, and easy to clean. In the book, recipes to make your own Gelli printing plate are included, or a Gelli Arts plate can be purchased. 


Paula’s beautiful butterfly collage with Gelli papers.


     For those in the Dallas/Fort Worth area my artwork is being exhibited in the large gallery at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. The show has a series of Zentangle® paintings and ‘Heavy Metal’, works on canvas with Reactive Metal paints – these paints create genuine rust and patina and the show is quite ‘the buzz’.  The art show will hang at the FWCAC until June 28, 2014


‘Heavy Metal’ artwork.


Zentangle Pattern, enjoy and create!!


                Zentangle # 138








The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Tangle U in Portland Maine

 View a YouTube, great way to expand your zentangle® designs. Create windows in your journals, cards and envelopes. One design on the inside, another on the outside!


     The week after I returned from Art and Soul in Portland, Oregon I was off again, this time all the way across the country to Portland, Maine. Elaine Huffman did a fabulous job of organizing and hosting the second annual Tangle U. This forum is exclusively for Certified Zentangle Teachers. Even though the number of CZT’s continues to grow it still feels like we are all one big family when we get together.
   Workshops were taught by fellow CZT’s, with tips and techniques from Sandy Steen Bartholomew, Chris Letourneau, Molly Hollibaugh, Beckah Krahula,, myself and a variety of others. Marie Browning CZT taught some wonderful classes using Tombow markers and colored pencils with tangles plus we all received great markers and pencils free. Leslie Crumpler CZT and Julia Reed CZT from Sakura gave a wonderful workshop where we experimented with a variety of pens and surfaces…. we got to keep all the pens and learned some helpful hints about their use. Other companies donated free supplies too, my thanks to Dreamweaver for donating stencils we used in my class. USArtQuest furnished a great adhesive, Perfect Paper Adhesive, that we used in several classes.
  I gave a keynote slide show and taught how to do Peek-a-Boo cards. Everyone attending also received free copies of ‘Made in the Shade’ from Cris Latourneau and ‘Zentangle 10’ from Fox Chapel Publishing/Design Originals. Chris Titus gave us all a set of her new tiles A Random Act of Zentangle. You have probably heard of random acts of kindness, these cards are Zentangle tiles on which you draw your own art and leave for someone to find… a wonderful way to put a smile on someone’s face.
     I came away from Tangle U with tons of supplies and plenty of new ideas for Zentangle. Check with your local CZT since they will be offering new classes. I am looking forward to attending next years Tangle U as well. It will be held in one of my favorite spots… Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hope to see you at Tangle U – April 16-19, 2015.
     While I was in Maine I made a very special stop to visit my 4 month old grandson Benjamin and his mom Lani. He has already grown so much… as you can see he’s a very happy baby and and already loves to read (with a little help from his mom)!!
Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!
                           Zentangle #137

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com

Art and Soul Portland

     View a YouTube, remember how much fun it was as a child to make and cut out your very own paperdolls? Create your own colorful Zentangle® Paperdolls using watercolors and Inktense pencils.

    Another fun time was had by me at the Art and Soul Retreat in Portland, Oregon.  Lots of informative, fun classes and wonderfully creative students. Portland is a great place to visit so I stayed over a few days to spend time exploring the city and nearby sites. Lucky for me one of my students, Linda Carroll, volunteered to take me on a tour of the Columbia River Gorge. It was a beautiful drive up to Mount Hood and along the Columbia River, full of waterfalls and majestic landscapes. Every cherry tree in the Hood River Valley was in bloom in nearby orchards… simply breathtaking. If you ever have a chance, visit the valley in mid-April.
   Linda and her daughter, Callie, were in my Chalkboard Art Workshop, we worked on art journals and wood panels. I love working with the cradled wood panels, these are available from many companies and have a variety of surfaces to work on. The ones I used for this class are not pre-gessoed. Apply chalkboard paint in two coats, add images to the surface with a good glue stick or gel medium. Add lettering and finish with a Sakura white GellyRoll white pen for fine lines and a Sharpie water-based white pen for heavier lines. It’s that easy and the results are fabulous, this would be a good way to experiment with Zentangle too.
Linda and Callie used images from a Dick Blick catalog and flowers from a magazine to embellish their chalkboard art.
    While in Portland our daughter Ashley drove down (she is in the Navy near Seattle) to visit and explore Saturday Market. What a treat with all types of people and art. I quickly discovered my day usually went better when I started it off with a good, hearty breakfast of VOODOO DONUTS! They come in a whimsical pink box and there is always a line of people. The tag line on the box is “good things come in pink boxes” …so true.
      I had to stop at this Chinese restaurant to have my picture taken with the giant Panda momma and baby. As some of you might recall the logo for Design Originals, the book publishing company I owned for many years, is a panda. The original logo almost 30 years ago was a momma panda knitting a baby panda.
Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!
               Zentangle #136
Seed Pods

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com

Ideas for Spring

     View a YouTube… Tangle a bouquet of beautiful spring flowers – add brilliant color with  markers.

Some of my favorite Art and Soul Students in Kansas City
      I just received my copies of Zentangle 9 and Zentangle 10. I am really excited about both of these books, Zentangle 9 is full of beautiful mixed media art and tangles, the YouTube video this week is one of the fun projects from this book. Zentangle 10 features tons of easy paper projects incorporating tangles. Of course they both have new tangle patterns.
     Just returned from another fabulous Art and Soul Retreat, this one was held in Kansas City. Next stop Art and Soul Retreat in Portland, OR in April, and Art and Soul  in Virginia Beach, VA in September. I absolutely love attending and teaching at these events. It is pure heaven to be able to spend a week totally absorbed in art making and friend making. I consider each student a new friend and love that many of my old friends are recurring students. Another big plus for me is coming home with a heart full of inspiration and a handful of new art projects.
     Even though I enjoy teaching I always leave a little time on my schedule to take workshops too. There are so many wonderful instructors that I don’t want to miss. I want to share some mini-videos of the workshops that I will be teaching at upcoming Retreats. There is still space in a few classes… Hope to see you at an Art and Soul Retreat soon! 
     Portland Art and Soul Workshops
     Virginia Beach Art and Soul Workshops
Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!! 
                                             Zentangle #135

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com

Zentangle® and Gelli Arts

           View a YouTube, add some tangles to cute little wooden bird forms. I found these fabulous flat bird forms with wire legs at my local craft store and thought they were perfect for accessorizing a table or giving as a gift. 

     Speaking of birds a little bird told me Zentangle® has been in the news recently. Sherida Warner of The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, CO wrote a wonderful article featuring quilter and Certified Zentangle Teachers Nancy Smith, Judith McCabe, Bonnie Browning,“the quilted tangler”, and myself in an article titled “Zentangle Art Zooms into the Mainstream Consciousness”.
Zentangle has come a long way!!
     In February I gave a demonstration to the Granbury Arts Association on Gelli Plate printing… one of my newest obsessions. I love using my prints for journal pages, greeting cards, mixed media art and fabrics. Jeanette Alexander of The Hood County News wrote a lovely article about the Gelli printing process as well as mentioning my love for Zentangle. My married name is Sparks – the new studio I opened is Sparks Creative Arts Studio so… I love the title of the article… “She’s Like a Spark Plug” makes me sound so exciting!!
      My newest book, due out in May, is ‘Gelli Arts’. Half of the book is devoted to instruction and processes using the Gelli plate, the other half is a gallery of ideas by guest artists. The projects include some wonderful ways to incorporate Gelli prints into paintings, ways to use them in your quilting, as well as how to make your own totes and bags, and many other fun ideas.
     Nancy Smith has some wonderful videos on Quilters Newsletter TV. She demonstrates how to make quilted Zentangle art cards as well as pillows, the videos are free and can be accessed any time.  Nancy is also co-hosting a fabulous Quilting tour in Italy “Tangling in Tuscany”. I have always loved traveling, and mixing travel with art is my absolute favorite way to go. Imagine taking one of these luxurious trips and learning from some of the best.
Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!! 
                          Zentangle #134 

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com

Zentangle® on Glass & Ceramics

       View a YouTube, use dishwasher safe DecoArt® markers to add tangles to glass and ceramics. It is so easy to make a great gift. 

     Not sure how many times I have said this… but it bears repeating. Zentangle inspiration is everywhere! Especially prevalent in products at the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show I recently attended in Anaheim, CA. Not only stencils and stamps that use lots of unique pattern designs but a lot of companies now have their own version of repetitive line drawing or “doodling”. More and more books are being published, marker companies are picking up on the trend as well as other manufacturers. It’s a tangled world.  I have really seen the art of repetitive pattern designs resurge since the introduction of the Zentangle® drawing method to a wider audience some years ago.
          This year at CHA I was pleased to host a “Beauty of Zentangle” workshop for retailers, I also did a few Zentangle make and takes at the Design Originals  booth to promote ‘Zentangle 9 – Color with Mixed Media’ and Zentangle 10 – Origami and Paper Crafts’... each book not only features new tangles but other ways to incorporate tangles into your art.
     DecoArt has introduced some fabulous markers for glass and ceramics… perfect for adding tangles to mugs, plates and many gift items. I had a fun time in their booth doing Zentangle make and takes on ceramic tiles. These great markers are easy for anyone to use, and bake in a home oven to make permanent tangles that are dishwasher safe. I hope you’ll take a moment to look at this week’s YouTube video.
Penny Raile CZT #2, Nancy Javier, Barbara Finwall and me CZT #2.
     While in California I took the opportunity to visit with friends Penny Raile, Nancy Javier and Barbara Finwall. We spent a whole day at the Los Angeles Art Show held every year. New artists as well as famous artists are exhibited here… tons of inspiration.
     Zentangle was on our mind of course… during lunch Barbara noticed a beautiful pattern of purple beet juice on her plate so she got out her Micron and tangled on it!
 Nancy and I fell in love with this big guy!
Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!
                        Zentangle #133

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com

Excitement for 2014!

     View a YouTube, tangle some dreamy hearts on canvas for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. 

Valentine 2014

     Once again it has been a busy, busy year. My guess is that it has been a busy year for everyone. Luckily my year was filled with many wonderful creative art related ventures, I hope you were able to take time for your art as well. My biggest endeavor was opening my new painting studio and art gallery, Sparks Studio of Creative Arts. I downsized from a huge warehouse to a smaller and more manageable building in downtown Arlington, Texas. Not only does it allow me to teach a few of my favorite workshops but I get to learn from some fabulous artists who host their own workshops at the studio. – – – Teaching at the Art & Soul Retreats is such a pleasure. I taught at Portland, OR and Virginia Beach, VA this year. Being surrounded by so many artists who each bring their own unique style to each workshop is one of my most inspiring experiences. – – – In my spare time I authored six new books in 2013, Art Journals and Sketchbooks, Rust and Patina,    Zentangle 9, Zentangle 10, Beauty of Zentangle and my newest book, Gelli Arts.  What I love about doing books is getting to play in all mediums and discover new things about each one. – – – In November of 2013 I took a fantastic trip to India with Catherine Parker, “Drawn to India”. I can’t wait to share some of my best India experiences with you in an upcoming blog post. – – – Another highlight of my year was welcoming in my 9th grandchild on December 22nd, he was the perfect little Christmas present. We brought him home from the hospital on December 25th. Merry Christmas Benjamin!!
      Of course I always start the new year off with a trip to the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show. I shouldn’t count the years but I have been going to this international show since 1970. It never fails to ignite a spark of creativity and introduce me to some new people and projects. I will share some of my favorite finds with you when I return. If you happen to be going to CHA I will be teaching a workshop and signing free copies of ‘The Beauty of Zentangle’ at the Fox Chapel booth #1208.  Hope to see some of you there.
     Saturday – January 11
     11:30 – 1:00     Zentangle® Make n Take
       1:00 – 2:00     Book signing ‘The Beauty of Zentangle’
     Sunday – January 12
       9:00 – 11:00   Zentangle demo
       1:00 –  3:00    Zentangle on Glass demo at the Deco Art booth #1215
     Monday – January 13
       8:00 – 10:00   BIG Zentangle Workshop
     11:30 –  1:00    Zentangle Make n Take
   Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!
                     Zentangle #132

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com

Creativity with Rust and Patina

     View a YouTube, have fun using VerDay reactive metal paints  to create beautiful “industrial chic” art, home decor, jewelry, and accessories.

     Nothing beats Mother Nature for creating beauty. I have always admired the variety of textures, rusts and patinas collected on various metals after years and years of exposure to the natural elements.  My friend, Cindy Shepard, actually cultivates these deposits by keeping an outdoor junk bucket. She fills the bucket with all types of metals including cans, nails and utensils, even old skates – and checks it every now and then for ‘progress’. A great idea, however it does take a long time for the metals to react….. I don’t have that long!  The solution is VerDay reactive metal paints from Ten Seconds Studio.
     In the book Rust & Patina Style  I use this fabulous reactive metal paint on everything!!  I added genuine rust and verdigris patina to wood, paper mache, gourds, fabric, paper – even tennis shoes and journals. It works like a charm on all of these surfaces.
    Gourds are a favorite canvas for me, I love the way the paint works on these fun shapes. I just added a few nifty little sun faces molded from Apoxie Clay, (another great surface for VerDay paint). Play with texture, stencils and drips to create some beautiful effects.
    A handy little VerDay 5 piece set comes with everything you need to create rust & patina for art, accessories, jewelry and clothing. A perfect gift for an artist – or give one to the gardener in the family to add wonderful textures and colors to the garden.
Zentangle pattern, enjoy and create!!
                       Zentangle #131
Wild Lettuce

The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.  and is used with permission. Learn more at zentangle.com