Friday, 31 January 2014

Zentangle Anyone?

Zentangle Anyone?
 A Zentangle is a miniature abstract work of art created by a collection of patterns.  It is done on a 3 ½” x 3 ½” paper “tile” using a pencil and a black pen.  The small size allows for a work of art that can be completed in a relatively short period of time.  The “zen” part of it is that it can be a very relaxing and meditative experience.  The creators of the Zentangle, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, have created a variety of patterns that you will see used by those who Zentangle.  However, these are not a pre-requisite as artists are invited to make whatever pattern feels right and that pleases them.  The size of the artwork actually can be any size (they just refer to it by a slightly different name) and color can be added as well.  I have just started to experiment with this process and am learning what kinds of patterns tend to work in different spaces.  I invited my Greenleaf Way students to give this art a try, and oh my, did they ever take off!  They are waaaaay better at this than I am, but I am learning!

Just wanted to share what we are doing so far ~  more to come as we grow in this new art making process!

We invite you to give it a go as well!  Here are some “basics” to get you started!

 1. You can use any size paper you like, but I do think a square is a good idea.

2. If you can, use a nice quality paper.  Zentanglers use an Italian paper called Tiepolo by Fabriano;  my students and I have been using the BFK Reeves 100% cotton paper.

3. Use a black pen that has a fine tip;  Zentanglers use Pigma Micron 01, 0.25 mm.  If you visit an art or craft store you most likely will find a “Zentangle” area that has a selection of papers and different pens. We have been using a Pentel EnerGel 0.7mm metal point pen and also a Pilot Razorpoint Extra Fine pen.

4. Using a pencil, put a small dot in the each of the corners of your paper.

5. Connect the dots with a line, not necessarily a straight one though.

6. Using the pencil, sort of “scribble” in some lines, going this way and that, until you have created several spaces on the paper.

7. Using your black pen, create a different pattern in each one of the spaces that you have drawn with your pencil.

The four dots, connect the dots, draw spaces, fill spaces in with a variety of designs.

8. If you like, do some shading with a pencil.

9. Zentanglers create a signature of sorts, most use initials, and put these in the bottom right hand corner of their Zentangle.  You can also give your work a title and date on the back.
One of my first Zentangles!
"A Valentine Delight"
8" x 8"
Pen on BFK Reeves paper, 2014
Note my initials in the lower right hand corner

Title and date on the back of the art work
 One thing that I noticed is that when you follow a curved line with your pattern you can see how it gets bigger or smaller as you follow the curve.  It gives the pattern a sense of perspective and 3-D ness.

You can Google Zentangle and see tons of great art and patterns!
Putting two or more together in a grouping is fun too!  Here are three of my Zentangles, I played around with arranging them together.


Another idea is to draw an object ~ anything ~ a flower, an animal, even your name ~ and proceed to create the spaces as described above and do the patterns within the spaces.  You will see that as well if you do a Google search. 
Your local library will most likely have books on this topic too.  We all found that flipping through some of these books was helpful and gave us lots of ideas of patterns to create.

These are the basics, so, just go ahead and give it a go!  Let us know how it goes and send some examples if you have time!

 Happy Zentangling! 

 Again, here is what we have been doing so far in the studio.  Students are doing them at home on their own as well!  J


Lauren Zentangling in her journal

Lauren's journal Zentangle.  Lauren loves patterns and like to make up her own!

Oliviana Zentangling!

Oliviana'a butterfly Zentangle, work in progress
Check out her symmetry! 

Oliviana's valentine heart (we actually worked on ours together in the studio)
work in progress
We both like working on more than one Zentangle at a time!


Lucas Zentangling

Lucas' Hand Zentangle
work in progress
Black and white Zentangle
Same as black and white, color added

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Greta The Ground Hog

By:  Mrs. R.

Gretta the ground hog likes to take long naps in the summer sunshine.  Gretta likes to eat berries, seeds, grasses and leaves.  In the autumn, she begins to eat a lot of grasses, seeds, berries and leaves.  When her tummy is quite full, she builds herself a winter home called a den.  She makes her den deep down inside the ground. 

 When the weather gets cold, Gretta goes down into her winter home, which is cozy and warm.  She makes herself comfortable and falls asleep, taking a very, very long, winter nap.

 Gretta wakes up on a very special day, February 2, Groundhog Day!  She shakes the sleep from her big, brown eyes, stretches, and peeks her head outside of her den.  “Humm…”   Grettta thinks, “Still pretty chilly out here.”  But she has a job to do.  For it is Gretta’s job each year to let everyone know if there is going to be six more weeks of winter.  Or not.

 So, Gretta stands up, nice and tall, and looks for her shadow.  The legend is that if she sees her shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

When Gretta is done looking for her shadow, she returns to her den and begins to prepare for her spring leaving.

 When the weather is warmer, Gretta leaves her den for the open fields.  Gretta loves spring!  It is her favorite season!  She loves the warm sunshine and the gentle rains.  She finds a new, summer den.  And once again, there are lots of grasses, seeds, berries and leaves for her to enjoy!

In April or May, Gretta’s babies, which are called cubs, are born, usually about five babies, girls and boys.  The babies follow Gretta around and she shows them how to find and eat grasses, seeds, berries and leaves.  In July the babies, who are quite grown by now, make their own dens.

 Gretta is quite pleased to have some time to herself now, eating her grasses, seeds, berries and leaves.  And once again taking her long naps in the summer sunshine.   “Oh, another year has gone by,” sighs Gretta.  But she smiles a great big groundhog smile, because she really loves being Gretta the ground hog!

 The end!

Hi!  I'm Gretta!

Please visit my web site for lots of fun Groundhog Day Activities and information!  There are quizzes, art projects and learning activities!


Congratulations Lauren, Lucas and Jonah!

Congratulations Lauren, Lucas and Jonah!

 Once again I am soooo proud to announce that the art work of three Greenleaf Way Special Artists has been accepted into VSA Ohio’s Accessible Expressions Ohio annual juried art show!  Such “warm” news for this time of the year!  Lauren has been submitting for six years, Lucas and Jonah for four years now I think.  Accepted every year, it is such a compliment to be recognized among peers! Last year, Ohio State University purchased a group of art work from the exhibit which included Jonah’s “The Phantom of the Opera” and Lauren’s “The Twin” to be permanently installed at The Nisonger Center at OSU in Columbus, Ohio.  (Note:  Lucas’ “Petropolis” was not for sale.)

VSA  Ohio (an affiliate of VSA International, program of The John F. Kennedy Center) implements programming and services that provide inclusive environments and opportunities for people with disabilities to celebrate through the arts. They advocate for accessibility and equality and are dedicated to improving the academic achievement of Ohio’s students through  arts integration.  For more about the many things they do, visit their web site:

 This year’s Opening Ceremony is Saturday March 8 in Columbus.  After that, the tour will be
divided up into smaller groups and will tour various public locations in Ohio.
Their artwork is for sale;  purchases can be made through VSA.  Inquire on their web site.

For more about Greenleaf Way Special Artists visit my web site:

Lauren's "The Blossom"
18" x 24"
Oil on canvas, 2012
Jonah's "Spartan Meets Pyramid Head"
12" x 12"
Acrylic, glass beads, and mixed media on canvas, 2013

Lucas' "Inception"
17" x 22"
Pencil on paper, 2013