Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Don and I were recently interviewed by a local newspaper about our Zentangle® efforts.  Here I include the article.

Interest in a meditative art form has led two Oconomowoc residents to share their knowledge with others looking for a creative outlet.
Known as Zentangle, it is the use of repetitive patterns to create abstract artistic images, primarily with the use of pen and ink and shading done on 31/2-inch cardstock tiles. Each tile is signed and dated on the back. Expanded use of the patterns that stray from anything but the tiles is known as Zentangle-inspired art.
Don McCollum and Joyce Block, both retired schoolteachers, have become certified Zentangle teachers and have taught at churches, schools and libraries in Lake Country, as well as at Veterans Affairs, Artist and Display in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Art Museum and retreat centers in southern Wisconsin.
McCollum was introduced to the medium through his daughter; he shared his enthusiasm about it with a skeptical Block.
McCollum explained the enjoyment and peace he found in Zentangle.
"I'm not artistic at all, I told him," she recalled.
Block, however, was having a difficult time adjusting to retirement.
"I have been a busy person all my life," she explained, and McCollum shared how the artistic exercise helped him make that transition.
It did not take long for her to understand what he was eager to share. Thus was born a collaboration that eagerly shares their knowledge of the art form with others.
"It (Zentangle) has been a godsend to me. It's given me a lot of pleasure, and I call myself an artist now," she added.
The career teachers recount how they have taught Zentangle in schools and have seen classroom instructors impressed with the focus and attention the students give to it, including students who have attention-deficit disorder.
McCollum said he has also taught the class to deeply troubled children and found that same attentiveness.
"Zen is the focus, the relaxation that it causes, and the mindfulness all come together here," McCollum explained.
The art form appeals to people "looking for something meaningful. This is always done with focus and concentration," he added.
Lessons for both children and adults are given in a step-by-step process. There are no mistakes made, just styles that develop; the art is individual to its creator.
"There is no eraser in life and there is no eraser in a Zentangle kit. However, in creating Zentangle art (and in living life), you will discover that apparent mistakes can be foundations for new patterns and take you in unexpected and exciting new directions," the website Zentangle.com explains.
"Anything is possible one stroke at a time.
"At first glance, a Zentangle creation can seem intricate and complicated. But when you learn how it is done, you realize how simple it is ... sort of like learning the secret behind a magic trick. Then, when you create a piece of Zentangle art, you realize how fun and engrossing the process itself is," the website notes.
It also disabuses people of the concept that they cannot create art.
"We love presenting to a class or seminar full of people who are convinced they can't draw the Zentangle art we show them. Then, within 15 minutes, they have easily accomplished what they thought was impossible. This is one of our favorite Zentangle moments, because then we ask, "What else do you know that you can't do?" it asks.
As certified Zentangle teachers, both McCollum and Block traveled to the East Coast to study with its creators, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, making them two of approximately 900 certified teachers worldwide. During the process they learn more than 100 different patterns.
Zentangle is a creative outlet that is growing rapidly in popularity.
For those interested in the method, Block facilitates a Facebook page with more than 7,000 members.
"I admit about 20 to 30 people daily from around the world," she said.
Having discovered the benefits and enjoyment of Zentangle, the pair are pleased when students report the same.
One former student told them how it helped her during a serious illness her husband suffered, providing the focus to pray as she worked.
"That was very meaningful to us," Block said.
The two have published an e-book and recently self-published a children'' story, which is a "how to draw Zentangle" book, available at Books & Company in Oconomowoc.
McCollum and Block will conduct a class at Delafield Presbyterian Church on Feb. 23. For more information, call Block at (262) 567-4848 or (414) 803-4494.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kid Zentangle®

This is our new book.  We are excited about it because it is a bit different.  It is fiction, telling the story of a young boy named Leland. The reader will learn how to tangle right along with Leland.

Leland has a bit of trouble with school until Ms. Izzi (CZT) comes along.  

Our first book, Mindfulness in Pen and Ink is still going strong on Smashwords, the iBookstore, and Barnes and Noble.  This book was an ebook whereas Kid Zentangle® is both and ebook and a print book. 

The ebook release date will be in mid to late January.  

We hired an illustrator with this book, Darcy Guenterberg from Milwaukee, WI.  It was a pleasure to work with her and are hoping perhaps she will work with us again.

We are hoping that you will take a look at it and perhaps buy a copy.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

You may have seen on Facebook that I fell and broke my wrist in two spots.  I'd like to say that I was horseback riding or perhaps even skydiving and did it that way.  However, I just fell over my own two feet.  When I was yet on the ground, I looked around for a crack in the sidewalk, a stone, or a crevice but there was nothing on which I could blame my fall.  My husband was with me and I couldn't find any reason to blame him either.  I just fell over my own two feet. The pain was so great that I knew right away I had broken something or another.  We were about two blocks from home in front of a home.  The couple that lived there were just driving in the driveway and saw the fall.  She was a nurse and so ran into the house and got an icepack to wrap around my wrist with the news that she thought I better get up to the emergency room.

Dwayne took me there and sure enough –– two bones were broken.  This was a Sunday so the next day I saw an orthopedic doctor who told me I'd need surgery. On Friday I had the surgery so now I have a plate and screws in my wrist.

Don was all set to tangle the cast except I will not have a cast.  It will be, after the stitches come out, a removable brace.  That sounds good to me.

I am Director of Music at Delafield Presbyterian Church, playing keyboard each Sunday so, of course, that was a concern.  Because we have an electric keyboard on which I can record things. I was able to record the left hand part with my right hand and then play along with the recording also with my right hand.  All is well!!!

To your right in this blog you see a music selection from youtube.  I am enjoying Joe Bongiorno these days as I am learning to slow down and just relax. (If you know me, you know that is not easy for me to do.)

I spent a couple of days with nausea and pain and I think my hubby didn't know what to do with me.  He stopped and bought a stuffed animal and also an infinity scarf.  Both I am enjoying.  I have to show you picture of how I am using the infinity scarf. I think the scarf works better as a sling than the regular sling, don't you?

And here is Izzy (as I named him.)

Here is the tile I tangled in the hospital while waiting for the surgery to begin.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Yesterday we taught a beginning class at Artist and Display in Milwaukee.  Fifteen were registered but seventeen showed up.  That was quite nice.

We had a nice discussion about mindfulness and Zentangle®.  Two occupational therapists had been in the class and talked to Don after we finished.  They would like us to come in and do some teaching at the VA hospital in Milwaukee which we will be most happy to do.

The class yesterday was really a fun group of people.  They worked hard and had lots of questions.

Here are the pictures.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On Sunday I gave a Zentangle Demo at Artist and Display in Milwaukee.  Don and I do these fairly regularly for them.  This time however, I was alone.  Don and Peg are frolicking in warm St. John's Virgin Islands.  I like to give him a hard time about that because here in Wisconsin it has been below zero all the time he has been gone.  I will say more about that later.

At the demo we draw on either red or white hearts because Valentine's Day is less than a week away.
I varied a little bit in what I had different people draw and was really excited to see that some folks used there own creativity.

This first picture is of a couple that came to the demonstration. He chose a red heart and she chose a white one.  They drew the same pattern on them and they turned out so different.  It was fun to see them work and enjoy the process.

This next picture is a mother and daughter who came and enjoyed themselves also.

Some of the folks who came decided to leave part of Onamato blank so that they could add "Happy Valentine's Day or another phrase in the space.  

Don and Peg's trip to St. John's in the Virgin Islands.  They traveled there to see their son who has been living there for a few months now.  

They have sent me a couple of pictures and also there are some in Facebook.   So here is the first photo of them enjoying the warm weather.  This Sean (their son) put it on Facebook.  They look very relaxed and enjoying themselves. 

This next picture Don emailed to me with this in the subject area "Just another winter day." 

Now you have to keep in mind that since they have been gone, we (here in Wisconsin) have not had a temperature above 0.   We have seen temperatures -15 and that does not include the wind chill.  So I feel compelled to send them the following picture with the same caption "Just another winter day!!!!"

Actually, I am happy that they are able to enjoy seeing Sean and spending some time in the sun.  However, if they come back with beautiful tans I might be a little jealous.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mindful Drawing

The McCollums and the Blocks belong to a wonderful group which we fondly call the "Socratic Group."  This is a group of 10 people that meet every 4 to 6 weeks.  We go out for Sunday brunch and then meet in one of our homes for a presentation of some sort.  Some of the presentations we have had are Zentangles (of course), storytelling,  essentials oils, EFT, worm farming, visualizations, walks in the woods, lawn labyrinth, art museums  . . .  and all sorts of other things.

Yesterday we had brunch at the Thunder Bay Grille in Pewaukee (great brunch).  Here is a picture of my plate.

That was just my first trip to the buffet.

Here is our group.

After eating, we came back to our house and I had a mindful drawing exercise for us all to do.  Actually it is one of the suggestions for mindfulness that we give in our eBook "Mindfulness in Pen and Ink."  

The Mindful Drawing Exercise

We divided into groups of two (spouses not together) and found a spot by ourselves.  Each group had a big sheet of shelf paper (I couldn't find white so it was brown) and some color marker (I gave each group Tombow markers.)  Each of the four groups then followed these instructions.   

1. The entire exercise is to be done in silence and mindfully.
2. Decide on which of the two of you will begin.
3. The first person draws a line using any color you wish.
4. The second person draws a line using any color you wish.
5. Back to the first person
6. Back to the second person.
7. Go back and forth between the two of you, each using any color, changing colors if you wish.
8 This is done for 30 minutes.

The important thing is to do the entire exercise mindfully watching your partner draw his/her line and then responding in some way with your own line.   This does not necessarily have to do with Zentangle but it could. Don and I have done it using tangles.

When I told them they were going to do it for 30 minutes, many reacted "Oh, wow!  That is a long time."  When finished, many said "That went really fast."

When the exercise was finished, we all gathered together again and talked about our experience.  It is always interesting to hear the varied reactions to this exercise.  My partner was Peg (Don's wife).  We both really enjoyed the time.  I felt we really responded to one another.  Being mindful of the other person and the line they are making enhances the creativity. 

Below you see a couple of the drawings.  You will see that the drawing could be representational or they might be abstract.  Nothing is right . . . nothing is wrong.  

Try this exercise with a group of people. I think you might like it. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We taught our regular monthly Zentangle class at Artist and Display in Milwaukee last week.  The evening was saddened a little bit because when we arrived, Nora, the manager, came and told us that the store's ArtDog Erica is now in training to be AngelErica.   Erica was a wonderful bulldog with a delightful disposition that lived her 11 years much of the time at the store.  She had been ill for 6 or 7 months and the doctors had given her 4 months. On January 16 it was time for her to enter a new phase.

Our class that night was filled.  In fact, it was overfilled and we were overjoyed.  There were 24 in the class.  We always have so much fun!  We gave away a copy of our eBook, Mindfulness in Pen and Ink to Wendi Lee, a first-timer to our class.  She emailed me a day later and told me she had downloaded the book and was enjoying it. :)

Pictures follow: