Archive | July 2014

The Yips, Zentangles and Boundaries

There is a golf term called “the yips,” but I think it applies to anything that requires steady hands. Basically, when it’s most important to have muscle control, the muscles, or the brain, don’t cooperate and you twitch. There have been studies of the neurology behind it, and I won’t go into it, but suffice it to say I’ve suffered from my own version of the yips, especially with a permanent marker in my hand. I’ll have a beautiful curve flowing across the page and–urp–a tiny jerk spoils the line.

Through a chance encounter with someone who teaches it, I learned about Zentangles. Once again I won’t go into detail because you can follow the link if you’re interested. When I looked into it, I loved the images and the idea of a meditative sort of doodling. I’m a big doodler anyway, so I decided to try it. There are certain standards and parameters, and I doubt if I’m following them strictly, but it doesn’t matter. Once I have some black lines down I can’t resist coloring them, and that’s what is the most fun for me. Since the drawings are small (3.5 inches square) and I do them strictly for exercise, there’s no pressure and fewer hiccups, and if they do occur they’re incorporated into the drawing.

The other thing that I’ve found interesting about both Zentangles and my whole mail art obsession is the power of having a boundary. A big canvas is really hard to get started on, but a 4×6 postcard is a nice little space to fill, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to gesso over it.

Last week was granddaughter week so I didn’t get cards done. We went to the Blanton Museum and a water-color exhibit at the Dougherty Arts Center, did some art together and she sent some cards.

I have been drawing and coloring Zentangles to stay loose. I am far from accomplished, but these are a good start on my new meditative art practice.

ZT 1


ZT 2



Two More

Next week is grandchild week, this week is winding down, and I’m wrapping up a period both productive and restful. Before I go back into granny mode, here are two more pieces I really like. “Booklove” is going to the Lackman Library in Lenexa, Kansas, for an exhibit of post card art celebrating books and reading. I realize the quote will elicit giggles from middle-schoolers; so be it.

Booklove (photo collage: images from various sources  manipulated in Photoshop and InDesign)

Booklove (photo collage: images from various sources manipulated in Photoshop and InDesign)


“Floats and Flipflops” wraps up the series of summer cards. Maybe it’s time to start planning for Christmas.

Floats 'n' Flipflops (collage)

Floats ‘n’ Flipflops (collage)

Reminder: if you’d like to receive an original Jillybeans post card, just send your mailing address to No cost, no obligation, international addresses welcome. My little gift to the world.


New Markers, New Work

Please send your mailing address to if you would like to receive an original jillybeans card. No cost, no obligation, just my tiny gift to the world.

As mentioned previously, I was ready for more professional-quality markers. So I went to Jerry’s Artarama, which is an artist’s date unto itself, and after a pleasant browse around settled on a set of 24 Concept markers, plus a couple of extra colors. The orange in the set is a bit pallid, so next time I’ll get a brighter orange, too. One thing I like about these markers is that you can buy them individually as you use them up or to supplement colors. Because they’re alcohol markers they do show through on both Bristol board and poster board, so I’m having to glue a postcard back onto them. I also made a color key because the names aren’t very helpful–“pale pink” is warm and “light pink” is cool.

Concept marker color key 001

I still use the Crayolas, and I let my granddaughter try to the new ones, carefully, with supervision (“remember, they’re permanent, and please don’t squish the tips).  When she was finished she carefully arranged them all in color order.

New markers with a few sharpies fitting in.

New markers with a few Sharpies fitting in.

When she was here last week I asked her to paint something that could be used for a card. She did a watercolor monoprint, which she sent to her mommy.

Butterfly, by Chloe (water color monoprint)

Butterfly, by Chloe (water color monoprint)

Here’s what else I’ve done in the past couple of weeks. Having a blast with the summer collages. Might have enough images for one more. I’m also trying to come up with an idea for a library mail art exhibit in Kansas. I love books, libraries and mail art!

Seeking Shade

Seeking Shade (collage)

Hamilton Pool Boogie

Hamilton Pool Boogie (we took the kids to this iconic Texas swimming hole. I love the two “babes.”) (collage)

Rainbow Rocket (sent to a friend recovering from surgery)

Rainbow Rocket (sent to a friend recovering from surgery) (marker)



Rainbow planets (I sent this to Chloe)

Rainbow planets (I sent this to Chloe) (marker)








Doodle #21 (marker)

Doodle #21 (marker)

Doodle 19

Doodle #19 (marker)

Doodle #20

Doodle #20 (marker)

Prairie Sunset (water color)

Prairie Sunset (water color)