With the “Mc and Cheese challenge, number 308” the Diva (Laura Harms) wanted  to see  simple compositions with trusted tangles. We had to use easy motives, no searching work on computers, no stress or competition spirit, just drawing relaxed patterns  that we know by heart. This challenge brought  us back to the essence of the Zentangleart. Below I show you an example of a former student: Marianne Repriels. She has designed a beautiful Zendala only with Flux and Tipple. Original, simple in black/white but very nice and finished with subtile shade.  Once again you can see:  Zentangleart is available for everyone and even with a few simple patterns you can create wonderful tiles.

I’m very gratefull for the nice comments I get, every time I make a drawing on coloured backgrounds. I have learned this technique from Jacqueline Nouwen, who teaches in the Doppahuis in Hasselt. Immediately I felt at home  between these friendly creative people. Jacqueline and some other students have come on their turn to my workshops.. We continue to keep in touch and occasionally a cosy, creativ afternoon is organized.

Below I show you a small impression of such a wonderful afternoon.  Unfortunately those days flow alway too soon. This time we have made folders for  booklets. We used pieces of hardboard  which we decorated with different kinds of materials and finished with a mixture of Gesso and Watercolor paint. As you can see, everyone was excited about the results!

Regularly, I see work of people, who have been ( just like me),  infected with the Zentanglevirus. Margit Van Ostaeyen (with red blouse and brush in her mouth) came to follow some Zentanglelessons with me. She would also like to combine her gorgeous watercolors with tangles. She did a great job, judge for yourself . You can read the story of Margit on the Original Zentangle Blog .

On the last picture, I noticed special white lines  and I asked her how she had done that. The answer is quite simple: with a piece of candle  fat lines were drawn on the paper before painting. On those white lines the paint is amost invisible and  you get a very special effect which I  like very much. I have  congratulated Margit for this special result and I am grateful to her that she has brought me to this idea. I do appreciate that  people  share their knowledge to each other and in turn also learn from the others. That is a fine experience for everyone and it fits completely in the Zentanglephilosophy. Once again thank you Jacqueline and Margit for sharing your knowledge!

Would you like to try this technique also? It is really very easy and you’ll get amazing results:

First take a piece of candle and draw a few “fat” lines  on your tile. I just use watercolor paper and then cut out the most beautiful stretches (9 x 9 cm).

It is good to make your paper very wet (with water)

Then bring some colours on with a thick brush  (you can dilute with water to receive different  tintes of colors) the paint has to  flow into each other. You can rotate or sheet to different directions. By blowing you can let the colours flow in a particular direction. Too much paint can be easily absorbed with  a little cottonstick. When the colors are still wet, I sprinkle a little bit of the magical  Bistrepowder on the paper to. Don’t use to much, that is not nice.Let  everything dry (about 2 hours) and then you will see very well the whimsical shapes on which or between which you can draw your favorite tangles. On the painted pieces can easily be drawn but you can also leave white spots on which you can make your patterns or you can choose for a combination of both … Afterwards it is possible to make certain colors stronger with ordinary  color pencils.

Watercolor paper, watercolors of Winsor & Newton, Bistrepowder, my usual brushes, a piece of candle, mix jars and you can start!

Here I have chosen autumnal tints and signed with a white gelpen, brown and black pens. The patterns are: Zinger, N’Zeppel, Indi Rella, Rixty and Birch (this pattern looks very much like a birch tree, and that was the intention)

For this tile I mostly have used blue paint, the brown color is due to the Bistre that I have mixed with the watercolor paint. The  tangles are Mooka, Molygon, Tipple, Verve, Caviar, Shattuck and Curl. In addition to a black pen I used  again my white gelpen.

Here you can see that I’ve used,  more red but also yellow and green (the colours flow always in each other and the result is often different than you had in mind) Undu, Wud and El Prado were drawn with a black pen and finished with a white gelpen. For the highlights,  a white gellypen  always give that nice final touch.

My favorite tile gives me already a bit of springfeelings thanks to the  the use of fresh yellow and green tones on which green Bistre was spread. It was my I.A.S.T. contribution (188) .We “had to” make a combination of Fescu, Zinger and Frickle. In addition to brown, black and white pens, you see also some Fescupatterns made with a green pen.

Everything reminds me that the season is changing.  Blossoms appear in all colors, here and there  fresh green is popping up, the first butterflies flutter around on sunny days and especially the birds start  to whistle louder.That gives a nice feeling every year again. If the temperature will get a bit higher, it is pleasant to make a walk on a barefoot path. These paths are specially designed. (3 to 4 km). The walks are not heavy and because we don’t just have to walk barefoot, they give you a special experience and a free foot massage. On the internet you can find different paths. I’m also fond to walk  barefoot on the wet grass in the morning, it is  funny and very refreshing! Am I a little crazy perhaps? Maybe but I enjoy those moments.

Travelling tiles give always fun. Below you can see the results of an exchange with Heidi Sue Whitney from Utah.  Travelingtiles are unique experiences and I want to thank Heidi for this wonderful collaboration. Recently, Heidi worked out a beautiful pattern. Definitely  you are going to see this new tangle on one of my future tiles. I adore  the wild northern nature and for this tangle, Heidi found inspiration at the tough Vikings: Torsdag,

Heidi’s starters and then the tiles, finished by me:


Below my starters and Heidi’s finished results, very beautiful is the clear letter i. Heidi used this tile as an entry for Joey’s Challenge.



I have send Heidi also an empty tile on which she could do what she prefered, it is a lovely result isn’t it?

She used her new tangle Concert .

Always interesting is to discover, how others use my own tangles in their tiles.  I show you a beautiful work of  Anja Schaffeld who made a very successful combination of different variations on Zimba with the beautiful Amphora by Lily Moon. Thank you Anja, I appreciate this very much.

Also Duane Anderson from Oregon, has made a unique tile, directly after publishing Nouvart on tanglepatterns.com. Thank you very much Duane!

I’m honored to see that Adele suggested to use my tangle Nouvart together with two wonderful patterns of Margaret Bremner for her weekly challenge It’s a string thing. Thank you very much Adele.

A bit early, I want to wish everyone already a Happy Easter and a great start for a new season with lots of confidence. To develop self confidence, you have to leave the person you wanted to be  but  take peace with the person you really are. You need to stop to compare yourself with others but continue to believe in yourself. Follow your heart, it knows the way.

This wise advice I have read in a magazine  and it’s true, the older you get, the better you do.

To finish this post, I have chosen gentle accordion music. Long ago, we left on a hot August day on honeymoon to Normandy and Paris. The distance was not too far, we drove with our own little car and booked rooms in simple guesthouses, very romantic and cheep at the time. The music I have select, was written for the film: le fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain with a very naughty Audrey Tatou in the leading role. Whenever I hear such an accordion, I think of that typical atmosphere on hot summer evenings in Paris where you always can hear that kind of music. However this clip comes from Chile but I  find it very beautiful. Therefore my choice fell on this musician who plays the walz of Amélie.

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  1. 9

    What a lovely post, Ria! I’m so happy that you have this community of friends who meet up to create. The work is truly lovely! I must try the candle technique. I love the texture that you got with it. Such beautiful collaborative work. And I, too, have spring fever! (Today I have to wash a lot of pollen away from the porch, but that’s okay, too!) The barefoot walks sound wonderful. I’ve read that they give us energy from the earth. How powerful. I’ve been focusing on accepting my changing body, so I really appreciate your words about moving on to the new season. Thanks for the accordion music. So haunting and mesmerizing.

    • 10
      Ria Matheussen says:

      I was always interested in waterolours but I didn’t know anything about this technique. So I started to follow a few lessons (I wanted to use them as backgrounds) and I told the teacher and the students about the Zentangleart. They liked that and they came to my lessons too. They all have more experience with painting, I learn from them, but they learn drawing from me. To give and to receive, it makes us all happy and yes, now and then we have wonderful afternoons…
      I have not a good condition (arthrosis in neck/back/shoulders/feeth/knees) therefore I can’t sit too long. Better is to make little walks, doing exercises, moving… I would like to draw a whole day but that is impossible and I have to accept that. There are so many little things that can bring more happiness and satisfaction in our lives, so let’s explore them. Maybe there is less time to draw, but I still can and therefore I’m grateful. Thank you for your kind comments, they give a real boost to go on and “see” you soon on the challenges!

  2. 7
    Jan Brandt says:

    Ahhhhhhhh Ria … not only do I love your tangling, but your work with color is SO beautiful!! Your posts, filled with art, philosophy and tidbits of your local life, always offer me some delightful time spent at my computer! Thank you for spending the time to share all of this with … me! 😉

    • 8
      Ria Matheussen says:

      Dear Jan, I’m happy and grateful that you like my blogposts. I enjoy tangling very much. It made me more creativ, defintely and brought so many delightful moments. I like to share things that I love and that could be useful for other tanglers. I’m glad to receive comments. Everyone has good and bad days but thanks to the Zentangleart I have more good and less bad days…Let’s keep busy, that is very important. As I wrote, a new season has begun, a beautiful one, let ‘s enjoy every minute!

  3. 4

    Ria, as usual I am blown away by your work. It is truly magnificent. Your use of color is wonderful. Can you tell me where one gets Bistre?

    • 6
      Ria Matheussen says:

      Thank you Audrie , that is very kind of you to say so. Give it a try, it seems more difficult than it is.
      In Belgium, you can buy Bistrepowder in every artshop and I think in the U.S.A. also. The use of Bistre is wellknown.

  4. 3
    Caroline mistral says:

    Bonsoir Ria,
    Que tout cela est joli. Moi qui suis encadreur, cela me donnerait envie d’encadrer ces jolies tiles ?

    • 5
      Ria Matheussen says:

      Merçi beaucoup Caroline, vous pouvez faire aussi une tuile comme je l’ai fait, ce n’est pas difficile et j’ai dessiné seulements des motifs simples.
      Je vous souhaite beaucoup de succes avec vos affaires mais j’espère de vous encontrer une fois denouveau chez le Diva?

  5. 1

    Lovely post and I’m speechless about the beauty of the colored tiles! So pretty and so spring – like! I’m inspired! (where are my watercolors!

    • 2
      Ria Matheussen says:

      Thank you Cyndee for this lovely comment. Watercolours can give absolutely fabulous backgrounds and it is not difficult to create them. I wish you succes!

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