Artist, Art Therapy, Psychotherapy and Belief Statement

I believe all people have the need and ability to create. Using various art and therapy methods I provide a safe and empathetic environment, to encourage life-enhancing expression that brings wholeness, physically, emotionally and spiritually to people's life.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Snow Day!

It's a happy snow day here in the North. Being a little silly here. When I moved "north" to Ontario, from Vermont, there was much curiosity about how cold and wintry the North in Ontario is. In reality, I find Ontario weather much more mild than Vermont's. So when we get a snowstorm in Ontario, I feel at home. I love the winter and snow and cold. Here the weather is tempered by low elevation, being close to Lake Ontario, and very similar latitude - both on the 43'. When I speak with my Dad back in Vermont, he usually has more harsh weather than I. Another thing I miss about Vermont, is their ability to handle the weather so well. Within an hour of a dusting or challenging weather conditions, Vermonters are out clearing the roads, and making sure it is safe. Not so in Ontario. They wait until the snow storm is finished until work is started. GRRR. And then combined with people who have never seen snow in their lives - have no idea how to drive on snowy roads, driving like there is no snow; it makes for challenging travelling conditions. Luckily I have no need to travel anywhere today.

And another thing; I am here to challenge a few city myths. Wildlife. Here are a few interesting photos that are from a park about 1 km/ 1/2 mile from my house.
Beaver Chomp

Red Fox
Yes, There is a very busy beaver in our local park. He/she is eating all the young and larger trees. They have had to protect most of the trees from its work. And then a very plump Red Fox in the same park. So despite the large city I live in, I also enjoy wildlife on a regular basis. More than I remember from back in Vermont. So maybe Toronto is more wild?!!! 

For a change of scenery, we enjoyed some different food. It's not hard to find in this multicultural city of ours. Fred and I went out for a Dim Sum lunch last weekend. Mmm. 
Except for the chicken feet. :-).  
Fred enjoying chicken feet at Dim Sum.
This reminds me to do things differently. We need to shake life up. A song by Sheryl Crow "A Change Would Do You Good" comes to mind. It's time to be brave; walk on the wild side instead of the routine - do the opposite. When we stretch ourselves, we come up larger than we were. New experiences helps us grow.

On that note... Here's Aruka. A new Tangle. The Diva Challenge for Dec. 8.

Cheers - Tangle On.

I enjoy your comments, and connecting with your blogs. Thanks so much for reaching out.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Diva Challenge 196: All Dolled Up... Outside and Inside

All Dolled up is an interesting challenge. I looked for a doll that I could work with. At first I thought it would be different to use a boy doll; but then I recognized that it is the Christmas season, so I turned to an Angel. I like the end result.

Angel doll
I already gave it away on a Christmas card to an elderly friend. She was pleased to receive art.

I am working through a book "Artist's Rule" by Christine Paintner Valtner. She talks about a Buddhist concept of "Wabi-sabi" which means beauty as humility, seeing an aesthetic of poverty, loneliness and imperfection. I like how that fits with Zentangle, We create our art for ourselves. And they are never perfect. They are simply beautiful.

So too is much of nature. Perfection in imperfection. Here is a beautiful picture from the summer of the uneven water edge.

Waters Edge
Enjoy beauty in all its humility.
Tangle on.

p.s. Thank you for your comments. It is wonderful to hear from people from all over the world.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quilting and Challenge 195

I am in the thick of writing papers for the end of the semester. Life Span and Spiritual Journey, Creativity and spirituality, The Mystic and the Artist, Psychotherapy Counselling Skills,  are the courses I have been immersed in this semester. They have all been very enjoyable and stretched my learning. I have a lot more reading to do... thank goodness I don't mind having an ongoing book list!

And amidst all this I have been trying to do the Diva challenge and some of my own artwork. In fact I attended my first ever sketching group on monday. That was so new! and Relaxing - once I got over worrying whether matter that anyone else needed to be able to tell what I drew! It was the first time I had ever done a drawing class (besides ZEntangle) of any kind.

So here is the Challenge from Sally Hunter: Draw a pattern in a new mileu - i.e an organic in a grid format; a grid format in a non-grid. So I took two patterns that I turn to on a regular basis and changed them around. I used two patterns I used last week (that's why last weeks tile is in here) in the non-dominant hand challenge. I turned shattuck into a freeform pattern - whoa!; and the printemps into a grid pattern. I always try to do my tile first without looking at other peoples ideas. When I saw my funny looking tile I thought "I can't post that." So then I peaked at a few people's submissions - and then I didn't feel so strange. So here it is.

And here is my quilting. By the way - I still do long-arm machine quilting... But this piece is an artistic image. 

Oh Majestic Tree.


And Happy Thanksgiving to U.S. friends. Peace to all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First Winter Snow & Diva 194

This weeks challenge was ... well the weather and the Zentangle  with the non-dominant hand. So two challenges!
The cold snap and first staying snow really took us by surprise. I mean, It was January cold in November. A little startling. I did my first race in a while on Saturday. And I surprised myself then too! It felt really good to do a race, and my time was a lot better than I anticipated. So, I think I will keep running!

The Diva challenge (thanks Elisa for the challenge) was to draw a tangle start to finish, with our non-dominant hand.So here it is. Pretty Shaky. But, like I say to participants, if you keep drawing with the same form and style; it is your own. It looks consistent and right. It is its own beauty.
Enjoy - and please try doing a whole tangle with your non-dominant hand. Its all good. And you will develop more compassion for yourself and others!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Twilight Time of Year - 2014

The twilight of the year is upon us. The fall is coming to a close; the leaves are almost all gone, and the daylight is at a minimum. Winter is around the corner. I have been busy with school, family, quilting, you name it. It has been a very full summer;  one of many changes, with my mother's passing and my Dad's ill health. There was little break for summer holidays as I had classes throughout the summer. Now I contemplate what will happen as I move forward. I am busy making connections for possible art therapy placements, and finalise my thesis proposal. In the midst I think of how my focus has been on my own studies, art and family.
Now, I draw and write. Write and quilt. Read and draw. Paint and read. Here is my first posting for the Diva Challenge 193. I have completed others, but never posted them. They have been for my own edification.

Zentangle 101: Class Saturday, November 29, 2014, 10-12 noon. $35.00 including beginner kit.

Here are few other ZIAs I have worked on.

Zendala Boxes / Christmas boxes / Ornaments
Class: Saturday, November 29, 2014.1 - 3 p.m. $25 including supplies

Zendala Class:  Saturday December 13, 2014, 1- 3:00 p.m. $30.00 including supplies.
Seuss Garden of Zen: Saturday, January 3, 2014. 1-3:00 p.m. $30.00 including supplies.

Upcoming: Creation and Contemplation. A practice of meditation, prayer and simple acts of art.

For interest in any of the above classes, email me:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Irish Week!

Happy Irish Week. For some strange reason, my husband and I have always celebrated St. Patties Day. No heritage whatsoever Irish. We usually go to a pub and have a pint. The positive mood is always enjoyable. We used to go to a pub called "the Chick'n Deli" and they always had celtic music and dancers. Lots of fun.

Laura Harms' challenge this week (159) was to create something in the mood of St. Patties Day. So here are two of mine.
Purtz, 2 variations of Well

Rixty, Purts, Pokeroot, Grid 

I posted on facebook regarding some classes in Edmonton, and I used an article from psychology today:
It is a great post on the use of Zentangle as an art therapy and art journaling method. Check it out. The really cool thing for me is that the world renown art therapist Cathy Malchiodi, commented on my post. SOO cool!

I make my own tiles by culling large sheets of the Fabriano paper up to card size. There are usually little strips of paper as cutoffs from the large sheets. Not to waste anything, I am turning them into bookmarks that I give out to classmates and friends. So fun. Here is one with a bit of colour.  So Cheery.

And don't forget my next classes are in Toronto. March 29, Saturday; Zentangle 101 in the a.m., and Zentangle 201 in the afternoon. Email me if you are interested. I always change it up so, come learn the latest tangles.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Diva Challenge 157: Charlie

I remember Charlie Brown. He was a neighbourhood boy who tended to murphy's law. Charlie represented how we feel on a rough day. Then there was Snoopy. Now Snoopy made life happy. Snoopy and his little bird friend. how cute. The Diva challenge used a tangle called "Charlie". Structured, and yet not. A tangle of contrasts. Neat. Thanks Laura, for highlighting other CZTs tangles. To me that's a Snoopy thing to do.

This next image is a ZIA I started before last weeks organic tangle, where I was playing with watercolours. This is not complete, but I really like the contrasts between the light and dark watercolour.
Enjoy. Tangle On.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Diva Challenge 156 & a Spring Garden

February has past. We are beginning March. Deadlines come. Deadlines go. It is how we accept and work with the challenges that come our way. Will you breathe into it? Be present with it? or will you fight it? That thought came to me as I was walking last Sunday, after my class in Toronto, I remembered a prayer we said for grace in our home. It goes like this:
"Be present at our table lord, be here, and everywhere adored. Thy mercies bless, and grant that we, may feast in paradise with thee."
While I recognize there are a number of theologically implications in this prayer, it was always a very reassuring and gratitude filled prayer. There was hope. As I walked I thought of how I would work with this prayer today, to meet a more spiritually diverse vision. It came out like this.
"Be present at our table God. Be here, and everywhere adored. Gifts have blessed, and given me, abundance, hope and sanctity."
My feeling and thoughts were that it is a gift to be in the world; a gift to just be present with one another; to relish in that joyful feeling, and to know that within life, I am very blessed to be. In a sense it is a reminder to be grateful for each moment. By being grateful, I can be comfortable knowing that the future is coming, and it too will be filled with blessings.

So here my response to the Diva Challenge 156; a crooked grid. Be with the grid. work with it.
Zentangle Wavy Grid 1

Fengle Curvy Grid
I have also added a Spring Garden. Okay, a Zentangle Organic Garden. Some fun I am having with organic shapes and watercolours.


I look forward to tangling with the Edmonton crowd, on Sunday, March 9; 10:00 and 12:30pm.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Challenge #155 & Upcoming Classes

Thank you Laura Harms, for your latest Diva Challenge. This challenge was very well timed, as it coincided with some of my other homework tasks. Laura's challenge of leaving a large white space, provided an area for me to create a Zentangle that spoke to me regarding the philosophy of the therapeutic relationship. Yea. deep, I know. But that is exactly what art and therefore Zentangles does for us. It helps us integrate what we are seeing, feeling and processing cognitively in our world.

The space in the center spoke to me of the space that is between the therapist and the client. The outer patterns are the concerns, worries, thoughts and behaviours that are brought into the counselling relationship, and discussed. The space in the middle is necessary for the client to be heard and understood.

Secondly, I have a few spots this Saturday, Feb. 22;  for Zentangle 101 or A Bit More. email me. If you have attended either class before, you will learn more again - I always change the patterns in the classes to accommodate repeat tanglers.

Also, I have set a date for my next Edmonton class. Sunday, March 9; from 10:00-12noon; and 12:30-2:30 p.m.. I will be sending out more notices, but keep this date in mind for your next class.

Tangle on. deb

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Play and Diva Challenge 154

Happy February. It is the middle point of the winter. We have peaked and are going on the way to warmer weather. Not that the cold weather bothers me. I quite enjoy the refreshing cold. I was in Edmonton this past week, and it was a -25'C as  I went to school.  It was a great week of learning, creative play, and student community.

I completed two Zentangle hearts in response to the Diva Challenge. I have also included some of my weeks work.

Valentine's for my Sweetheart.

Join me for a winter retreat inside Next weekend. Zentangle 101 and A bit More classes will happen this coming Saturday, Feb. 22. 10:00 a.m.; and 1:00 p.m. Come learn and expand your skills next week.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Diva Challenge 153 & a little free creation

Today is Feb. 7, 2014. It has already been an epic week, and I think it will turn into a very memorable month. I don't know how coincidental this weeks Diva challenge is for me, but it came at a time when I am very connected to Vermont. And the Diva Challenge brought in a tangle, "Jailed Johnny" from our fellow Vermont CZT, Sadelle Wiltshire. She lives very close to my parents, who I made a quick trip(to Vermont) to help set-up care for the final stage of life for my parents. Here is my response to the challenge.

I enjoyed the tangle, and was able to build on it very easily. It reminded me of quilting patterns I do. And on that note. Here is a piece I started as a free creative piece at the end of January. I am trying to "allow" myself the freedom and joy to create as I wish, and not feel it is a "waste of time". I am realising that it is and important part of my own self-care; just as Zentangle creation is. I didn't know what to call it, so I named it "Two Houses, Two Trees". Although there is a lot more going. I even coloured it in with marker. Please let me know what it reminds you of.

Cheers. Be good to yourself. You are the only one who will always be there to take care of yourself.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Diva Challenge 152 & Winter

Greetings friends far and near; it's still cold here in Toronto. It hasn't been above -5' C, in the last month. That is cold in Toronto. Apparently, the seasonal temperature is -3'C. It doesn't seem like much, but when it's been mostly -12'C. BRRRR. Generally, I don't mind cold weather. But a break now and then... oh yeah, I had a break, I went west to Edmonton. it was +5'C when I was there !!!!

So now for a few items that will warm your heart.
The first is my response to Diva Challenge 152, Aquafleur. I enjoy making this tangle. It is straightforward, organic and beautiful.

The second is a quilt I quilted for a customer. I just love the 9 patch pattern of lights and darks. Very cool. I will have to do this some day!

And a little therapeutic quilt I did in random log cabin style. Two Houses Two Trees. I still need to quilt it.

Stay warm and tangle. Deb

Friday, January 24, 2014

Diva Challenge 151 Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

Today is Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day, January 24. Our blogger and CZT friend, Laura Harms has brought attention to this syndrome which affects 1 in 1 million people. Laura's son has this syndrome. According to her blog, "Moebius Syndrome is a congenital nerve disorder affecting cranial VI and VII nerves controlling the lateral movement of his face. Moebius is a spectrum disorder - so some cases are more severe than others." For more information check out,

Here are my tangles in response to her challenge to use the Moebius Syndrome logo.

Thanks for  checking it out. 


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy New Year!

It's a New Year that started with a crack here in Toronto.
Iced branches in our backyard
The weather, as you may have heard, has been quite unique. A week of Cold and Ice, followed by a thaw, and then another freeze.

Typical tree damage in our neighbourhood.
I barely made it out of Toronto in my travels to school in Edmonton. I was on my third strike and praying on the Tarmac of the Toronto Airport, when we finally achieved liftoff to .... Winnipeg. With some creative thinking the Air Canada rep was able to get me on a flight that we hoped would leave Toronto, on that fateful Tuesday, Jan. 7. It did not matter that I would be spending 12 hours in the Winnipeg Airport, and it sure felt weird as a 40 year old adult to be sleeping on benches at an airport. But it worked, and I flew out to Edmonton at 7 am. the day my class started. With the time change, I got to my class just as it was introduction time. It couldn't have been better orchestrated.

Once again, a little creativity goes a long way. So here is to some creativity, and photos of Toronto's icy experience. Please take a look at upcoming Zentangle class dates. Deb
Bush in the front yard
Bent Birch Trees
An obstacle course through our ravine. Sadie is in heaven, enjoying all the sticks and snow.

Another encapsulated tree branch
First Zentangle of the new year for a paper.