1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Zentangle Diva’s Challenge #229 — Space: The Final Frontier

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 3, 2015 · 17 comments

This week, guest Zentangle Diva, Sandy Hunter, challenged us to embrace negative space. As she does, I find it difficult to put the pen down. Coincidentally, yesterday, I learned (the hard way) that sometimes negative space is crucial to what you are trying to achieve. I recently found myself nodding enthusiastically when I came across this meme on Facebook:

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

I thought, “I’d love to incorporate this into a tangled composition.” (Are we supposed to use quotes for thoughts?) The quote was not credited in the Facebook post, but Mr./Ms. Google ascribed it to Melody Beattie. Thus, inspired, I wrote it out in glitter gelly roll pens—-and then proceeded to start to tangle the hell heck out of it with flowing Mookas all over the place. It wasn’t too long before I realized that I wasn’t far along, but my brilliant tangling was going to pretty much obscure the message.


And then I saw today’s guest Zentangle Diva’s challenge. “Aha!” (Forehead slap). If I want people to be able to read the words, I have to leave some negative space around them. I started with more negative space (a nice, clearly formed square), but then I thought that looked too stark so I started encroaching on the planned negative space. I think I stopped myself in time. Truth be told, I still think the negative space seems a little stark, but at least you can read the message.

Here’s what I came up with:


So, can we talk about gratitude for a second?  (If you don’t want to, feel free to skip down and leave a comment with your opinion of my negative space exercise).

I’ve experienced a few carpe diem moments in the last few years, like this and this. And, of course, as a person of a certain age, I hear about more and more people I like, love and/or admire facing life challenges. When I turned 60 last year, I was consumed by gratitude and contentedness — that what I have in love, laughter and, to be crass, possessions is far more than enough. In fact, I could even shed a good many of the possessions and still have more than enough. That’s why I have ordained that the only things we can bring home from our travels are too many digital photos, refrigerator magnets and memories. I think I’ll add “space” to the list.

How do you do with space (literally or metaphorically)? Do you feel compelled to fill it?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy Hunter August 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm

what a wonderful frame for your quote… I’ve never heard that before, and I love it!


Leslie in Oregon August 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Ever since I worked on large aircraft on which every single cubic inch had a designated use and almost always was filled, I have loved being in places with empty spaces that have no designated use. So no, I don’t felt compelled to fill space, at least not literally. But I do have a difficult time giving up books and other papers with information on them, and after nearly 30 years in one (large) home, I have accumulated way too much of both. In search for assistance in lightening up (literally), I have just started reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The Beattie quotation is an important and lovely reminder for everyone in our consumerist society and probably best lends itself to a zentangle with very little detail or repetition and a lot of open space.


Suzanne Fluhr August 3, 2015 at 4:45 pm

That sounds like an interesting book. After two downsizes in our living space in the last 5 years, I learned to dispose of things, but there is certainly more space that could be created. I think we’re also now facing a glut of stored digital “things”. It might be time for a book about tidying up digital spaces as well. Thanks for stopping by.


ChristineC August 3, 2015 at 4:12 pm

these beautiful patterns hightlight the central text


Daniel @ The Tangle Corner August 3, 2015 at 5:34 pm

This is gorgeous – and such a great quote to go with it! I continue to marvel at your use of Paradox. Of course, actually practicing it might help for me… ^_^


Suzanne Fluhr August 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm

Daniel, I couldn’t do Paradox to save my life until, suddenly, one day it clicked. Yes, practice did help. (sigh).


Jean Chaney August 3, 2015 at 6:18 pm

I have a fear of giving up on acquiring new things to fill the little space I have now. I equate that with death. Nope, not yet. However, I am happy to leave breathing room in my tangles. I guess I have enough clutter in my studio LOL! Try tossing the string, write the words and let the tangles wander a bit more 🙂


Yukari August 4, 2015 at 1:37 am

I love this quote! I have used it in my art journal. I like using the negative space for meaningful quotes!


Jacqueline Gum August 4, 2015 at 6:00 am

I love the quote…never heard it! But what a beautiful way to memorialize it!


hungrycorgistudio August 4, 2015 at 8:04 am

Beautiful way to leave an opening for great emphasis. Great sentiment. And btw, I prepare my tiles with watercolor most of the time. I remember you asking. Sorry I didn’t get back to you on that.
Sarah. 🙂


Maggibee August 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Hi Suzanne, great tile. The white space isn’t stark in my eyes; I feel as if I’m looking through the patterns to the sentiment beneath. Rather an effective metaphor in itself, I feel. As for decluttering, I tend just to move things round a lot, without getting rid of much at all. We won’t be downsizing any time soon, for sure. I like your quote too and I’d like to share another one that I use when people look at an abstract Zentangle I’ve done and ask me what it is: “The world today doesn’t make sense; so why should I paint pictures that do?” Pablo Picasso. What’s good enough for Picasso…


Antonine August 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm

What a wonderful reminder to all of us about what is truly important! I went through a particularly difficult time in my life years ago in which I lost just about everything (except my children, thank God). I recall feeling a certain kind of freedom in not having to be responsible for “things” any more. That said, I went about the business of rebuilding a life I could sustain with some “things”. Now I have entered another phase in my life for which I am exceedingly grateful. It is not about things but about love. Thank you for your beautiful post.


Annemarie August 5, 2015 at 2:08 am

A great quote and I hope we never forget. I’m so very grateful of all that life has given me in the years I have lived (67 now) and I mean not only the ‘good’ times, but also the ‘hard’ ones. We are not rich in the meaning of today, but we feel so very rich with all we got. Well, a lot of words just to say that I am so very grateful for all life gives me; big or small and ‘good or bad’.
I like the tangles you have chosen in your tile!


Diane Clancy August 5, 2015 at 8:40 am

The first one was lovely too, Suzanne – but yes the 2nd one is much more easily readable!! And sooooo beautiful!! Encroaching on the space was perfect and still super readable. Ah yes, to have or not to have!! That is the question.

What a wonderful quote!! If I start to feel ungrateful, I do go to these kinds of thoughts … partly in hopes I will never have to be grateful that everyone got out alive from our burned down house and such. We are so lucky … and even tho this summer is super stressful, I am so much happier when I do remember the gratitude. It is so odd to do the work on the house this summer – for similar reasons – true a couple of ceilings were wrecked in the winter – but still they are there. And it is much better to fix them – but how lucky we can!! 🙂 🙂 Thank you!!

~ Diane Clancy


Donald W August 5, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Great quote and you framed it well. Like your one with Mooka also.


Amy L Smith August 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm

I love how mooka is hugging gratitude! Such a simple, elegant tile! Absolutely perfect!


LonettA August 7, 2015 at 1:30 am

A wonderful and wise quote presented in a real lovely way! Great idea!


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