GUEST ARTIST: “The Zen of Artangleology” by Alice Hendon

Watercolor Zentangle - Tangle Art - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

My name is Alice Hendon, and I grew up in Newfoundland, Canada, and moved to Florida when I was 17. Two years ago my husband Mark and I moved to Maine to escape the Florida heat. We live seven miles from the Canadian border and love our little bit of heaven here in northern Maine. We have moose, bears, porcupines, deer, groundhogs and the occasional beaver living on our land.

Watercolor - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Cosmos – Brusho Colour Crystals, water, manipulated with brush, clear plastic wrap, sea salt

I did not grow up drawing or painting, so to even think that one day I would be featured on this website would be almost unthinkable. My career was in law enforcement where I served the public for 27 years. The day after I retired, we began a 12-year home school adventure with our daughter. Kali spent the last two years of school on the road with a team of teens teaching communication skills to groups of students across the country and I needed something ‘new’ to occupy my time.  I shot photography professionally, but it wasn’t my ‘calling.’ I needed more.

I turned to Pinterest in hopes of finding a new interest and was drawn to art journaling and an art style I had never seen before called Zentangle. I researched everything I could find on tangling and shortly found myself in Providence, Rhode Island, sitting under the training of Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas to become a Certified Zentangle Teacher.

Zentangle - Tangle Art by Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Zen Garden – pen and ink

For some time I tangled traditionally using black ink on white paper, but soon tired of that. I loved all the bright, bold, beautiful color I saw on my Pinterest boards. I needed to learn how to bring color to my designs. I have taken many online classes and watched literally hundreds of YouTube videos – all the while creating my own style combining color with Zentangle and art journaling.

I love using watercolors – Schmincke watercolors specifically, but I do not use them in the traditional methods. I do not paint beautiful pictures of animals or flowers or food. I mostly use various watercolor methods to create backgrounds that I can tangle, or use for collage/art journaling, or just to enjoy the beauty in the way the colors merge and mingle and mix. I love it all!

Mixed Media by Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Colors of the Wind Collage – Zig Pearlescent Watercolors, Schmincke watercolor, various mixed media, pen and ink, stamps, stencils, collage elements

I enjoy ‘playing’ with everyday household items as texture tools, with pushing the product to see how far I can take it, to try using it in ways it wasn’t intended to use. Just to see if I can make something beautiful in unorthodox manners. I am not always successful but I always have fun. And I guess that is the most important thing I can tell you about my art – I strive to play and have fun. If I am not having fun then I feel like I have failed. I am happiest when I have two hands covered in color and a little bit on my jeans. Usually teals, pinks, purples, blues.

Watercolor - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

The Sun Will Come Up – Schmincke Watercolors, pen and ink, UniBall Signo Gel Pen

Color products of choice – Schmincke watercolor, Da Vinci Watercolors, Brusho Colour Crystals, Twinkling H2Os, Peerless Watercolor, Dylusions Ink Sprays and Alcohol Inks. I have even turned highlighters, markers and mildliners into watercolor. It is all fair game and if I am having fun – then it is a great day!

Watercolor Zentangle - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Mashup – Schmincke and Da Vinci Watercolor, pen and ink, Prismacolor Pencils

What’s that you ask? How are highlighters, markers, and mildliners watercolors? There are two ways I have had great success.

  1. Scribble or color with the marker (or two or three) on a non porous surface – a plastic tray, a page protector, a cookie sheet – then spray water on it. The color and water will bead up.  Place your paper face down onto the color. Lift and look for areas that need more color, and tip just that portion of the paper back down in the leftovers. Using multiple markers works very well. Allow your color to air dry OR you can use a heat tool to make heat rings, or push runs or drips.
  2. Color with the marker onto photo paper or Yupo paper. Before the color dries, manipulate it with a water brush. You can easily blend and manipulate colors with this method until they dry.

Zentangle – or tangling – works for me on so many levels. No surface is safe and I will tangle on any kind of paper I have on hand. Right now I tend to rely almost exclusively on the various Hahnemühle products. My favorites so far hands down are the Cézanne Hot Pressed Watercolor paper and the Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.

Watercolor Zentangle - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Airport Tangling – Peerless Watercolor, pen and ink

For art journaling, I prefer the Leda Sketchbooks from Leda Art Supply. Small to extra large pages – it doesn’t matter. Combining collage elements, watercolor with acrylics, stamping, stenciling and various other mixed media products with tangling – they all combine to make a colorful, happy-feel-good kind of spread and I love doing these!  In fact, I just participated in The 100 Day Project – a global art event – and I used the Baby Leda Pocket Sketchbook for most of my daily art pieces.

Brushos Zentangle - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Beauty of Brushos – Brusho Colour Crystals, manipulated with water and a brush, pen and ink

My art style is different from a lot of what you see here on Doodlewash. Please feel free to ask me any questions, if you would like to learn more about what I do.  I would encourage each of you to have fun with your art. Let it take on a life of its own, let it make you smile. Learn to anticipate that smile and let it make others smile. It is a great feeling! And never stop learning.

Watercolor Zentangle - Tangle Art - Alice Hendon - Doodlewash

Teal Wall – Dylusions Ink Sprays, manipulated with water and brush, pen and ink, heat gun to push color and make runs, UniBall Signo Gel Pen

I have several books available for purchase on Amazon: Tangle Starts, Tangle Starts Planner and Tangle Starts Strings are the first three volumes of my Artangleology Series, with three more volumes anticipated before the end of the year.

I manage a Facebook group called Zentangle All Around where we encourage and learn from each other. I would love for you to join us.

Alice Hendon
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Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

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52 Comments
  1. June Hadaway 6 days ago

    You use beautiful combinations of colors Alice. Very nice. Thank you for sharing.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      you are welcome! I love bold and bright, but I guess you could already tell that 🙂 thanks for your kind words

  2. Terri Young, CZT16 6 days ago

    Great article about Alice. I have enjoyed following Alice for a couple of years and love her work, especially the Zentangle artwork.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thank you, Terri, I love your work, too! I think we are zentangle sisters at heart

  3. Posey Gaines 6 days ago

    Very nice article…shows that creativity knows no age or boundaries.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thanks, and that is so true, I didn’t come to art until about 5 years ago. after a couple successful careers. wish I’d started sooner

  4. beverlydyer 6 days ago

    Great techniques! I’m a big art journaler too.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      I think I could art journal all the time if I had more ideas. haha! thank you for reading my story. I appreciate it!

  5. Sandra Strait 6 days ago

    Your art amazes me! Thank you for the techniques and for sharing your artistic journey!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thank you, sandra, I have learned so much from you and Jennifer! my art inspirations!

  6. Mary Hillebrand 6 days ago

    Thanks Alice, I also belong to the group Zentangle all around, and love,love all your work!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      yes, I recognize your name 🙂 I am so happy to have you in my group. in my opinion it is the best zentangle group on facebook – but I might be a little partial 🙂

  7. Chris 6 days ago

    Great article! Your style is so colorful and fun! Love it! I love Zentangle All Around – such a warm, friendly and lively group!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      that is so good to hear! I work very hard to keep our group like ‘family’. I am glad you enjoy my art – I love all the bright colors! as long as they are mostly teal and pink and purple. hahaha! seriously – thank you

  8. Jean Marmo 6 days ago

    Love the colors in your pieces and seeing how you use them for art journaling, zentangle, etc. Lovely!!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thank you so much!I like to use a product and see how many different ways I can get it to work successfully.

  9. Catnip Blog 6 days ago

    Whaoooooooooo you’re my kinda artist – loose, experimental, colorful, mixing media and FUN and TOTALLY COOL. (which shows my age since the last “cool” expression I knew was “rad”).

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      hahahaha! I’m 65 so I remember ‘rad’, too! and you totally get my art – that is what I was striving for 🙂 so thank you for your kind words, I appreciate them. I hope my art brought a smile to your day

  10. Jodi Ballenger 6 days ago

    Alice, you inspire me every day on Zentangle All Around and your sampling of artwork here is absolutely beautiful! I am just beginning to play with color and tangling and always look forward to your ideas and challenges. Big fan! (aka Shelby Lovebug on Facebook)

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      ahhh!!! I am so glad to see you here! I love having you in my group, and I’m glad you are enjoying my art. thank you for your kind words! and for letting me know your ‘other’ name <3

  11. Teri Casper 6 days ago

    Thank you for sharing your art. You have inspired me to get back to tangling.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      I am so glad to read this, Teri! the whole post is worth it just to get you back to tangling. <3 I'd love to see what you do

  12. gabriellaquintini 6 days ago

    Hello Alice,
    Thankyou very much for your contribution. I had never heard of Zentangle but it looks inspiring.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thanks! I had never heard of it either, so I am glad I found them on Pinterest. you can find everything there! I hope I am able to inspire you in some small way 🙂

  13. Jill Kieffer 6 days ago

    What an upbeat & informative article. It made me happy just reading it. You have challenged me to try new techniques & to focus more on just going with the flow & having fun 😍 . Definitely going to follow you on Instagram.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      oh, thank you so much! I’m glad I was able to help you see art in a little different light. I have had enough boring routine in my life. I just want to be happy and have fun living. art allows me to do that. I’ll watch for you on instagram <3

  14. I really admire your work. I said to my husband that I must stop sitting in front of the TV and do more arty things, but many times the TV is just a background noise as I am watching the beautiful work of artists like you! Thanks for always sharing.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thank you so much! I am glad you are enjoying my art. I use TV for background noise when I work, also. right now I am watching the whole series of the Flash again on Netflix

  15. Antara Bhattacharya 6 days ago

    I’ve learnt so much after joining your Zentangle​ all around group.. I’m so thankful​ to your genuine interest in all the posts in your group even the novices like me. Thanks a lot Alice. Your creativity combines with your passion and compassion help a lot of us to enjoy and have fun with the creativity within us.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      I am so glad to read your comments. they let me know we are on track with the group and doing the right things. thank you for taking time to leave me some sweet comments – I truly appreciate you!

  16. Marie Jo BERNARDIN 6 days ago

    Good work!!i like very much the colors for your Zentangle !!!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read through my article. color speaks to me – I hope it can speak to you as well 🙂

  17. Jennifer McLean 6 days ago

    So stunning, my friend. I always love looking at your colorful art. I couldn’t even pick a favorite! You so deserve to be shown and have other artists learn from your creativity!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      thank you, Jennifer, I love you and appreciate all you have done to help me. my very first watercolor piece ever was done for a challenge you were running on your blog.

  18. Sharon Nolfi 6 days ago

    Wonderful tangles and use of color!

  19. Diane Masloroff 6 days ago

    Alice, What a great article and happy I am happy for your success. I have followed you more than five years and your art is fun and amazing. You have always encouraged me to step out of the box and try it! See you on FB.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 6 days ago

      Thank you so much, diane! I have enjoyed your art for these past 5 years as well. I think we have grown together. ❤️

  20. Sharon Nolfi 5 days ago

    Alice, I love the Leda sketchbook paper, but the cover gives off an odd odor that I find unpleasant. Have you noticed this with the sketchbooks you use?

    • Alice Dean Hendon 5 days ago

      no, I have never noticed that, now I need to go sniff all my sketchbooks. hahaha! ok, I just went and smelled. I don’t notice any odor at all. I wonder if it could be a product you used inside the book? or if you noticed it before you applied product – then it has to be the book itself. none of mine have a smell. we could most likely arrange to have a new one sent to you if you want to private message me your address.

  21. SnehLata Maheshwari 5 days ago

    Alice u r art is unique and beautiful loved it
    Naver seen this technique before. thanks for sharing . I will find u in f b .

    • Alice Dean Hendon 5 days ago

      thank you so much! I will watch for you. I glad my art brought a smile to your day <3

  22. naca A 5 days ago

    I’ve never seen anything like this. So creative and lovely.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 5 days ago

      haha! now I am smiling!!! I love that I was able to show you something new! my day is now made <3

  23. Janneke Booister 5 days ago

    Thank you for showing your art! I like looking at all of them 🙂

  24. nkvorka 5 days ago

    HI Alice, so great to see you profiled here. You have been an inspiration to me for a number of years. I learn a lot from your blog posts. I am in your Zentangle group on FB but rarely post. I am on FB under Nancy Kvorka. I am on Instagram as @nancykart. I mostly post scenery from where I live or even down the street from me along with lots of flower pictures, or other types of artistic pictures around my area and my dogs. I love your style of Zentangle with all the colors.

    • Alice Dean Hendon 4 days ago

      yes, I follow you on instagram <3 thank you for being a faithful supporter of my blog. I hope as I expand out into video that I will be even more of an encouragement to those wanting to learn the art of the tangle. thank you for your comments here – they mean a lot to me!

  25. nkvorka 5 days ago

    I forgot to add, I love your dragons!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 4 days ago

      haha! can’t forget my dragons. I didn’t mention them in the article – I don’t believe. but I do love them. our outside count is up to 9 – I think. the biggest is about 8 feet tall and 9 feet long

  26. pamitha1 4 days ago

    Alice, I love the variety of ways you introduce colors to zentangles. You are obviously not afraid to try new things! I adore “The Sun will Come Up” for its playfulness. I would frame it and hang it on a wall! Thanks for inspiring me in so many ways!

    • Alice Dean Hendon 4 days ago

      You are welcome, glad I could inspire! I’ll try any product that I can get my hands on. It’s all a fun adventure. ❤️

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