Friday, October 7, 2016

Turning Over a New Leaf...Autumn Appreciation Sale!

It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride thus far this year.  Lots of turns, banks and dips of personal changes and challenges.  Throughout it all, and with help, I have managed to come out the other end pretty well.

I find sudden and repeated curve balls difficult; more so as I get older.  How did I manage so much before and not even give curve balls a second thought, I wonder?  It comes down to pure innocence, I figure.  What I have learned is  that each one usually propels me out of my comfort zone du jour and sends me hurdling in a new and more exciting direction.  This time it is no different.

With these changes I have decided to scale back on a few things.  First of all, a few weeks ago, I suspended my FaceBook account which included the Zentangle Spokane page.  My time was being sucked up too much by the cyber world and interfering with my artist vision.  In short, it was messing me up!  So out it went and I feel so much lighter not carrying around so much distracting crud in my head. Bonus is that our meals aren't much.  I still have an Instagram account which I post to on occasion, so you can find it here and follow along if you wish: loretta.west Spokane, Washington.  Because I just can't help sharing, now can I?  I may reinstate the Zentangle Spokane page this winter.....but life is okay without facebook....actually really good, trust me on this one.  You might want to try it yourself for a while and notice any changes.  

The other change involves learning a new tool for me.  A few months ago, a friend introduced me to the intuitive and transformative work of SoulCollage.  It involves three of my loves: Meditation, Intuition and Collage which are used as tools to listen to your soul to help guide you through your life. Like Zentangle anyone can do it and it requires limited supplies.  Soon I will leave to train to become a facilitator in this process and am very excited about it.  You can find out more about SoulCollage at this link:

Choose your own adventure!

With all the personal changes I have experienced this year, I have decided to scale back my Zentangle teaching for a bit.  In gratitude to each of you who have supported my teaching journey I am having an Autumn Appreciation Sale! I have always offered private classes in my bright studio,(see photo below), but now I am offering a 30% discount on private Zentangle Classes of 1 to 4 people until November 30th, 2016. That way I can more easily manage my time with all the rest life has to offer me right now. 

I can design a class for you whether you are a beginner or more advanced tangler.  We can cover color, mixed media, luminaries, tangling on objects like gourds for fall,  Holiday gifts, or something you would like to try and you need my studio and assistance. You can choose your own adventure.

Check out more details on my Classes page on this blog:

Well, my adventure in Art and Life continues to unfold and I hope that we meet along the way!

Blessings and Peace to you.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Zizzling Zentangle ZZZZZZZZZZZZummer!!

FREE Summer Classes!!!
I am offering free classes this summer sponsored by both the great folks at the Spokane Public Library and the Spokane County Library.
To kick off the classes for the Spokane County Library Zentangle classes they put together a blog with video of me in my studio.  You can view it at this link.

Here are the details:

 Tues. July 5, Moran Prairie Library, 6 pm

Wed. July 13, Medical Lake Library, 6 pm

Tues. July 19, Argonne Library, 6 pm
Sat. July 23rd, East Side Library, 10:30 am

 Wed. July 27, North Spokane Library,  6 pm

Tues. August 9, Airway Heights Library, 6 pm

Tues. August 23, Deer Park Library, 6 pm

Tues. August 30, South Hill, 6 pm

Wed. August 31, Spokane Valley, 6 pm

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Rapids, Rocks, Eddies.....Flow.....

Design your own Coloring Page with me on June 17th! See below for details.

Yes, you and I are the river; we flow, run deep down to that ocean-mix in which our souls swirl.

- Lonnie Hicks

It's been a bumpy spring of sudden changes.  Lots of  rocks to navigate around and  drift over in the river of my life.  My time has been diverted from teaching for a bit as I needed to spend some time  in my own little art eddy for a while.  Like many, making art sustains me in turbulent waters and keeps me from going under.  This is when I rely on nearly daily practices that ground and nourish me.  My life experience has taught me that the water will flow again and that the things that slow me down and steady me, like practicing Zentangle, meditation, gardening, yoga and the love for and of others, of course;  will see me through once again to the open waters.

One of the things I did to keep contact with the world was join a Facebook group called,
 Traveling Tangles Project.
Or you can do a search for Zentangle swaps and find all sorts on the web.

In this group over 400 tanglers from all over the world have gathered to start a Zentangle tile or two or more, and then mail them off to others to finish and keep.  It's so nice to get real honest to goodness mail.   It's like  Pen Pals with tangles! 

There were mornings when I didn't feel like tangling and instead wanted to dive into the rapids.  However, just knowing that someone in another part of the world was waiting for me to send my started tile or finish theirs got me going.   In fact in participating in this swap it got me motivated to finish a tangle pattern I had started long ago.  The resulting online conversation about it, even helped with a name: B'Tworld!  I have added a new page to this blog: My Tangles which has all the tangles I have developed thus far for you to try.

When I am not teaching I also keep busy by either trying out new techniques or mediums to share with you  and by completing Art Commissions.  Fortunately, the great folks at the Spokane Public Library asked me to design the back of their book marks for people to color and also a coloring page for their coloring sessions at the branches. It includes the words, Read, Learn, Discover and Color. A Calligrapher I am not, but I learned quickly enough to get the job done and we all are pleased with the result.  The book marks should be available soon a your local city library, if not there already.  

I had so much fun designing this page, I thought about how best could I share this experience with everyone?  I noodled around selling coloring pages or books online which I may still do; but my heart is in teaching first, so I  thought it would be even more fun to teach you all how to design your own coloring page using the Zentangle method.  It's a winning combination of two mindful and relaxing techniques in one go!


Create Your Own Coloring Page Workshop

Using the Zentangle Method, we will create a beautiful personalized coloring page for yourself or as a unique gift.  All supplies are included.  There will be student grade coloring pencils to use in class, but if you prefer to bring your own favorite coloring supplies, please do.
Suitable for ALL abilities, including beginners.  No Experience Required. I'll show you how, one stroke at a time.
You don't have to know how to draw!
When: Friday, June 17th from 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Mellow Monkey Yoga Studio, 9017 E. Euclid, Millwood
Cost: $35 per person, Prepaid and Includes all take home Zentangle Supplies!
To register you can click away on this button


Or if you wish not to pay online, contact Loretta West, CZT at or 509 995 1647 and you will be sent an invoice to be paid prior to class.
Thank  you for your continuing support in my teaching and art journey, I couldn't do it without you!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sanctuary - noun  sanc·tu·ary \ˈsaŋ(k)-chə-ˌwer-ē\

: a place where someone or something is protected or given shelter

: the protection that is provided by a safe place

: the room inside a church, synagogue, etc., where religious services are held

This word sanctuary has come up a lot for me of late. What does it mean to me? Does it need to be a physical space or is it more of a feeling? How important is this sanctuary?  Do I need to defend it? Share it?

Last year I started to realize just how certain places had become my shelter.  A place to recharge and regroup and then emerge; somehow more settled, in order  to meet the demands of my world.


One such place is my home and in particular my studio and more precisely, my big chair where I am sitting right now writing to you.  From this chair I can look onto the front garden and watch the birds and the seasons change.  I can meditate or sit with a book or tangle, draw, paint, and dream. I am always reminded of how important this spot is to me when someone else sits here.  When that happens,  I feel uprooted and sometimes a bit uncomfortable.  Sitting there has become my pattern for regeneration and restoration.

The second place is our garden.  I love to walk barefoot in meditation through the garden on summer mornings,  waking up with the birds and flowers, pretending like I'm Snow-white. Tra-la-la.   I love visitors to our garden.   I like to show them all the plants,  trees, flowers;  successes and failures.  Invite them to smell and touch it all.   To hold dear the earth as I do.

The third place is one that moves and floats and is propelled by the wind!  I just love sailing on our little boat and equally love just bobbing on the lake relaxing with my husband and our friends.  Our boat is a cradle to me and the surrounding water a moat and once I step off of dry land I feel as if we are in a world of our own.  Recently we were both asked to act as students by our good friend, Bill Holcomb who was interviewed and filmed last summer for North West Profiles on PBS.  Here is a link to our cameo roles in  the show in case you missed it the first time:

This piece and others will be on Display at an Art Show in Coeur d'Alene February 12th, see below for details.

In Zentangle,  we learn to draw patterns and how that can equate to the patterns in our lives, our world. Physical and mental patterns.   By drawing the repetitive shapes we may begin to notice patterns more and more.  Eventually we may notice behavioral patterns, our own and others.   Recognizing behaviors as patterns allows us to see a bigger picture.  If they are our own behaviors,  we can decide to accept and continue them or to change them.

We can also  get stuck in one pattern that keeps us stuck in other endeavors and once we change that one thing it can unlock a door of changes that were just itching to see the light of day.  Recently for me it happened that after many years of attending the same yoga classes, my circumstances changed and I stepped away from what was my sanctuary. Though I missed my yoga class and my fellow yogis greatly, other good things have happened since I changed my pattern.  I have returned to swimming in winter.   I believed swimming was only a summer lake activity; but when I got over the adversion of putting a bathing suit on when there's no sand and no chance of sun burn,  I love it and feel stronger than with yoga alone.  I'm meeting another tribe of people too, friendly water people, and that's alright!

In the process of studying about sanctuary and how important it is to all of us, I have begun to see that physical sanctuary spaces change, come and go, and that the truist sanctuary is deep inside my soul.

What's Up Next?

If you haven't already, please click on the classes tab to find out all about my next class at the ClayFox Clay School where I will be a guest teacher on Saturday, March 12th. I am very excited about this opportunity as way back when dirt was made I studied pottery in college and loved playing in the mud!  So this is a bit of a pleasant visit to the past for me. It is also a bit of a full circle thing too as the owner of ClayFox, Jill Smith was my first landlady when we moved to Spokane and I was looking for studio space for my looms. Life's pattern is all about circles.  I hope you will join me there.  Just click on the classes tab on the right and find out more....

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Zentangle Art Show in December!








INFO: 509 -995 1647 

Friday, November 13, 2015



November Funk? Pause is good.

If I had my choice I think that in every November I would head to Hawaii, sit on the beach with an improving drink and good book and wait for it to be over, or when someone calls to say that  the ski trails are open.  It has to be one of my least favorite months.  It's kind of like an in between month.  In between the warmth of summer and fall and the crispness and coziness of winter.

I do all I can to resist going inside, both bodily and spiritually, even though I know that it is what I need the most. A time to clear out my inner closet of the stuff that has been brewing on the back burner far too long.  My mood gets a bit bleaker and when my husband gets the Happy Light out of the garage....well that's the hint that he's had enough and it's time to get to work for me.

However, nearing the middle of the month,  I start to appreciate November a bit more....warming good food, like soups and stews, fire place crackling while the wind and rain hit the windows. Friends who you haven't heard from most of the warm months are present again. More time for tangling and other art projects. Oh yes, and Netflix binges, can't forget those!

On our recent vacation in Europe we grew to appreciate a really good morning's something about that Euro-cow's milk that makes it taste so good.  We started a bit of a habit just before heading out for the day or in the midst of our morning, which was to stop at an outdoor café and have a nice cup.  It was a time to pause, to reconnect with each other and watch the locals as they chatted and read actual paper books!  Starbucks has nothing on the café culture in Europe, it's a special society onto itself.  Cafes are everywhere and open all day so you can sit outside (as many have awnings and heaters) and relax.  So we have started doing this at home in the mornings (though inside), having bought a stove top espresso maker.  It's not sitting by the Mediterranean watching the waves roll in, but it is just fine to sit and watch the November winds whip by the window as we sip together.

I think I have now accepted that November is's about taking a pause, clearing out and breathing in some space in your heart before the Holidays happen again.  One day I may even look forward to it.

When I'm not sipping you can find me this month teaching FREE Zentangle Classes through the Spokane County Libraries.  We are doing variations of a different tangle for each class.

Wed, Nov 18 @ 1 pm - Cheney Library
Thurs, Nov 19 @ 7 pm - North Spokane Library
Tues, Nov 24 @ 1 pm - Airway Heights Library
Wed, Nov 25 @ 7 pm - Argonne Library

And Speaking of Libraries don't forget to see the display at the downtown Library of Zendalas on the second floor.  This photo  is just a small bit of it. Big Applause to all the folks at the libraries for bringing FREE Zentangle Classes to you!!!!


It's A Special Zentangle Holiday Workshop!

When: Sat. Dec 5th from 10 am to 1 pm

Where: Spokane Art Supply, 1303 N Monroe, Spokane

Cost: $40 per person prepaid

Includes all supplies

Using the Zentangle Method, we will create beautiful tangle inspired Holiday Ornaments to compliment any décor.   Beginners welcome!

To register: you can go to this link
 Click on the classes tab and then the Buy Now Baby Button!  and you're in business!

Or contact me via or call or text to 509-995-1647 and we'll get you signed up via invoice.

Get your Bells on and we'll see you on the 5th!!

Art Show and Sale Saturday, Dec 12  
When it comes to showing my work in PUBLIC (YIKES!) I am a bit of an introvert okay a lot of an introvert. So you'd better mark your calendars because it's been a long time and I am coming out!
 I will be showing and selling (yes, that's right, you like it and buy it kind of thing) my art work!!!
It will be part of the open house and craft sale at the Mellow Monkey Yoga Studio where I bend my body into different pretzel shapes. at 9017 E Euclid, Millwood (off of Argonne Exit)

The open house is on Saturday, December 12th from noon to 4 pm and I will be there from noon to 2 p.m.
Hope to see you there!!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Taking a Pause - Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. - Lao Tzu

Autumn....a favorite season of mine.  A closing of the summer and a turning to the inside.  Inside our homes, inside our familial and friendship ties and inside our hearts.  Yes, it is also a very busy time as well, as people return to school, and the summer growth is preserved and the circle of life continues. 

For me it is a very busy time as more classes are taught in the colder months and more art work is created for myself and others. I have so many lists in my head. So yesterday I escaped!

I had a million and one things on my to do list that HAD to be done and I had just finished a spell of errands on the east side of town.  The day was warm for this time of year, the sky mostly blue, not to be squandered.  I calculated that if  I just left town right then I could be sitting on our sailboat in about an hour with a stop to pick up lunch on the way.  In the space of driving a block I had an argument in my head about rest vs. getting things done!  What a battle!  In the end the call of the interstate exit was overpowering and off I went. As I drove I could literally feel the anxiety of responsibility shed off my skin.  Then when I got to the lake, it was quiet and soft. The minute I stepped on the dock, I was a new person.

Artwork by Loretta West completed for traveling the world journal
On the previous weekend, I talked with a couple of girl friends while out kayaking about the effect of water on the soul.  What a balm just floating can be and how cares just drift away as if the water is a wonderful barrier between our true relaxed selves and the outside world. A remembrance of the womb, perhaps. Contrary to many beliefs the doing task driven self is not who you truly are, that's just what you do.  It is the relaxed self that is your true self.   I think that down deep we all know this and crave the peace that relaxation brings.

By the time I got home in the evening, I felt refreshed and able to focus on my tasks in a more relaxed way.  Concentrate on what was most important and let the rest of it just fall away....most was just add on noise anyway. 

So how we find these pauses or breaks throughout the day when we can't escape as I did?  It's kind of like exercise.  If you look at exercise as having to find the time to put in 30 minutes per day in one chunk, many folks can't find the time, but if you do it in increments then it becomes available.  Just like Zentangle which is divided into small areas and can be completed in small increments, so can relaxation pauses throughout your day.

We are similar to a computer in some ways.  Ever try to do too many tasks too fast on your computer and it gets stuck or crashes all together because it's overloaded?  We are the same, we have limits and when we are overwhelmed by too many tasks we can become stuck and anxious or depressed. Here are some other tools besides tangling that I have found useful over the years when I have been snowed under by tasks. 

1.  Do small things greatly.  That is to say, make the daily tasks a mindful experience.  For example, when you head to the fridge, think about every step you take to get there, how does your foot feel on the floor when it lands?  Can you slow it down and really feel it? When you reach for the fridge handle, can you really feel it with your hands and slow down the action to feel the force that you are pulling against?  When you open the door really take a moment to feel the coolness of the air, maybe even the smell? Ewe?.... Maybe not that bit.  You get the picture.  When I am in a hurry which is a lot of the time, I try very hard to slow myself down and do things with this mindful approach. It helps.  It also prevents me from breaking dishes, or loosing my keys, or wondering what I am doing in this room?  When you eat, just eat, don't read, don't watch a screen, just concentrate on every bite as it if it were nectar the of the Gods!  Savor it.

2. Take mini breaks.  You can put your Zentangle tools in a spot in your home or work space which you pass and when you pass by sit down and tangle a few minutes, take some deep breaths and then carry on. Create a little Zentangle relaxation station of tiles, pencils, pens and step outs in the break room at work so everyone can try it.  I also keep my supplies in my car so that I can tangle when I am stuck in traffic or waiting for a train and the time flies.  Even taking a couple of minutes to look out the window at nature can help you.  You can also place little cards or post it notes around that simply says the word: BREATHE.  This will remind  you to pause and do just that.  A few deep breaths can be refreshing.

3. Walk in nature.  When I worked at a very high pressure job, contrary to my co-workers who ate lunch at their desks while glaring at their computers, (then at me as I left the office); I decided that it would be much better for me to get out!  So most lunch hours (notice that...I took a whole hour!)  I would eat my lunch and then head out for a walk.  Though it was an urban setting I found nature as much as I could from the birds flitting overhead to a blooming tree. Those walks were life saving!  You can also use this time as a contemplative walking meditation. Here's a link to what we know about the benefits of walking in nature:

4. Take three breaths.  I am a big reader and love the writings of the gentle Thich Nhat Hanh.
No matter what your beliefs, you can glean something from his wisdom.  One of his teachings involves taking three breaths before you do anything.  So as an example: you hear the phone ring and instead to picking it up right away take three mindful breaths and then answer it.  You will then be ready to listen to the other person. 

5.  Try a bit of meditation.  Like Zentangle, meditation helps us to relax and concentrate, to become our true relaxed being.  I like to do a bit of tangling in the early morning when all is quiet and then sit for a short meditation. I find this is a good marriage, as the tangling helps to quiet my chatty mind and readies my mind for a deeper meditation.  Try it for just five minutes at first or even one minute and slowly increase the time.  It's like a little vacation for the mind and so refreshing!  I love this app on my phone which allows me to take my meditation practice anywhere even noisy places with my earbuds.  You can do guided or non guided meditation, when you start, the guided ones are helpful.

6.  Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong.  All of these are mindful practices and a meditation for body, soul and mind.  I love to practice them in the morning or evening and mix them up, as I like variety.  I love to do the shortened yoga practices at my desk, here's a link:

For a gentle longer practice you may like Yin Yoga which is also downloadable on Amazon:

I also love Qigong and here is a link to a video you can download which is long, but you'll feel so refreshed after that you won't regret the time!  You can just do it by segment; a few minutes at a time.  It's downloadable from Amazon.

7. A friend told me about this gal, Donna Eden who deals with energetic healing and self healing.  I like to do this short 5 minute sequence when I feel warn out and have to keep going. It really is a boost!

8. SIT AND DO NOTHING!! When is the last time you did that? 

If you would like to try Zentangle as a tool for relaxation, then please join me this winter!  I have a number of introductory classes I am teaching through the Spokane County Libraries and a Holiday Workshop coming up in December.  If you click on the Classes Link you can find out more.

Also, be sure to check out the ZENDALA exhibit completed by Zentangle participants through the Spokane Public Library.  It's on the Second Floor of the Main downtown library for Create Spokane in October 2015!!

Hope to see or hear from you soon!!