We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves
~Paula Guerin~

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Beauty of Children

This week I had the sincere privilege
to teach the art of Zentangle®
to my niece Amy's Second Grade class
at Hermitage Elementary!
You see Virginia Beach City Schools
had to add about a half hour each day
to their schedule to make up for
all the snow days they had taken!
(Virginia Beach and snow ... hard to believe!!)

Amy and I have been trying to schedule 
a Zentangle® time with her children for quite awhile
and this was the time!
I had never taught Second Graders before,
they are young to learn the process,
but I was willing to try and see how they did.
In fact, I was curious to see how they would do!
I have taught 4-6 graders before,
so this was going to be a learning experience
for the instructor (me) as well!

I created a sample Zentangle® during the week,
trying to have four tangles I thought
young children could draw,
and then tried to have stories 
they could relate too!
Static (Harry Potter's Scar)
Crescent Moon (little lady bugs)
Knightsbridge (checkerboard)
and Printemps (spirals going round and round)
I let them know that Zentangle®
was exercise for the brain!
It would be a small gift for their classroom.

Class Demo 

We started by taking three deep breaths
to calm them down after a very busy work day,
and talked about how breathing really
helps when they need to slow themselves down
How adorable they were ... concentrating on their breathing!

I was able to demonstrate on a
cool camera which projected onto a screen for the children to see,
something new for this teacher for sure!
We took the process step by step,
and as slowly as I could
(we only had an half hour to work with)
They did so good, my heart was so happy
to see them concentrating and drawing,
asking questions,

Concentration happening here!

When we finished our work,
we talked about an artist signing their work,
so they found a place they wanted on their work,
to sign either their name or initials.
We had time to come together 
and put our tiles in an ensemble,
and view each others work!
My heart skipped and leaped, truly!
We took a class picture,
just look at those little faces!

Our Classwork Ensemble!

Mrs. Watson's Second Grade Class

I left them some other things to work on,
and I challenged them to try this same tile again,
taking their time and learning even more.
What a joy it is for me to be with my niece,
teach precious children
and share the Zentangle® process with 
any age!
Mrs. Watson will be sending each child home with
their completed artwork and a certificate
from Zentangle®

Certificate sent home

I would say it was a lovely Wednesday afternoon,
and the fact that my little grandson Grayson,
got to come along with us,
and hang with the kids
and see his mama,
well there are no words to express
my happy heart!!!

Grayson and Lauren

Have a blessed week,
do something good for someone else,
think about positive things,
and share what you know ...
whatever that is!!!

Donna Lee

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Art of Seeing

Entitled "True Vision"

I was recently able to attend
a Thursday morning
art inspiration time
with my Calligraphy teacher and mentor
at the beautiful One 11 Art Gallery
It was a simple two hour workshop
"Zen of Seeing"
What a treat it was for me!

We gathered quietly at the art table,
and began with a quiet exercise
of drawing for a twenty minute time period
(I was able to share my new app Insight Timer from my iPhone),
The directions were to look at the still life (below)
she had set up for us.
The only thing we were to do
was draw what we saw,
never looking at our work,
letting our eyes tell the story,
not picking up our pen

We slowly drew,
listened to beautiful music 
softly playing in the background.
It taught me for sure to 
slow myself down,
after hurriedly trying to get to class!

Our Still Life to work with

My little finished piece

We then took the time to share with each other
 our drawings and explain how that felt
not being able to look at our work while drawing.
It is truly amazing what your eye tells your hand

Betsy's demo with Inktense blocks

She then took Intense blocks
and just colored a few areas of her drawing,
she then used a spray bottle of water on top,
and blew the water colors around,
it was so spontaneous and lovely!
(Of course now Intense blocks are on my art wish list!)

The second exercise was even more exciting to me,
she pulled out her large collection of colored inks
it was like a candy store!

Betsy's collection of colors

We were asked to chose three colors that spoke to us,
this certainly took a little time,
there were so many choices!

Betsy then demonstrated watering down
a sheet of paper,
adding ink drops of color to the paper
and then we put saran wrap over the colors,
allowing to dry outside
(it was a most beautiful morning that day!)

Betsy's demo

My color choices

Smearing the colors

After our colors had dried, we then had
a beautiful sheet of ink colored paper to work with
then the fun began ...

Betsy demonstrated and talked about different
ink pens to work with, and I was tickled
to try some new pens, I am so used to the
Micron pens with my Zentangle ....
She then began to demonstrate how to start outlining,
shapes and objects from the dried splotches on the paper,
the Zen of seeing ... enjoying the process.

We weren't able to finish our drawings
in class, but here is mine ...

 My complete work!

I enjoyed this process so much
and I have learned even more since I purchased
the book Betsy recommended to us
The Zen of Seeing by Frederick Frank
(inside the manuscript is completely handwritten!)
What a treasure to add to my creative library

Awesome book recommendation

I learned and experienced way more than I thought I would,
on a simple Thursday morning!
I was thrilled to have some time off that day,
and that there was an opening in her class!
I could have just stayed home and done housework,
but where is the fun in that?

Reach out, find a fun little workshop to attend,
all the new things you learn can just be added
to your creative toolbox!
Mine is becoming quite full these days!

Donna Lee
living creatively each and everyday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Things that are yummy!

Spring beauty!

How wonderful that today April 1st,
is the day I get to greet my computer
and come to write my blog post.
There is something special about a Wednesday morning!
Perhaps it is because I am off today,
I can concentrate on putting the thoughts in my head,
to the page on the blog,
perhaps it is smelling the
applesauce raisin cake baking in my oven,
or feeling the warmth from the fire
(even though it is springtime!)

There are so many wonderful
and yummy moments in our lives,
if only we would take the time
to enjoy and experience them!

I pride myself on seeking out moments
to enjoy, to pause, to learn
to just be still with myself.
Perhaps the art I choose to work on,
allows me to do that as well

 Small tapestry weaving of mine ... thread by thread

 Learning the Art of Calligraphy ... patience required

Drawing Zentangle in a coffee shop

Oh how I love creating my Mixed Media Mandalas

There are so many beautiful things around me,
I scarcely can take it all in.
When I do have moments to myself,
there is usually a quiet art that follows me,
perhaps it is because they teach me ...
the art of slowing down
 calmness of heart
how to center myself
being alone is okay
stillness is beautiful

Perhaps it is just seeing a movie by myself,
having coffee with girlfriends on the spur of the moment,
snuggling up to a good book,
writing a poem 
spending time in God's Word,
listening to soft music by Debussy,
writing a letter,
knitting a pair of socks
taking a walk at my beloved ocean
(this is truly the yummiest gift of all!)

The beautiful Outer Banks

Springtime has arrived
and now it is time to work in the garden,
planting my herbs and flowers
to enjoy all summer long!
Time to get the bird feeders well stocked,
it's going to be a beautiful season!

Backyard beauty

So on this beautiful first day of April,
grab some yumminess of your own,
be creative, be open
and share with me what you are doing,
I would love to hear.

Don't waste a moment,
living this life is a gift given ...
 we must recognize all 
the special moments we are given
Make happy yummy moments of your own
and recognize them when they happen!

Happy Easter Week
May your life be filled with love and laughter
and all beautiful things
I treasure you, my reader ...
thank you for stopping by today!

Donna Lee Zeppieri Wynn
(wow that's a mouthful!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My daily Mantra!

I recently attended the 25th Anniversary
in Hampton, Virginia.
I have fond memories of being a part owner and artist
in this collaborative art gallery over the years,
in fact, I truly can't believe I left there over 10 years ago!
I was thrilled to be invited and so happy to attend!
The crowd that gathered was impressive ... what a turn out they had!

I purchased this lovely clay sculpture (pictured above)
 as a keepsake,
to always remind myself to
"Believe I can do anything"
Blue Skies Gallery believed in my artistic abilities,
and back then I was concentrating on
my hand weaving and I loved my work!
Now I stand here ... 10 years later
and barely find time to sit at my weaving loom,
I miss it!
I truly miss the time I spent working in the gallery,
the fellowship with other artists, the inspirations,
creative conversation,
meeting patrons from all over
as they visited the gallery.
Those were good times, wonderful memories
and I grew in confidence,
in my artistic abilities.

Attending this gala last weekend,
forced me to think about the past ten years 
since I left the gallery to pursue a full time position
at Gilbert Eyecare,
I had to give up a lot to work full time again,
especially time!
Time is a precious gift for sure.
Now here I am ten years later . . .
now just working three days a week as an Optician,
caring for grand children two days a week,
and fitting in my artistic pursuits wherever I can!
My artwork has gone totally in another direction,
and I have learned so much along the way.

Yes, I believe in Me!
I believe there is time to pursue what interests us,
I believe in the Artistic Process and in Growth,
I believe I have a strong purpose in my life,
I believe my words matter,
I believe in God, love, truth, faith, family and all good things.

B ` E ` L ` I `E `V ` E
in yourself
in your own dreams
in your life pursuits
You can do anything!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Poetry on a Wednesday Afternoon

Poetic Wednesday

thoughts flow from inside the heart
spilled wide open onto the page
scary yet cleansing emotions
 all rolled into one act
putting my pen to the page
writing freely
no holding back
breathing deeply
no holding back

i find myself at peace
with this process
meeting myself here in this moment
just being present
with my own thoughts
with all the complicated emotions
words will continue to come 
they say to me "you are safe here"

i think i will just stay for awhile
breathe in words
let them allow to flow within
comfort my own heart
relax in the writing process
poetry is a gift
not everyone gets it
but i sure do

5:55 pm

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Walking Through Change

Entry way found on a photo walk in Providence, RI

I have been walking through some changes lately
and I must say
it takes some getting used to!

Why is Change always such a hard thing to adjust to?
Letting go of some things, or should I say
the way things have always been ...
and stepping into new is taken some adjusting for me.
I have cut my working hours at Gilbert Eyecare,
to help care for my precious grand babies,
with no regrets at all.
We are still searching for a church home,
after leaving a church after 14 years.
My artwork has taken on some changes,
and things that used to interest me,
no longer do.
I have let go of collaging, some art journaling,
mixed media and weaving
in order to concentrate on art techniques
that calm my heart.

When we enter into this art world,
we truly think we can do it all,
we spend lots of time in art stores,
spend hard earned money to buy the supplies,
only to let them go later,
because they no longer interest us,

Our tastes are constantly evolving,
our interests are changing daily,
friendships come and go,
experience come in and out of our lives,
we remember the wonderful high
we carry home with us from art retreats,
only to find that feeling slipping away 
as we settle into real life again!!!
Then we find our attention goes toward something 
new something exciting...on to the next adventure.
There are so many e-courses out there
catching our attention
in fact, it's an overload lately.

So for myself,
I have stepped back in 2015,
concentrating on what calms my heart and mind,
being choosy about about how I spend my time,
how I spend my money and my efforts.
Being choosy is a good thing!
Here it is the beginning of March,
so it is time to check in with myself,
How have I been doing these past two months???

Working less,
caring for my grand babies,
writing poetry,
teaching Zentangle and Creative Writing
learning Calligraphy just because ...
letting my watercolors flow
is just the perfect mix for me!
It was hard for me to let go of working full time,
being an Optical Manger,
making daily decisions ...
yet here I stand
Walking through Change
and I like it.
Learning to slow the pace down,
concentrating on what I now need ...
it's really good stuff!
I'm not gonna say it's all been easy,
but necessary.

There is Power in just allowing change to happen

You don't have to do it all,
you don't have to have it all,
you don't have to be into everything,
just let your life unfold,
gently and naturally
watch what happens,
and be content with it all.
I stand here grateful for learning lessons,
lessons I needed to embrace!

Creating just for the fun of it!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Learning the Art of Calligraphy

View from my studio desk
(See my amazing cup by Alisa Burke???)

I have always been in love with the art of Calligraphy,
it's beauty and flow onto the page
or receiving an enveloped invitation in the mail.
It was something I always wanted to learn,
but other art forms kept taking their attention
in front of the line!
It was just one of those "bucket list" items
I hoped to get around to learning!

I took a beginning Calligraphy class
with my sister at the end of 2014.
It is where I teach Zentangle,
at The Muse in Norfolk,
it was only two and a half hours,
but it certainly got my interest!
I knew one class was just not enough!

I began to practice, practice, practice.
I created a Pinterest board for inspiration,
you can browse it here ...
Then I realized I needed more attention,
fellowship with other learners,
for reading books
(and there are some wonderful ones in my library)
just wasn't enough for me,
I need visuals, connection and motivation!

My book collection ... so far!

So like many of us, when you want to find out anything
you google it right?
I googled Calligraphy lessons Virginia Beach ....
up popped the name of
"Betsy Rivers-Kennedy"
went to her website, saw her work,
emailed her about possible classes coming up
and four weeks later ....
I attended my first class Monday night!

My work station in class ... oh my I loved it!!!!

We jumped right in ...
there were eight of us, some were returning students
that just couldn't get enough!
I found my little corner of the table,
received my supplies from Elizabeth,
made my introductions
and we began.
She jumped right in ...
learning how to dip the ink, care for your nibs,
how to properly hold the Oblique pen,
and began ... it was that simple.
Learning to hold the pen at the proper angle
is something that definitely must be practiced!

She came around and watched us,
wrote on our practice sheets for guidance,
all the while writing upside down!
She was pretty amazing.
Everyone quietly worked and shared
to soft beautiful music in the background.
I even found a new Instagram buddy!

The Art Studio we were working in was
so delightful for a learning experience,
I had NEVER heard of it before,
and had to use my Google Maps
to find it,
hidden quietly in our Downtown Norfolk area!
It's called One 11 Art!
So for four weeks, on a Monday night,
from 7:00 to 9:00pm
it will be my learning home!!

Practice sheets to guide me along

I feel as though I have found
what I have been searching for ...
sounds kinda silly huh?
I love the art forms that quiet my soul,
calm my heart and produce a gentle feeling inside.
My Zentangle, Watercolor Painting, Poetry
and now Calligraphy seem to all
go hand in hand with each other.
I can see how I can use all four mediums together
to produce amazing works.

We have to certainly try a lot of art techniques,
to finally give ourselves permission to settle in.
I have definitely settled into my art,
my life, my direction, my teaching
and I am here to say
it feels pretty darn good
at 57 years young!

I encourage you to not settle for just what is,
look beyond your normal routine,
find your own expression, not others!
Reach out and try something new,
search in your area for learning possibilities,
you won't be disappointed!
Change and Growth are all part of the process,
Learning forms who we are,
just step out of your comfort zone,
you may just find a treasure awaiting you,
I certainly have ...

Written by my teacher for me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Enjoying a time out

A cup of homemade hot cocoa in my mug from Anthropologie!

Snow Day

Life just gives us treats when
we least expect it.
How I love a snow storm!
I love hearing about it on the news,
preparing for it
and waiting for it to arrive!
Yes ... I am one of the sillies
that has to run to the grocery store too.

How beautiful it is when snowfall begins,
there is such a quiet stillness,
a slowing down of routine.
With each snowflake falling
onto the ground,
it presents a sense of magic and awe.
The world outside becomes quiet and restful.

We are always so busy
in our day to day lives;
even when we try to slow down,
it doesn't always work.
The gift of unexpected snow,
a day home from work or routine,
its such a treat for me.
How I love being home whenever I can.

 I love being in my home
snuggled with the fire and family,
resting in the moment,
not able to run around town,
just staying put at home
can be a wonderful time.
Being snowed in forces us to slow down
enjoy what is right in front of us.

Always happy to wear my boots!

I was able to enjoy a day
of writing, beading, cleaning my home,
I re-arranged and created a writing corner for me,
I prepared for my next Zentangle® class,
and had a hot candlelight bath in the middle of the afternoon
(practicing some self care too!)
I love cooking a delicious meal
that I normally don't have the time to do,
it was a most beautiful Tuesday!

Time for a nature mandala!

Grateful for a snow day
Loving the time I took to slow my body rhythm down,
happy to be safe and warm
always seeking moments for
art and writing.
My snow day was amazing,
how was yours?

Donna Lee

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What do you see?

Taken during my SoulCollage® training!
Capturing a self moment

What do you see when you see yourself?
Look into the mirror and look, truly look.
See the beauty you hold within
Know that you are important and cherished!

What do you see when you see yourself?
Look deep into your heart,
 feel the emotions that come from within ...
what are they trying to say to you?

What do you see when you see yourself?
When you think thoughts that are negative,
do you speak words of self doubt?
Are you constantly unhappy with what you see?

What do you see when you see yourself?
Are you seeking moments of quiet,
calming your heart and your mind?
Finding those moments for self care and nurturing

What do you see when you see yourself?
Who is that girl staring back at you?
Fall in love with her again and again
Listen closely to what she has to say ...

Listen ... Carefully
and you will hear ...

if only you will Listen

(a poetic moment written in quiet 2-11-15 at 8:45am)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Zentangle is always near by me . . .

Created using Zendala tile!

I am always in love with the creative process,
I certainly share that enough here on my blog.
Recently, I have been trying my hand
at a few other pursuits ...
writing more poetry, art journaling in my
documented life journal,
working on my SoulCollage® process,
and loving the time I spend with my grandchildren!

When I do have a still moment,
a quiet time to reflect and draw,
I always find myself returning to
my first love

Zentangle and the Mandala Process

White on Black tiles ... another technique

Another love of mine ... Watercolor and Zentangle 

I always carry a small bag with my Zentangle supplies,
it was the bag I got in my very first class,
so it carries some sentimental value for me!!
It's also a great way of starting a conversation
when out in public!
All of my Zentangle students receive one as well,
they get so excited when they peek inside!

My Zentangle kit goes everywhere with me

So whenever I have a quiet moment,
at work, in the coffee shop, waiting for a doctor,
waiting for a flight in the airport ...
I usually pull out my little Z bag.

I love how this process is there for me at anytime.
It relaxes me when there is stress,
cures my insomnia in the middle of the night,
calms my heart and spirit,
it helps me with my writing process
and so much more.

I've been teaching this Zentangle process
since November, 2014
and have been practicing Zentangle
since 2012.
My journey has brought me to many
wonderful places to share and teach,
I have met so many wonderful students
who are continuing the process,
long after their class is over.
That truly delights my heart!

Sharing the process with my sister girlfriends during a retreat weekend!

I have lots of wonderful classes coming up in 2015,
you can catch my next classes at
The Muse Writing Center here,
I am always available for private or group sessions.
I have taught this process in many settings now,
and I still am surprised at the wonderful opportunities
teaching brings to me.

Students from Hermitage Museum

 I will be traveling to New Hampshire in June
to share this process at the amazing
I am beyond the moon about this opportunity,
Squam Lake, Zentangle, the beautiful woods,
girlfriend fellowship, reconnections with special people,
spending time with the amazing
 Elizabeth Duvivier, founder and creator of Squam!

A favorite moment at Squam in the City
Elizabeth, Bella and Me!

My 2015 is filling up fast
and I am truly grateful for the opportunities
that teaching Zentangle has brought me.
Each time I pick up my pen,
I get lost in this amazing process
and I want others to feel the same!
Blessings to you on your Wednesday!

Donna Lee
(Facilitator of Love and Creativity)