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CZT Family Tree - Denise McMahon

CZT Family Tree - Denise McMahon

CZT Family Tree
We always say that the Zentangle Method attracts really awesome people. We have had the pleasure of working with wonderful Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) all over the world and we are excited to share these wonderful people with the entire Zentangle Community. Through our series, CZT Family Tree, we will introduce individual CZTs.

Today, we are excited to introduce Denise McMahon!


Name: Denise McMahon                                                    CZT#:22

Hometown: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Favorite tangle: ‘nzeppel (random) and Tipple
Favorite place to tangle: my studio or getting out into the bushland environments


Favorite quote: “You cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do is like a farmer create the conditions under which it will begin to flourish.” Ken Robinson
How I use the Zentangle Method in my life:
As a full time, Visual Art Teacher and a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT22) I dedicate my time to teaching and creating art because of the positive effects these processes have on the individual artists, as well as their audience. Over the last two years I have combined my new Zentangle knowledge with my professional art educational practice, associated studies in my workplace of positive psychology and creative thinking.   On both a professional and personal level, art helps me to make meaning of the world we live in. Meaning is made when people sit down and take a Zentangle class and when I myself sit down, tangle and get lost in that delicious state of flow. My own work is part of my soul, deeply rooted in nature. My intuitive artistic practices guide me to that special place where time collapses, creativity explodes, and images emerge. There is no better feeling than sharing and teaching this to others.
I’ve recently shared my Zentangle works in an art exhibition called Connect 3 at Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.   Connect 3 was an exhibition of contemporary abstract art by three artists, Jennifer Neubecker, Kym Tabulo and myself. It drew on the traditions of abstract art, and transformed them by creating very different, yet complementary, paintings and drawings. Each artwork represented the universal aim that connected the whole show, which is to focus on what is being created through both conscious and intuitive decisions. I was honored to be asked to be part of the exhibition and off course, my process in my works was Zentangle. Each of my works in the exhibition explored the true Zentangle Method and they reflected the intangible process of abstraction to fulfil the requirements of the other exhibitors.  The challenge for me was to explore the use of unique strings such as burnt holes, gold leaf swatches, stains from puddles of water, residue from nature and shadows. From these unusual strings, unique Zentangle responses emerged. This intuitive process was unconsciously influenced by my life experiences, memories and journeys into the Australian Bush and New Zealand South Island.  My works represented my own personal connections with nature, and were a  mindful reflection through their making process themselves, and then in the gallery were a starting point for reflection for the people that viewed them.


If I’m not tangling, you will find me…: On a week day you will find me teaching art in the classroom, as I am Head of Visual Art at a local P-12 school. On weekends and holidays, I am exploring Australian Bush landscapes and visiting art galleries.
Mosaic Name: DeniseMcMahon
Facebook Page:  Zentangle with Denise




  • Hello I have been interested in becoming a CZT teacher however it is too expensive for me.

    I am hoping you sell supplies etc.

    I taught zen tangles to high school students at Beerwah High 2015/16. I did it at lunch time I targeted students who were isolates,
    new to the school, few friends.
    It gave them the chance to find something they could do that other kids weren’t doing. Meet new pe
    Pole who could come to the group as well!!!

    I am drawing every day and tangle
    Every day.

    I would like to meet up and check out your work if possible! I am at Caloundra

    Thank you for your time. Lynn Hall

    Lynn Hall on

  • Denise, congratulations on your gallery show, how exciting. You are a vibrant writer and I could feel and see you in the Bush getting inspired. Thanks for sharing your teaching journey and how you bring flow into classes with creative expression and Zentangle. Peace.

    Miriam HIPster on

  • Hi Denise! I was especially inspired by your ideas of using “natural” strings – water, burned edges, shadows, etc. I will incorporate this into my practice, because it seems like my strings tend to get rather repetitive sometimes. Also, seeking out natural strings will be, in itself, a fun adventure!

    Ronda on

  • I really enjoyed the idea of incorporating Zentangles with more traditional art forms… gave me some ideas!

    Annie Sargent on

  • It is always good to see a new twist

    Sheila on

  • I’m quite taken with what seems to be tangled ‘rivers’ on maps. What an interesting other direction!

    Margaret Bremner on

  • I love reading about your nature, art and Zentangle connections. Your creativity is definitely and extension of her personality and experiences. I’m sure your students are delighted to be around an unbounded creative person.

    Gale SHerman on

  • I love the idea of using a natural “unique string” of something that is already out there, such as a puddle. Love this post and the photos of the art… it really stirs my creative juices. Thank you.

    Leslie Hancock on

  • This is fascinating. I’ve always wanted to visit Australia (maybe someday) and now I want to go even more. I love Denise’s integration of art and nature, two natural impulses, into Zentangle. Very beautiful!

    Paula Schneider on

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