Sunday, August 2, 2015

Because I'm Happy...Clap Along if You Know What Happiness is to You

"The way to stay inspired and motivated is by doing what you like, doing what you love."   Raphael Saadiq

Happy August everyone! I don't know how the weather is by you, but it's broiling hot and humid here in Charleston, SC. No surprise there, but I'm ready for fall. So it was nice to take a vacation and get a break from the weather here. First stop was Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, for CanTangle, a 3 day retreat for CZTs. Temps there were in the 80s at their peak, but that felt comfortable compared to what I'm used to. Then for our drive down the Oregon coast the average high was 70 degrees (55 at Crater Lake!), and I loved every second of it. In my opinion, that is perfect weather for vacationing.

But let's go back to Canada and a very fun, educational, and inspiring 3 days of tangling. I got to meet and take classes from the famous Laura Harms, better known as the Diva of the weekly Diva challenges, Margaret Bremner, whose work I've admired for so long, and Lisa Heron, the wonderful and very energetic host of the event. I also took some great classes from people I had previously met - Cris Letourneau, author of Made in the Shade and co-author of Pattern Play, as well as Bette Abdu, Brenda Shaver, and Molly Hollibaugh. In addition, I met and re-met about 40 additional CZTs. So much talent and knowledge was shared. In case you're wondering about the title of my blog today, that's words from the song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, which sort of became the theme song for the weekend.

Today I'm going to share just a little of what I created in Canada... a few of the small things. Once I complete (or should I say IF I ever complete) the larger projects, I will share them here also. First is a monotangle (one pattern) tile using the pattern Diva Dance (maybe you can figure out in whose class this was done?)

Next is a tile using Hollibaugh (maybe you can figure out whose class this was from also?) filled with N'zeppel. The tile was completed as a meditative activity, being guided only by the soothing voice of Molly (did you guess?), without any visuals.

This one is from Cris' class on pattern play, creating tangleations, or variations, of existing patterns. Auraknot with rounded points, and filled with some Tipple.

The last one is a tile I created one evening, in my hotel room, all alone. I had wanted to try out the new pattern Frost Flower since it's made from all straight lines and I love straight lines (or at least fairly straight lines). I added shading with a blue pastel pencil, and I love the way this turned out, even though I made a couple of "mistakes."

One more thing - there were TONS of door prizes given out. Among other things, I won a set of Zentangle coasters donated by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. I was going to put them out in a pile on the end table in my family room, but I had a better idea. The table has a glass top with a wood shelf underneath it. So here's what I did...

Now they're on display for everyone to see. Sorry about the quality of the photo... it's hard to take a picture of a glass table without reflections.

Now that I'm home from vacation I need to get back into the swing of things - I went a whole week without any tangling!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Me and My Shadow

"Measure your mind's height by the shade it casts."    Robert Browning

As you all probably know by now, I love my pastel pencils. I decided to do a little (very little) experiment to see how they would work for adding shading over my Tombow brush markers. First I tangled on an official Zentangle tile (3 1/2 inches square). I added color where I wanted it, using the markers. Now I could have shaded with the markers also, either by adding more layers of the same color, or using a darker color, but I have never had great luck with having those layers blend nicely into each other. So I tried my pastel pencils. Wherever you detect shading, that's the pencils. Unfortunately, as I blended them with my smudger (tortillon), the paper had some shredding and pilling going on. And I did not need to rub hard at all to do the blending. So I wasn't too happy with that, but I actually think it turned out pretty good, and you can't really notice the shredding. Since the Tombows are water based, I did wait a couple of hours before shading....maybe I should have waited even longer.

I decided to try another one, this time on watercolor paper to see if that would work any better. I cut a square, this one 4 inches, from 90 lb. Canson watercolor paper. I should have rounded the corners before taking my photo, but forgot...the squares I cut on my own always look classier with rounded corners. In the same manner as before, I colored my tangled design with Tombows, gave it a while to dry, and added the shading with the pencils. This time there was no pilling or shredding. Maybe I waited longer before shading? But I think it was because this paper is better meant to handle the watercolor.

Would I use my pastel pencils to shade over Tombows again? Definitely! But I will remember to do it on watercolor paper.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Goes Around Comes Around

"You know, if you hang around this earth long enough you really see how things come full circle."   Patti Davis

It's been a Zendala kind of week. I love Zendalas, but decided I felt like just doing the tangling without the planning. I do love planning and drawing the strings on my own, with the knowledge that no other Zendala will be exactly like it. But sometimes it's just really extra relaxing to take one that is already strung and just add the tangles. So I pulled out three of my pre-strung Zendala tiles and tangled away.

The first one is light and airy feeling - not usually my style, but I really like this one. Completed using Flux, Tipple, and some lines.

The next one got a little bolder, with Knightsbridge, Fassett, Beadlines, Piza, and a touch of Cadent in the center.

The last one is fairly simple, but with lots of the contrast that I love. The center is kind of a spinoff from Static - at least that's what I was thinking of as I did this. Then I added Florz all around the outside. Sometimes my favorite tiles turn out to be the ones with the fewest number of different tangles.

In case you'd like to try some pre-strung Zendala tiles yourself, you can find them in my Etsy shop as part of my variety packs - in white, black, and Renaissance tiles. Keep in mind that my shop will be closed from July 17 - 28 while I am away. First I will be in Canada at a CZT retreat, and then on to Oregon to travel down the coast. I hope to post once or twice while I'm away, but just in case I have any difficulty with that, see you in a while!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I'm Caren and I'm an Alcoholic

"I'm a big fan of the effects of alcohol."    Peter Steele

I'm curious how many of you found your way here to read my blog post because you saw the title of this one. If so, welcome... I'll take readers however I can get them. And yes, I'm an alcoholic. I'm addicted to alcohol... alcohol inks that is! I love working with the inks to make backgrounds for tangling, and I love the way my pen (Sakura Microperm) glides smoothly and effortlessly across the paper. It is so soothing and relaxing!

To start, I will suggest that if you didn't already read my last post about alcohol inks from a few weeks ago, you check it out first. There I explained a bit about my process of working with the inks. Here is a picture of another tile  that I love (I didn't love them all). Again I did some dripping and spreading and blowing to get this look.

Then I added my tangling, using Baton, Bask-It, and Diva Dance. I don't add shading when I tangle over the inks because I let the color form some natural shading. And I also haven't found anything that works well for me to shade on the glossy surface.

Like the one tile on my last post, this one had a very interesting back side created from the inks creeping underneath.

So, like last time, I tangled in the white space. I feel like this one needs some shading, so if any of you know what works to shade on Yupo, please let me know.

Here's another tile in a totally different color scheme.

This is how it looked after tangling. I decided to keep it pretty simple by using only one pattern, Frosty, and tangled in white this time (Signo Uniball UM 153 gel pen). What I have found, but had forgotten since I used white on alcohol ink a year ago, is that the white gel ink soaks up some of the color from the alcohol ink under it. Especially on the orange part where the white ink turned yellowish. It just adds more interest. After drawing Frosty all over I felt like it needed just a little something, so I added auras inside each of the shapes, using my black pen.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some more of my alcohol ink tangling, because I have lots more tiles ready and waiting.  I'll be back!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Circles, Circles and More Circles

"Life is a circle of happiness, sadness, hard times and good times."   Unknown

This week's Diva challenge is to use the pattern Tipple as a monotangle, meaning you use Tipple and ONLY Tipple. The pattern is just circles. They could all be the same size if you want, but I think it's much more interesting to vary the size. Circles are not my favorite thing to draw... I find straight lines much more relaxing. So up until now I've only used Tipple in small areas, sometimes as a filler. 

I decided to use the words zen and tangle, put together into one word, which I got from Jenny Perruzzi (Acadia Laser Creations) when I was at Tangle U in 2014. I traced around the words to use as my string and then started filling with Tipple. That was quite a LOT of Tipple. Not as meditative as I would have liked, but once I started I had to finish. Luckily, when you look at the finished piece you don't notice how "not great" the circles are!

I thought this would look pretty colored in rainbow colors. I used my Tombow brush markers to color them using the indirect method. That means I didn't use the markers directly on my work, but instead scribbled with the markers on a non-porous surface, then used a special blender marker to pick up that color and put it onto my letters. I like doing that when I want the color to be a little less intense than when I use the markers directly. After I finished coloring them, I added a little shading around the edges of each letter using a coordinating Prismacolor colored pencil. I could have used the Tombows to add shading, but my experience in doing that is that it doesn't blend smoothly for me. 

I love the way this looks. I may use it as a sign at my classes... or in other places where a sign is called for. However, I don't think I will attempt using that much Tipple at one time again. Think I need to go draw some straight lines now!