Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pattern Play

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."   
Erich Fromm

Do you ever feel like you've hit a roadblock in your tangling? Although there are thousands of tangle patterns do you find yourself using the same ones over and over again? Well that's what I felt was happening to me. There are no rules in Zentangle, I know that, but if I didn't follow the step-outs for a pattern just as they were presented, I felt like I was doing something "wrong". When I wrote my e-book Step Out in Style, I included tangleations (variations) for several of the patterns. However, I never felt right changing someone else's patterns.

That is, until a few months ago, when I received my copy of Pattern Play, a new book by Cris Letourneau and Sonya Yencer. The book is all about thinking outside the box and changing patterns to make them your own. After perusing the book my mind was really opened up, and I found my creativity soaring. If you're yearning for more creativity, I highly suggest that you run, not walk, to get this book (or you can probably stay in your seat and order it online).

Since the book was so inspiring to me, I decided to teach a class based on it. In order to plan for the class I took out a new sketchbook and started playing with patterns. Add a little of this, change a little of that, put something here, take away something there. That's the way my mind worked as I looked at pattern after pattern, and designed new tangleations; sometimes one new look, sometimes a half dozen. I had more fun planning for this class than any other one I've ever taught. My biggest problem with it was deciding which tangleations to present in class. I wish I had time to demonstrate them all, but I guess I had to leave some things to their imagination.

As part of my planning, I created several tiles. Here is a one I did just to show several tangleations I came up with for the pattern 'Nzeppel.



The next one has "Nzeppel, Hollibaugh, Cubine, and my pattern Gaudi.



Here is one with 2 tangleations of the pattern Well, along with some Printemps.




A colored tile with Fife and Keeko  (that Keeko looks very different, doesn't it?).


And another one with Huggins and Cubine.



Then I had to throw in a Zendala with Cadent, Hollibaugh and Diva Dance.



This last one is an ATC tile with some variations on Paradox.



All this preparation led up to my class last weekend. There were three students, and I won't lie...I was a little disappointed that there weren't more. I gave them Bijou tiles (the new 2 inch square tiles), and had them do a tile for each tangleation. At the end of class I offered each of them a hole punch to punch a hole in the corner of each Bijou, and a metal ring to hold all the tangleations. Here is just a small sample of  the tiles they created.



I hope that my enthusiasm wore off on them and they will continue to come up with many of their own tangleations. As for me, the book Pattern Play, and the time that I spent preparing for this class, have opened up a whole new world of tangling opportunities. I am much more inclined now to not follow the (nonexistent) rules and to go where my imagination leads me. And I think that's a good thing!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Uncorked

"Enthusiasm just creates bubbles; it doesn't keep them from popping."   Adora Svitak

Another challenge! Sometimes it's hard to keep up with them all. Well actually I don't. I choose the ones that appeal to me most, usually because of the tangle(s) involved, and then hope that I have time to do them. This week's It's a String Thing challenge (hosted by Adele Bruno, CZT, of Tickled to Tangle) was to use her own pattern Uncorked, in her own string (#62 from Tangle Patterns). Here's a picture of the string.




And here's a link to the pattern Uncorked.

I had not used Uncorked before, but it looked like it would be fun, and boy was it ever! It really began to flow and take on a life of its own, and started to burst out of the bubbles. So much so that you can't see the string at all. But I did start with the string...I promise.




Next I tried it on a black Zendala tile. This time I didn't even try to use a string. I started with four enclosed bubbles in the middle and let it burst forth from there. I drew this with my Sakura metallic gelly roll pens in copper and silver. Then I added some pink tipple, also a metallic gelly roll. Those metallic pens are beautiful on black. I thought that the pink might have been a drop too bright with the other colors, so I toned it down just a bit by using some white charcoal pencil right on top of the pink. I also used the white pencil to shade the rest of the Zendala.



Uncorked does seem like a fitting name for this tangle pattern, at least for the way I interpreted it. It's as if a bottle was uncorked and out flowed the design.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Life is Full of Surprises

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."    Henry Ford

When I saw the focus tangle for this week on the Facebook group Square One, I thought to myself,  "I won't be doing this week's tile!" You see, I am not a fan of the pattern Fengle, which is this week's focus. My problem with Fengle is that it just doesn't seem to go with anything, meaning I never know what other patterns to use with it. But after a few days of watching the pictures that everyone in the group was posting, I got inspired to give it a try.

I decided to keep it simple (that's my new mantra) and tangle the Fengle itself, but not add anything in the background to distract from it. Here it is...




I actually had fun with that tile and chose to do another one, this time including multiple Fengles. This one deserved a background, but hearing that little voice in my head saying, "Keep it simple, keep it simple," I just added some lines, not a real tangle at all.




Now call me crazy (that's what I'm thinking anyway)...I did another one! This one is drawn on a hand-colored tile I made. Colored first, then tangled, then shaded with colored pencils.




At this point I was unstoppable! I had two Fengle tiles in the traditional black on white, and a colored tile, so why not do just one more on a black tile? But I didn't do the normal white on black, instead I did black on black. That's right, a black glaze pen drawn on black results in a very elegant look. The photo didn't come out great, and it really looks better in person. Zenstone shading around the outside gave it a kind of glowing look, and white charcoal pencil was used to add some highlights. The funny looking thing at the bottom of the picture is a clip that held the tile up for taking the photo.



Wow! Last week when I saw the focus on Fengle who would have thought that a few short days later I would have 4 tiles? Certainly not me. Life is full of surprises...but I think it will probably be a long time before you find me using Fengle again.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way."   Walter Hagen

Those of you who have ever cruised know that there is always - at least on all the cruises I've ever taken - an art auction. We usually don't attend them, although one time we did and actually bought a piece of art that now hangs in my study/zentangle room. On my cruise last month, as an incentive to get people to go to the art auction, they were handing out some sort of raffle ticket along with an art print, to everyone as they walked through the ship. We did not go to the auction, but did come home with two of the following pictures of a tulip.



I'd love to give the tulip artist credit; however, I can't read the signature. But you know where my mind went immediately...the tulip was just screaming out to be tangled. I only wish they were handing out a variety of prints on the ship, because I really don't want to tangle two of the same thing. It would have been great to have an extra one had I messed up the first one and wanted to start over, but that didn't happen (yay!). So here's what I got when I put pen to paper.


The paper has a glossy surface so I used my Sakura Microperm pen to tangle, as the Micron pens I usually use would just have smeared and made a mess. The variations of color in the tulip form a natural kind of shading, so I didn't do any extra shading after tangling. 

Around the colorful area is a one inch white border which is difficult to see in the above picture (the whole print is nine inches square). I decided to also tangle the border, using the pattern Knot Rickz, a pattern which really looks better with shading. Pencil wouldn't work on the glossy surface, so I tried my alcohol markers. First I tried a Copic marker (on my extra picture), but it seemed to kind of smudge the lines I had drawn. So I tried a Prismacolor brush marker which did the trick. They're both alcohol based markers, so I don't understand why one worked and not the other.




Well, now what do I do with the extra tulip picture? I've decided to give it away to someone else who would like to try tangling it. There will be a slight difference, as I had to cut off the corners on the diagonal (just the white border). I actually might like it better that way and wish I had done that to mine before I tangled. So...if you'd like to tiptoe through the tulips with your pen, leave a comment here. Sorry, but I can only mail it to someone in the U.S. You have until Thursday, October 16 to post a comment. On Friday I will randomly pick one of the comments and post the winner here (please include your name in your comment). So check back at the end of the week to see if you will be receiving a flower in the mail!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Back to Square One

"I go wherever my creativity takes me."   Lil Wayne

Another week and another focus in the Square One Facebook group. Pendrills. I've only used this tangle a couple of times before but remember enjoying it when I did, so I decided to give it another try. I wound the Pendrills around and around (not quite sure when to stop) and then added some B'Dylan, a fairly new (I think) pattern from Mary Beth Schoonover. I love the light, feathery feel of B'Dylan.

This tile was inspired, in part, by a tile posted by Cherryl Moote, where she used "powder puffs," as she called them, in the background. Although she didn't seem too happy with the way hers turned out, I loved the look, and that's what led me to this.



Although the Pendrills are all tangled up (no pun intended), the tile still has a simple, uncluttered look to it. At least that's the way I see it. And I love it!