Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Snowflakes Keep Falling on my Head

"Being unique is better than being perfect."    Unknown

Last week there was a new prompt for the Zentangle art journaling Facebook group I belong to. It was all about cutting a snowflake from paper using your initials as the pattern. The theme for the week was uniqueness....just like each snowflake is unique, so is each person.

I was a little intimidated by the snowflake directions, but I gave it a go.  My first problem was that when I folded my paper, it didn't work out the way it was supposed to. The directions weren't hard to follow, but something just wasn't lining up properly. So I did the best I could, and continued. Here is the snowflake that I ended up with, using my initials, CEM. See that point at the top? Well, there should have been three of those, but the other two got cut short, I can only assume because the folds hadn't lined up properly. I figured I could tweak that when I traced the snowflake and add the other two back in. But something else kept nagging me...why does my snowflake look like it has three points instead of six? Since the theme is about being unique I decided to just go with it...mine would certainly be unique!

The center part was also not very symmetrical, so I tweaked that some after tracing the snowflake into my journal. This was going to have to be spread over two pages since my journal wasn't big enough, so the line you may notice down the middle in the photos is the center of the journal pages. Once the tracing and tweaking were done, I tangled.

As I was tangling I realized that I should have done the background before tracing the snowflake on the pages, but too late for that now! I'd have to figure out how to liven up the pages in some other way. I chose to add color to the open spaces of the snowflake using my Tombow markers - two shades of green and two of blue. I was pretty happy with the way that came out (i.e. I did not mess up after all the time spent tangling!), so things were beginning to look up.



Next I chose a quote about being unique and lettered that with an 08 Micron. Then I added some color to the letters with two of the Tombows I had used before. Of course I tested the lettering on scrap paper first, as well as the color outlining. I penciled the letters on the pages before adding the ink...no room to mess up now! But I felt like the pages needed something more to finish them off. Using a Dylusions stencil and Ranger distress ink pads, I added blue and green circles/dots around the edges. 


One last finishing touch was adding some sparkle to imitate the frosty look of a snowflake. For this I used my clear Wink of Stella glitter brush over the colored sections.  I took a close up picture so you could see the shimmer better.

All in all, I must say that I'm pleased with the look of my very unique snowflake. What I anticipated being a disaster didn't turn out so bad after all.

Friday, January 16, 2015

200 and Going Strong!

"The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."   Sylvia Plath

Just a quick post to celebrate the Diva's 200th challenge. 200 weeks is a long time! That would mean she started issuing challenges just about the time I discovered Zentangle. But I didn't start participating in the challenges until much later. To celebrate reaching 200, this week's challenge is to do a Zentangle with your go-to tangle, use the whole tile with no border (I usually do that anyway), and include the number 200 somewhere on the tile.

I have a lot of go-to tangles, but for this I chose Paradox. The repetitive straight lines are very relaxing for me. I decided not to plan this out at all, except for putting a circle in the center for my number.  But after that I just drew triangles of all sizes, not necessarily meeting at the same points. I did not pay any attention to whether I spiraled them all in the same direction to get the look of twisted columns, or alternated directions to get the look of fans. Drawing line after line after line, I got very much into the Zentangle zone. I could have kept going forever but had to stop when I reached the edges of the tile. 

So here is my totally unplanned Paradox tile, some with fans, some with twisted columns, some larger and some smaller. All unshaded in this picture...


And all shaded in this one.


I'm looking forward to the next 200 challenges. Thanks Laura (aka The Diva).


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Variations on a Theme

"Variety of mere nothings gives more pleasure than uniformity of something."     Jean Paul

One of my favorite tangles is 'Nzeppel, so I was happy to see that it's the focus tangle this week on the Facebook group Square One. Right off the bat I knew I'd be creating multiple tiles for this "One." When I taught a class a few months ago all about tangleations, 'Nzeppel was one of the tangles I showcased. I had worked on several tangleations and decided to use some of them in my tiles for this focus. In case you don't already know, a tangleation is a noticeable variation of a tangle pattern. I will be showing you my tiles, as well as the step-outs for the tangleations I used.

If you aren't familiar with the tangle pattern 'Nzeppel, you can see the step-outs here. For my first tile I chose to use the random variety of the pattern, not based on a grid. This is not one of my tangleations, but one of the ways to draw 'Nzeppel introduced by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. First I drew Cosmo, by CZT Sonya Yencer, as my string and filled all the background with random 'Nzeppel. I didn't take a picture before shading, but believe me, the shading made such a huge difference in this tile! I only wish I could get the shading in my scanned photos to look like it does in real life!



Here is my second tile, using one of my tangleations, along with my pattern Sharmin, from my e-book Step Out in Style.


Below are the step-outs for this tangleation. Notice that the first 2 steps are what you would do for the standard form of 'Nzeppel, which I think of as squishing balloons into the triangular spaces. But then I drew auras inside each of those squished balloons. An aura is a line traced around the outside or inside of a tangle. In the last box I demonstrate two different ways this can be shaded, and used the one on the right side to shade the above tile.


Next I decided to try out the pattern Onion Drops by Shasta Garcia, which I've never used before. I added another tangleation of 'Nzeppel in the background. 


Here are the step-outs I used for the tangleation shown above. After drawing my grid and an X in each square of the grid, I drew lines dividing each of the triangles into two sections, as shown. Then I added a squished balloon in each section.


For my last tile, I used a third tangleation. I created a very large 'Nzeppel in the center of the tile, surrounded by a little Tipple and a lot of Hollibaugh.



The step-outs for that tangleation are shown below. Instead of drawing an X in each square of the grid, I only drew one diagonal line, alternating the direction of the diagonal in each square. Then I added a line in each of the triangles to divide it into two sections, and squished my balloons into each one of those sections.


'Nzeppel is a pattern that you can really do a lot with. Other ideas that I've used are a really curvy grid, an offset grid, and one more that I did the step-outs for, but do not have a tile to show you.


In this one, I again started with an X in each square. Then I drew another triangle inside each triangular section (an aura), and squished a balloon into each of those triangles.

'Nzeppel isn't the only pattern you can create so many tangleations for. Try it yourself with another pattern and you might be surprised by what great variations you end up with. A wonderful way to make a pattern your own!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Tangled Life

"Whatever you are, be a good one."   Abraham Lincoln

This year I am participating in a Facebook group called "Our Tangled Lives." It's a group for art journaling combined with Zentangle (along with whatever else you want to include). I figure this will be a good opportunity to use some of the art supplies in my stash, that have been patiently sitting on my shelves. There will be a new prompt every week, and the prompt for this second week is "Choose an existing poem or quote, or write words that reflect your current beliefs/hopes/wants for your artistic practice." 

I chose the quote, "Whatever you are, be a good one," from Abe Lincoln. My feeling is that whatever you do, whether in art, your job, your family, or life in general, you should put your all into it, and not do it half-heartedly. A suggestion for the journal page was to frame the quote in some way. That made me think of a gelli plate print I did a few weeks ago, where the lines kind of framed an area where I could include the quote. Here's a picture of the print, which I had to cut down to fit into my journal which is 5 x 8 1/2 inches. This was printed using gold and silver acrylic paints, although the silver looks a little more like white in the pictures. In case you missed my post last month about tangling on gelli prints, you can see it here.




I drew Knightsbridge (checkerboard) to emphasize the frame, added some more tangles, and here is my page which has since been glued into my journal.



I'm sure I'll be posting some more of my journal pages as the year goes on, but in the meantime, remember...Whatever you are, be a good one!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."      Oprah Winfrey

Happy New Year to all of you! I hope that your year has gotten off to a great start. 

A new year means a new calendar. Two years ago I bought a tangle*a*day calendar by Carole Ohl, CZT. If you're not familiar with it, you can check it out here. There's space to do some tangling for each day. I started off great...and then fizzled out. I made it through March, and then just couldn't keep up with it, and I think I eventually forgot about it. 

So last year I decided not to buy the calendar again. But this year I'm giving it another try. I really like the paper for tangling, and I like the idea of adding something to it each day. Now I just have to remember to do it! Maybe I need to write a reminder on my other calendar to remember to tangle this calendar. 

I'm showing you my first two pages here.


And closer up to show the details better.




So far, so good. I'm up to date. We'll see how long that lasts!