Monday, February 23, 2015

100 and Going Strong!

"Lose your battles with class and dare to win because the world belongs to those who dare and live."
Charlie Chaplin

When I sat down to write this blog I noticed that this post will be the 100th blog that I've written since starting on this journey in May, 2013. And I've had more than 95,000 views of my blog in that time. Wow! I'm pretty impressed that I've come this far and that I have so many of you who are taking the time to visit my blog. Thank you all!

Last Tuesday when the new Zendala Dare was posted I immediately started on it. But then life got in the way with a busy week, including getting sick. So I wasn't able to finish up my tile until today. 
Here's the template I used from the dare.

I tangled this on one of my hand-colored tiles made with orange, pink, and yellow. Here's my completed Zendala.

And here's the tile I started with before tangling.

Phew! Got that done just in the nick of time before the next dare is posted. Can't wait to see what it is. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

I Dare You!

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself."    Soren Kierkegaard

I was so happy to see the Zendala Dare return last week after Erin Koetz Olson, CZT had taken a hiatus from creating the dare for a while. But time got away from me and I didn't get a chance to do the dare last week. This week I did. I decided to do something a little different... moonlight gelly roll pens on black paper. It was a pleasure to use the new moonlight pens (06) which make thinner lines than the originals. I've had them for a while but had not done much with them. The finer tip made it much easier to draw lines without them blobbing (that's the technical word) together. I did use the fatter pen to fill in the pink triangles in the center. I love the contrast between the bright colors and the black background.

I couldn't decide what to do for shading. If I used colored pencils that match the pens, I knew that they would muddy up the pen lines. And the same thing would happen with the white charcoal pencil. So I decided to try the Zenstone (available from or a CZT.) It adds very subtle shading, with a smoky look. As a matter of fact, it's so subtle that I don't know if you can really distinguish it in the following picture, but I thought I'd share the final piece here anyway. I enjoyed using the Zenstone and liked that it didn't cover up any of the pen lines. 

So happy to see you back with the dare, Erin!

Friday, February 13, 2015

All You Need is Love

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."   Charles M. Schulz

Just wanted to stop by and say Happy Valentine's Day! This is my response to the Diva's challenge to tangle something for Valentine's Day. My husband is the lucky recipient of this heart. Hope everyone enjoys the day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Blinded by the Light

"Color is to the eye what music is to the ear."   
 Louis Comfort Tiffany

The journal prompt for the Facebook journaling group I belong to was very interesting this past week. Adopt an artist.... not literally of course, and recreate a piece of their work. After giving this some thought, it suddenly came to me like an epiphany. Tiffany (hey, that rhymes!)... Louis Comfort Tiffany... stained glass artist extraordinaire. I used to create stained glass art myself (many years ago in another lifetime), so he would be the perfect choice. 

Before I show my process, here is a picture of the final piece, along with a quote from Tiffany.

First I pulled out a book I have about the artist, and found a picture of a lamp that had pieces big enough to.... do what, you ask? Well, tangle them, of course! This is the photo of the lamp from the book.

I traced the lamp onto a piece of tracing paper and then rubbed pencil all over the back of it, laid it on my journal page, and traced over all the lines with a ball point pen. This transferred all the lines onto the journal page. Here's the beautiful piece of tracing paper.

Once all the lines were on the journal page, I traced over them (again) with black pen. I chose to use the fat end of my Identi-pen to make thicker lines that look like the lead in stained glass. Here's how it looked at this point.

See those faint lines at the top of the lamp that I did not trace over in black? Those gave me the general idea of what the lights looked like in the lamp (refer back to the above picture from the book to see what I mean.) That was the scary part... figuring out how I was going to draw in those lights... not as easy as the rest of the lamp. So I just put that out of my mind temporarily, and went on to color the pieces of glass, trying to match my colors to the original as best as possible. Using alcohol markers, along with an alcohol blender pen, I attempted to make the pieces look mottled like the glass. I was quite happy with the way that worked out!

But then I had to figure out how to do those lights at the top. Knowing that if I tried to recreate that by hand I would mess up my whole project, I decided to make a copy of the lamp from the book, cut out the top portion, and glue it onto my lamp in the journal. Yay! It actually worked. Except that my lamp looks a little warped because it wasn't an exact match.

Finally the tangling began. I chose tangles that were open and airy as opposed to ones that had black spaces in them. I wanted to allow all the light to shine through! And I only tangled the flowery sections, not the leaves, as I was afraid some of the greens were too dark to really allow the tangles to pop out. Here's the final piece, except for the quote that I added (see the first photo above.)

All in all, I was pretty happy with the way this turned out. If only I had known about Zentangle all those years ago, I could have actually tangled on the glass pieces I made. Now that I think about it, I still have just a few of those stained glass  pieces around... I may have to pull them out and give it a try.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fun With Photos

"Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation."   
Henri Cartier-Bresson

One of my hobbies is photography. I decided to print some of my photos to add tangling and make unique ZIAs (Zentangle inspired art). The first one I chose to do was a photo of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, taken last August when I was visiting my daughter who moved there last year. Here is the photo I took (actually one of thousands).

You will notice that it was a nice sunny day and the sky was very blue. Well, that is not so commonplace over there, where it often seems to be gray and rainy. So I thought I would tangle the sun's rays on the picture and send it to my daughter so she could look at it and brighten her days when it was not so nice outside.

I used the Sakura Microperm pens on these photos, as the regular Microns would smear right off the glossy surface. What I learned after completing that photo is that the 01 pen worked great, smoothly gliding over the surface as I drew lines. But when it came to blackening in those little spaces in the middle (in the tangle Baton), neither the 01 nor the 05 worked so well. I had to touch the pen SO lightly to the paper to get the ink to fill in.

Fast forward a month or so to when I took out the next photo to tangle. The story behind this one was that I had gone out for a day of photography with a friend of mine. On our return trip trouble brewed. There was an accident on the bridge we had gone over, so the bridge was closed and we had to go all the way around and home a different way and over a different bridge. Traffic was just a disaster all over the place, and what should have been a half hour ride home turned into 2 1/2 hours! This VERY slow trip took us across the Ravenel Bridge which connects Charleston to Mt. Pleasant where I live. As we sat in traffic on the bridge, we were in a great position to take pictures of the top of the bridge, which is nearly impossible to get any other way. So, trying to look on the positive side, I pulled out my camera and snapped a few pictures right through the dirty car window. To my surprise I got a very good photo where you can't even tell it was taken through a dirty window. So, now that you know the whole story, here is my original photo.

When I tangled, it came out a little too dark to see when I scanned it, so I tweaked the color in Lightroom so the tangling is more obvious. Unfortunately, since some time had passed since tangling the Royal Mile, I forgot that filling in spaces was difficult, and I ran into the same problem on this one.

And then, just for fun, I decided I would make this one into a black and white image to see how it would look.

The last photo I tangled is my favorite one. I recently bought a new camera (a Panasonic Lumix FZ70 for those of you who care), and on the first day that I had it I went outside on my deck and took some pictures, just to get familiar with the camera. This is a photo of a dying magnolia flower on a shrub we have. I love the way it came out with the water drops. 

I (my husband) lightened the background a little in Photoshop before printing it, to make the tangles stand out better. This time I remembered not to use any tangles that had spaces that needed to be blackened. First I tangled the white border that was on the print I got from CVS, and then brought the pattern into the photo some more on one side. Wasn't sure exactly where to stop, but here it is.

This was fun - something a little different. If you're not into photography yourself but would like to give this a try, a fellow CZT, Sindy Levine, has published a book called "Real Life Strings", which is a book full of her own photos ready for your tangling pleasure. You can see the book here.