Friday, May 30, 2014

Circle of Life

"A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end."    Maynard James Keenan  

This week's Diva challenge is to make a string using circles. I love working with circles so couldn't let this challenge pass me by. I chose an apprentice tile to work on that would give me a little larger area (4 1/2 inches square).

A compass was used to draw the inner circles, and then again to draw half circles around those. Then, finally, a circle around the whole thing. I should have taken a picture of the string before I began tangling, but, oh well...I didn't. 

Here is the completed tile, and I must say that I was quite happy with the way it turned out.

Then, just for fun, I decided to add a little pop of color. When I tried scanning the tile (as I had done for the tile as shown above), the color was totally washed out and barely visible, so I took a picture with my camera. As you can see below, the color is hardly a pale color, and I don't understand why it disappeared when scanned!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Glow Little Glow-Worm, Glow and Glimmer

"The sun's glow had given way to a brilliant twilight that colored the great mountains with violet and orange rivers."   
Michael R. Hicks

Finally....I'm ready to show you what I learned at Tangle University, which I can't believe was a month ago already. Sandy Steen Bartholomew, famous (at least in the Zentangle world) tangler and author extraordinaire, presented a workshop she called "Glowing Prints." We used  scratch-foam, stencils, white ink pads, and various tools and pens, to make prints on black cardstock. 

Here is the one I made during Tangle U...the only one I made there that I like enough to share.

I knew that I needed to go home and practice some more, so I ordered my scratch-foam and ink pad and waited for them to arrive. Then I pulled out my microns, white Uniball Signo gel pen, white charcoal pencil, black glaze pen, black colored pencil and began to play. I have to admit that some of my attempts were discarded along the way. But this elephant made the cut, and is kind of an epilogue to my post from a couple of weeks ago.

 Here's my first dragonfly...

...and my second one, created using a little different method than the first.

The second one actually incorporates a touch of color with Moonlight gelly roll pens. The color did not scan well at all, and although you can see the green a little bit, you can't see the orange at all. You'll have to take my word for's really there. It's very frustrating when the color doesn't show up the way it should.

Next is my cat, with some gold accents, which, thankfully, show well in the picture.

Last, is possibly my favorite one.  And to think I almost threw it out. I used a laser cut stencil from Acadia Laser Creations (fellow CZT Jenny Perruzzi). Without going into all the details, I "scratched" it reversed on the foam from the way I wanted it. Was ready to toss it when I realized I could still use it, in a different way than I originally had planned. The dots you see in this one are really pink, but they don't look much like it in this picture.

I really enjoyed playing and experimenting with this technique. Thank you Sandy Steen Bartholomew. Now to decide if I want to teach this in a class. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered ... or ... Betweed, Beelighted and Beelined

"You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That's how you know you're still alive."    Jerry Seinfeld

I've been practicing a new technique I learned a couple of weeks ago at Tangle U, the CZT retreat I attended in Maine. Before I post about that, I have a few more pieces I want to finish.

So, in the meantime, I thought I'd give you a peek at something I worked on today. For a while, I've been watching Adele Bruno's "It's a String Thing" challenge that she puts out there once a week. I had not participated in it until today. This week's challenge was to use string 043 from, incorporating one or more of the official Zentangle patterns Beelight, Beeline, and Betweed, along with CZT Margaret Bremner's tangle Beadlines. I chose to use all 4 of the patterns.

Here is what I created.

I'm not sure that I ever used Beeline before, so it was good to try something new. And my Betweed had an "accident" in the first section, so I had to continue with it, leading to a tangleation. All in all, I'm happy with the tile.

I hope to be back here in a few days to share all the fun I've been having this week with some black magic. Hope you'll be back too!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

An Elephant of a Different Color

"Possessing a healthy imagination is a necessary ingredient for creativity."  Steve Vai

A couple of weeks ago when I was at Tangle University, I bought a few Dreamweaver stencils. They're heavy-duty stencils made from metal and I suspect that they will survive any abuse I send their way. One of the techniques we learned from Sandy Bartholomew was how to make prints on black paper, using these stencils and scratch-foam. I hope to share more about that in a later post once I receive the foam that I ordered from Dick Blick. In the meantime, I played around with a couple of my new stencils, just tangling them in the traditional way. 

One of the stencils I got was a very cute elephant. I traced the stencil, tangled it, and shaded it, and here is what I got.

Part of him (or her?) was shaded using a graphite pencil, and part using Tombow dual brush markers. Can you tell the difference? I love my elephant, so I decided to try some variations. Next came a colored version, but first I scanned it after tangling and before coloring.

Then I went ahead and created a fantasy elephant, more like something you'd find at Disney, very unrealistic, but nevertheless cute.

I used Tombow markers to add the color. It looks a little better in person, but clearly I need some help and practice with using these markers proficiently, and that's why I registered for Marie Browning's Time to Tangle in Color online class. Haven't had time to begin the class yet, obviously.

For my final elephant in the series, I decided to use gray toned paper from Strathmore. After all, elephants really are gray, unlike the previous one. 

I love how this guy turned out, and always love the look of the shading along with white charcoal pencil highlighting on the toned papers. But I decided to try one more thing. I took my original elephant and played with it in Lightroom to come up with this.

Remember that horse of a different color that Dorothy met in the Emerald City? I guess this is an elephant of a different color!

I had a lot of fun playing with my elephant and can't wait to use him for printing when my new supplies arrive.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just Playing Around

"A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament."   Oscar Wilde

I just returned home from a 10 day trip. First to visit my sister in Massachusetts, and then on to Maine for three awesome, inspiring, jam-packed days of tangling and socializing with more than 100 other CZTs at Tangle University. More on the latter in the near future. Right now I thought I'd share some of the tangling I did while visiting my sister, who also does some tangling of her own. 

I recently published my e-book, Step Out in Style, in which I included tangles from 10 guest CZT contributors. I really haven't had much time to play with their tangles, so that's what I set out to do. Here's the first tile I did, which focuses on Sochi, the tangle submitted by Cris Letourneau, author of the book Made in the Shade, as well as a new book due out very shortly. I really like the swirly feel of this tangle, and the swirls actually became the string.

Next I decided to use a zendala tile. I incorporated patsy monk's tangle (yes, her name is legally spelled with only lowercase letters), Kornel, in the center, and Karen Crittenden's tangle, Bones, radiating out on the four sides. Although I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, and even though it is a little off center, I was very happy with the look of it when it was finished. 

After that, I attempted three new tangles in one tile. Forming the diagonal on this tile is Just Great, by Mary Ann Scheblein-Dawson. I added two variations of Donna Hornsby's tangle Kardz. It's the one with blackened rectangles in one version, and lines with sparkles in the other version. Then I added Alyss Amster's tangle, Grate (with the lines radiating out from the center) and finished it off with one of my old favorites, Baton. I like the contrast between the light and airy center and the darkness surrounding it, but I'm not sure if I tried to squeeze too much into the space. 

For my fourth tile I pulled out a tan colored Renaissance tile. I included Shrumps, with a slight variation from the original, by Kathryn Jacoby. It's the pattern on the upper part of the tile, with the black "centers". On the lower half I drew Grace, by Deb Prewitt. I liked the way the brown and black pens went together with the white highlights in both of the tangles. I finished off the four corners of the tile with some Betweed and Huggins.

At this point I had two more tangles to play with. I started with Sharon McKenney's Mimi-Meemer in the center of this tile. Here it reminds me of a layer cake about to topple over! Then I added Radhost, by Yvonne Westover. I chose to use single strands of the pattern, criss-crossing behind the "cake". Florz made a nice open background for the tile, after which I added a few pops of red.

And there you have it, my examples of 10 new tangles from the contributors to my book. It was a lot of fun playing with them, and although some look a little different than in the original step-outs, that's what makes Zentangle so great. You can take a pattern and make it your own and have a completely unique piece of art!