Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bound for Santa Fe

"The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."   Steve Jobs 

This past weekend I reached a huge milestone. I surpassed 100,000 views on my blog! That's a huge number. Thank you all for taking the time to stop by on a regular basis to see what I have to share here. 

As I mentioned in my last post, next week I will be on my way to Santa Fe to attend TangleU, a retreat for CZTs. It is the third year that I will be attending, and I'm eagerly looking forward to it. Those who are attending have the option to participate in a tile swap. Create a Talavera tile - in the style of the colorful clay tiles adorning building interiors and exteriors all over Santa Fe - to swap for someone else's tile. 

I decided a long time ago, when I first heard we would be doing this swap, that I would use my tangle pattern Baldosa, from my e-book, which reminds me of the tiles I saw all over Spain and Portugal when I vacationed there last year. Here is the basic pattern that I began with on my tile.

Next I added all the color that this kind of tile is famous for. I used my Tombow markers, and added some subtle shading by either applying more layers of the same color or using a slightly different shade of the color. Then my very last step was to add a touch of graphite shading in the parts that had no color.

I hope whoever ends up with my tile will like it, and I can't wait to see what tile I'll receive in exchange. Here's looking forward to another 100,000 views here!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Playing Catch Up

"The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy."   Angelina Jolie

Time has been slipping away from me lately. I've got my hand in so many Zentangle pots that I'm having a hard time keeping up with them all. There's my blog, my FB journal group, Square One FB group, the Diva's challenge, my tangle*a*day calendar, the zendala dare, making a tile to swap at Tangle U (a retreat for CZTs in Santa Fe next month), mass production of my hand-colored tiles that I will be selling at Tangle U, preparing for the classes I teach....did I forget anything? 

Oh yes... I plan to start sending out a newsletter once or twice a month, and I'm trying to get the first one out this week. It will include information about my upcoming classes, links to websites/videos/articles that might be of interest to tanglers, info on Zentangle products, etc., etc., etc. If you are not already on my email list but would like to receive my newsletters, just scroll down the right side of my blog and enter your information where it says "Subscribe to the Tangle Mania Newsletter."

So, with all of that going on I have missed completing the last two zendala dares. So here they are, better late than never. I'll go backwards. Here's the latest template, #99.

And here's my black and white version. 

I would have added shading, but instead of doing that I wanted to add color. I decided to try a watercolor pencil on this, but am not too happy with it. Love my Tombow brush markers more.

Here is the template for the #98 dare.

Using a tan Renaissance tile with black and brown Micron pens, here's what I came up with.

But with the Renaissance tiles the real magic comes with the shading and highlighting. I used a brown colored pencil and graphite pencil for shading, and a white charcoal pencil for highlights. Now it really pops.

Okay - at least I'm caught up in one thing! Ready to tackle something else. Where to begin?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Basket Weave

"Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love."   Unknown

Once a month I get together with some friends who I taught to tangle. Each time I try to think of some theme/small project to work on if they choose to, or they can do their own thing. Last time I decided on a quilt theme and made copies of some quilt squares from a book I have called 100 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks. Below is the square I decided to work on - I darkened it on the computer so it would be more visible - the lines were fairly light, just as when you draw your string with pencil. I liked the over/under look of this one, called Basket Weave.

I chose the tangles Gewurtz (looks like a pinwheel), and Chard with blackened stripes. Then I added Nymph, which looks like flowers. 
I decided to only shade the centers of the "flowers", leaving the rest a bold, striking statement.

Then I (and by "I" I mean my husband) took that square on the computer, copied it, rotated it, and combined four of them into a quilt. This is what I envisioned doing with my square before I even began the tangling. So glad it worked out the way I pictured it in my mind. There are a few funky spots where the design on the edges doesn't quite match the adjoining side in the same way, but I'm okay with that.

Then, since most quilts are quite colorful, I decided to see what would happen to mine if I added color. I wasn't quite sure what I would do, but chose to use my Tombow markers, and ended up only adding color to the "flowers." I'm very happy with the way it looks, first on my single square.......

And then on my big quilt........

I am definitely going to try this again using one of the other patterns from the book. It's much quicker than the traditional way of making quilts! Maybe I'll be back one day soon with the results of that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Evolution of a Zendala

"Creativity is just connecting things.When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something."   Steve Jobs

A couple of weeks ago the prompt for the journal group I belong to was to do something that shows our strength, something we are good at, something we love to do. Since one of my favorite things to do with Zentangle is Zendalas, that's the direction I headed in.

I began with a stencil from Genevieve Crabe (Tangle Harmony) which you can check out here. Her stencils are made from sturdy plastic with lots of holes in them. You draw a dot in each hole and then connect those dots in whatever way you want to create a template for a Zendala. Very simple method, but some trial and error until you get the design you want. Usually I do a bit of erasing and changing my lines; however, this time I hardly did any of that. I took a picture of the template before tangling (yay for remembering to do that), but somehow that picture seems to have gotten lost in cyberspace (have I mentioned how frustrating I find computers?), so I have no pre-picture to show you.

However, I do have photos of the steps during my tangling process. Where you see the 'x' marks, that is a note to myself not to tangle there, since I decided those sections would be my white space. I began with the tangle Fassett by Lynn Mead.

In the next picture you will see that I changed my mind and rounded those outside spaces rather than leaving them pointed. I think that was a good decision. I added a pattern called Petales de Fleurs but unfortunately don't know who to credit for that pattern.

This is the point where I got very nervous. I really liked what I had so far and was scared to death of messing up as I continued. Some of you can probably relate to that feeling! But I forged ahead, after much debating what the next pattern would be, and added my own tangleation of Paizel, by Angie Vangalis. 

Between the Paizel sections I wanted something with a lighter, simpler look, so I did this variation of Florz, using circles at the intersections rather than diamonds. This may be a pattern with a different name, but I'm not sure.

Finally I drew Diva Dance (Rock 'n Roll) in the center. I began in the outer ring of the center and was planning to leave the small circle in the middle open, but changed my mind as I drew.

There you have it. My completed Zendala with no disasters along the way. But of course, in my mind, almost no Zentangle, or ZIA, or Zendala would be complete without shading to really bring it to life. So here is the final Zendala shaded. 

Did I say that was the final Zendala? I lied. I had to try adding some color. Here was the first part.

And then with some more color.

That's the really final Zendala. I might like the black and white one better. What do you think?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Little Birdie Told Me

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."    Maya Angelou

On my way home from a recent trip to Florida, I stopped in Savannah. Although Savannah is a great city, one of my main reasons for making a stop there was to go to Dick Blick (as well as Leopold's, a wonderful place serving up delicious ice cream, a couple of blocks from Dick Blick). Those of you who are artists of any kind will understand why I would make a special stop there. And for those of you who don't know Dick Blick, take my word for it, the store is an artist's paradise. 

One of the things I picked up during this stop is a journal called "Avian Friends Activity Journal." It has some pages for writing, some for coloring, and some with pretty borders or cute pictures in the corner, for tangling on. Well, they're not necessarily for tangling, but that's how I choose to use them. Here's what I created on the first page I did. It started with that cute bird, mushroom, and flower in the bottom corner, and I added the rest.

I had a lot of fun doing this and love the way it turned out. The paper is tan toned, so I was planning to add white highlights like I have done on the tan toned paper from Strathmore, but for some reason the white doesn't really show up well on this paper. You can see it's very faint on my drawing. I tried both white charcoal pencil and white Prismacolor pencil, but neither really stands out. Maybe it's because the paper is a little smoother than the other papers I've worked with. Oh well... I'm still happy with it. (The white going up the right side of the page is just the way it scanned...it didn't lay perfectly flat on the scanner because of the binding.)

Here's a picture of my journal. I don't know if all Dick Blick stores carry it, and I couldn't find it on dickblick.com, but I did see it on Amazon in case any of you are interested.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Day After Day

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."   Bil Keane

Another month has come and gone. And believe it or not I am right up to date with my tangle*a*day calendar. I've chosen my three favorite pages from February to share with you. For this first page I played around with a new tangle by Lynn Mead called Phroz. I tried it two ways, one with the triangles in a totally random placement, and one with the triangles laid out in rows. Then I added some Fassett, another tangle by Lynn, as well as Paradox.

For the next one I began with Ozzie in the middle. I had never used this tangle before and thought the calendar would be a good place to try it out. I really like it because of the high contrast. Then I added Printemps and Antidots around it.

I was really happy with the way the following one turned out, except for the numbers. I outlined the numbers with a Moonlight gelly roll pen in orange. Those of you who know the Moonlight pens know that it's a bright neon orange. However, the scanner pretty much washed the color out of it completely. I tried doing everything I could in Lightroom to get the color back, but nothing worked. So you'll just have to imagine the neon orange numbers! The tangles I used were Footlites, Floatfest, Inapod, and Kandysnake.

I expect that I'll be back at the end of March with some of my favorite pages from the month. In the meantime, happy March. Hopefully spring will be here soon!