Saturday, May 30, 2015

Straight as an Arrow

"The shortest distance between two points is a straight line."    Archimedes

Today is May 30, 2015. That means it was exactly two years ago that I wrote my first blog post. That post was all about my Zentangle addiction, and you can see it here if you missed it. In case anyone is wondering, I have not yet recovered from this addiction. When I began this journey, I had no idea where it would take me. I enjoy sharing my work, methods, and thoughts, and appreciate all of you who are on this journey with me.

I'm here today to share my entries to the Diva's challenge for this week, which is to use only straight lines. I LOVE straight line patterns. They are hands down my favorite kind of patterns, and I find them very soothing and relaxing to draw...and isn't that the idea behind Zentangle?

I decided to use one of my hand-colored tiles for this challenge. Here's the tile before I tangled on it. This one is actually a double-sided tile made with alcohol inks. In case you're interested in finding out more about these tiles, you can see them here in my Etsy shop.

Since there was a lot of purple in the tile, I used a purple Micron pen to tangle, and blue and purple pastel pencils to add some shading


Since I love straight lines so much, I continued with another tile. Again using a hand-colored tile (this one single-sided, made with watercolors), I tangled with black Micron and shaded with pink pastel pencil. This one is pretty simple, but sometimes simple is good.

Onward and upward to the third year of my blog!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dancing in Circles

"Life is like a merry-go-round. It is full of ups and downs, sometimes you feel like you're just going in circles, but when the ride ends, you want to do it again!"   Linda Poindexter

I'm back with another piece that highlights my pastel pencils. I just can't get enough of them! I worked on the same Canson Mi Teintes paper as in my previous post, but this time in a rosy color. Unfortunately, I drew my string on the wrong side of the paper...well not really the wrong side, but not the side I wanted. I was going to work on the smoother of the two sides like last time, but didn't even realize what I had done until after drawing the string, and I didn't want to start over. Maybe I should have, because I did not like working on the more textured side nearly as much. Both the Microns and the smudger seemed to be dragging too much on the paper. I know I won't make that mistake again - or at least I hope I won't!

I started this one with interlocking circles. When I began tangling I made another MISTAKE! But in true Zentangle style, when you believe you've made a mistake, just use it as an opportunity to create something new. I won't reveal where the mistake was, but because of it, instead of using the same tangle pattern all the way around one circle, I had to use tangleations (variations) of the patterns in each segment of the circles. I would have liked it better if the same pattern continued all the way around, but oh well!

Next I added the color with my pastel pencils, both the General's and the Faber Castells.

Like I said, I would have liked it better if I hadn't made my "mistake." And if I had used the other side of the paper. It's all a learning experience!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fade to Black

"In the beginning it was all black and white."  Maureen O'Hara

The Diva's challenge this week is to work in white on black. It's been a while since I actually participated in her challenge, and also a while since I've worked on black. So I decided to accept this challenge. 

I am not a fan of how the white pen (Uniball Signo - the only one I use) performs on the black Zentangle tiles, because I think the tile sucks up too much of the ink. My preference is to use black paper instead, when working with white pen. Either Strathmore Artagain paper, or my Big White Bee sketchbook, which is what I used this time. 

I decided to keep it fairly simple, using just Mooka and Mak-rah-mee. The shading was done using my white pastel pencil which felt like butter on this paper.

Although the challenge was white on black, and said nothing about color, I couldn't resist adding just a tiny drop of color - with Moonlight Gelly Roll pens. The color is a little brighter in person than in this picture, but I really like the pop that it adds.

Now back to the larger project I'm working on for next time. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Have I Told You Lately...?

"My choice of colors does not rest on any scientific theory, it is based on observation, on feeling, on the experience of my sensibility."                 Henri Matisse

Have I mentioned how much I love my new pastel pencils?  I can't get enough of them. I just finished tangling and coloring/shading this piece with the pastel pencils. Starting with a design in one of those new, so very popular, adult coloring books (paisleys), I transferred the overall design (without all the details) onto a piece of Canson Mi Teintes pastel paper. Using the smoother of the two sides of the paper, I did a little tweaking to the design and then began tangling.

All the tangling was completed with black Microns, 01 and 08. All the color, shading and highlighting was added with my pastel pencils. I decided to use earth tone colors, which is not my norm. I tend to go brighter usually, but with these I even love the softer colors. Working with the pastel pencils is just as relaxing for me as tangling.

I love the finished piece, although there were a couple of spots I might have completed differently after seeing it. Even though I have all the colors that these General's pencils come in, I wanted to add some more to my collection, so I ordered some individual pastel pencils by Faber-Castell, which I just got delivered yesterday. It will be interesting to see how they compare to the ones I already had. Hopefully I'll like them just as much.

By the way, have I mentioned how much I love my pastel pencils?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dream Weaver

"If you really want to catch your dream you have to chase it."   Unknown

There was so much I learned and so much inspiration at TangleU in Santa Fe that I am back with more. One of the classes that I was most looking forward to was a class with Kate Lamontagne. And she didn't disappoint. Kate does stunning work with Prismacolor pencils and she taught a class in making (on paper) a dream catcher. If you ever have a chance to take a class with her...DO IT! She's from Holliston, MA. I actually lived there 20 years ago, but I believe that was before Kate was there.

Here's the dream catcher I created during the class. Not too bad for my first one.

I learned several things from this process that I should/would have done differently. Probably the most important one was to create larger spaces in the top zendala-like portion. It was very hard to color and blend in those small spaces in the one above (at least it was difficult for a novice like me!) So here's the one I created after returning home - the before coloring picture (yay for remembering to take the picture!)

This dream catcher was drawn on Strathmore tan toned paper which is smoother than the paper used in class, and I found that I like working with the colored pencils on the smoother paper better.

Here's how it turned out.

This was no quick process. There are many layers of color in each space, worked until the color and blending was just as I wanted it. For the most part I'm very happy with it. I'm just not sure if I should have gone a little lighter on the colors in the feathers.

There will definitely be more experimentation with the Prismacolors in my future. I'll be trying them out in some of my other Zentangle work, not just dream catchers. If I can get them to look half as good as Kate's work I will feel very accomplished!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Chalk it Up to Experience

"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules,making mistakes, and having fun."   Mary Lou Cook

In my last post I mentioned that I had bought a set of 24 chalk pencils after having learned about them at Tangle U. For the past week I've been experimenting with them. To begin, I decided to do a few Bijou tiles (2 inches square) using the chalk pencils instead of graphite for shading. Here are my samples, showing Merryweather, Flux, Bunzo, and my own tangle Robo from my e-book Step Out in Style.  I tested several colors as you can see here.

Next I wanted to use the pencils in a Zendala since they are one of my favorite things to create, and a Zendala was what I had in mind from the minute I decided to purchase these. I used a template from a mandala coloring book I have, and tweaked it a little bit. Using three shades of green, including a teal, I added the color, as well as a little bit of graphite shading on the N'zeppel.

I love the way the color came out and I love the way the Flux looks as a border. 

After completing that, I decided to do a 'stack,' incorporating the pencils. In case you don't know what a stack is, check out my recent post here. This is how it turned out, using Strathmore gray toned paper.

At first I wasn't sure if I liked it, but it has since grown on me. I do know that I love my chalk pencils. What do I like about them? They blend easily. If the color goes outside the lines, they erase easily (shhh...I didn't really say that). They are easier to control than watercolor pencils, markers, etc. When used over your Micron lines they don't muddy the lines the way some pencils do. What don't I like about them? Nothing that I've discovered yet! 

But I'll tell you one thing I did discover. Not all tortillions/smudgers are created equal. I used different smudgers for the different colors. Most of them were from and worked great. But I had a couple that were obviously different - you could tell by looking at them - and they did not work well at all. The paper was not the same. I don't know where I got them, but now I know to be careful what I pick up when shopping for smudgers!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Singin' the Blues

"If you're feeling blue, try painting yourself a different color."    Hannah Cheatem (age 8)

Let's return to Santa Fe for a few minutes. One of the wonderful classes I took at Tangle U was with Sharla Hicks. She taught us how she draws her Zentangle inspired botanicals. In particular, what she calls her "Mooka Blues." Along with that she shared many of her techniques on shading, using enhancers, and so much more.

As I've said before, I'm never really enamored with the art I create in a class. Same with this class...the tile I created in Santa Fe was considered to be practice, and I couldn't wait to play some more with all the ideas once I got home. Here is the first botanical tile I did in the comfort of my own workspace. This was completed with black micron, blue chalk pencil, and graphite pencil. The color shows as slightly more turquoise than it is in reality. It's hard to get the color from a scan or a photo to look exactly as it should, but I did my best.

I was pretty happy with it considering I was using new techniques and ideas. But I've never been completely satisfied with the way my Mooka (those big bulb-like creatures) look. I think I finally figured it out. They look too stiff. So in my next one I worked really hard to make them more fluid and flowing. This one was drawn on a Renaissance (tan) tile using blue micron, blue chalk pencil for shading, and white chalk pencil for highlighting. Who would have thought that blue on the tan tile would look so good! And notice how different the blue chalk pencil looks on this tile compared to the white tile. 

My Mooka looks much better on this tile, like it's dancing around. I used some striping as background filler....not so sure if I like that, but it's all about playing around and finding what you like and what works for you. And I know that the chalk pencils work for me. I love how easily and smoothly they blend, so much so that I went home and ordered a set of 24 different colors. I have visions in my head about how I'm going to use those and will be back soon to share what I do with them.