Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Things Are Stacking Up Nicely

"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts."   Rita Mae Brown

Over in the Facebook group 'Zentangle: Stacked and Tangled', there was a new "suggestion" this week. Tangling on papers that are not just white or one color... scrapbook paper, paper with text, lined paper, etc. I went through my stash of paper (it's very large), and came up with a couple of ideas. 

Here is a picture of a piece of mini origami type paper, 3 inches square, very thin and delicate. Sorry about the pencil line you see. I started to draw my lines for the stacking, remembered I hadn't taken a picture, and forgot to erase the line before the photo.
I tangled using my Micron 01 pen. Patterns from top to bottom are N'zeppel, Tipple, and Betweed. I decided not to tangle over the layer of flowers on the top, but instead outlined some of them with my pen to make them pop out a bit. When I look at this I feel like the flowers on top are on a tree and they're falling off and getting scattered on the ground. (I have a good imagination I guess!)

This next paper comes from a pad I have of 6 inch square cardstock type papers with all kinds of different designs on them. It isn't one of my favorite designs or color schemes, but it looks like a frame just waiting for the center to be tangled.

I stacked my layers using both brown and black Microns, and did a little shading with brown and white pastel pencils. To finish it off I added some white pops of color with my Uniball Signo UM 153 gel pen. Patterns from top to bottom are Dandi, Fassett, Onamato, Wud, Twile/Stoic, and Dandi.

I have to say that this transformed itself from a so-so design into one of my favorite tangled pieces. I love the combination of brown and black pens on the background color, and of course the white highlights. That's the amazing thing about Zentangle... you never know what you're going to end up with. Sometimes the ones you start off not liking are the ones that become your favorites!

***Update to this post: I have just been informed (7/30/15), that the FB group that I mentioned above is no longer open to new members at this time. Sorry!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Jumble of Umble

"Whenever you have taken up work in hand, you must see it to the finish.That is the ultimate secret of success. Never, never, never give up!"   Dada Vaswani

This week's Diva challenge was to use the official (from Rick and Maria) tangle, Umble. I have probably only used this tangle once in my four years of tangling. So I decided to take the challenge and play with it some more.

The first one I did was on a Zendala tile, meaning it's round. I made it simple...simply Umble, except for some added lines. I decided to add a little color using my pastel pencils (I was out of town and that was the only color medium I had with me). Since it's only a week until our Independence Day, July 4th, I went with red and blue. I'm very happy with the simple, yet bold, completed tile. Don't save your Zendala tiles only for Zendalas...they're a lot of fun to use for any kind of tangling.

Next I started another tile but didn't really like it, so I put it aside and began over. Dividing this tile into four squares, I tangled Umble in two opposite squares (I don't know if you can picture that when you look at this tile now). Then I started connecting the lines, got a little carried away, and ended up with this.

It's interesting, but I don't like it nearly as much as the first one. Next, thinking that you never should give up on a tile (since it's more about the process than the outcome), I went back to the one I had put aside. I completed it, and lo and behold, I like it! This has happened to me many times, so the lesson to be learned here is...don't give up! See your tiles through to the end. You may very well decide that you like it after all, or at the very least, you will have spent some time relaxing and taking your mind off other things.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Drip, Drop

"Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams."   Paul Gauguin

The Diva's challenge this week is to use color. Looking back, I realized that most of my recent blogs  have been about using color in some form. So here is another one.

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog about using alcohol inks on glossy paper as a background for tangling. You can see that post here. It's interesting to see how much my tangling style has changed and evolved since then. During the last year I have used my alcohol inks to make lots of colored tiles on watercolor paper, but have not used them again on glossy paper. I've been inspired by seeing other people post about using the inks, so I decided it was time to play with them again. Actually, a while ago I bought Yupo paper (you can read about it by clicking on the link), and a new book about creating with alcohol inks, Pigments of Your Imagination. And they've been sitting around waiting for me for some time now. The time finally came last week.

I cut up the Yupo into pieces about 3 1/2 x 5 inches, and following the book and other information I've collected, I squirted, and blew, and splattered, and tilted, and pushed, and pulled. It was so much fun to play, not ever really knowing what to expect. I used both Ranger inks and Spectrum Noir inks, along with 91% alcohol. I used straws, and credit cards, and coffee stirrers, and q-tips. The result was many, many, beautiful, bright, inky little pieces of art. Some of them are so pretty on their own that I almost didn't want to tangle on them.

Here's a picture of one of the first ones I used. This was created by dropping ink on the paper, letting it spread, dropping more ink, dripping alcohol, and repeating those steps until I was happy with the results. Adding alcohol helps the ink spread, and can also lighten the colors. This is the before...

And this is the after (using Sakura Microperm pens)...

I started by tangling the obvious circular shapes, and then filled in behind, leaving a few sections of color untouched. 

The next one is one of my favorite "tiles" that I made. I love the color combination. It was created by laying down lines of ink, then spreading with a straw or coffee stirrer (I don't remember which), and tilting, and spritzing alcohol on it.

I wasn't worried about that green spot that somehow found it's way onto the paper, because I knew that once I tangled it would disappear...

Due to the process of spreading the inks around, it is inevitable that some of the ink seeps to the underside of the paper. Most of the time it just looks like a mess, and I don't really care what the back looks like. But every once in a while the back side turns out to look really nice and artistic, purely by accident. Like on the pink and yellow piece above. Here's what it looked like.

Some of that was from ink seeping under the edges, and the different colors you see were leftover on the craft sheet I was working on. I thought it could look really nice if I tangled on all that white space in between the beautiful inky edges. So that's what I did.

I'm not sure that I really like the combination of tangles that I chose, but did like the effect of tangling down the middle. A big stack of more of these "tiles" awaits my pen, and I'll share some of them another time. If any of you are interested in learning how to use these inks, I would highly recommend the book I linked to above. 

Happy inking and tangling!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Magic Squares

"The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt."   Unknown

Back in March, I shared a quilt square (on paper) that I had tangled and then put four of them together to make a larger quilt design. If you missed that post, or just don't remember it, you can see it here. I told you I'd be back soon with another one, so here I am. This started with a different design. And what better tangle to use than one called Quiltz! That's what forms the X. I added a little Paradox, and some pieces of Munchin, and here is my square.
Not bad, but when I put four of them together, that's where the magic comes from.

Next I added some color, using my pastel pencils in yellow and two shades of orange...

And put them back together in a group of four.

I took the above two pictures before remembering that I wanted to add a few more little spots of color. See where I added them in the next picture?

And once again I put together a group of four.

I really love the way it ended up. This process is so much fun...don't be surprised if you find me back here soon with yet another design!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Full Circle

"Circles create soothing space, where even reticent people can realize that their voice is welcome."      Margaret J. Wheatley

Time for another Zendala. And more pastel pencils. I used Genevieve Crabe's mandala stencil to create the template for this Zendala. Here you can see what it looked like to start. I marked all the dots and then formed the design totally freeform - no ruler or compass or anything else but my pencil.

Here's what it looked like after tangling. When I tangle something like this I go in no specific order. Basically I stare at the template and look through my rings of patterns until something hits me. It might be the very center first, or maybe the middle or outside edge.

Then I pulled out my pastel pencils, having a red and orange color theme in mind. I hope you're not getting too tired of seeing my work with these pencils, because I'm not getting tired of using them!
I find it interesting that depending on how my eyes focus on this, sometimes I see the black and white Knightsbridge pop out with the orange Emingle forming a circle behind it, and sometimes the Emingle jumps to the front with the Knightsbridge behind. Oh, the tricks our eyes can play on us!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

All Boxed Up

"Not to be boxed in, to be able to transcend boundaries: for an artist, it's essential."  Sahahzia Sikander

Back with another Diva challenge. This week it's a UMT (Use My Tangle), and the tangle is Alice Hendon's All Boxed Up. If you're not familiar with it, you can check it out here, on Alice's blog. It's a straight line tangle, and as you know from my last post, I love straight line tangles. I've been meaning to try this one for a while, so I thank the Diva for the push that made me do it. I combined three sections of All Boxed Up with a little bit of Flux. I used a Micron 01 pen to tangle but thought the Flux got a little lost in there, so I went over it with an 08 pen to make it stand out a bit more.

I decided to add just a bit of color behind the Flux to make it pop out even more. 

And then a bit more color to the centers of the "boxes". 

You probably all think I used my pastel pencils (AGAIN) to add the color, but you're wrong. This time I used two shades of green Tombow markers. I'm real happy with the way this looks, and I'm pretty confident that you'll be seeing some more of All Boxed Up in my future Zentangles. Thanks, Alice, for this simple but very interesting straight line pattern!