Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My Zenduo Adventure... or... It Takes 2 to Tangle

"Miracles sometimes come in pairs."     Unknown

I've decided to undertake a little Zentangle adventure. No, let me restate that... a BIG Zentangle adventure. I'll explain. I use Evernote to catalog all of the pattern step-outs that I like. I find it's a great system where I can search for a particular pattern, I can tag them with descriptive words, I can order them in different ways. Right now I have 343 patterns in my Evernote "notebook."  Most of them I have used and love, or at least like enough to want to use again.  However, there are a fair number that I've added to my list but haven't tried yet for whatever reason. 

So... I've decided to start at the beginning (in alphabetical order) and I'm going to tangle using two at a time. The first pair, then the next, and on and on for all 343 patterns (which is an odd number, but by the time I get through them all I'm sure I will have added some more.) No more than two at a time, but embellishments will be allowed. I enjoy using just two tangles at a time so that it doesn't get too busy looking. The challenge will be somehow making the two work together even when I would never in a million years think of pairing them up. Some will be easy and others not so much. 

The other challenge will be seeing this adventure to the end and making it through all 343+ patterns before giving up. That's more than 170 tiles/ZIAs. I'm not going to pressure myself to do one every day, or even every other day, so this could turn into a very l-o-n-g  adventure. I've decided to call the pieces I create Zenduos and will refer to this as my Zenduo adventure.

So without further ado, I present to you my first two Zenduos. Here is the first tile before I tangled it, a background I made with Dylusion paints.



The first two patterns in my collection are 4 corners (numbers come before letters in alpha order) and Abeko.


Here's the tile after I added a little pencil shading.



For the next one I chose to work on a black tile, which I don't do very often. The next two patterns were African Artist and All Boxed Up. Lots of lines in this one. And some shading with the zenstone. Not too happy with my African Artist here, as I can never seem to get the squinched parts to look right. One thing this project will do for me is help to weed out the patterns that I don't like enough... or can't do well enough... to keep them in my collection. This may be one of them.
So there you have it, my first two Zenduos. Anyone out there want to challenge themselves to go on a similar adventure with me?




Saturday, November 4, 2017

Colored Tiles Are Back!

"Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment."       Claude Monet

I am so happy to announce that my Etsy shop is fully open once again after a long time of intermittent closures. And except for the week of Thanksgiving, it should stay open consistently. I hope. To celebrate the re-opening, I am offering a discount on all purchases for a short time, but you'll have to read, or at least scroll down, to the end of my post to get the coupon code for your discount.

I'm sharing lots of photos here of work that I've completed on my hand-colored tiles, showing them both before and after tangling. I love the colors in this first one and love doing lots of line work.




The next one has lots more line work, on a totally different type of background.




I also have a collection of what I call geometric tiles, and this one is part of that collection.



Another series I call pathway tiles. These are created with alcohol inks, just like all the tiles are, but using a special method that creates what looks like paths to me. I have them in both gray and colored. This one is an example of one of the grays.



Here's an example of one of the colored Zendala tiles.





This one has some of my favorite colors in a little bit of a swirl.



And another Zendala, this one with a rippled effect.




I completed this last tile a while ago, but it's one of my favorites, both in the colors and the tangling, so here it is again. It's an example of one of the colored pathway tiles, similar to the gray one above.



In addition to colored tiles, gray tiles, Zendalas, and geometric tiles, I've created a line of digital papers using alcohol ink backgrounds. They're available with lines for writing or unlined for an unlimited number of different uses. Please take a look at them while you're over in my Etsy shop perusing the various tiles. Here are just a few examples of the papers that you'll find.





And for those of you who stuck with me all the way to the end of this long post, you can get 10% off any order between now and November 15th. Just enter the coupon code FALL17 when you check out. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Magic of Color

"I never met a color I didn't like."    Dale Chihuly

A while back I downloaded a number of stock images online. I've tangled some of them, but others have been sitting around for a really long time. Here's one I decided to pull out and tackle today.


I love the bright colors in it and thought it would look nice if I used colored Microns to tangle this. I don't often use the colored pens, but there was one to match each of the colors (except yellow) in this design and I figured it was a great idea. A gray Copic multiliner was used to tangle those circles clinging to the outside of the big circle.


I really liked the way this was going until I got to the last part (isn't that the way it always goes?) which was the blue penned part in the top green circles. Definitely not my favorite part of this piece.


The shading was done with my pastel pencils, which I have in all the colors to match the pen colors. If I could cut out the top part of this I would be really happy with it!

 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Crazy 'Nzeppel

"No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys."    
 Douglas Horton

The Diva's challenge this week is to use the pattern Crazy 'Nzeppel. It's a variation of plain old 'Nzeppel which is a grid based tangle. The crazy variety is based on random lines rather than a grid. I've always called it Random 'Nzeppel and am not really sure when it got the crazy label. 

Anyway, I used one of my colored tiles as shown here.


I started by tangling 'Nzeppel, then added Clob and a few bits of Tipple.


At this point I wasn't too sure that I liked it, but ah! The magic of shading!


Now I like it much better. I could have done the shading in color to go with the colored tile. And I probably would have, except for the fact that I don't have my preferred supplies for color shading (pastel pencils) with me right now. So I went with plain old graphite, which worked out pretty well.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Zendala Time

 "Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous."     Bill Moyers

Way back in May I realized it had been a really long time since I had worked on a Ben Kwok template. So I decided to do one of his mandalas. But then began my crazy summer, and it wasn't until last week that I got back to this zendala that was started so long ago.

Here is a picture of Ben's template that I began with.



  
A few lines were left out so that I wouldn't have spaces that were too tiny to tangle. Here's what it looked like after I finished tangling. 




I began shading but paused after the center area was done so I could share the half shaded zendala with you. It's always so interesting to see the difference a bit of graphite can make.



Then I completed the shading, which took quite some time,  and here's the final zendala. 



Not bad, but I have to admit that after having this one laying around for so long I'm looking forward to moving on to something else!




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dingbatz Unleashed

"Unsuccessful people are busy being busy. Successful people are busy being productive."     Kevin Abdulrahman

 I'm back after a very long and busy month. In that time we packed, moved out of our house and into storage, traveled to Fl, back to NC for a couple of weeks, back to SC to move out of storage into our new home, unpacked and organized... and I'm exhausted! Needless to say there wasn't much time for tangling in all that, and I didn't always have access to my Zentangle supplies. But I'm finally back to a little bit of normalcy, which means finally some tangling time.

A while ago dingbatz were introduced in the world of Zentangle. I hope you've heard about/seen them, because I can't explain them well as I don't know that I fully understand them. Here is the first one that I attempted... a small frame-like thing divided into sections by a tangle pattern that extends outside the frame. For my first try it wasn't too bad, but I felt something didn't look right. Then I figured it out... my Mooka that creates the sections all goes under the frame, and I think some should go above and some below.  Oh well.



Next I tried one on a colored tile (which I sell in my Etsy shop, although the tiles won't be available for about 2 more weeks until everything gets settled in here). Here's the tile before tangling.


And here is my dingbatz. Unfortunately it wasn't until after I did this one that the over/under bit occurred to me.
 

Then I added some shading.



It's okay, but still not exciting me. So on to another one. This time I used Hollibaugh to divide it into sections, and remembered to make some of it go under the frame and some of it over. I added lots of auras which are always fun.


 Then I shaded, added a little more black, and an outside border.


I like this one better than the others, although I think the style kind of got further away from the "traditional" dingbatz that I've seen everyone creating. But that's okay, because I should have my own style, right?

So, back to the drawing board! Here I used some large Flux to create the sections. Definitely my own style again!
 

  
Added shading to some of it with graphite.


And added color to the rest of it with pastel pencils.


This one is definitely my favorite. Whether or not it embodies the original intent of dingbatz... I just don't know!

 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Zen Photos

"Flowers are like friends; they bring color to your world."    Unknown
 
I decided it was time again to combine my two favorite things to do, Zentangle and photography. I've blogged about this before, once in 2016, which you can see here, and once in 2015, which you can see here. I again chose a photo of flowers to tangle since that's one of my favorite subjects for photography. 

Here is the photo before any tangling. 



I printed the photo on mixed media paper so that I could tangle using my Microns. In the past I've printed them on glossy photo paper which meant that I had to tangle using a Microperm pen because of the slick surface. Not my favorite surface to tangle on. 

First I tangled the petals of the two flowers using Angel Fish on one and Maryhill on the other. For the bottom layer of petals I tangled Dyon.



Then I used a gray pen to add some Printemps to the Dyon.



I wanted to add color and shading using some other medium besides pastel pencils which is my usual go to method. Watercolor pencils is what I decided on. I could have used a water brush to blend, but I never feel like I have the control I'd like with a water brush. So I tried a Copic colorless blender pen. I didn't really think it was going to work since Copics are alcohol based, but to my surprise it worked great. With the pointed tip of the blender pen I could control it easily and get into tight spaces.

After adding color, a few shades of pinks and purples on the upper petals, I decided to use some green on the bottom petals to transform them into leaves instead of petals. Some graphite shading was also added to those leaves. And some white gelly roll pen accents in the centers of the flowers.


As one last finishing touch, I added some white pastel pencil (couldn't resist!) highlights on the leaves... can you see the difference?




It was a fun little project. Using photos to tangle is an easy way to have instant color and a ready made string. 

 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."      George A. Moore

The Diva's challenge this week is to create a tile that reflects your home in some way. We recently purchased a summer home in the mountains of NC and this is my first summer here. So I chose to use this home as my inspiration. 

First I drew a string to represent the mountains. I used bristol vellum paper, a green micron, and 3 different shades of green pastel pencils for shading. As a finishing touch I added some Msst (with gray pen) to show all the rain we've had here, which is why everything is SO green. I wish I had remembered to take a picture before I shaded. Besides the Msst, the tangles used are N'zeppel, Sea Wave, Leeter, Fallen Leaves, and Shattuck.


Hope you are all enjoying your summer (or winter, depending where you are.) I'm loving the cool mountain air!

 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tangling With Courage

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."     Nelson Mandela

A while back a good friend of mine gave me this (African?) drum as a gift. Here's a side view.


And here it is from the top. As soon as I saw it, it screamed out to me to be tangled. But I'm always nervous about tangling on these kinds of things where, if I mess up, I've ruined it. Unlike a piece of paper that I can toss in the garbage and start over if I want.




So it remained untangled... until recently when I brought it up to my new summer place in the mountains. It fits in so nicely with my more rustic decor up here. But it was still screaming out to be tangled. So I gathered up all my courage and decided to go ahead... so hard! 

Because it's round, a Zendala just seemed like the natural thing to do. I didn't want anything too intricate... that would only give me more opportunity to mess up and regret my decision... so I chose a fairly simple design. I wasn't sure if it would work to transfer it onto the drum skin with graphite, but I gave it a try. It worked but was very light and hard to see, so the first thing I did was darken it a bit by going over all the lines with pencil. 


Notice that the drum is sitting in a box that fit very tightly around it. That was to hold the drum still since the bottom is narrow and not totally flat. The box worked really well to keep it steady.

The next uncertainty was how the pen would perform on the slightly textured/rough surface of the drum. I used an Identipen, and to my surprise it drew very nicely, even on the roughest of the spots.


Some line work and some Paradox. So far so good! I really wanted to stop there, before it went wrong, but I knew I couldn't. I continued with some patterns that I felt confident about, first adding a border of Gewurtz.


Then I wanted to add something in those last sections, but it needed to be kind of light and airy, so I decided on Florz.


I didn't add any shading on this, partly because I had no idea what would work for shading, but also because I like the stark contrast and boldness of it just the way it is.

Here it is in what I thought was going to be it's resting place, but after some rearranging of my decor, it is now sitting on a different wooden shelf.


I really love the way this turned out and am so glad I gathered the courage to finally do this project.