Wednesday, 14 March 2018

bathing in the purple rain

Particulars - fountain pen loaded with Diamine Damson ink,
black pigment pen, coloured pencil, graphite
 On Monday 12th the Google doodle commemorated the birthday of William Henry Perkin - who stumbled across a consistent purple dye while working to better understand quinine.  I've always been fascinated by these unintended scientific discoveries, and I've long had a soft spot for purple too.  So in the spirit of Perkin, this week I worked on a couple of challenges using purple ink.  I also tried to channel the spirit of wild experimentation - trying new things, not planning, just following instinct.

Joey gave us a ribbon and a pinch of Poke Leaf to start with, then invited us to finish her tile.  The Pokes are a lot like Mooka to me.  I love the way they can look in others hands, but struggle to find one of my own that I like.  But I stuck with Mooka, trying it many different ways and I have a couple of variations that I now draw and am happy with.  The Pokes took longer - but I think this week I may have found an approach to Pokeleaf that I like - adding a few auras on each side - it seems to give it a bit of bulk which I prefer.   The finished tile reminds me of something quite old and elegant - possibly the cover of a Victorian lady's journal, perhaps one where she notes the changes in her cottage garden.

Particulars - watercolour tile with two green brush pen lines.
  Purple Copic SP pen.  Coloured pencil, graphite.
I switched to a more controllable pen for my contribution to the Diva's Challenge - this week featuring one of my favourite tangles, Verve.  I thought it would be fun to let the tangle break free, hence the twists and points and bumps it's showing here.  There really seem to be endless variations to those winding auras.  I could have happily filled the entire tile but thought a bit of breathing space would be welcome.  It looks quite lively, like a mutant species is spreading and taking over.

I like the way that although the materials I used differed between my two tiles, the colours were similar which gives a pleasing sense of harmony.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

showing my workings

It's been a while since I aired my dirty laundry in public - otherwise known as sharing pages from my sketchbook!

Sketchbook pages are interesting places - the place where the rawest materials are held.  Where ideas form and fall apart as often as they evolve into something that will take the leap from the sketchbook to the tile.  Pens are tested, colours considered.  Old tangles revisited, new ones met.

My sketchbook pages have changed a lot since I first started tangling, when they were orderly and sparse, tiny little squares with neatly drawn tangles within them.  A couple of years ago when I shared a few on here they were starting to get a little darker and more disorderly.  Now they are a sprawling mass / mess and as much as I'm tempted to keep them to myself, I love looking at those belonging to other people, so it only seems fair that I share mine.

These are the four I've filled so far this year.

Points of interest - a trial run of my idea for IAST #225 which actually ended
up smaller as a Bijou.  Rediscovery of the wonderful Exis tangle.
  An interesting variation of Bales (top-right)

Points of interest - Dublin, which I could have hours of fun with.
  A few tangles that I like a lot but haven't yet used - Irradial,
Zigzag Track and Dollpin.  And a test of a few new pens / colours.

Points of interest - newly discovered treasures Floid and Wavlin.
  The ever challenging Mistura.  Tying myself in knots with Elven and Buckled Up!
  Triangular Hollibaugh and fragmented N'Zeppel.

Points of interest - new ways with String Rose.
  Scraps of tangles featured in recent challenges.
Vivi - which seems like it could come in handy.
  A possible new tangle - to work on. 
And playing around with Pokeroot in ink.

And that's all for now!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

through the looking glass

It's been a long time since I've taken part in one of Joey's weekly challenges.  It's been a long time since I've used Andromeda.  It's been a long time since I grabbed a tile from my Leftovers pile and breathed life into it.

From what I recall I made this background tile years ago, probably when I was first trying out the Gelly Roll Glaze pen.  I've haven't been near it since.  It doesn't particularly speak to me, but I thought it might be fun to try to send that band of Andromeda that Joey invites us to start with, in opposition to the Glaze band on the tile.

That was my starting point, and from there the tile developed with little planning and lots of instinct.  And an attempt throughout to wrestle something controlled from a very rough surfaced watercolour paper.  I added Tripoli type triangles into the band, Mooka Flowers anchored with black bands and a wobbly line fill that I saw Margaret Bremner use to far greater effect on one of her eco-dyed pieces.  I shaded with coloured pencils and a little graphite.  And I'm fairly pleased with how it came out.  

I like that glassy window through the band to the Andromeda lying beneath.  Which feels apt on these suddenly freezing days that are gripping the UK, just as we all assumed spring was close - not quite, but if we look carefully it's there waiting for us, if only we have a little more patience.

Friday, 16 February 2018

all the small things

Sometimes I run out of time and energy to do all the things I want to do - don't we all.  Sometimes I don't get to tangle a full tile for Adele's wonderful It's a String Thing challenge.  But this year I stumbled on an idea, a little stepping stone to bridge the gaps between the chances to fill a full tile and send it to her.  And those stones take the form of Bijou tiles.

IAST #225 and #227

I've done it four times now, and as well as feeling like I'm not missing out on the fun, I'm realising just how charming a Bijou can be.  It's opening my eyes to the fact that when I commit to working with a certain sort of tile I get to know it better, it's quirks and endearments.  And I'm regularly stunned at just how much I can fit onto one of these little treasures when I put my mind to it!

IAST #229 and #230

Who knows if it's a habit that will stick - but for now it's working!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

purple fingerprints

I knew I wanted to draw the other day, but I didn't know what I wanted to draw.  Too many choices, too many pens, papers, tangles, decisions, doubts.

So I just started playing.  First off messing about with what was within reach.  Then recalling that I'd long wanted to try tangling with an ink pen having been regularly inspired by the wonderful blots and beauties by Michele Wynne.

I often write with coloured ink so in my pen pot at this moment I have a good quality fountain pen containing grey ink.  But I didn't want to risk damaging that nib on rough paper!  But I also had a cheap pen filled with Diamine's Damson, and a Herbin rollerball with a Ruby Red Kaweco cardridge in it.

So that's what I used, on an A6 rectangle of Khadi paper.  Some Mooka, some Dublin.  Lots of water, lots of mess.  Some discomfort that I didn't have as much control as useful, but also the liberty that comes with that.  Once it was all dry I went back in for the shading and highlights, and a little bit of black Printemps down the sides - and felt more in my comfort zone.

And I love the finished piece - I see rain-wrecked bedrooms, vines claiming the spaces broken-hearted lovers have long vacated. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

a touch of blue

Around this time last year I blogged about my recent festive tangling project.  I'd chosen a handful of tiles and tools in a limit palette and worked with nothing but those over the Christmas and New Year period.  I really enjoyed limiting my parameters and have repeated the process a number of times throughout the year.

I decided to do the same this year, but limited things even further.  I had a small stack of bright white tiles of pastel paper, my usual tangling kit (pen, pencil, tortillion) and then added one extra - a Koh I Noor Polycolor pencil in Cobalt Blue that I'd bought as a single, but hadn't yet used!

The only other rule was that I wouldn't spend time looking up patterns, challenges etc.  It was just me and my imagination, away from screens and sketchbooks - drawing whatever came to mind.

And the results were quite surprising at times!  Tiles started to form that seemed a bit of a departure from my usual style, but in a most pleasing way.  Now for a little journey through the tiles - I've tried to label tangles where I can!

Drawings and Arukas and also a few bands of nothing I can name!

Tiny Toodles on a Florz-type grid with Baton filling the gaps.

Swirls of something like Snag,
cradling Fluxecho and two stretched Cruffle.

Flux surrounding Dex, dropping into Cubine.

Locas tipped with Springkly with Florz between.

A band of Kuziem, some auraed Toodles and Printemps.

So that's my tangle activity for the past couple of weeks.  Time now to dive into the new year, with all the colours and twists and turns, highlights and shades that it will bring!

Friday, 22 December 2017

farewell for now

It's time for my last post for the year.  I've been to all sorts of places tanglewise this year - plenty of new adventures and old favourites.  And what better way to end than a fusion of the two.

This tile has been sitting quietly on my Leftovers Pile since Adele's 95th String Thing Challenge - way back in the summer of 2015.  Who knows why I got no further than I did.  Who knows what waylaid or distracted me or stole my time.

Forgotten but not gone

But the hint of the frame that I'd started to draw on that square of repurposed packaging seemed a perfect place to lay a section of new official tangle Rumpus.  A touch of festive colours, a touch of white chalk, some graphite and a few dots of silver paint and there it is.

This one asked to be viewed at an angle!

Summer meets winter, old meets new, forgotten meets newly found.  As this year nudges up to the next thanks for sharing it with me, and until the next one, take care.