Friday, 19 May 2017

one drop in an ocean

Vega meets Zander - I spent an age
choosing a green I was happy with

This is not two dragons touching tails.  This is a work in progress.  This week I have mostly been drawing twists of green onto tiles - I will then be adding further tangling in black and white.  And this is because Annette is running the latest of her wonderful Mosaic Projects.  If you haven't seen them before I'd urge you to take a look -


I watched the results unfold for a few months before I joined in.  Each time Annette provides a string or strings and any particular instructions for that Project.  When she has our finished tiles she arranges them into wild and wonderful collages - which remind me of the endless pleasure of looking through a kaleidoscope viewer as a child.  She is also kind enough to send little mosaics of your own tiles back to you by way of thanks for your participation.

The tiles I sent for Projects #5, #6 and #7

And this is what they became -

Project #5 - all set to take flight

Project #6 - another star in an endless sky

Project #7 - from dark to light and in between

But of course this is only a fraction of the magic - the true wonder happens when your tile combines with other peoples.  Please go and take a look through the archives and you'll see what I mean.  There are so many wonderful things happening in the world of Zentangle - I'm involved in just a few - each bringing their unique pleasures and challenges.  But this is one I'm truly pleased I found. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

pieces of eight

I've tangled more than my blog would suggest of late. I've filled pages of my sketchbook with ideas, some of which have wings, but few of which have flown.

Pigment ink / white pencil / white gel pen / graphite on grey pastel paper

I've even drafted a post all about Tangler's block and how to get around it. But that's not quite where I am now - I'm beyond the block but still in its shadow. I've crafted analogies about new leaves hidden in the branches of winter's trees - but now I notice we're halfway to summer.

Pigment ink / white pencil / yellow ochre pencil / white gel pen / graphite on honey pastel paper

Soon I know I'll settle back into familiar rhythms and faithful practice but until then I'll share some tiles. These were created on eight Sundays dotted over the last four months. Tangling with limited tools and choices over the festive period felt wonderfully liberating, so I really wanted to revisit that way of working. Just grab a few pencils and a tile, as we listen to an instalment of our current audiobook, and this is what happens.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

shine on

This week the Diva invited us to enjoy Lily Moon's wonderful Amphora tangle!  Now that's an invitation I'm not going to miss.

I fancied doing things a bit differently today - so had a go with the nail varnish technique that Maria demonstrated a couple of weeks ago.  I'd tried a few test strips on various papers, with various pens I use.  Some cause a slight deepening of the paper colour, and in others its more profound.  When I tested it on a tile of Kraft paper it produced a lovely deep wood-like tone which I thought would work well with the ancient roots of Amphora.

A work in progress - pausing to let each stage dry

I used it on alternate stripes of the tangle, and in the space between tried out some newly bought Tombow brush pens for a bit of grey shading.  I kept my tangling close to the original, but added a bit of Beadlines and some white highlights.

The finished article

I really like the contrast between the cool and warmer panels, and while the photo struggles to catch how it looks in reality (my scanner threw up its hands in horror!) there is a lovely sense of age about the finished tile. 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

cutting the string

My work on this week's Diva tile - in which we were invited to Duotangle with Molygon and Marasu - was strange from start to finish.

Firstly I selected a pre-coloured tile from my Leftovers stack.  I immediately found it rather unappealing, but decided to stick with what I'd picked.

I then had a 'clever' idea of making it so the Molygon looked cut out with the Marasu viewed through the holes.  Which seemed better in my imagination than it looked on paper! 

Then I thought that lots of black ink might come to the rescue...  and I selected a sky blue pen that I rarely use...

... and well, who knows.  It's an odd one, not one of my favourites, but it is what it is.


But the strangest thing occurred only once I stepped back from it.  When I'm not tangling I write, and much of what I write about involves memory.  My mind is a kite - dancing this way and that in the sky, sometimes in cloud, sometimes in the clear blue.  But when I'm not actively thinking, actively remembering - when I'm doing something that shifts my mind in a different way - like tangling does - it's like the kite string has been cut.  I drift to wildly unexpected places.  When I looked at the tile I got a sudden flash of a perfume my mother used when I was a child - not the smell but the packaging.   I hadn't thought of it in years, but a quick Google and there it was - an almost exact replica of the striping on my Marasu.  How weird and wonderful!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

as above, so below

This tangle first made an appearance at the very edge of one of my sketchbook pages last September.  I've sat with it since, wanting to be sure it doesn't already exist. It seems so simple, so obvious, that I can hardly believe someone hasn't been there before me. But perhaps that simplicity is the very thing that's left it overlooked. Or maybe it's so simple that it barely counts as a tangle at all?!


I based it on those stock images that pepper the cover of so many Zen guidebooks. A stack of stones on water with their reflection beneath them. Hence the name – Flec.

As a border – on pastel paper – with white pencil and graphite shading

So far I've mostly drawn it in its simplest form, but I think it has scope for variation as to the size and shape of the 'stones' you use, and how you choose to stack them.  You can choose to include the aura or leave it out, and some simple shading offers dimension.

On black paper – with added Fescu – white gel pen, white pencil

If anything like this already exist please let me know – if not I hope you have fun playing with Flec – I'd love to know how you get on.

On water-coloured paper – with I–leaf and Flukes – graphite shading

Thursday, 16 February 2017

just enough

Sometimes our days don't hold enough of what we need.  Not enough time, energy, comfort, hope.

But sometimes we have to make the most of whatever we've got.  This week I had just enough to make this heart.  Paper, pen, pencil and a little patience.
 
Hamadox heart, with Diva Dance tassels - on a Brusho coloured tile

And I will give this heart to my loved one and me.  I will place it in a little frame and stand it on a shelf – where we can see it, and where it can see us. 

When there's not enough of what we need there is always love.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

meaningful mistakes

Bockingford blue tinted watercolour paper. 
Distress Ink.  Black ink, white gel pen, graphite.
This tile was a mistake from the very start.  I'd picked out two tiles I'd previously coloured.  This one was meant to be to try out Margaret Bremner's new Trifle tangle.  The other was for this Florz affair.  But then I drew the initial grid lines onto the wrong tile!  At that point - the end of a day, with the light giving out on me - I gave up and put it aside.  Till today.

With the 'No mistakes' motto in mind I carried on - despite the fact that this rather textured paper isn't ideal for very tidy straight lines.  I'd been carrying this idea in my mind for a while - wondering how would it look if you drew Florz, auraed it, and then drew it again behind the first?

I needed something simple and repetitive today.  I needed something that didn't need much thought, much imagination.  Just lines and more lines and simple shading in predictable places.

Perhaps there is a message for this week, perhaps for this year, in this seemingly simple tile.  That behind one barricade there might unfortunately be another - but that if you break through enough of them there is always the promise of light.