Wednesday, 30 July 2014

double duo

I loved the idea for this week's Diva Challenge - a duotangle with names beginning with the letters of our initials.  I choose to try two new tangles - starting with a J and an M (for my real name Jem Miller).  I picked Japonica (by Sandra Strait) and Me Three (by Cindy Pope).

Both were a pleasure to learn and play with - but somehow they didn't hang together quite as well as I hoped on the finished tile.  I tried again with some variations but still didn't really like the result.  But in the spirit of 'no mistakes' I thought I'd share them anyway.

I like the sense of taughtness in the monochrome one - I feel like I could reach in and twang the Japonica straps - or poke my fingers through the Me Three holes.

For the second attempt I decided to straighten the edges of the Me Three sections - turning circles into hexagons and suddenly I had honeycomb.  But then the Japonicas seemed like bulging larvae burrowing their way into the comb.  Quite creepy!

I think that some place between the two tiles would have been preferable.  I little less Me Three than the first, but sticking with the taught rather than bulging Japonica.  Oh well, there's always next time!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

melting point

For this week's guest Diva Challenge post, Caroline Broady invites us to play with her tangle Truffle.

It's one of those really good tangles, as delicious as the confectionery it shares its name with.  It melts in the mouth, it delights with surprises hidden within.  It invites all manner of tweaks and changes and never looks the same twice.

I kept it simple and put it in a circle (confession - I used a template to get my circle neat!).  I filled the middle with a burst of a recent Tangle Patterns offering - Xplode.  I went for the aura version and heaped on the black ink to make it pop out.

The temperature has been rising lately, causing uncommonly hot weather for the UK.  We've had lightning storms strobing us from sleep.  We've been turning to face the electric fan like its some futuristic deity we need to worship.  And I think a bit of that atmosphere has seeped into this tile.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

fortune favours the brave

The guest-posted Diva Challenge this week is to Bring Your Own Beverage.  And what a delight that invitation is - it feels like permission to be a child again, to play with my food, to make a mess, to make things up as I go along.

I'm English - I bracket sections of my day between cups of tea.  I don't have blue blood but significant traces of tannin surely run through my veins.  The first cup of today, we save a teabag.  I plonk it down on a round of paper - once, twice.  It makes strange rose-like imprints - ghost roses, or fading photos of continents long lost beneath the seas.  I squeeze three drops and let them sit before running them off the paper - far more Miss Marple than Jackson Pollock.  And finally I tear open the bag and scatter some leaves on the paper.  Later it is dry, I brush off the leaves and take up my pen - ready to read my own fortune in the patterns left behind.

The bag-printed rose islands seem too precious to overload with tangles.  I decide to merely aura them and anchor them with a stem.  A cluster of Pozer works well over the leaf-tinted area.  I think of how the touches of colour look like real-flowers, the way nature does random so well.  And those drips turn into wonderful Zingers - if you could shake them you would hear them rattle - dried and full to bursting with seeds ready to fall and grow next year's dreams.  A little border to hold it all in place and I'm done.  I sit back and sigh and feel as if I've just enjoyed a good cup of tea.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Eke and ye shall find

One of the things I love about Zentangle is its unpredictability.  A tangle can morph into something quite unexpected at the end of my pen.  Two tangles can meet and make beautiful music together.  Two's company, but sometimes three's a crowd - tangles sitting on a tile barely making eye contact.  Even so, I'm learning to love the days when it doesn't go that well. 

For One Zentangle a Day 27 we learnt Meer (which I had used before and like a lot), Enyshou (which is surely related to Squid) and Reef.  Somewhat inevitably an underwater vibe took over my tile.  But something didn't quite come together, and it looks a bit unfinished.  With hindsight I could go back and darken the background to make the tangles stand out, but sometimes it's good to have an example of something not quite right to learn from?

Who knew Eke could even work in a grid?
Day 28's tile felt like a vast improvement.  Krahula taught us Eke, and a tangleation of it and Sez (which I just couldn't get on with - sometimes the simplest ones are like that).  When I first encountered Eke a while back I thought it was particularly lame.  Just a loopy line, which didn't suggest much potential - and that surprised me because the official tangles are usually so well chosen and engaging.  But, revisiting it, something clicked, and I could see so many different ways it could be drawn and darkened and changed.  And now I thoroughly love it - enough to do a monotangle featuring nothing but Eke.

A simple string, a muted palette of my new Inktense pencils and a lot of gentle looping back and forth.  Mesmerising to draw, and pleasing to look at.  I can see a tree rising up from from the depths of a valley.  Draped fabric.  And the strange spine of a long extinct beast.

Monday, 7 July 2014

four sure

Sometimes a challenge makes me want to get clever, to push myself and think of new things to try.  At other times I simply want to play and see what happens.  And that's what I did this week, with the Diva Challenge asking us to use Crux (by Henrike Bratz).  With nods to Bales and 4 Corners I just let my pen roam, picking out or omitting parts as I fancied.  And I popped each Crux pattern on top of a square of Inktense colour (trying out some new pencils I just got for my birthday).

I toyed with the idea of putting something else around the squares, to link them together maybe - but in the end decided less is more? 

Perhaps my subconscious was at work while I drew - as she texted to ask me for directions to the fabric shop.  She came home empty handed but my tile seems to have four swatches of fabric on it.  Or perhaps some nice Moroccan tiles.