Friday, April 1, 2016

Diva Challenge #261 - Stacked Bijou, SQ1 Knightsbridge, Sunken Treasure

Gentle Readers,

It seems I have so much Zentangle inspiration flying at me from all directions! There are blogs, Facebook pages, Pinterest boards and the beautiful Mosaic app that alerts me when new tiles are posted and new comments made.  If these were commercials, I'd be annoyed, but this is something I actually like to see!  What a concept!

If you have the Mosaic app, check out the last two T3 entries featuring graphite applied as an under layer to tangling.  Maria, Rick and Molly use it as a way to introduce an additional "color" to your tiles and give a softness to temper the sometimes stark black and white of traditional Zentangle.  I haven't experimented with that yet, but I think my next few sketchbook pages may just be graphite heavy. 

I love seeing how the creative minds out there interpret Zentangle patterns, stretching, combining, colorizing and applying to a diversity of surfaces - pottery, shoes, book pages, fabric, automobiles (Honest!), walls, furniture - you name it!  Sometimes I just view, mouth open in awe, and sometimes I save the photos of these works for future reference.  Sometimes I message my daughter in Chicago - hey, check THIS one out!  It's nice to be able to share an interest with loved ones.  Most often, I hop onto the platform, whatever it may be, and hit "Like" or the Love button or leave a comment.  I hate when someone's website doesn't let me comment - some of the ones I admire most are blocked to me for some strange reason.  If anyone knows why a blog wouldn't allow a comment even though you choose your profile and are signed in to it, please let me know how to fix it.  (Of course, maybe somebody doesn't LIKE my profuse praise...Nah! Can't be!)

Lately it seems I have spent more time soaking in what others have done than what I am doing myself.  I try to at least do one basic Square One: Purely Zentangle challenge on Facebook.  That keeps me grounded and makes me work with the foundations of this method.  It's restrictions provide a clear direction and really makes me think of how I can portray the featured tangle. 

This week the feature was Knightsbridge.  The most basic of tangles, it lends itself to DRAMA in your work.  So many people posted fantastic undulating, pulsating and exciting works in Facebook.  Wow!

For my entry (I only did one), I had been going through the materials distributed at the CZT seminar in Providence, and came across a tangle I have never used.  I don't thing I have ever even seen it used, but it is pretty cool.  It is Squill, and is pretty simple to draw.  It has a central motif and then has bands of Betweed-like lines filling in the rest of the square.  I have been inspired by some of the unusual shading techniques I've seen lately, and decided that the rows of squares could become rope-like things.  Here is what I did - a big woven and wrapped dumpling thingy!

This week the Diva challenge had a guest host, Jane Reiter.  She created a series of stacked tiles from a variety of cardstock and mat board with a Bijou tile as the centerpiece.  This is just the opposite of what Eni Oken has featured in her new project, "Creating 3D Art Tiles", in which she makes a shadow box effect.  I ordered her instructions, but never started the project.  When Jane offered up this challenge, my first thought was, "Oh, I'm ashamed of myself for not doing that 3D project yet", and my second thought was "This craftsy stuff really isn't me..."

However, isn't that what a challenge is about?  You step out of your comfort zone and try something that is new to you and that you may never have even thought about.  So, off I went in search of some papers to tangle.  I hauled out the paper cutter and made squares up to six inches from a variety of paper and cardboard, and centered a Bijou tile on top.

I stuck them together with temporary tape and drew a string over the whole stack.  Then I just tangled as if it were one big tile.  When I finished, I used some blobs of sticky wall putty to hold them together and separate the layers.  Then I let my own personal Bijou family member hold the result.

Here is another shot that maybe shows the layers a bit better.  I'm so glad I did this!

I got a call a couple weeks ago from a member of our over-55 community art club asking if I would like to have a piece displayed in the window.  They want to feature works by those of us who are resident class instructors.  My big bug is hanging in the local library for a couple months, so I figured I should get busy and do something that might generate some interest for Zentangle.

The online trend lately has been to use watercolor wash and tangle over it.  Then there are those oh-so-addictive gems!!  I didn't even have any watercolors, but I did have some gouache I bought to use with calligraphy (another thing I had all the intention in the world of really pursuing, but to which I have paid far too little attention to ever develop some expertise.  Next week...)  I pulled out a few sheets of watercolor paper and added some colors.  Some didn't look all that great, one looked more like a map in my seventh grade social studies book, and one just seemed to make me happy.  I chose that one.

Here is what I did.  I tangled on top of the gouache, which is a very new texture for me, and was a learning experience.  I added some gems with colored pencil and I shaded with graphite, which worked much better than I anticipated.  I thought I might need gray markers, but the pencil was really easy to use and I like the look. 

The first photo shows right after the initial line work.  The second one is completed and under glass.  I should have done a photograph of the final one separately, but I forgot, and now it is in the display window. 

Oh well.  I called it "Sunken Treasure". I feel like I see bits of jewelry, glass, exotic sea creatures, sand and pebbles, all swaying in the currents on the ocean floor. What fun!

So, Gentle Readers, that's it for this week.  Hope you all had a beautiful Easter or Passover celebration, if those are your traditions, and hope spring is in the air and in your  minds.  Renewal and rebirth are welcomed in every life.
Thank you for stopping by and know that I cherish all your thoughts and comments.


  1. Gorgeous pieces! I love your Diva stacks and what a great idea to string line the whole thing first. I'm inspired to have another go at this. Your ZIA is wonderful. I keep wanting to venture into larger works but that big empty page just gets the better of me.

  2. Like Michelle, I'm inspired to have another go at the Diva challenge using your idea. Your stack looks amazing. If you want to see some terrific examples of Squill, check out Shelly Beauchamp's blog and her eBook. She is also on the Zentangle Mosaic under her full name of Michelle Beauchamp.

  3. For someone who claims not to be "craftsy", the amount of time and effort you devoted to the stacked tile challenge by the guest Diva was worth it judging by the truly lovely and interesting result.

  4. For someone who claims not to be "craftsy", the amount of time and effort you devoted to the stacked tile challenge by the guest Diva was worth it judging by the truly lovely and interesting result.

  5. Wonderful Diva-tile! And the others are beatiful too!

  6. So beautiful tiles! And especially the Diva stack is very creative. I love it!

  7. Beautiful tiles. I love your "Sunken Treasure" and was wondering how the micron pens behave on gouache. Or did you avoid the microns? I am concerned they would clog so haven't tried.

  8. An interesting post that echoes a lot of my sentiments. Your Diva stack is awesome, how clever to tangle over it all and then lift and seperate - as the old bra advert used to say lol! Your watercolour framed artwork should certainly catch peoples eye.