Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Dips, Colors and Cartouche

Gentle Readers,

I come today with a slightly different focus and some steps closer to my ideal of what I want to present in terms of Zentangle and calligraphy.  I also have a better relationship with the journal I received in my initial Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) class.  Took me a while! Do you mull over ideas for artwork in your head to the point where you can't sleep, but then never make anything?  Do you to a million little test runs but never actually take it on the road, so to speak?  Do you have white page panic? That's me.  It's like I keep thinking about diving into that pool, but I would need to be pushed to actually get my feet to leave solid ground.

I have been practicing my script lettering and have determined some things I like.  This is thanks to the online encouragement of Lindsey Bugbee at The Postman's knock. Her tips and the beauty and gracefulness of her work are so inspirational. I find I enjoy using walnut ink, which gives that beautiful antique coloring to my work, but also allows for very fine lines, which just plain make me happy.  I know there will be times I want a true black with waterfast qualities, but I haven't gotten to the stage where I am actually MAKING art with my lettering, just playin' for now, thanks.  No thanks, I'm just looking... :-) For that super black look, I have found I love the feel and look of Ziller Soot Black.  So de-e-e-e-e-p.  Perhaps I should start lettering envelopes for Christmas.  Only 238 days to go.

The best part is I have found my true love in a nib.  While G style nibs (Nikko, Zebra and Tachikawa) are great for many purposes, I love, love, love my Leonard Principle EF nibs.  Just the right amount of flexibility and lovely thin and thick line variation.  They make even my clumsy beginner stuff look great.

My next challenge is to make friends with actually planning and measuring a project.  Ya think? I know, that's WORK (a four letter word when you are lazy and retired).

My second goal is to incorporate subtle color.  I have been playing with all kinds of watercolor and gouache, tubes, pans, metallic, water-based markers, colored inks, etc.  Imagine my surprise to realize that some of the most talented Tanglers (Zen Linea, you are foremost) add color with watercolor pencils and a water brush pen.  How easy is that?  I have been able to work well so far with single colors, but I still need to find that  sweet spot for blending the colors.  How much color to apply, how much water, is there an intermediate blending step of some sort?  I must persevere...

Now the plan begins to take shape.  I purchased the Zentangle Project Pack #5: Cartouche.  Oh, so right up my alley!  I have plans to make more of the actual finished frameable product, but I am starting slowly.  I did a tiny key on a 3Z Renaissance tile, and I think it turned out really well.  Pretty cute if I do say so.  I have a ton more vintage keys that have been waiting patiently in their storage cache to be put to some view-worthy use.  Soon, soon...

What this pack did bring me to was to dive into those lovely ivory journal pages with renewed vigor and quite a lot less white page panic.

A couple months ago I started some pages dealing with embedded and illuminated letters, and the incredible pattern Icantoo by Hanny Nura, CZT.  I'm in love with it, and I can't stop drawing it everywhere.  Here I filled a double journal page with it, and even added a little color with the pencils.

I also revisited an old tile from my earliest tangling days and used it in Tranzending. The huge curvy shape contrasts with the tight and tiny patterns on the tile, and I'm really pleased with it.

I kind of feel I'm Tranzending in my Zentangle journey.  Where I used to try every new tangle and worked on drawing them very precisely, now I gravitate to a few Tangles I really find comfort in and enjoy playing with different versions.  I hope I have learned some things from other tanglers, specifically Eni Oken, Lynn Meade, Margaret Bremner and Zen Linea. They are all fabulous and inspirational. I've been tangling since about 2012, and I still find it fresh and new.  I love that those I see as masters - even Rick Roberts, Maria Thomas and Molly Hollibaugh - are still evolving in their expressions of Zentangle, adding new techniques and tools that give beautiful results.  I hope my journey is just beginning!

For now, Namaste.


Monday, November 5, 2018

SUUUUUCCCHHHH a long time!

It's been a long time since I posted anything, but I wanted to make a quick post to add a Tangle I've been working on.


I love border, or ribbon tangles, and this one seems to flow easily and works well with other tangles. Here in my example, I paired it with a combination of Dewd (official Zentangle) and Hanny Waldburger's beautiful Icantoo.  (would that be Icandewd? Dewdcantoo?) and also Kuazeela from Eni Oken.

The name of the tangle is a bit of a story.  I went to the dentist, and he thought I might be grinding my teeth (ewww..) at night.  I realized, though, it isn't at night.  I do it all day long.  Music runs through my head all the time, especially when I am working on something.  It could be Sousa marches, the Calypso song from Beetlejuice or the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves - whatever shows up in my head at the time.  Rather than hum the tunes, I just grind out the rhythm silently.  

Whenever I drew this tangle, I realized I was working through that old playground song "One, Two, Three, O'Leary" as I made the strokes. Bouncing the ball, it is one, two, bounces and the third bounce you swing your leg up and over the ball.  Here, do the first two S curves, and the third S curve continues down and around to the spiral.  

Sometimes I vary the number of S curves, as I did here, or vary the shape of the spiral into a Printemps-like spiral or open it out into more of a Mooka type end and then add some auras or echo lines there.  There is a good potential for variations, I think. 

Hope you like it!


In the long time since I've visited this blog, I've been working on bunches of stuff, but not the same challenges I was doing in the past.  While I still do some Zentangle every day, on an official tile, in a sketchbook, or on the back of an envelope, I still follow all my favorite tanglers and rejoice with every new group of CZTs.  With the holidays coming, I know there will be the annual Zentangle 12 days of Christmas, which I usually only manage to complete two or three.  This year, my rotating holiday dinner will be Thanksgiving, so maybe I can settle down to do a few more.  I have been following Eni Oken's Art Club, and have had lots of fun working on her imaginative ZIA applications.

I had a little hiccup last year when I underwent cataract surgery in both eyes, and required a few additional procedures.  My eyesight is now pretty good...BUT... where I previously was extremely nearsighted, now I am extremely farsighted.  My brain is having a hard time adjusting, and I still don't have a good pair of glasses for detail work.  I have ordered some, but they are not in yet - with luck, next week.  

Additionally, I am suffering from brain scatter with a new focus on calligraphy that is new to me - both brush and pointed pen, and watercolor.  My plan is to combine the three to make lots of wonderful cards and frameable quotes, etc.  That's the plan, anyway...  Then, there is the pressure now to do a Christmas card with my newfound skills. 

I have spent mucho dinero on supplies for both and have done some online classes, all of which have been fun, but I still feel disoriented.  Probably because my brain can't handle all these separate things at once. 

So to cap that all off, I registered for a two day class on painting portraits in OILS!  I have done portraits in acrylic, but I have never worked in oils, so I am scrambling to do some prep work before the class, like mix up some paints and get a feel for the brushes, various fluids, caring for the canvas between sessions, etc.  More supplies.  Amazon just loves me.  Indeed!


My husband and I have a very full SOCIAL SCHEDULE (yay, but oh boy!) over the next two months.  Next week my husband will be accompanying me to his very first opera!  It is a relatively short modern production and will be jazz themed, which he likes very well.  Maybe next I can get him to one of the oldies but goodies, like a Mozart or Puccini production.  Maybe.  

Yesterday we attended a fabulous wine and food festival in Phoenix and had the pleasure of meeting Chef Marcus Samuelsson.  What a sweet and gracious man!  This event was a highlight for us, and we plan to do it again next year.  

So, that's all I have to report for now.  Maybe no one will read this, but like any journal, I write for myself as much as for others.


As we enter this holiday season, let us all remember we are brothers under Heaven.  Peace and good will must be the hallmark of the day, and let us rejoice with possibilities as we enter the new year.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  First, Americans, get out and vote tomorrow!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Diva Challenge #275 - Give Peace a Chance

Welcome, Gentle Readers,

There are places on earth with higher violent death by gun rates than the United States: Swaziland, Iraq, much of Central America and Mexico. Of about 35 developed countries around the world that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks 3rd in gun violence related deaths, with Chile and Mexico topping its numbers, and Israel close behind.  Japan is VERY low, due to its very tough gun control laws.  Additionally, Japan's overall violent death rate by any cause is very low compared to the U.S.  Also low are a number of countries in Western Europe that are classified as social democracies.  I'll not comment on that - you Dear Readers can draw your own conclusions.

The OECD published statistics about a number of societal factors in their member countries.  These included crime rates, perceptions of government corruption, and various economic factors.  The gun violence rate was highest, in order, in Chile, Mexico, United States and Israel.  Interestingly - and a sad commentary - is that economic inequality is also highest in those same four member countries.  They rank, in order, as Chile, Mexico, Israel and the United States.  What does that say about a possible cause and effect?  Perhaps when people feel economically powerless and they have access to guns, they start shooting.  I think it is not only that they lack money, because there are many places where people live with much less money and possessions.  The connecting factor may have something to do with seeing a few people at the top of the heap with such unimaginable riches and then realizing that you will never have a life like theirs.  Or perhaps, in a more sinister scenario, those at the top want to make sure those at the bottom have all the access to guns they want - "let them kill each other".  That distracts the public from what the top tier are up to.  "What a world, what a world..." 

As we approach the Republican and Democratic conventions this month, we cannot help but remember the events of 1968.  Racial inequality was a major issue then, just as it is today.  Black lives DO matter - as do Blue lives.  When we see videos of police appearing to shoot black people seemingly without cause, we are shocked and appalled.  But when we understand how frightening a confrontation with an armed suspect is for a police officer, we can see the situation in another way.  Police brutality against blacks and other minorities is unacceptable, but so is deliberate targeting of white officers by blacks in retaliation.  I don't understand those who believe the shooter of those officers was some kind of hero.  I don't understand rejoicing when a black person is acquitted even though the evidence that he committed a brutal crime is overwhelming.  But then, I'm not black, so I cannot see through someone else's eyes.  Of course, many people of all races don't understand how people can be pleased when a white person gets away with all kinds of corrupt behavior.  But I'm from Chicago, and old enough to remember the race riots right in my grandparents' neighborhood and at the Democratic convention in 1968.  Because black people wanted to buy a home "west of Ashland Avenue", because police brutality was rampant, because the government had no solutions. 

This year, the Democratic Convention is to be held in Philadelphia, "The City of Brotherly Love", which also experienced riots in 1968.  Our weekly guest Diva Challenge host is Suzanne Fluhr, a tangler and blogger (of a certain age) from Philadelphia.  She has been moved to offer us a challenge to Give Peace a Chance.  She references John Lennon, who composed the song by that name, and then was himself gunned down.  So much sadness.  Suzanne has asked us to reference that theme of peace in  our entries.  I have chosen to follow Suzanne's lead and use tangles that begin with the letters P.E.A.C.E.  I used my own tangle, Paris, a reference to the horrendous terrorist attack that occurred there. I used Eye-Wa, which has such strong black/white contrast. I used Suzanne's tangle, Aloha.  Wikipedia states "Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy." That seems very relevant to me.  I used Cruffle because of its yin-yang design, reminding us that every force has its opposite.  Finally, I used Eddyper because somehow it reminds me of peace lilies.  I chose not to soften the design with shading, but rather to leave the black and white to speak for themselves.  This tile is a personal reminder to me that we must not ignore violence and hatred, but must work TOGETHER to make all our lives matter.


I have done a few other tangle works over the past couple weeks.  Part of why I have not been so active on the boards and challenges is that I have been playing around with calligraphy and dipping my toe into journaling with fountain pen and water color.  Getting the right pens, ink, etc., and facing that blank page with fear of "messing up" is a challenge in itself.  Maybe sometime I will post some of those efforts here, but for now, it's for my eyes only.  Additionally, my dearest and I have been dealing with some medical issues.  We have, thankfully, been able to rule out life threatening circumstances, and now are left with "inconvenient" realities.  We age, life changes, and we treasure each day together.

Here is what I have managed to complete in my Zentangle journey.

Eni Oken's Quandu, paired with Rixty.  Doesn't Quandu look like its cousin, Quib?

Watercolor wash laid on the tile first, then ink and graphite

Another watercolor wash with added splatters
So, Dear Readers, that is all I have for now.  Pray for peace.  Love each other and open your mind to the way your neighbor, co-worker, boss or employee sees the world.  Each of us stands in our place with the entire world beneath us and the entire universe above.  But each of us has a different reference point to the earth and the universe.  Let us always remember and respect that.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"NMeshed - A New Tangle; Sip and Tangle Party, Shading Zentangle Groovy, and Diva Challenge #272

Welcome Gentle Readers,

After a coupla-three weeks off, I am back with more things to share with you. 

First, I have been working on a new tangle, and I thought it was time to share.  I very much love 'NZepple and the relaxing process of drawing it.  I also really love tangles drawn in the Ogee grid.  One of my formerly released tangles is Fichy, which uses that grid.  It seems inspiration comes from all directions for new tangles, and this one took a round-about route.

On June 10, Ragged Ray posted a WONDERFUL tile for a C-Wing focus.  I commented that it reminded me of those stretchy party d├ęcor streamer thingies that I have always loved.

C-Wing by Ragged Ray
Then I started thinking about those mesh bags you get with some delicate kinds of produce.  Whenever I get those, I have this little regret about throwing them out because they are just so nice, and fun to play with too!   (I lead a dull life, OK?) 
Right about this time, Facebook challenges started popping up that used the Ogee grid or I managed to tuck the focus tangle into that grid.  Here is a little scrap paper play with Rundl.  I drew shapes into some of the grid openings a la 'NZepple, and thought, "Hey, this might be a new tangle!!"
I started this tile a few days ago, but somehow it got set aside and I never finished the shading I wanted to do.  Now I can't find it.  Oh well, it will turn up.


I saw another Facebook focus using the pattern Groovy.  That one starts with the Ogee grid, so I just combined my new baby with the Groovy for this tile.

So, without further ado, here is my new tangle 'NMESHED.  Once you get the hang of the Ogee grid (takes a bit of practice), the rest is easy.  Just trace the spaces as you would for "NZepple and have fun playing with the shapes.  I'm kind of stuck on the wrapped in string look since it reminds me of those delicious Italian cheeses that hang in the shops.  Mmmm... see, I told you EVERYTHING reminds me of food.

Remember back when we had our big "DO"  party with all the wine?  I posted a photo of some tiles I prepared for a Sip and Tangle party with a wine glass dipped in Cabernet and swiped with Moscato.  A friend hosted a birthday party for her friend Ellie and we used those prepared tiles.  I also made up some cardstock templates of 2" paper cubes and taught several tangles and had them tangle each side with one (or two).  Here is what my girlies (all beginners!) did with them. Aren't they fabulous?  I think they had fun!

Birthday girl Ellie in the center with our host Donna next to her


Finally, here is my response to the latest Diva challenge.  I love this one - the BWR color scheme is one I have in my home (actually cream and black and red...) and it just seems comfortable to me.  Here is what I came up with:


So, Gentle Readers, that is all I have for now.  The summer travel season is here, so our efforts to escape the heat may mean I won't manage a post every week (what's new, lately??)  I will definitely have my Zentangle tools with me and maybe even have the strength to document our getaways.  I really want to pursue a journal habit, but so far the blank page of a permanent book is more intimidating than a little square tile.  We'll see!

Thank you for stopping by today and know that I cherish all your thoughts and comments. 


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Diva Challenge #268 Bit-O-Black - and SQ1 Fugu - with SKYE and a Story, and Yew-Dee Shading

Gentle Readers,

This week I will be brief!  I have a party coming up, and if you want to know what kind, witness the fruits of our quick wine run! :-)

Also, I spent the morning cooking up the custard for Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing brown sugar ice cream.  Last time I made it, people were practically licking out the container.  So good!  I have shopping, patio and lawn furniture washing and cooking left to do before Saturday afternoon, so not a lot of time for tangling. 

The latest buzz on the Zentangle boards is Margaret Bremner's new tangle SKYE.  It is not the easiest to draw - requires focus!  But every Bremner tangle involves strong blacks, so perfect for this week.  Also, I was getting it ready for Eni Oken's Shading Zentangle FB page when I saw the Diva Challenge.


OK, here is the STORY/CONFESSION time for this tile...  I was working on adding Fugu to the SKYE pattern I had drawn.  Fugu is the feature tangle for the SQ1 FB page.  I had practiced SKYE enough that I could put it on a "real" tile, and then was adding Fugu around and underneath it.  Oddly, it has quite a bit in common - shapewise - with Margaret Bremner's other recent tangle, Pixioze, so I thought it would work well.  Ah, relaxing Zentangle...until I fall asleep and the pen shoots across the tile leaving a very big "opportunity".  CONFESSION:  I decided, fie on the rules, it is my tile and I will just fix that little slip with a white gel pen just like Whiteout back in the old typewriter days!  So I did, and was reasonably satisfied with that.  I continued to work on the tile, and then realized, "hey, it's Monday!  Diva Challenge!" I had just been thinking that my tile needed some bold black and maybe the structure of a border treatment. 

Serendipity!  I decided the side of my tile would look great with a black fill.  I also decided my penance for disregarding the "no mistakes" rule was to add the black side-shot line back in and proceed from that point.  I didn't even finish filling in the Fugu shape as I had started.  This is my Amish Quilt mistake moment. 

So, here is my Bit-O-Black "opportunity"!

Last week the Shading Zentangle focus was Yew-Dee.  I gazed admiringly at what others were posting on Facebook, but just couldn't get my groove, as it were.  Finally, I was fooling around in the sketchbook and hit on something I liked.  I had fun shading both the individual elements and the bigger form.

So, Dear Readers, that is it for this week.  Thank you for stopping by and know that I cherish all your thoughts and comments.  If I am not completely undone by the festivities this weekend ;-), I will report back next week...


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Diva Challenge #276 Duotangle (really #267, but more about that...), SQ1 Batumber-Hollyhock and A Bit of Color

Welcome Gentle Readers,

I got my Diva Challenge tile finished on Monday, but have been fooling around all week trying to complete a couple other focus challenges.  Bust...  When the inspiration dries up and you have other things going on (good stuff, really!), you end the week with not much to show. 

Just a bit of local color to start:

This is what you get when you throw in a $1.59 pack of seeds into a pot.

Marigolds started from seeds from last year's blooms

Aloe, Vinca and Hibiscus are all happy in this moderate weather.  We'll see what survives the coming inferno.

Speaking of color:

I have an upcoming "Sip and Tangle" type party at a friend's home, and thought I would pre-string some tiles for the guests.  Cabernet takes center stage, but I used a bit of Moscato to add an "optional" additional line.  I'm anxious to see how these turn out!

DIVA CHALLENGE #276 (I say it is #267 since last week was #266, but who am I?) DUOTANGLE POKEROOT AND DRUPE

I have been fooling around with my watercolors and managed to come up with this.  I am pleased, and now motivated to look into a watercolor class.  I have avoided them because I'm not a landscape girl, but maybe...


I had just been playing around with the newly published Hollyhock by Jason Lau when the focus on Square One came up with Batumber.  I think they must be related!

More stuff...


I saw the tangle Fluxogee by Hanny Waldburger, and gave it a try.  I wouldn't say this is totally perfected - the shading could be better - but I had fun, so here it is, folks!

So, Dear Readers, that's it for this week - late again, but mostly because I was procrastinating. Thank you for stopping by and know that I cherish all your thoughts and comments.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Diva Challenge #266 Crux, Kaleidoscopic Color, 14 Shades of Gray and Ellish...or Allish?

Gentle Readers,

I appreciate your patience in waiting for my post - it seems I'm moving ever farther past Thursday to now...Saturday!  I guess I get so involved with the tangling that I don't stop to record and organize.  I must admit, that is one of my lifelong challenges.  I used to HATE when the powers-that-be at work asked us to keep track of everything we do.  That takes way longer than the doing!  Thank goodness those days are gone.

Before I forget, Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful, loving, supportive, challenged, overwhelmed, affectionate but frazzled, totally human (and even the non-human!) mothers out there!  May all your progeny shower you with every accolade on your special day.  My own mother departed so very many years ago, just four days after her 30th birthday, and I never had the opportunity to share a Mother's Day with her.  I still love you, Mommy!

On to this week's "Zentanglish" musings:


Last week I promised to work in some color.  I have been playing around with new watercolors and trying out various papers, stretching techniques, brushes, washes, etc.  This is all new to me - I haven't really used watercolor since I painted them into my childhood coloring book pages.  So much to learn!  When I started working with the featured tangle Crux, I thought from the start that it cried out for color.  Somehow the crystalline forms reminded me of what I saw peering through the opening of those little Kaleidoscopes I loved as a child.

I applied the color sparingly in this case, but added lots of black to simulate that feeling of the dark hole in the tube with the colored light shining through. 


On the other end of the color spectrum, I received my 14 Shades of Gray kit from the supremely talented Sonya Yencer and Jenny Peruzzi.  This kit describes a method of taking your featured tangle from black and white to a misty gray on your tile.  It is such a lovely transition and way to soften the look of a bold tangle.  I have lots more to learn through practice and inspiration from other 14-Shaders, but here are my two contributions to the mix.




I tried the new official tangle Ellish, but it kept going its own way, turning into an "A".  One of the FB group commenters said "I love your Allish!", so that is what I will call it.

Allish on a Ring

Allish with Ruutz

So, Dear Readers, thank you for stopping by today.  Have a beautiful Mother's Day weekend and enjoy your families.  Know that I cherish all your thoughts and comments and would love to hear from you.