Thursday, September 25, 2014

#186: The Leaf Is the String

Our illustrious Diva, Laura Harms, has issued an autumn leaf challenge this week.  Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year.  I grew up in Chicago and also lived in Michigan for a number of years, where fall color is a tourist event! 

Laura posted a photo of bright yellow trees - so beautiful!  In Chicago, there was a nearby cemetery that was so beautiful in November at the tail end of the season just before winter stormed in.

October always featured brilliant blue skies as a contrast to the bright red leaves of the maples and oaks and the golden elm leaves (all gone because of Dutch Elm disease, sadly) But in November, skies are typically pale gray.  Not necessarily storm clouds.  Rain at that time is not the thunder booming summer kind, but that cold bleak drizzle that can go on for days. The red and gold leaves have dropped and been swept into piles and bagged.  The bonfires are over, Trick-Or-Treat candy is eaten (or tossed by the moms), and it is almost Advent time.  Have patience - I'm getting to the cemetery part. 

The planners of that property must have thought of just that time of year, and didn't want the view for our departed loved ones to be completely dreary.  Most of the trees there were leaf-bare by that time, but spaced out between those bare trees were bright yellow trees that kept those leaves until the very last minute.  Silhouetted against that pale gray sky, with the dark, drizzle-wet branches of the other trees as a foil, those beautifully oval shaped yellow tree forms were just spectacular.  It took my breath away with its beauty.  I hope my dad (he's there) gets to enjoy that view every November.

Now, however,  I live in the desert.  Not exactly out in the wild - in the greater Phoenix area.  Fall color here means the sage bushes display pretty purple flowers and it's almost cool enough (in the 90's) to plant some flowers in the outdoor irrigated patio pots.  Trees here don't turn color, don't shed their leaves, and what leaves they have are pretty tiny and not suitable to be traced for a tangle string. This presented an additional challenge to the challenge.  I could have just done some leafy patterns - there are plenty of those.  But I liked the string idea.

Enter the dollar store.  I found a pack of artificial leaves, which will look very pretty strewn around my Thanksgiving table down the road.  They were small enough to fit very nicely on the tile, and I think it worked.  I used a tan tile with Sakura sepia pen and Copic sepia pen (very different shades).  I did my shading with a reddish chalk pencil, and confined it to only around the leaf shapes.  So here is my response to the leaf challenge! Now I can look at everybody else's. 

Happy Autumn (I missed posting on the equinox, but close)!

Friday, September 19, 2014

# 185: I want to dance, dance, dance...but I can't dance!

Oh, I have rhythm all right!  In second grade rhythm band I always had to play the boring old block. I never got the stick with the ridges that made the whizzy sound. Never got those shaker things with the metal disks attached that made such a pleasant ding-a-ling. Never got the ultimate prize of that angelic sounding triangle. Antonine, you play the block.  I was mortified in my little group of seven-year-olds that I should always be assigned the clumsiest, least fun implement yet again.  Many years later, I realized I was the one second grader with nearly perfect rhythm!  I was charged with setting and maintaining the tempo for the whole noisy little band. Oh!

But dancing?  No ballet or tap lessons for this clumsy cow. The square dancing unit in gym class was supposed to be the fun one for the year. But as much as I loved the idea and the lively music, I just couldn't make my feet take me smoothly to the next partner swinging along. Allemande which way?  Uh-oh, too late. Try to catch up...ugh. Then there were the ballroom dancing instructions in seventh grade. The waltz. Should be smooth and fluid. Mine was always clump-two-three, clump-two-three.  Fox trot?  Say what now?  Those little footprint guides leave me completely mystified. There is no connection between those numbered, arrow sliding diagrams and my actual pedal appendages. Oh dear.

But DivaDance?  That should be pure pleasure for a challenge. Ya think?

And Phicops is a great tangle!  So why am I struggling with this one?  All week!   I tried first in my sketchbook to get some ideas, but I scribbled over several attempts.  I guess I could have looked at what others were doing for some inspiration, but my inner child was in charge.  Me do it myself!!  I did four tiles, and in each case, I started, started another one, came back to the first, tried to salvage it, finally just slogged through to get them finished.  Yep, it's fox trot and waltz again.  At any rate, here they are, in all their (not) glory.  Sometimes you win the challenge, and sometimes you are happy to just finish the course.  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Diva Challenge #184 - ING, and other good stuff

Three challenges

Diva Challenge #184 - ING

The dictionary description of "ing" says:
a suffix of nouns formed from verbs, expressing the action of the verb or its result, product,material, etc. 
 All I keep thinking about is Westley telling Count Rugen "We are men of action. Lies do not become us."  How is it that The Princess Bride provides an applicable sentiment for any discussion?  It's better than the Book of Proverbs!  Well, that is a discussion for another day.

"Ing" is an agent of change to action.  It changes whatever it is attached to.  It is a vehicle for countless nouns to be reborn as something new.

This was my first encounter with ING, and at first glance I was unimpressed.  Then I started playing with the surfaces created by the triangles, and things got interesting.  I found that, like the inspiration sculpture, there are surfaces and recesses created, and they are just wait-ING to be Tangled.  I really love the innie and outie aspects of ING. So patterns you use on the surfaces of ING can become something new. And there are optical effects created that make what you see change into something new as your eye travels over and into the pattern.   I will definitely use this one again.

Here is what I came up with for the Diva Challenge:
ING with Printemps, Quabog, and White and Black Pearls
NEXT UP:  Joey's Weekly Tangle Challenge #25 - Leaflet

I've never used this one before, but found it was quite fun to draw.  I added a little hatching in the center and on the edges for depth, and I like the effect.  I did a practice page in my sketchbook which is actually better than the tile, but I am stubborn and always like to submit a "real" Zentangle tile. 


ONE MORE:  Square One: Purely Zentangle - Using Quib

I'm usually not a ribbon-y tangler, but for these last two tiles, I seem to be in that mode. It's fun, and that's what I like about all these challenges.  They force you to do something new and different.
So, another week down, and I managed three challenges virtually stress-free.  I can do this!

Happy Tangling, everyone.

Friday, September 5, 2014

I Am The Diva Challenge #183 - UMT X-Did, Plus More Than I Can Chew

I'm pretty sure this is what you call biting off more than you can chew.  I, uh, think that's what I did this week.  Last week I was looking at a few other Zentangle blogs and websites with challenges, and I thought, why not expand my horizons and go for a couple more? 
  1. I found one called Made By Joey that has a weekly challenge.  I had missed the current one, but the one from the previous week, #22, was to tangle two of something.  In this case, it is permissible to answer older challenges, as there is no close date.  I liked this challenge when I found a particular string that fits the requirements - sort of...More about that one later. 
  2. Then I found a Facebook page called Square One: Purely Zentangle.  There was a suggestion to submit tiles using Auraknot.  I started that one immediately, as it is one of my favorites.  Now looking back at the Facebook page, I can't even find that particular challenge, so I don't know what the heck I was looking at - something from last year that nobody cares about now?? 
  3. Third one was to use five overlapping circles as the string.  I'm at the point now where I don't even know whose challenge that was or where to submit the results.  Do you start to see the extent of my obsession this week? 
  4.  Finally, there was the Diva's challenge, which was to use Annette Carlo's X-Did.  Such a cool pattern that LOOKS pretty straightforward.  You might think that...
I ended up with five tiles to answer the four challenges.  I'm posting them here and will try to find out how to get them submitted to the various challenge sites. (I've got the Diva process down pat now - I think)

Let's start with the Diva's weekly challenge, just because that's what most people will look for on this post.  I started with a tile using String 120, which I thought would be a good fit for the X-Did pattern.  I love the argyle look of it, and thought I had it figured out.  On my tile, however, it just didn't cooperate.  I made mistakes, although I chose to just keep going and see how it turned out.  Well, sorta meh...  Not easily dissuaded once I have that bone in my teeth, so to speak, I did another tile that leaves out the bands in between rows,  I think it worked better. I need more practice on this pattern, but it will be worth it. 

For the Made By Joey Challenge #22, it was two of something.  I found String 104, and my first thought was it's a two-piece suit!  (C'mon, you know it is! It even has a belly button!)  So that's what I tangled with Popsicles (modified for modesty - ahem!), Ragz, Crescent Moon and Pillows.

Square One: Purely Zentangle on Facebook was calling for Auraknot.  I got this one, coach!

Finally, for the mystery challenge of five overlapping circles (if anyone knows what that one is, please let me know so I can actually post)  I used Phicops, Hurakan, Petal Ribbon and Quabog.  The last circle just has some black stuff in it (hehe) Oh, and then I added my own little CO2 circles.
The moral of this story is to limit myself to maybe one extra challenge per week.  My brain is on overload, which is the opposite of what Zentangle usually does for me. I'm learning.

Happy Tangling, everyone!