Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I KNEW It Would Be Bijou! - Diva Challenge #232, TNTM #34 "P", and SQ1 Windfarm

So last week I was obsessed with Black Tiles, and after experimenting and practicing for a week on that, I feel much more proficient with them.  I'd say we have become friends!  At the end of that post I speculated that my next love would be Bijoux.  Surprise!  Guest blogger Holly Atwater provided three audio meditations designed for Bijou.  How fun!  Everything else came to a screeching halt while I plugged in and tangled.  My poor husband made several attempts to "contact" me, but even he, of the legendary patience, finally gave up.  Oh dear...

Being Literal Girl means I followed directions and did not stray into unauthorized creative territory for these three meditations. So here are my results - all nicely accomplished in straight-up orthodoxy. I could have jazzed them up some, but I think they are beautiful as a little series just unadorned.  Zentangle basics!

I also had done two other Bijoux earlier.  One is an exploration of Florz  (did we sweep some stuff under that rug?)  and the other is a "mistaken" attempt at Mambo, which Margaret Bremner brought to our attention in last week's challenge.  In typical Antonine fashion, I misread the stepout and curved the fill lines in the wrong direction.  I love what happened!    See how that works?


The other half of Holly's challenge was to use Betweed.   I had this great idea that was so relaxing and fun to draw.  The result, however, looked better in my head than in execution.  It looks like my patio furniture exploded. Oh well, maybe it needs to grow on me a bit.

Betweed on Renaissance Tile

For That's New To Me, the letter was "P".  Yay!  Lots of new tangles from which to choose!  I used fellow CZT 19 pal David Hunter's Pin Bawl, Ai Ling Hung's Pand and Christine Reyes' Pax. I truly enjoyed this one!  I did have a little "oops" moment there, but in the spirit of an Amish quilter, I view it as a mark of humility and leave it in. Plus, it is in the shade, so perhaps you won't see it, right?

The Square One: Purely Zentangle focus was Windfarm. This is the first week that the focus tangle was not one of the "official" Zentangle patterns.  I got on a roll with this fun tangle from Margaret Bremner and did three tiles. I even got a Facebook comment on one of them from that exceptional Tangler Ms. Bremner herself!  She is definitely one of my all-time ZHs (Zentangle Heroes)!
Is this one too much show and not enough blow?

This could be the Goldilocks "just right" version

Windfarm at top speed!

So folks, this has been a pretty productive week!  Great fun, and tangle on, everyone!

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


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Crossing Over To The Dark Side - with Diva Challenge #231 Undulating C's and S's, Square One Jonqal, and That's New To Me #33 "U"

"Cross over to the dark side", they said...I have become obsessed lately with black tiles, mainly because I really need to work on my techniques. I know, Zentangle is supposed to be relaxed and just "happen".  Sometimes that is true, but then there comes the urge to push past that limit.

When the Diva Challenge was announced by Sharla Hicks, I thought "Good.  All those lines work nicely on the black tiles."  I'm glad I didn't look at Sharla's links to her botanicals on black because I would have just hung it all up right then.  "Comparanoia", as one of my FB CZT friends puts it!

I plunged in on my own tiles and had some fun with highlighting and shading. I've been experimenting with a charcoal pencil as opposed to graphite because it has a matte finish. I like the look on the black tiles. It needs a judicious application, though, as it can get messy. I use a tortillion and really push it into the paper to stabilize it.  I use a Zenstone or chalk pencil to highlight or "raise up" some areas.

I did this black circle for the Diva challenge, and then just because I was having fun, I did a Renaissance tile version for good measure. I like that one even better.

Diva Challenge #231

Diva Challenge #231

That's New To Me #33 asked for tangles starting with "U", plus something from artist Jane Monk.  I chose (for my black tile, of course) Upholstery, Up N Down, Unruly, plus Jane's Fern and Raindotty. That's a lot of patterns for me, but here I think they work.

That's New To Me #33 - "U" and Jane Monk

A few days earlier, the Square One focus this week was Jonqal.  I love its bold angularity. This tile was done before the Diva challenge was published, and I find it interesting that the rest of the tile is all done with "C" strokes in Bunzo and Huggins.
Square One: Purely Zentangle - Focus Jonqal

Then I did another Bunzo on black with more C's in MI2.  Must be psychic, right?  Ha! One more thing about this last tile.  I'm using a technique I call "pool and pull" with the white ink. You let the ink slowly pool into a fat liquidy dot, then quickly pull the pen out.  Like exploding perfs.
I actually turned my Bunzo into the prickly pear cactus from my front yard!

Bunzo with pool and pull enhancement, MI2, Tortuga and Tipple
Well, that's enough for now.  Maybe it's time to relax on the black tile thing.  Hey, are those Bijou tiles stuck away in my Zentangle case?... I think I hear my ADD calling... time to jump on over to something else for a minute.  Can you relate?

Thank you for stopping by today.  I enjoy and cherish all your thoughts and comments.  Until next time...


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Diva Challenge #230 ZenDivaDala, TNTM #32 "A", SQ1 Strung Schway and more

Good morning dear friends!

Since I THINK all the vacation laundry is finished, and since we spent some happy time this weekend at Maggiano's restaurant celebrating my sister-in-law's birthday (WAY too much really yummy food, but worth every calorie... er, bite!), I am ready to settle down and get back to some sort of schedule.  Made the beds and spiffed up the bathrooms, rolled the trashcans out to the curb, had coffee, and after this post, I will spread out the yoga mat for some "Yoga Over 50".  My stuff never bends as far as that of  the 62-year-old instructor on the screen, but oh well...  After that, a little tangling, fix lunch, make a couple phone calls, computer (shopping?) time,  nap, fix dinner, a little TV and bed.  If that sounds boring to you, you haven't worked for enough years.  I love retirement!

I must say, internet shopping is my blessing and my curse, and since I retired, I spend far too much time surfing, to say nothing of how Paypal and Amazon OneClick make parting with my money so very easy! 

This week I purchased a variety of white and gold metallic pens.  A few weeks ago I got a big black paper sketchbook, so I've been having fun experimenting with how each pen works.  Some make fine lines, some are great for pooling into big fat dots, one even has a shiny finish to the ink when dry.  My sketchbooks are never anything like the beautiful journals that so many in our Zentangle community produce (see the latest news from Rick and Maria to find photos of her incredible journal!)  No, sadly, my book is a big scratch pad in which I just experiment and scribble whatever new tangle was posted online or whatever pops into my mind at the moment.  I often do some playing around with what can I connect to what and how would this tangle look in a circle or as a border.  Very therapeutic, though, and I do keep all of them handy for reference.  You understand, though, there is no structure, no order, no contents or dates in these books.  That's just not how I roll.  Hey, my underwear drawer and cabinets are all neatly organized - even plastic containers - that's enough!

This week, the Diva's guest blogger was Erin Olsen, of The Bright Owl fame.  She asked us to use her Zendala template for our entry.  I was itching to use those new pens, so I transferred the template on to a black Zendala tile.  I traced it on the back side with a white chalk pencil and then flipped it over and used an embossing tool to trace onto the black paper.  Worked like a charm!

Here is what I got.  At first, I was not warming up to all the circles, but in the end, I embraced them and had fun. I wish the gold showed up a bit better in the scan, but in "real life" it looks quite nice. I am also learning that shading with a graphite pencil on the black tiles is not exactly right.  This time I switched (mid stream, unfortunately) to a "charcoal" colored chalk pencil, and it was just right.  It works well with the texture of the black paper, and I'll file that technique away for future use!

For the That's New To Me #32 challenge, the random letter was "A", and the guest artist was Karry Heun.  I chose Arnia by Maureen Stott and Alien Crest by Gael Shepherd.  I used Karry's tangle Stitch.  This one took a bit of planning and sketchbook try-outs, but I am happy with the results. Does anyone else see sardines here?

Square One: Purely Zentangle focuses on Schway this week.  I don't often use that one because once you draw it, you have to figure out what to do with it.  If I put it in a tile with other tangles, I get stumped, so it rarely makes an appearance.  Here, I decided to see if it would work on a curve, getting progressively bigger.  Once I had it drawn , I just took it somewhere strange.  I did something similar with the tangle Whirlee a while back (November 2014), so I must have some fixation with things on a string.  I call this one "Strung Schway".

Finally, I just sat down with a Renaissance tile and played around a bit.  Somehow, these tiles with their soft colors make everything look a little better.

Thank you for stopping by today, and know that I cherish all your comments and insights!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vacation Fun, Diva Challenge #229 Negative Space, TNTM #31 "J" and SQ1 Focus Cirquital

Hello dear readers!

The last few weeks have taken my husband and me on a Western road trip in search of wine, food and new (cooler than Phoenix) vistas.  Our Midwestern upbringing provided us with journeys of the very flat-landed variety, and we wanted to experience some new sights in our West-of-the Mississippi territory.  We started in Phoenix and traveled up through California (saving our wine quest there for later this year), headed north to Oregon and Washington, swung around down through Idaho and Utah, then segued over to Las Vegas (oh yeah!), and then back home.  Nearly a month on the road left us happily exhausted and full of new insights about our country and its people.

Our California drive took us not along the coast, but through the vast agricultural swath of almond and walnut groves, up and down steep mountain road grades, and through the biggest pine forest clad scenery I have ever seen!  Bigfoot could happily live undetected up in "them thar hills"!

Oregon was somewhat familiar to us, as we visited the Dundee area several years ago, but this time we stopped in Salem.  Great wine with lower prices on Pinot than Willamette Valley (yes, we are having some shipped home when the weather is cool enough to make that safe), and such nice people! 
Washington was new to us, but was the primary target of our wine quest.  We stayed at the beautiful Willows Lodge in Woodinville and had some of the best food we have ever eaten at their on-site restaurant, the Barking Frog (don't ask - no idea...)  Their coconut curry mussels were killer, and they were kind enough to give me the recipe.  I have no illusions, however, that mine will exceed or even match what the chef prepared.  We went back a second night just to experience them again.  On the subject of negative space, how's this for some?  This is a hollowed out tree stump in front of the lodge entrance.  Cool!

After touring Chateau Ste. Michelle just next door, and sampling some of their best wines (yes, they have more than what you can buy at Safeway...), we headed over some more mountains to Walla Walla.  What a charming town!  They have row upon row of lovely little tasting rooms in their historic downtown area (all easily accessible for my hubby - nice!), and more excellent food at the Whitehouse Crawford restaurant. Yum!
We met numerous people who said they needed to escape the corporate urban melee (that would be Seattle with its legendary traffic), so they moved to Walla Walla and have never been happier with their gardens and laid-back lives.  Yes, folks, store that nugget of wisdom for future reference!
On to Boise, where I predicted our most exciting activity would be laundry.  Surprise, I got that done earlier, and we found some very interesting history in downtown Boise.  Want to learn about the Basque people and their contribution to our country?  Boise has the only Basque museum in the U.S., and it was fascinating. They come from Spain, but have their own, very unusual, language - full of X's and K's, play their own unique sports and were hired as shepherds, staying in unique Basque-established boarding houses throughout the Northwest.   Here I am in my beret, demonstrating how to drink wine like a Basque.
Utah was a one-night stopover, and since we are not hikers, we didn't learn much beyond the fact that Salt Lake City sits in a very beautiful valley, and St. George is very upscale and lovely.  It really is gorgeous around there!  So, next stop Vegas.  It was great, tasty, entertaining, and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, as they say...  We're going back just as soon as we can!
FINALLY - on to this week's Zentangle activity.
The Diva challenge was to utilize negative space.  I kind of created an alien pod just hanging in space, peeked at through a frame.
That's New To Me focused on "J", so I used Jumu from Judy Murphy (with some extra fruit under the leaves) and a version of J.J. by Joy Taylor.  I left out the intermediate sets of radiating lines and tried to make it look like cut glass.  I had fun with this!

Finally, the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus this week is Cirquital.  I have never used this before, and probably with good reason,  I struggled to make this play with others.  Finally, I was looking at a platter in a magazine and drew the first one, and the other one just happened - somehow.  I haven't even posted these to Facebook, but will do that today.

So, enough of this long winded post that will probably slow down your computer when you try to read it (sorry!!).  I missed you all while I was on my wonderful vacation, and am glad to be back in touch with my Zentangle cyber-community.  Thank you for stopping by today, and know that I truly appreciate all your comments and insights.