Thursday, January 21, 2016

Diva Challenge #251 and a Big, Big Throwback

Gentle Readers,

Yesterday I was privileged to visit the Phoenix Art Museum where they have on display 26 of Michelangelo's drawings - they refer to them as "sacred and profane", as some have to do with religious themes and others with mythology, architecture and even weaponry.  What a thrill to be nose to nose with Michelangelo! 

We learned that he worked with black ink made from what is called oak gall, and that it has faded to brown over time.  Also he used black and reddish charcoal for shading and white chalk for highlighting.  (hello Renaissance tiles) In the drawing below, you can faintly see that originally Mary's face was looking down towards her child, but he changed the image to show her gazing away as if pondering the future. 

A Madonna and Child Image
Study for Leda and the Swan - the model was male, as were all artists' models then
 (The final painting was stolen so the only way we know what it)looked like is from a recreation of it by Rubens, I believe.

Study for a Pieta

Plans for a library of sacred texts

Battlement Plans - so effective, the enemy gave up and went home without fighting!
So here's the Throwback part...guess what paper Michelangelo used (when it wasn't the back of an envelope or some other scrap)?  You got it - it was Fabriano paper!  The tour guide said you could even see their watermark on some of the sketches but I couldn't make that out.  I did think it was interesting that the first drawing shown here was done with two pieces of paper glued together in the middle.  So, fellow Tanglers, every time you pick up one of your exquisite Zentangle tiles made from the Fabriano Tiepolo stock, think about Michelangelo using paper from the same source.  That just makes me tremble a little bit!

At the museum, we had lunch in a little room with very interesting walls, fellow tanglers.  It appears to me as if the large round orbs were done by an artist, and then a group of children were given black markers and set free to add their own work.  I can tell that some of these young artists were very familiar with Zentangle, since familiar patterns pop up here and there.  Check out the Paradox in the right side of this first photo and the Printemps ice cream cone in the third one. This was so fun!

It's that time again, when we create Zentangle images and Zentangle Inspired Art to highlight awareness of the syndrome with which Laura Harm's son was born.  Laura has been a tireless advocate of research and treatment for this syndrome, and we honor her efforts this week.  Last year, I made a rare foray into the land of color when I used a purple wash to highlight my design.  This year - well, it's a whole new world of color out there!  We have gems, and I'm totally hooked!  I can do this!  So here is my entry for the challenge this week. I used a Renaissance tile (hello, Michelangelo!) with black ink, white chalk pencil and colored pencil for the gems.

So, Gentle Readers, that is all I have for this week.  I have been working on a larger project, which I will unveil in good time.  I have been following what our friends on Facebook and on the Mosaic app are doing, and it is all inspiring.  I have no special throwback challenge for you, but hope that you will reflect on the artistry of those who have gone before and who have depicted the world in ways that for us seem obvious, but for them were revolutionary.  Make your own artistic revolution!
Thank you for stopping by, and know that I cherish all your visits and your comments.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Diva Challenge #250 - Back to the Old School - Hey, It's a Throwback! , and SQ1 Henna Drum

Hello Gentle Readers,

Now that the holiday frenzy is over and we are past the sumptuous feasts with all manner of delicacies, champagne, cocktails to delight any number of your senses, it is time to settle down and begin again.  Put on the pot of soup bones, chop up those old standby carrots, onions and celery and prepare for another kind of pleasure - the Old School kind!

When the house fills with the aroma of soup simmering on the back burner, you may do as I do and put the other kettle on for a lovely cup of tea.  As confirmed coffee lover,  I nevertheless adore the fragrance of Earl Gray or some of the spiced and orange infused herbal varieties.  These piping hot sippers take me to a place of contentment and peace.

So it is with Zentangle.  We rightly enjoy taking our practice of this beautiful art form in as many directions as our imagination will stretch.  Color washes, 3D fold-up ornaments, vivid gems and luscious marker-colored masterpieces.  But this week, we are brought back to our original story of simplicity.  We focus on a small square of beautiful paper, set our boundaries with a pencil, and begin our journey with a fine line of black ink.  We finish with some magic tricks with the pencil, and after a rather short time, we have a tiny masterpiece on which to reflect.  We feel satisfaction and pleasure in our accomplishment, though only a small work.


I feel like our Diva keyed in on our Throwback idea this week!  So, guess what?  I will use this as my throwback theme and not bother with recreating the wheel!  I started the first tile with original tangles and the original four corners, border and string.  This is not a masterpiece, but a pleasurable process and outcome.  I included Peanuckle, which has provoked all kinds of "ugh, I don't like this one..." reactions on the various Facebook and online groups.  I must disagree - it was one of my first loves!  I think it is fun to draw and is such a surprise when you move from initial construction to the finished pattern.  Our old friends Mooka, Tipple, Fescu, Cadent and Huggins join the party.

The second one uses Margaret Bremner's rope string (my humble version of it, anyway).  Again, I used original tangles, but the wonderful wrap of the string makes it look unusual.  I had fun with this one.  I used Enyshou, Vega, Punzel, Shattuck, and Jonqual. 
The focus this week was Henna Drum, which is one I rarely use.  I don't seem to connect well with the organic, flowy garden patterns.  (I don't do well with real gardens, either...)  I had some vague idea in mind using Mooka, but I didn't envision the way this turned out.  Somehow, these are like lady creatures bowing and curtseying to each other in some alien minuet.  I kind of like it!
So, Gentle Readers, this is all I have for this week.  Simple, straightforward, no stress.  Just what I needed!  I hope you are all finding rest, refreshment and new purpose in this new year.  Thank you for stopping by and know that I cherish your reflections and your comments.
If you would like to share your throwback - of any Zentangle kind - click on the Mr. Linky below and attach your link.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

A New Year - Plus Diva Challenge #249, Gemstruck, Molygon and Real Throwback Moment (#8)

Many Blessings of the New Year to my Gentle Readers!

We start with Trumpits heralding the news for the Square One focus.  I did this in a tan sketchbook and used two different gold pens with black and white ink. I love how the dew drop/bubbles look on this paper.
And then I pulled out an old black tile with something on the other side and just had fun with the gold pen.  Why not?

Our holiday decorations and celebrations took on a new minimalist look this year.  No ebullient bows and boughs, no garland sparkling (and shedding) all over the house.  No, we did a woodland look evoking those clear crisp nights after the leaves have fallen and all is quiet and peaceful.  My husband especially really enjoyed this sort of Scandinavian look - it's the Swedish half of him, I think!   Our table was set with ticking stripe linens and a rather austere Santa to preside over the feast. (and it WAS a feast!)  I realized after I snapped the photo that I forgot to put the wine glasses on the table for the picture - sacrilege!! My challenge was to prepare everything gluten free to meet the needs of a beloved guest, and I must say it was all fabulous (polishing my nails on my lapel...).  Our starter was a special cocktail made with Vodka, Maraschino liquor, Lilet, fresh Meyer lemon juice from our own tree,  and champagne.  So festive!  We dined on Cornish hens stuffed with rice, a mushroom and winter squash lasagna  (remember that weirdo gnarly squash I featured a few weeks ago?  I froze the roasted flesh just for this dish) made with a hand made gluten free pasta and a silky B├ęchamel sauce, peas with prosciutto and a pear and hazelnut tart for dessert. Good thing we only do that once a year or I'd look like that guy in Big Trouble in Little China!

I was washing my trusty circa 1973 saucepan when I realized the little nicks all over the bottom were from my baby Alison (now age 39) sitting on the kitchen floor banging out a tune on it with a spoon. That was a throwback moment - maybe a couple of tears to go with it! Love you, Alison!

Which brings me to the Throwback part of this post!  Here is a quick sketchbook version of Pots and Pans to commemorate my sweet memory.  Check out the link at the bottom of this post to add your own throwback!

For this week's Diva challenge, we were to combine Diva Dance and Auraknot.  (Some are calling these "Lauraknots", which is apt, I'm sure!)  I just can't quit these gems, so here is mine.


Speaking of gems, I have been practicing on some scraps of papyrus for a larger ZIA I'm working on.  The first one I like, and the second one was great until I tried to put in a "soft focus" background with gray markers.  Scratch that idea, but the gems are good.  I utilized the brand new Molygon for some of the bezel settings for the gems.  Then I did a bug.  Stay tuned for the bugs on papyrus. Having way too much fun here...



Finally, I tried out the latest and greatest, Molygon, which is a lot of fun!  Here I have flying spearmint and what was meant to be a Zenith-like thing that looks more like angry birds!

So, Gentle Readers, I wish you all the best as we begin the journey that is 2016.  May it be happy, healthy and prosperous for all of you, and may all your tangles be infused with the very best Zen!