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.


  1. A very interesting post, thank you. I love the tangled room at the gallery too. Your Moebius tile is gorgeous and I have seen a pattern there that I'm unfamiliar with - can you name it for me please? It's on the far right right ribbon.

    1. Thank you! The pattern on the right is Tripoli. It can look amazingly different depending on the fill, right? One of my favorites.

  2. Loved hearing about your "field trip" and will think of it when I pull out my tiles. Thanks for a new fact. Love your tile! Pretty gems. I had my first try at these this week too! :)

  3. Great post! It's making me think a trip to the museum needs to happen sooner rather than later, not to mention the art store (again)! Speaking of which, I was inspired by you to treat myself to and old school calligraphy set. Your Moebius Syndrome piece is gorgeous!

  4. Like the gems in your logo. I have to get around to trying them.

  5. My goodness, what an interesting post. I can see those tangles in your photos and wow, we use the same paper as Michelangelo! Your logo is gemtastic, (and not gastric as my spell check wanted to change it to lol).

  6. Interesting to know that we use the same paper as a master. I, a former elementary school art teacher, loved seeing the children's doodles more than the Michelangelo LOL! I guess you can tell that from the kind of work I do. Joyful abandon is a style, isn't it? Your logo is beautifully done with the addition of the gorgeous gems!

  7. Interesting post, Antonine! I love that we use the same paper that Michelangelo did. Your logo is beautiful, and the gems look great.

  8. Thank you for sharing Michaelangelo's drawings. They are so moving. Nice composition for your Moebius tile with an interesting technique to use the purple in the interior.

  9. Thank you for sharing Michaelangelo's drawings. They are so moving. Nice composition for your Moebius tile with an interesting technique to use the purple in the interior.

  10. Wonderful post and fascinating information on your museum trip. I had no idea that was the paper that Michaelangelo used. I knew that Fabiano paper was a very old name in Italian paper, but now I will be in awe everytime I pull out some to use for my lowly tangles. Your Diva challenge is beautifully done and I love your gems inside your string. I really must try to actually attempt some of these wonderful gems....they are beautiful.