Thursday, March 10, 2016

Diva Challenge #258 Rautyflex, SQ1 Yuma and Zonked, Zentangle Primer, and Spring has come to the Valley!

Gentle Readers,

I am reminded this week that good things do take some time.  We must begin with a good foundation, provide some nurture and have patience.  Just when you think things are stuck at a certain level, you can get a surprise. 

Five years ago we moved to the Phoenix area after living our lives in the Midwest climate of the Chicago area.  We knew there that if you plant bulbs in the fall, you get tulips in the spring.  If you sow grass seed or lay sod, your lawn will be green and lush by May (barring any nasty surprises like grubs, etc.)  The leaves on your maple tree are green all summer, turn red in the fall, drop in winter and reappear in the spring.   All these things work on an annual cycle, and you can pretty much count on that.

Here in this desert climate, nature works a bit differently.  You plant something and then, with reliable irrigation systems, you hope it takes hold.  Sometimes it does, sometimes you get a withered stump of whatever it was no matter how nicely you talk to it, pamper it or pray over it!  Sometimes the rabbits get your lovely baby shrub and decimate it in one night.  Once in a while, it can even be a Javelina who chomps away at your fresh little yucca that you bought because it was rabbit-proof.  A big fat one - likely over 70 pounds - was casually strolling through our back yard two days ago!  He looked pretty much like this but maybe a bit more burley.  Yikes!  I would have taken my own photo, but hubby wouldn't let me open the back door.  Spoil sport!

If your beloved plant does take hold, it can look the same for years before anything exciting happens.
Our little Mexican lime tree FINALLY seems to be filling in and is blooming like nobody's business.  After five years, perhaps we will get more than the handful of pitiful looking, olive sized limes we have had so far.  Our olive tree and pigmy date palm (non fruit bearing per municipal regulations!) are lush and full.  Our cacti are expanding nicely and have produced a few blossoms from time to time.  Yay!

Today, however, I got such a surprise!  These things pop up overnight like some fairy-tale beanstalk.  Our blue yucca is blooming!  Big time!  When I see things like this, I feel like I am on some other planet.  This is no petunia, folks!  It's HUGE!

The first Hibiscus blossom of the season has made an appearance.

Our bougainvillea, which was looking decidedly peaked over the winter has surged back in full, living color.

So, spring has sprung in the Valley.  We must enjoy now, as soon it will be blast furnace time!

I received my new Zentangle Primer yesterday, and was reminded again, through the gentle guidance from Rick and Maria, that we must learn to slow down, to not compare our progress to that of others, to be patient and just see what happens.  "Start at the very beginning - a very good place to start..."  Surprises in Zentangle happen all the time!  You look back at what you did a year ago, and find that your line work is much more steady.  You realize that instead of just filling in the spaces of your string with separate tangles, you now can connect and morph your tangles, or maybe you finally understand how to finish off  the edges without them just ending unceremoniously at your pencil border.  You fill one tangle with another one or combine variations to add interest to your design.  You try a few tricks, such as tracing one tile on top of another to make your string, or draw a little "slit" in the tile and tuck your tangle into it.  In this new book, Rick and Maria introduce the concept of Reticula and Fragment.  They call the grid form, whether squares, triangles, circles or whatever, the "Reticula" and the filler designs - often a portion of a named tangle - are called "Fragments".  Placing these Fragments within the Reticula in varying directions can produce what they call a "Metadesign", which offers up the surprise!  Oh, my sketchbook is already getting a workout with all these new (and reminder) ideas!

This was a new tangle for me, and one that I found somewhat challenging.  I was tempted to stop at step four of the stepout, as I liked the lightning look to it, but decided to persevere and do the thing right.  I wasn't comfortable enough to get crazy with curving the grid or making up some "fantasy" version of it, so I just drew the pattern on a straightforward, evenly spaced grid on top of my simple V-string.  Then I drew the pattern variations to change right at the string line.  I shaded the edges in the hopes that it would look as though each version overlapped the next one.  Successful or not, I am pretty happy with how this turned out.  It reminds me of straw, metal and paper.  Perhaps I could have used some heavier black in the center section to give it some drama, but you know what they say about hindsight...

I haven't been up to date over the last few weeks, so I am including entries for two focus tangles.  For Zonked, I immediately started sketching Mooka with it.  I saw on Facebook that others made that same connection.  What is it about those two?  At any rate, here is my version.

Yuma is one of those tangles that can play many rolls.  It can carry bold stripes, hold gems in its center, curve into petal shapes or take on any number of looks and play with other tangles.  I approached it with simplicity.  Each of my tiles is a monotangle, although the second one maybe evolves into Steps. In the first one, as I filled in lines, I found I liked the look of the white spaces.  Negative can be very positive, as it were.  At any rate, they have very different looks.  I like Yuma!

Here is one I did just for fun - different than my usual style, but I enjoyed this.  I always admire when others use a mix of brown and black, and here I added a thick black border with white ink on top.  This was a good reminder of why I love Zentangle - no challenge requirements, no strict guidelines about color or which tangles to use, just having fun!

So, Dear Readers, I hope you are seeing signs of spring where you live, or if it is autumn in your part of the world, I hope you are enjoying the ripeness of that golden time of year.  Whichever it is, please enjoy the changing that it brings.  Always look forward to your own changes, and enjoy looking back to see how far you have come.  Then focus on the present moment and be one with it. 

Thank you for stopping by, listening to my ramblings, and taking a look at my own humble offerings.  Know that I cherish all your thoughts and look forward to your comments.



  1. Wonderful post Antonine, I really enjoyed reading about your neck of the woods. I love what you did with "Rautyflex", your variations are great. I really, really love the last piece. How fun is that?

  2. I love the last tile too! And the Steps Yuma looks wonderful as well. Your shading is gorgeous. I'm excited to receive my Zentangle Primer book too, but shipping to Singapore does take time.

  3. Cactus blooms are certainly one of the perks to living in the desert. They are so beautiful, but if you blink you will miss them. My bougainvillea died and then surprised us by coming back beautifully. All of your tangles are so beautifully composed, Antonine. I love how you used a string to shift directions on Rautyflex and I too think that last tile is stunning!

  4. Lovely work. All of it. I mean, really, really lovely.

  5. All are wonderful! Especially I like the last one ... it´s fantastic!