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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trip to Tripoli: A new challenge and pattern

When I opened my email on Sunday and saw that Rick and Maria at Zentangle had a new pattern for us, I just knew that the challenge this week would be to use Tripoli in a tangle.  New patterns are always a challenge for me.  Sometimes I can pick them right up and sometimes they are a struggle.  Luckily Tripoli is a bit of both while not being too challenging.  I seem to get a bit out of sorts as the pattern extends out from the center but hopefully some practice will fix that right up.  It is fun to see the different variations in the triangles.

A little closer look at the detail in the triangles.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kingfisher in Sassafras

My Husband requested that I make him a ZIA of a Kingfisher.  Kingfishers are one of his favorite birds.  I couldn't refuse his request. He is so patient with me and my constant drawing.  It was fun to do. I enjoyed making this piece and he is quite happy with it.

I started with the bird and then added Sassafras leaves.  I was trying to decide how to treat the background when my Husband requested that I add sassafras leaves.  Originally I was going to fill the background with leaves but after I got started, I decided I didn't want the piece to get too busy.

On the big leaf is my new pattern Zuan Shi.  I was less free hand with the pattern this time.  I'm still exploring it.  Zuan Shi looked really different after I shaded the diamonds. 

I tagged most of the patterns that I used in the labels.  There are a few I have to go back and look up.  I can't remember the names right now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Diva's Challenge # 27 - Duo Tangle

This week the challenge is to create a tile using only two tangles, Dex and Verdigogh.  I will confess straight away that I have never done Dex before and all my attempts at Verdigogh have been quite bad.  I almost didn't do this one because I am so intimidated by Verdigogh.  But, it isn't a challenge because it is easy.

I call this one Nature vs. People.  The way I made my string : D for Dex and V for Verdigogh, made it look like the two tangles were "fighting".

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Peacocks are all done!

They are all done! This is on a 9X12 piece of watercolor paper.  I ended up getting a Krylon Leafing Pen and adding it over the top of the gold I had added with the Uniball gold gel pen.  I liked the Uniball pen but I wanted the gold to shine a little.  The uniball is nice and the ink flows well, but it doesn't give the shine that the leafing pen does. 

Getting a mat cut for it and my Husband is going to make the frame.  I think the bride and groom will love it.

Tangle Pattern: Huggy Bear

The name for this one may be a little silly.  I named it Huggy Bear because this pattern grew out of my drawing Huggins incorrectly.  I had the lines all done before I stopped and noticed what I had done.  Then I had to "fix" my mistake because I was making a note card and didn't want to start over.  I decided to go with calling it Huggy Bear because the pattern has a vintage 70's look to me.

Tangle Pattern: Shimono

This pattern is from vintage kimono silk. I was researching Japanese patterns for a piece I drew for an auction for Japan.  Those are little buttercup flowers at the intersections.  They are the same flowers that were were on the fabric.

Tangle Pattern: Arc Flower

This pattern grew out of the need to fill a circle I had on a piece I was working on.  I knew I wanted to use the arc/arches and made the center circle to give me a starting point.  I was very happy when I was done.  :)

Tangle Pattern: Zuan Shi

This pattern is inspired by a piece of Chinese furniture that I saw at the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC.  I failed to note the makers name, or I would have named the pattern for him/her.  I instead, chose the Chinese word for diamond.  I hope you like it.

The inspiration piece.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peacock Progress

Today, I plan to start shading my peacocks.  Here is the progress and progression so far.

Peacocks all drawn in.  Head feathers are gilded using a unibal gel pen.

Love in Hindi.
Background getting started. Quiltz reporting for duty.

All filled in.

Diva's Challenge #26 - Spiral String

This week the challenge is to use a spiral as a string.  Another great challenge for me as I really haven't used a spiral before.  I hardly use spiral style tangles and I certainly haven't used a spiral as a string.  Yea for another challenge that makes me do something I haven't done before! 

Yesterday,  Sandra Strait sent out a tweet with a link to Brayd, a new tangle from Shelly Bauch.  I really like it.  It is fun and looks more complex than it is.  Once I saw that the challenge was a spiral, I knew that I was going to give Brayd a try.

I used the sepia micron for this challenge.  I wanted to experiment with trying to shade the sepia and a challenge is a great place to stretch myself.  I used Derwent drawing pencils and Lyra Rembrant Polycolor colored pencil in Van Dyke brown for shading.  To shade with the Derwent pencils, I rubbed the color on a tortillion and then used the colored tortillion to shade.  In shading that way, I'm able to get the color smudged on the way I want.  I can also go back and layer on more color if I want it darker.  For the white, I used a gellyroll pen.

So, without further explanation, here is my tile.

I was planning on combining buttercup with the knightsbridge for the entire background but once I started, I decided that I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.  I think that it's the gellyroll pen.  I kept pressing down too hard I think.  I need to get a better white pen.  The gellyroll is great for many things, but I dislike the way the ink flows.

I like how the Brayd came out.  I will certainly be using it again.  I think that it will be a new favorite.
Brayd before I added background and shading.
Before shading and buttercup. I think I should have stopped here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Peacock Room - Beautiful and Inspiring

The south wall and large mural.
Today my family and I traveled down to the Washington, DC area to attend a birthday party.  Knowing that we'd be so close to Washington, we planned in a trip to The Freer and Sackler Galleries on the National Mall.  These museums focus on Asian art. My main reason to visit was to see the Peacock room in person.  I had seen photos on-line, but I wanted to get my eyes and camera in there to see up close (or as close as I could get) and soak in all the wonderful detail there in the room.  I must say, I was not disappointed.

The room was designed by James Abbott McNeil Whistler for an Englishman named Leyland and later bought from Leyland's heirs by Charles Lang Freer.  I'll save you all the history as you can click the links and read more for yourselves should you want to know more.

This room however is not only an inspiration of decorative mural art, but it is chock full of pattern.  A zentangle enthusiast's dream!  There is so much depth and pattern that everywhere you look, you'd like to sit and figure out each pattern right there.  As I was with my children (4 and 10) I was not able to just sit.  I took as many photos as I thought I needed though.  The security guard in the room was really nice and chatted with my 4 year old but I knew that conversation would only interest the guard for so long. :)

Sideboard (?) under the large mural.  I want one just like this.
Now that I'm home, I realize that I failed to take a photo of one wall and an over all photo of the ceiling.  The ceiling is as amazing as the rest of the room.  I wonder if when I go back, they'll mind too much if I lie on the floor and get a better image.  I should have whipped out my iPod and used Photosynth to capture a 360 view of the room.  Sigh, next time I will do just that. (I just checked the Freer and Sackler website and there is a great panorama you can view.)

I will be trying to turn a few of these into patterns for zentangle use but I'm not sure if I'll get them all figured out.  We shall see..
Shutters along one wall.

Door on east wall.
Ceiling detail.  See why I need a better photo?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Zendala Magic

Boy was I ever excited to see that the challenge this week is to create a Zendala!  I am working on a piece inspired by India and I needed some more inspiration.  This challenge couldn't have come at a better time.  All last night I was looking at sari patterns on line and an India pattern book to help me with the next direction on my piece.  Finally I just put it away, resolved to come back today with some fresh eyes.

After I was up and fully caffeinated, I pulled up the Diva's Challenge to see what was in store for this week.  Awesome! It's zendala's!  Also, this week is guest hosted by Genevieve Crabe, a super talented CZT.  Genevieve shared with us a zendala template to get us started. 

I ran to the printer and printed out the template and got it transferred to my paper and outlined it with my micron.  I was really moving and then it came time to add the patterns.  STOP!  I was frozen not knowing what to add first.  What pattern would work?  I've only done one other zendala before and it was a very simple design.  So, I paused, checked out flickr and flipped through my books and sat some more.

I always do this.  I am often stymied by blank space.  What to fill it with? Which is the "right" one? Finally I decided to use keeko around the outer edge.  I like how keeko looks as a border.  I've used it before with good results and said "Hey! Go for it!  You won't finish if you don't start."

As I was working, I used the printout of the template to test tangles to see if I like them first.  I know it isn't very "zentangle" of me to do that, but it saves me some regret later.  Here I can erase and do again.

Finally, I got everything all worked out and got to tangling.  Here is the final result, unshaded and shaded.
Thank you to both Laura and Genevieve for another wonderful challenge!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Drawing Day 2011

It took me all day to get to sit down and make my tangle for Drawing Day 2011 but I finally got it done and posted.  Now I can share it with you.  Did you make a drawing?

My finished Tangle

The string I used. Blogger keeps posting it sideways for some reason.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wedding Gift

For my next big project (9X12") I am going to make a wedding gift for some friends.  Well, I'm going to try anyway.  I'm going to use peacocks in the design.  The bride is Indian and the beautiful invitation had peacocks on it.

I got my peacock from a Dover book of Indian designs that I have.  I scanned it with my scanner and made it bigger. I also inverted it so I could have one on either side of the page.  I'm just using the shape of the peacock.  I plan to fill the body with zentangles.  I must admit though, the tail is really great.  I'm trying to come up with a pattern for the tail and I may copy this one if I don't figure out something I like.  Right now I'm thinking of using Mooka.  It flows nicely and I can make the ends big to look like eyes.  I'm still playing with it though.

So far, this is what I have sketched out.  I realize that I should probably have a peahen and a peacock but I like the balance of the two tails.

I'm also trying to figure out what I want to do in the background but first I want to concentrate on the figures.  I will probably do them with the same tangles.  I think that way, they will remain balanced and not too busy.

My plan is to use some gold to accent and possibly colors that are on the invitation but I'd want to find the right colors.  I'm still deciding.  Some of you are so talented with your addition of color.  I add color in a more coloring book way (filling in my lines rather than drawing with it.) and it can look flat when I use it.  I'm sure that I'll be making a photo copy or two to try it out before I add it to the piece for real.

The invitation. Isn't it beautiful?
Sorry that the photos aren't so great.  I'm used my iPod to take these.  I'll try to take more with my camera for the next post. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making a Legend

Last week I got the official zentangle kit.  Along with the kit, comes a numbered legend of tangles and an icosahedron to assist you in choosing which tangle to use.  One might not think that choosing which tangle to draw would be that hard but there are a LOT of patterns and more each day so having a little help is welcome sometimes.  Often I sit and stare at a blank spot trying to decide what tangle to use next so, trying out the die and legend was a nice change.  Yesterday I got to thinking and thought "Why not make your own legend to use?"  So, I decided to give it a go.  Not only will this bee a nice way to help get over "tangle block" but I can also catalog which tangles I use and who created them.

Often I feel like I use the same tangle patterns over and over again.  I have my favorites, surely everyone does, but I want to show myself that I can do more patterns and that I know more patterns than I think I do.  Plus, it's time I learned the name of those that I use and who shared them.  If I'm going to tag patterns here on this blog, I had better know what I'm tagging. (WOW, that's a lot of I in here.)

Grabbing a 6X8 drawing pad, I divided the space into squares and left space at the bottom to note the name of the tangle and who the tangle is by.  So far, I have this:

I've decided to skip the shading.  I was thinking that just getting the patterns on paper is the primary effort at this point.  I can shade later or just skip it.  This is just for my reference and for a bit of practice.

Working on this has led me to wonder what other people do when working and I have two questions.
1. How do you reference patterns when working?
2. How do you choose which patterns to use in a tangle?

For example, I have Totally Tangled and Yoga for Your Brain by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.  I keep her books nearby when drawing as a reference and as inspiration.  If I get stuck, I can flip through and see how Sandy has handled shapes, patterns, shading ect.  I will also check out different blogs and flickr for inspiration too. 

When it comes to having a place to keep tangle steps though, I confess I cheat a little.  There are some that keep notebooks, or cards with tangle pattern steps on them.  I think that is a great idea but not for me.  A notebook would be one more thing for me to move about and well, some days just getting my head from one place to another is a success.  However, I ALWAYS have my iPod touch with me.  It is in a pocket or attached to me by the ears at all times.  (I probably need an intervention but that is another post for another day.)  And since I can keep photographs on the touch, I decided to set up a file and keep tangle patterns in it.  When I see a pattern I'd like to learn or use, I save a picture to the file and synch it to my iPod.  Now I have a small picture reference file at my finger tips when I need them.  I don't have to find the page on the desk top, print, or copy anything out.  I can pull it up in just a few flicks.  Now, I can't do this with every pattern.  Some are protected and I cannot save an image and well, there are just too many!  But, I can rotate them out as I learn the steps and as my own legend grows, I won't need to keep them as a reminder. 

This is a screen shot of what the patterns look like on the iPod. I keep these images as a reference for myself and not for anyone else so I don't think I'm breaking any copyright laws.  I just save them as a way to remind myself of the steps and what is available to use.  I just touch the tangle that I want to see and the steps are all laid out there for me.  I am pretty proud of myself for thinking of it I must confess.  It is so nice to have them with me.  When I have down time at work, I pull out some scrap paper or my moleskine and give it a whirl. 
So, what do you do?  I'd love to know!