In With the New Year

I’m not setting any resolutions or goals for 2016 per se. I may over the course of the next week or so settle upon a word or phrase to serve as a mantra. Then again, I may not.

What I do hope will happen is that I will find my creativity once again. All the craziness of the past few years with DH finishing up grad school and our moving from Colorado to Virginia has sucked a lot of energy out of me. Yesterday’s “You’ve got memories to look back on” on Facebook was three solid of years of saying good riddance to the previous year. That’s not good.
2015 did end on a lot of up notes. We sold our house without much drama (aside from getting it emptied from a distance) on December 1st and came out the other end able to erase all the debt from grad school/under-employment, improve the living situation (our first non-futon mattress was delivered a week ago and I’m hopeful will help my body and mind), upgrade our 9-year-old laptops so I can take on more design jobs, and still have a bit of a savings account again. Without paying both a mortgage and rent we will be able to save money each month once again instead of living paycheck to paycheck.

I’ve had very little time and energy to devote to any sort of creativity on a regular basis and I’m hoping to change that going forward. It may not all be Zentangle or even ZIA, but I’m thinking a good bit of ink and maybe some watercolor work. I also want to work on creating art on my iPad so when my body is not wanting to play my creativity still can. If you have any suggestions of apps (I have the Adobe ones, Paper, Procreate and Skribl) or YouTube channels to check out, please let me know! I do know tangling will still play a significant part because I really have to embrace letting things flow and Zentangle is an effective exercise for that.

So, in the spirit of being creative on a more regular basis I made the following last night. In bed. In a dearly lit room. While watching X-Files as DH and I have been scrambling to get caught up to have it all watched before the revival later this month. I have say, living out here has brought a whole new dimension to watching the show!

 

I created a string in my unused 5×8″ Strathmore Watercolor Art Journal using 2016, then tangled in it using b’tweed, flux, tipple, fescue, mooka, a variation on purk and whatever those fan-like things are called.

I did the drawing in my watercolor art journal I ordered a month or so ago and hadn’t used yet thinking I’d watercolor after, but I’m not so sure if I want to watercolor it now. What do you think? Maybe I should try my hand at digital coloring? My string was inspired by Sue Jacobs and her tile she shared. Can you spot the “2016” in there? I think my tipple kept it a little more distinguishable. I did waffle over whether to so obviously cut the piece in half, but ultimately decided to go for it. I have to say I still hate my mooka though. *sigh*

Happy New Year to anyone still following along! I hope 2016 is everything you wish for and more!

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I’ve Arrived!

Stacked and tangled postcards announcing our new address. The top one features sunup sundown, cubine, finery, bunzo and vitruvius. The second one I kept simple and just used flux and bublz.

DH and I arrived in Virginia on Saturday afternoon. The moving truck is here and I’m waiting for them to bring things up to the apartment as I type. It has not been a pleasant experience, sadly. Communication was very poor and is really at the root of everything else that has me disappointed.

That said, I’ve started tangling a few postcards with our new address on them. Letterforms seems to call out for stacking. I strung the postcards while a passenger and have been picking away at the tangling of them since we arrived. I think it will be a fun way to share our new address with a few of our friends and family.

With the arrival of stuff I’ll be unpacking when I’m not working so I’ll likely be pretty quiet again for a while.

Keep tangling!

A Time of Lasts (For Now)

Well, after some really frustrating circumstances in the past several weeks which resulted in some not so pretty breakdowns a date for my departure was finally set. By this time next week we (Drew, Brandon and I) should be over half way to Alexandria, VA. The goodbyes and “lasts” have now begun. 

A Sky Writing Journal spread tangled while thinking about the changes that will result from my fast approaching move from Northern Colorado to Northern Virginia. i used falls, msst, bunzo and popcloud.
After 16 years years in Colorado I’ll be leaving the mountains behind. I think it is going to feel odd. That was what was going through my brain while I tangled this spread in the Sky Writing Journal that Cate gave me for my birthday. I think Popcloud could use some shading with colored pencil yet. I tried to highlight it and Falls with white colored pencil and it didn’t work. My experience on my previous spread was that pastel pencil also didn’t want to lay done really and definitely wouldn’t blend sufficiently.

Last night I had the pleasure to attend a last Zentangle class. As usual, Cate brought me to Sue’s house for the evening, but this time Holly Williams of Tangle Your Bliss was teaching. We learned the Tints on Tan technique that Marty Deckel and Jenny Perruzi have shared. It was really fun to add more vibrant colors to the tan tiles. Best of all though was another evening with a few of the great women I’ve connected with (or reconnected with in the case of Cate) over Zentangle! I’m going to miss you guys and only hope to find a few tanglers in NoVa as great as you!

Here are all of our tiles (two are Holly’s):

Holly’s first Tints on Tan class tile mosaic with two of her samples, and tiles by Cate, Sue Clark and myself.

And here is a closer look at my tile. I need some practice, but I’m really excited to explore this more!

My tints on tan tile with printemps, bunzo, tipple, flux, finery and shattuck.

Illuminated Letter S

My first (because there will definitely be more) illuminated letter featuring prestwood, black peals, dex in a ribbon, vitruvius, 1/2 cruffle, poke leaf, zander, n’zeppel and feathers.

It’s been a long time coming, but with a slight push from CZT, Sue Clark, I finally finished my illuminated letter from the workshop she hosted at the end of April. I have to say with everything in chaos in my life/house the pressure of doing a ZIA kind of got me on this one. I’m not quite 100% certain this is done, done. But it is done until the move is over and I’m settled in Alexandria for sure. I’m kind of feeling like I need something more in the background in the upper left. Something open and light like the n’zeppel perhaps? We’ll see how I feel once I unpack it.

I just love the contrast between pre- and post-shading!

I was a bit unsure how to shade vitruvius, but I’m pretty happy with my decisions to outline the squares with graphite and then darken the center and the very outside.

A better look at the sheen of the Fine Tec gold watercolors used on the S.

We got to use Sue’s Fine Tec metallic watercolors at the workshop. Because part of the draw to Zentangle for me was doing letter work like this those watercolors are going at the top of my post-move wish list! They were so easy to work with and the result is much closer to actually gold leaf than any other gold pen or paint I’ve worked with. I was even able to layer a bit to create some shadow and highlight!

I used some Japanese pearlescent watercolors on the poke leaf. I like that it gives some sheen to kind of blend with the S, but it lets the gold take center stage.

And because I love the feathers, a closer look at those too!

Sue just posted everyone’s letters here. I highly encourage you to go check them out. There is such a variety in styles and they are all inspiring and gorgeous!

Wall Journal & Sunday Smackdown #9

My Sunday Smackdown #9 zendala on a standard 3.5″ square tile made from Fabriano Uno paper. I used Purlbox and Hurry and I’m not sure what exactly to call the third pattern.

I actually had finished this tile in time for posting for the Sunday Smackdown #9, but then got distracted by more Gelli printing fun at Cate’s 🙂

I kept it pretty simple and clean, using only three patterns, though I’m not quite sure what to call the petal-shaped one as that is really just a technique employed in lot of the patterns. Can anyone help me out on it?

I couldn’t resist an artsy shot of my zendala.

Inspired by my IG feed I took an artsy shot this time around and I really liked it so I thought I’d share the close-up look at it 🙂 It does really show the detail in how I shaded.

The finished “Be Brave and Keep Going” page in my Wall Notebook featuring a lot of tangles!

Then, speaking of procrastination, this has been done for probably a full month I think, but I never took a proper picture of it. The bricks had me employing a bunch of stacking of tangles, though I’m pretty sure it doesn’t quite meet the criteria for the Stack and Tangled FB group. That’s okay though because the same two people have just launch today a Journaled and Tangled group that this will fit in!

Art Therapy Day With Cate

Well, Saturday was a BIG day at my house. Yes, my house that has been a total disaster area since I started packing. Thanks to all the help from my sister during her visit I was able to mostly reclaim my dining table. So, nearly a month after my birthday Cate and I finally got together to make messy art!

Getting ready to dive into Gelli Printing, a form of monoprinting, my dining room table was covered in all manner of acrylic paints and texture making things.

The plan was to monoprint using the Gelli Arts plate that Cate had ordered. Before her arrival I dusted off what art supplies I could get my hands on that would be useful, then she brought her big box o’fun as we called it and the dining room table was nearly buried in fun things!

We decided to do some printing, then have a later lunch at Panera when we hoped they might be a little less busy for a Saturday and then stop into Jerry’s Artarama afterwards for any additional supplies we found we would like for our continued afternoon printing. It was a great plan and we even snuck in cupcakes between lunch and Jerry’s 🙂 One of the additional purchases at Jerry’s was another Gelli plate, LOL! We got the Zendala-sized round plate, though I haven’t yet tried to print direct to one of the Zendala tiles. If you have done so I’d like to hear how it went for you in the comments!

Here, Cate is prepping the 4″ round Gelli Plate for printing.

Taking a break was a fantastic plan because it allowed the morning’s prints to dry so we could layer another print on top which is really where the results start getting fun. Much of the afternoon printing was layering.

We split up the finished pages between us, but not by who pulled the print necessarily. Partly because in some cases we each did a layer or one person directed the other, but also so we can create collaborative finished pieces, even across the miles once I’ve moved. Below are all but two of the sheets I kept.

We divvied up the prints before Cate headed home, each of us taking a couple made by the other so we can have some collaborative finished pieces, even across the miles. That makes me think we should plan on maybe quarterly or something exchanging some backgrounds via mail 🙂

I cut two the other sheets into 10 ATCs each (artist trading cards, 2.5 X 3.5″ baseball card sized pieces). I was very meh about them and in my experience, cutting something up that isn’t interesting as a whole often makes for really interesting small pieces. It also gives me a much smaller canvas to tangle on which is more realistic for my life at the moment.

Here are my Dylusions backgrounds. I love the colors, but some practice may be in order.

In Cate’s box o’fun she also brought her treasure trove of Dylusions Spray Inks. Talk about a messy art adventure! I spread out a large lawn and leaf garbage bag on the floor and had to kennel Brandon to make these sheets. I was kind of rushed to play with them quick before Cate needed to head home, but I can see this being something to explore further in the future. The colors are amazingly vivid. I definitely need some practice though before I’m getting zentangle-friendly backgrounds like Alice!

My first Gelli Print ATC that I tangled on yesterday in a stack of course 🙂 From the lower left is Diva Dance, 4MOM with 1/2 Cruffle, ParasailZ, Bublz, and Hako, all enhanced with some Prismacolor pencils and while charcoal pencil.

After cutting my ATCs yesterday morning I had to jump right in and start to tangle on one while I enjoyed my mid-morning coffee break. I think the biggest challenge with these is going to be the white borders I inevitably end up with because the Gelli plate is not sized for edge-to-edge printing on a sheet of cardstock (which makes sense). I think I embraced that well in this one though, coloring in part of Hako with colored pencils that matched the monoprinting to tie that area in with the rest of the piece. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that you can get Prismacolor colored pencil to lay in overtop of the printing a bit as well as the white charcoal pencil. I think that really made the Bublz pattern.

This was the first time in quite a while I went into my tangling without much of a plan. I started with ParasailZ in the white arc and then just worked in each direction as I felt moved to do so. That arc made it feel like a perfect place to do more tangled stacking. Since I’m obsessed with stacks I went with it. It was nice to have the “flow” back again. I wish I knew why I had lost it and how to get it back when it disappears.

My second, Gelli print ATC started at Zwei Bruder Brewing while waiting for my friend Simmon to join me for a pint. This one features Wud, XYP, Shattuck, Trimond (no s), and Intwine with a bunch of Tipple for the really skinny stacks and to tie it all together.

Because I’m apparently prone to obsessions, LOL, I started in on another ATC cut from the other print last evening while I waited for my friend, Simmon, to join me for a pint at Zwei Bruder before going to my knit night. I didn’t get too far and finished up the rest this morning. The comb marks on this one also screamed out for stacking to me so I went with it. I think part of the reason stacking appeals to me so much is that I love the ribbon/border tangle patterns and hadn’t really worked out how to put them into a random string. Stacking lets me explore them to my heart’s content. Though I’m unsure as of yet if this is truly stacking or not according to the Facebook group since the copper areas in general are not tangled.

I did learn with this ATC that graphite doesn’t really want to play with the monoprints. So if I’m going to regularly go down this path I think I may want a gray marker or 6. I figure I’ll go with ChartPak as I can easily source them open stock, but they have 6 or more darknesses in both warm and cool tones. Where do I start if I want to only invest in say 3 or 4 max? All cool tones is kind of my inclination from the little bit of watercolor I learned over a decade ago, but would I maybe need warm depending on the color I’m working on top of? And, will ChartPak lay in over the acrylic of the monoprints and will it still blend with the colorless blender? Do any of you have an light you can shed on this topic? I’d be very appreciative!

Diva Challenge Duotangle Renaissance Style

Diva Challenge #217 duotangle of Dex and Bunzo on a Renaissance tile in Zendala form with black, brown and sepia microns, zenstone, and pitt pastel pencils for highlights and shading.

Life has been pretty challenging itself lately so I haven’t been consistent in playing along, but an idea of this week’s Diva Challenge popped into my head over the course of the week so I sat down on Thursday and made this Renaissance tile. I was curious about a couple things:

  1. How would Dex work in a circle?
  2. How would using multiple colors of ink (in this case black, sepia and brown) helpcreatethe dimensionality of Dex?
    The evolution of my Diva Challenge tile for this week. Upper left is just inked, lower left is with the highlights in place and the right side if a close look at half of the finished tile with both highlights and shadows in place.

    For me, there is just something magical about creating a chiaroscuro tile, whether it be an official Renaissance tile or on the toned gray tiles from Strathmore. Add the highlights and everything starts to really pop, but then add the shadows and it has more dimension than you ever imagined. I’m quite pleased with this tile!