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!

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.

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!

Sunday Smackdown #4 & Diva Challenge       

Random "Bloom" for Zentangle 2015-089
My first tile using the Sunday Smackdown pattern of Bloom by Helen Williams, here done with a combo of a random zig-zag and dots with a touch of Neocolor II crayons.

After watching Helen’s video and doing my own step-outs in my sketchbook I jumped right into a random version of Bloom for my first tile for Sunday Smackdown #4. I started with the random zig-zag, but got some inconsistencies in petal number so started adding in random dots. I still couldn’t quite resolve everything so it isn’t quite “right.” But I kind of like it. Especially after I colored it with light washes Neocolor II water-soluble crayons. I finished things off with just a sprinkling of fescue.

Bloom on a spherical grid.
Zentangle 2015-090, my second try at Bloom for Sunday Smackdown #4. Here I did it on a spherical grid and finished it with a couple of finery “leaves.”

From the get go I’ve had the though of the spherical globes of tiny blooms that make up hydrangea and wanted to try to put bloom on a spherical grid. It didn’t come out like I envisioned (I really should learn to let go of setting expectations of how things will look). Further explorations may have merit though.

I also have yet to really like my usage of finery. I’ve tried several different tweaks to it and haven’t hit upon the right combo as of yet. In retrospect I probably should have done this in my sketchbook since everything was kind of experimental. Oh well!

Zentangle 2015-091, Diva Challenge #211 & Sunday Smackdown #4 featuring flux two ways and bloom with some assists from tipple, pokeroot and sanibelle.
Zentangle 2015-091, Diva Challenge #211 & Sunday Smackdown #4 featuring flux two ways and bloom with some assists from tipple, pokeroot and sanibelle.

Then this week’s I am the Diva CZT Challenge was to use the two versions of Flux, Rick and Maria’s shared in this week’s Zentangle e-newsletter, in tangle. Maria’s version is a bit too like Mooka for me to love. I’ve done Rick’s version all along I guess. For this tile  I put Rick’s version on a curvy spine and butted Maria’s against a patch of Bloom. I was nudged by Tanglebucket to use Sanibelle (along with some tipple and pokeroot). I really like how bloom came out when I filled in the spaces and held to my original string for that coloring. I am slightly tempted to go add some light Neocolor washes to this one, but I’m not certain. What do you think?

Be sure to check out all the other interpretations of flux at I am the Diva CZT and please join Cate & I in exploring Bloom and add links to your explorations in the comments. We’d love to have others join us in these Sunday Smackdowns!

Weekend Tangling

Renaissance tile zentangle using chiaroscuro.
Zentangle Tile 2015-080, my first renaissance tile using black and brown micron, graphite and white charcoal on knight’s bridge, purk, bales, and indy-rella.

 

Cate and I spent Saturday afternoon with Sue Clark of Tangled Ink Art again. This week, the class was on the Renaissance Zentangle Tiles.

A renaissance tile without the shading and highlighting.
Zentangle Tile 2015-081 before adding highlights and shadows with the graphite and white charcoal.

In an odd bit of synchronicity, Sue gave us some info on chiaroscuro which I had just read about in The Witch of Painted Sorrow by MJ Rose. I’m in love! With both the technique and the book 🙂 Although so far I wouldn’t call my use of highlights and shading particularly bold. I need to work on that.

There are some marked differences between the standard tiles and the Renaissance tiles. The paper seems to have less sizing, making it super absorbent and somewhat delicate. You really need to have a light hand when inking and shading. You also need to make sure you haven’t recently applied lotion (see top tile for evidence) or use a bit of paper towel between your hands and the tile. I’ve actually put a paper towel in my Renaissance kit.

My first solo renaissance tile zentangle.
Zentangle Tile 2015-082, my first solo attempt at a Renaissance tile featuring feather, n’zeppel, nymph, bunzo, flux, tipple and black pearls.  

I decided it would be a good idea to practice what we learned on my own so I did another renaissance tile last evening. My thoughts on mixing N’Zeppel and Nymph didn’t work as envisioned. A good lesson to just jump in and let it flow rather than planning, eh? I also think a sanguine charcoal pencil might be a good addition to my Ren kit. The shading on the feather could be more effective with that instead of graphite. Bunzo was also a challenge due to the absorbance of the tiles. The brown darkens as you go over it so you don’t get very even coverage when coloring large areas. All good lessons. Despite that lengthy list of nitpicky things I do still like the tile over all.

Cate and I both brought home pre-strung Renaissance Zendala tiles so you may see that popping up as a Sunday Smackdown at some point in the future. I’m anxious to throw some red into the mix too. I loved Sue’s Renaissance Zendalas she had on display in her studio and classroom space that used red.

Have you worked with the renaissance tiles before? Do you have any tips to share?

My First Square One Play

If you haven’t yet seen the Square One Facebook group, you should check it out. I haven’t played with their focus patterns before even though I’ve been a member for over a month because they are very strict on submissions being official Zentangles and not ZIAs. Since I do most of my work on 3″ Bristol squares rather than the official 3.5″ Zentangle Tiles I’m technically doing ZIAs.

Zentangle Tile 2015-068 featuring Bunzo
Zentangle Tile 2015-068, Focus on Bunzo for the Square One Purely Zentangle Facebook Group, with support from N’Zeppel and a Florz tangleation.

But this week I pulled out one of my few official tiles and played with the pattern of focus for the week – Bunzo.

This was my first time making a concerted effort to morph from one pattern into another. In this case, N’Zeppel into a tangleation of Florz. I think I could use some practice on that, but over all I’m quite pleased with the tile. I think I really got great dimension in my Bunzo between the sparkle and shading.

Zentangle Tile 2015-069
Zentangle Tile 2015-069, another Bunzo tile with support from Meet and Flux.

I enjoyed the pattern and the results so much I also used the pattern on my ZIA tile last night. I didn’t like that one so much last night.Meer ended up looking kind of eel-like I think. Then I got a bit heavy on my ornamentation of Flux. After sleeping on it I think it is growing on me. Which is pretty normal for me. The organics I whine about are now some of my favorite after time has passed.