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!

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!

Kristi’s Colorful Sunday Smackdown #8

Kristi's Sunday Smackdown
Sunday Smackdown #8 – using at least 4 colors (non-background) in a tangle. From upper left I used Coral Seeds, Oksie (variant), a tangleation of 4MOM and Kuke, Inapod, something I did on my own and something kind of like Buttercup which I then colored in with Prismacolor colored pencils and a ChartPak colorless blender.

Well, I finally did it and finally got around to post it — my Sunday Smackdown #8. Because I’m obsessed with stacks, I first tangled the patterns in a diagonal stack with the standard micron on one of my DIY Fabriano Uno tiles (still 3.5″ square). Then instead of shading I dusted off my set of Prismacolor pencils and a ChartPak blender (it’s a bit juicier than the Prismacolor colorless blender) and got to work.

This was my first time using a solvent blender with colored pencils. I kind of liked it, but will need more practice. I should brush up a bit on color blending to figure out how to do a bit better job at the shading on the spheres. I’m not quite happy with my color distribution.

This was most definitely a challenge, Cate! I certainly learned some things along the way. Plus, it was nice to have some color after a solid week of rain as though Colorado had suddenly become part of the Pacific Northwest. Once life settles down I think I’ll be revisiting this technique. For now though, I think I crave the simplicity of black and white or Renaissance. Though maybe if I still had a good set of markers I’d feel differently, but blending the colored pencils takes a lot of time.

Sunday Smackdown #7 – Tangling in Books

I’m a little late on the whole Sunday Smackdown thing this week. Actually, I’m so in my head with all the moving stuff I’m not even clear on who should be issuing the challenge or what type it “should” be. But, while I’m the one posting, let’s consider this one to be indirectly issued by Cate, okay?

You see, when she picked me up to attend Sue‘s wonderfully generous Illuminated Letters workshop on Saturday (more on that later in the week/month) she had a birthday goodie bag for me. In it were two books meant for journaling and doodling in – The Skywriting Journal and The Walls Notebook. I had first seen glimpses of The Walls Notebook in Alice‘s Instagram feed. When I did some digging to figure out what this mysterious “wall book” was that she kept talking about I ended up at Amazon and noticed there were other themed books as well.

 

Tangling in my Skywriting Journal from Cate using n’zeppel, sandswirl and flitter. I’m not sure if it is done yet or a WIP. What say you?

It was such a surprise to get both books (plus some other miscellaneous goodies)! The workshop was so inspiring plus the lure of new toys and I came home and tangled some more! This time in the Skywriting Journal. I’m procrastinating on working on my letter because I don’t currently have a good place for “quality” tangling. The dining room table is covered in glassware of various types and my desk in yarn and sewing supplies – both for sorting/packing/donating. All of my tangling has been happening in bed, the one room that doesn’t look like it has been hit by a hurricane.

“Be Brave and Keep Going” stacked with printemps, bic, box it up, vectorwec and my own random chevron in my Wall Notebook. This is definitely a work in progress. Not certain what to do with the block letters yet – fill in solid (black or color) or tangle or a combo?

Then yesterday I saw that the Stacked and Tangled informal challenge was to use words. Words and stacked tangles seemed natural for the brick walls of The Walls Notebook. My friend, Amanda, gave me a necklace for my birthday that is a perfect mantra for this trip around the sun that is full of new challenges – Be Brave and Keep Going. It seemed like a perfect coming together of elements.

It’s a work in progress. The sky one may be as well, I’m not yet sure. One thing is for certain – tangling in books is fun! And I may just end up doing that to some encyclopedia pages as the wonderfully creative and energetic gals at the workshop on Saturday spoke of after I mentioned having a not quite complete set of my grandparent’s encyclopedias and being uncertain whether to move them.

So, please join me in the fun and do some book tangling this week! Use a journal like I’ve done or an old book. We’re not strict around here, so feel free to collage a book page onto a tile and then tangle over the page. It doesn’t have to remain in the book. Share your book tangle links in the comments below so we can see what you’ve done!

 

Zendala Dare #100 & Other Miscellany

Apparently this past week and certainly the weekend has been all about ZIAs! I think I now am understanding the strict rules and purpose of the Square One: Purely Zentangle Facebook group 🙂

My version of the 100th Zendala Dare template.
Zentangle Tile 2015-086, the 100th Zendala Dare template. This one kind of went rogue as I riffed and there ended up just a bit of b’tweed, paradox and fescue

I had to do this week’s Zendala Dare of course. Who could miss the 100th one?!? I ended up doing a lot of riffing on this one, just letting the pen do what it wanted. As a result there aren’t actually many tangle patterns in it. Though the oblong b’tweed outlined only with graphite kind of makes me think of pine cones. I’ll have to remember that when winter rolls back around!

I can’t wait to go look at what everyone else has done with this great template!

A toned tan zentangle inspired art (ZIA).
Zentangle Tile 2015-085, a toned tan tile featuring free form Weave in two colors, stickers, printemps, black pearls and mysst.

I used Strathmore’s Toned Tan for this one. It isn’t quite as warm of a tan as the Zentangle tiles so I’m not as fond of the sepia on it (the colors of this photo are a little off since it was photographed under a lamp instead of natural light). I do like the finish though. It isn’t quite as absorbent so coloring is easier, but there is plenty of tooth to shade and highlight with graphite and white charcoal. I am still a bit meh about this one. I don’t feel like my Weave was free form enough and as a result it looks sloppily executed instead. Cate things I’m on crack. What say you?

I also ended up putting in Mysst which I just haven’t been happy with using myself yet. I’ve seen examples of other people’s work using it and liked it, but I have yet to like my own stuff using it. I do however love Stickers! What fun!

Coffee filter zendala.
Zentangle 2015-088 zendala in progress on a coffee dyed unbleached coffee filter.

Yesterday was dedicated to finishing my Sunday Smackdown #3. This is a sneak peek of it in progress. I completed all the drawing last evening, but I’m still on the fence whether to add any highlighting and shading. Cate says to post it everywhere and frame it and hang it in our living room once we’re moved. We’ll see. It would suit our furniture in a way… I’ll likely post another shot of what it looks like now on Instagram (fiberfool)  at some point today if you’d like to ring in on whether I should take it further or leave it as is.

Chiaroscuro on gray paper featuring a ribbon with sunup sundown and flying cadents.
Zentangle 2015-087, my first ribbon with flying cadent on Toned Gray Strathmore paper finally done. I think.

I think I’m done with the first toned gray zentangle inspired art piece. There is a good bit of open space in the lower left yet that has me slightly unsettled. I did end up adding Sunup Sundown on the ribbon and did fairly extensive shading. I need practice on ribbon work though. But Sunup Sundown could very easily become a mac & cheese pattern for me. Loved it!

I’ll be back soon sharing my finished Coffee Filter Zendala and the how-to for my response to Sunday Smackdown #3.

Sunday Smackdown #3 

I’m going to challenge you to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, myself. I hope a ZIA challenge isn’t outside our rules. Do we have rules?  

Take a tile (or something suitable for your chosen canvas) and give it a colorful background. By colorful, I don’t necessarily mean bright. It should involve more than one color or hue. Shades of a single color are fine. You can use any technique you like, but you must show your work so that others can attempt something similar if they’re inspired to do so. Once it’s suitably dry, please draw the tangles of your choice per the standard procedures. The tangling of something different is what I want to see. Post here or in a link in the comments. Have fun!  

Diva Challenge #204 – The Valentangle

IMG_2788 Early last week Cate challenged me to try Paradox in a heart. I’m not much of a heart sort of person so I brushed it off for a day or two. But, my brain pretty much never shuts down so it was hanging out in there and taking shape. I eventually explored the idea in my sketchbook, trying about a dozen different combos of cutting (or not) the heart into different sections and switching up the directions of Paradox in neighboring sections to get different looks.

It’s probably because it appeals to all my science training and love of organizing things, but I found the exercise addicting and energizing. I have several more ideas to try, but work has been a bit busier than normal. I did, however choose to turn two of my experiments into tiles for my first ever Diva Challenge (#204) participation.

The first tile, above, I used a pattern I deconstructed from a fence I walk past daily when I go to or from the bus stop. I call it Zirkels. It seemed fitting and kind of lace like, so together it makes me think of the heart doilies.

IMG_2789

For the second tile I planned on using Akoya for the border, but ended up stopping one step early and embraced the ribbon-wrapped bead string look instead. I like that it gave me a place to pop a bit of contrasting color.

I’m looking forward to participating in future challenges. Though I resumed my daily work through One Zentangle A Day on Monday so it could be three weeks or so before I get a chance. It gets difficult to work other challenges into the daily exercises.