Wednesday, 17 October 2018

autumnal interweavings

My last post was word heavy, and I really appreciate all of you who took the time to wade through my extended musings as I led my Zigzangles out into the daylight for the first time.

This time I'll be brief and share a few tiles I've drawn in the last week.  Firstly this tan tile that inadvertently combined the two most recent Diva Challenges.

Diva #371 & #372 - Onion Drops & Dewd

Then a tile I didn't finish in time for Adele Bruno's challenge for last week.  The first time I tried to read Orwell's 1984 I couldn't connect with it.  I tried it again a handful of years later and it all made sense.  Sometimes it's just a case of the right book at the wrong time.  It's not a situation limited to books either - and I think Adele's Iza tangle has the 1984 effect on me.  I first played with it years ago - and liked how it looked, but this time I really connected, I felt the tangle as I drew it.  And I think that shows in the finished tile. 

IAST #264 - Iza and Heartswell - ink and graphite
on vintage printmaking paper that's as old as me!

And lastly a few Bijou.  I'm still keeping my pledge to make a Bijou for every It's a String Thing challenge I fail to make a full size tile for.  I noticed I'd missed one right at the start of the year, so that's why the first one uses an 18 as its string - we'll be doing a 19 before we know it!

IAST #224 / #259 / #262 - Bijou pastel paper tiles - ink, graphite, white pencil and pen

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

the wonder of wending

Recently I've read a few really thoughtful posts that encourage us to look at how we create as well as what we create.  Most agree with or develop things I've touched on in previous posts on this blog.  I'm a philosopher at heart - I like to think about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, how I'm doing it, as well as actually doing it.  It adds another layer of meaning and depth.  It adds to the mindfulness.  Of course much of my thinking doesn't actually occur while I'm in the zone actually moving the pen across the paper.

I'm going to share some art with you today, and I'm very excited about that - but I also want to touch on a bit of the thinking that occurred around its creation.

A while ago I wrote about the dilemma of having more than enough art supplies.  I'm not reckless in my purchases.  I love to read lots of reviews and make balanced decisions before accumulating more stuff.  I'm pleasantly confined by a lack of storage space which means my materials have to earn their right to be there!  I usually know how I might use something long before I buy it.  But occasionally I spot something that has potential, without clearly knowing what I might use it for.  And that was the case with this pack of cotton rag paper zigzags that I bought at the start of 2016.  I've worked on this type of paper before - it's challenging and rough but worth the effort. (Click to see slightly larger pieces on this paper.)

Two other significant strands of my creative practice wove into what happened with these little zigzags.  Firstly was the ability, which I'm very slowly developing, of not joining in with everything.  There's so much on offer, so many challenges, techniques, tangles - it's wonderful and overwhelming.  I want to dive in, but I don't want to drown.  I want to graze along the buffet table, sampling the delights rather than gorging myself.

Way back in early summer I spotted a few people on Facebook doing something wonderful where they tangled in a concertina book and their tangling travelled over each fold and onto the next.   They called it the Infinite or Endless Zentangle Project.  And a bit of questioning led me to discover that it was the brainchild of Natalie Plechkova.  She blogs about it here on her website - it's written entirely in Russian, but you can translate it via Google and get a fair approximation of her meaning.  And of course the images are a true delight in any language.  For a more instant visual hit take a peek at her Instagram feed.

I was charmed and hungry but knew that the true beauty of this thing was being able to stick with it over the long distance and I doubted my own stamina.  A few weeks later I had an idea - perhaps I could do something similar but over a shorter distance?  A finite Zentangle project?  And suddenly those zigzags heard their true calling. 
On the 14th June I tangled the first panel on my first zigzag.  I noted on the back that it was a rainy, chilly Thursday.  I completed another panel every week for the next 15 weeks.  I stopped myself from doing more than one panel a week.  This was a case of pace not race!

Here it is.  Filled with more tangles than I care to list.  All packed more tightly together than I would usually do.  Each panel measures about 7cm x 8cm.  Here is is laid flat to allow for a better look.

One week after finishing the first I started another.  The 20th July, when I noted that it was cloudy but we'd still had no rain.

For this one I used Margaret Bremner's rope string idea - but needed to create breaks between panels for the rope to look right.

Somewhere along the way I decided I needed a name for these things - naming has power, it makes us feel connected to things.  I like playing with words, breaking them and putting them back together again.  I stirred a few things on my tongue but came to like the word Zigzangle!  So that's what I am calling these.  For you they might answer happily to another name!

On this one I let grid tangles take centre stage.  Jumping back and forth adding extra little details in to tie the panels together.  But still only working on one panel a week.  I began this third Zigzangle on 31st August where I observed the first intimations of autumn.

Although I've been working on these little strips of paper and ink for a few months I'm only sharing them with you now.  And that's due to the second creative movitation, and one that I talked about a while ago when I mentioned the benefit of sometimes working for yourself alone.  I wanted one-to-one time with my Zigzangle.  I wanted to get to know them, and know them well, before I told you what they were and showed you what they looked like.  But now I have, I'm glad I have.  And I hope for you it was worth the wait.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

spiral-bound scribblings

As I headed to my sketchbook today to note down a couple of new tangles that have taken my fancy I realised it's been a while since I shared my sketchbook secrets with you.  So here goes with the four pages I've filled since June -

Points of interest - 
  • Having fun cutting Wholly Hollibaugh type 'holes' in all sorts of tangles.  I'm late to the party but this is an area I want to explore much, much more
  • Playing with coloured ribbons - as introduced in videos for Zentangle Project Pack #3
  • Tangles I found but want to use more - Tektonik and Ila

Points of interest -

  • More Wholly hole making - this time through Icantoo
  • Copying down a few ornate border tangles that I spotted while reading The Book of Zentangle
  • Drawing in white having blacked out a big mess that I've now forgotten entirely
  • My first Diva Dance leaf - I've since drawn them all over the place
  • Tangles I found but want to use more - Poa and Cindyer

Points of interest - 

  • Having fun threading things through Tropicana and Scallamp - two tangles I love
  • Various scribblings as practice for IAST or Square One tiles
  • Rediscovering Reef and Kathy's Dilemma - both of which I met when first learning via the One Zentangle a Day book 
  • Tangles I found but want to use more - JoVi and PeelD

Points of interest - 
  • Lots of Hexonu - every time I use it in practice I like it - try to put it on a tile and it all goes wrong
  • A few examples of Divi drawn as I started to develop the tangle 
  • Quli - drawn free hand without a grid, having discovered it on Linda's blog and saying I would test drive whether it could be done gridless!  And it can - without a doubt!
  • A pop of red as a warm up for the most recent Mosaic Project I took part in
  • Tangles I found but want to use more - MIR.I.Am and Y.I.Am

I've included some links this time - to tangles or techniques that I mention.  But if there is anything else you spot that you can't decode or would like to know about please just ask!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

all the difference

Good things come to those who wait.  The new tangle I'm about to share with you appeared as a mere inkling a couple of months ago.  I've given it time to grow, to develop, to change and truly show itself to me.  But now I think it's ready to see the light and to maybe hop from my page to yours.

It arose while planning how to fill a couple of leaf shapes on some stunning eco-dyed tiles that a Travelling Tangler in my swap group sent to me.  This is not one of those tiles, but looks similar - and seems a good place to start as autumn begins to comb her fingers through our days. 

Looking leafy - filled with other tangles and wrapped and surrounded by dark auras.
On pastel paper with white highlights.

The tangle is based on a series of Y shapes each fitting into the next and growing smaller as they go.  You may see Y shapes, you may see forked branches or paths, or turned upside down perhaps even wishbones.  I call it Divi because of the nature of it constantly dividing itself.  If the forks of Divi were in Robert Frost's road in the woods there'd be plenty of choices ahead of you!

The step out is really quite simple.  Divi is very forgiving of wobbles and inconsistencies.  Your Y shapes can be curvy, or straight, or really wavy, or looping upwards or downwards or any which way. I've also shown how it can be drawn along a band (which you could pencil in first).

In this next example I've mirrored the starting Y shape, and filled the spaces between branches with Shattuck.  I've then put more thick auras down both sides, and then a few Fescu.  The bands looked a bit too stark so I added some black dots to break them up.

Looking like wings and beaks and feathers and all that flies in the night.
Black tile, while Gelly Roll, white charcoal.

If you draw Divi along a band it can then be embellished in multiple ways.  Tangled like this it has similarities to Chainlea, but is different enough too I think?

Looking beautiful in shades of blue.  Endless potential for variation. 
I even weaved Fescu through the holes in one of them!

I can be drawn without much additional ornamentation - and take on another look entirely.  This version nods to Ruutz and also to Wind Farm - but again, it differs significantly too.

Looking tumbled - each Divi section jumps off from the one before. 
I darkened some of the lines and added touches of Tearce. 
On a Brusho coloured tile - pigment ink and graphite.

Lastly it can transform into something far more geometric.  You can also fill the bands of Divi itself rather than the spaces between.

Looking shiny and new.  Divi with corners instead of curves. And filled with Clob.

Sometimes I think that the measure of a good tangle isn't just how it looks on the tile, but how it makes you feel when you tangle with it - and I know I'm biased but I'm really enjoying the diminishing divisions of Divi and I hope you do too.  I'd love to hear how you get on with it and to see your creations.

As always, if this tangle appears to be too similar to any others in name or style, please let me know. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

a little of what you fancy

I don't think I have too many art supplies.  If gathered together in one place they would fit in two drawers of my old bureau.  I've seen people with far more, and equally people who create magic with a ballpoint pen on scrap paper.  I resist the urge to buy every new pen that catches my eye.  I read copious reviews before trialing a new paper.  And often I come back to my old favourites again and again.  But sometimes I think perhaps I have more than enough - in the literal sense of the phrase.  I have more than I can hold in mind.  More than I can choose from.  Things get forgotten, which of course also allows for the thrill of rediscovery.  

And so it was this week.  The Diva challenged us to tangle with straight lines only.  I knew I wanted to draw bands of Shard, a tangle I rarely use despite it being a close cousin to Baton which is one of my favourites.  I almost grabbed a square tile, then I remembered my 3Zs!  A little box of precious triangles I treated myself to earlier this year!

Diva #368 - Shard / 3Z tile / pigment ink / graphite

I recently took myself a week long holiday at home.  Time spent with loved ones, away from normal activities, chores, hours spent on this computer.  We talked, we read, we ate cakes, we laughed, loved, listened to starlings singing from the fir tree, we slept late and long, and walked out on a grey day to a beautiful little churchyard.  And of course I wanted to tangle, but didn't want to be rooting through options.  So before I 'left' I packed up a little set.  3 tiles cut down from Zentangle Apprentice tiles, to something postcard shaped (roughly measuring 11 x 8 cm).  My trusty black Uni Pin 01, a turquoise Copic SP I very rarely reach for, a Zig Clean Color Brush in Haze blue and a pencil and stump.  And these are the tiles that came from that. 

Bran and Printemps / Shattuck, Bunzo, Clob, Beadlines, Printemps / Huggins, Antidots, Clob

To summarise - I like having choices, but not too many.  I like limitations too, but only if I know I can break free!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

searching for neverland

Earlier this year The Diva did a wise thing. She recognised that she needed to take a break from creating and sharing her weekly challenges with us. And she not only recognised that need but she claimed it too. And she asked us to support her in this, as I'm sure we all have, much as we've missed her. She was also incredibly brave in telling us why she needed that break. Just because she's back we should assume she might never need to take a break again. Her return is a valuable reminder for us to listen to ourselves, listen for the sometimes quiet voice of our needs.  To ask and claim and sometimes demand what we require.

Sometimes the momentum of life keeps us moving on without giving us the chance to stop and take stock of where we are, where we come from and where we might be going.  Zentangle, and particularly this week's Back to Basics challenge, gives one way to take stock thanks to these little black and white snapshots.


Just over five years ago, on the 18th June 2013, I drew my first ever Zentangle tile.  A square of postcard paper, a black fibre tip, a Woolworths pencil.  Since then I've learnt so much.  A wide array of different tangles and techniques.  My pen control has improved enormously. I've learnt to use highlights and shade safely even near thick black ink on those super soft tiles!  I've learnt the value and pleasure offered by superior materials.

I often share my very first tile with new tanglers, or people who are doubting their ability.  With regular mindful practice it's almost impossible not to improve, and having fun while doing so!


Today I drew a tile - on beautiful Italian paper, with a juicy Pigma Micron pen, and my trusty old Woolworths HB pencil.  I started with four dots, a border, a string based on my initials and chop.  I used the same three tangles from that June day - Crescent Moon, Static and Tipple.  And it couldn't look more different.

And while I'm thrilled  and grateful at all the progress I've made there's a little bit of me that misses  the naivety of where I started from.  That giddy combination of not knowing what you're doing but loving it all the same.  The innocence of just putting marks on paper without a bulk of knowledge and ideas all trying to suggest themselves loudly in your ear.  But I'm not Peter Pan, I had to grow up, but maybe one day I'll come full circle and find my way back to Neverland. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

opportunities lost and found

I've only sent a handful of tiles to dear Adele in time for her weekly It's a String Thing challenges.  A few I've finished but too late for the deadline and I've posted them here instead.  But the rest I've still managed to enjoy thanks to sticking to my year long pledge to make at least a Bijou if I don't have time for a full tile.  Although admittedly some of these were completed some time after the challenge!

These are real tests of economy and invention, how to fit the string, or occasionally only part of the thing onto a tiny tile.  How to bring in two or three tangles and make them play nicely.  How to get shading and highlight and sometimes colour harmoniously working in a two by two inch space.  Challenging,  but really rewarding too!

On quite a few of these tiles my tangling deviated quite some way from how the tangle is 'meant' to look - my D'rua insisting on becoming Antidots, and my Baraquillos is totally wrong but looks just as tasty!  But how much of life really turns out like it's meant to? At least in Zentangle you can still guarantee a happy ending!

A few of these were done on pastel paper - I find it works nicely for the limited space, allowing for simple highlights and shading to really stand out.  It was drawn a while ago but IAST #253 features a broken version of Printemps that I've drawn a few times.  It's a simple but incredibly versatile tangle as shown by Margaret Bremner in her hot-off-the-press post - Printemps, And Then Some.

And as always there were a couple of pleasant surprises.  I had a couple of tiles that I'd done some watercolour blobs onto and then discarded onto the pile.  I picked one for challenge #245 which was donut / doughnut themed!  It had a jammy look to it that I thought might work.  I didn't really like the string, or the tangle selection - and yet I really like the finished tile!  Isn't that strange!  And the same happened with challenge #255 - I played with Konk but didn't like it a great deal, but once I tangled it over some colour bursts I love it.  And some tweaking and shading made me see the appeal of Flog too!

I'm sure I'll miss a few more IAST challenges before the year is out, but there's always a ready supply of  tiny tiles in my little tin! 

I've had a bit of a tidy up here, a new header banner, which I aim to change seasonally.  But most importantly I've tidied up all the different buttons to my tangles on my sidebar.  Instead they are all group together clickable via the single Ragged Ray's Tangles button.  Thanks to Susie Ng for her invaluable technical help!

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

for your eyes only

Maria Thomas recently wrote a blog post asking for advice for new tanglers.  I responded by suggesting people shouldn't be over-eager to share the all the results of their tangling.  Don't get me wrong, I love seeing people's art, and I love sharing my own.  But I think some balance has value too.  I think we can tend to feel that everything we produce is for the public eye, and that can make us overly self-critical.  If instead a tile is sometimes only for us it can be something more precious, more personal.  And perhaps we'll share it later, but when we've come to know it better.  Which might eliminate some of those 'this is a bit rubbish' disclaimers that people post beneath their work!  I feel that I was lucky to initially learn Zentangle  from a book, with only my pens and tiles and paper and no-one to show it to.  I still like to do that now - tangle tiles, play with ideas and not share them at all, or at least not straight away.  For every benefit of an online community - whether that is blog-based, Facebook groups, Instagram - there are drawbacks too.  It's not about not doing it, but bearing in mind the influence it has on your practice of the art.

That said, here are some of the pieces that I've worked on over the past few weeks. 

This started as a practice piece - playing with how white gel and pencil only would look on a tan tile.  I drew a little section of Krokus in a frame.  And I loved how it looked - to the degree that I forced myself to leave the tile at that, nothing more.

I recently got lucky and stumbled across some bargain priced original Zentangle tiles, which encouraged me to get reckless with the scissors and do one of those cut ups that were all the rage at the end of last year.  I'm heavily into Diva Dance Rock 'n' Roll at the moment and stumbled on the idea of only filling in certain parts with black - I really like the result.  Some curls of white Diva Dance on the black side and metallic purple Therefore to pull it all together!

In a developing theme I finished a tile for Adele's It's a String Thing #256 challenge - but not in time!  But here it is!  A simple band of the lovely Mazorito - with single Horti sprouting from it here and there.  All done on a grey pastel paper tile, with shading and white highlights galore!

And lastly, it's that time again where the Queen of Tangled Mosaics Annette asks for contributions for her forthcoming Project.  This time she gave us a string based on the Zentangle ribbons done in Project Pack #3.  And she asked us to tangle and shade some of them in red!  Which was quite daunting as I find it quite an unfriendly colour and usually only use my red pen for step-outs.  But once I'd found a pencil that matched I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  These are the two tiles I'm sending her and I can't wait to see what they look like mixed in with all the others - she'll share the results on 5th September.

Back in May I shared this tile that I was sending to Annette for Project #13 and once the Project was done she sent me a mini Mosaic she'd made with my tile alone.  Every time I'm wowed when I see how a single tile can be flipped and rotated and grow into something so wonderful.  And of course the full glory is when all of our individual tiles come together - in many different layouts - see the full story of Project #13 here.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

mad dog days

It's been weeks since my last tangled confession.  Our overheated summer has continued. Every so often we get a day or two when the temperature dips, and hopes rise, only for the mercury to start creeping up again.  Our garden is parched - lawn browned to straw, the soil solid and cracked.  Curls of bark and more than the usual number of leaves tumble from our eucalyptus.

The bark was rough beneath my pen, the leaf almost waterproofed.  Mooka and Printemps will travel with these remnants as they go with the green waste for recycling.

I feel heavy and sluggish and dried out.  Even my ideas are starting to wither.  I've not tangled much.  I've finished some swap tiles sent to me by others, somehow that's felt easier, as if they've already broken the barrier of the blank page.  And the handful of tiles I've drawn on my own have taken a long time to emerge. I've added little bits over the course of weeks - not my usual way of working - but at least something to mark the period, to share with you.

Bursts of red against the blue - Ying, Hollibaugh and Printemps

It's a String Thing #252, which I didn't finish on time -
just the warm and wonderful Deeday.

I tried something new... inspired by a conversation with Michele Wynne about her hesitation to working on pre-strung Zendala tiles.  I wondered what would happen if I partially ignored the pre-strung lines, or used them in a non-symmetrical way.  I think the result is less pleasing than I had hoped, but it was interesting to do - something rather liberating about the feeling of breaking the 'rules'.  I'm sure I'll try it again sometime.

I tissue-dyed the tile before tangling with hexagonal Aquafleur, Elirob, Scrawls, Fassett and Printemps

Since starting to write this post we've had a welcome break in the weather.  Last Friday afternoon - a little thunder, a flash of lightning and then a most gentle rain.  We stood outside and let it fall on us, greeted like we've never seen it before.  On Sunday it poured all day, and in the early hours of Tuesday morning I woke to hear yet more rain overflowing from our neighbours gutters.  The lawn is starting its return to green. But this is respite, not cure - the forecast says the heat will return by the end of this week. 

Friday, 29 June 2018

in the shadow of the sun

It's getting hot here in the UK, and while blue skies and sunshine hold a certain appeal I find myself growing sluggish.  I have limited focus and energy, but at the same time I find many ideas flitting through my mind.  I have inklings - to start some kind of larger project, maybe just for myself, maybe including others - maybe both.  The idea keeps shifting and evolving.  Who knows if it will see the light of day, but if it does it won't be today.  For today I'll share a few recent tiles I've completed in those rare moments where inspiration and execution met.    

I drew this black tile a couple of weeks ago.  I'm determined to keep working on black tiles, as I love the look, but need to fully embrace the differences from tangling on white.  I used to think black tile work was quicker than white.  But now I know that's not the case.  I need to work just as slowly, and carefully consider the tile at each stage, turning and working out where more is needed, so as to build up something pleasing.  On this one I used Mooka in a Paradox kind of way and then filled it with Printemps.

This next tile was my contribution to Adele Bruno's recent challenge (#248), where she invited us to work with the lovely Drupe.  I started with every intention of sending it to her, but it took me too long.  Here she shares the tiles she did receive - and what a wonderful bunch they are!  I tangled on a tile I'd made a long time ago when I first got my Distress Inks - complete with a strange stain!  I tangled in dark red and popped an extra bump into each Drupe section - which made the shading extra fun.  My tangling completely ignored the string, but I popped it back in afterwards!  The finish tiles reminds me of laying under parasols on sunny days, or perhaps the big top tent at the circus.

I recently bought myself a whole box of 3Z tiles to play with and I started this week by grabbing one and tangling this.  I had no plan and just used whatever tangles came to mind and fit the space - Mooka, Nik, Arukas and Hollibaugh all appear in small amounts.  I love the way these tiles encourage a 3 sided symmetry, and I'm excited to see where playing with them will take me.

And lastly this tile, which I tangled yesterday.  I grabbed a tile from my stash that I had coloured with Brusho powder - I'm experimenting to find ways to tame these powders so that they show what they're made of without being so overpowering that the tangling has to fight to compete.  It was an increasingly hot day and my tangling seems to reflect that - 2 bands of Sling-Slang, and a middle section using the Lisbon fragment - which was all the rage last summer and is demonstrated to admirable effect by Margaret Bremner.  It was slow work, but absolutely what I needed.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

curiouser and curiouser

It's been 3 months since I shared the innermost secrets of my sketchbook with you.  So here we go again.  My practice pages have become even darker and more dense as the year has moved on - with tangles tucking in, around and under each other.  I wonder if this says more about my mind or my creative style - and where is the dividing line between one and the other?

Points of interest - some inky aured Pokeleaf which appeared in a challenge tile.
Rediscovering Romancy, Loop Lopp and Coil.
A giant Paradox, and a tiny Wholly-Hollibaugh-Flux thing.
Playing with new blue pens for Marguerite Samana's Delft technique.

Points of interest - practicing Tomas Padros' Pickpocket.
  Discovering Krokus, Pernula and the wonderful Nik and Kaboom!
  Creating a juicy Mooka border that I really love!

Points of interest - playing with Adele Bruno's new tangle, Mack.
  Re/discovering Odee, Reno and Elirob.
  Tucking curvy tangles against straight - Flux and Ing.
  Playing with Mooka inside some circles.

Points of interest - playing with Diva Dance Rock 'n' Roll roses.
  Hearts and Diamonds and the first appearance of Miff!
  A Nik / Arukas fusion that I really like!
  'Down the Rabbit Hole' - dense and time consuming but such fun!

I've made a few notes on each image, pointing out things that I particularly like - but you might spot others that take your fancy.  Feel free to ask if there is anything you'd like named or explained!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

a little something

It's often the finishing touches that really bring a tangled piece to life.  Those little additions joining disconnected sections, or adding a light border, or breaking out from a tight clump of tangling to loosen it a bit.  Favourites that I used often are Beadlines, Barberpole and the lovely Tearce - which bears the strongest relation to the latest tangle I've developed!

Idly browsing Twitter recently I spotted someone with a little tile on their desk featuring Miffy the rabbit - a Dick Bruna character that has charmed children and adults alike for over 60 years! On this ceramic tile she is peeking out from behind a Delft style plate, with a charming border I couldn't resist working into a tangle.

An image of the tile
that inspired the tangle

She needed to get credit in the name - but sticking with my self-formed habit of 4-letter tangle named I'd like to introduce you all to Miff -

The simplest of step-outs

I hope you like it - it's super simple to draw, very forgiving of wobbles and mistakes, with plenty of scope for variation.  Here it is on four Bijou tiles to give you a taste of how it works.

Miff - 4 ways

Changing the style of the line you draw in Step 2 can really alter the look.  In addition, not pictured, you can draw it larger, with deeper cups for greater drama.  You could also have them overlapping, or back to back as a filler pattern. 

As always, if this tangle is too similar to any others in name or style, please let me know.  And obviously, have fun with it and let me know how you get on!

Friday, 18 May 2018

coming around again

I've carried the idea for my Diva Challenge tile all week.  I knew I wanted to take a simple tangle and aura it in different ways.  Which is what I did with Flux on this unstrung Zendala tile.  I knew I wanted to colour the sections between.  And all that went much as hoped -  but then it came to the shading, the part I often enjoy the most - and then I got stuck.  I find shading auras tricky.  And shading Flux can either be very time-consuming (if you shade each leaf) or a bit basic if you just run a line down the middle.  I went with the latter approach, but wonder if it's lacking something?

But sometimes the most important thing Zentangle gives me is learning to live with imperfections.  Inadequacies.  Of time, ability, energy.  It reminds me that even with short supply of any or all of those you can still make something and hold it in your hand at the end of a week and say 'I made this'!

Flux - aura - repeat! 

I haven't always had time, ability or energy to draw a tile for Adele's weekly It's a String Thing Challenge recently - but I've managed to catch up on those I've missed on the limited space of a Bijou tile.  I've played with different colours and shading techniques - some I like more than others.

Top row - IAST #232, #233 and #236 
Bottom Row - IAST #240, #241 and 242

Do you find your art seems to come in ebbs and flows? I have patches where I'm really feeling it, in tune with the materials, brimming with ideas and loving the results.  And then I hit a patch where nothing seems to come good.  And looking back you think that the work you were doing months or years ago looks better than what you're producing now?  But then another day you can see the progress you are making, the skill and confidence that is steadily growing.  Do you feel that and think it's just you - it's not - it's me too!