Wednesday, 25 June 2014

come again

Things took a different turn over at the Diva's place this week - where guest Sharla Hicks asked us to Redux / Remix / Revisit one or two of our frequently used tangles.

I varied the size and direction of Flux
and had Tipple pooling and dripping
down.  I tried to shade with watercolour
and stippled with a coloured pen.
One of the things I like about Zentangle is its mindlessness - no, that's not quite right, its mindfree nature.  The fact I can sit and let the pen make strokes and see where they take me.  But sometimes it's good to make it a more mindful activity.  To really worship the form and honour it and see if it's willing to grace us with even more beauty and pleasure.

I tried to make Tipple textural by having
it wrap the columns and I let Flux tumble
free.  I tried to shade more heavily than
I would usually.
To choose which tangles to redux I went back to some of the first ones I learned and those I use often but tend to be lazy with - using them over and over in the same ways I originally learned them.  The two culprits I chose were Flux and Tipple.  Flux I always have as meandering vine with even sized leaves on each side.  Only once or twice have I drawn it as a fixed clump.  And Tipple is always a helpful little filler, but never much of a star in its own right.

I altered Flux and drew it as a freehand
grid 'wrapping' a solid.  I tried to alter the
size of Tipple to create dark and light
but lost focus a bit!
In addition I wanted to try to give more thought to shading, and to the layout of my tangles on the tile - I always tend to stick to the square border and fill it - but often admire the tiles of those who deviate from this.

I spent a long time playing in my sketchbook and then produced three tiles (click on any image to enlarge) over two days - each to some degree succeeding in doing something new.  It was a great challenge, and has opened a new way of exploring tangles.  I know I'll do this again.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

under my skin

One of the great things about a good tangle is that it has room to grow.  You can get to know it.  You can develop a rapport.  It can accompany you to new and unexpected places.  A good tangle is much like a good friend.  While Mooka and I still have an uneasy alliance, Auraknot excites me and my ease with Auraknot encouraged me to try something different with Mooka.  This is the result -

Diva Challenge #172 - take two
To begin with I wasn't that happy with the colour combination I'd used on this tile - there was something a bit 'off' about it - but she said it looked okay, a bit like bruised skin, and I kind of liked that so stuck with it.  Mooka wrapping a dark border and an Auraknot centrepiece.  Some stippling with the Micron, and it all comes together looking a lot like a tattoo.  Which is apt as the Diva's original post mentioned her Mooka tattoo.  And while I'm not likely to get a Zentangle tattoo, I'm sure to use these tangles again.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

catch it while you can

Some tangles take a bit of getting used to.  And so it goes with Auraknot, which I encountered for the first time yesterday via the Diva's latest challenge.  I had a go, following one of the written step-outs and got in a terrible mess.  It was like that the first time I tried Baton and Betweed.  Lines firing off in all directions, and few reaching their target.  I didn't feel much pleasure from the process at that stage.

Later in the day, I sat for twenty minutes and watch the official video of how to draw it, and in Rick and Maria's capable hands I saw that I could do this.  At one point I heard Rick in the background saying how the tangle was forgiving - and that worked like a magic word.  I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and went for it - and filled two sides with some passable Auraknots.  It had clicked.

And so today I did this -

Never that comfortable with Mooka I just put in a few 'Mooka clips', to hold down my Auraknot.  I might come back at some point and add a little colour, or maybe not.  As it is I think it gives a nod to my youth, my fascination with fantasy and magic.  It reminds me of those dream-catchers we all had in our windows at one time.  I wonder what dreams this will catch?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

hundreds and thousands

Last Sunday I was idly tangling in the sun.  And I found myself drawing a few strings of tiny beads.  I find I often reach for the tangle Beadlines when I'm stuck with a way to bring two areas together. 

Come Monday, the Diva introduces her bead based challenge and tells us about Beads of Courage.  I'd never heard of the idea before and presumed it was just a US thing - then on the tv that night, I see a girl with her own string of such beads.

It took me till today to work out how I wanted to take on the challenge - and then it fell into place.  I'd printed out two copies of the Bright Owl Zendala #94, one for that challenge and one as a spare - and suddenly I could see all those faint printed lines as strings for my tiny Sunday beads.  In uncharacteristic bright and warm colours, my partner pointed out that some even look like bees!

The finished Zendala reminds me of summer's long gone - of tied-dyed dresses and drinking cider from bendy plastic pint glasses.  Of hayfever and live music lost to the sky.  And wearing far more beads than is strictly necessary.


I only discovered Erin the Bright Owl shortly before she flew away for a short break.  But this week she's back on her branch, with a new challenge template for us to play with.

Her suggested theme is Happy.  Well, obviously tangling makes me happy.  But this week summer seems to have properly arrived and that's filling my thoughts, my writing and my tangling too.  Everything I tangle seems brighter, looser, more airy.

And again I find I like the different approach that Zendala asks for.  The decision as to whether to join or subdivide sections.  The choice of what tangle will work in these small spaces.  The repetition through each section of the tile.  The symmetry.

When I read I like to shift between books.  When I write I like to work a bit on one project, then move to another. I find it is at these junctions and shifts that the sparks really happen.  And so it is with Zentangle.  I wouldn't want to focus solely on Zendala, traditional tiles or ZIA.  But shifting between them, picking up ideas from one and trying them in the next place - that's where the magic happens.  That's when I'm happy.

And so to my take on Zendala #94 -

Only a few proper tangles appear here.  Some Flux, Eke, something a bit Aquafleur-ish round the edge.  I've been playing with Meer lately and that influenced the lined parts which look like clover now they're finished.  It's definitely got a summery vibe -  I feel like I could lay back on it and watch the sky spin on forever!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

sound the Bugles

A downwards progression - featuring Msst,
Prestwood and Tipple
One of the many interesting aspects of Zentangle is the way the tangles are meant to be non-representational.  This is one of the keys that really allows us to unleash our carefree artist selves - without the fear of whether what we draw looks like what it's meant to be.

For me it's a great outlet from my daily writing work, where I'm striving hard to make each word I chose capture as best I can whatever I'm trying to get across.  A break with a tile and pen allows movement and freedom and blissful meaninglessness.  However, as soon as I put that pen down and look at my tile, I snap back into the represented world.  I start to see all sort of things in my tile.  But that's fine, by then I need to get back to noticing things in that way.

Bunch of delights - Diva Dance, Rain,
Verdigogh and Henna Drum
When I set out playing with Bugles for this week's Diva Challenge I happily drew away thinking of nothing more than where the pen might take me, where a straight or a curve line might work, where dark and light should meet or steer clear of one another.  But when I stepped back from the finished tile, true to form, I saw all sorts of things that tied in with what I'd been reading earlier that day.  I could see rain dripping down to a parched and buckled land.  I could see elephant trunks.  I could see childhood beaches and ice-cream cornets.  And all that without me intending any of it.

Keeping it simple - with added Cruffle
I thought it might be fun for a second tile to swing wildly the other way - to intend to draw something, to set out to make a picture with the tangles.  I deconstructed Bugles - lifting the cones from the Bales-like connectors.  Set that way they reminded me of those plastic cones that florists sell flowers in - and if tangles grew on trees, what a bouquet that would be!

For some reason then I felt that I should come back round, to where we start from, an intention of no intention.  A third and final tile - with Bugles again lifted from it's moorings.  And tucked a little more snuggly into each of it's neighbours.  A simple square of paper and ink - and nothing more to it that whatever you want it to be.