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.