Wednesday, 18 December 2019

grey skies and muted blues

It's not always easy - even with the things you love the most. I've struggled in a number of ways during the second half of the 12 Days adventure. For one we've had so many dark days of rain, and I like to tangle in natural daylight so I've been trying to catch the odd hour here and there where it's been bright enough. I've also started to feel a little resistant to the colour blue following the recent result of the UK general election! In addition I felt a little underwhelmed by some of the recent Zentangle videos - the ideas just didn't spark my interest as much as they sometimes do, which perhaps ties in with my fourth struggle – finding the time and energy to tangle at this hectic time of year.

But the good thing about spending time doing the thing you love, is that it encourages you to overcome most barriers that arise. So I tried to keep tightly focused on the method that is central to Zentangle. Focused on the fact that it's about the process rather than the product, focused on the fact that I can turn these tiles whichever way I want, whichever way works on any given day.

So for the second half of my 12 Days offerings I've muted the blue, and while I've held onto each idea, I've carried it a little closer to my natural and comfortable tangling style. So my tiles are a little darker, a little more minimal than those shared by the ZT team. But I love these tiles, and I loved tangling them, despite my lack of energy and the sky's lack of encouragement.

On Day #7 we were encouraged to play with an oversized Bales -
which we then filled with pods and auras. In the spaces of our grid
we put a three-pointed Well style fragment. I chose to contain my
tangling in just one half of the tile.

On Day #8 Maria demonstrated a whirling dervish of tangling -
with abundant embellishment and shading and gold pen. It's a look
she carries off so well, but not me! I tamed mine a great deal – adding
more black, less blue, less variation on the fills, but including Beadlines
and choosing to have two of the Cadent style frames on my tile.

On Day #9 there were a couple of aspects that I just
wasn't keen on, so I tangled this instead. Using an ATC
sized tile allowed the tangled spiral to feel more settled.
I left out the tricolour background and instead just used a
little graphite and some tiny white gel Therefore dots.

Day #10 seemed to take using a very different direction, feeling far
more botanical and calm than any of the other days. This surprised
me at first but proved to be a welcome oasis of calm. I  got
thoroughly lost tangling my Bronx Cheer, Flux and Mooka,
and even a sprinkling of Fescu. Adding just a hint of graphite,
white and blue pencil. Rounding is always the finishing touch - and
then also a 3Z sized triangle frame drawn behind - I don't know why -
it just looked like it belonged there!!

When Rick tangles Paradox you can clearly see he's in his comfort
zone. Not so for me! By Day #11 I couldn't face 4 Paradox Bijou
tiles - so instead this.  A square the size of a Bijou in the middle of
my tile.  I left the centre of each Paradox open allowing me to drop
some Beadlines through the holes, plus a couple of black ribbons.

For Day #12 Maria led us through a variation of Hollibaugh to create
the look of a coffered ceiling. I relished this exploration - it embodied
everything I love about Zentangle - seemingly complex but broken
down into mindful attainable steps.  In a nod to where I started - I drew
a faux Zendala on a 4 inch Strathmore grey tile.  My initial bands came
out thinner so I put in more, and I got a little carried away with shading!
I know I'll play with this idea lots more!

We've reached the end of the Zentangle countdown, and there's a week to go until Christmas Day, but this will be my last blog post for the year. I've prepared some tiles that I hope to tangle during our festive break - and I'll share them here a week or so into the New Year. Thank you for reading my posts, and looking at my pictures over the past 12 months - it's been wonderful to share my tangled meanderings with you. Best wishes for your weeks ahead, however you spend them. See you in 2020!

Thursday, 12 December 2019

half a dozen days in December

Every year I look forward to the 12 Days of Zentangle activities.  Whether you buy their Project Pack or not (I didn't) it's a great invitation to watch the videos, tangle along and know you're joining many other tanglers around the world who are doing the same.  It's also a great chance to take some time in your day, to tangle and unwind from the inevitable momentum we gain as the year heads toward its festive finale.

This is the 4th year I've joined in and I often take the ideas in a slightly different direction to suit my mood.  For a couple of years I worked in a sketchbook - and last year I tangled along on one of my Zigzangle's instead of the suggested spinner. This year I needed to make the suggestions work with my Winter Inklings colour scheme.  The grey tiles get a big tick of course, but I wasn't planning on using any colour for this month, however the ideas that Zentangle are sharing do rely on a little pop of colour every day, so I made the exception seeing as it's blue and that works as a winter colour! (Interestingly I also had a burst of blue in my February Winter Inklings when I worked on my Valentangle tiles).  The gold pen had to go, too warm for my idea of winter, but thankfully I had a new silver pen to hand!  I have also used different materials where I'm lacking ones that came in the project pack - but that's great, because it shows that you can have just as much fun, and also produce slightly different results, with whatever supplies you have! I've listed what I used in more detail than usual, which is a little clunky to read but perhaps helpful.  All papers used are discussed on my previous blog post.

On Day #1 I drew 'faux' Bijou on a 4x4 inch piece of Strathmore paper.
I tangled with my Sky Blue Copic and used a blue coloured pencil
(Koh-I-Noor Polycolor 54 / Cobalt Blue Dark) instead of the blue chalk
and it worked fine. I varied my Tipple, colouring some blue,
some white and silvering a handful.

On Day #2 I had a great time working with Tomàs Padrós All Stars tangle 
which I'd used back in Spring. This time it sports a wintery look - on a Murano
pastel paper tile.  Initially a complex looking tangle, the more you use it the
easier it becomes.  White highlights from a Derwent Coloursoft pencil and
white Gelly Roll add bright accents.

On Day #3 I ripped up the rule book - I just didn't fancy that idea on a round grey tile -
I don't know why but I didn't!  So I did it on a watercolour postcard instead,
and added blue watercolour (Clean Color Brush 030 Blue) to the Purk parts,
and only blacked in some of the Jonqal lines.  Graphite and colour shading
sharpens up the finished piece.

On Day #4 I traced around a Bijou tile 3 times onto a regular black tile
and then tangled in silver (Uni-Ball Signo).  I'm not that keen on tangling
predominantly with the metallic pen as the line feels so thick compared
to the white gel, let alone the my usual black 0.1.  But I like the way my
watercolour pencil (Faber-Castell Phthalo Blue) adds a touch of colour
onto the black - that's an idea I might play with again.

On Day #5 I didn't fancy tangling the ornament exactly as Martha did,
so I decided to create a band of ZINGsplatz right across my tile
(Clairefontaine PaintOn).  I'd hope to make it more angular and frosty
looking but of course every line made it more and more soft and curvy -
so there it is.  My white was done using a Graphitint white
pencil. In winter zebras dream of blue flowers!

On Day #6 I tweaked Rick's idea a little - I only inked with a black pen,
added blue into the bands of Hollis using an Irojiten pencil (Horizon Blue VP-8),
and added background of grey texture lines which ties it in with
my recent Hollis tile, although this one is far more minimal.
The key to tangling Hollis is to slow down -
and make the most of whatever strange shapes arise.

So that brings me up to date with the current 12 Days videos.  I'll be back with the rest next week.  There's been days of endless wind and rain of late (apt for the uncertain political times my country is facing today), and many times I've struggled to see the line I'm tangling, or the truth of the colours I'm adding to my tile.  But then a little later, I'll tilt the tile and the silver ink will glint as it catches the light - and there is my moment of hope.

Friday, 6 December 2019

grey is the word

Many people find it dull or depressing but I find it comforting and full of charm and warmth.  It makes me think of clouded skies and favourite knitwear, feathered and furred visitors to our garden.  I'm talking about the colour grey of course. (Or gray if you're reading from the United States!)

I've long loved grey but not used it a great deal as a feature colour in my tangling.  Too often it's simply the colour that gets added when I shade - although it got some attention in January, when I last dipped my toes into Winter themed tangling!   But for the next fews week I'm turning my tangling spotlight onto this wonderful colour to show you what it's capable of.

Trust me when I tell you I'm not sitting a mountain of grey paper, but I rooted through various packs and pads and gathered together quite a sample.  A wide range all claiming to be grey - some dark, some light, some with the barest hint of green, blue or brown.  That's the nature of this colour - it's never easy to pin down, or quantify.  It's also fairly hard to get a photograph that captures their true colours - the truth lies somewhere between the photo of them all together and the scans of my tiles!

[a range of grey papers - detailed below]

1 - Daler Rowney Murano Pastel Paper - from Cool pad - probably Slate
2 - Khadi Paper Dark Grey
3 - Clairefontaine PaintOn Grey Paper
4 - Two Rivers Paper - included in their Studio Pad
5 - Daler Rowney Murano Pastel Paper - from Neutral pad - probably Platinum
6 - Strathmore Artist Tile Toned Gray
7 - Khadi Paper Light Grey
8 - Official Zentangle Gray tile
9 - Stonehenge Colors Paper - Pearl Gray
10 - Bockingford Tinted Watercolour Paper - Grey

I set out on a voyage of exploration - a way to try out some of these papers, to harness and showcase their grey charms, to see which pens and shading styles suited them.  Not a methodical comparison mind you, just a meandering trip through a grey landscape.

I kept my choices simple - a  handful of Official ZT tangles and black pens, white pens, graphite shading, white shading.  First up - something quite minimal, quite sleek.

Mostly just Fife - black ink, graphite and white coloured pencil
on an ATC of Two Rivers Paper (4).  A somewhat delicate paper,
but a rich shade to work on. 

Next up - something different, switching the black pen for the 08 white Gelly Roll with a touch of graphite and some smoky white pastel along the edges.  I find the Pokes quite tricky to tangle elegantly, but rounding helps a lot, a chance to smooth out any anomalies and add definition.

Pokeleaf and Pokeroot - looking frosty and fabulous!
On a tile of Dark Grey Khadi (2) - rough but the Gelly Roll coped fine!

As I moved onwards, each new piece became a favourite - and that's often what happens when I start to get attuned to a certain combination of colour or tile.  I become more confident, but at the same time more calm - more instinctive, more engaged in the process, doing rather than thinking about doing.

Exploring Hollis, with rounding and Tipple - on a tile
of Clairefontaine Mixed Media paper (3).  A lovely paper
to work on, I used the tan version for Inktober.
Black ink, white chalk, graphite and some fine detail
lines in grey ink to add some background texture.

Those three papers all leaned towards the darker and rich end of the grey spectrum, but the next two went to the other extreme, being paler and cooler.

I love how Spoken looks when cut up by the limits
of an ATC.  With Printemps filling certain sections,
rounding and gentle shading in graphite and touches
of white I really like this Stonehenge paper (9).

Last, but by no means least, I tangled on my first ever Zentangle official Gray Tile - released just a few months ago.  This tile seems to be made from the same paper as their Renaissance tiles.  It's a beautiful shade of grey, very classy, very cool - and while you have to work a little gently at the shading stage, both the graphite and white chalk look wonderful

Nothing but Rumpus - looking like frosted flowers. 
This is a tangle that never disappoints offering
a truly mindful calm as you add circle after circle
and then link them together.
Black ink, graphite, and white chalk on a
Zentangle Gray tile (8).

That's all for now with these papers - but I have previously shared tiles tangled on a few of the others.  When I was a novice tangler, way back in 2014, I experimented with my Snag tangle on a Bockingford tinted tile.  A couple of years ago I tangled a lovely set of tiles on the lighter shade of Murano pastel paper.  In January this year I did some reverse Tranzending on a piece of Strathmore

My winter time has begun, the nights are colder, the days shorter - but it isn't often about snow and ice and sparkle here in the UK, there's a lot of damp days and grey skies too.  And that's what my last month of Inklings will celebrate - the beauty of winter even when it doesn't look like the image on a Christmas card, even if it's more likely to be raining than snowing on Christmas Day!

Thursday, 28 November 2019

the still point

Just one piece to share with you this week – but it's a whopper by my standards! I always prefer to work small, but on this rare occasion I decided a bigger area might suit my need.

In the summer of 2018 I was talking about a paper product I'd seen but not tried - Magnani Acquerello round blocks.  Hard to find or massively overpriced in the UK, a generous and kind tangle friend, Jules, offered to send me a few sheets to try. It took till now to give the first one a road test, but it's a great paper - a little thirsty, smooth but with enough tooth to slow me down and take hold of the graphite.

Link to buy in the US via Amazon.
And at long last, a viable UK seller!

They come in two sizes, and I used the smaller one. It's about an inch and a half larger than the official Zendala tile which doesn't sound like much but feels like a lot of extra tangling space!

Just like the days make a week make a month make a year -
so a tile grows, slowly but surely, a little at a time.

I wanted this tile to represent the cusp between two seasons, that point where autumn segues into winter. I worked slowly over the course of a week, laying down my string, my colour (Peerless watercolours), some tangles to define the space, autumn tangles in one section, winter in another.  I considered shading using colour, but decided that smooth blended graphite was the way to go.

A dance of two seasons.
Defining the space - Marasu, Miff, Beadlines and Doodah.
In the Autumn section - Hollis, Gelijoy, Mooka Easy, Tamisolo.
In the Winter section - Arukas, Flukes, Hemp and Fassett.
And right at the middle, Uncorked by Adele Bruno (my very first tangle friend and mentor).

There's lots of different tangles on this tile, more than I would usually put together on a single piece – but the limited colour and shading and the repeat of those black perfs with their tiny white highlights helped unify and simplify the finished piece.

As the last leaves fall and darken in our puddles, autumn waves goodbye.  Winter lingers on the threshold waiting to be invited in. It can't be stopped whether you welcome it or not, but I plan on making friends with it through the next few weeks with my final seasonal Inklings.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

the legacy of a leaf

With just over a month left in this year I find myself tangling less. There's limited daylight to tangle by and I often have one eye on Christmas planning.  I'm spending less time with pen and tile, but that makes tangle time feel all the more precious.

'Nzeppel fills a band of Shattuck and a section of Spoken.
I worked on Strathmore tan toned tiles, trimmed to regular size.

I remember meeting 'Nzeppel - how my first use of it coincided with my first experience of using an official Zentangle tile. And of how it reminded me of fishnet stockings! I don't use it often, and when I do it's usually just a small fragment of Crazy 'Nzeppel.  But I was interested to see how the tangle would fare in the full glare of the spotlight. (While you're at it be sure to check out some of the wonderful ways Margaret Bremner uses this tangle!)

A mostly regular 'Nzeppel fills a Bales string.
No highlights but gently built up shading (using a 4B pencil)
makes Bales rise from the tile.

I used other tangles as if they were strings, and then filled only with 'Nzeppel.  It's a relaxing and forgiving tangle that really comes into its own once you add simple shading.  I considered adding white highlights all over the tiles, but in the end just stuck with a tiny pop of brightness on those two graphite gems.

'Nzeppel fills an Aquafleur - and two thin 'Nzeppel ribbons
add a finishing touch.  A grey gem adds a little shine.

I'd been toying with the idea of trying something different with 'Nzeppel for a few months and I'd imagined tangling these tiles during my Winter Inklings (I pictured fracture ice and frost patterns).  But then I reached for three tan tiles, and noticed how they grew to resemble the dried leaves of late autumn. All colour mostly faded, leaving behind only the skeletons of who those leaves once were.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

full of beans

Last week I enjoyed a holiday at home. Predominantly a week's rest, a disconnection from the outside world, before the return to normality, all set to plough through the last couple of months of this year.

After Inktober and its tangling intricacies, working with two pens and 3 tangles on each ATC, I wanted something different, something easier and therefore more mindful. I remembered I'd bought a sketchbook sometime back that I hadn't used. It was from the wonderful The Pink Pig, a British company that makes sketchbooks in all shapes sizes and colours, and at very reasonable prices. I've got a couple in white, but this is filled with their delicious Cappuccino paper (which is apparently 30% made from recycled coffee cups)! It's a good weight (150gsm) - smooth enough for the pen, with enough tooth to please the pencil, and such a rich shade.

Armed with just a bare minimum of supplies -
the pad is A5 size (roughly 15x21cm).

For my first piece I worked with two tangles that I struggled most with during Inktober.  One was Jalousie, which appeared in my second piece, but I wanted to add some curve and movement and fun to it. The second was Trentwith. A tangle which seemed to polarise people - some loved it, some hated it, I just struggled to give it the attention it deserved.  Fellow tanglers gave me much encouragement, and now I better understand the tumbled heart of Trentwith.

Enjoying the benefits of a larger space -
allowing the tangles to swoop and bloom.

On my second piece I used an oval template to create my string. I filled these initial ovals with bands of shiny, bulging Marasu.  I then went in and added a simple trinity of Mooka, Fescu and Printemps.

Shading and highlighting come to life on this paper -
the tangles look like burnished metal.

I only tangled these two pieces all week – adding a little to them each day. Sometimes that's the most satisfying way to work.

As autumn deepens in the weeks ahead, colour will depart from my tiles, to mimic its steady fading as the natural world around us gets ready for winter. But don't worry it may not be bright, but I'll do my best to make it beautiful!

Thursday, 31 October 2019

unpacking an inky month

This time last year I was writing about the 'failure' of my attempt to join in with Inktober. This year it's a different story, I started well and managed to complete the entire month. I'm pleased with the results and proud of myself. Sensible planning helped – I set my sights realistically, knowing a tile a day would be too much. Instead I decided to do every three days worth of tangles on ATC sized tiles.

Ta-da!  A handful of autumnal delights.

My Inktober experience brought pleasures both old and new from every direction. I enjoyed a return to tan tiles - time away from certain colour schemes has made me relish their rediscovery. I worked with fountain pens in two colours (Diamine's Raw Sienna and Deep Dark Orange). To begin with I was missing my black fine liner, with the all the control it offers. But the more I used the fountain pens the more I came to love their ways (not including the increased risk of smudging!) - and there's something truly thrilling about the variety of coloured inks available, and how economical and renewable they are compared to throwaway pens.

Days 1 to 3 - Printemps, Tunnelvizion, Toodles
Days 4 to 6 - Zonked, Jalousie, Flukes
Days 7 to 9 - Huggins, Bales, Lola

I tinkered about quite a bit before October began, both choosing my materials and deciding on a few embellishments that would carry a sense of unity across the tiles, and make them more cohesive as a group. I used lots of white gel dots on inked auras, as well as areas where I used the ink to make a paler wash, either left bare or tangled once dry - another benefit of working with liquid ink!

Days 10 to 12 - Cubine, InaFlux, Floo
Days 13 to 15 - Yin-Cut, Arukas, Mayhill
Days 16 to 18 - Trentwith, Dreamdex and Sindoo
Days 19 to 21 - Diva Dance, Antidots and Batumber

It was a pleasure to have my tangles chosen for me, doing away with the need for decisions. I worked with familiar tangles I love (Arukas, Antidots), some I struggle with (Tripoli, Ratoon) and others I rarely use (Trentwith, Jalousie). Trying to fit three (and on the last tile four) tangles onto relatively small tile made me think more about how tangles connect or overlap with each other - an area I sometimes struggle with. Links to all the tangles used can be found on this year's list - compiled with care by Stephanie Jennifer. If you didn't join in it's still a great resource to use at any point!

Sharing my pieces every three days in the 7F5R Challenge Facebook group has added to the feeling of being a part of a community effort. I've seen the wonders created by many of my friends, and I've discovered new tanglers whose paths I've never crossed before. I've seen people struggle and people soar - and I've seen 31 tangles used in a wild array of different ways.

Days 22 to 24 - Abundies, Pixiose and Baton
Days 25 to 27 - Tripoli, Ratoon and Crescent Moon
Days 28 to 31 - Well, Well, Who, Kuke, Nik and Florz

Who knows what I'll find myself doing next October, but for now I'm content to share these 10 tiles – a record of a challenge completed, a tan-toned tangle adventure, or merely the passage through one month of this particular autumn.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

the patience of a leaf

Autumn strikes me as a season that won't be hurried.  In its own time it carries the natural world from the warmth of summer through to winter's cold.  Leaves steadily change colour, setting their own pace, deepening and darkening until they eventually drop.  Each leaf will only fall when it's ready - and I like to imagine it's that waiting that allows those leaves to paint themselves in such stunning colours. 

I like to time my time over the things I enjoy - and so it was with this two tile piece.  The tangling and shading took me a couple of hours.  Steady progress - adding ink, then stopping at look at my tile, then adding a little more.  The same with the shading and the highlights.  Pausing often to look and ponder my tile helps me to appreciate the process as well as tweaking my tangling here and there to make it look the best it can.  My tangling won't be rushed any more that the littlest leaf!

Rich and warming - Ginili, Yuma and a Pokeleaf variation.
Pigment ink, graphite, white pencil and Ivory Posca paint pen highlights.
Three shades of Brusho powders created the background - Sandstone, Terracotta and Burnt Sienna.

I've made Persian Mosaics for Winter, Spring and Summer as well as exploring them in the original colours schemes suggested by Marguerite Samama.  Every time I work on these connecting triangles they take me somewhere new and remind me that there is endless variety and pleasure (not to mention value for money) to be had from Marguerite's carefully crafted kits.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

dipping autumn's inkwell

There is no unifying theme to the pieces I'm sharing today other than their warming autumnal tones and the fact that I've worked on them all within the last week.

Inktober is underway once again. Last year I only made it to Day 3 before getting hopelessly waylaid by the lovely Ginili. This year I'm doing better - and I've made it to Day 9 so far! I'll hopefully blog about the whole month once it's done, and share all my tiles and process then - but in the meantime a couple of images to show what I've been up to, especially to those of you who are not seeing my tiles every few days in the Facebook group.

A work in progress photo – real inks in real pens, slightly scary but fun too

Nine days, nine tangles, three tiles

I've also had fun exploring some new tangles recently. Sometimes the best way to get to know a tangle is to simply fill an entire tile with it. Drawing repetitively helps cement the shape in your mind and hand, as well as allowing you to see how it fits together.

Singapore tangler Debbie New recently shared the heart-warming story behind her newest tangle, Wingfrond. I held the connections and friendships that grow from this shared passion tightly in mind and heart as I drew her tangle over and over again. I decided to use a slightly larger piece of paper, to allow the tangle to dance as freely as it chose to, and I like extravagance of the result, but I am curious next time to try and pack Wingfrond more tightly to see how that looks.

Wonderful Wingfrond – pigment ink and graphite on a 12x12cm piece of Medioevalis paper.
Autumnal colour was added in places by blending two Clean Color Brush Pens.

UK based Lucy Farran had a new tangle published recently on Tangle Patterns. Apparently Swooshi came about by replacing the C strokes of Molygon with an S stroke instead. Lucy admits that the tangle doesn't fit together quite as neatly as Molygon but it has a lively look – somewhere between floral and fiery. As with Molygon the trick to drawing this is to relax a little and allow yourself to get into the rhythm of the strokes.

Sensational Swooshi – pigment ink, graphite, watercolour brush pens.
This tangle has vast potential for fills and quite by accident I found
that little blocks of darkness between each piece looked quite appealing.

Hanny Nura just started a new month of her Full Moon Mosaic. She invited us to work this time within a suggested string on a Renaissance tile, with one section coloured. She also introduced a new Zentangle official tangle, called Hollis, which was recently shared at the recent Asian zenAgain event. 

October Moon – featuring Hollis, Bunzo, Cresent Moon, Tipple, Mooka - on a tan Zendala, coloured with Terracotta Brusho, and shaded using black micron, white gel, white and red chalk, graphite
I rarely work on the official Renaissance tiles – their colour is wonderful, but I find the surface so delicate for my rather heavy-handed approach! However I worked slowly and carefully, building up my colour and smoothing my white and graphite shading without totally destroying the paper. Tentative and at times mildly terrifying, but mindful and satisfying too.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

concentrically yours

Sometimes an idea catches hold of me and won't let me go - and that's what happened recently. Hanny Nura shares monthly prompts, and for the September Full Moon Mosaic she invited us to draw concentric rings on a round tile, colour each a different colour, tangle the bands and border with gold. People share their results and a wonderful collaboration arises – each person bringing their own interpretation to the theme.  I shared the following tile in the Full Moon Mosaic Facebook group.

My contribution to the September Mosaic -
for the outer ring I used Eni Oken's version of my Divi tangle.
And moving inwards - Kaboom, Pixiose and Gelijoy.

However, I didn't feel like I finished with the idea. So I prepared four more backgrounds with variations on the idea of concentric rings. I coloured these using just three Ecoline markers - although with greater and lesser intensity, and more blending on some pieces than others.

Broken rings - filled with a rough Ratoon, with Bunzo between -
black beads and shading almost managed to hide the gaps between my rings!

Zem Button style shading brought this simple piece to life -
rings of Marasu and Doodah with a Printemps middle.

On these last two tiles I found myself drifting away from using 'proper' tangles. Instead I was just drawing lines in repetitive ways, but that repetition in itself is very close to the notion of tangling. When I first started my Zentangle journey this would happen sometimes, but as I've got more used to the practice it happens less - and perhaps that's a sad thing to have lost? Following the pen with no destination in mind is sometimes just what you need to do.

I started by drawing an ogee shape mandala flower - filling each section in the same way.
Without intention shapes that resemble familiar tangles start to appear -
relatives of Antidots, Fescu and Msst hide in this glowing bloom.

On this postcard I placed my colour in segments rather than rings - in a faintly
pencilled grid I tangled leaf shapes with tiny Tipple to cover those wobbly edges!

After recent rains gave way to sun the temperature has suddenly plummeted. Autumn can no longer be denied, summer slammed the door on her way out. Not many leaves have fallen yet in our garden, but they're getting ready – their colours are changing, and any day now they'll start to let go. We have evergreens to tide us through the colourless winter months, ivy and laurel - but the green on these tiles will be the last I use this year.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

step into my parlour

It's been almost 5 months since my last confession - since I last showed you my inner workings, the jottings and explorations that fill my sketchbook.

As I browse online any new tangles I spot, or old tangles I'm reminded of, get doodled about with on the torn off papers from my page-a-day desk calendar.  Roughly once a week I have a session where any of those tangles that I like I play with further in my sketchbook.  I might copy the tangle faithfully and then try variations.  I might see how two tangles work together.

My sketchbook then becomes the resource for any tiles or pieces I'm working on.  Often I use recent pages for inspiration, but sometimes I go back, pull out an old sketchbook and rediscover treasures I've long forgotten.  For my recent Relaxagon Paradox tiles I dusted off a page of Paradox variations from 2015! 

Points of interest -
There are tangles here that I've used a lot - Sitiko, Saatin and Blind Membranart
And those that have only had one outing so far - Line Dance and  S-Vine
And those that haven't yet made it to a tile but will when the time is right - the (missed named by me) Oritigol

Points of interest -
A trio of Padrós tangles on this page - often challenging, always rewarding - Tissoooh, All Stars and Taiga
Revisiting Dreamdex - which I struggled with on first meeting but am warming to now
Checkmate and Salo - both proving that simple tangles can be just as charming as complex ones

Points of interest -
New discoveries - Matuvu and Windmill - both of which I love
Spotting harmonious tangle pairings - Seespan and Squirk
Playing with the Ogee shape with nothing else in mind (bottom left)
Points of interest -
The aptly autumnal Gelijoy and Ada which was the star of a recent IAST show
Kaas and RunCC - two wonderful grid type tangles
Skyview which takes much concentration and Violetka which doesn't

Working in my sketchbook is an invaluable part of my Zentangle practice - if you'd never tried it I'd encourage you to give it a go - you might be pleasantly surprised with where it leads you.  And even if you don't fancy that, hopefully there are plenty of tangles here to take your fancy - I wish I could link to them all but that would eat up too much tangle time!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

uneasy explorations

This week my tangling path led me back to the wonderful world of Relaxagons. I shared my first post about them in May, my next in June.  I've been hankering to get back to them for a while, and it was a pleasure to be working within their unique shape, with the careful guidance of Marguerite Samama's instructions.

Warming up - highlighted and shaded and with added Mooka on an orange tile
and with added dots and mini gems on a tan tile

However, the next idea Marguerite invited us to play with proved a real challenge for me!  She wanted us to focus on the tangle Paradox - a great choice as it's a lively geometric tangle which can dance neatly with a six-sided tile. But I have an very uneasy relationship with this tangle. 

Soft colours under Ginili, Divi and Cruffle against a background of fan-style Paradox

Early on in my tangling life I found it a real struggle to learn, as you can see from one of my earliest Paradox tiles.  Since then I'm able to tangle it without too much trouble, and I use a little pop of it every now and then, or use the Paradox principle for other tangles.  But I don't particularly like the tangle.  Despite those curves that appear it's so unforgivingly straight-lined, it's hard to get it to play nicely with other tangles, and it makes me feel utterly incapable when the time comes to shade it!

Something more minimal - three ribbons of Paradox in my early autumn colours

But I'm not one to dodge a challenge - so I persevered and managed to tangle a handful of tiles, some of which I almost quite like, and in a few places I even started to soften a little towards this cold-hearted tangle!

My favourite piece - Paradox in two sided shapes,
with 'Nzeppel and Fescu

Paradox will never be a tangle I use often, or one which gives me great satisfaction to use, but that doesn't matter, as there are so many more to chose from, I can't expect myself to love them all. 

If you'd like to buy the Relaxagons kit it's available from Marguerite's Etsy store.  She also sells her Relaxagon tiles in different colours and paper types.