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.