Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Diva Challenge #301, Made by Joey #150, IAST #181...

Duotangle: Paradox and Diva Dance

Zentangle HQ just released a video demonstrating a super cool mash-up of Paradox and Diva Dance, or a duotangle, if you will. I started this last night and just finished the shading now. I had so much fun with this and now I'm inspired to explore this more in my journal. The beauty of the tile though is the ease and flow of turning the tile is far less cumbersome than my landscape format sketchbook.

Finish My Tile Alphabet Series: E
featuring El Prado
additionally: Emingle and Echo

Once again tweaked to Bijou size. I'm enjoying this series a lot an using it as a prompt to explore new patterns. El Prado is new and though I've seen Echo before, I don't think I've ever used it. It's so simple and I love the textile effect. It reminds me of something I've seen in tribal art.

a Zenbud string
Poser, Puf and Flukes

This one took a long time to take off. I seem to resist challenges where I'm to use grid patterns in small curvy spaces, but that's why they call them challenges.
I've been working a lot in my new sketchbook, prompted by a Facebook group challenge following along the lessons in HQ's Zentangle Primer. My self challenge is to keep it simple at first (if that's my inclination) and then get out of my comfort zone. I could have gone farther with this.

Travelling Tangles Project
tissue paper transfer background

I created this set of starter ATC's to accompany the set of tiles I created for a new swap. I spent a lovely morning last week making several new watercolor/tissue paper pages to cut down into tiles and ATC's. 
Check out my last post for my new watercolor tutorial,  I would love to hear feedback from you if anyone tries this or if there's any confusion or missing information when reading through it. 
I also did some art tissue paper backgrounds too. Here's the link to Sue Olsen's tutorial on this super fun technique (here's a link to the Amazon page if you are able to purchase this tissue online).  Inspired by a comment by Pat Mathes at Gramtangles, I'm going to try out a mash-up of the two techniques. Stay tuned;-)

This one's begging for an organic series

This was the first page using the art tissue
these colors were inspired by the same rooster I used in my tutorial

This was my next attempt, re-using the same strips of tissue.
I love this muted effect!

Finally, exploring some new patterns

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Your thoughtful and generous comments delight and inspire me!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Watercolor Tutorial #2 Inspired by a Rooster

Travelling Tangles Project

I'm ready to send these to my tangle peeps who responded to my swap offer in my last post, though if any of you out there are ever up to swapping, but would rather not go through the Facebook group, leave me a comment and we can connect via email.

I just filled my first album. Crazy!

After a two month (unintentional, but the holidays totally threw me off my game) semi-hiatus from instigating any new Travelling Tangles swaps, I finally dug myself out of my backlog pile. I just signed up for the February group swap which will celebrate the year of the Rooster in honor of Chinese New Year (thank goodness no Valentines Day).
The parameters are to use either a pattern that is feather-like (Drawings was given as an example) or to use colors inspired by roosters.

He's pretty fab!

The tiles above are sort of a mash up of February's rooster theme and January's theme to use patterns you've never used before.
I needed to create a new set of tiles so I figured this would be a good opportunity to share my process now that I have a better cell phone camera;-)
I generally start with some type of color reference, but it's fun to just play around if you're using a  palette set of watercolors. Here's a link to my Color board for my collection of inspiring rust;-)

Here's what I use:

a Strathmore 11x14 watercolor pad
masking tape
a large masonite artist clipboard
a watercolor dry cake palette
a wide wash brush (about 1-2 inches)
a medium watercolor brush
saran wrap
a toothbrush (a soft brush with a flat bristle edge works best)
jar of water
a fine mister bottle of water
a blow dryer
cutting mat
Xacto knife
metal straight edge

Tape a sheet of paper down onto a hard, smooth surface.
Tape securely around the entire edge of the paper. It's kind of hard to see because my table is the same color as the masonite clip board, but I taped my paper to the back of the board.

Get your watercolors really wet by either spraying them with water or load up a large brush with water and release it into the palette. I used all of the colors along the left plus the teal.
Spray or brush clean water over the surface of the paper.
You don't have to cover the whole page. Leaving a few areas dry will give you more variation in saturation when you apply paint.

Starting with your lightest color, load the large brush and swipe color across the page. You can do blobs, blocks or arches of color too. I habitually lay in the color the same way all the time. It's my thang;-)

Do the same with the next lightest color.

and keep going until the page is covered,

Wrinkle up a sheet of saran wrap and lightly press it down onto the paint. Lift it up and move it to another area. If you want you can loosely ball the wrap up and blot it around, moving color from one area to another for more texture.

I apply the darkest colors like blues, purples, deep reds and browns with a toothbrush. Get your paint cake really wet, dip the bristles in the watery paint, then scape your thumb across the bristles aiming the spray onto the paper. You can go heavier in some areas lighter in others. This is my favorite part;-)
This step is the key to smoothing out the bulging paper:
As soon as you're done applying the paint, use a hot blow dryer to get rid of the buckling. Keep an eye on the taped edge and secure it down if its lifting away in spots.
Keep the dryer going until the paper is flat and dry. It won't flatten if you let it dry naturally.

Carefully remove the tape. The paper will still be a little wonky, but once you cut it down to tile size it won't really matter that much. I usually make several sheets at a time then keep them pressed back in the pad underneath a heavy pile of other pads until I'm ready to cut them.

I like to trim the corners into a curve.

I hope you find this helpful. If anyone tries this, please come back and leave comments or questions if there's anything confusing or missing.

Thanks so much for visiting!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Diva Challenge #300, Joey Challenge #149, some Travelling Tangles and Sketchbook Fun

Moebius Syndrome Awareness Logo

This week, the Diva celebrates milestones. The first is an amazing 300 challenges! That is some serious dedication . For 6 years she's managed to inspire a legion of Zentangle fans into creating and sharing little pieces of art every week, but in the process of sharing that art she has nurtured a community which has built some wonderful connections. But she doesn't just post a weekly challenge, she opens up a little window to her world, sharing pictures and stories of her young family's adventures, milestones and struggles.
Her youngest son was born with a very rare nerve disorder called Moebius Syndrome. One in a million rare, where lateral cranial nerves are either missing or broken resulting in partial facial paralysis and some speech impairment, along with other health issues. Laura explains it beautifully on her blog (link above) and I suspect most of you are here from there.  
The most important thing that Laura wanted to share was her frustration at people making assumptions about his intellectual capacity based on his physical appearance. The brain is not affected. He's as smart as a whip, super charming and funny as hell. January 24th is Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day. Here, the challenge is to use the logo as a template and integrate their color purple if one so chooses. I had a couple of purple and blue watercolor zendala's left-over from a swap a while back.

Finish my Tile Alphabet Series
D-featuring "Dicso"
Additionally: Drupe, Demi, Dragonish

Moving on with my Bijou alphabet series. I tweaked Joey's original string and pattern placement to fit my smaller format and font style and learned some new patterns- Demi and Dragonish. The focus pattern is Dicso (not Disco). Dicso represents the 5 basic components of any tangle (most of which can be accomplished with only one or two of these components. (D)ot, line, C curve, S curve and circle (o). The beauty of Dicso is that it's drawn in one continuous movement and  can be enhanced and varied in so many ways.

Here are my latest (and the last of my back log) Travelling Tangles and the link to the Facebook group. If you don't know about this group, please check it out. There's great stuff happening;-)
Now that I'm finally caught up (yaaaayyy) I'm getting ready to start a new round. If there's anyone out there who wants to swap tiles with me, please leave a comment below and if you're not already a member of the group, pop on over and join and I'll tag you when I'm ready to send. My goal is to create 6 starters by Saturday. I'd love to hear from you. I'll give you guys first crack at them and the rest I'll put up for grabs sometime on Saturday.

My finish to a lovely postcard starter by Aleesha Sattva from Thailand

Aleesha started off with a paint "Spill" and lovely pink petals

This is my finish to Mary Dewick's elegant start

This travelled all the way from the U.K.
love her shading!

My finish to Marguerte Samama's little black bijou
I feel like I almost obliterated her elegant start.

Marguerite sent this from the lovely Netherlands. Land of my favorite cheese

and finally a little sketchbook activity:
for the Facebook group, Zentangle: Tangled and Journaled too!
following the Zentangle Primer lessons...

...though I have no Primer. I'm just figuring this out as I go by looking at what others are posting. It's back to basics-Plus. What I love about this that we're prompted to revisit some oldies but goodies that, at least for me, I tend to dismiss sometimes in the pursuit of the next new pattern. The exercises ask us to explore further into these patterns by playing around with line weight, shading and enhancements to create variations of each pattern. Then move into tangleations, combining one pattern/variation with another. It's really enlightening to see the almost endless ways 4 simple patterns can evolve into something remarkably dynamic. 

I continued this approach with my string challenge last week. I finished at the 11th hour so I didn't get it into the blog until now.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Your thoughtful and generous comments delight and inspire me!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Diva Challenge #299 and Joey Challenge #148

Diva Challenge #299

I'm still breaking in my new journal, so I decided to complete this months challenges here. "Drawings" was introduced to the general public by Zentangle HQ last month and subsequently turned up on a few challenges.
I had an idea for this page to be an organic sampler. That didn't happen. After I played around with the 3 versions of Drawings I let the rest happen free-form.

Here's the page just after I started the shading. I was trying out a new pen...something I picked up at Staples. It said "needlepoint" and that intrigued me. It's retractable and I like the idea of that when drawing on location. I'm also still playing around with my new Tombow grey scale brush pens for shading. I prefer to shade with markers although they're not very forgiving and I tend to draw a little sketchy...not so precise. It can be hit or miss for me when it comes to shading. I'm a disaster with graphite.

Made by Joey Challenge #148
The Alphabet Series-C featuring "Catkin"
additionally: "C-bun"

I'm continuing on with my Bijou series for my pattern library.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Your thoughtful and generous comments delight and inspire me!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Diva Challenge #298, Joey Challenge # 147

Use My Tangle: Orbs-la-dee by Anneke van Dam

The Diva is back and hopefully, so am I. The past 6 weeks has gotten me off my game. Capping off all of the holiday shenanigans was a week of house/dog sitting. Though I'd brought all of my drawing tools with me, there was not a comfortable place to draw and the lighting was bad. There was, however, cable TV, internet and good coffee. I fueled my Food Network addiction and cooked enough to inject my sadly neglected food blog with a little love.
I bought a new journal to kick off the new year. I like to do several sampler type Zia's in the beginning so I have some references when I'm feeling stuck.
I was so happy to revisit Orbs-la-dee. I had forgotten all about it, so it was perfectly fitting to include it here. I started this page after last week's Joey Challenge. I was looking at a lot of "A" patterns and made note of the ones I didn't get to use on last weeks entry.

Finish my Tile: The Alphabet Series featuring B'twixt
additionally: Bambooz, Bala, Buttacup and Barquillos

We're on to B. I'm creating a Bijou series for my pattern library page headers, again tweaking Joey's original start to fit the 2" format and stay somewhat consistent with a font style.

I've challenged myself to use at least one new pattern in every piece I create for the duration of the month...maybe longer.

Here's a Back-to-Basics piece I created for the Facebook group Zentangle: Tangled and Journaled Too! They're following The Zentangle Primer lessons. I don't have the book but I'm trying to follow along anyway. The task was to create tangleations of the 4 basic patterns. I'm really enjoying this.

Primerless Primer Study
exercise 2: Tangleations

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Your thoughtful and generous comments delight and inspire me.

By the way, the winners of my Gift of Zentangle Diva Challenge were:

Annemarie of Anne's Tangle Blog
Kate of Art Lady Kate
and Denise Vitola

Email me (michelewynne1(at)gmail(dot)com) your snail mail addresses and I'll send off a little surprise.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Finish my Tile: The Alphabet Series "A" A-dalfa
additionally: Aura-leah, Ambler, Ansu & Arc Flower

I started the year off with a post focusing on my word for the year. You can check it out here, but the name of the game is to get out of my comfort zone. I'm currently in a house/dog sitting situation that definitely has me completely off my routine. Drawing is a bit problematic because there really isn't a comfortable place to draw and the lighting leaves something to be desired. But, it's all good 'cuz I'm having a very productive week with the DirectTV satiating my Food Network addiction plus a nicely appointed kitchen in a neighborhood with great shopping. I'm spending more time in the kitchen and trying to revitalize my sadly neglected food blog. 
Anyhoo...Joey has presented an alphabet challenge to kick off the new year. She provided an A string and started us off with "A-dalfa". I adapted her string  to a Bijou tile to create alphabet headers for my pattern library.

I finished one more Travelling Tangle this week:

My finish to Raye Burnett's Bijou starter 
inspired by Margaret Bremner's Twisty Striping post

Raye's starter

Over at the Facebook group Zentangle: Tangled and Journaled: Too!, members are working their way through the Zentangle Primer. I don't have the book but I'm trying to follow along based on what other members are posting. I did these earlier in the week.
It's back to basics. I love that. We're using four starter patterns on a simple Z string and an then trying out tangleations of those same patterns. I really enjoyed doing these:

Primerless Primer Study
First Project: Z string with Florz. Crescent Moon, Hollibaugh and Printemps

My companion this week

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Your thoughtful and generous comments delight and inspire me!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My Word of the Year

This is how I spent New Years Eve

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

...and so it begins...
I am such a creature of habit.
I'm a Cancer and I'm pretty much true to my sign. I'm a homebody and content in my little shell of a world. My home, my work, my habitual hangouts...Routine. It keeps me sane, but it can become a rut. The rut has deepened over the last several years and at the age of 56, the hormonal meltdown leaves me anxious. A lot. Drawing helps. A lot.
This will be the year I emerge. I will fear less and curb my anxiety with a balance of drawing and new activity. The key word being Balance. I can retreat into my comfort zone and draw and noodle around on the internet for hours, sometimes entire days off, forsaking all else. I need to get up off my butt.
But first I draw. I noticed a trend within the Zentangle community to start the year off with a tangled word meant to set the tone for the year ahead, from Alphabet Salad to the Facebook group Zentangle: Tangled and Journaled, Too!
For the purposes of this task, I got out of my comfort zone by starting with Featherfall. I love this pattern but use it rarely because it becomes unwieldy. The idea of drawing it made me anxious, especially trying to draw it behind the word...but once I get past that first stroke it's better;-)
I also used some new patterns without practicing them first and finished it off shading with a set grey tone brush pens I received for Christmas.
For the rest of the month, I will personally challenge myself to use at least one new pattern in every piece I create or finish.
If you've managed to read through this I applaud you and thank you;-)
I mentioned in a previous post that I'm going try to include more random bits about myself and what inspires me. It's always a treat for me to catch a glimpse into the lives of other tangling peeps out there and promise that I'll do my best to not get too wordy;-)
Finally, here are some of the Travelling Tangles I managed to complete before the year ended. Decembers group theme was to choose either gems or 2017 as a string. Each of my 6 partners sent multiple pieces so I got a bit behind during the very busy month...but it's all good;-)

My finish to Betsey Youngs gem theme start

Here's the line work before shading

Betsey's start

My finish to Raye Burnett's starter

Raye's starter gem

My finish to another one of Betsey's starters

I love this black zendala Betsey sent

Thank you so much or visiting my blog. Your thoughtful and generous comments delight and inspire me!