Thursday, June 25, 2020

Exploring agate

I've been having a lot of fun exploring the idea of drawing agate using various colors and widths of auras. Eco-dyed paper provides an interesting mottled surface and possible 'centers'.



Malachite is a very green stone and the browns of the eco-dyed paper just weren't going to work, so I did an all-over wash of phthalo green acrylic paint. That's the first photo. The second is the final artwork.

You can see other agate drawings in this post. There will be more. I'm already working on some!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

A few favorite quotations... (and art)

...interspersed with a few favorite and appropriate Zentangle tiles.

Anaïs Nin is a French author whom I suspect I would not have liked much had I ever met her. But she's the origin of one of my favorite quotations. 
"Life expands or contracts in proportion to one's courage." 
Tangles: Paradox, Pearlz, Rain, Seljuk
The drawing above is on gray paper. Whatever I'd done in the upper left corner, I hated it so much that I cut it off. I loved the interestingly shaped tile! Then a black tile slipped behind it and I preferred that, so I cut a bit of black paper and glued it behind the gray one.

Artist Robert Genn maintained a website called "The Painters' Keys" that was continued by his daughter (also an artist) after his death. On the subject of thinking and creativity he offers the thought that 
"Thinking is good, but your brain
is perpetually thundering down the tracks 
with intent to derail your creativity." 
The tile above was created during InkTober 2019 following the prompt Tread. 
I think of it as Rainbow Demolition Derby.

Life is lighter without grudges. Forgive someone not for their sake but for your own. Be good to yourself. I consider myself fortunate that I've never had to draw on this quotation. I expect it's much easier said than done, but I appreciate the idea that
"Living well is the best revenge." 

You may be familiar with the book "The Little Prince". If not, try to borrow a copy. It's short and it's fun. And the author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, 
"Love is not gazing at each other.
Love is looking together in the same direction."
"A Soft Place to Rest My Heart"
(c) 2019; 9 cm. (3.5") sq. on paper; Sold
Pen and ink, acrylic wash, colored pencil

"Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." 
An actual quotation from Albert Einstein, as far as I can determine, unlike the popular "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." credited to him (which I kind of prefer, but oh well).
I refer to this as "my brain on Bosch".
Bosch is a delightful tangle, usually done as a border.

"Anything is possible, one stroke at a time."
The tangle Crusade, from CZT Wayne Harlow, flummoxed me for quite some time. Others have had this challenge with tangles such as Skye and Amazing Spider. But I liked it enough that I kept at it, eventually understanding it well enough that I can now do it on curved lines and in wonky strings. Yay me!
Tangles: Crusade, Pearlz, Tipple

"The well-being of the world, its peace and security, 
are unattainable unless and until its
unity is firmly established."
You may have noticed this one in my e-mail signature. It's from Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i Faith. I've been a Baha'i since I was 19. I love going barefoot when possible, on a sandy beach or grass at a park for example. I feel more connected to the earth.
"Mud Between My Toes"
(c) 2013; 11.5 
cm. (4.5") sq. on a pre-strung, tan zendala tile; Sold
Pen and ink, acrylic, colored pencil

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Blind contour drawing = great strings!

I often draw a string blind (with my eyes closed, or averted), or with my non-dominant hand. It always affords some interesting placement, wiggly lines, mismatched corners, and other oddities.

For something a little different, I decided to try contour drawing a few nearby things in hopes of some new shapes.

What's contour drawing, you ask? 

It's a technique in which the artist draws a subject slowly, concentrating on the contours of the subject. The focus is on the essential form and not the minor details. Expect a contour drawing to look wonky; perhaps that's why I like them! In a blind contour drawing your eyes are only on the subject - not the paper - slowly and carefully following the outline with your pencil on the paper.
A page of contour drawings of things around my desk.
I'd say 'blind' but I cheat, and glance occasionally.
To use this technique to draw a Zentangle string, I recommend doing a very simple drawing. You don't want a lot of teeny, tiny spaces to deal with.

On the corner of my desk are two photo cubes with recent, favorite Zentangle tiles in them. I did a blind contour drawing of them and tangled with variations of Emingle for a Square One prompt.
Tangles: Doodah, Emingle, Pearlz, Zewm, Zonked
If I glance to the right from my art desk I see my husband's coffee machine. Here's the machine, the blind contour drawing I made, and the resulting tile.
Turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise from the string photo.
Tangles: Arukas, Emingle, Moonwaves, Zonked and a Black Pearl(z)
Here are two sets of pliers and the resulting tile.
Tangles: Cubine, Lamar, Romanancy, Zonked
And finally, here are three small bottles.
After I did the contour drawing I turned it sideways and thought it looked like 'something' pushing across the page. Maybe Bunzo? Mooka? Hollis? Then I turned it upside down and it looked like three trees. Well, you know me and trees!
Tangles: Amazing Spider, Black Pearlz, Icantoo, Prestwood, Pia, Sanibel, Zander

Thursday, June 4, 2020

"Journey of an Old Soul" process

Some of the papers I used in my most recent eco-dye batch didn't stand up to the simmering as well as others. They had some frayed edges, tears, and small holes. I chose one of them to do a seven-circuit labyrinth.

This is the paper as it emerged from the dyeing, with a few initial pencil lines.

I chose Bosch for a border with a Sprouts/Mooka/Hollis mash-up in the corners. I outlined the labyrinth with a thin border between the paths, adding some details throughout.

Next I added a bit of color, three gems and some spring green Icantoos, as well as a metal leaf sun - or  is it a moon? Then more tangling in areas of the lines dividing the pathways, some shading to the corner sections, and some shading in the labyrinth itself.

That part done, I affixed the paper to a cradled birch panel, deciding to leave the wood grain showing. I added a small brass nail just inside the corners of the paper and drew a dark brown line around the edge of the wood. I finished the sides with a strip of cork.
I didn't like it. I thought it made it look like particle board - not an effect I wanted! I removed the cork and painted the sides bronze. To finish, I added matte varnish with a sprinkling of gold flecks.

Here is "Journey of an Old Soul":

Thursday, May 28, 2020

My Book is filling up

In Project Pack 09 we drew some malachite with green pens and Auras. I enjoyed it so much I did a few more, one in my 'Book'. It's not green, so it's really more like agate.

I accepted a challenge to record, each day in April, one thing that brings me joy.

Paradox is one of many favorite tangles, and I've been having fun recently with crazy Paradox. I did a page of this tangle: classic in squares, classic in triangles, striped, shaved and crazy.

I've occasionally used styrofoam food trays to make mono-prints which I then draw on and define. At one point I sold quite a number to small magazines. I wanted to include this technique in my book as one of the methods I've used throughout my art life.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Meer, and then some

Tangles: Black Pearlz, Meer, Tripoli, and a spiral
Meer is a lovely, simple, border tangle from the creators of Zentangle. The original step-out can be found in the Zentangle newsletter here.

Meer works beautifully in a (relatively) straight line, and not only as a border, but if it's curvy you need to compensate for the curve. Two ways to do this are to space the lines slightly wider at one end, or to curve the lines a little. Or both.
Tangles: Gneiss, Meer, Pearlz
You can split the center. You can also fill alternate lines to give wider stripes. I think this tile looks like a pineapple; I might call it 'hospitality'. :D
Tangles: Apacore, Black Pearlz, Meer, Nipa variation
Try something other than a thin ribbon at the sides. Below, I've used Pearlz.
Tangles: Meer, Roxi, Pearlz
Besides filling alternate stripes to create wider stripes, try using another tangle that is a series of stripes. Below I've used Suzanne McNeill's Firecracker. It doesn't look much like Meer anymore, but it's quite interesting! I tried Doodah in one section, and splitting the middle with a ribbon in another.
Tangles: Doodah, Firecracker, Meer
Sending Meer around a corner is another challenge. See my earlier blog post here. A possibility not mentioned in that post is to 'rip' or 'cut' the corner as shown below. Here are various corner treatments for Meer.
Tangles, Crescent Moon, Meer, Within
Have fun experimenting!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

More Project Pack #09!

Zentangle's Project Packs are always so chock-a-block full of great ideas I can't help but keep exploring them once the project is finished.

I like the brown bags the Project Pack supplies come in and hate to simply recycle them, so I cut them into tile sizes and include the grommets and string. Here, I glued the string to the paper, and have a tile with an actual string!
Tangles: Gneiss, Hollibaugh, Knightspeak, Marasu, Springkle, Zonked

I was quite enchanted with the idea of using Auras to create the look of malachite, or more generally agate. Here's a slice of natural agate. Sometimes there is a nest of crystals at the center. How delightful! Don't you love geodes?

I had cut some eco-dyed paper into bookmarks and used this 'auras' method. Do you see the partial leaf in the second one?

I was enjoying myself so much I did a page of agate in my wonderful 'Book'.

And on a black zendala tile using Sakura's Moonlight pens. It was a little tricky to "shade".

And then again on a sheet of eco-dyed paper.
"Seismic Shift"
(c)2020 Margaret Bremner
Such fun! I'll be using this technique more, I'm sure.