Monday, May 15, 2017

A new, old manuscript

I almost never, never use people as subject matter. However, I kept seeing a face in the upper corner of this eco-dyed paper and decided I'd best let it happen. Maybe it's a whisper of inspiration.
Tangles (or at least most of them!):
Auras, Beadlines, Betweed, Black Pearlz, Crescent Moon,
Featherfall, Finery, Huggins, Knightsbridge, Pearlz,
Perfs, Prestwood, Printemps, Tipple
The eyes took three attempts before I was happy with them. At one point I very carefully cut the paper with an x-acto knife and peeled off the top layer so I could start fresh in some places.

I liked it, but it didn't quite seem like stand-alone artwork. A lot of my work has an illustrative quality to it, as if there's a story behind it somewhere, but this one particularly felt that way.

There was another whisper of inspiration... it could BE an illustration, one of two pages, the other of which is text. I could use one of the eco-dyed papers that had no appealing leaf prints or patterns. They have an 'old page' look to them. Yes!

The hunt was on for the 'text' part of this project. It had to be short enough, pithy, and somehow spiritual. I found something in a book called "Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha". It mentions eyes, about seeing with your own eyes and not accepting everything you're told as all there is to know. Once I was finished I realized that it begins with the letter 'I'. Coincidence?

Here is the two-page spread of my new, old manuscript. There's metal leaf on both the initial letter 'I' and one onion dome. There's gold ink elsewhere, and a small red gem at the top of one onion dome. Some of the white dots are pearl-effect 3D ink, but not the ones on the onion dome.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Drawing on my eco-dyed papers (*heart!*)

Recently I tried eco-dyeing some of my own papers and I've really been enjoying drawing on them! Here are some recently finished mixed media pieces.

(c)2017  •  8"x5.5"
There is some metal leaf on the moon that doesn't show in the photo.
Tangles: Aquafleur, Crescent Moon, Diva Dance, Finery,
Floo, Hurly Burly, Paizel, Pixioze, Printemps, Tipple 

"Moon Magic"
(c)2017  •  approx. 7"x5"
There's metal leaf on the moon that does show in this photo!
The leaf directly under the moon is a 7-circuit labyrinth.
Tangles: Beadlines, Black Pearlz, Diva Dance, Drupe,
Knightsbridge, Mooka, Opus, Paizel, Pearlz, Splice, Tipple, Tweety

"Enchanted Egg"
(c)2017  •  approx. 7"x5"
It's a real feather; unfortunately the green iridescence doesn't show in the photo.
Tangles: Crescent Moon, Drawings, Emingle, Featherfall, Pearlz, Tipple

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Day and Night houses

Occasionally I do a piece of art with day on one side and night on the other. I recently had a request for a house like this, and color was preferred to black and white.

I started five tiles to give both myself, and the person who wants one, some options. I used Winsor-Newton watercolor markers to do colored washes. Here they are, barely begun.

Frequently I identify the roof shapes first. That seems to place the building for me. After that, I focused on the skies and vegetation. Some moons and suns and clouds also appeared.

Here, the ink drawing is nearing completion.

And here they are, all done, shaded and fine-tuned. Of course, I like some better than others; that's always the way. The one at the top right has been claimed and will be on it's way once I mount it on canvas and paint the surround.

Final note: here are two, mounted, painted, and ready to hang:
'Like Night and Day' and 'Always Welcome'

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Eco-dyeing - my first attempt!

Last November I had the pleasure of staying with CZT Bette Abdu for a few days. During that time she showed me some beautiful papers she'd made during an eco-dyeing workshop with CZT Bette Beauregard. They call themselves Bette A and Bette B!

Bette A generously gave me three of the sheets she'd dyed, and I was delighted to tangle them once I was home: oak leaves, maple leaves, and unidentified round leaves. They are each about 8"x5".
'Oakenfall', 'O Canada', and 'The Magic Happens at Night' - (c)2017 Margaret Bremner
Bette B was kind enough to share her workshop notes with me (although you can find various instructions for this process online). To do this, you need LOTS of leaves. I intended to wait until spring or even summer when leaves would be in better supply. I heard that it can work with dried leaves too, and I'd finally reached the end of my patience and decided to try it with what I had on hand. I raided my "Leaves and Butterflies" file (real leaves, pictures of butterflies) and some carrot tops and tulip leaves that came home from the grocery store.
I adore gingko leaves!
Tulips are also nice.

I can't resist:

There are tulips in the garden.
There are tulips in the park.
But the tulips we like best
are the two lips in the dark.
I suspect that one reason I so much prefer drawing to painting is that - being a Type A and eldest sibling - drawing is not messy! Eco-dyeing pushed me a little ways into make-a-mess mode. This is my workspace with lots of leaves, papers, water, string, and instructions.

The process involves layering art paper and vegetation, squashing the layers between two pieces of cardboard, and tightly tying it all into a bundle. Here's one of two bundles I prepared:

And here's the whole whackadoo in a turkey roaster, simmering on the stove for an hour and a half. The brick is to weigh it down because the bundles floated and they aren't supposed to. There are some onion skins in the water as well as a dozen pennies I'd saved and white vinegar as mordant.
If it's your first time here, no, this is not
some sort of weirdo cooking blog.
Once the bundles have simmered you have to let everything cool before they can be unwrapped.
One bundle, cooling. I really like the woodsy, witchy, herbal look!
I hope this works. If not, it's going to be a disappointing blog post! But we will have learned something, yes? Let's see what we have.

Hmmm. My first conclusion: the tulip leaves and carrot tops are a write-off; I won't try that again. I may even send some of that paper through the next eco-dye bath. However, I got a lovely bit of purple from a Wandering Jew leaf I threw in! Must remember that for next time.

The oak leaves left a lovely brown, and the onion skins some wonderful oranges, as I had expected.

I'm pretty sure this is a basswood leaf. Isn't it interesting how the veined side left such a fascinating pattern and the non-veined side is so blah?

Now I have a couple dozen sheets of paper with interesting patterns to tangle more patterns onto! But I'll be collecting leaves this summer, for sure.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Shades of Gray

I've been having fun with CZT Sonya Yencer's "Shades of Gray" idea to use pencil for some of the tangles. She demonstrates this technique using the tangle Jetties, so that's what I used for my first attempt.

This technique can be used with other tangles of course, and next I tried it with Aquafleur, one of many favorite tangles. I wonder if it doesn't work quite as well because of the Aura around Aquafleur, but I love Aquafleur with an aura!

I wanted to try it with a 'border' tangle and did it with Skye, a tangle I deconstructed a little while ago.

Ginili, from Randi Wynne-Parry, also works very nicely!

Molygon works alright but I think the black lines are too heavy. The details in Jetties also add a lot. Perhaps if details were added to Molygon?

As I typed that I thought, "Yes. I really should try adding details to Molygon." So, what do you think? Better with details or better without?

Sonya has a project kit available on Etsy through Acadia Laser Creations. It comes with clear instructions and all the tools you need to do this. If you're interested, you can see it in Jenny Perruzzi's shop here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When I don't know when to quit

I had drawn a lovely Celtic-style interlaced tree on a white Zendala tile. At the very center I put a decorative metal brad on a circle of holographic paper.

My intention was to mount it on canvas and paint the surround, as I often do with zentangle-inspired art tiles. Then I remembered that I had some round canvases and that seemed like a good idea.
Zendala tile mounted on round canvas, then painted and drawn on.
There are red, green, and blue 'gem' brads placed in the series of upper loops.

Somehow it seemed as if there could be more. What about mounting this round canvas on a larger square? I decided to use board rather than canvas as it would be firmer and more stable. I bought a 12" square 'cradled panel' (it's deep like a stretched canvas but all wood.)

I needed to paint the board Celtic-style, too. I placed the round canvas in the center and traced around it. No need to paint what wasn't going to show, right?
Tangles in the 'ribbons' - Finery and Paisley Boa
These four large 'gems' are painted.

The round canvas is about 1/2" deep, so it's raised off the square panel. I added a thin strip of holographic ribbon around the bottom of the round canvas. This visually lifts it off the square board and adds some colored sparkle.
You can see the thin holographic strip
at the left edge of the black band in the middle.

Now I'm done. I think.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A medieval half-timbered house

Back in November, when I was fortunate enough to attend the zenAgain event for CZTs, I sat beside Jenny Peruzzi. Jenny runs Acadia Laser Creations and has produced a number of zentangle project kits (Tints on Tan, Zenquility, etc.). She floated the idea of a series of zentangle-inspired houses using a standard zentangle tile and a new 3Z (triangular) tile. I liked it - houses is something I do, right? We decided to call it 'Global Village' as there will be a variety of buildings in the series.
"There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew." Marshall McLuhan, who coined the term 'global village'
This first offering uses Renaissance (tan) tiles. I went through a few versions of this half-timbered house before coming up with one we both liked.
The kit includes all the supplies you need to complete it, except for a few things you already have, like a pencil. You'll get two of each of the tan tiles, pens, pencils, five pages of illustrated instructions, and a custom cut house-shaped mat. Wheee!

If you're interested in this project kit it's available on Jenny's Etsy site here.