Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Notan - houses

At the end of this post last week, I promised to show some notan-style pieces depicting houses and buildings, favorite subject matter of mine. Here they are.

I did two on classic black and white paper.

Then I tried one with white and tan paper. I think this is my least favorite. Perhaps not enough darks.

I was very happy with this black and tan one and hope to do more with these colors.

Finally, I tried a larger one, 6"x 9".

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Notan (sort of?)

For a while now I've been interested in the Japanese design principle called Notan, the judicious use of light and dark and the balance between the two. This can be a very equal, 50/50, balance, or you can be a little more liberal in its interpretation.

During Zentangle's Twelve Days of Zentangle in 2017, the 9th day's project involved splicing together two colors of tiles and I'm using that idea in the following examples. You can see a few more examples (using black and tan tiles) here.

To start, I take a black tile and a white tile, place one on top of the other, and carefully cut them apart. Here are two tiles. There are two others with the colors reversed.

Using the two companion tiles to the ones above, here are two completed tiles.
Tangles: Beadlines, Black Pearlz, Knightsbridge, MySwing, Tipple
Tangles: Adente, Pearlz, Prestwood
During InkTober this year, one of the prompts was 'breakable'.
Tangles: Cracked Windows, Rain
Another prompt was 'double' and Notan is a kind of 'double'. Also, I doubled it and did two, one in only black and white and one bringing in color. On the colored one I used metallic inks on the black paper.

I find this a fascination process, and shortly I'll show you some pieces using this method with houses as subject matter (you know me and houses!).

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

13 days of InkTober

I had planned to do the prompts from Inktober on tile-sized paper and the list of tangles for the month in my Tangle-a-Day calendar. However, I got a nasty cold and was left with a barking cough and little energy. I came around later in the month but the calendar was abandoned.

October 1: POISON
I was not happy with this first effort.
Tangles: All Boxed Up, Cirquital, Crescent Moon, SlowPoke
But here's my calendar for the first three days using tangle prompts. I did a few random other days but for some reason didn't keep up with this.

October 6: DROOLING
Tangles: Diva Dance and Auras
October 8: STAR
Done on a Travelling Tangle Project tile from I can't remember who (apologies!).

After a long break I got back into it. I think I wasn't that inspired by the prompts and, granted, I was sick for about a week and a half!

October 20: BREAKABLE
Done on half-white, half-black paper with white and black and gray inks.
Tangles: Cracked Windows, Rain
October 21: DRAIN
Done on 3.5" eco-dyed paper.
Tangles: Printemps, Tipple
October 22: EXPENSIVE
Done on 3.5" eco-dyed paper. I used gold ink for Printemps in the background; I love the gold on tan.

October 23: MUDDY
Done on a Travelling Tangle Project tile from Toby Schwarz. He did the tea-staining, the two Gneisses and some Seawave, and I did the rest.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Diva Dance, Gneiss, Seawave, Tipple
and lots of Auras
October 25: PRICKLY
Done on an eco-dyed tile. It's not quite this dull but it is rather dark.
Tangles: Tipple... sort of?
October 27: THUNDER
Tangles: Crescent Moon, Pearlz, Prestwood variation
October 28: GIFT
Done on 4.5" eco-dyed paper and begun many months ago. Includes gold acrylic paint peels.
Tangles: Diva Dance, Finery, Hollibaugh, Icantoo, Leaflet,
Opus, Pearlz, Tipple

October 29: DOUBLE
I've been interested in the Japanese concept of Notan for some time and have been investigating it a little recently. It seemed like an excellent way to "double". I decided to do one in strict black and white, and to add color to the other.
Tangles: Auras, Black Pearlz and lots of lines!
And that's all folks!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

My Canvas Has Laces 2018

One week until Shoe Bank Canada's second annual fundraising art auction My Canvas Has Laces.
The aim of this charity is to ensure that no Canadian should want for a decent pair of shoes.

For the second year I'm contributing my talent on a pair of canvas shoes.
Here are the shoes I did last year, displayed during the auction. I'm proud to say that my shoes brought in the highest bid and sold for $1100!
My shoes on display at the 2017 auction.
This year's shoes when they arrived, pristine and begging for art!
This year I decided to use a tessellation pattern I've used before and had success with. The pattern would be black and white, but not quite. The tangles would be flat white on pearlescent white, and flat black on graphite gray.
Shoes with the tessellated sections painted. Now onto the patterning.
I used interference blue paint with the black paint in one section on each side, so from one angle it looks black and from another angle it looks blue. I also added a hint of red on the dark section above the blue/black one as the colors on the shoes are red and blue.
Middle section looking black...
... and looking blue.

 These photos give an idea of what the tangles look like.

I felt they needed something a little more, so I did a single section in grays on each tongue.

Would you like to bid on these (or other) shoes? There are 21 pairs of shoes beautified by 21 artists so there's lots of variety! Go to the My Canvas Has Laces website and see what you can find. Remember, the auction is October 20; get your bid in before that.

Monday, October 1, 2018

More zen-ful houses

I quite enjoyed CZT Eni Oken's lesson on zen-ful houses and have done a few more, this time stretching the boundaries somewhat!

A castle...

A night scene...

With a border of Seljuk...

Sort of Greek...

 An elaborate turret...

Books and scrolls. Where did that come from?
(c)2018 Margaret Bremner;
View the initial post here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


I’ve been fascinated by tessellations for quite some time and finally got around to trying some myself. My first effort was in my Tangle-a-Day calendar and it turned out far better than I expected!
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Crescent Moon, Knightsbridge, Tipple, Tri-dots
My second try was equally delightful. I wasn't sure about adding so much green - there was a little in the eco-dyed paper - but I think it adds a lot.
"Green Light"
(c)2018 Margaret Bremner
approx. 5"x8" on eco-dyed paper; pen-and-ink, colored pencil
I started another, thinking to do something with trees, but it looked more like a simple repeating image. I think there isn't enough intermingling of the shapes. Not sure what will happen with it; maybe it will become bookmarks!

Here's one on terraskin paper using the same shape I used in my calendar. The central one isn't white but highly reflective silver.

And most recently, "Great Big Sea", again on eco-dyed paper.
"Great Big Sea"
(c)2018 Margaret Bremner
approx. 5.5"x8.5" on eco-dyed paper; pen-and-ink, colored pencil
The basic shape here is more sprawl-y than the others and you may not be able to see it right away. This is what I was working with.

Tessellations are another huge area of pattern making and I expect I'll continue to explore it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

PRINTEMPS, and then some

The name of this tangle is a fun bit of word play. Printemps is French for spring - the season. Printemps the tangle looks like lots of little springs - as in a mattress or ballpoint pen.

Let's start with how to pronounce it. French, along with British English, is a little notorious for not saying all the letters you see. Also, the French 'R' is not like the English 'R'. Ecoutez bien (listen well):

The best place to find a step-out for Printemps - it's done by Maria Thomas - is on the Zentangle Mosaic app. If you're not part of that, it's pretty easy to figure out that this tangle is basically a lot of clustered spirals.
There are at least two ways to shade Printemps. You can shade around some of the individual spirals or you can shade at the edge of the section in which you've drawn Printemps.
Printemps has been around since Zentangle was born and a number of variations can already be seen. Some I've noted:
  • start with a small dot before spiraling out
  • try to keep the spirals pretty much all the same size
  • randomly vary the size of the spirals
Here are some more variations you may like to try:

Variation: Sparkle
When I attended CZT Seminar 3 way back when, Printemps was demonstrated along with the sparkle enhancement. For a long time I thought Printemps necessarily had these highlights! (Those little highlights are fun to add to other 'line' tangles, too.) With Printemps, try to line up the breaks on the same side of each spiral. See this 'sparkle' version demonstrated in a video here.
Tangles: Crescent Moon, Printemps, Tipple, Tri-dots
Variation: Large and small
Draw a few, scattered, rather large spirals and fill the rest of the space with small spirals.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, MySwing, Printemps, Zonked
Variation: I need some space
Separate the spirals and fill the background. Choose black, black with dots, caviar-style Tipple or anything that is different enough from the multiple lines of Printemps.
Suzanne McNeill's step-outs for this variation are here.
Tangles: Beadlines, Printemps, Tipple (Caviar version), Zonked
Variation: Retreating
Start with some very large spirals along one edge. Next to that row, do a row of slightly smaller spirals. And so on and so on until you end with some very tiny spirals. I suggest shading the edge with the tiny spirals as it seems to be retreating from you.

Tangles: Droplets, Printemps
Variation: Expanding
This variation reminds me of some lovely little shells I picked up somewhere.
Start with a very tight spiral and expand it as you go out.
This tile looks a bit questionable. ;)
Tangles: Florz, KrliQs, Printemps, and Rounding
Variation: Off-center
Start with a tiny circle. As you spiral around, come back to the same edge of the tiny circle every time. My result is more an oval than a circle and I think they look like clam shells. This variation somewhat resembles Beth Snodderly's tangle Roxi, which you can find here. You could do it a little differently, being careful to maintain circles instead of ovals.
Tangles: Arukas, Firecracker, Printemps, Seljuk 
Variation: Box Spirals
Several years ago I came up with this variation which I treated as a new tangle, but it really is a variation of Printemps. See that post here.

Variation: Weighted
Also shown in the tile above is a version of Printemps some have called "weighted". I start by drawing a very irregular spiral (easier if I hold the pen lightly), then add sections to make a neater spiral, and fill in the thicker parts. I like to leave highlights; it could also be solid black. Here's a quick how-to:
Have fun!

UPDATE, 25 September 2018:
Here are two lovely examples of tiles done using some of these variations.
Tile by Rhonda Elliot Roy.
Tile by Heidi Halpern Kay in Florida,
a new zentangle student of CZT Joanna Quincey's.