Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Cartouche (pronounced car-toosh) is an old term for decorating around something that's the main focus. Often that's a photo, but it could be a piece of memorabilia, or whatever you want to draw attention to. Zentangle recently  offered Project Pack #05, all about cartouches (still pronounced car-toosh). You provide your own 'focus items' but the other supplies are provided in the kit.

I had done a page in my Book using old photos and decided to do another using this 'cartouche' technique. I chose three from my old-photos-to-use-in-artwork file. They all feature me in 1961!

Here I am at a tea party, a birthday party fashion show, and selling Kool-Aid at a sidewalk stand with two friends.
I included everyone's names and the dates (thanks to my mum for penciling that on the backs!). I also did an "embedded" 7 because that's how old I was that year. I admit, I overdid it a bit with the cartouche-ing!

Here's a close-up of my birthday party fashion show. I'm at the back right, in white.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Notanical page in my Book

In my non-journal, non-sketchbook I wanted to include a notan-inspired page but didn't want tape on the backside. I penciled some dividing lines and used black acrylic paint, watered down, to paint alternating sections.

Notanical is a word I came up with to describe a notan-type beginning tangled with botanical images. See my original post about notanicals here. In my Book, here's the page I began with.

And here it is, appropriately gussied up:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Nautilus shells in my Book

Like many, I find the nautilus spiral very appealing. It's that sacred geometry thing happening. I've used the image occasionally in my artwork.

I wanted to include a nautilus in my non-journal/non-sketchbook. This is the first two-page spread I've done in it. I didn't have that intention when I began but the book opened so nicely in the middle of a signature of pages that it was a no-brainer.

Here's the left-hand page:
Tangles: Crescent Moon, Pearlz, Tri-dots
Here's the right-hand page:
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Crescent Moon, Diva Dance, Flux, Marasu, Pearlz, Prestwood,
Printemps, Slowpoke, Tamisolo, Tipple, Tri-dots
And here's the two-page spread:

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Square grid reticulae, and then some

There are so, so, many, many tangles based on a simple square grid. This is a wonderful way to begin because it gives a basic structure to work within, even beyond the string lines. To change it a bit, there are interesting things you can do to a square grid that give it a different character, and make it less recognizable as a grid.

Idea #1 - CURVY
One possibility is to leave the straight lines behind and do the grid with curvy lines. Here are some examples.
Tangles: Cubine, Eye-Wa, Florz, Juke
Tangles: Beadlines, Jemz, Knightsbridge, Pearlz
Fragments: A3, and the 'Lisbon fragment'
Idea #2 - SHAVED
Shave off alternating sides of the squares, like this:

Here's a tile with four examples. Sometimes it looks like tightly woven bands - like W2 without the black square 'holes'.
I like to fill in the strips so the intersections of the original grid are not obvious. That means black, or something with a black background. Here's an example of a grid with curvy lines, and solid black with Pearlz filling the shaved areas.
You can add detail to the shaved-off slices (as above), or the remains of the square, or even both.

Another way to add variety and interest to a square grid is to vary the width of the stripes. Alternate a wide stripe with a narrow stripe, gradually change the widths, or be random.
Irregular Beelight, Florz, and something I made up, I think.
Irregular Flukes, Zonked in the corners.
There is a grid with offset large and small squares. It definitely takes some concentration to set up, but it's not too difficult and it's fun to work with. I used it in the tail of the peacock here.
Check out BrixBox from Anneke van Dam. Anneke's steps for setting up this grid pattern are well done and rather than reinventing the wheel I'll let you go to her blog to see it, as well as some lovely examples of ways to fill this grid pattern.
Tangles: Cubine, Knightsbridge, Zewm
Have fun!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Blind strings & tangles as strings

BLIND STRING: I often like to do what I call a 'blind string' - a string drawn with my eyes closed. It gives me some interesting and unexpected sections to work with. A challenge! Usually, once I open my eyes I'll add a few more pencil lines to complete sections.

TANGLE AS STRING: We tend to think of a tangle or fragment in only that context, but that design can also be used larger, as a string. You can see my post about using fragments as strings here.

All of the tiles in this post begin with a blind string based on a tangle.

I started with a string of Apacore, then added other tangles. And more apple seeds.
Tangles: Double Double, Fife, and Pearlz with an Apacore string.
Cirqital is easy to identify, even with the addition of all the other tangles.
Tangles: Pearlz, Seljuk, and Zonked in a Cirqital string
This time it's Icantoo (which may be hard to identify in this finished tile!), to which I added smaller Icantoos.
Tangles: Icantoo, Pearlz, Tipple
Here are two where I remembered to take a picture of the string before I tangled it. (Yay me!) First, MySwing as the string, and second using Mooka.
Tangles: Bunzo, CrescentMoon, Gewgle, and Pearlz on a MySwing string

Choose a tangle, close your eyes, and be bold!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Double Double - a new tangle!

Tangles: Double Double, Fassett, Pearlz, Tipple
With Sue Jacob's brilliant tri-shape string.
There's a quilt pattern called Double Wedding Rings with a single layer of rings - essentially the front set of rings in this tangle. But I chose the name because of coffee and being Canadian. The Urban Dictionary describes Double Double as "A Canadian term used to describe how you take your coffee - two teaspoons of sugar and two creams." Depending on the size of the cup I may even go triple triple!

Here is the tangle all by itself. As with several other tangles the gray tone is rather important.

Like most square grid tangles this one is based on a simple 'fragment'.

As a fairly regular pattern it can be used to good effect in the background.
Tangles: Double Double, Fassett 
Of course, any square grid can be curved, and here's Double Double in a very curvy space.
Tangles: Double Double, Paizel, Pearlz, Tipple

Make yourself a cup of coffee (however you enjoy it) and give Double Double a try. Or two.
(I hate to support Amazon but if you
really want this mug you can buy it there.)
BTW: It's getting harder and harder to keep track of tangles and names. If this pattern has been presented elsewhere, or if the name has been used already, please let me know!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

7-circuit labyrinth

During the decade-plus that I focused on mandalas, one thing I investigated was labyrinths. So, of course, one page in my Book had to be a labyrinth. I chose a 7-circuit one as they are simple to construct and way easier to skew to fit a space than the Chartres variety!

I had done two pages intended to be cling-wrap patterns, but this paper doesn't seem to like that idea at all! I had two rather unappealing pages so I decided to use them for subject matter I want to include.

This is the beginning wash with the penciled lines of a labyrinth.

I expanded the labyrinth design to fill a wider space, and to work with some of the lines in the wash. Then I outlined it in copper ink.

I drew the dividing lines of the labyrinth and tangled the background.

A few more details, and shading with various colors of pencil, and here is the finished page.
If you're interested in labyrinths I've done a couple of other posts about them here and here.