Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stripe strings

The Diva's challenge this week is simply to use stripes as our string. What a good chance to try out some of those tangles that make good borders. Also, I've been being reminded these days of the calming aspect of simply drawing structured patterns in black ink on white paper, and adding shading.

I've been wanting to revisit my two-pencil string idea and this challenge was an excellent opportunity. A two-pencil string gives you rather ribbony sections to tangle and interesting curves and corners to deal with. There are several posts on this blog dealing with two-pencil strings. Check under the Labels box on the left to find more examples. Here are two tiles beginning with a two-pencil string.
Tangles: Crescent Moon, Emingle, Lamar, Paisley Boa,
Paushlov, Pearlz, Tortuca, Zewm
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Coaster, Kandysnake, Unyun, Wired, Xyp
I was on a roll. I did a more classic tile with dots and a border, and in actual simple stripes.
Tangles: Prestwood variation, Vega, Wud (ribbon variation),
and rounding

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Shading first

Say what?

I was sharpening a woodless pencil and was dismayed at all that wonderful graphite just going to waste. I thought, "I could smudge it all over some paper and it would be like doing shading before the tangling." So I did.

I took out two white tiles and sprinkled the shavings on one, placed the other upside down on top of it, and rubbed them together. Ta-da! Well, uh, no. They looked really messy and too dark and I almost threw them out, but I thought, "No mistakes, just opportunities. See what happens." So I did.

The smudges offer their own unique sort of 'string', suggesting areas and shapes. On one tile I saw several large ovals, and Festune came to mind so I started with that. When I'd finished the ink drawing, I added a bit more shading in some places.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Dandelion Seeds, Drobbles, Festune
The other one seemed to have two large disks. Again, when done all the ink drawing, I added more shading, especially under the smaller disk.
Tangles: Beadlines, Black Pearlz, Daggerly, Drupe, Pearlz, Perfs
I wanted to try more, and on tan, and this time I took a picture of the smudged tiles. They look quite uninspiring, like they fell in the mud or something.
But here they are with tangles!
Tangles: Blake, Blooming Butter, Frosty, and elements of Drupe
Tangles: Circfleur, Pearlz, Tipple
It's kind of a fun, different way to create sections on your paper, but I don't think I'll be doing much more of this. I need another way to use those wonderful graphite shavings.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pond Water

It's glorious late summer here, and lots of people are putting in time at lakes and beaches. The Diva's challenge this week is to interpret the idea of 'water' in any zentangle-y way you choose.

Things have been a little crazy recently. My dear mother passed away on my birthday last week. The day we were to leave, suitcases in the car, we cancelled our vacation plans. My brother and I are now into a lot of paperwork, and not the kind I like! I'm also feeling quite ill-prepared for September when I have a weekend art show and sale, a 3-day out-of-town teaching stint, and regular Zentangle activities to plan and announce.

So I'm going to cheat and share a piece I did in 2010. It's 7" square and made me think of of grasses and algae, tiny snails, bugs that walk on water, eddies and ripples and bubbles. To me it looks a bit like something under a microscope. I called it "Pond Water". There are a few tiny gems for sparkle which, of course, look better in person.
(c) 2010 Margaret Bremner

pen and ink, acrylic wash, color pencil, tiny gems

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More little houses

I love the wonkiness of these three houses! The three wyrd sisters are the three witches in Shakespeare's MacBeth. I also have three daughters who are sometimes wyrd, sometimes wonky but always wonderful!

(c)2014 Margaret Bremner
wash, ink, pencil, on white paper
Tangles: Demi, Emingle, Leaflet, Paradox, Printemps,
Romanancy, Sanibelle, Spinning, Tipple, Voga

(c)2014 Margaret Bremner
wash, ink, pencil, on tan paper
Tangles: Dooleedo, Ing, Knase, Tipple, Windfarm

The title
came to mind for this one, but... advice please.
If this looks nothing like Vermont I'll change the name!
(c)2014 Margaret Bremner
wash, ink, pencil, on tan paper
Tangles: Aquafleur, Diva Dance, Flux, Fohbraid,
Lamar, Paradox, Pearlz, Printemps, Tipple

(c)2014 Margaret Bremner
wash, ink, pencil, on white paper
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Bunzo, Ing, Knightsbridge,
Showgirl, Tagh, Tips, Zewm

Friday, August 15, 2014


I've been quite pre-occupied for a week or two, particularly the past couple of days, but  *ta-da!* I managed to do the Diva's challenge this week: the tangle MacDee from Anneke Van Dam. It's a square grid tangle, very reminiscent of plaid fabric. It was nice to be reminded how calming it is to do a classic, black and white, Zentangle tile, given recent crazy-busy events.

As a child I used to do highland dancing, so I'm familiar with traditional Scottish clothing. I wanted to use MacDee as a ground for something  sort of Scottish or Celtic. Crossview here, and Circfleur too, remind me somewhat of cairngorm brooches.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Circfleur, Crossview, MacDee
I'm not thrilled with MacDee here, but I love how a lot of interesting little things are jammed into a corner!
Tangles: Crescent Moon, MacDee, Tipple

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Sometimes a piece of artwork just stalls. I look at it this way and that way. I think maybe if I do this, or that. Or something else? It's tempting to just push ahead because I want to see what it looks like finished. But the best thing is to put it away for a while - ideally to pretty much forget about it in the flow of other projects - and happen upon it later. That happened with this pair of trees.

I had done this tangled tree, and at the same time did a yellow-orange wash for another tree. It turned out there were two trees and I tangled much of them but again wasn't sure what to do in the background. I had used some white ink which I really didn't like, and more importantly, a moon had appeared in the topmost branches! Into a drawer it went. A few days ago I rediscovered it. In the meantime I'd started using metal leaf on a few pieces and suddenly the moon knew what it wanted. I applied copper leaf to it and it looked good. At some angles it really shines and at other angles it looks somewhat dark or even non-descript.

But there was still the background. I decided it needed more moons (what?!) and the title "Moonrise" popped into my mind so I traced the moon in the tree and applied it four more times at different angles.

Originally the sky was all very pale yellow and orange (like the top right) so a lot of darkening was needed at the bottom. The stark  white ink got covered. I added more shading to the trees' tangles and around the second moon in the tree. I also added white pencil to that second moon as the tangles were too dark and prominent.

Patience paid off. I'm quite happy with this piece now, with the copper foil and the extra moons with hints of eye and mouth!
(c) 2014 Margaret Bremner
8"x6" mixed media

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Des petits bijoux

There's a new little gem in the Zentangle world: BIJOU!

How the heck to you pronounce that?
Bijou is French for jewel or gem. If there's more than one you add an 'x' - bijoux - but it's still pronounced the same way. Go to this link.
 With the appearance of the new Bijou tiles, the Diva's challenge this week is to do a Bijou (or twinchie) size tile. These are so cute and small it's easy to get into a flow and do more than one!
top left: Black Pearlz, Prestwood variation, Tipple, Wud variation
top right: a new tangle Ing, plus Tipple and hints of Tripoli
bottom: Romanancy, with some patterns in the stripes
I also wanted to try a technique I read about recently. You can use a Sakura Glaze pen (probably Clear, but it could be a color to match your paper) as a resist and tangle with that. Let it dry well, then add color with a wash. The Glaze ink repels the water and the color goes only on the paper, sort of like batik. I used a new tangle, Meringue, and a wash of yellow and deep pink. I added a bit of color pencil afterwards as the yellow was very pale.

Bijou tiles come is a lovely little tin from Zentangle, or perhaps a CZT you know has some for sale. You could also use some nice art paper and cut your own 2"x2" squares.
Aaannnddd.... ES-CAR-GO! 
But take it slooowww.