Saturday, June 18, 2016

How "Prairie Sun" came to be

Some years ago I saw a beautiful quilt while visiting a quilt show with my mother. I quickly drew the pattern on a zentangle tile I had in my purse. I wanted to do something with this design later.

Eventually, I decided to do each square (or 'quilt block') on a separate tile. Of course, I wanted to do this in color. I used a compass so that all the circles would connect rather than having irregular joins.

Earlier, I had done a black-and-white piece of tree trunks and branches, and decided that this would be the same size: six tiles square, mounted on a 24" canvas. Here are the 36 tiles, randomly scattered,  before I did the pencil shading.

There are a number of different designs that can be made with these squares by turning them in different directions. I tried a few and decided I liked best the regular concentric form. It took a lot of shifting and turning to arrive at the final arrangement with colors connecting where I wanted them to. Little colored brads are placed at the intersections of the tiles to mask the rounded corners.
I considered either a black border and sides, or colors that would blend with the tiles. I chose colors and did a mottled border and sides.
Well... no. I did not like it. It sat in the studio while I looked at it for two weeks before I decided that it was channelling My Little Pony way too much. I painted the sides of the canvas black as a means of separating the surface from everything else, and echoed the circles keeping some of the mottled color but painting the rest of the background white. The white is iridescent and not quite opaque so you get a hint of the color underneath. I think now the tangled squares have more prominence.

The last thing I did was to replace the small round brads with larger square ones, placed diagonally. Now it's finished! Here are a couple of details of the final piece.

And just for fun:
On another tile I had drawn a quick idea of the quarter-rounds and some possible tangles. It's on the left below. I don't think it was particularly useful, and I was about to throw it out when I thought, "No, I could do more with that." The end result is on the right, below.

16 comments:

  1. Stunning work - the closeups are amazing.

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  2. I absolutely love your 'quilt' - so many ideas I can learn from, especially in y our use of colour. Simply beautiful!

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  3. Very beautiful! Love your process!

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  4. The prairie sun pieces are beautiful but I think I'm MOST impressed with the 'recovery' of the black and white tile you finished after writing on it! Amazing! So very Zentangle; no mistakes! ��

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    1. Thanks Cindy! I always seem to enjoy 'rescuing' artwork!

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  5. Talk to me a bit about the square "brads". What are they made of?
    How did you color them to match the piece?
    I see this is a 24" canvas.
    I'd love to try a small version of this.
    I am going to assume that the color on the tiles is all colored pencil? Or did you use anything else?
    And on the canvas section acrylic?

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    1. The brads are metal and used to be called merit pins. They came only in gold, little 'bumps' with two flanges on the back that would be spread once they were pushed through the paper. With the popularity of scrapbooking they now come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors.
      I did color washes on the tiles, then did the drawing in coloured ink and shaded with coloured pencil. Then acrylic on the canvas, yes.

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    2. oops…hit reply too soon. So do you have a brand of ink that you prefer. Are the inks put on with a brush as well?

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    3. Not sure I understand. The washes on the paper are done with acrylic, or sometimes water-soluble pencil. The only inks I use come in the pens, generally Sakura or Pitt or Zig. My main criteria is that the materials are pigment-based, not dye-based, and won't fade.

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    4. Not sure I understand. The washes on the paper are done with acrylic, or sometimes water-soluble pencil. The only inks I use come in the pens, generally Sakura or Pitt or Zig. My main criteria is that the materials are pigment-based, not dye-based, and won't fade.

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  6. Wow Margaret! These are too wonderful for words. I'd love to do something like this - but it looks pretty overwhelming. I know . . . one stroke at a time. :)

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    1. And for something like this, one tile at a time! :)

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