Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How "Ancient Spirals" came to be

"Ancient Spirals" was created on paper I had eco-dyed some time ago. (Click on "eco-dyeing" in my subjects list on the right to see more about this technique.) It is also inspired by a compositional method I learned during a class from Lynn Mead through TangleU.

It began with a sheet of paper I'd eco-dyed a while ago.
In pencil, I divided it into 2" squares, leaving a thin border.
Using the eco-dyed marks as guides, I added some arcs to create partial circles.

I had noticed spirals in some places and decided to pursue that imagery.
In pencil I indicated the spirals and some shells and leaves, then
 added a bit of color with Inktense and Graphitint water-soluable pencils.

I began adding details with fine-nib pens: a leaf, a few spirals.
A whole quarter finished.
What are those scallops at the bottom? Feathers? Leaves?

More Inktense. More Graphitint. More tangles.
More leaves. More spirals. More details.
Blue seems to be running diagonally.

Almost finished.
Some of the eco-dye patterning is so beautiful
I want to leave it without any additions.
Colored pencil for final shading.

Aaand... done!  Albeit a bit fuzzy in this photo.

Here's a short video of the progression:


  1. Spectacular. Your eye is amazing to see those arcs and spirals. Bravo!!

  2. Replies
    1. If you're interested in eco-dyeing there are various tutorials online, including here on my blog. Click on 'eco-dyeing' in the Blog Labels in the righthand column.
      If you mean a class to create this specific art, no. Each piece of eco-dyed paper is different, so there is no way everyone could start with the same thing.

  3. Woww... Margaret you are such an amazing artist, and such an asset to Zentangle Artform. Your style so distinctive and beautiful. I soooo love to study your work.

  4. Wow! I haven't done any eco-dying yet. I love that you used Lynn's process to get such great results. The softness of the colors and designs are beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy your work.

    1. Thanks Terri. Eco-dyeing is fun, albeit somewhat labor-intensive. But seeing the results is like opening presents!

  5. Absolutely amazing what you did here.

  6. Simply beautiful, Margaret. Love the video progression.

  7. Margaret did you wet the Intense pencil after you applied it?

    1. I generally apply InkTense to dry paper and then water-blend it. If it's too pale after that, I sometimes apply InkTense to the damp area, usually blending again. Does that answer your question?

  8. Margaret, this is really amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your artistic process with us! The result is unbelievable beautiful 😍 . I love it to dive into your work. You are a great artist!

    1. Thanks so much Simone. It's interesting, to me too, to look back at the process and how something began.