Saturday, February 6, 2016

Journal Prompt 5: Fruit

Journal prompt this week is "fruit"…what ever we want to do with fruit.  I looked up fruit.  Ya know that if it is something that starts as a flower and has seeds in it…it is a fruit.  Pumpkins are fruit.  
WHO knew.  Semantics.  :-)

I had fun with this little watercolor slicing it up and enjoying the abstraction.  

We are having a very coolish week in central FL.  
I know my northern friend and relatives are not sympathetic!
Last week we were eating lunch out on the lawn.  
Today I wore jeans and a sweater and had the heat on.  
What's the deal?
Way below normal for February.  
AND our huge art fair in Mt Dora got totally rained out this afternoon…a deluge all afternoon!  What a shame…thousands of people were expected!  
Hopefully they can still get a day tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Two dimensional tiles

3.5" Zentangle Tile with second layer on top just a slight bit larger.

Side few of the frame which raised higher than the main tile.  

This is just an experiment and not my original idea.  I sure would like to try it again and take it a little slower and more carefully.  But you have to try things out to see if you are going to like the idea. It does take quite a bit of time to complete.  

This dimensional designed tile is originally published by Eni Oken and if you google the name her work will come up.  She has some really fascinating and different work.  I bought one of her books on extreme shading.  

I picked a tile that I had already done (for time's sake) and then just designed a "frame" to go around and on top of it.  I used self-stick foam glued between the two dimensions.  

The frame tangle is Brabs.  Inside the tangles are Bwlya and Cadent with Black Pearl.  I added the Zen-gem just for some color and interest.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Steam Punk Forest

"The Steampunk Forest"
6" x 11"on paper

I'm going to try a photo of this rather than a scan. (see below).  The bronze colored acrylic paint on this just glows metallic and that doesn't show up at all in this scan.  This is a gelli print done by Jan Krassner of Leesburg Art Association at a workshop she gave in late October.  At the end of the class she gave me this print to Zentangle.  
Here's photo below that really shows off the lovely copper colored acrylic paint Jan used.  Interesting how the photo look so different!  

The paper Jan used was black and rather heavy.  Obviously her second "pull" with the dark green was masked by the interesting shapes she had.  

I used a Sigma Pigma 05 pen by Sakura (that Zentanglers call an "apprentice pen".)  It worked better on the acrylic surface.  Some additions on the paper were gold paint, gold ink, white ink and white charcoal pencil.  
The tangles were: Croissant, Fe-Ba, Footlites/Unyun, Frostflower, Abundies, Crescent Moon, Printemps, Diva Dance, Knightsbridge, Golven and Paradox. 

When completed it really had a steam punk look to it.  (See my  previous post for a definition of steam punk.)

Weather here in central Florida has warmed up some and we were up to 75 today…back to shirt sleeves in sunshine. All our northern friends and family (or most of them) are digging out from the recent blizzard.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Urban Sketching and Steam Punk

Moleskin landscape journal 

Cynthia's Urban Sketching Group staying warm while sketching
at the Fiesta Grande Restaurant.

After THE coldest night of the 2016 Florida winter so far (we had skim ice on our bird bath this morning), the Urban Sketching group decided on a lovely lunch in Mt. Dora and since they were not crowed we all did some show and tell and then settled down to do some sketching right there in the restaurant.  My husband, Greg, came along for the meal and he played iPad games while we sketched.

We read in the paper that Renniger's (in Mount Dora) was having a Steam Punk Festival this weekend.  I have never heard of such a thing but was totally intrigued.  If it hadn't been so cold I think we might have gone over to see what was what.  Steam Punk is defined as a "mix of science fiction, 19th century fashion and industrial design."  Great description.  I have been trying to come up with one for years.  It said that a common accessory for participants to wear to the event was goggles.  I kid you not.  And I think it's perfect.  Steam Punkers want to time travel.  I guess the festival is held several times a year.  I hope I make it over next time.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekly Journal prompts 3 and 4

Week 3 journal prompt

Week 4 journal prompt: Use a snowflake on your page

This is one of those pages that was so funny…after I cut out the snowflake and I had to cut like 15 cause it just is so addictive. Then I traced it on a pre-prepared ground made with zig zag machine stitching…why? I have no idea. I like the texture. Also acrylic paint put on with a credit card and drips and doodles. The hearts were done with prismacolor colored pencils which I used to practice "burnishing"…still new at that…with a clear no color wax pencil. I got sucked into making all kinds of lines on the tracing from the snowflake and then sucked more into tangling a new tangle called "Captured" which has hearts in it…must be almost Valentines? Anyway this strange line of reasoning continued for like two hours!…one thing leading to another and finished with a quote that I do like to remember.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Diva Challenge AND String Challenge

3.5" classic tile with wc background

Talk about a "challenge".  

The Diva's challenge this week was to use two different tangles "Diva Dance" (named after the Diva obviously) and "Auroknot".  Laura is celebrating her 5 year anniversary of putting out the challenges.

Then the string challenge this week from Linda Farmer 
was #191.  SO…I tried COMBINING the two challenges.
Info on string challenges here.

If you look closely you will see that I used the string in the background behind Auraknot.  So this is a "two-fer".  

Sort of like a two for one sale?  I suppose I could have put these into my Tangle a Day Calendar and made it a "three-fer"?  But that is for another day!  Hahaha.  

I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting better from a horrible cold/sinus infection.  Several people in our park down here in FL have had their colds go to pneumonia!  OMGosh.  I have had two pneumonia prevention inoculations so am hoping these will prevent anything more serious!  I know the northern states are in a state of bitter cold right now….single digit cold.  So our 65 here today with sunshine seems not worth whining about!  

Everyone stay well now.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Year of the Rabbit

The background is acrylic stencils with a wash of white paint mixed with acrylic glaze.

The prompt this week was to create a page involving the Chinese calendar…look up your symbol and see what it might evoke.
1939 is the year of the rabbit.  I was pleased as there are a lot of really strange symbol animals out there! 

So I cut my own stencil with my stencil cutter and had a go at it.
This is mixed media on velum finish 9 x 12.

Vibrant Color Shading

Sorting Mark Making into color categories

A few colored pencil practice tiles in classic sizes

One of the especially helpful things Brazilian artist Eni Oken mentions in her recent book 3D Tangles: Vibrant Color Shading is that one should start by assessing what color mark making tools you already have.  And she suggests sorting the colors or color families together so you can reach for those without having to look everywhere.  Now why didn't I think of that?

You can see on one of my working desks in the studio that I have an assortment of colored pencils (watercolor and regular) as well as some pens (water soluble and permanent).  

Some sets are odds and ends sets I've picked up over the years.  One colored pencil set is a prismacolor "student" set which is VERY hard lead and not too useful. I actually may just take those out and keep somewhere else…they are erasable which is interesting.  As Eni mentions…the most useful colored pencils are waxy and buttery.  I don't have a lot of experience in colored pencil.  I probably should sit in on a few classes here at the park as there is a very talented group that meets every Monday morning in the art room!  She mentions "burnishing" with a colorless pencil quite often which I am sure is a technique I would learn there.  

My two favorite sets of pencils you will note I did NOT put in the pots.  One is my Inktense set (my most expensive set) which is a watercolor set and after it dries the color become permanent.  It is totally my favorite set.  The other is a nice waxy (but small) set of woodless colored pencils (not watercolor) made by Progresso which is part of Koh-i-noor brand.  I decided NOT to mix those two into the cups at this point.  (I need to find a set of nicer cups too.  These are totally unattractive.) I need to go to a garage sale.

Note: I keep all my black marking making tools in another cup because it includes charcoal, stabile pencils, calligraphy pens, etc.  

Although Eni uses her colored pens for a base color quite often I find that I prefer to use watercolor or watercolor pencils as a base.  But she does achieve quite an amazingly rich color in her work.  She also uses Bristol Vellum paper more often than not.  Strathmore makes a mixed media paper with a Vellum finish that I am fond of and I'll have to try that out.  You can see Eni's work at

Believe it or not it's time for me to think about Valentines…with 12 grandchildren it takes quite some time to craft them.  And I think playing with color and Zentangles will be a perfect excuse to combine the two ideas.  5 weeks will fly by.  They always do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Random strings

Random "string" lines with a fine line pen and some left over orange acrylic paint.

It's kind of fun to do some random string things once in awhile.
The Fine Line paint/ink bottle works so nicely for lovely line making.  Just thought I'd give it a try.  

I am getting over a doozy of a cold and am not very ambitious in the studio for a few days.  This was just about all I could handle.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

String Challenge 190

The string challenge on Linda Farmer's blog has been going a LONG time…I mean they have 190 prompts!  

I just thought I'd give it a try this morning and I got way too "busy" on this tile.  But it was relaxing and fun.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Journal Prompt #1

History of the Chop
In China, the chop has the same weight and authority as a signature does in Western culture. The use of a chop, or seal, started thousands of years ago and continues to this day. Chops are commonly seen on Chinese artwork, but they’re also used by everyday people to simply sign their checks or greeting cards. Artists use them not only to sign their work but also as a way to enhance it. A beautifully designed seal in the right place adds a special touch to the image.

Here is a website to show you how to make your own!

My daughter gave me this chop made in Taiwan many years ago.
There are two in the darling little box…one for me and one for my hubby.  They are carved from stone.  

The Odds and Ends Drawer

"So, this year I'm not making resolutions. I've decided I don't want a "new year, new me." Really, it's taken a lifetime to get to this "me," and I'm pretty happy with who I am and all the little graces that have made me me. My hope is next year at this time I'll be pretty happy to be me, too.  

This year I'm going to do something different. I'm going to list the things that I randomly started doing at some point this year that I've decided to keep doing. They've made my year better. My only hope is that 2016 will add to this list. Either way, I think it's going to be a good year. "  Emily Heath

So Emily says it the way I am thinking about it.  
It's taken a lifetime to get to this "me".  And while certainly far from perfect and striving to be a better me all the time…I don't see resolutions as the way forward toward that goal.  Picking the things in 2015 that I see now as worth keeping and completing and leading to new insights…yes.  

Last year's "journal word for the year" was attentiveness.  I love that word.  I plan not to substitute another word but to ADD to that word.  This year's word is wabi-sabi.  Which is the Japanese untranslatable word(s) meaning the beauty of imperfection…things with rust and patina, like me.  

I almost picked ephemera for my word…meaning "things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time".  This is a word that journaling has taught me the meaning of.  The word used to relate only to paper items but now in common usage it refers to just about anything you find interesting or like that is "bits and pieces" of life normally thrown away but saved for some personal reason.  

If you go through your "odds and ends" drawer you will see what I mean.  We all have those drawers which accumulate old keys, ribbons,  ticket stubs, and the menu for the carry out Chinese restaurant that went out of business four years ago.  I just checked.  Mine has candle stubs (you never know when you might carve a pumpkin), kitchen magnets and a bag of balloons (you never know when a party might break out).  Perhaps my mantra should be "ya never know".  Ain't that the truth.  

So carry on with what was the best of last year.  "Happy" is what you can choose if you wish.  It's all up to each of us to make that decision.  It takes less and less for me these days.  Good coffee and marveling at the color of the sky at dawn gives me great comfort these days.  Watching my pink hibiscus open as the sunshine touches them each morning.  Listening to the soft even breathing of my husband beside me at night.  Getting an email from one of my children or grandchildren, making some art that pleases me, and finding the "thin" places in the world once in a while.  

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Journal prompt 52

My last journal prompt for 2015.  I have joined the group again for 2016.  I really have done a lot of growing artistically with this group.  

Our last prompt was to all use the same blank puzzle piece and pick some "symbols" that would resonate with our experiences this year.  The prompter gave tons of symbols from many cultures that we could use.  

But I have used two very common ones.  A question mark to symbolize how I am learning to live with unanswered questions…that's called "faith".  And the symbol of the heart (on the tiny lock) which is the symbol for love.
Faith and love.  So now…on to 2016 with hope.

ps.  Materials used in this prompt:  acrylic paint, mono-printed papers, pen and ink, intense pencils, white gel pen, gold micro-beads, metal ephemera, 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Closing in on the Zentangle Calendar

This gives the illusion that I am "caught up" on my calendar.
Hahaha.  Many blank pages previous to this.
But I decided to go forward and then go back and fill in.

Ixorus was the blog prompt for Back to Square One on Facebook last week so I dropped that in.  

The minimalist trees are not really exactly a Zentangle® pattern but someone posted them on the Tangle A Day calendar Facebook group (see her name) and I was so taken with them I decided to add them to this grouping.

Borbz has been around quite awhile but someone put this new grouping on their blog and I wanted to try it out.  Salo is a new tangle for me. 

We all get to "musing" about time and the passage of it when the old year ends and a new begins.  I find this not really a good time for me to "set goals".  All my teaching years have always made September be my goal setting time.  But I do think it is a good time to look back and think over what has happened and try to make some sense of it.  

I remember last January when I started my first year long "prompt" group for journaling that I posted how NOT ready I was for a new year and how even reluctant I was to even admit that the new Year was beginning.  I showed a sweater unraveling off me while I was still wearing it.  Me looking dismayed.  Father time pulling the strings off.  

I don't feel quite that reluctant this year.  A little more forgiving about what happened and what didn't this year.  I like the idea of "giving up regrets" because that is too much like whining.  

I quote Danny Gregory:
"I can provide reasonable goals, set myself up with clear and achievable markers of success, be supportive and understanding without being either a wimp or a tyrant, and remind myself that failure is not catastrophic but just a detour from a path and one I can still return to.
Let’s do great things in 2016 but in a reasonable, supportive, human way. And let’s start by giving up regret."
I think one of my goals will be to be a little "wordier" on my blog in 2016.  Note I said "little".  Some of my favorite blogs like Ann Lamot's and Danny Gregory's have a little meat to them…something to actually say.  Ann of course is not writing about art per se.  More about how she views life.  If you haven't found her Facebook page do take a look.  
This will be a year of preparing for a new president, of trying to make sense of what terrorism means in society and how can sane people deal with it and counter it, of dealing with so many mental health issues in our country, and of coming to some sort of reconciliation about gun control and immigration and climate change.  How all that will fit into talking about my art journey is an unknown.  I do know that art fill a void that keeps me sane and centered and balanced in a tilted world.  
Happy New Year.  And May the Force be With You.   

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A last Christmas Sketch

We got so lucky with Sat weather here in SC and the sunshine and it was 75 degrees. Wow.

I did a small quick wc and ink sketch of my sister and brother in law's beautiful lake front on Lake Wylie.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Remembering the Concert

We are in South Carolina on Christmas Eve day.

Warm and rainy here. 71 degrees..setting records.
I took a little time after lunch to go back and a little color from my tiny ink sketch from the concert last week.

Tonight we'll be in Charlotte for chili supper and Christmas Eve services at New Covenant UCC church.

Merry Christmas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 21, 2015

Frog's Restaurant on Cedar Key

5 x 7 canvas wc and acrylic, graphite and pen

Frog's Restaurant on Cedar Key, FL.
At least my "interpretation" of the restaurant.
It's not signed yet.  I have a few more things I may do.
This will be my gift to the Fine Arts group for the brunch on January 16.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Watercolor on a prepared birch panel

8 x 8 birch panel

designs done with a Molotow pen filled with Golden High Flow white paint.

This technique is from Danielle Donaldson's book Creative Girl Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life.  Very fun book.
Project is done on a birch panel that has been sealed with clear gesso/varnish mixture. White tangles are done with High Flow paint and then sealed again.  Watercolor on top of that (somewhat of a challenge on this substrate) and then a wash of white acrylic paint thinned with glazing medium. 

I am thinking that Danielle will suggest a spray finish of clear acrylic over this all but she didn't mention that or I have missed that somewhere. I am hoping she'll respond to my question about that.  

This is a very fun technique and next time I'll be ready with a better drawing.  This is just a sketch of my studio table!  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Complete Jane Davies online class this week...

So…this is how the last assignment in Jane's online class sort of went.  Design some "starts" using your gelli plate, masks, mark making textures, and try not to think too much about it.  (That last part was easy.)  She suggests twelve 8" x 8" starts.  Above you see 5.
Hey, it's one week to Christmas.  Let's get real.  Incidentally the pink one at the top left did not make the final cut. I will just cover it over with a new combination of paints later.

After you play around putting gelli plate marks on your papers, you then go back with a paint brush and "tidy" things up.  In other words make the painted marks look more precise and more orderly and more painterly and more intentional.  This is becoming more of an easy task now that I understand from practice why this important.  Casual, loose, and fresh does not mean sloppy.  

Then begin to add some collage work to the pieces.  I added three pieces to the above painting.  I tried to stay in the color family already started but am thinking I'll need to add some spice to it soon.  The pale circles in the burnt sienna paint were there but I made them brighter using alcohol on a Q-tip.  

Speaking of spice…here is a piece of collage that definitely is in the spice category.  Orange against blue has always been fun for me.  So three pieces added to this one and some mark making.  The scribble lines were made by using a Fine Line applicator and some Pyrrol Orange fluid paint, thinned.  Swirly lines, for me, help to relax the painting and getaway from too much linear work.  The softer circles in the background were actually there on the gelli plate but I had to paint around them so they would show up.  I used a Glazing Pen by Sukura for the tiny dots which actually have texture.  This one might be finished. 

This one has some interesting possibilities.  the three vertical collage papers I made myself, of course, and the texture on them is made by lightly sanding the paper while it is on a textured surface…sort of reverse of what you normally do in a rubbing.  The sandpaper removes the paint revealing the texture of what is below.  You have to be really gentle in this depending on the weight of the paper.  Doesn't work too well on Deli paper.  I am thinking of some gold spatter on this one. 

Jane usually critiques these photos on the class blog.  But I haven't gone back to read her critique yet.  It'll probably say…"do more".  
It usually does.  I like the color combinations in this one but I may go back in with more paint and soften some areas on this one.  
Gold and turquoise is a nice combination. 

The class is over now…this is the last session. (6 sessions).  They flew by!  Jane will leave the blog up until mid to late January so folks can continue to post and talk and etc. until then.   I have found this kind of collage very additive and it's so cool to know I have this to play with anytime I want to relax and make art!!!  I will probably frame at least two either from summer class or this one to put in the Hawthorne Park show in March.  I may ask my blog readers to help me decide which ones as it gets closer.

Greg and I are leaving for a week in South Carolina for Christmas so I may not be posting again until after Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Journal Prompt 50

This prompt suggested that each person think of the tags that come on products and clothing, etc that tell what the product is made of.
Think of a tag for yourself…what defines you and what describes you?  Think of a word or words to put on your tag.  

It was interesting to see the ones that have popped up already and how people interpret this.  Because everyone is so complicated and plays so many roles in life, I thought hard about what word(s) I would use.  Finally I settled on sojourner: a person who resides temporarily in a place.  I feel very much that I on multiple journeys in my life.  Spiritual journeys, artistic journeys, and just life learning journeys.  I also thought about mentioning that age gives you the wisdom to accept that you won't get all the answers to all the questions on your journeys and you learn to accept that.

The background for this page is multiple layers (just like life).
It is stamping, direct paint, stencils, collage, glue, papers, etc.  The print style is called "clothesline printing".