Monday, September 30, 2013

Borders with Zentangles

Bwlya and Cadent (v) with Black Pearl

Our challenge this week is to design a border...either using current tangles or inventing one of our own.

My creative juices are a tad low this week so I am using variations on tangles I already have.  I did this one on 3.5 square on tinted paper.

Model Train Show Sketch

wc and continuous line ink sketch 5.5 x 8" sketchbook

Just a quick little sketch at the Minocqua Train Club Model Train show yesterday.  Darling little car for sale so I left the tag right on it.  I see I got the formatting a little crooked.  Just used pan paints and little water brush.  I must remember to put a straight edge and a pencil in my little bag.  

I miss my other palette when I am using the little "field kit (Cotman)".  It is a great little set but I've gotten so used to Brenda Swensen's colors now that I miss them.  She has such a BRIGHT palette. 

Maybe I can figure a way to put a little larger palette in this tiny bag.  I always say that the size of the sketch bag is in direct correlation to the distance you have to carry it from the car!  

Would You Like My Autograph?

Ginny teaching at WC on Yupo Class in Woodruff, WI on September 18

Ah fame.  Guess it was a slow news day at the Lakeland Times. Plus I think the photographer thought the word "yupo" was curious! 

Here I am doing my demo for the class at the Woodruff Town Hall.  We had a good day and lots of fun art.  I posted about this earlier.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Two Old Favorite Tangles Together Again

Knightsbridge and Tipple
The fun of "challenges" in Zentangle is, of course, not to pick the tangles that are your favorite but to go with the tangles given to everyone in the challenge.  Tipple and Knightsbridge were two tangle patterns that I learned right at the beginning of my introduction to Zentangle over two years ago. Everyone uses them now and again.  

I always think of them as "stand-bys" or "fill ins" or even as "basics".  They are so simple that they are easily re-arranged and easily manipulated to any space that suits your fancy.  In other words, tanglers sort of take them for granted.  A staple tangle, in other words.  To make them the "featured" tangle is kind of fun and different.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trompe l'Oeil

The Art of Inspiration: Trompe l'Oeil
Oil on Ampersand Gesso Board
by Jan McAllaster Stommes

Now this is another example from the Birds in Art exhibit in Wausau at the Woodson Art Museum.

Keep in mind this is NOT ON A BOARD.  This is painted to LOOK like a board.  This is a smooth flat panel she is painting on.  There is nothing pasted on it.  Everything is painted on it. But you feel as though you could pick the things off it!  Fun.

I think trompe l'oeil is just the most amazing style of painting!  I'd like to try it sometime.  But it can't be in oil because I don't do oil.  


Rubbernecking by Dominique Salm from Jamaica
WC on Arches Paper (full sheet)

The new Birds In Art exhibit at the Woodson Museum of Art on Wausau, WI is definitely worth the trip.  This watercolor just knocked the socks off my husband.  He stood in front of it and laughed his head off forever!  If he had the money, he'd buy it as it made him so happy!  These are ostriches, of course.  WHAT attitudes!  Hahahaha.

The exhibit is so eclectic...full of SO many styles, so many different media, and so many takes on birds.  It's just delightful. Landscapes, portraits, abstracts, sculptures, on and on.  Plan to spend at least two hours! And it has a wonderful iPod ear phone explanation to enhance your visit.  

It just opened around Labor Day weekend but I did not write down how can google The Woodson Museum and find out.  It should be there quite awhile.  

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Fringe, Plates, Framz, Brabs, Black Pearl, Marie's border design

Wherever You Go, There You Are is a wonderful book by Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994).  It's been around for awhile and you can get cheap copies in paperback.  I highly recommend it.  Those of us interested in the "zen" in Zentangle sure will benefit from it and it's an easy easy read.  

"Mindfullness is an ancient Buddhist practice which has profound relevance for our present-day lives.  This relevance has nothing to do with Buddhism per se or with becoming a Buddhist, but it has everything to do with waking up and living in harmony with oneself and with the world.  It has to do with examining who we are, with questioning our view of the world and our place in it, and with cultivating some appreciation for the fullness of each moment we are alive.  Most of all it has to do with being in touch."

I thought on these words this morning as the clear autumn sunshine glimmered through the now-coloring leaves of the north woods of Wisconsin.  Yellow aspen and birch leaves slowing trickling down across the studio window.  Red maples against their gold and dark green pines beyond the rusty brown oaks.

Not so hard to be "in the moment" on a morning like this.  Jon recommends you begin by just listening to your breathing.  While doing this I composed the above Zentangle..particularly enjoying the new tangle called "Framz".  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Working With a Theme: Together Through Thick and Thin

Slink (v), Cadent (with black pearl), Warts & Wobbles, Chainging

Working with a "theme" in any art work means looking at it quite differently.  I am designing a name tag here for my church to use on it's Ministry Fair Sunday in November.  The theme, as I interpret it, is how the church members work together, stay together, love together, plan together, and get things done together.  "Together through Thick and Thin" then is more the theme, I suppose. 

The tangles I chose to interpret this theme each had a slightly different way of showing this.  "Slink" (my version) along the left side showed the intricate way that our lives weave in and out of each others but forming a stronger "chain" than if we tried to do things on our own.  "Cadent with Black Pearl" along the top shows that working this way has a rhythm and a beauty all it's own. 

"Warts and Wobbles" on the right side is the touch of humor in the little piece showing that we do all have our "warts" and our "wobbles" and that things are not always easy or perfect.  But together, the symmetry of our lives and our work make something that is full of joy.

"Chainging" across the bottom is a braided rope. When you pull it, it gets tighter, stronger.   

Note:  The church today (all churches, not just mine) are rapidly becoming not just benefactors of the world through outreach ministry to help the poor and the hungry and the victims of disasters.  But they also serve the people that come to the doors of the church by offering them comfort, unconditional love, support in their personal lives, a sense of family in a society of transient loneliness and transition. 

I encourage to pick a "theme" now and then and see how it might change your art work.  
 If you are interested in seeing my personal inspiration go to

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Just Foolin' Around

13 x 20 (half sheet of Yupo Synthetic Paper

I am missing a few folks in this photo but here are most of them!

Working on a Yupo surface is just like playing.
Just amazing fun and sometimes it even turns out.
My repeat of the Flying Reindeer above was just a fun way to use a drawing I already had on a new surface and to demo to the gals in the class (8) that you really have SO much freedom to experiment with this surface.  The trick is to "let go of the old way of using watercolor". 

We wiled away a very damp, misty, dark Wednesday yesterday in Woodruff doing just that.  My how the time flew!  Leslie had the coffee hot and a nice coffee cake for break time.  We worked from 9:30 to 3 pm and I hope everyone will keep on "playing".   Remember you can find You Tube Videos by Carol Ann Sherman and George James online that will give you some pointers.  

It's almost time to close up my summer studio again.  It's always such a hard thing to do.  I wait to the last minute.  It seems to me that when that door closes for the season that I need to get in the car and go...but usually we have at least a week of packing that follows that.  

I'll be down in the Lake Geneva, WI area for a few days now and hope to get in a few sketches there or at least some good photos.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Moving Toward the Yupo Class Now

Beams, Riki Tiki, W2, Brabs

I smile...when I do a tile for the "zen of it" and post it is pretty ho-hum for my blog friends.  I did try out Riki Tiki and Beams for the first time.  And that version of Brabs (although not my favorite) turns out to look like hieroglyphics.  Who knew?  

But hang in there.  I am teaching that Yupo class on Wed so I'll have more interesting things soon coming!  I'll try to stop talking long enough to take some photos and see what people come up with! 
Yupo is SO creative.  

It is a wet and dark day with dribs and drabs of rain all morning long...temps about 55.  Sweatshirt weather in the north woods.  Mushroom weather too.  Go Packers!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Another try for the tangle Well

3.5" tile, Well
I had a lot of fun with this version of Well.
This is a take off of one I saw on the Diva's challenge  black on white (creative plagiarism) and I am so sorry I did not write down the name of the artist that inspired me.  She did something quite similar and I want to give her credit.  I will look back.  It was quite beautiful and very flowing.  I love when people have this "outside the box" approach!  I did draw a string and a grid to start this but then ignored it somewhat.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Odd But Likeable

8 Parle Tres, Brabs
This did not start out successful.  It was one of those  Zentangles where you did a little, sat and thought a bit, did a little, sat and thought a bit...and so on.  It was done on a 3.5 tiles.  The color is Q. Gold watercolor.  It has a very odd name "8 Parle Tres".  I think I copied that right.  Anyway by the time I finished...I liked it!  

Do not take yourself too seriously!

I really miss that the current art magazine do not have jokes anymore.  
These used to just make me giggle to no end.
I am glad I saved a few of them.  
We must NOT take ourselves too seriously.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Transfer Painting: Looks like print-making!

Sketch on WC paper (w/mock printing) 

The way the wc paper looks after the mock printing has been put down.

The way the tracing paper looks after the black acrylic paint has been rolled on the back.

Always looking for a just slightly different way to approach things just to make more interesting.
This idea is from Drawing For Mixed-Media Artists by Carla Sonheim.  52 creative exercises (one a week).

She calls this one "Transfer Painting".  You do your sketch as usual but do it on heavy tracing paper.  I did a continues ink line drawing of a little still life in my studio.  Then you mix up a tiny bit of black acrylic paint with some water and using a brayer you paint the back side of the tracing paper so it is a very thin layer of paint.  Then carefully turn it over and lay it on your wc paper.  Take a pencil and trace over the drawing. Using your thumb you can press here and there to make sure some ink-like smudges transfer too.  You can see what that looks like in the 2nd photo.  It comes out looking like you printed the images from a stamp or woodblock or tile.

Dry it thoroughly and paint with watercolors so that the hazy black still shows through.  Voila.  Very fun.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Believe

11 x 15 (quarter sheet) Winsor Newton wc 140#

My 2013 Christmas card.  
I have signed this so I think it's completed.
I like it.  Simple shapes, pleasant colors, a touch of interest in the unusual composition, and a theme.

I Believe.

Whether you think I believe in flying reindeer, in Christmas or just in the power of LOVE is up to the viewer.  More likely all three!  

I loved painting my card.  Now, go and do likewise.  :-)

Thinking ahead to the holidays? OH NO!

11 x15 Winsor Newton WC paper 140# rough

I know, I know, I know.  Thinking Christmas before Halloween is not to be done!!!  I know.
But every September after Labor Day the grandkids go back to school and the cabin gets "really" quiet for a few weeks before we start making packing lists for going back to Florida.

AND I know from years of experience that we "hit the ground running" in Florida.  Not a relaxing time.  
SO, I am sorry guys.  This is when I have time to think about my Christmas card and even starting my Christmas letter.  

When I saw this little funky reindeer at a garage sale this summer ($1.50) I just fell in love with him.  I have always loved candlesticks anyway.  I mean he is just totally rusty and cute.  So I knew I was looking at my card for this year.  Well, I've given up cards actually...the final art work is placed into the Christmas email and the Christmas letter now.  

So I did a freehand ink drawing of him on drawing paper and then transferred the image to both wc paper and YUPO wc paper.  I am going to play with image a second time in my demo on the 18th.  

I've drawn lightly (you can barely see) a formatting around his guy and am now thinking about either a light or dark background behind him.  Maybe a graded wash getting lighter at the top nearer the candle?  Well, lots of fun ahead.  

Hubby is busy with his garage today and it's really nice and quiet in the studio...we are getting two more days of Indian Summer with temps in the high 70s.  Then Thursday...the big temperature crash and down we go.  Lows will drop into the 30s and we won't even see 60 for a high.  Sigh.  Leaves are turning, acorns are dropping, crickets are chirping.  I am thinking of making soup.  

Diva Challenge: Well

3.5" tinted tile (Canson), Well, Gewgle, Knightsbridge(v)

The Diva's tangle challenge this week is "Well" which I cannot get excited about.  Usually the "official" tangles are quite interesting and sometimes challenging.  Perhaps when I see what other people do on this one I'll get more excited about it.  

Margaret Bremner is using keys for her strings lately so I thought I'd combine the two of them...I had some old keys in my multi-media drawer and I just traced around know the ones you get in the mail you are supposed to take to the local car dealer to start the car you just won!?  Hahahaha.
Anyway, I entitled this Zentangle "Now WHERE did I leave my keys?"  If all keys looked like this we might not lose them so often?  

If you want to see other contributions to this challenge, the Diva's blog is on my side bar.  Just click on it, scroll down to the bottom of her current post and all the folks who have entered their contribution are listed there in live links.  Very fun.  

Happy Birthday Mary Oliver

Today I just want to pay tribute to my favorite poet, Mary Oliver.  I keep a tiny little quote from her under the name header where I name my blog.

Today is her birthday.  She is 78.  Just 5 years older than I am.  Garrison Keillor's daily poems and notes gives some background on her life below..most of which I had read before.  But it is always interesting to know more about people who write fascinating things.

I own a copy of American Primitive her book that won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  I keep it here in the north woods as it seems the nicest place to read it.
Although the poems are written about all different places.  There is even one about Flamingo, Florida in the Everglades...a place I have fun memories of.  

Here is some interesting things about her life:

It's the birthday of one of the best-selling poets in America, Mary Oliver (books by this author), born in Maple Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland (1935). When she was a teenager, she dropped out of college and made a pilgrimage to Edna St. Vincent Millay's estate in upstate New York, and although Millay had been dead for some time, her sister Norma still lived there. The two women hit it off, and Oliver ended up living on the estate for several years. It's there that she met Molly Malone Cook, who had come to pay a visit to Millay. Oliver and Cook fell in love and moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, together. Cook became Oliver's literary agent, and also sometimes impersonated Oliver for phone interviews because she hated talking to the press. They were together for more than 40 years, and after Cook died in 2005, Oliver published Thirst (2006), a collection of poems about her grief.
She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, for her collection American Primitive (1983), and she's one of the best-selling American poets, but she's a very private person who rarely gives interviews. Oliver's most recent book is A Thousand Mornings (2013), and her upcoming bookDog Songs (2013) will be released this October.
Mary Oliver wrote: "Every day I walk out into the world / to be dazzled, then to be reflective."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Indian Summer

5 x 8 Sketchbook/ink drawing with watercolor

Picture late afternoon. You are in northern Wisconsin at your cabin on Lake Tippecanoe.  The sun is getting low now in the horizon just off to your left and back...warming your shoulders and throwing nice shadows from your sun hat across the sketchbook.  You are alone. Dressed in comfy jeans and an old shirt.  Only the sounds of lapping water and autumn crickets. 
A few acorns fall.  "Yet-green" tomatoes shine in the pot by the Aldo Leopold Bench.  Time stands still.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"A Burr Oak We Pass" by Mark Nesslar

11 x 15 WC/multi-media on two sheets of Yupo
The top sheet is translucent...
you see the darker grayish tree which is another painting under it.

Actually I posted the first sketches for this painting a week or so ago and the poem by Mark was posted with it.  

I am entering this painting in a juried show in Wisconsin that pairs artists and poets.  It's going to be hard to enter this digitally because the idea of the double painting is just not going to show up very well in a photo.  But it is something new for me to try this technique. I took this photo under artificial light so it's not the best either!   

The front tree is a poured painting and then when it was dry I cut it out (so to speak) by re-wettting the rest of the painting and lifting off the color I did not want.  It will be a technique I can demo for my Yupo class (see side bar) on the 18th. The "tree that died" is painted on regular Yupo paper and slipped under the first one.  So it has a feeling of another dimension.

The painting is dedicated to my friend, Kendra, who passed away on August 12.  I have loved this interpretive kind of painting which is somewhat "out of my comfort zone".  So it has been an interesting assignment on many levels.  My friend, Christine knows how to do professional photography or scans for submissions like this and is going to handle that end for me.  

I have to call this "multi-media" since I used ink for the lettering.  

Here is Mark's poem in case you didn't see it the first time:
A Burr Oak We Pass by Mark Nesslar
A tree will sometimes grow in a way such that it appears unnatural.
Say it grew around another tree and that one died, was cut into pieces,
And hauled from the forest by draft horses and log chains, and of the scars,
where it pealed the earth, none remain.

If you choose to look, not at the tree, but the space it describes,
you see where two shapes entwined.  The powerful barked limbs
curled to hold the air as delicately as the lover holds the beloved,
while the space, remembering most patiently the years embrace,
extends outward to encompass all.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Brabs: Falling in Love

Ciceron, Brabs, Hypnotic, Jetties, Purk

Zanzee Brubs, Tipple

Flux, Brabs, Shard, Black Pearl
Every now and again it happens, a tangle just plucks my heart strings.  I cannot even begin to say why although it surely is a "personality" issue.  

It's Brabs this time.  Ellen Wolters invented it...she is a Dutch artist.  It is SO simple you can almost do it what's with it?  I just adore it.  
It's funny, it's simple, it's tongue in cheek, it's got personality, it's easy to vary, it's cute, it's crazy....and so on blah, blah, blah.  

All are 3.5" tiles.  Color added is watercolor on the top one, gouache on the black one, and tinted Canson pastel paper on the 3rd one.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Zentangles

Crusade, Chime, Cadent (v)

Zanzee, Hurry, Rain, Coaster

Both these 3.5" tiles were done over Labor Day weekend including some tangles that Linda Farmer has forwarded over the last few days.  I particularly like Zanzee done in white on black and the fact that the string shape ended up slightly like an elephant silhouette is totally accidental!!!

In the top Zentangle I really like the new tangle called  Crusade.  Although it takes a bit of concentration. 

Rained all day Monday here in the north woods and only in the high 50s all day.  BRRRR.  But our forecast for the week shows a warm up so we have not given up outdoor fun yet!