Saturday, December 21, 2013

First Ensemble completed's done.  The first 9 tiles for the first Ensemble.
I'll be waiting awhile to do the second nine!  Hahaha.
the last tile (#9) is Panthe plus Inapod, Holly, St. John's Cross, Nekton, Fiore

I have now put together a 4-tile string ensemble for my own Zentangle Reunion on January 10.  A little less intimidating and time consuming than a nine tile.

I have done a string and made multiple copies of it on the copy machine.  Folks who want to participate can just trace the string on to their 4 tiles and bring it back to me on February 3 when Fine Arts has their regular monthly meeting.    

Now I am beginning to search for subject matter for some Yupo/watercolor paintings to get myself primed for the February class I am teaching (if enough sign up).  After the holidays I will get things out and make plans, decide what needs to be ordered, and watch my James George DVDs again.  He always gets me in the mood!


Drawing the first ensemble to the close...

Tiles are numbered 1-9 beginning on the top left corner going left to right.
Tangles for 1-5 are already posted in previous posts.
Tile 6: IX, Opus, Fife, Chemystery, Chard, Rain
Tile 7: Elven, Footlites, Fishnet, Verve
Tile 8 (unfinished): Auraknot, Hollibaugh, Brabs + ?

Pretty busy.  But as I said, this will all "come apart" to be distributed to other people and I will get back other tiles they have tangled.  So what is important is that the strings are followed.  You can see the string lines follow from tile to tile.  

I think a tile is more "effective" if one of the spaces in the tile in larger than the others.  Gives it a "center of interest".  In tile 6, they are almost all the same size.  So I think it is the most challenging.  There you have to more aware of "values" of dark and light.  

I could possible see that if you were a Zentangle Club and met could do these up in a challenging way...perhaps offering up things like adding a color for a theme.  Everyone add a little red to each tangle (as an example).  Or ALL the tiles could be lightly glazed with watercolor before the start?  Other?  

These will get turned in to Jo-Ellen in early April.  So I will put the 2nd ensemble away for a later fun.  

Today is the Winter Solstice

In the Northern Hemispheretoday is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It's officially the first day of winter and one of the oldest-known holidays in human history. Anthropologists believe that solstice celebrations go back at least 30,000 years, before humans even began farming on a large scale. Many of the most ancient stone structures made by human beings were designed to pinpoint the precise date of the solstice. The stone circles of Stonehenge were arranged to receive the first rays of midwinter sun.
Some ancient peoples believed that because daylight was waning, it might go away forever, so they lit huge bonfires to tempt the sun to come back. The tradition of decorating our houses and our trees with lights at this time of year is passed down from those ancient bonfires. In ancient Egypt and Syria, people celebrated the winter solstice as the sun's birthday. In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated with the festival of Saturnalia, during which all business transactions and even wars were suspended, and slaves were waited upon by their masters.
Henry David Thoreau said: "In winter we lead a more inward life. Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts, whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from whose chimneys the smoke cheerfully ascends."

I love being reminded of the history behind some memorable moments.  30,000 years is a long time, huh?   So the roots of our feeling somewhat cheated on daylight today come from a LONG time ago!  

One of the church study groups planned at our UCC church this winter has to do with how the minds and intelligence and knowledge that we have accumulated since the men (and they were mostly men) wrote down their sermons and letters in the Bible have evolved.  It is called "Painting the Stars".  Although the word "evolution" can be sometimes a trigger word for some biblical discussion...what is planned for discussion here is more about "evolved" knowledge about our world, our universe, our place in the universe, and our scientific views (although of course still limited).  How does this new knowledge impact our understanding of what was written back then.  Should be an interesting discussion.  

The lighting of bonfires to tempt the sun back (as mentioned above) came way before the Bible, of course, but I can understand their concern!  And now that we know more about the sun as a star, we know that they were not so far off in that worry for now we know that the sun is actually finite and that in some far distant future it will be gone.  Or so scientists think at this point in time.  So lighting a few bonfires to "tempt" the sun to come back is not such a bad idea after all!  :-)  

(quotes are from Garrison Keillor's website) 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ensemble: five tiles out of nine

Working on Tile #5 out of 9 tiles for Ensemble.
Tile 3 tangles: Knot Rickz, Cubine, Schway, Tipple, Blips, Knightsbridge
Tiles 4 tangles: Yew Dee, Oakling, Strawn, Shard, Vortex, Kee-nees
Tile 5 tangles: Palrevo, Golven, Jetties, Betweed, Tipples, Laces + ?

Boy these are really addictive.  
I am also realizing, of course, that it makes no sense to "carry on" a tangle from one tile to another because in the end, they will all be mixed up and placed on someone else's ensemble.  

If I were doing this for myself, I'd be tempted to carry the tangle on over into the next tile.  
I am also staying pretty much within the "border" this time.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Starting an Ensemble

Borbz, Hurry, Bales, W2, Rain, Striping, Crescent Moon, Paradox, Birdie Feet

These are the first 6 tiles of a 9 tile ensemble.  I have completed two of the 9 so far but I wanted you to see how they fit together after they are completed.  

This is a project for the Retreat to Paradise Zentangle group that will be meeting in early April here in Florida.  Obviously we wanted plenty of time to complete this especially since there are TWO ensembles which means 18 tiles.  

What happens then is we bring the two completed  ensembles to the retreat and the leader combines them so that we get back a whole "new" ensemble which will fit together since we all had the same "strings" to work with from the start!  Then she mails them back to us after the retreat!  How cool is that.  
We put our names and tangle names on the back and also the # of the tile in the ensemble.  This is #1 and #2.  

You can do this on your own or purchase a package of tiles with strings on them.  Very fun group project.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tiles in tones

Jetties, Lampion, Ciceron, Mak-nah-mee

Staining your white tiles in various ways gives them a sort of an antique look.  You can do it with instant coffee or some strong teas will do it.  This is a combination of burnt sienna and quin Gold watercolor loosely applied and let completely dry.  

All the tangles are in burnt sienna ink, or brown ink, graphite, white jellyroll pen and white charcoal pencil. No black ink on this one (although the dark brown ink looks black in this scan).

Coolish day in central FL..we only got to about 60.
Lots of nice sunshine.  But we will add about 5 degrees each day up to the weekend.  So have 85 in the forecast!  Yippee.  

20 and snowing in Chicago area where we have a lot of relatives!  But it does look Christmassy!  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Courage Cards

Winter's Glory Card
Sharon Feathers' watercolor artwork of a brilliant winter sky 
creates a captivating image on this holiday card. 
The addition of a fine silver foil border adds an elegant finish to the art.

My new artist friend, Sharon Feathers, painted the card image above for Courage Cards.  

The money to purchase these cards goes to help children with disabilities.   You can read about Courage Cards here.  Being selected (or juried in) to the Courage Cards artists is an amazing honor.  I am so proud of Sharon!  Consider this idea yourself another year or pass this idea on to other artists and consider purchasing some cards for a worthy cause. 

And you can go directly to Sharon's card here.

Sharon Feathers, Ringle, WI. Sharon's interest in art developed after her professional career as a teacher. Retirement has since given her the time to pursue her interest in art, and her travels have given her the opportunities to take beautiful photographs which she uses as reference for her paintings. Sharon believes art is a personal statement about how we perceive the world. It is a point of view. It is a statement of what we want to convey to others. That means being in the moment of your surroundings. She says, "I am always looking for that found moment to capture." Sharon has received many awards and honors for her art and her work can be found in many galleries and exhibits. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas thoughts

Blips (in gold), Sp-Eye-Ryl, Rounding, Ixorus

Just a little noodling around today.  Completely random string.  Maria has been using gold in some of her Christmas tangles and the only gold pen I had was with a thick nib.  So I just did a touch of gold on the "Blips" tangle.  

She is doing the 12 days of Christmas and has such a lot of darling ideas for Christmas ornaments and cards and gift tags.  Some of the tags are designed to fit over wine bottles when you bring that to a party.  I am thinking of doing napkin rings this year.  

The Retreat to Paradise Zentangle Group is going to do a "Ensemble" project this winter.  I should get my kit in a week or so I think and then I bring it to the retreat in April.  Then Jo-Ellen, the group leader, somehow sorts them all out into ensemble designs with everyone's different tangles that fit together into a "surprise design".  Then she mails them back to us after the retreat is over.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Le Pen (water soluble pen), watercolor on multi-media paper 4 x 4"

This is a tiny little 15 minute sketch.  I am finishing up on my "own" assignments for my watercolor, ink, sketching class.  They meet again on Monday morning here at our Hawthorne Park Fine Arts.  We have a great group of 17 folks!  I assigned the 6 little sketches over the two weeks between was to sketch and paint your phone.  

The challenge (for me) as to mix an interesting black, to infer some reflections, and to think keep the little "continuous ink sketch" simple and "wonky".  Wonky=askew.  Love those words.  Some of the class has challenged themselves to try to do a small sketch a day...not lifting the pen from the paper.  It is a lesson in really "seeing" what you are drawing and helping you to focus.  This is not "blind contour" drawing which is another exercise. 

I picked up some "le pens" at a stamping store up north before I left.  They are SLIGHTLY soluble.  In other words they bleed a little bit.  I don't mind that too much.  You can get them on line here for $4 each.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Zentangle on Scrapbook papers

Zentangle on scrapbook paper (designer paper by Colorbok) 8 x 10"
Paradox, Bask-it, Gommi, Hibred, Brabs, Cadent, Merryweather, Cubine, Footlites

This idea is creatively plagiarized from Caren Mlot, CZT.  Recently on her blog she showed how she did something similar with a scrapbook page of baseballs.  The pages come 12 x 12" with all kinds of fun objects.  My additions are mostly all black pen with a little white charcoal pencil and white gel ink and a little graphite shading.

I am not sure what I would do with this.  
It might make a cute card if reduced to 4 x 6 but I am not sure the designs would show up at that size.  It's too much work to put into wrapping paper!!!!  Ideas anyone?   

Renaissance Tiles

3.5 tiles (pastel paper) Bask-it, Borbz, Shing, Gommi, Mak-rah-mee, Pozer

I am enjoying playing around with the sort of new idea that Maria has put on that we try some Renaissance tiles. That is working with brown and white and black inks with white pastel pencil.