Thursday, September 29, 2016

Diva's Challenge: use straight lines only

I decided to put the Diva's Challenge into my Zentangle calendar as I often do.  I thought I'd try "Hazen" that I think is an official tangle.  Never tried it before.  The square numbered 11 is sort of what it looked like to me.  But I was clueless how to repeat it.  So I just meandered off (in straight lines) and made up more.  Then finished off with "Atorm" which has LOTS of straight lines.  

I thought I'd post what I have done of this calendar so far...

I usually start a calendar sort of randomly like this…popping around to different sections each time I work on it.  Then going back to fill in sections or extend sections.  

Below is the challenge for Back to Square One Facebook group and also for the Shading Group and the tangle was "Garlic".  I am limited to black, white and gray in the Square One group.   

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Planning for Ink-Tober6

6 x 10 soft cover journal

I picked this empty journal up at a garage sale this summer for 50 cents.
Really pretty cover and fairly nice drawing paper inside.
Inside the book it said "modeled on 17th and 18th century paperbound pamphlet called 'chapbooks' in England and colonial America."  This is a hand-marbled cover using Turkish watercolor marbling.  Designed by Eileen Canning and it's lists Dancing Inks in Olympia Washington, 1983.  

The "official" Ink-Tober" website, as I showed previously has prompts for each day.  But they are very "hard" prompts.  Example, the first one is just the word "FAST".  I looked up the word in the dictionary for other possible variations and found that of course, fast is used to describe a watch or a clock that isn't keeping time correctly.  SO, my first sketch will be of a clock and/or my watch.  That is about as far as I've thought about this.

I may just "ignore" the prompts.  The important thing is to draw regularly and not that it fits the prompt.  Also I'll be "on the road" a large portion of the month (11-23) and so I may or may not be able to post my work during that time.  I have looked into a downloads an app to my iPad called "Blogtouch Pro".  The old app that used to work is not working anymore.  Sigh.  So I may be able to post to my blog at least.  We'll see how that goes.

We are seeing little patches of sunshine on and off today in the north woods of WI.  Still VERY windy and about 53 out there at 10 am CST.  The weather man is predicting at least 10 degrees warmer by tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes!  Sure am tired of this bleak dark cold weather.  (I am a FL girl now.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

AC: Anxiety Creativity

“Anxiety is the essential condition of intellectual and artistic creation and everything that is finest in human history.” (Charles Frankel

For some crazy reason…during these times of "transition anxiety" for me (each spring and fall as I leave one abode and pack up and try to re-assemble my life in another climate, in another home, in another set of circumstances and in a different studio) I start to get especially and explosively creative. 

 Just at the time I am supposed to be packing things away.  Maybe BECAUSE of the packing and the moving of materials around…as in "oh my gosh here are my acrylic inks, and I didn't use them all summer" or "I forgot I had my alphabet stamps tucked into this box" or here is the sketch I did of the Italian Restaurant…I have 20 minutes, surely I can get started".  OMGosh.  Anxiety hits and suddenly I am in the middle of a wild Zentangle pattern or "my journal prompt is SO creative and can't wait, and hey…let's start on InkTober!"  I start tossing and turning at night with creative thoughts about starting a figure drawing class in FL and pulling out all my watercolors for a photo shoot.  ARRGH!  Even some framing!

Sara Genn wrote about this anxiety creativity in her recent blog. She used to get this happen to her right at exam time when she should be studying!  And of course I SHOULD be packing. She says, "The mind wanders every which way, perhaps as avoidance activity for that which truly needs to be done." And she offers tips like making lists of these things and putting it an envelope to be opened LATER.  Not to lose the ideas and the excitement, just to be able to write it down and put it aside. I am praying that sort of sanity may hit me soon.!  Meanwhile here is the wc painting that I just did because I couldn't help myself!!!

Gosh I am glad I am not the only one who gets this way!  

12 x 14 wc and ink on 140# Arches
"La Grotta" 

InkTober: Are you Ready?

So…the InkTober Challenge has been going on now for about 7 years now.  I have "heard" of it but I didn't go and have a look until recently when my artist friend Susan Bronsak reminded me of it (and just in time too).  

The challenge was invented by Jake Parker and he has a series of videos on line you can look at about it as well as some nice posts about his favorite pens.  He is basically a cartoon artist and quite professional.  The challenge which will start this Saturday can be connected using Twitter.  (the hashtags are listed below the calendar.)  But since I do not HAVE a Twitter account, that won't be possible for me.  So this will be more of a personal journey.  If any of you out there are participating you can email me at so I can find your blog and we can share our work!  

Each day has a theme and the only rule is that you use ink.  You can pencil sketch first if you want to.  Susan and I did Brenda Swenson's 75 day  ink sketch challenge 5 years ago.  So this is a much smaller version!!!  And I plan to use the daily themes on a very loose basis.  I will be "on the road" traveling through much of it.
I have a problem posting from my iPad so you won't see the results from Oct 11-23.  But I will post them before and after that.


Monday, September 26, 2016

WC sketches and curing sinus infections: a Two Fer One!

These were done with my Lamy fountain pen at the Hazelhurst Town Hall yesterday while I was waiting for the end of the Model Train Show.  I really need a lot of practice with "gestures" and figure poses that can be done quickly.  I have some books to look at for ideas…but mostly it just practice, practice, practice.  

Cold cold winds now in the north woods today (Monday) and temps about 45 this morning.  Dark and foreboding skies.  Greg had a cozy fire in the fireplace and we are snuggling down for the day.  I need to make a run to the post office to send Ben's cookies off to college and then I'll be in the studio for awhile this afternoon finishing up that wc of the Italian restaurant.  I will start packing away my acrylics today.  I always leave Zentangle® and wc to last.

Am getting a LOT of emails from friends and family suffering from sore throats, ear aches, sinus infections, coughs, etc.  BLAH.  That is a sign of fall I do NOT like.  Kids are back in school and sharing their germs with everyone.  Chicken soup all around. OR my friend Cynthia swears by apple cider vinegar for sinus infections and it sounds to me worth trying!!   

How apple cider vinegar works:

Apple cider vinegar contains an array of nutrients including vitamins B1, B2, A, and E, calcium, and magnesium. These nutrients help clear the sinus cavities and treat allergy symptoms. Additionally, ACV thins mucus almost immediately. One of the first things you will notice after drinking apple cider vinegar is that the color of your mucus goes from white or green and thick, to thin and clear. The thinning of mucus is the key to kicking your sinus infection.
So, the recipe and directions for this is here


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pushing Boundaries

So this "supposed" calendar is really good for any month that has 31 days and starts on a Tuesday.  I cut off the date at the top.  (It's actually Aug 2017 but who is counting?)

I just like working on these grids and I know I could just run off grids but I like working on a dated calendar.  Not sure why.  I do display the current "correct" month near by computer.  But pretty soon I'll have worked a year ahead!  I like doing these "connected" tangles in larger formats.  And they are useful to me in the sense that usually use at least 5 or 6 new tangles everyone I start one.

Tripoli at the top left is an old tangle but I used "fragments" to fill it in (H-16 and A-13) in Maria and Rick's newest book.  Other tangles are Bridgen, BTL Joos, Andromeda, Mo-Fins, Black Pearl, FEDR, Rope, Upholstery, and Rundl to name a few.

I don't often incorporate print into these but the saying seemed so appropriate.  And I cut a slit in the paper to slip it in.  

Cold and rainy in the north woods of WI today.  Dark dark dark.
We are off to church and then to the model train show.  I hope to do some Urban Sketching there.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trying out some new tangles

On the top tile the tangles are Frost Flower, Egg and i, Squim, and Kirkland.  Except for Frost Flower the other 3 are new to me and I wanted to give them a try out.  Enjoyed all of them.

On the second tile I used Ellish, Diva Dance, and Bask-it.
This was one of the tiles that I sat and looked at a long time…stopping to make some changes, changing the shading, etc.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Relaxing with Zentangle (AGAIN)

So the challenge this week on the Diva Challenge is to relax and use the meditative steps that we were all taught to do at CZT training instead of getting all hung up in "thinking" or planning too much.  

I started out with Lollywimple as that is my go-to favorite (for awhile until I pick another tangle).  And I can do it without thinking now.  The plumpy sort of look is so relaxing to do and the "lollies" and the "wimples" just make me smile!  Like rolling dough.  

But then in the middle of doing that two of my Facebook groups put out the challenge to use an old favorite "Fife" somewhere.  (Shading Group and the Back to Square One group.)

Now there is a relaxing tangle to do as well so I just sort of doing that.   I threw in CreZendo because it reminds me of some the old tangles I love and tied it together with Wheelz which USED to be my most favorite and relaxing to do.  I let the ideas just flow without too much thinking.  I am glad to be reminded that in the VERY first intro you are to "randomly" pick tangles.  In "Back to Square One" the ideas there is to use only black, white and gray and not get into color or any "zia" shapes.  All of that causes too much decision making.   This was a relaxing tile to do!  

Diva's Challenge is Tripoli

The challenge to do the tangle "Tripoli" today was thoughtful.
Especially if you've recently read the latest Zentangle book.

This is how I would describe the above:
"This is a Tripoli reticula with two fragments: K-15 and H-14".

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Saying that Says it All

All-Media Strathmore journal 9 x 11
Acrylic and ink

Our journal prompt this week is "tags".  This is pretty open ended so I decided to dedicate the page this week to our dear friend Den Sollars who passed away in England last week.  We miss him so.  He lived a good life and died at his home in Sharpness with his dear wife Mary by his side.  Julie sent me the saying and I think it says it all.  We know that Den has changed our lives.   Here's to you Den.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

East Wall of Cabin Studio

So when it gets chilly I start doing "sketches" inside.  I recently did the west wall in my studio.  And so now here is what is behind me, the east wall.  Storing frames underneath the shelf.  I do all my Gelli prints here or anything to do with acrylics or framing.

We have frost warnings tonight.  
No kidding.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saying Farewell to the Cabin Lake Front

The pier comes out on Saturday…just 5 more days.  Once the pier is dismantled and stacked on the shore…the place we just about LOVE the best at the cabin on the lake is gone until next season.

I spent about 45 minutes down on the pier this morning putting together two little sketches.  The sun glinted off the lake and leaves are now floating on the water.  I wanted to say "good bye" to our little pier with it's comfy chairs, umbrella, and where we spent so many happy hours with the grandkids and boats coming and going.  This little anonymous poem is a favorite for this time of year...

Storing September

You ask me what I did today.
I could pretend and say, "I don't remember."
But, no, I'll tell you what I did today--
I stored September.

Sat in the sun and let the sun sink in,
Let all the warmth of it caress my skin.
When winter comes, my skin will still remember
The day I stored September.

And then with my eyes--
I filled them with the deepest bluest skies
And all the traceries of wasps and butterflies.
When winter comes, my eyes will still remember
The day I stored September.

And there was cricket song to fill my ears!
And the taste grapes
And the deep purple of them!
And asters, like small clumps of sky…
You know how much I love them.

That's what I did today
And I know why.
Just simply for the love of it,
I stored September.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Practicing Hand-made Whimsical Printing

Here are two birthday cards for grandsons whose birthdays that come in late September and early October.  I used my home-made washi tapes to hold in the checks (not included yet).  I love working on black paper!  Not what I'd normally choose for a birthday!  But it sure makes inks pop!  

If you have a copy of Joanne Sharp's book on Whimsical Lettering, you will recognize some of these above.  I like to practice the different kinds of letters she suggests…it's a super great book.  

I like trying out print in many different inks and sizes of nibs and the purple print on the second card is actually a "home made stencil" that I "burned" with an electric stencil cutter and then used sponges to make the purple words adding the black and white highlights when it's dry.  

The tangle is "lolly-wimple" in case you are interested.

I've been enjoying adding gold to the cards with embossing powder and a heat gun.  

With 12 grandchildren I have LOTS of opportunity to practice different skills!  

We are having some very chilly evenings in the north woods of Wisconsin!  45 this morning.  I expect we'll be having frost warnings in a week or so and the color is "just" beginning.  Soon be time to start having wood fires in the fireplace!   We still have about 4 weeks left before we take off.  I HOPE we don't see snow!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Line Drawings in Ink

9 x 12 ink on Strathmore Mixed Media paper 90#
Noodler's Ink and Lamy Fountain Pen

Ginny's "desk" in the cabin studio.
It's neater than normal as I've been working on some watercolors and had to clear things off.  
I discovered if you wait at least half an hour, the Noodler's Ink in my Lamy pen will become quite permanent and you can watercolor over it. 

This should make a good page in the coloring book that the art group is planning too.  Don't you just itch to color it in?  (See below…I gave in to the itch).

It took about 30-40 minutes to do this sketch.  It's kind of funky perspective.  I can tell when I started to get off-track or lost my concentration.  Makes a big difference.  

The LONG stretch of rain has briefly stopped here in the north woods but we expect another storm tonight that will last a few days.  SO much rain.  But the mosquitoes have blissfully almost disappeared!  We hear that central FL has had a massive outbreak what are commonly called "blind mosquitoes".  These are actually "aquatic midges".  Truly disgusting and a total nuisance.   Cynthia says that they are really awful…just swarming and swarming in clouds.  They don't bite, just swarm.

The idea that this might make a good coloring book page has come up and so I copied this on a light table so I still have the black and white sketch and have used colored pencils on the table top and some watercolor below the table.  I think it will be a fun thing to work on and actually rather complicated to color.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Journal Prompts…3 weeks worth!

This prompt was simple "Do something unique with initials".
I'm afraid this was not too gorgeous or anything…but I picked up a set of letter stamps a few weeks ago at a garage sale.  And I decided to include my immediate family which is a generous # of people.  Greg and I near the top (with the same initials) and then our 6 kids and then my sister & hubby, my nephews (also with the same initials) and then at the bottom our grandkids…two of whom have double  initials AA and NN.

Of all the prompts to play "catch up" with, this was the most fun. The prompt was about "Back to School".  I picked up some "blackboard paper" somewhere and used a pastel pencil on it to simulate "chalk" since I did not have chalk around the house.  Then I went back to when I was 10 years old and tried to remember some typical things we did then.  No iPads, no cell phones, and in my case no TV (not until 1951).  Lots of trading cards, bike riding, paper dolls, and desks bolted to the floor in rows.  Good memories for the most part.  

The dog days of summer (in the north woods) if they ever appear at all are in late July…long past.  I can remember some long hot summer days in Illinois growing up though and it would mostly be August when you lay in the hammock or went to the local pool.  Time kind of dragged as the bees buzzed and the tomatoes ripened.  Time slowed way down.  So I decided this little sketch of an old slipper would possible evoke the timelessness of that.  

Very dark and big time thunder and lightning and rain this morning in the north woods.  If there were street lights here they would be on.  The rain is falling gently and there is no wind…I am grateful for that.  Wind up here is so destructive with so many trees!  It is actually warm up here today…oddly enough…mid 70s.

We have 5 weeks left now to our departure toward Florida.
And the last 10 days is pretty much full of packing and closing the cabin chores.  So for all practical purposes it's only about 4.  I go through this packing whining every spring and every fall as we make the transitions.  

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Start in WC

14 x 16 WC and Ink on 140# Arches paper
Untitled yet

There was something about the beaded entryway to this little bakery/restaurant that drew my interest.  Still fussing about some of the details like how to make the chandelier inside more interesting looking.  There will be stone and bricks with a lot of texture around the doorway and a hint of a bicycle nearby.  
Just having some fun.