Friday, August 29, 2014

Quartz Inchie

The inchie from EIM this week is quartz crystal. I knew I was going to get all techno over this one. Rocks, chemistry, computers! Today I was mostly focused on the chemistry of quartz crystals. I wanted to get the molecular structure in there and the importance of silicon dioxide in circuit boards (not to mention ordinary glass, but that's a whole other thing). There is also the bright light as clear quartz crystals have to do with the soul chakra and a lot of metaphysical stuff that I don't understand but I don't want to fluff off, either.

While researching, I found some great molecular diagrams that would make some neat tangle patterns, how cool is that?

Did you know there are left- (beta) and right-handed (alpha) quartz crystals? I guess I knew that from chemistry class, but it's buried in the grey matter. It's been awhile since I took chemistry (although not so long that my kids have, and therefore I did all over again!).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stripes, this time with Sparkle!

I see a pattern here! Over at "It's a String Thing," the call is for more stripes. This time we have a swirly string from Sue Agnew, 055 for week 55 and a monotangle (use just the one pattern) of stripes and apply sparkle liberally. I have been playing with stripes as that was a recent lesson in "One Zentangle a Day," so I have SOME experience under my belt. However, my experience with sparkle...well, suffice to say I shy away from it as it kind of needs some serious planning. Especially in this case, with only the one pattern.

I explored various line widths (which is unusual for me) and assorted stripe patterns.The sparkle was preplanned and set in universal light (all coming from the same direction). I liked being able to focus on one tangle and going for a bold lighting effect. I think the stripes could have used more curves to establish form, but for such a teenie canvas, this is all right. To compensate, I did more shading than my usual work to build depth.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Water, Water Everywhere

Last weeks Diva Challenge was to do some Zen tangling with water. I have a few VERY different renditions that I drew last week and each has a very different view of water. This is my most challenging piece as I had been knee deep in water the better part of Tuesday. I pulled out a coffee-stained watercolor paper from a different challenge a few weeks ago as that's what color the water was all around my house. I didn't post this or any of the others to the challenge as I was kind of pre-occupied.
This drawing is fairly representational of the chaos we were experiencing and my general state of mind. That the coffee stains were a mess to begin with just adds to the tension here. I'm not too happy that the weather wonks have been forecasting more rain today, thunderstorms and more flooding. So far, that hasn't happened, but the day ain't over yet!

Yikes, Stripes!

The Diva Challenge (#182) for the week was to incorporate Stripes into the art. I had already wanted to tackle the It's a String Thing's Challenge that utilized a diagonal line pattern from Linda Farmer (#51, pattern 051) and only tangle patterns starting with "fa-."
But first things first.
I'm amused that everyone is talking about "back to school," soon when the students of the Big City started July 30. I know it's an anomoly, but the lucky students had three weeks in when our little hamlet got thrashed with flooding. Four inches of rain in fewer hours for the second time in a week. The local elementary school was turned into a Red Cross emergency evacuation facility last Tuesday, which was the basis for my first set of stripes. I was lucky that I didn't have to take them up on their services.

I think my neighbors thought I was some uppity yuppy who would be a total wuss under pressure, so I named that one, "Earning Stripes." I had to prove my street cred and boy! There's the stripes, the rain and lightning, the freeway, the waves of water and turbulence from the flooding. And a heart, as I live in the "heart" of Arizona.
The other is my answer, quite belatedly, to the other challenge. There is Fandango by Vicky Bassett and Fassett by Lynn Mead, Fantails by Neil Burley and Facets by Nancy Pinke plus Fafolia with unknown origin. I found that and some other interesting patterns at I'll be humming the Talking Heads all day: "Fafafafafafa..."
Thanks to all those tangly people that helped keep me focused today. Check out the various websites to see what others have done with the tasks at hand.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Channeling Keith Haring

The word of the day at Every Inchie Monday is "quick." If only the rest of my to-do list was like this, I'd be done my chores in a flash. Riiiiight, that's going to happen. This is a ZIA using "Amaze."
He's a little rough around the edges, but that's okay by me. I can always try again another time, when I have a chance to slooooooow down!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

After the Rain

It's been clean-up on our little farmette, tons of mud and yard refuse, so no surprise that all that found it's way into my doodling. The first attempt was just way too chaotic; the second string same as the first just seemed very visual--the pinecones, the single daisy blooming in all the yard and a penny from 1964.
Funny. My brother was born in '64 and will be shortly celebrating his 50th birthday. I have to clean the mud off of it, but I'll send it to him. It's also the fiftieth penny I've found in my yard since I bought the place. Life is funny that way.
That I can't draw my own thumb, not so much.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Paper Batik

I took some time away from the Zentangle a day with Beckah Krahula. I just had to. Her book is great and was my first introduction to the drawing method. BUT, as I've found with EVERY book on the subject I've read so far (and it's a LOT. I like to read how-to books, inspirational and art books. I like to read, I guess)...EVERY book so far has a chapter on color theory. Don't get me wrong, there needs to be an understanding of color by every artist, but it needs to be theory for the particular type of color an artist applies. Oils are different from watercolor and different from Copic and computers and on, and on....I like that she separated the warm from the cool colors and in particular, showed how to 'make' purple from different primaries.

But, I got my back up and got bogged down by yet another color wheel to study, an exercise I totally skipped. Besides, how many different sets of art materials do I really need? The paint, pens, paper, pencils, brushes...I can't find most of my vast collection of stuff and a good bit of the paints have all dried out. Then I see that I'm not all that excited about the tangles-of-the-day. Sigh.

So I did all those tangly challenges instead. And there's the flood mess to clean up which I'm also avoiding, for now.

But I tried her paper batik technique with what I have, including a new clear glitter gelly roll. The first go around, the glitter disappeared and the colors of watercolor were just too precious, too cute for my taste. So I dunked the whole mess in leftover coffee and tried it again, with a different glitter pen. Better, but the glitter still smeared.

I'll give it another try, perhaps with the exact complements of art supplies, especially a clear pen so the paper shows the design, like it's supposed to. I really appreciated that I had to slow down to get the pen to put ink on paper. Thank goodness it was a very small square of paper.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

And then the sun came out

Last night the skies opened up and poured rain. And then it rained some more. And then, well, more rain. That's how it goes in Phoenix; we don't get much rain, but when we do, it's in torrents. This was the first real storm we've had at our house and it was exceptional. The water rose to about a foot (30 cm) as is evidenced by the flotsam and jetsam that found its way onto the patio furniture , the wheels on the cars, the yard refuse piled up against the fences. It looks like I own beachfront property out there. The water found it's way into the house from beneath and above. So there's work to do outside and in.
But first, some meditations. Images of plaids danced through my head and meandered onto paper this morning.
The first one was just a rendition of yards of fabric and the second I called Scottish Sunrise. The plaids almost demand to be altered and varied and manipulated, but for now, I needed simple. I should dig some fabric out of my stash and practice their patterns, but today's not the day for that. Thankfully, it has finally stopped raining. Breathe deep and tangle on.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Challenges with a Common Thread

So I'm a good week behind the curve for MadebyJoey. Last week the challenge was out for a five-pointed star and here is what developed there. Next time I'll let all the tangles describe the symbol rather than laying down outlines. At least I think that would be an improvement there.
The patterns I used included Knight's Bridge, Hollibaugh, Crescent Moon, Gingham, Static and N'Zeppel.

Then I moved on to an alphatangle challenge from Beez in the Belfry. The challenge was loosely defined as using a name as a string and only official Zentangle tangles to fill it. I chose a variety of patterns that matched up letter by letter for "TISH," a nickname that I acquired in college. Now, there's a story! Ha! For now, I'll save that for another day. And I have another variation floating in the grey matter for an alphatangle, but that, too, will have to wait.

I got the patterns and descriptions from those lovely people over at They are in order: Tipple, Tripoli, Tagh, Izorus, Isochor, Sez, Shattuck, Hibred, Hollibaugh and Huggins.

Lastly, I did the tangle tango with the Diva. Her challenge this week was to utilize a tartan plaid. I have a different source for the pattern and have practiced drawing it; the fun part this time was going to be what else to do? I went over to to generate some numbers and matched them up to the list that Linda Farmer has of official tangles back over at Tangle Patterns.

I drew in order: Locar, Rixty, Drupe (by Sandy Stein Bartholomew over at the Belfry), Nipa and MacDee by Anneke Van Dam. I have it as Kilt from Suzanne McNeill's Zentangle 8, that's where I found it, but I'm not one to challenge originality as I'm new to all this.

So when I put them all together I realized that there's a common thread running through these three drawings: they each have fabric patterns in them. No surprise, really, as if I'm not at my desk, there's a sewing machine waiting for me. Or three.
I could be busy with all these challenges all day, but I best get back to work lest I continue on the path of starving artist.

Sunflower for a Birthday

My baby has reached that adult milestone of 21. Can you hear the heavy sighing? Sigh. Life is full of potential for her as she has a boyfriend who adores her and a brand new job teaching math at a middle school. (Nate's mother used to be my son's math teacher. Life is interesting that way).

Her favorite flowers are sunflowers and I had one volunteer in my vegetable garden and bloom just in time.

Not bad for a phone, huh? Makes me wonder why I have a camera or why my camera doesn't take phone calls or send texts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Plum Crazy

Today is Every Inchie Monday and the prompt for the day is "plum." I've been wanting to try my hand at watercolors, which I haven't tackled since school just about and the subject is worthy of a personal challenge.

I know I have some decent materials around, but where is the question. So, I picked up some paint at WalMart. The paints are ok, but the brush just disintegrated with every stroke. I used Daley and Rowney paints, Fluid watercolor paper and Morton's Kosher salt. It deserves another try when I have a brush that can do the job. But for now, this is an honorable attempt. (The latest catalogue from Dick Blick arrived yesterday with a sale on some very nice watercolor paints and crayons. hmm...)

The source image for my project came from Autumn Makes and Does, where I found a beautiful photograph of plums and an interesting recipe for jam. (I'm not thinking I'm making any money from watercolor painting and I only intend to hang this little artwork on my fridge). Now to take a look around to see what others are doing with their inchies!

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's a String Thing #52

While I was wandering the rabbit warren of the web, I was introduced to the "It's a String Thing" challenges by Adele Bruno, CZT. This week's challenge is a string (outline drawing) of a birthday candle to celebrate her one year of presenting challenges to all those tangly people with a list of allowable patterns. Here's my answer to the call (and I used up all the tangles!):

I wanted to do a more traditional Zentangle, so I chose to keep the candle as white space and work around it. The result looks to me like a woman in a long dress with a cape fluttering in the wind, like Little Red Riding Hood or something the Bronte sisters could conjure on the Scottish moors. Perchance, I might think too much!
i've included it on my Flickr photostream; perhaps we'll see this on Ms. Bruno's blog next week!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Zendala Dare 94

As I wander the treasure trove of the internet and meet some tangly people, I come across variou ideas and challenges. You, too, huh? This one from Erin Koetz Olson is a bit of a challenge for me. I've studied some mandala art and it was always full of a lot of angles; this one, not so much.

I started to add some straight lines, ever so much, and it started to flow, just as it should. I like the movement. So my contribution to Zendala Challenge 94, I call "The Blossom Within."

This art deserves a second look, but with color. For now, the drama moves me; to pause and separate from the drama, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bonjour, Bijou!

C'est fantastique, n'est pas?

While i've been working on some fridge magnets to decorate a relatively new fridge (it replaced a 41-year old harvest gold charmer that came with the house. Know anything that has lasted 41 years? And still WORKS?) and was thinking, wouldn't it be great to do a bunch of Zentangles about two-inches square? The black fridge is just demanding to be decorated!
Of course, somebody had already figured that out, that "somebody" being those tangly people at Zentangle [NB: I had nothing to do with it.]

So, this week's challenge from the Diva was to break out the Bijoux, work on those "twinchies."

While I was at it, I worked on another challenge I found along the way (another idea I got scooped on!), to use my name as a string, but went with my "art signature" as it's kind of loopy (like me!), and some other ideas that my brain's been playing with.

I also finished a project I started on yesterday and finished in Photoshop (gotta keep the digital muscles flexed, too!). I'ts not perfect, but supposedly no mistakes, right? I had onions on the brain as my daughter was visiting and one of her favorite meals starts with caramelized onions, goat cheese and bread. Today I'm putting onion sets in next to my roses (I read they make roses smell sweeter, crazy, huh?) and tomatoes (to keep pests away). And dinner? French onion soup! Tres magnifique!

Check out the how-to for "Allium" by JJ LaBarbera here.

With gracious thanks to all you tangly people for inspiration and encouragement. And for also checking out My Flickr Page. Merci beaucoup.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Privacy issues

So I wandered over to Every Inchie Monday the other day to see what the word of the day was going to be. Thoughts, even creative ones, can use some provoking, so it helps get the brain to think. Today it was, "PRIVACY." Nothing as easy as some previous choices, like, "ORANGE," perhaps?

I immediately decided to try to illustrate how our privacy is affected on-line and I'd really like to channel how frustrated I am with security software/hacking/bugs/viruses (and don't even get me started with the NSA/FBI/IRS), but I think even my digital illustrations would incinerate.

So, until I get the nerve to upload this to Inchie's site, here goes:

(And, if you have a couple hours to spare, check out what your identity is on-line; you may be amazed at how much information it says about you).

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fridge Magnets

This is not a new idea, certainly. I've helped out the Sonoran Arts League with their "mini-masterpiece" fundraising that artists make on two-inch canvas. These are just on foam board, so they're lighter and well, easier to work with.

The first one was to just stretch those Zen-tangly muscles. The other was prompted by a) Every Inchie Monday's suggestion for "orange," even though it's two inches square, b) a collage suggestion to use single-source materials and c) some leftovers from another project. It's a bit off-the edge and intended to be tongue-in-cheek. (If you dissect the cooking instructions for those round waffles, that's what you get!)

I like the simplicity of scale. I like having new magnets for my new house! You can never have enough fridge magnets!

Neuron 1

While I viewed all the awesome submissions for this week's Diva Challenge, I made note of some new patterns (to me) and rather than work on any specific assignments, just go with the flow. Over at
Tangle Patterns I found instructions for Neuron by Beth Snoderly and Roscoe by Vicki Bassett. My Mom would just call this doodle a "stained glass window," a method she would use to keep me focused at church, so this is a grown-up version:

There're some design challenges in this piece, so I'll revisit this idea again. I used to enjoy making those stained glass windows and still do, I guess! Maybe I need to break out the old crayon box?!
This is also over at my Flickr page here
Thanks to everyone involved in the Diva Challenge this week for the creative input. They are an awesome bunch, so take a look around there!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Day 21 Repetitive Patterns

I've been working on the daily exercises in Beckah Krahula's book, One Zentangle a Day, and today is for transforming repetitive patterns. At first, I was a little intimidated by the patterns for the day, but I just took my time with it. And I was going to cram a lot more drawing into this one, but left a swath of white space as it was getting too busy. I drew circles to help tone down the angles. The end result has an Art Deco feel to it, don't you think?

This is also on my Flickr page here. Thanks for taking a look!

I need to get busy as we have guests for dinner, the always entertaining Robert and his lovely wife, Michele with one "L." He's usually busy managing his gallery and painting his landscapes, but in summer the pace is a lot slower (as in, open by appointment only). So, we can relax on the patio with snacks and frosty beverages and perhaps, just perhaps, watch the rain. If we're lucky.