Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It's a Spring Thing

We know it's springtime in Arizona when the winds pick up. The desert palo verde tree blooms are sent every which way and the fine citizens of Phoenix are sent rushing for antihistamines.
Just about everything native to around here blooms bright yellow--the palo verdes, brittlebush, creosote--with an occasional pink thrown in for contrast.
The last thing to bloom will be the ancient ironwood trees with the palest of lavender flowers come May. They are my favorite as they signal the beginning of summer. And they're NOT yellow!
Our grapefruits are yellow with a pink blush as they are, in fact, PINK grapefruit. And our oranges are, well, ORANGE!

A Small Portion of Last Year's Crop
[Warning: this is blatant self-promotion!]
Which brings me to...the theme for this week's Two by Two challenge is: "ORANGE!"
I'm not going to cheese out and re-use an image, so this is just a tease! Please consider playing along!

Last week's IAST had an egg-shaped string in honor of Easter, but as I wrote to Adele Bruno, all I was seeing was LEMONS!

I drew [the] egg string diagonally and it turned out looking like a lemon. I put the Warped Egg in as I did and it all looked like an Angry Bird and I really had "lemon" on my mind. I still have several yet on my tree and it recently bloomed. So Mel Mel turned into a giant lemon blossom. When I started adding color pencil to it, the middle turned into a suggestion of a butterfly. I kept to a pastel palette as a nod to the Easter theme and added the yellow as I was really stuck on having a "lemon!"

IAST 137
Adele also came out with a new tangle she calls, "Citrus." Lemons, oranges and grapefruits...oh, MY! It continues the fruity theme which I used for the Diva Challenge this week. The objective from guest blogger Jane Reiter is to stack a bunch of borders around a central piece. I started with a Citrus zinchie and a whole bunch of art stuff. I was most pleased with the Sakura Glaze pen in clear drawn on black paper (the outermost border); it has great dimension but doesn't show up very well.


Can you see the Border?
It was quite a project; the list of art stuff is long and varied and it took the better part of two days to complete. It was worth the effort and I'd do it again. The process kind of elevates the drawings to "real" artwork since it creates its own frame.

SOME of the Materials
Used in the Making of
I took Adele's IAST for this week to good use for the twinchie challenge (and because I had a lot of my art stuff out. Still have to do the actual String Thing challenge!).

Orange you Glad?
While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I put this together for the Inchie Challenge. The EIM word of the week is "Peanuts."

That would be Charlie Brown's sweater, Lucy Van Pelt's sign, some dry roasted peanuts and Mr. Peanut going ice skating from a label for trail mix (caramels, raisins, peanuts, oh, my!).

Thanks for stopping by. I'm thrilled that you do and I'm honored for your time spent with me. I'm glad that my tutorial on composition was so well received last week--promises to become the most often read post I've written thus far! (My writing teachers would be so proud and I'm sure quite amazed).

And if you come to visit, you will most certainly leave with some citrus. It's a bumper crop of pinkies this year and plenty of oranges, too, still. Dew drop in!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Seconds and Thirds

There's a lot that is going on this month.

There's St. Patrick's and Easter is early this year. Spring has officially sprung, though we've had almost summer weather for a month already! Temperatures have regularly passed 90 degrees or 30 Celsius. [NB: To me, Summer officially starts when the temperature passes 100, late April. We have a fifth season, Inferno, when temps break 115 in June or July, before the rains arrive].

But there's one (unofficial) holiday that dares not to be missed: Pi(e) Day! This year is the only time this century that the date, March 14, 2016, matches Pi, the mathematical construct, to 4 decimal places (3.1416).  Of course, pi has been calculated to million places and beyond, but hard to imagine.
So, let's have pie!

That's the rationale behind the IAST this past week. When I saw Adele's choices for tangles, I immediately knew where this was going (sometimes you just KNOW):

I suspect I'm not going to be the only one who sees it this way, but I hope it's an original thought. I really took my time to color it, vowing to sit still more than a few minutes. I think it paid off.

I saw a Zentangle blogger that mentioned she needed a lesson in composition. Now, I think Zentangle is supposed to be without preconceived design, quite unlike the example above. That said, there are some concepts that contribute to "some are better than others." I found this rather concise description of the elements and principles of design (there are twelve parts in all, so it's hard to make simple).
It's a start, anyway.
As a photographer, a fine composition can be gained by following the "rule of thirds." Think: tic-tac-toe. (It's the same concept that posits that you NEVER put the horizon in the middle of a landscape, although rules are meant to be broken once you learn them).
For an intellectual pursuit, I decided to apply this "rule" to this drawing.

X's Mark the Focal Points
Where the grid marks meet is a focal point and creates a dynamic composition when something is placed there, and the idea is to have A focal point, just one. It just so happens that a cherry landed on that mark. The other mark shows the end of the garden path, creating MOVEMENT into the drawing. Additionally, there is CONTRAST--the black background area, the complimentary COLORS of red and green and the REPETITION of the little squares, a pattern I call, "Confetti."
Did I plan all that? Not intentionally. Do you think it works? 
Does this little tutorial make sense, help out or just confound?
There's one other element of composition that every artist needs to learn and nobody talks about because it defies description: that moment when the artwork is finished, the materials are layed down and no more fussing.
It is "done."
Putting a signature on it helps, it's a signal of sorts. (I need to do that!)

I put the pen down after signing the Diva challenge this morning:

I was attempting to be very deliberate and almost too elaborate and suddenly veered into cartoony mode.
OK, step away from the journal pages...!
Well, it made a good segue to the Inchie challenge, which continues with themes from the "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" with the prompt this week of "door."
I have a very important door, one Door out of The Doors, our front door (on the inside, covering up an old mail slot) and "Would you like to trade your prize for what's behind Door number 2?"
Did you know Jim Morrison had a song titled, "Hitchhiker?" Strange coincidence?
Perhaps, not. Life can be like that, right?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fresh Greens

There's plenty of green all around. The yard is full of trees leafing out, particularly the grapefruits with bright shiny leaves, the apricot that just finished blooming, the mulberries and mesquite are starting to cast shade (and catkins! Ah-choo!).
From every window I peer, I see green! I am blessed to have such a residence, as most homes in the desert are surrounded by various shades of beige or perhaps, block walls.
And of course, EVERY one is Irish this week! My own heritage is heavily influenced by the English isles, but my children can claim their paternal great-grandfather emigrated from the Emerald Isle and other ancestors that resided in Ireland for a time.
In that vein, the various challenges have themes of green. Break out the crayons and markers!

Last week, the IAST had a shamrock string. I have a pot of shamrocks, indoors, natch, and the leaves are quite angular and oh, so petite. It just helps to explain this one:

Colored Pencils
This other one was drawn first with watercolor crayons. The waxy surface was tough to make marks with my Sharpie. The more water I added, the less trouble I had.

It's a learning curve of sorts, isn't it?

Then I wanted to see if I could get Sharpie marks to run and blur. They're alcohol-based, so alcohol must do the trick, right? I finally got real action with 97% isopropyl:

Then I played with some water-based markers. I should have known the colour combination would yield mostly browns, but I was trying to use colors of my shamrocks (they're magenta on the underside of the leaves). This is for this week's Diva and I call it, "Losing my Marbles," as I've been having "fun" with my health insurance:

Note: I still have some marbles left!

These itty-bitties are for the EIM. I'd love to visit Tahiti and live in a tiki hut over the aqua water, been to Nevis, which was delightful and still undeveloped when I was there, we'd like to have our own Florida Key and Gil has been known to fly an ultra-light plane and that would have to be our mode of transport.
Cue Wagner's, "Ride of the Valkeries."
While drawing the deserted island, I was reminded of Yosemite Sam, "I HATE coconuts!"
Alas, there's a Four Seasons hotel there now.

And last, but not least, my offering for next week's Two by Two, "Zodiac." The twinchie challenge marks it's first birthday this week! YAY! I'm grateful to have the opportunity to create and publish that blog and for meeting participants from all over the globe.
My birthday is in September, I'm a Libra. I was always kind of annoyed that I wasn't associated with one of the cool animals or creatures, but rather the only inanimate object of the Constellations. I've come to terms with that and for it being an "Air"sign. I thought hard about this and I love the billowing thunderheads in summer. They form out of nothing, create drama in the skies and nourishing rain when the mood suits. My "air" drawn with watercolor pencils:

Thanks for stopping by and looking! The hand is healing nicely, BTW.
Perhaps stop by the 2 x 2 and create something different there?! It's a birthday party!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Flukey and Corny

If you were with me last week, you know I busted up my wrist. You may also know that drawing is a part of my therapy, if only because it makes me SIT STILL for twenty minutes at a time. I thank you for all who sent me words of kindness, encouragement and healthfulness. You guys are great (even if there's nary a guy in the bunch. I grew up in Jersey, after all!)!
I'm pleased to report that the bulky cast has been replaced with a removable model in fluorescent pink. Pretty outrageous.
It has been the highlight of the week so far. I can't drive, so I can ONLY get into SO much trouble.
These are the results of my creativity the past couple days:
Based on the tangle choices from
Last week's IAST
All Boxed Up
Grid as String

The Open Road

Sea Kelp

The last one was a warm-up for the Two by Two. The word of the week is, "Unicorn." I was going to do something snarky about how the unicorns "missed the boat (the ark)" and that's why you don't see any or where Skittles come from, but I chose a different path: Narwhals are the unicorns of the sea and the Zentangle pattern, Narwal, resembles the horn.
The Every Inchie Monday word is, "Spaceship." I quizzed Gil about the difference between rockets (which he has been known to fire up from his home) and spaceships. He said the distinction lies in whether the objects leave our atmosphere and go into orbit or not. So in my journal are some spaceships--one from a child's coloring book, from "Teenagers from Outer Space, 1959--" a classic film if ever there was!, Wallace and Gromit's "A Grand Day Out, 1989," and Marvin, our favorite Martian, just for fun.

The rest are "Narwals" and a Unicorn with bad hair, my official 2x2 response.
Which brings me to the Diva Challenge 258. to use Rautyflex in a sentence (see? I did it!), er, on a tile:
Now there're some complicated lines! I like the Tumbling Block look to it, but it sure is a fussy thing. That said I like grid work, so I'll revisit it, and maybe try some of the curvier variations.
Thanks for stopping by and for all your comments. Best medicine money can't buy! And perhaps consider trying your hand at any of these art challenges? Especially the Two by Two by Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Post-Operative Care

There's a saying that one of my high school science teachers repeated constantly: "There's no such thing as a free lunch." He had us expound upon that for our final along with, "There's no such thing as 'away.'" What he wanted us to know is that everything is at the expense of something else and you can't throw anything 'away;' it just goes somewhere else.
Lessons that have stuck with me for over forty years.
I was considering all that Saturday as it was community clean-up day, meaning we could take anything we wanted to the local refuse transfer station, for 'free.'  I put that in quotations because as i was hauling some brush to the trailer, I tripped and fell on my (non-writing, and more importantly, non-drawing) arm, shattering the radius bone at the wrist into many pieces.
I am home, resting comfortably, after surgery Sunday night, pondering just how expensive "free" will be. (What a way to test out my newly minted Affordable Care Act insurance!)
All that said, if you've visited before you may know I utilize the Zentangle method to help manage chronic pain.
It is certainly serving me well now!
These may not be the best examples of my abilities, but it's making me sit still, which seems to be the biggest challenge to my recovery. (And really, I'm experiencing very little discomfort related to this little "mishap." At least until the invoices start rolling in.)
First up, the Diva had guest Amy Broady provide a challenge to get our shine on. Rather than pull out all the pretty metallic pens and pencils, I went old-school in an attempt to SIMULATE shiny with the sparkle enhancement method. (What THAT means is included in this Zentangle glossary).

Diva 257
Get Your Shine On!
I wasn't doing this week's IAST before taking care of LAST week's, so they're here:

One is "All Angular" and the other, "Light N Fluffy."
And before I throw in the towel, the EIM for the week, I have to note that I went to the Emergency Room Saturday with one towel and came home with a different one! I guess I took to heart, "Don't Panic and Grab a Towel!"

That pretty much covers it for this week!