Thursday, 10 December 2015

Diva Challenge 247 - UMT: African Artist by Tina-Akua Hunziker

Ooh, I'm so very busy at the moment and Tina's tangle is new for me. If I'd more time, I'd have another go and make the smaller sections alternate. As you can see, mine ended up at the same level as each other and I don't think that's quite how it's intended. Never mind. I really enjoyed the Diva's Challenge - as always - and I rather like the 'strangeness' of how mine turned out, like some undersea creature not clearly visible....

White on black with a little shading using what looks like a piece of my son's chalk...needs must sometimes! Is anyone else rather concerned how quickly the Christmas holiday seems to be approaching?

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Diva Challenge 246 - Plant a Tree with Dilip!

This week, the Diva - shivering a little in the snow and, with her family, beginning to look a lot like Christmas - has invited the lovely Dilip Patel, whose story was hugely inspiring. He and his wife have - Indian CZTs no less-  a number of websites which are definitely worth a visit.

Z-inspiration, Things Often Speak to Me, Xplore & Xpress

And I heartily approve of his urge for us to plant trees - indeed, we have planted many, many trees in our garden here in the south of Spain. We have the ubiquitous olives, of course, plus almonds and cherries which proliferate round here, along with fig, walnut, apricot and plum. Plus we are growing a little mini orchard of apple trees which my husband has grown from seed. I am not sure they'll survive our incredibly hot and dry summers but we're doing our best to keep them going.

The challenge is to make a tree-like string and then fill it with just one favourite tangle. I thought about Pokeleaf, obviously...and Dilip showed us some lovely trees he did and I was particularly taken with the Catkin one.* (See below!) Sigh...what to do?

It's heading rapidly for winter. The leaves have fallen from the trees here and many are looking bare and shivery in the morning light. Apart from the huggings of birds. Not on a wire - though they do that here too - but on the naked branches.

Birds on a Wire tangle on a simple tree string with - couldn't resist - a Wud trunk.
Thank you Dilip - thank you Laura. As always, a pleasure to take part.

Thanks for passing by. Axxx

* I went back and had another look at Dilip's trees and found that the one I though had Catkins, didn't! So I did one!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Diva Challenge 245 - Hollibaugh

Every so often I do a tile that I really like. It possibly happens less these days as I become more critical of my own work. But this week, I felt very inspired by the Diva's Challenge to go back to basics and concentrate on what she calls, and I agree, one of the foundations of tangling - Hollibaugh. Such a lovely tangle and so versatile.

I started off by making some Hollibaugh lines but used a thick pen (Micron 0.8) for the 'underside' or shadowed lines and a very fine (0.05) for the upper or non-shadowed line. Then I drew an aura line inside the spaces left where the lines crossed and finally, filled each additional space with more Hollibaugh. It was intensely 'Zen' and I was utterly engrossed for going on an hour. And pleased with myself and my tile at the end of the period.

Thank you so much yet again, Laura.

Thanks for stopping by - wishing all my transatlantic friends a very Happy Thanksgiving. Axxx

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Diva Challenge 244

I´ve just returned from a flying visit (literally) from the UK. I travelled on Friday 13th which is not always an auspicious day and one which many superstitious people choose to avoid. No problem for me and cheap flights too. Not a good day for the folk of Paris though....pause for thought, commiseration and a desperate hope for some resolution somewhere along this awful direction of travel.

But I was lucky.
On Sunday, after a wonderfully nostalgic visit with my bestie in Oxford - whom I haven't seen for almost six years and where we were joined by another friend that we haven't seen for 30!!! (oh my, we really are OLD!) - I travelled to my parents and we all went out for lunch together. I couldn't believe that the pub where we had an excellent, typically English Sunday Roast Dinner also thoughtfully provided 'Zentangle tiles' on the table for their customers to use!! I nabbed a handful but did leave a finished one just to say thank you, of course! (And if anyone has no idea what I'm talking about, then what I remember as 'beer mats', which always had photos and pictures of beer or similar on them, now are plain white and exactly Zentangle tile size!)

At my sister's, before we began our real live 'Scrabblefest' - (we usually play online together) - I began a tangle to test out the 'tiles' and I liked them very much. And then I logged on to the Diva Challenge to discover it was one of my favourites - Tripoli - and so finished off the tile with that tangle for this week's entry.

Here it is with Hanny Waldburger's Abundies. I had bought myself a Sakura 0.05 pen, so it's all done very finely...

The tiles, whilst they didn't make the ink 'bleed' have a rough surface that's not quite white and which looks a tad 'grubby' but I can heartily recommend them and may be asking my sister to go to the pub again for lunch very soon - and to grab another handful for me!

On my journey home, I tangled on the flight and chose four tangles with the letters 'H O M E'. I had been 'home' to England, and was now going back 'home' to my husband and family and I felt very lucky.

Hamail, Opus, Mooka and Echoism - HOME!

Here's thnking of those caught up in some of the world's problems.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Diva Challenge 242 - Gourdgeous! New tangle

I was a bit worried that time had suddenly speeded up in a reckless manner. Then I remembered that the last Diva Challenge, I was late in posting and this week, I am early. That just about explains it. I think...although we're also now in November and I have no idea how that happened....

This week, on her blog, Laura directed us to the new official Zentangle that Maria came up with recently - it's Gourdgeous. Yes, based on the shape of a Gourd and following the Diva's own dancing principles, I found this a simple, easy and fun tangle to do.

The background is a rather hasty homage to Maria's original inspiration - Bead boards - which don't quite line up as I was drawing with the new addition to our family sitting in between me and my tile. She's so gorgeous I don't like to push her away - and if I do, back she comes and settles down again to watch my pen and listen to the gentle noise. I understand her well. I would do the same if I were a cat.

Here she is next to a finished tile for Square One - Purely Zentangle, which has Verve as the focus this week.

Hope I'm excused my wonky bead boards now! Here is Gourdgeous - a lovely Autumnal tangle with lots and lots of possibilities. I may have to play a bit more with this one! Thank you Laura.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Diva Challenge 241 - Stones and Ceremony Guest blogger, Paula Bramante

I was very excited by this week's guest post over on I am the Diva's blog. It was a particularly interesting post for me because I have recently been fascinated by the image of balancing rocks.

I'd been trying my hand at balancing stones on the beach when we visited during the summer. But we'd reached September before a really special thing happened. My family and I spent a beautiful day at the beach making our own stacks of stones. It was both meditative and theraputic. The link to my blogpost about it is here and it includes the lovely photos I managed to capture that day.

It was the day we collected my husband as he returned from a very difficult and emotional week with his parents having found out that his father has terminal cancer. We went straight down to the beach to spend an afternoon focusing on things that are important to us....and family is pretty much number one, followed very closely by good health. It was also the week when the terrible images of Syrian children being found on the beaches of Greece and Turkey were shared around the world - children and families drowning just a short distance from the coast and in dreadful, unimaginable circumstances. Parents feeling that taking to the sea was a better alternative for their children than staying on dry land.

So, we were in thoughtful and mindful mood. It was possibly one of the most precious afternoons I can remember.

My original photograph
- taken as the sun was beginning to set

And so it was without hesitation that I turned to this post for inspiration for this week's challenge. As it seemed we were not to be limited by tile size or shape, I printed out one of my photographs of balanced stones in black and white and set to work in tangling it.

And my tangled version - I LOVE it!!

Tangles - from the bottom up: 'Cloudfall' by Lily Moon, 'Sand' - Adele Bruno's new tangle,
Japanese Leaves, Purk, Printemps, an official Zentangle pattern whose name I can't remember
and Sand Swirl.

Thank you so much Laura and Paula for making my week with this wonderful challenge that I feel so perfectly captures my feelings about stones, ceremonies and the importance of being mindful.


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Diva Challenge 240 - Autumn Leaves

I have had a busy week and only now, on Sunday, have I had chance to sit down and draw something for the Diva Challenge this week.
I lie, of course, as I did the Square One : Purely Zentangle challenge yesterday - but it was a very Zen tile to do and took me only about 15 minutes....which is all I had. But enjoyed doing it very much.

W2, the tocus tangle at the bottom, with Flux, Hamail and Tripoli

Back to the Diva though. I was blown away by the gorgeous 'Tints on Tan' tile that Laura posted this week. Oh my, how I'd love to do something like that. I checked out what else I could find and there was quite a few examples - all stunning - I shall have to contact Jenny or Marty to learn how to produce something so absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing that, Laura. 

Back to my own challenge. Here in Andalucia, the weather has changed from baking summer to definitely autumn.. We have chilly nights and misty mornings but often, the days are warm and sunny. We don't have a lot of deciduous trees turning from green to red, yellow and golden as I remember in the UK at this time of year and the main difference is that as a result of the much needed rain, we have a touch more green in the fields around us. Autumn is less inspiring here than in other parts of the world. I felt I lacked inspiration.

Then I remembered that we're approaching the olive harvest and realised that the obvious choice was to focus on the ripened olives, the old, gnarled trunks and plentiful little slim leaves for this week's challenge. Pokeroot was perfect for the olives and I used a variation on Wud for the trunk. I couldn't have done the leaves without knowing how Hollibaugh works and the Fescu represents a little extra foliage at the base of the tree.

It might not be a masterpiece but I am so pleased with it, because in my life before Zentangle, I couldn't in a million years have produced something that looked remotely like an olive tree...and now, I really think I can! I have resisted the temptation to colour it and went instead for the addition of some heavy graphite and shading to give it depth. Hope you like it!

Autumn in Andalucia. My inspiration!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Diva Challenge 239 - Munchin Play.

Like the Diva, I wasn't 'into' Munchin before I did this challenge. As usual, if you put your mind to it - or are challenged by one of the several excellent challenges that are available to us lucky tanglers - Zentangle comes up trumps and pays off. At least that's what I think about the challenge this week.

As I mentioned last week, I bought myself a lovely new book to tangle in and so for that reason, my tile this week is not black, but tan. I like the black tiles and I like working in white but I couldn't resist another tangle in my book.

I watched Molly's video and as I was tangling I wasn't so convinced. My lines were all wibbly - I've still got a horrible cold and feel rather sorry for myself - but I persevered. I added a few sepia lines and a bit of white highlighting then did some fairly heavy shading.

And I am pleased with the result. I haven't looked at anyone else's contribution yet, so look forward to that pleasure as soon as I post on the Diva's page. Thank you for stopping by to look.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Diva Challenge 238 - UMT - Tri-bee by Beate Winkler. CZT

Oh Laura: Oh Beate! Oh JOY!!

Yes, I have so enjoyed this week's challenge. Tri-bee, by Beate Winkler (such a great name, by the way..) is a real hit with me. It's Zentangle, no doubt but it has all the things I like about doing mandalas included. Perfect - so thanks to Laura for including it in this week's challenge and thanks to Beatte for creating it.

And as I enjoyed it so much, I did two tiles this week including Tri-bee.

Here is the first, with Hollibaugh showing before and after shading versions.

Before shading

And after.

And then this morning, suffering a heavy cold and feeling sorry for myself, my husband brought me the post which included this gorgeous book that I forgot I had ordered.

It has lovely tan-coloured paper inside of a reasonable thickness and I love it!! So I have done another tile, including the new tangle by Antonine Koval, Oybay, which is also wonderful. I feel better already...although I can't stop sneezing and my nose is still running...

To be honest, these colours are far from true to life - for some reason, all my white highlights look blue and the tan is a strange shade of sand...but I like it and as I'm feeling suddenly all weak and feeble, I'm going to leave it as it is....need to lie down.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Diva Challenge 237 - Charlotte Carpentier guest post

I was a bit wary when I read the Diva's challenge this week, although, it's a challenge from Charlotte really. At first, I wasn't quite sure if I could do it. Inks? Spray? Stencil? Very much a challenge!

But I'm game, if nothing else, so I scoured my shelves and discovered a bottle of Newton and Windsor ink that is 19 years old. Seriously, I remember buying it in El Corte Ingles - a Spanish department store - in Malaga, during the year that I spent on sabbatical with my now husband, Cesar, in 1996. I spent a lot of time doing calligraphy during my year away from work and recently, in a box long unopened from our more recent move to Spain, I rediscovered both my pens and this cute little bottle of ink.

Task one achieved. Now to find a stencil.

I searched high and low for something suitable and bingo! on my daughter's bookshelf, I found a little book that I'd bought her a few years ago, with a 'spirograph' (remember those?) pattern maker inside. It never worked as well as the real Spirograph did and it's a long time since it had been taken from the shelf. However, I found a stencil - mission accomplished! Well, the second part anyway. Final part - something to spray my ink with.

I eventually found an old spray bottle - actually one that had contained a natural flea repellent that I had bought when I was convinced my dog had fleas. It turns out he hadn't but something was biting me....I never found out what it was but at least the bites have stopped. You don't need to know this really, but when I say this was a challenge, you need to know that it really was!

A careful wash and rinse later, I prepared my ink mix and opened my sketch pad.

And sprayed....

Rather more ink came out than I'd expected.....and not exactly where I'd expected either.

But I had my stencil. I traced around a tile placed around the inked stencil. And then began my tangle. Phew!

And I enjoyed it - thank you Charlotte - in the end, I am pleased with my tile and pleased with the process that I went through to do it. During my challenge hunt, I found a box of old ink stamps - mostly quite dry and unusable, but I added a couple of 'stamps' to the final tile, to soften rather froggy green of my ink. Not very subtle, but I rather like it.

Tangles used include Flux, Rixty, Printemps (a single one) Meer, Shattuck, Banderola, Paradox, Bunzo, Betweed, Crescent Moon and Hamail. And a little bit of Tipple.

So once again, thanks for a great challenge, Laura and Charlotte. Check out the other entries here, which is exactly what I am going to do just now!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

It's a String Thing 111 - Hamail.

Adele Bruno's String Thing challenge this week was a little different. It's number 111 - and she suggested:

1 new tangle - the one by Tina-Akua, called Hamail.
1 string - make your own up
1 personal favourite tangle to complete the tile.

I had been playing around with Hamail as I thought it looked lovely. But I had a dilemma. When I followed Akua's step outs - here - I seemed to end up with a more constricted version of the tangle, than when I followed my own instinctive method. I just wondered whether anyone else had had the same issue.

Akua's step outs show an initial petal shape, then the next line starting at the middle, curving over the top, then stopping. The repeat process then begins again at the centre. Her directions are absolutely clear and I managed my first few attempts exactly as she showed us. Then I began to draw with that confidence that comes when you think you've 'got' it, and I was happy with the results - but I realised I was doing something different - so back I went. And yes - I was doing the pattern in a different way.

Here is a very rough diagram of the two versions as the pattern begins:
On the left, is the pattern as it progresses according to Tina. The final stroke I made is left open to begin the next one at the centre. The one on the right begins at the top of the 'petal' and curves down to the centre. The whole thing sort of 'slopes' in the opposite direction.

I was intrigued as to whether the overall effect would be different or similar. So I continued...

And yes, the sort of opposite 'slant' to each finished pattern is clear, even though the spiral goes in the same direction. What is obvious to me, though, is that I am neater in my instinctive tangle than in the version that Tina uses. I can control my penstrokes better.

However, I like to keep trying, and so in the tile that I've sent to Adele, I have used both methods...I wonder if you can tell which is which?

I didn't follow Adele's string thing suggestion though...too carried away by this lovely, lovely tangle. Which way do YOU do it? Please tell!!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Diva Challenge 236 - 'Tangle unexpected'......Pear pressure

I loved the idea that Laura had - inspired - this week. Tangle on something you don't usually tangle on...Her lovely tangle was on a map, which really is a great idea. The string is there for you, you can take any direction you want and always find your way back again!

I didn't want to copy. But I was tempted by the idea, I admit.

I didn't peak at what others were doing - not to start with - but then Laura posted on Facebook that people were having a great time and coming up with all sorts of incredible ideas - including tangling on cows, pottery, wood and goodness knows what else. I couldn't resist having a look and was blown away by the range of things people had done their tangles on!

But it left me stuck. I shouldn't have looked - I had been thinking about tangling on a piece of sheet music. I even started but it was definitely uninspired and I saw that it had been done already.
I was feeling the pressure.

I've already tangled on a T shirt; I've tangled on eggs, I've tangled on wood - love that - and my recent mandala obsession has been mostly on pebbles. I teach two little girls and I even tangle on them most weeks - 'tattoo' style...I don't have a cow, the dog wouldn't let what on earth could I do that was different?

Last night, after doing all the usual evening chores, I went outside to my little pear tree, which this year has produced some wonderful eating pears - big, nice and firm, not mushy - absolutely delicious. I sat down with pen and paper to try and find inspiration.

It only took one bite....(and possibly the recollection of Jean Chaney's realistic photo tangle!)...

Trying out Akua's lovely new tangle 'Hamail' - and loving it! Also, Shattuck which you can see to the left. There's a bit of Tipple underneath but you can't actually see that!

Here you can see the inspiring bite - and where my pen didn't actually work quite as well - with another new tangle, only just visible on the top part - Kisses - by Adele Bruno. Underneath, believe me, are a couple of rows of Birds on a Wire.

Not the best picture, I agree. And I got some very funny looks - but tellingly, no comments - from the rest of the family.

As always, a big thanks to the Diva for such a fun challenge. I have now to see what else people have come up with. Thanks for looking.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Diva Challenge 235 - String Theory - Stripes!

I have been mainly doing Mandalas in recent weeks - and yes, to the exclusion of doing Zentangle! Verging on obsessive, really - which is not easy for me to acknowledge. I don't like being obsessive. It can lead to aiming for perfection....scary!

I have been following the challenges that I usually taken part in but unless I could somehow fit in a mandala, I haven't been inspired. Also scary...what has been happening to me?

This week's challenge from the Diva initially seemed a non-starter for me too...using stripes as a string. Although I love the idea, my first thought was - how can I fit a mandala into stripes?

Well, I tried it and I did it.

Some of my stripes include Zentangle patterns, like Ditto, Quandry (individual 'seeds, rather than the whole pattern). Wud, Fescu and Flux - and the others use typical mandala repeat patterns. It's quite detailed but it was such fun to do. Not going around and around in a circle suddenly felt very liberating!

I was then inspired to sit and do a purely Zentangle tile with stripes - very simple - and I think I might be getting back into the swing of it. Love, love and love Prestwood!! Put my chop upside down though....obviously due to lack of practice. An excellent antidote to mandala addiction and proof to myself that I can go in straight lines and still feel very satisfied at the end of it.

So thank you, Laura. Inspiration when I needed it and a jolt out of a rut. There are definitely worse places to be than in a mandala rut but nice to look up and see the bigger picture from time to time. I bet there are going to be some wonderful entries this week and I look forward to drawing more inspiration from them too.

Thanks for popping by!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Diva Challenge 232 - with Holly Atwater

Monday morning and I was all sorted - beds stripped, washing in, chores done - time for a coffee and a check on the Diva Challenge this week.
I was delighted to see it was Holly Atwater! I remember it was Holly who first told me that my tangle 'Skwirl' had been published on Tangle Patterns and her genuine delight for me was evident even over the many miles that separate us. I've always loved her Zentangle work and her beautiful blog, Ha! Designs and incredible family.

And I loved this week's challenge - a chance to sit down, listen and tangle in a meditative manner. I positively RUSHED at Bijou tile and an ill-drawn square on my paper, grabbed from the printer supply......oops! But once I began, listened to and followed Holly's gentle instructions, I really went with the flow and enjoyed every second. And was very pleased with the result.

I did Audio 1, with the result shown here and I shall probably have a go at the other two as well, if I get chance this week.

I've also been doing a lot of pebble painting and paintings of painted pebbles.

The first is part of a set that I did for a friend whose daughter is having a beach wedding. This stone is representative of her partner's incredible hairstyle - a huge blond Mohican, which he usually wears flattened down in a pony tail...but I do hope it will be fully crested for the wedding! I haven't shown the other other one, which is based on their initials....JUST in case there's any chance they'll see them.

The two pebbles fit together so perfectly and I'm very pleased with them. They're winging their way in a little wooden chest to my friend, so she can place them in just the right place on the day. (I don't know where that is, but she does!)

And then I did a pebble just for my hubby - to hold his papers down.

And then I drew a picture of a painted pebble! I do like painted pebbles.

In fact, I like them so much, that I'm going to the beach just now to collect some more.

Thanks again Holly! Lovely challenge and more to look forward to.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Diva Challenge 230 - Guest blogger, Erin from the Bright Owl

A wonderful union this week, with the Diva's Guest Blogger being Erin Olson of  The Bright Owl and 'Zendala Dare' fame!!

As you may have noticed, I am totally obsessed with Zendalas and Mandalas at the moment, so for me, this wasn't a challenge but another opportunity to continue with my theme. Thank you Erin, thank you Laura!

I needed to do 'busy, busy, busy' for some reason. My children and husband have taken a trip up to visit grandparents in the north of Spain, leaving me with what feels like a lot more hours in the day. Rather than waste these hours on thorough cleaning of bedrooms and other jobs that somehow never get done during the daily routine of looking after three growing children...I concentrated on my Zentangle. As you do. Uninterrupted pleasure!

As sometimes happens, I enjoyed the process of drawing this much more than I like the finished results. I drew the basic template freehand - always a challenge - and just piled lots and lots of little details into it, including six mini zendalas. It doesn't have the coherence of some of the mandalas/zendalas I have drawn myself but still -  Great Fun!

Looking forward to seeing all the different versions that this challenge will, no doubt, have inspired.

Thanks again!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Diva Challenge 229 - negative space with guest Sandy Hunter.

Thanks this week to Sandy Hunter, guest blogger over on the Diva's Challenge page. I hope Laura is having a great holiday and enjoying the great challenges that her excellent guests are providing for us.

Good thinking Sandy, is what I say this week. I am currently COMPLETELY obsessed with Zendalas and Mandalas. I think I am drawing them in my sleep and I am so enjoying them. At first, when the challenge popped up in my news feed, I thought - hmmm....not a zendala opportunity, perhaps I'll give it miss...

And then! Guess what, my opportunity presented itself.

My tangle this week is a Zendala with a central negative space! Interestingly, I didn't enjoy it as much as a proper mandala as the best part for me is the development from the centre starting point - but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it at all. No, it was lovely to do, though I did go off the edges a tad.

Thank you Sandy! I'm sure there are going to be some really great entries this week and I do love looking at them all.

Here are some of my recent zendalas - I have been so happy with the results, done on various sizes of canvas, that I took them to be framed. I am going to hang them ALL in my bedroom! Apologies if you've seen them before - I have posted them (and some others!) on Facebook and on my other blog recently....

This one is A4 size and I did it with my micron pens...bad idea!

This is a 20x20cms canvas, painted with acrylic paints and using a permanent black marker and
a variety of gel pens to add gold and white accents. The border I did on BeFunky photo editor.

Also done on a painted 20x20cms canvas - much more Zentangle in this. The lady who is framing
them was very taken with this one!
This one isn't quite finished - I'm going to paint around the outside of the zendala - it is still white
although it looks sort of duck egg blue here. I will try and 'tidy' the edges of the original
painted part...but any suggestions gratefully received about how best to finish it. It's on a 30x30 canvas, so I'm going bigger! I have also bought a 50x50 canvas to do before the end of the summer!

And whilst out shopping, I saw this material and HAD to buy some. I now have two gorgeous cushions on my sofa and may have to buy time, I'll pick a more photogenic spot to show them off...

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Diva Challenge 227 - Guest blogger, Lee Darter and 'Circus Life'

Well here is a different challenge! This week's the Diva's guest blogger is Lee Darter, CZT and she has come up with the ingenious idea of using the circus as inspiration. And she picked us some great tangles to put us in the mood.

Tropicana, by Lady Kate Arhens - and if you're reading Kate, hope things are OK with you, sending big hugs - and Cack by Adele Bruno. Two lovely ladies and two lovely tangles as a start. We were then given the option of adding Fescu, Florz or Linq.  I did two this week, though not sure if either are QUITE as circusy as they could be but they were fun to do. It's hot here and just typing is leaving me feeling 'wrung out'. You may notice my heavy shading this week - sweaty hands help the effect!

The first uses Linq and the second, Florz.

This is upside down from the way I drew it, but I like it better this way.
I don't like that my scanner has removed my subtle shading under Florz though....

Bet we have some real fun entries this week. I will be checking them out during the week. Thank you Lee!


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Diva Challenge 225 - with Katie Crommett CZT and 'Simplicity'

It's funny really, that most people, when they see a tangled tile, assume that it's taken hours and hours of work and is really complicated to do.  I always find it difficult to explain in words that it's not so complicated and many tiles are started and finished well within the hour. So I was pleased to see that this week's guest contributor to the Diva Challenge, Katie Crommett, decided to focus on this aspect of tangling.

She talks about how there is a lot of emphasis these days on simplifying our lives - but the advice is often complex and creates additional work or expense or just stultifies us.

But not Zentangle. I think it is why I love doing it so much. You can just begin anywhere that there's a space for you to sit, with just a pen and a bit of paper (yes, having tiles is better, but it's not an essential when the mood is upon you, is it?) and, breathing out and in, start with that first, always exciting line. Thank you Katie for focusing us on this aspect.

I chose two tangles - possibly the simplest I could think of - Keeko as the border, and a little fat Btljoos - a very simple version too - taking centre stage.
(OK, so my Keeko didn't quite line up, so there's a single Tipple in there too....) And the rest, I left simply white.

And I enjoyed every second of the ten minutes or so that it took me to do.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Diva Challenge and String Thing 100!

Thank you to Jen Crutchfield, guesting  over on the Diva Challenge this week! She suggested we use colour - in fact, she suggested just two or three - in our tangles this week. Like Jen, I am not a great on for colour, never having had artistic inclinations or tendencies before I began tangling. Some people have great experience with colour and it shows in their work - I'm in awe of the effects that some tanglers achieve with colour. I can't do it - I have tried but it doesn't seem to work for me.

However, I have a little technique that I'm quite happy with. I paint a random background, either on paper or a canvas, with some lovely gouache paints that I once bought for my daughter. Then I tangle on top. It's not awfully good for my pens - they get a bit clogged up as I work, but it seems to be only a 'surface' clog and a bit of scribbling on a different surface, and they work fine again. I haven't noticed any lasting damage or problems, in case you wanted to try it yourself.

I was asked recently to a zendala for a friend and she wanted colour, so this week's challenge seemed like the perfect opportunity. I prepared my canvas with a selection of colours - not awfully well represented here by my photo, but they are nice, trust me - and then drew about three concentric circles as a guide for my zendala. The rest is just how the flow took me.

I need some advice though...the canvas was obviously not square so my zendala only 'fits' in the top part. Should I put something else in the bottom part or leave it as it is? And if I put something in the bottom part, what could that be? A smaller zendala...or two...? A 'reflection' of the top part? Some words.....? Any suggestions gratefully received.

And this week also sees Adele Bruno's String Thing challenge reach its 100th anniversary - the Zentennial!! Well done Adele for keeping this lovely challenge going all this time. I love this one as it produces such a variety of tiles, all with the same remit - a string and a selection of tangles.

For this week, Adele came up with a simple but effect string and also a new tangle based on '100' and I enjoyed it so much, I did two.

The first one was done as I watched 'Mad Max - Road to Fury' and I think the rather gothic, steampunk effects somehow penetrated my unconscious as I was drawing.....

And the second one was done as a sort of antidote to the first!
Do check all the entries out when Adele publishes them on her blog early next week.

Thank you for stopping by! Hope you like what you have seen. (Now I can go and see what other lovely tiles have been entered onto the Diva Challenge!)

Monday, 29 June 2015

Diva Challenge 224 - Tipple

Hurray! I confess I've been waiting for a challenge to do a Tipple monotangle and today is my lucky day!

I think I did this last September whilst waiting for my son to do a round of archery. A pleasant Sunday morning, taking in some good coffee and typical 'tostada' breakfast, which is a good long chunk of toasted baguette, topped with fresh tomato, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. I could digress further.....but will stop now.

And I've been waiting patiently ever since, knowing that one day it would come.

I enjoyed this SOOOO much and I may well do another before the week is out.

I wish Laura a great summer break - time for family and other fun things - and look forward to the challenges that her guests will set us!

See the other entries over on the Diva's blog or have a go and enter the challenge yourself!

Hmmm... just shading! How remiss of me!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Diva Challenge 222 - Bursting with Pride!

The Diva challenged us to use colour this week. I don't do a lot of colour because I really do like the Zentangles in black and white. OK...that's not entirely true. I think some people have an incredible way with colour and oodles of patience to get just the effect they want.
I don't have that talent or patience. Which is why I prefer black and white....

However, I love a challenge and I also like to demonstrate my support to those who have things a little harder than I do. We should all be able to be proud of who we are, what we do and who we love. So for this week, I have started at the middle and worked outwards in the form of a Zendala. Every 'layer' is a symbol of recognition for every strata in society; each ring of the Zendala is an embrace of our differences; every colour a band of pride for what we can achieve and for our love of each other.

Be different. Be proud. Without you, the world would not be so colourful.

(and thank you Laura.)

Friday, 12 June 2015

Diva Challenge 221 - Beads of Courage

Little Artoo has had a big year. He's looking so grown up recently and is clearly such a sweetie. He's been through a great deal in his short life and has lots and lots of courage. Like all children with serious illnesses, he has had many encounters with hospitals and I think that to receive recognition of his bravery, the Beads of Courage project is a lovely one.

The Diva's Challenge this week is to make a Zentangle pattern using the Beads of Courage as the theme. I remember doing this last year and for a few days, was a bit stuck as to how to do something different. Then I just started and let the Zen lead me!

This is for you, Artoo. Brave, brave boy with a great family who love you. Here's to you and all the other children who have to go through more than we would wish for them.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Diva Challenge 219 and Square One - focus tangle, Purk!

Hello again! How the weeks fly by. Loved Laura's running story and the 10k 'STOP' sign! I just wish someone could tell me it would be OK to stop from time to time.....

I won't bore you with the details but my trials this week involve making a teapot costume for my daughter's performance in the school play. They are doing 'Beauty and the Beast' and Romy is Mrs. Potts, the teapot. She has a big singing role and has to look as wonderful as she will sound. I am doing my best and currently sport plasters on my thumb, index and middle fingers in recognition of the work I am putting in behind the scenes!! Makes tangling difficult.

Fortunately, it was a 'straight lines only' challenge on the Diva's blog. Not sure it makes any difference, actually, but I'm prepared to think it might have proved more difficult with some curves to negotiate with my bandaged fingers. It took me a few minutes to remember that one of my own tangles could feature - Skwirl is all straight lines, but with some nifty shading, it gives a subtle hint at circles. I teamed it with Steps, by Helen Williams, and Paradox with an assymetrical nod at Florz in the background.

A great challenge - thank you Laura!

In addition, I managed - before the needles took their toll - a couple of tiles for the Facebook page, Square One - Purely Zentangle. I post them here because I gave both tiles away as little tokens of appreciation. One to a colleague who was nominated for a national award in Human Resources - and she made the top ten! The other to my daughter to wish her good luck in her performance next week.

Here they are - I do so love Purk!!

Underwater Purk
Purk with Nzepple, Aquafleur and
aaargh, the name escapes me but it's by Michele Beauchamp...
A new one to me and I love it!
Thanks for looking. Axxx