Thursday, September 29, 2016


Highlights and shadows on midtone Strathmore Artagain paper, ink & watercolor. This isn't for a challenge or anything; I just happened to rediscover a stack of precut midtone paper I'd forgotten about (and I broke my no-coffee-after-three rule today). :oD

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

a tangle well-traveled + tripoli monotangle

Hi, friends!

You may have noticed that my tangling has slowed down a little this year, and it's partly due to thumb pain. The Very Expensive Specialist said, "Well, you don't have arthritis, so..." (*shrug*)"... here, have some knee meds"! I can still draw ok, but my thumb often aches afterward. I should have expected this, to be honest. George Clooney warned me this would happen when he said, "After forty, it's all about pluggin' the holes in the boat." How true, Mr. Clooney. He knows me so well.

Anyway... onward! It's been way too long since I jumped in on a Diva challenge. I've always liked Tripoli. I liked it more once I figured out that drawing it successfully, like many other patterns, is more about drawing the spaces in between the shapes than the shapes themselves. Keeping parallel lines the same distance apart as much as possible = magic. My unsolicited advice for the day. :oD

My mind went in different directions while I was drawing, so there are a couple of variations here. Monotangles really take discipline for me because I like to throw a lot at my tiles. It's a good exercise to rein it in once in a while and find ways to make an old dog do new tricks, though. Once it was done, I tried rotating it in different directions and saw a variety of things with each rotation. I have chosen PegLeg Chef Tossing Pizza Dough for your viewing pleasure. 

Remember being a kid, when it was actually fun to get mail? Well, if you're missing those days, hop onto the Traveling Tangles bandwagon to spruce up your mailbox. Nothing good ever arrives in a window envelope, after all... and getting mail from all over the world is exciting. No pressure though- if you're not sure about jumping in, lurking in the shadows is perfectly acceptable. I love the ones where the artistic style of the participants is vastly different and yet the tiles are just come together. Just another example of how this art community brings people together.

The following are all tiles that were partially tangled and snail-mailed to me for finishing. I debated posting before-and-after scans but it's more fun to guess who did what. It's been a few days anyway, so even I'm not completely sure.

I'll keep all the Diva-ness together... the next three tiles were started by Laura (Canada) and finished by me. Somebody remind me to ask her what she used for color- my micron skated over that sparkly, glorious sunset mishmash like an olympian. I'd like to tell you that if you show up on my doorstep I'll let you see it in person, but I really don't want you to. You can just take my word for it.

so... Seussy.

This one's probably my favorite. 

This was a very satisfying collaboration for me. All three tiles are so happy.

This one was started by Alice Hendon (Maine) and finished by me. She's got a pattern called All Boxed Up that I love to play with... I could monotangle that sucker til the cows come home and go out again. I love it so hard.

Emily Classen (Massachusetts) sent me this black tile to finish. It was a surprise, actually... I went a little bonkers over the pic when she showed it to me, and the real deal landed in my mailbox a few days later. My mailbox is a magnet for good things lately, y'all! So grateful for good friends.

Glenys Sykes (UK) sent me this lovely Renaissance (tan) tile.  It was so unbelievably pretty as is that I was afraid I'd ruin it, so I just added a few touches of white. There have been many tiles on the TT page that I wouldn't change... they were already perfect. This is definitely one of those. 

Barb Mavraganis (Pennsylvania) sent me this one. It took me a while to figure out what to do with it... I saw another tile with chainging on it and it made me want to play with the pattern. The gold highlights Barb added are my favorite part. It's a perfect gold... not too green and not too orange. 

Last but not least (I did this one first, actually) is this one from Sue Olsen (Ohio). I maybe should have stopped drawing (way) before I did, but it was really fun to finish! 

Edit: adding on a couple of older ones that I never got around to posting....  this one was started by Margaret Bremner (Canada). I love how she sneaked in her initials.

This one came from Lynn Mead (Washington) and is a good example of one that was already perfect upon arrival. I just added the raindotty variation and the gold touches, but let's be honest, it didn't really need either one!

Thanks to all my trading buddies!

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Thanks for stopping by... 

feel free to visit me here!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

cotton & thread.

My mom is downright dangerous with her sewing machine. I was kicking back with her in her sewing room (a.k.a. her 'happy place'!) yesterday, and wondered aloud whether a Zentangle tile could successfully be stitched by machine since it's 100% cotton paper. Never one to back down from a creative challenge, she did the loopy border on her sewing machine, and then I tangled the rest.

See how the thread casts a shadow from the sun slanting in through the window? Late afternoon is the prettiest time of day in my studio, when the sunlight illuminates the inhabitants of my fish tank and my meticulously curated dust collection. ;o) 

A few other borders... they didn't make the cut, but still looked pretty cool stitched into the tiles. These patterns might look vaguely familiar to my fellow tangle junkies.

Next I'll see if I can successfully sew two tangled roundies back to back with batting in the middle, and make an ornament out of it... I only have eleven months to make it work! ;o)

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Monday, February 01, 2016


Hi, friends!
Long time no blog.

I'm gonna be honest with you...having a Zentangle facebook page has made me very lazy. I'm not one to make new years' resolutions, but I am recommitting myself to blogging this year. I have a couple big things in the works- one is a whole post on cruffle variations (trying to get it whittled down to fifty-- it's completely ridiculous right now!) and then there's a 2.0 post full of tangle remixes coming down the pike too. I'm excited about what's lumbering forth on the horizon... thank you for hanging in with me. :o)

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Soo, lollywimple. 
Yes, I can hear you shouting 'oh, whatever, that's crescent moon!' To which I say, "look again!'

This pattern is drawn as a ribbon/border. It absolutely can be drawn successfully without the initial pencil strings, but since I like to use it as a foundation to build on, I've left them in all the drawings below so you can see where the pattern started. You'll see why in a minute.

The basic steps:

first, the lollies on a string... o O o (which I will refer to as 'bubbles' from here on out, because I honestly don't know how many times one can read the word 'lolly' in a single blog post without wanting to slap the author). 

...aaaand then, the wimples!... ) ) )

Step 0: optional, but try it this way first. Lay down two parallel pencil lines, relatively close together.  When I draw auras around a shape, I don't like to let them go on and on and get too big (I'm lookin' at you, IX!), because the lines start to get harder to control. The closer together your pencil lines are, the more your auras will behave. 

• Vary the size of the bubbles (and the spaces between them, if you're feeling adventurous) along the entire length of the first pencil string. Repeat with the second, varying the size of the bubbles between the left and right sides, and offsetting them so that none are directly 'across the lane' from another.

• Add one aura to each bubble. Then start adding extra auras, here and there, very randomly. The end result can be very interesting if you don't go in order- or even double up on some before moving on to another one. You start with one on every bubble so you have the width of at least one aura between every bubble to work with later.

NOT closing off the spaces between the bubbles (as I have done below) will give you more options for blending this pattern with others. So consider this the version you would use for a simple border.

A couple more examples of a simple border... 

It's cute... but, very cool things can happen if you *don't* close off those edges! You can see how far the first auras extend past the pencil line- I LOVE irregular edges.

Here's where things start to get a little more interesting...

All those open ends mean bridges to other tangles! Oh, the possibilities! I know Mooka is not the answer to everything....but sometimes it feels like it. ;o)

I probably threw too many different patterns at this one... but I love busy line art with lots to look at, so I went for broke.

A few other examples. I know this post might not seem as straightforward as some other tangle how-tos (more art, less zen for sure) but you can see where I started if you look for the pencil strings. The other stuff just blooms out of the open spaces in between the bubbles. This is why you should always draw your initial string in pencil with Zentangle... open ends are GOOD. You can't build a city with a wall in the way!

This pattern doesn't have to make sense, visually. Continue some lines, close off others... just have fun with it. Shading does wonders, too.

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