31 December 2010

Coffee with Michele!

Yesterday I met Michele (Shelly Beauch) & Paul for coffee at a cafe called Jam Packed, in the old IXL building on Hobart's waterfront. What a beautiful place to meet a tangler face to face, for the first time! I sat with my Zentangle kit, working on a tile... so Michele had no difficulty in spotting the right person.

Right next door to Jam Packed there is a lovely gallery called Art Mob (specialising in Tasmanian Aboriginal art). Michele, Paul and I were admiring the spectacular painting on the sandstone wall behind us and, of course, noticing that it was an enormous, wall-sized 'tangle'.

I spoke to Euan Hills, director of Art Mob, and he told me that the artist's name is George Tjungurrayi. I would like to honour his talent by sharing George Tjungurrayi's page at Art Mob with you. The painting we saw was huge (3.9 x 2.05 metres, or 12.792 feet wide x 6.724 feet tall). Click through to that link and you'll see it - though at full size it's a different experience altogether. A magical painting that you 'fall into' as you look at it, mesmerised. To see a similar version of that same pattern, click through to his painting, number eight. It is such a privilege to live in Tasmania, and have the opportunity to see, and be inspired by, these beautiful, ancient patterns.

Though I have seen Michele's Zentangles on my screen many times before, the tactile nature and immediacy of being able to hold them in my hand, turning them this way and that, and falling into her tangles, was a far richer experience. I realised anew the value of the 'appreciation' experience in Zentangle. And, looking at Michele's work yesterday I was particularly inspired by the beauty, freedom and playfulness of her spiral, rope and swirled tangles. Even on her coffee mug!

Michele did a beautiful tile to mark the occasion. And I also have a wonderful new refrigerator magnet - a Shelly Beauch original!

Thank you, Shelly!
Next time we'll meet at your end of the State.
(And I'm playing with spirals and rope tangles today [grin].)

29 December 2010

Two-pencil-string technique

For those of you who have been following, I am The Diva's Weekly Zentangle Challenges, it is Week #2* and this week's challenge is to 'create a Zentangle® tile or inspired piece using the two-pencil-string technique'.

This technique was written about recently by Canadian tangler extraordinaire, Margaret Bremner. I was excited to try out this technique for the first time. Particularly after seeing the beautiful effects Margaret had achieved.

* If you haven't seen the extraordinary and inspiring contributions to the Zentangle Challenge from Week #1 – Simplicity, you will find the relevant page here.

In my sewing box, I discovered some seam tracer pencils – just perfect for creating two-pencil-strings. These pencils are readily available and come in two sizes (1/4 inch and 5/8 inch). I am using the 1/4 inch (6 mm) size. This is the first string I created. As usual, I didn't plan ahead at all. I just put pencils to paper and the string flowed easily from body to tile.

The extra stability and balance of double pencil tips does seem to lend itself to lovely smooth and elegant curves. Also, the width of the double pencils felt similar to using a broad edge calligraphy nib – so my 'calligrapher mind' discovered that the flow of the lines was both familiar and comfortable.

My first impression of this string was that it seemed quite musical (which has inspired me dig out my five line automatic 'music calligraphy pen' – and have a tangle with that.) With this notion of music in mind, I started with Casey Poirer's Muzic tangle. Immediately, a branch of Mimi Lempart's Cat-Kin sprang out of the end of the piano keys. I love how 'organically' tangles tend to grow across a tile!

Here is the finished tile (click on the image for a larger view):

In the centre, Sandra Strait's Stubs appeared, which seemed appropriate for the two-pencil theme. Also, even though I only occasionally use colour with traditional Zentangles, those red lines seemed quite determined to emerge from three pencil 'pairs'. That may seem an odd way to phrase it but, in much the same way that authors have commented that their characters 'tell' them what they're going to do next, my tangles often seem to tell me where they will be placed (and not the other way around).

You may also notice that the checker-board ribbon coming from the other end of Muzic has five lines. Although this was unplanned, it seems to me to echo the idea of a five line music stave. You will also see that the final orientation of the tile changed since drawing the initial string (as it frequently does, of course).

I had so much fun creating this first tile, that I couldn't stop there, and so I began straight away on a second. In this photograph, I've already started with the official Zentangle® tangle, Zander, right across the middle of the tile, but you can still see most of the original pencil string. This time I left a border around the outside of my string design. I loved the little double loops that formed, and was quite curious to see what would happen with them!

In similar fashion to this week's Zentangle created by my friend and tangle buddy, 'Lone Creature', I decided to keep my tangles inside the pencil lines for this tile.
Once I started, the tangles emerged quickly. After Zander, Crescent Moon appeared across the bottom of the tile. Hibred grew up the right hand side. And Sue Jacob's Coil curved itself around the top left corner. The double loops were still a challenge, and were eventually filled with various spiral, grid, and petal like patterns. Here is a photograph of the second tile just before shading.

I have included the pre-shaded photograph here because, like so many Zentangles, the shading made a rather dramatic difference... and also because I added a little extra to the finished tile, which you can see in the final photograph.

A final note: In Zen-typical-tangle serendipity, after taking some time to stop, breathe, and appreciate the finished tile, I realised that my rather spiky addition in the middle of Coil reminded me of one of Jennifer Maestre's beautiful 'pencil urchins' (which I first saw on Molossus' blog, Life Imitates Doodles). Clearly I've had pencils on the brain today!

Click on the image for a larger view.
Many thanks, Laura, once again for another fun challenge this week. The Zentangles I've seen so far on this theme are all beautiful, lively, and fun!

26 December 2010

Holiday ZIA

Happy Holidays!

Here is one of the 2010 Holiday cards I made this year. As usual, I was scrambling to get everything ready for 25 December. On Thursday afternoon, 23 December, I sat at the table with a card, a Pigma Micron and an idea.

I found a piece of paper with random swirled circles printed on it so, using the tangle, Cadent, I created a string. About 15 minutes later, I had filled the whole page with tangles. I finished by placing the completed ZIA into a lovely door-opening, tri-fold card and tied it off with red ribbon. Next year I have resolved (again) to start making cards in September.
ZIA is "Zentangle® Inspired Art" ‒ it refers to any artwork that is inspired by Zentangles, but doesn't follow the Zentangle format (3½ inch square). Here is the card closed, and standing opened on the table:

24 December 2010


Welcome to my second blog post!

I'm participating in a Zentangle Weekly Challenge. If you'd like to check it out, visit the page here. The theme this week is "Simplicity" — so I decided to simplify my string, and do no shading. The tile gradually created itself (as they tend to) and I ended up making a feature of... well... nothing. Simplicity itself. I photographed the tile on the Zentangle kit box — because the beauty and elegance of it also represents 'simplicity' to me.

If you don't know about Zentangle®, do check it out. And watch this space - because my new tangle website will be up and running soon!
Until next week, have a Merry Everything.