Tuesday, 7 March 2017

shine on

This week the Diva invited us to enjoy Lily Moon's wonderful Amphora tangle!  Now that's an invitation I'm not going to miss.

I fancied doing things a bit differently today - so had a go with the nail varnish technique that Maria demonstrated a couple of weeks ago.  I'd tried a few test strips on various papers, with various pens I use.  Some cause a slight deepening of the paper colour, and in others its more profound.  When I tested it on a tile of Kraft paper it produced a lovely deep wood-like tone which I thought would work well with the ancient roots of Amphora.

A work in progress - pausing to let each stage dry

I used it on alternate stripes of the tangle, and in the space between tried out some newly bought Tombow brush pens for a bit of grey shading.  I kept my tangling close to the original, but added a bit of Beadlines and some white highlights.

The finished article

I really like the contrast between the cool and warmer panels, and while the photo struggles to catch how it looks in reality (my scanner threw up its hands in horror!) there is a lovely sense of age about the finished tile. 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

cutting the string

My work on this week's Diva tile - in which we were invited to Duotangle with Molygon and Marasu - was strange from start to finish.

Firstly I selected a pre-coloured tile from my Leftovers stack.  I immediately found it rather unappealing, but decided to stick with what I'd picked.

I then had a 'clever' idea of making it so the Molygon looked cut out with the Marasu viewed through the holes.  Which seemed better in my imagination than it looked on paper! 

Then I thought that lots of black ink might come to the rescue...  and I selected a sky blue pen that I rarely use...

... and well, who knows.  It's an odd one, not one of my favourites, but it is what it is.


But the strangest thing occurred only once I stepped back from it.  When I'm not tangling I write, and much of what I write about involves memory.  My mind is a kite - dancing this way and that in the sky, sometimes in cloud, sometimes in the clear blue.  But when I'm not actively thinking, actively remembering - when I'm doing something that shifts my mind in a different way - like tangling does - it's like the kite string has been cut.  I drift to wildly unexpected places.  When I looked at the tile I got a sudden flash of a perfume my mother used when I was a child - not the smell but the packaging.   I hadn't thought of it in years, but a quick Google and there it was - an almost exact replica of the striping on my Marasu.  How weird and wonderful!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

as above, so below

This tangle first made an appearance at the very edge of one of my sketchbook pages last September.  I've sat with it since, wanting to be sure it doesn't already exist. It seems so simple, so obvious, that I can hardly believe someone hasn't been there before me. But perhaps that simplicity is the very thing that's left it overlooked. Or maybe it's so simple that it barely counts as a tangle at all?!


I based it on those stock images that pepper the cover of so many Zen guidebooks. A stack of stones on water with their reflection beneath them. Hence the name – Flec.

As a border – on pastel paper – with white pencil and graphite shading

So far I've mostly drawn it in its simplest form, but I think it has scope for variation as to the size and shape of the 'stones' you use, and how you choose to stack them.  You can choose to include the aura or leave it out, and some simple shading offers dimension.

On black paper – with added Fescu – white gel pen, white pencil

If anything like this already exist please let me know – if not I hope you have fun playing with Flec – I'd love to know how you get on.

On water-coloured paper – with I–leaf and Flukes – graphite shading

Thursday, 16 February 2017

just enough

Sometimes our days don't hold enough of what we need.  Not enough time, energy, comfort, hope.

But sometimes we have to make the most of whatever we've got.  This week I had just enough to make this heart.  Paper, pen, pencil and a little patience.
 
Hamadox heart, with Diva Dance tassels - on a Brusho coloured tile

And I will give this heart to my loved one and me.  I will place it in a little frame and stand it on a shelf – where we can see it, and where it can see us. 

When there's not enough of what we need there is always love.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

meaningful mistakes

Bockingford blue tinted watercolour paper. 
Distress Ink.  Black ink, white gel pen, graphite.
This tile was a mistake from the very start.  I'd picked out two tiles I'd previously coloured.  This one was meant to be to try out Margaret Bremner's new Trifle tangle.  The other was for this Florz affair.  But then I drew the initial grid lines onto the wrong tile!  At that point - the end of a day, with the light giving out on me - I gave up and put it aside.  Till today.

With the 'No mistakes' motto in mind I carried on - despite the fact that this rather textured paper isn't ideal for very tidy straight lines.  I'd been carrying this idea in my mind for a while - wondering how would it look if you drew Florz, auraed it, and then drew it again behind the first?

I needed something simple and repetitive today.  I needed something that didn't need much thought, much imagination.  Just lines and more lines and simple shading in predictable places.

Perhaps there is a message for this week, perhaps for this year, in this seemingly simple tile.  That behind one barricade there might unfortunately be another - but that if you break through enough of them there is always the promise of light.

Monday, 9 January 2017

nine on the ninth

For the past couple of weeks I've been largely absent from the usual places I lurk in the tangling world - but that doesn't mean my pen has been idle!

I wanted to tangle over the Christmas and New Year break from normality, but wanted to do things a bit differently.  I wanted a change from the circuit of challenges and groups, not because I don't enjoy them, but just to see what would happen.  I wanted to scale down my horizons - not be spoiled for choice in terms of tools, colours, and techniques.  I also wanted to simplify - to get back to drawing a tile quite quickly, with no looking-up of tangles - just lines on paper to catch that little patch of time, that little period of sunlight or shade.

I allowed myself three shades of paper for my tiles -
two were pastel paper, the other a tricky to work on Khadi paper.
Pens in black, brown, grey and white gel - white and grapite pencils.

I didn't tangle at the table as I normally do - but leaning on a notebook on my lap.  This made things a bit wobblier than usual, but I quite like the looseness that appeared.

My completed tiles - in the order they happened. 
Including an unexpected black rabbit in honour of the death of Richard Adams.

I really enjoyed working within self imposed limits.  I like the finished look of this collected group of tiles - it's made me think this might be an interesting way to work at other times.  And I think I might have finally found a way to draw Mooka that I'm happy with (top right)!

Friday, 23 December 2016

a seasonal sign off

A festive thank you to all those who have visited my blog over the last year.  You've made it a warmer and more wonderful place to be. 

Betwinkle and Barrel Roll - ink, white pencil, gold pen and graphite on pastel paper

I'll be going quiet for a bit now, but will be back in the new year.

I wish you well for your Christmas time - I hope it's just as you want it to be.  And I hope the year ahead brings you peace and smiles and miles of pristine paper and fresh pens!