Sunday, October 15, 2017

InkTober 2017 - part one

I am not able to participate every day this year, but these are the ink drawings I've done, and the InkTober prompts, for the first half of October.

Day 2 - 'Divided'
Gray wash on white paper with smears of sparkle acrylic paint, colored ink and colored pencil.
Tangles: Pearlz, Zander plus Hibred technique
Day 4 - 'Underwater'
Gray and copper washes on tan paper with colored inks and colored pencil.
This worked out nicely with the InkToberTangles prompt Diva Dance!
Tangles: Diva Dance, Skaylz, Pop-Cloud
Day 8 - 'Crooked'
I used a calligraphy pen for the initial zigzag lines across the gray wash 'X'.
Tangles? Pretty much just a lot of Auras
Day 12 - 'Shattered'
Gray and brown washes on white paper with black, brown and white inks and colored pencil.
Tangles: Cracked Windows (variation) and a few Pearlz
Day 15 - 'Mysterious'
Mysterious passages, mysterious space, mysterious connections. It's also usually mysterious what the end result will be!
Tangles: Crescent Moon, Emingle, Knightsbridge,
Knightspeak, Romanancy, Tipple, Zonked

Monday, October 9, 2017


I've been trying to get a handle on a new zentangle technique called tranzending. Essentially it's a method of laying one tangle over another, often giving a watery or glass-like effect. You can watch Rick and Maria demonstrate and chat about tranzending on this Youtube video.

I raided my stash of completed tiles and chose several to experiment with. On the first one I re-used the tangle Fleurette and did it over the entire tile.
Tangles: Drobbles, Fleurette, Knightsbridge, Spinning, Tipple
On the second I reproduced one quarter the flower in a corner. I rather like both of these.
Tangles: Finery, Lotus Pods
Next I tried placing one large Artoo over a tile that included Artoo in the original tangles.
Tangles: Artoo, Lotus Pods, Pearlz, Tipple
I tried a larger Fengle over a smaller one. Much as I love this tangle for its welcoming of other tangles and more detail, I think that what's underneath here is too intricate to take an overlay well. There's just too much going on.

I had a fairly intricate tile, but it was the same tangle all over. I decided to try a simple tangle over it, and chose Echoism. This worked quite well I think.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, (pinched) Assunta, Echoism
 Looking through some other work I realized that I'd done tranzending on a tile received from Lynn Mead in the Travelling Tangles project on Facebook. Maybe my lesson here is KISS ("Keep it Simple, Stupid").  :)
Tangles: Florz, Tipple
I'll definitely be trying this technique again.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Working on papyrus

A few years ago, at a museum exhibition about Mesopotamia, I purchased a package of actual papyrus pages in the gift shop. This is the first time I've used it. It's layered and stripey but wasn't as difficult to draw on as I had expected, although I used larger nib pens.

The 'two women' image - Queen Kawit and a servant - is from a National Geographic magazine. 
The ink drawing is mine, including the Aura of squares around the image.
The queen's mirror is highly reflective silver paper.
There are several tiny gems in the queen's necklace and on the four papyrus plants on the left.

I processed the magazine image to eliminate the paper but keep the image. This is especially useful if you're concerned about archival quality and are using paper that's not acid-free (basically all magazines). In this particular case, 'archival' is not really an issue because the papyrus itself is not archival, but I wanted the texture of the papyrus and a bit of the tan color to come through the image. Magazine ink is another issue.

In fact, it's less about getting the image off the paper as it is about getting the paper off the image! 

Here's what I do:
  • Leave a good two cms. (1/2" +) of border around the image you want to use.
  • Paint six layers of acrylic matte medium on the image, letting each one dry well. You could use glossy medium instead. 
  • Lightly score the back, where the paper is still accessible, with an X-acto knife and wet it liberally with water. You'll see dark lines appear where the water is soaking into the cuts.
  • Carefully rub off all the paper. This takes a few sessions of scoring and rubbing and lots of re-wetting. If you're done, the back will feel quite smooth.
  • In the end, the paper disappears but the ink is left behind. Then you can trim the image to the edges you want. Note that it will be floppy to handle.
  • Use the same matte or glossy medium to affix the image to your art surface.

Some of the supplies I use, and two other images
I plan to use in future artwork.
I'm still not quite sure what I think of it, but it was fun to do!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

'Crazy' 'Nzeppel

(That's a lot of apostrophes!)

When I first watched the video of Molly Hollibaugh demonstrating 'crazy' 'Nzeppel I thought it was about the shading. I never shade it that much. But when I read the DivaCZT's challenge this week, I realized that it was about the random nature of the lines. Like the Diva, I almost always do 'Nzeppel that way, so it doesn't strike me as crazy! (To watch the video go to the end of this post.)

I love adding a floating Cubine square.
Tangles: Beadlines, Cubine, Knase, 'Nzeppel, Zonked 
At first I thought this was going to be a Star of David comet, but now it seems to be a weird flower. I did 'Nzeppel's initial lines in pencil, then drew the shapes.
Tangles: Ennies, Jonqal, 'Nzeppel, Paradox, Pearlz,
Tipple, Zonked and a Tripoli triangle.
Three large Crescent Moons and a lot of Rounding.
Tangles: Crescent Moon, 'Nzeppel, and Rounding
 Last, I used Sue Clark's tri-shape string idea. (I almost always like the results when I use this.)
Tangles: Cubine, Knase, Knightsbridge, 'Nzeppel,
Paradox, Seljuk, Tortuca and Rounding

Here's the video of Molly demonstrating this variation of 'Nzeppel:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

'My Canvas Has Laces' (3) finished!

Converse canvas kicks, partly done
for the My Canvas Has Laces fund-raising auction
by Shoe Bank Canada.
So, after BOTH my extra fine tip Sharpie paint pens ran out of ink I stopped in at the art supply store where I'd bought them, but they were out of stock. I phoned around town - nine places! - and no one had them. I called that first art supply store and they told me that the pens have been discontinued. Whaaaattt???



Smile (try).

Aha. Well. This is an unexpected OPPORTUNITY, isn't it? Time to get the creative engine in gear. Necessity is the mother of invention, and all that.

A friend suggested Sharpie permanent markers, and the package says fade-resistant and water- resistant so I decided to try them. I also got some Sharpie pens, also fade-resistant and water- resistant. I still had larger black Sharpie paint pens which I used in larger areas.

The marker bled a little into the canvas fabric so I abandoned it. The pen is finer point and didn't bleed, although I often needed to go over the lines.
The right shoe, outer side.
Tangles: Ginili, Knightsbridge, Paisley Boa, Pearlz, Pixioze,
Posh variation, Thumbprintz, and the Lisbon fragment
The right shoe, inner side.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, BTL Joos, Fengle, Gemz, Zenith
The left shoe, inner side.
Tangles: Aquafleur, Palrevo, Pearlz, Prestwood variation, Snugz, Y-not, Zonked
The left shoe, outer side.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Delish, Diva Dance, MySwing, Paradox, Skye, Tipple,
In a few, strategic places I used iridescent white paint, or clear paint with holographic sparkles in it.
These are special shoes. Shoes for happy feet. I decided that they needed fun laces, laces that aren't the classic, boring, white shoelaces that came with them. I had some ribbons left over from an earlier project and - while these laces are a few inches short of the "proper" ones - they're a whole lot more fun!

Monday, September 18, 2017

'My Canvas Has Laces' (2) progress report

I've agreed to 'paint' a large pair of canvas shoes for Shoe Bank Canada's fund-raising project 'My Canvas Has Laces', so that "no Canadian should want for a decent pair of shoes".
Unisex shoes: men's size 12, women's size 14
I let some ideas percolate in my brain before I set pen to shoe and thought about other aspects of the project.

I made a list of tangles I might like to use. They included some of my own such as Skye, as well as some that are favorites like Tipple and Crescent Moon, and tangles that I thought would offer good 3D-look possibilities, just for fun, such as Paradox, Cubine, Romanancy, and Dex.

I also assembled the supplies I expected to use, mainly black Sharpie paint pens. I had wondered about color, but decided to go with black, white, and gray, and perhaps include iridescent or sparkle paint.

Deep black
Mmm, all those tangles where it seems you're looking through to somewhere else, tangles like Cubine, Dex, Skye, Hollibaugh, and so many more. I'd been thinking what fun it would be to give the impression of cut-through work in the canvas. On paper I frequently use Sakura's Clear Glaze pen over the black which gives the effect of a much deeper space.

Fortunately... unfortunately...
Unfortunately, I don't want use Clear Glaze ink on shoes, for durability issues.
Fortunately, there is a really, really black paint called Vantablack which absorbs 99.965 of visible light. Paint a ball with it and it looks like a portable hole. I looked online to see if I could buy some.
Unfortunately, no it isn't available except to one artist.
Fortunately, there is Black 2.0 from Culture Hustle (Stuart Semple) in the UK. It's an extremely black paint - just a smidge not-so-black as Vanta, and it's actually more convenient for artists because it doesn't require special locations or technicians. I ordered some.
Unfortunately, it will take at least a week to get here.
Fortunately, the shoes don't need to be sent back until early October.

Gathering my courage
I looked at the shoes from this side and that, wondered about drawing on the rubber parts, thought about the red and dark blue highlights, and then decided to follow Lady Macbeth's advice to "screw your courage to the sticking place" and just do it.

The eyelet holes are interesting design elements and could be incorporated into tangles. So, of course, the first tangle I put on the shoes is one that wasn't even on my list! A variation of Posh from Suzanne Macneill.

I did two more eyelet places.
Tangle: MySwing from Simone Menzel
Tangle: Snugz from Terri Brown;
also known as Crossover from Suzanne Macneill
Then, both my Extra Fine paint pens ran out!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The simplicity of 'Two squares'

The DivaCZT's challenge this week is a simple concept: a string of two squares.

First, I drew concentric, overlapping squares, holding my pencil loosely so the lines would wobble. I immediately saw the four small corners as black, but I changed my mind when it came to the last one. The two little Black Pearlz on sticks are where the pencil string lines exceeded the corner of the square. I liked it just like this.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Paradox, Tipple, Zonked, and Aura
Again, I overlapped two squares, but corner to corner. It reminded me of Cubine so I went with that for the larger square, looking through to Morse. Then I extended Morse out around the other square. It completely changed the Cubine effect.
Tangles: Cubine, Morse, Pearlz, Zonked plus Aura and Rounding
This one wanted to be left very, very simple.
Tangles: Beadlines, Pearlz, Seljuk
Finally, I traced the corner of a standard tile and a bijou tile and used that for the 'two squares' string. And I wanted to do twisted striping again. I used white pencil in a few places.
Tangles: Striping (and twisted Striping) and a Black Pearl.