Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vote for Me Me ME!

I finished my entries for the Munny Munth contest and after trying to upload photos using FOUR different browsers - I succeeded! And just in time - the deadline is tomorrow. Phew! So now I need all of you folks to go and vote for my Munnys!! And don't look around because there are a ton of other amazing creations, but mine is covered with tangles so it's the best! Hee hee. Just kidding. You can vote for someone else's creature and I promise I won't hold it against you. Really. Go vote... right now.... I'm waiting!

OK, you're back. The picture crops off parts so I'll post the full pics here. It's a Superhero Family: Meg is mega at 20" or so, Minnie is mini at 7" and BooBoo is mini-mini. They all have "Squid" on their heads.


I love Meg's butt-crack and tattoo. Minnie wanted a tattoo, but she's too young, so she got a cape instead. Accessorize, baby!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"My life is a dark, darkroom" with Clowns!

I have been cleaning up and re-organizing my studio these past few weeks. It's the only way to get at all those dust bunnies, but it also gives me the opportunity to rediscover forgotten (lost?) projects, and to remove the stuff that is no longer useful. While shuffling junk around, I unearthed a painting I did in art school (20 years ago!) It is actually my most-favorit-est oil painting I have ever done. I have been painting since I was a little kid. My grandmother was an artist and she'd make us paint still lifes of flowers. I loved my grandmother, and I love making art, but I hate oil painting and I hate still lifes! The irony of this painting that I "found" is that it is actually done on the BACK of a stretched canvas with, guess what? - a still life on the front. It's a still life of shapes with part of a still life/model on top of that. We tended to re-use canvases a lot. Not just because they were expensive, but because we had to stretch them ourselves and we were lazy! So, this clown face is on the back of a recycled canvas. I must not have expected to like it or want to keep it. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't for an assignment - those were done on the fronts.

What I am posting here is a photograph of a painting I did of a black and white photo that I took of a girl whose face I painted! Got it?

Click the image to see it larger
 In what seems like another life... I had a business, as a teenager, painting faces at local arts and crafts festivals. I also was studying Black and White photography and the Zone System with David Marr. We'd spend days making test strips to get the perfect whites and blacks and grays. I have some very "pretty" photos from those days. Needless to say, I rebelled. I set up my own darkroom at home and stopped timing anything! I would just "wing it". And that's the stuff that got into gallery shows, stolen from gallery shows(!) and even sold. I even did a series of photos exposed from microscope slides of gallbladders. They looked like faces. I know, can you believe it? And I sold one to Kodak! That's another story...

This was before Photoshop. I loved the magic of watching the images appear from a blank piece of paper. I felt like a wizard... powerful. But, I hated sitting in the dark for days on end. And complete darkness (to develop the film) did yucky things with my depression-troll. When I dropped out of SVA, I gave up photography.

Meanwhile, back in my half-clean studio...
I decided to put the clown picture up near my computer, but the raw, ragged canvas edges looked really bad. Distracting. So I trimmed them the best I could and painted them black! What a difference, eh?

Now I stare at her face while I am thinking and I look into her eyes. I am amazed at how much depth there is there. I love the details. What floors me is that I painted this way in my teens. I loved to take photos so I could paint and draw from them. And yet, I studied photography, then illustration in art school... and it took me another 15 years to UN-LEARN all the crap from school... so I could start painting this way again!

I finally did something with the original photograph - I made some postcards. So if you love this image as much as I do, you can get some cards for yourself at my Etsy shop. I hope to post some more in the near future too. I'd love to know what you think!

PS Title comes from the movie "Beetlejuice"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Guest Tangler - Carole Ohl

I've been exchanging emails with Carole Ohl who is working on a Zentangle for a mural above a piano  (we need to see pictures when it's done!) My fee for all my free advice was that she send me some pictures to post here on the blog. Don't you LOVE it when someone describes themselves in a way that makes it seem like they are a newbie... and then WHAM! ... you see their art and are blown away!

Here's what Carole says about these two pieces:

"Attached is a Zentangle-inspired piece i did. it is actually 22x30". I had so much fun doing this, and it was my first attempt at adding color. (Editor's Note: uh-wha!!?) I used watercolor and Inktense pencils. Because I was intimidated by the idea of color. I decided to approach the color the same way I approach a Zentangle: one step at a time, and it was great fun that way. This one is now framed and in a gallery.


I've also attached a group Zentangle (black and white) that is also 22x30". The string was drawn by me, and shaded by me, but the tangles were made over a period of a couple of months by about six different people. It was donated to a local non-profit."

Carole is a new CZT, too - take a look at her blog, Open Seed Arts for some really lovely new Tangles! I particularly love "Inapod".


As a an aside, Carole mentions Inktense pencils, which are made by Derwent. I've bought gazillions from Dick Blick, and here's a link to the pencils on Amazon, too. These are watercolor pencils and yet, they are something MORE! As the name implies, the colors get really rich and intense when water is applied to them. But the magic is that they are "ink". So when completely dry - the colors are permanent. That means, You can wash yellow over a dried blue... and they don't blend! Since the yellow is transparent, you will have green where the colors overlap, but the yellow will not pick up the blue and smear it. This can be really useful.   It can also be frustrating, if you don't work quickly - you can't re-activate the dried colors to do additional blending. If you have never tried them... DO! The colors are so freaking gorgeous. BUT - my advice (if you are OC like me!) is to make a swatch chart of each of your pencils (dry to wet), cut out the swatches and tape to the tops of your pencils. The colored end of the pencil is not very accurate. I just made a very quick scan of a few of my pencils so you can see how different the colors are (and how intense!)
Derwent Inktense Pencil- Teal Green

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Julie Walker, Tangled



I received an email from Julie Walker, a beader, who owns a shop in Ohio called The Bead Cage. She has recently become addicted to Zentangle ("Welcome, Julie!") thanks to Carole Ohl and Peg Farmer.

She writes: "You know how things just call to you when your supposed to do something with it! I began making greeting cards with Bible verses on them and animals...
I wanted to do something that no one else is doing so, I began "tangling" picture matte frames. I did one in the silver foil by using an empty pencil and  the others are just tangles! I am having way too much fun and it is difficult when I do have free time to choose between my love of beads and  my love of tangling! So, thanks for sharing! This truly has changed my life and helped me be less critical about my work.... I love the bead tangle thing too! Beads are my passion but tangling is coming right up there with my beads!!!"

Julie's animals are a great example of using color with Zentangle. The color compliments the patterns and doesn't overshadow. They are also a great example of the inspiration that can be found through poetry or, my favorite, song lyrics. NICE! What else are you guys working on?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three baby birds, Two freaked cats, and a Partridge on my front stoop

Animal attraction? I came home one day to find this strange creature on my door stoop. My mother-in-law did some research and said it is a partridge. I think it is one strange bird. It just stood there. With my husband gardening nearby. With kids running past. Me taking photos. It's like it was posing. It showed up a few days later standing right behind my car. It didn't want to move. If I wasn't pretty sure they were extinct, I would have guessed it was a mutant form of DoDo Bird.


 In the carport, we have a new family of birds. The mom chose the motion-sensor light to build her house on. Right next to the door. For the past few months, every time I drove into the carport, the bird would fly off in fright... and trigger the light. Very convenient for me, but the flap of wings near my head would make my heart race! Now, with the babies, she sits on the junk at the back of the carport and sings, or maybe she's tweeting to her homies about her new brood and updating her Birdies'R'Us wishlists! The babies look pretty snug for now - reminding me how moms are so good at getting their families to fit whatever space they are provided. And everyday, when I step outside, I pray that I won't find the nest (or any babies) on the ground under the light. Urck.

And lastly, there's my cat Lilo. After Rum Tum passed away last fall, we had been trying out new kittens. That failed miserably when my favorite of the cats pooped all over my bed. Urck!

So we decided to convert to a one cat family and Lilo (LiloBean JellyBean) found new confidence and a sense of serenity she had never experienced while under the dominion of RumTum Teazer. She relaxed and blossomed. Until Sunday, when her nightmares returned... supa'sized!

I posted a while back, the memorials I made to RumTum after she died. One was a little shrine type thing, the other was a larger-than-life cathead-shaped wooden cut-out of her face. On Sunday, I finally got around to mounting it on the mudroom wall above a little pass-thru window. I went back to organizing my new sewing room. My husband came in and asked if I'd seen Lilo's response to it. The poor thing was crouched on the floor hissing with a tail that was almost as puffy as her body! RumTum was BACK! And she was HUGE! I kept patting the painting and saying "It's not real" until her tail finally depuffed. As you can see from the photo (depuffed) - she still does not trust the painting! I have other big paintings of cat faces all over the house, but this is the only one that bothers her!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Killer Tangles (of the Week)?

A few posts back I promised to post my sketchbook pages of Japanese kimono patterns that couldn't be tangled.

Well, maybe "haven't" is a better word. I had many pages of Japanese designs in my sketchbook - almost all were converted into Tangles for the book, including the two shown here in the center of the page. These became "Flutter" and "Treasure".

But the  left and right ones... well... I gave up for the time being. If you follow the pencil lines down, you can see the progression, or steps, needed to draw the patterns. And THAT is what stopped me (or stumped me?). You have to DRAW them. I could not come up with a way to tangle them without pencil lines and without having extra useless guidelines showing through. After drawing about 100 tangles for THE BOOK, I came to the conclusion (or rule of thumb) that a Tangle is a pattern that can be drawn in 6 (or so) steps or less and does not need pencil guidelines (although the occasional penciled grid can be a lifesaver).

I intend to go back and play with these some more - now that I have a fresher eye. Just looking at the left one (which looks like rows of panties to me!) - I'm thinking maybe draw each individual unit, around in a circle... curve in...curve out... curve in...curve out... curve in...curve out, then start the next unit (panty?) Hmm, could work. We could call it "Killa' Panties". The one on the right baffles me though. But there might be a way to simplify it....? This one makes my brain ache trying to look at in a different way. Ouch. I think we will call it "Migraine".
Any ideas? I love these visual puzzles!!

What's Inside?

Totally TangledI have had a bunch of emails from the more timid tanglers asking "What's inside?" of the Totally Tangled book. The photos on this blog and on my Etsy site have only shown the cover and a few of the information-y pages and these potential addicts want to see what an actual instructional page looks like. So I took a few quick shots of some random pages. I hope these pages will pique your interest and also whet your appetite to see more. you will all be so overcome with the desire to possess this book you will head right over to my Etsy shop and buy one... right now.... click here... yes, you....
(or you could get  Totally Tangled on Amazon if you prefer!)

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