Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I (Heart) Beets!

Happy Day-After-Valentine's Day! I hope yesterday was a good day for you. I had planned to post this on the 14th, but the day just got away from me. Better late than never?

Let me be clear: I absolutely detest the taste of beets! But I have found a new appreciation for this vegetable, and what it can do for me on Valentine's Day, or any day. So what does Valentine's Day have to do with this oh-so-ugly-on-the-outside root vegetable (that is somewhat heart-shaped, when you think about it)? I mean other than being perfect for puns--"My Heart Beets for You!" or "You Make My Heart Beet Faster!"

It's all about the color. I adore magenta. And I think that beets are such a lovely hue, I decided to give them a chance in the art studio, although I am not about to serve them at my dinner table. Earlier this year, I kinda, sorta tried. To serve beets. Last summer, Caroline wanted to try them, since she'd never had them before. So just for fun, I bought some huge ones and roasted them. Then she was afraid to try them. (I don't blame her!) Before I threw them out, I marveled at their rich color, and since our PTA was adopting a food theme for their membership campaign last fall, and I was trying to think of ways to incorporate food into the art curriculum, I thought I'd see what I could do with beets.

Here's what I discovered: beets are not good for dying fabric, as the color rinses out. BUT, beets do a great job of staining paper! You can cut beet slices into shapes and arrange them on paper...flower petal shapes, for instance, arranged radially. Push down on them and remove, and--voila!--you have a magenta "flower" print! You can also pick up a piece of beet and "draw" with it, though it might crumble and leave little beet bits to deal with. You can push your finger onto the surface of a beet slice and then create a finger print on your paper. You can paint with the juice from a can of beets.

Beets and beet juice work well with paper masks and stencils. So...without further ado, I introduce to you the one Valentine I have made so far this year--and it's all thanks to a can of beets and my handy-dandy Micro Mini taklon fan brush (from the set I mentioned a recent post).

Heart Beet, Zentangle-style! I cut a heart-shaped mask out of paper,
and then used the fan brush to apply beet juice from the edge of the
mask outward onto the tile...a reverse stencil.
It left a white heart defined in the center, which I was more than
happy to tangle!
Once I had a few beet-stained heart tiles, I threw them in a baggie to keep handy as I ran my errands yesterday. Not much time for tangling, with one exception: I created this at the hair salon as I was getting some highlights--a rare treat for me, as I only go for color once every 2 or 3 years! I was eager to add shading (to my design...and maybe some lowlights to my hair?!) but sadly I had not brought a pencil with me. I would've added them once I got home (shadows on the tile, not lowlights in my hair!), but I left the tile for my stylist. She deserved it for all the attention she gave me--getting color work freaks me out a bit, and I'm not never quite sure how to verbalize effectively what I want. She actually highlighted my hair, washed it, blew it out, and then graciusly did it all over again because I wasn't quite happy; it was too subtle, and I wanted to see a bigger difference. I was much happier with the second outcome. Thank you, Tonya!
So...did my husband notice my highlights? No.
My kids? No. But one of my dearest friends at work noticed right when she saw me today. Thank you, Erin!

Perhaps I'll have time to complete a few more Valentines. It's always a nice day for a Valentine, isn't it?!

Let me know if YOU do any beet-work! (Or what you think about mine.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Diamond Dance

So we are up to Weekly Challenge #58: Diamonds. This challenge honors The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.  The timing coincides with an annual benefit event: Penn State University’s Dance Marathon—aka THON —that has been going on since 1973 and has since raised over $78 million to fund innovative research and help cover medical expenses for children with cancer (so far helping over 2000 families!)
The Diva encourages us to incorporate the logo she provides, and also to use Diamond-esque tangles. Ooh-ooh--I know a diamond-esque tangle! A "grid based tangle of converging lines," as I described it....

As you may (or may not) recall, a few entries ago, I introduced what I thought might be a new tangle that showed up in my non-dominant hand tile from Challenge #56 (click here to see full blog entry). A few readers responded that they had never seen a tangle exactly like it. Here's the funny thing: shortly after I posted my tile for that challenge, I realized that this tangle is actually a quicker, simpler version of a tangle that I formalized last year with step-outs that I submitted to be published in a project that is still in the works. I'm not sure exactly when the tangle first appeared in my work, but it was early on. In fact, it's the tangle I used in the large group ZIA that we made at the CZT training seminar I attended in October 2010. I don't want to give it all away, but the name of that tangle is "Riveting."

I think this version needs its own identity. Yippee! A chance to play with words and letter combos! But oh-my-goodness, sometimes tangle names just come quickly out of the blue, and sometimes you have to labor over them. I labored over this one. I kept trying to come up with a clever combinaton of the words "converge" and diverge" because the lines in each section appear to converge to, or diverge away from, a single point. So the name that I came close to using is "Converdiverge." But that name was too long for such a simple tangle. Hence, I couldn't settle for that name.

Tonight, as I was putting the finishing touches on my ATC, I realized that I had to finalize a name so I could include it in my blog entry for the Diva's challenge. Since this is a simpler version of Riveting, I thought about calling it "Ting!" 

But that sounds kind of sparkly, and not quite right. Although diamonds sparkle...maybe I'm on the right track.

I thought about "'Ging," as in "converGING" and "diverGING," but the letter "G" is too round, and the sound of the "G" is too soft for such an angular tangle.  But "converging" and "diverging" also share the letter "V"...which is nice and angular. VING! 
Caroline approved.

It's interesting...Ving is like a geometric version of Sanibelle, which was our focal tangle last week. I used blue again this week because Penn State's color is blue, and the Diva showed us the diamond logo in blue. I thought I was using a royal blue Micron, but it turned out closer to turquoise than I anticipated. 

I am out of tangle-time for today...but I promise that by the end of this week I will post official step-outs (directions) for Ving. I am not posting Riveting yet...I am waiting to see if the project I submitted it to comes to fruition. 
Questions? Suggestions? Reactions? Write me a comment! I'd love to know your response to my post or my tangle.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snow and Sun and Sanibelle...and a Super Sale Alert!

Today has been an interesting mix: snow showers and sunshine! Both of them intermittently. Not enough snow to accumulate, but still pretty to watch it fall and flurry.

The Diva's non-dominant hand challenge (#57) has me wanting to extend beyond my creative comfort zone and push myself to experiment more. I am really wanting to add Sanibelle to my list of "comfort tangles" so I created another tile for this week's challenge...this time utilizing a selection from my grand art supply collection that I haven't used in years: my glass pens. They are elegant instruments that need to be dipped in ink like a quill or traditional calligraphy pen. The tip of a glass pen has swirled grooves that hold the ink. I scribbled out a practice page to re-aquaint myself with the pen, as I never really felt like I had any mastery with it. I think it is more a lovely, nostalgic novelty item than a fine art supply. In fact, the reason I remembered that I have glass pens is that I saw a glass pen in the Victoria Trading Company catalog. As soon as I saw it, I thought, "Oh yeah--I really ought to get out my glass pens and try tangling with them!"

Featuring Sanibelle, Fengle, and some paisleys.
So, here's my tile:

I completed all the tangles with glass pen and turquoise ink. I smeared it a bit, too, as I was working. Whoops! Don't give up; use more tangles to draw attention away from the smears! By the time I finished the line work, it looked way too busy. I wasn't loving it, so I was determined to salvage it with some shading.

I used 3 different watersoluable pencils: Albrecht D├╝rerWatercolour Pencils by Faber-Castell in Bluish-Turquise (8200-149) and Light Cobalt Turquoise (8200-154) and a Derwent Inktense in Sea Blue (1200). Then I went in with one of my tiny brushes to smooth it all out.

I'm not sure I am done shading Sanibelle; I may go in and rework it. I love my tiny brushes; I can spread ink and watercolor with such precision! I've just got to let you know about these brushes! Which brings me to the Super Sale Alert....

I purchased this wonderful brush set on sale over the holidays at Jerry's is a set of micro-mini taklon brushes that are perfect for enhancing Zentangle designs! I just checked the website to see where I could send you to get your own set, if you are interested, and discovered that the sale price is still in effect. I might have to go back and buy a few more sets before the sale ends (aaack! tomorrow!) because when they are not on sale, they are rather pricey. Jerry's everyday discount price is $29.99, but this sale features them for $18.99--which is 73% off the retail price of $69.95!

If you're interested, act fast! The sale ends TOMORROW (Sunday, February 12).

Also, here are my glass pens, if you're curious. I think I bought one set at a paper store on Hilton Head Island (South Carolina) and probably the other at a paper store in Fredericksburg, Virginia, but it was years ago. Or maybe I bought one of the sets in Occoquan, Virginia...I have a hazy recollection that makes me think that's also possible. I know it was a long time ago if I don't remember--I usually recall clearly where I obtain distinctive items for my grand art supply collection!

If you are seeking a hand-blown glass pen of your own, here's a link to the one offered by the Victorian Trading Comany.

And while you're there, check out the items from Miss Ellie Mathias Designs. My talented sister-in-law is Miss Ellie, herself!

Well, that's it for this post! Thank you for sticking with me if you made it this far!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sanibelle from Amy-'chele

First, I'd like to thank everyone who posted a comment on last week's entry (the infamous Non-Dominant Hand Challenge!) or took the time to check out Caroline's Moebius tangle and leave a note for her. It really is so exciting to get feedback! Keep those comments coming, if you see or read something you like on my blog. :-)

Next, I have to share some FANTASTIC news: Laura Harms, aka THE Diva of "I am the Diva--Certified Zentangle Teacher"  fame has had her blog officially recognized as the #1 Most Fascinating Blog of 2011 in the Teaching Blog category.

YAY, Laura! Of course  this honor should be yours...who else even comes close to having such a rockin' blog that draws people in from around the globe so we can all learn from each other?! How I admire and appreciate you for what you have done.

HONK if you are here reading Tanglefish because of a link on the Diva's website!

And speaking of the Diva, this week's challenge (#57) is the first of the "Use My Tangle!!" (UMT) challenges. The first week of each month a random number generator will select a reader's tangle (submitted to an official "Use My Tangle!!" list) to be the featured tangle. This week: Sanibelle by Tricia Faraone, CZT (

Prior to last week, I had never used Sanibelle. I think it's a beautiful tangle, and I absolutely love it in other people's Zentangle designs. But I was afraid that I wouldn't do it justice, so it was one of those tangles that I looked forward to practicing before I really used it. Last week, I tried it in one of my Tangle-A-Day Calendar squares, but I did not have the official directions handy, and it didn't quite turn out as well as I'd hoped. So when the Diva announced that this week's challenge was to incorporate Sanibelle, I was excited to have a reason to focus on it in my own work and a venue to see Sanibelle featured in tiles by so many other tanglers.

Featured tangles: Inapod, Chainging, Tipple, and Sanibelle.
Here's my first entry for this challenge:

Before I began, I listed all the tangles that I feel have an oceanic "vibe." I quickly came up with almost thirty! I figured any of them would work well with Sanibelle, so I chose just a few.

Inapod is a tangle by Carole Ohl. It is featured in an illustration in her Tangle-A-Day Calendar right next to the square in which I drew my first attempt of Sanibelle, so it's no coincidence that I associate those two tangles with each other. This is the first time I have used Inapod.

Punzel and Tipple are official Zentangle tangles.

For all of the line work I used an old 01 Micron that produces an ultra-thin line now. For filling in the Punzel negative spaces, I employed my new 04 Pigma Sensei. All of the shading was done with my gold-capped Zentangle® special pencil.

About my title, Sanibelle from Amy-'chele: my middle name is Michele. One of my mom's pet names for me is Amy-'chele, or Amy-shell. Or A-Michele. It all works! And I've always loved that my nickname reminds me of seashells, a natural form that has always inspired and delighted me throughout my life.