Monday, May 30, 2011

Challenge #23 - Variation

OK, OK, so I didn't get my challenge for last week posted on time.  My bad.  But I'd like to offer something else, if I may.

As you may recall, the Challenge last week was to do a Particular String.  It looked something like this:

OK, well, Last Friday, I was showing my women's group about Zentangles.  They had lots of fun and I think a couple of them may have been hooked.  And we talked about the challenge.  I encouraged them to enter (which reminds me, I haven't checked to see if they did so.  Note to self:  Check the slide show for last week).

One person showed me something similar (but not the same) that she used to do in class.  She showed me step by step.   I found it intriguing and I decided to try it.

First step:  Do a string.   I used the string from last weeks challenge, the one posted above.

Step 2:  round the corners.

OK, that was easy.   So far I can handle this.

Step 3:  Add a few shapes in the spaces.

This was more difficult than I had imagined, partly because I knew what was coming next.  I limited myself to large, open shapes/tangles.  I used tuition as my guide as to where to put what.

Step 4: round the corners again.

Ah, now it is beginning to look like something (what, I don't know, but it seems to be getting there)

Repeat steps 3 and 4 as desired.

Step 5: put in finishing dodads, dots, swirls and whatevers.

I think I like it (Thanks, Whitney).  But I don't want to shade it.   I might think about adding color (it looks perfect for an adult coloring book).  If I do, I promise to post it here.

So anyway, that is my variation on a Challenge.  If any of you decide to try it, please let me know so I can see what you do with the directions.  Thanks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

     OK, here is my latest Mandala (I finally figured out how to get the picture from my camera to the computer.  Next up: editing).  It is about 8" by 8" and it is ready for hanging, or if you choose, it can be framed.  It is best if hung as a diamond (as shown), not a square. 

     Earlier I mentioned that Mandalas are used as an aid in Prayer, Meditation or Healing, and that it was used in many, many different cultures and religions.  I will be making Mandalas for all sorts of healingg reasons.

     This particular Mandala is for wise-decision-making.  It is made primarily of a board background with polymer clay and a few sparklies (which do not show up here at all).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


     This particular Zendala is one of my favorites.  For a while I was turning out Zendalas like crazy.  I think I finished up over 35 of them in less than a week.  
     To make a Zendala, I first draw a small set of concentric circles on a 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 tile, Then add guide lines.  This is done in pencil.  Then I take my trusty Micro Pen And draw in the design.  I do all ink work in freehand.  After it's done, I let it sit overnight to dry.  Then the next day, I erase the pencil lines.
     Next, I scan it into my computer and put the original away.  I print out a copy or two and color it in, usually with colored pencils.  Sometimes I then cut out the Zendala very carefully and place it on a colored background of some sort.  Sometimes I leave it in tile form.  Then I put it in my computer for posting purposes.

     However, this format is not new to me.  I did several Mandalas in Polymer clay.  I absolutely Love doing them in clay!  As I was working on a new clay Mandala,  two thoughts occurred to me.
      1) I would like to make personalized Mandalas for folks, mostly out of polymer clay.

     After all, Mandalas were originally a spiritual symbol, used as an aide in prayer or healing.  Many cultures and religions use them:  Hindu sand paintings, Christian Rose windows,  Navajo Sand paintings, to name but a few.  And for years I have studied the esoteric meaning of different colors.  So if someone wanted a Mandala for finding a job, for instance, I know what colors to use (orange for attraction, Green for money, etc.)  I would love to try that on my ArtFire account (Unfortunately, I will first have to figure out how to upload pictures and post there).

     2) I am involved in a women's group and they have loved my Zendalas.  I ran off a few tiles for them to color and they had a great time.  I'm thinking that perhaps some other folks might enjoy a small coloring book with 25 or so  tiles to color.

     Hopefully, tomorrow I will have a picture to show you of my latest PC mandala.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger down

Oh, My!  That was scary, Blogger being down for so long.    I checked it every time I thought of it, but no, just a sign, saying it wasn't there.  Seemed like days, maybe weeks even!

I was trying to think how I would find all of you again, since now what I do is to use the links on the side here to check your blogs.  How would I find The Challenge?  Would there even be one since I couldn't remember if she was on Blogger?

Then I began to feel paranoid.
 Was it just me?  Had I violated some secret code of conduct and I was being banned?   Had I lost the only means of contact with all my many new friends?
 What if it was only just me?  Did that mean that no one could see what I had posted last?  How could I contact folks to let them know that dropping the connection wasn't personal?   Was my artwork too racy?

I racked my brain, trying to think if I had offended someone recently that they may have reported me.  For what?  What could I have said, or done, or drawn, or posted that I would get blacklisted?

Then I began to feel the withdrawal.  No checking on what others were posting. .  No encouraging notes from y'all to goad me on to do more.  No leaving pithy notes of encouragment to any of you.   No new patterns from Molasses.  No new Zentangles to admire.  No new doodles to see.  Nothing to inspire me.

The ancient human cry of "Am I all alone?" ripped from my lips.  It scared the dogs.

Then Blogger came back on line and all was well.  (Whew!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Orange Waves

The picture above was an experiment with variegated threads  It's over 40 years old and I still love looking at it.  LOL

Anyway, good news.  If you take a look at the previous posting on Sat, May 7th (about 2 posts down), you will see my pen and ink drawing of the arches of Westminster Cathedral.  Well, I took it to my Bible class to show off (We do that a lot) and the minister saw it.  He loved it so much he wanted cards made of it.  So, translated into action, what that means is:  I SOLD SOME ARTWORK!!!

It feels good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aubrey Beardsly

Pen & Ink, approx 12" by 14"

Besides Tiffany, another of my favorite artists is Aubrey Beardsley (You'd think I liked Art Nouveau or something!).  I used one of his drawings as a model, then changed it a little to meet my needs for this drawing. 

 Once again, I have no idea what the deep, hidden meaning is for this piece, but I do know I like it.  Oh, and this is Black on White, not the other way around.  If I were smart, I would have started with black paper, but I never thought of it at the time.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cathedral Arches

Weekly Zentangle Challenge

     This week the challenge was to create a zentangle that had to refer to the royal wedding of last week.  Well, I didn't watch it so I had very little in the way of ideas. 

     'AHA!',  I thought, 'it took place at Westminster Cathedral.'.  So if I look up Westminster Cathedral, surely there would be something in the decorations that I could tangle.  So I looked it up on the internet and found a whole bunch of pictures -- I mean a lot!

     One picture caught my eye, so I decided to try that one.  It is a picture of the inside of the ceiling, with lots of arches.  It lent itself to all sorts of tangles.  Betweed works especially well.  I was a little disappointed in the marquetry in the ceiling.  I tried to make it more 3-dimensional, but the tangles I chose were too much alike.

     Oh, well.  I like it even if it didn't work out the way I had intended.    Here it is.

Cathedral Arches

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Vine-Tree

 Chalice and Trees.
 Needlepoint on 22 count canvas with pearle cotton.  Approx. 18" by 24" unframed

When I was around 8 years old, I had a dream.

In that dream I saw a large piece of paper and as I watched, it began painting itself with an abstract background of almost hot pink and almost lemon yellow.  The two colors were the same value, so it was a little difficult to tell them apart. 
After the backgound was finished, a vine started to grow in from the side.  The vine looked just like the Disney animations of a vine growing.  The vine was a dark purple-red-maroon.  It twisted and curled as it grew. 
Then it started to spread out leaves.  The top of the leaves was the same color as the vine, dark purple-red-maroon, but the underside of the leaves were a light blue-violet, almost pastel.  The vine grew and grew until everything was covered and you could only see the background in tiny openings between the leaves here and there.

Later, the vines became trees and the tree trunk changed color.

I have no idea what that dream meant.  I have no memory of what was going on in my life at that point.  But I do remember the dream, the colors were so vivid, and the movement was so smooth.  I have never been able to forget it.

In every medium I have ever worked with, I was drawn back to that dream, and to make a representation of it.   The picture above is the version I did in needlepoint.

A lot of my artwork is inspired by long-remembered dreams.  I wish I could claim that they are deep and meaningful, but if they are, it is beyond me. 

Book Art

Well, I don't have anything profound or funny to say today, nor do I have any art I can show you just now.

But I did find this.  I think it's wonderful and Now I have a whole new bunch of ideas.  I liked the planter the best, but the kindle holder comes in a very close second.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Small Zendala

I don't have anything to say just now, except that I am thinking about this week's zentangle challenge.  I thought i'd put this up anyway, just to have something to share.

Gosh, I do love colored pencils!

California Kudzu

Paulie Paul stalking the wild bag

As I lie here in bed, Paulie Paul is sleeping on my chest as I type, making breathing a little more difficult than it should be.    I am tired from the day.  I tried to work in the garden, you see, and it is a lost cause.

Now, I love a beautiful garden but I do not enjoy working in it.  So my garden is full of foxtails and jump-weed, and, of course, overgrown with California Kudzu.  Now, I don't think that is actually the name for this plant.  In fact I'm pretty sure it's not, but It acts so much like Kudzu that I cannot think of a better name.

The woman who owned this place before was at a friends house when she saw a beautiful, trailing, vine-like plant with lovely blue trumpet-like flowers.  Without telling her friend, she broke off a piece about a foot long and tucked it into her purse.  When she got home, she put the plant in water and later planted it in the back yard.

What she did not know was that this plant grows at an astounding rate, sometimes as much as a foot a day. And it likes to take over.  And so the plant, thinking it had permission to grow wildly, chose to do just that.  It grew.  And it grew.  And it grew some more.

Allow me to tell you about my home.  It is a mobile home, 16 by 45 feet.  It has a long covered porch on one side and a yard on three sides.   The yard is edged with a concrete block fence about six feet high.   It has a lovely Crape Myrtle and a bougainvillea, plus roses and peace lillys and assorted other flowers I don't know the name of.  They were all here when I moved in.

The kudzu was also here when I moved in.  A Lot of Kudzu.  It had grown from one side of the house to the other.  It had taken rooted under the mobile home and decided to say 'Hi;, by growing inside the house.  It found tiny not-seeable-with-the-human-eye cracks and grew sneakily.  It peeked out to me from the corner of the closet, It grew behind my big bookshelf.  It grew up in my kitchen cabinets.  Once it even grew up next to the dog bowls and started exploring the cans of cat food on the shelves.

When I moved in, you could not see the porch from outside, because the porch had a foot-deep curtain of Kudzu running the entire length of it.

Worst of all, it was killing all of the other plants.  The tree was almost buried in it, the bushes were dwarfed by it and the flowers on the ground never had a chance.

I had no choice: I declared war.  

Whenever I would find the kudzu, I would rip it out, ruthlessly -- totally without ruth!  I would growl at it.  I went outside and started ripping it up and after a while I had so much of it that I had to rake it into a pile, but it was not even a start at clearing out the plant.  I used poison (Which I HATE to do), I spent far too much money hiring a guy to take the Kudzu off my walls where it was more than a foot deep.  He worked for a solid two weeks and still he didn't finish getting rid of all of it (and he was a very good worker, too).  He took two truckloads of it to the dump and still had a huge pile of it in my yard.

I ran out of money to pay him so I asked a few friends to come and help clear it out.  A I remember, 7 people showed up.  We worked for a long, long time and got the kudzu off the porch and off the concrete walls, but it was still growing in the tree and on the bushes.  We put the kudzu in a pile so we could load it into more pick-up trucks to take to the dump.    Here is a picture of some of us with the Kudzu pile.  This picture was taken after two loads had already gone to the dump.

It was the best we could do.  We didn't get it all, but we did get all that we could reach.

All of this took place last year.   This spring, as soon as the weather allowed, the kudzu started a come-back.  So I am trying to clear it out before it gets away from me, before it finishes killing my trees and bushes.

I won't win.  I know that.  But I feel morally obligated to try and save the other plants.  They depend on me.  So today I went out and started pulling it up.  I make a small pile and uncovered two rose bushes.  It will grow back before I can tackle it again.  Sigh.

Anyway, I drew a picture of it with colored pencils some time ago. (The picture is below)  Actually, it is not the same as the drawing, but it is very close.  I liked drawing it, but I don't want to live with it.

If any of you would like some Kudzu, it's free.  It's pretty too, with lots of blue flowers.   Just come to my place and help yourself.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Straight-stitch Sampler

I believe this sampler is about 18 " by 30 ", unframed.  With the frame, I'm not sure how large it is.

Artwork from long ago

Just for the fun of it, I thought I might like to share some very old artwork with you. 

Many thousands of years ago, when I was married to my first husband, he didn't much like my doing artwork.  It was too messy.  It smelled (paints, you know).  And he just plain didn't like it. 

But I need to do art like I need air.  So I discovered Needlework (Thanks Kris!).  That was acceptable to him.  So, I did a lot of needlework, all my own design, of course (I can't follow someone else's design.  It's too much work and I don't feel like I did it). And most of it was pretty big, too.

I did finally leave him and had a much better experience with my second husband.  In any case, though, I found out that I love doing needlework.  I used to do just needlepoint on fine canvas. 

These days when I do needlework it is applique or embroidery, usually with a bit of mixed media. (Today it is a lot of hassle to do needlework, what with 7 cats helping at every move.  They love it but it tends to frustrate me.)

But I'm not showing you my recent work just now.  This piece is very last century.  It is counted cross-stitch on 22 count linen and is form of embroidery called "Blackwork"   The picture itself I drew from a picture in the front of an embroidery book.  Each and every one of the designs are ones that I found or created myself.  It is about 12 inches by 19 inches and is currently hanging in my living room.  It's a little zentangly -- maybe?  ( Zentangle fans: click on the picture once.  then click on it one more time for a closeup of the designs)

                                                                   Cat & Dishes

In the future I may share more of my older work.  Especially the textile work.  I have quite a bit of it and do not know what to do with it.  It's all framed and ready to be hung (well, most of it is anyway) but I ran out of relatives quite some time ago.  I'm thinking of putting it on my ArtFire account -- if I can ever figure out how to post another item.