Saturday, December 5, 2015

To the TREES!!

Just a quick posting, after so many months, in response to Dilip's guest post this week at I am the Diva. His challenge this week was to monotangle a tree or two in support of reforestation and restoration of the environment. I love this idea and have always had a special attachment to trees in my surroundings so I could not pass it up. There are many practical uses for trees of course and many reasons they are great to have around, but I think I am mentally healthier with them around as well. I remember how important they were to me on a day many years ago when I first learned of the death of a very close loved one. As soon as I could manage it I felt I needed to go for a walk in the woods near my house to be alone with the trees and try to process the loss.  I needed their silent, solid presence to hold down a world that very much felt like it was tumbling out of control.

So, despite it being the busy end of semester time with grading fatigue and a sore wrist from too much writing and typing, I iced my wrist a bit and got out the drawing materials... Had to dust them off even!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Betweed is My Favorite!!

I have had only a little time this week but I love, love, love Betweed so I had to do one piece! I did listen to the first meditation, but I was so tired I ended up falling asleep.  So here is my entry for this weeks guest Diva challenge, one little sad entry...

I must go back to grading and I think I might just go to bed early tonight so I am ready for my meeting all day tomorrow - yes, on a Saturday. Totally unfair!(don't feel too bad, I will have lots of opportunity to doodle which is almost as good as really being able to concentrate on drawing)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Undulating challenge.

How could I NOT take the opportunity to do a challenge in which we were to use 'undulating' patterns? It is such an enticing word! and I love tangles like that SO much. Especially Meringue, which is a big-time favorite of mine. So, instead of what I should do (I am the worlds best procrastinator!), I sat down with a few delicious blue scraps of card stock and set to work. This is what came out the other end of the pen (and blue and green and white colored pencils).

Free form version of Meringue

a more grid like version which kind of began with Cadent

I also decided to go ahead and make the alterations to the second zendalla from last week's challenge entry because the more I looked at it the more it was clear it could be enhanced. So, if you are curious, I added the altered version to that post. Head on over using the link and check it out.

Now I really suppose I should go do what I am supposed to be doing... or maybe I can get distracted by something else along the way... like my pillow!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Run-by posting; teacher style

Week two of school down. One student in this house is getting settled into his new school (he is a teenager so I don't get much from him one way or another), one is ecstatic about his new school situation (6th grade accelerated classes and all that comes with it - I think he is happy to shed the restrictions and dullness of elementary school) and the youngest seems to be happy at school, but also seems to be sick with something... great, the elementary germ parade begins. At least she is happy laying around reading her new Kindle (birthday gift) and if she gets tired of that there is the huge stack of books she checked out from the library with her very own library card yesterday.

We spent last night eating dinner and watching a movie as a family and that meant drawing time for me. So I pulled out the Zendala template for the Diva guest challenge this week - Erin and her Zendalas... how their regular appearance has been missed while she studies away for her nursing degree! Here my interpretations are...

This one did not work out as planned, but with some alteration it is growing on me. In a month I might actually like it. 

This one feels about how I wanted, I might thicken some of the flower petal lines in places to give it a bit more drama.

Edited: this is the altered version:
Earlier this week I worked on a small piece to replace the one I ruined last week that was supposed to go on the front of a card. It is done on brown paper and I am always surprised at how dramatic a change is affected by adding the white to those. I scanned it before and then after to capture the change.

That is about all the time I have. There is, of course, grading to be done, laundry... all the usual. See you next time.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Over the summer, part 1

Greetings fellow surfers (of the net, not the ocean - I'd fall off the board for sure!). Summer has come and gone and we are back to school here in the southeast. Barbaric I know, but I will be bragging about getting out in May next spring.

I was away from the computer for about a month this summer and did a bunch of drawing on non-flat things that I will post about later. I had a moment to dig out my desk and scan a few flat things this morning. I spent some time late in July browsing over at "A Little Lime", Helen Williams' blog and found a pattern that she does that really captured my attention and has not yet let go. It is a combination of Olb and Abundies. I am still in the 'copy it' phase and have not gotten all the way into the 'make it my own' phase with this pattern yet. I have done these a little differently, but mostly in Helen's style - which is not a bad thing - she is one of my favorite artists!

I like the color on this one
I think they qualify for Cari Sultanic's guest challenge to be "organic" a few weeks ago over at I am the Diva, but I did not have time to post them then. I also have one further down the page that I did in response to the color challenge posed by Jen Crutchfield earlier in July. I am such a blue/green person I wanted to avoid those choices so I went with a really challenging color for me, ORANGE.

spilled baked chicken juice on this one! Shoot!
I will try to snap photos of my new drawing box and the set of four coffee cups I made this summer and post them to and maybe get back to regular drawing again. I may even have some sewing to post about once a month since I am trying to have a night out once a month to go sew with some friends. That would be getting back to the roots of this blog finally! See you soon!

the un-entered Color Challenge

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Use My Tangle challenge during a challenging week.

We have had some challenges this week totally unrelated to Zentangle, but having Zentangle to occupy spare minutes and let my mind take a break has been really good. The tangle for this week, All Boxed Up has many charming variations... I am not done experimenting with it yet, but these are the first two

Forgive the huge format and fuzzy photo, I am posting from an iPad (which does not always have a friendly relationship with anything Google, like Blogger) and I am no where near my scanner so fuzzy photos will have to do. The two similar sections of this next one are inspired by an absolutely mesmerizing pattern in the elevators where we are right now. I will try to add a photo of it later. This does not do it justice, believe me.

I will have some time on my hands so I may post a little more of what I have been doing if this process is no too painful. See you soon.

So this is me, trying again later since the pics did not post the first time. I went home and grabbed a different computer so more posting will certainly happen this week. Long story short, my son somehow acquired a Staph A. infection in his bloodstream that then set up shop in a couple of places in his leg bones, one of which required surgery to clean out. So we have been at the hospital a full week so far, four days of that in the ICU, with at least several more days to go on IV antibiotics. We are hoping for no more staph in the blood, keep your fingers crossed! I will post a picture of the name plate I made for his door sometime this week. Later!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Caution, curves ahead, or not!

WooHoo! School is OUT and post-planning is done (although there is always more that could be done to prep for next fall... sigh) and now I have about 10 days to clean everything that hasn't been cleaned in, well, lets just say a while and leave it at that...then we have plans! I also have 6 months worth of errands and doctor's appointments and things that are too hard to do when you are stuck in a classroom all the time. Whew! I am going to go to a friend's house on Friday to sew for a while, so that will be fun.

This week's Zentangle challenge was to use ONLY straight lines with no curves. Tough. I am all about the curvy patterns. SO this is what I came up with (thanks to LonettA for the inspiration for the white 'wash' with a black pattern on the black tile - her challenge tile from last week is awesome!).

I like that the white highlights on the Paradox make interconnecting curves... even inside a pattern that is all lines! Ha, I snuck some curves in, anyway!

I got a little creative with the Footlights pattern and squared off the parts that are usually round. The woven pattern was a make-it-up-as-you-go-along, the rest are familiar old friends. 

This one was just for fun and to let my fingers do a little curving after all those lines. Ahh! That's better! See you next week!

Friday, May 22, 2015

White on Black and other color adventures

Greetings from the sunny side of the end of the spring semester! School is out for the kids and I have only two more days of post-planning before MY summer begins... I survived the first year of teaching! And most importantly so did my family, and all of my students (some of them just barely!). A few of my students will be, shall we say, revisiting physics again sometime before graduation, but it was largely of their own doing - or NOT doing as the case may be. I did my best by them and just like in many other aspects of life, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

So this week's Zentangle challenge was to use white on black or tangle on something unusual...

I happened to have some black card stock and I have been getting really comfortable with my white gel pen lately doing drawings on brown paper, so I went for the white on black. I actually used a pencil to shade the white shapes a bit, and a white pencil to do some 'shadowing' as well. I chose tangles that began with A (Arc Flower), B (Beadlines), C (Chemistry), D (Drupe) and F (Frickle)  as I was in the middle issuing grades and it seemed appropriate to get all those letter together for a little party.

I received a very nice visit today from a parent of a student that I spent some time with this semester coaching through some rough patches with the material. She expressed her gratitude for my attentions and told me that I had made a difference in his attitude and enthusiasm and confidence in himself. I was so glad that she shared that with me. I have had perhaps more than my fair share of really wonderful teachers in my time and thinking that maybe someday I could be that teacher for some student was an inspiring thought as I have gone through the process of becoming a teacher. Her contention that I have had such a positive effect on this student as a first year teacher is more than I could hope for.

I wrote a couple of teacher thank you notes for my own children's teachers this week. As a way to make them special I included these little pieces on the front of each card. I am really liking drawing on the brown paper. I need to find some that color that is a little better quality than the kraft colored  card stock I am using. It is a little coarse and soaks up the ink a little more than I would like which slows down the strokes and makes them wider than I would like in places where I pause.

I have another exciting thing to share... I received in the mail today my copy of the Cloth Paper Scissors Zendoodle Workshop Summer 2015 magazine to which I contributed two technique articles. There are some really wonderful things in this magazine and I had a great time paging through it for the first time.

I also heard from the publisher of the book I was in last year that they have taken some of that artwork and put together an adult 'coloring book' that will come out in June. That should be interesting, not exactly how I intended that art to be used, but if it gives someone some pleasant, creative time then I am happy with it. I haven't seen it anywhere but on-line yet and it will be a few days before it is available I think.

Friday, May 15, 2015

I'm just glad I'm still standing...

Nothing really inspiring this week. I actually did my first trial of this week's Duo-Tangle challenge much earlier in the week before the tidal wave of papers and projects snuck up behind me and broke over my head. I haven't come up for air since then, even to post, much less to draw anything else. So here it is... my Dex/Bunzo duoTangle - and a VERY happy birthday to Laura!

My six year old daughter watched me drawing this one and asked me to show her how to draw Dex. So we did a little lesson and I helped her with the skeleton grid and she did pretty well...                 Then she wanted to do a few more so we started a piece together. Sadly she got a little frustrated and didn't finish because hers "doesn't look like yours!" - of course I keep telling her that is OK! Maybe she will try again soon and I will help her get things set up a little better next time so she feels more successful.                                       So, if I survive the last week of school I may see you again next week. First I need to make it through 28 Literature Review papers written by sophomores who were mentally 'done' with school a few days before they wrote these papers. **sigh**

My version of our learning project

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I see Jellyfish!! And the instructions for a new pattern!

Good to be back after a few weeks hiatus! It is getting crazy here at the end of the school year. I usually ended up running pretty ragged before I was working just keeping up with the schedules of the three kids and all that happens at the end of the year. With a job that is also on the same schedule it is even nuttier!

However, I have a step-out to share and i just had to share my interpretation of the UMT "Brella" challenge from Laura Harms this week. Sadly, I had no Star Wars inspiration (since it was presented on May the 4th (be with you) day), unless "starfish" is close enough. I immediately saw the 'jellyfish' possibilities in Brella...

I also see an old quilting pattern called "Hidden Wells" in its overlapping lines if the "tops" are not all pointed in the same direction. This is the second piece with Brella done the 'standard way'.

Now if you turn all those tops so that groups of four are all pointing at the same corner you would get a pattern like this...

Do you see the resemblance? It is a really fun pattern made out of sets of strips and if you can avoid the bias stretch on the diagonal cuts you are golden.

A few weeks ago I posted a few examples of a pattern I called 'Cobbles'. I finally got around to drawing out the steps and here they are.

Let me know what you think of the new pattern... is it a 'tangle' or just a pattern? 

Have a great week!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Strange Shapes...

This week's challenge to use odd traced shapes as a string was, well, challenging!  I had a few trials and it turned out that I liked the first and last ones the best. I did have a tough time finding things that were more interesting than circles to trace, but then circles can be pretty nice too!

This string was two tracings of a star shaped pin/button and one of a lip balm tin. The tangles are Phicops and Pepper with a pattern I am calling "Cobbles" in the background. For more on that check out the post from last week where I also used it.

The last one was tacings of a few leftover and recently empty Easter eggs. This one was fun! The piece ended up being rotated upside down, but I like the fact that the original string is both visible in some spots and not really evident in others. I also like the negative space in this one.

Must run, have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A late Fanz entry

Well, I was on vacation all week with the family so I had sporadic hotel wifi access and managed to peek at the Diva UMT Challenge . After walking ALL day and seeing every possible sight about the only thing you can do in the evening is sit with your feet up and draw! So here are my poor attempts to use Fanz. I like some of the other versions I have seen perusing the entries better - but, these are what got put down on the paper...

I like the pattern in the upper half of this tile - it is a vacation inspired one done in a little different way. The last time we were in DC I saw the cobble stone streets and walkways, especially near the art museum and came up with a pattern inspired by that. This trip it came back to mind and I tried it out again. I like it, I think it should be called Cobbles if there isn't already one like it. I have done it up in its original conformation in the dark tile below and this is a link to the first time I posted it

This is the second tile with Fanz. It has been forever since I used Gloven and the river pattern was brought to mind by looking at old maps from colonial times where the rivers are surrounded by contours like the graduated auras. I also used a blending stump for this shading because it was pretty rough since I was doing it in the car... blend it a little and you can't tell!

 This one was done at the end of last week when I still had Flux on my mind.

Finally, this one came about from seeing all the spring blooming flowers in DC (yes the Cherry Blossoms as well as others) and seeing those cobble stones again. I really like this darker paper and the look of the white highlights it allows. So what do you think, is that Cobbles pattern like anything you have seen before? Should I step-it-out? 

Till next week, have a great one!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

An unheard of mid-week post...

Whoa!! Wait, what? Its Wednesday and I am already posting a challenge?? Crazy!

Really I just love Flux and have used it in many forms over the years. I have a little extra step that I do when I do it Maria-style that helps me to keep it evenly spaced, but otherwise its pretty much the same. I tried thickening the lines in places in the first piece to see what that was like and ended up not really liking the effect. I haven't given up on it yet, but  this certainly isn't the answer. Anyway, here they are.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Springy Saturday

Another week, another week closer to spring break! I must be thinking of traveling to warm and sandy places, not that I will be but because the Spiral Challenge this week kept resulting in pieces that looked like shells!

I like the off centered-ness of this spiral. I actually did not intend to make that first section have horizontal lines, but I was drawing while waiting for all the kids to get their hair cut and got distracted... no mistakes, right?

This was an attempt to break out of 'spiral snail shell' mode by doing more than one... the drawing had other ideas. I must remember that changing the thickness of lines is so effective - I am sure it could be used with great effect with lots of  patterns.

This was a very uninspired one, very plain and not terribly imaginative but it has its simple appeal.

Then last week I got to looking at Challenge posts and ran across the one at Margaret Bremmer's blog, The Enthusiastic Artist and LOVED Sam Taylor's Narwal tangle she was trying out. So I went and watched the video and played with it some on Saturday. I added some to the bottom left corner of my art box. I have been slowing decorating it over the last few years and the bottom is the last surface left. I really like how it came out with the very dark black and the very light highlights of white it really leaps off the surface. I highly recommend Sam's videos, there are some really great tangle patterns there that I had not seen before.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring Green challenge!

I was very excited to read that the Challenge for this week was to "green up" your tangles... I had spent a little time last weekend making myself some color wash water-color tiles with some new paper squares and I had one that was all greens with a little brown. Then I couldn't find the silly things to save my life. Then the week got really busy with grading and things and here it is Friday night before I get to sit long enough to make something to meet the challenge. Spring and green always make me thing of ferns, and the fiddle heads that come up in the spring. Frickle has alwasy reminded me of those so I started with it. After a few green patterns I just had to put some other color in there as well!

Of course as soon as I was finished and went to the scanner to scan it in I found the original colored tiles... so now I guess I can play with those too - if I don't misplace them first! I also finished a piece this week that I have been working on one section, and sometimes part of a section at a time for many days. No green, but I like it anyway!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Poke Root Challenge

Here is my entry for this week's Diva Challenge and, I am here to testify that Poke Root IS a challenge! I always have 'neat and orderly' angst with tangles that are super free form like Poke Root and Bridgen. Somehow Mooka has a flow to it as does Squid and a few others and I have never found the 'flow' to Poke Root - maybe I just haven't done it enough. Of course I love Cubine and really enjoyed looking back at the original tutorial for it on Margaret Bremner's blog - such loveliness and great ideas! I tried a triangle version of it here in the corners and set up the square grid in the middle just in pencil. Then I went back and finished the Cubine when my Poke Root 'mushrooms' had sprouted and grown as much as I wanted. Who has good advice for filling in large black areas with out the strokes showing? Obviously I had a little problem with that on this one, even after going over the areas a second time they show up.

Have a great week! I have, as usual lots of grading and I suppose, in the interest of feeding my family this week I should make it to the grocery store today. I also have to direct the finishing stages of a 1st grade science project before Monday!

Friday, March 6, 2015

UMT Challenge for March

Things have been pretty tight this week and I am super behind in all things physics, but my artwork and the articles are done for the magazine (and sent out today!). So sometime this summer I will have to share the excitement of the special edition magazine with my articles in it coming out. I capped off the week with a relaxing Friday night trying out Unbatz a cute little pattern by Sandy Hunter for the Diva Challenge. Tomorrow it will be up early, an online meeting and lots of grading, writing out solution sets, configuring a test, and planning the next two units for two different classes! I am tired already.

One 'traditional' rendition (right), and an echo-y one of my own device (left).

Have a great week!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Carving out some time.

Greetings out there in the world! I feel like I have had no contact outside my classroom and the adjacent classrooms (except the occasional parent communication) in months!

I read the Diva Challenge for this week which encourages us to try new tools or techniques and thought "Hey, this is just what I needed this week!". My interpretation includes different paper and a situation that I have not tried drawing in before and I will admit that the two entries I have in this post for that Challenge were done prior to reading the challenge but they are no less relevant because of it.

So the first one is an exploration of both a different drawing tool and a different drawing paper. I usually draw on white card stock or pale cream mixed media paper. Last week had a chance to go get a new supply of paper in light of a new project I will tell you about in a minute and branched out into a darker paper. I was drawn to the "craft" paper color - sort of like a paper grocery sack - just for its gentle variation and not-so-serious black color. I fingered the dark coffee and latte colors, but in the end they were too smooth and perfect and I went with the craft color. Using this color I was able to try out the white pencil and white gel pen that I don't ever get to use when I am drawing on white. I put it all together this weekend and this is the result.

The second one was done about a week ago and involved a less than ideal drawing situation and familiar materials and tools.  In general I have very little time for drawing these days so it must be squeezed in. The other week a few other teachers and I were taking a couple of bus-loads of sophomore's in a field trip. I had about 30 minutes on the way there and 30 minutes on the way back to occupy since I was not driving and the students are pretty self sufficient. The situation was not really conducive to anything 'productive' like grading papers or planning lessons and, I thought at first, not really conducive to drawing either. The bouncing and swaying of the bus on the highway was seriously messing with my obession with smooth, straight lines. I do like to have 'control' (or at least the illusion of control!). I decided that you can't always control your circumstances and it is up to you to make the best of what you have so I pulled out the pen and the card stock scraps I take along in my bag and tried to make the best of a bouncy situation. This was the peice from the trip back. I had seen an interesting modern painting with the spiral motif as the "sky" texture on our trip and wanted to try it out. I kind of like the wiggle in the lines on Footlights.  I think it would be hard to get them to wiggle so regularly 'on purpose'!

That project I mentioned above, by the way, involves writing a couple of articles for a special edition of a magazine that is due out this spring. I decided to try to create a new piece for each article and flesh it out with with some of my more recent, but already finished ones (and it may or may not be because I don't know where all of the older stuff is!). That was the reason for buying some nice new paper - but then, do we really need a reason to buy new supplies? I have been happily draing on card stock scraps for months, and giving them away as book marks, but a magazine submission deserves better paper - if only so I don't have to write in the article that I use plain old card stock!

Until next time (don't anyone hold your breath - I have 55 tests to finish grading and 55 notebooks to go through ASAP)!