Saturday, December 12, 2009

Following the Inspiration: Part 3

Part 3: Playing with Details

It would appear that I am not the only BJPer who has discovered Zentangles and is considering using them for the 2010 BJP.  A shout out to Robbie who has been experimenting with zentangles as well and has already combined them with her quilting,  very cool.

My first couple of Zentangles were just small pieces of paper with simple strings.  Zentangles are easy to do.  You start with a piece of paper, the website suggests a quality paper that they sell but to start I used what I had on hand that was heavy enough to not bleed with the pen work going on it.  To start all you have to do is put small dots in pencil about 1/2 inch in from the corners and then join them with pencil lines (they don’t have to be remotely straight. Yeah!)  After that you draw in what are called strings; these are just lines to divide the area up.  (imagine dropping a string onto the paper and drawing those lines onto the paper with pencil).

Now you just grab a fine permanent pen and start making tangles.  These are mostly repetitive patterns that end up looking fairly complicated but usually consist of repetitive parts.  You can find several tangles on the website in their newsletters and in their starter kit which includes instructions for quite a few tangles and all the supplies to get you started.  Sandy Steen Bartholomew has some on her blog and there are also ones that you can find elsewhere online including YouTube.

Here are a few tangles for any one who wants to try them.

This tangle is actually pretty fun to make and looks harder than it is.  Start with a zig-zag line near one side or bottom of your area. Add additional zig-zags to connect to these.  The additional zig-zags can be completely free of the previous ones, or like these connected on the down strokes.   One of the nice thing about connecting them is that it is quicker and gives it a more organic look.  I like mine to curve a bit to give them more movement.

Originally inspired by a leaf this tangle is very versatile; with some variations it could look more like buildings or parts of a bridge or....   Start with a dashed line (sort of looks like the lines in the middle of the street) and then add more lines that radiate out from this center,  these can be very organic or very structural, thin or thick, or whatever you can think of to do with them.

Inspired by peacock tails this tangle starts off with lines of connected "P" shapes.  Fill up your space with roughly parallel lines of these "P"s.   Fill in each loop of your "P"s with a smaller teardrop shape.  This can be colored in if you like.  add radiating lines out from each line (sort of like the veins of a leaf.)

This pattern has been around for a very long time and can be found on tiles and other media from years ago in part 6 I will mention where I found this pattern and where you can find other patterns to inspire you.  You start out with horizontal lines in twos and then repeat with vertical lines.  Color in the boxes at the intersections and then make elongated teardrops around the center point of each of your squares.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Following the Inspiration: Part 2

Part 2: A New Inspiration

Whenever I get a new issue of a magazine I give it a once through and then read the articles as I have time for them. I seldom read any of the articles the first time though. When the November/December issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors ( this is one of my favorite magazines) came I started to do this as well but got stopped in my tracks on page 80 with the article “Add Pattern to Journals with Zentangles and Transfers” by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.
I have always been a detail person and I love to doodle and this was doodle art. I read the article and then reread it later that night and found some paper, a pencil and pen and got started. Hey I can doodle with the best of them. I thought hey this is great fun, maybe I should find out more so I went to Sandy’s blog and read some there and then went to the Zentangle website and read their newsletters where I found more tangles to use and saw many more ideas on how others had used the techniques and how it had inspired artists to push it in new directions. The original idea is abstract and all in black and white with some shading but people where pushing it into including color and some representational images.
Since I am really enjoying the process which is really relaxing and fun I think I will see where I can take this. Could I use this and combine it with beads? Some of the images remind me of patterns in embroidery (with or without beads).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Following the Inspiration: Part 1

Part 1: Introduction and Unformed Ideas

Have you ever wandered how other people come up with ideas for projects? Wanted to creep into someone’s head and watch how one little bit of inspiration morphed and joined with other ideas to eventually become a piece of artwork? I have always found the creative process fascinating and know that for every artist how they follow this path is different. I have decided to try to share this process for my 2010 Bead Journal Project with those of you who read my blog.
I must admit that I have never been one of those people who suffer from artistic blocks. I usually have more ideas than I know what to do with and since I do a variety of types of creating I find they feed into each other or that I can switch the media I am working in to refresh my creative energy.
I think that a good start will be to look back at what my last two years ideas were. For the first year (2007-8) I chose to combine my photography with beading using at least one photo per piece that was 4” x 6” or larger. That year I explored many techniques that were new to me and seeing what happened when combining photos with beads and stitching. For this past year’s (2008-9) BJP I got more ambitious and although the overall piece isn’t finished yet the individual monthly blocks are. I chose to do a self portrait symbolically using mixed media and bead embroidery. This time I included collaging, painting, thread and bead embroidery and have tried many more new techniques.
Looking back at the two years I have found out much more about myself and have discovered that I really enjoy mixing somewhat disparate techniques and balancing them to make a piece that is uniquely my own. I have enjoyed trying new things and finding the deeper meaning in what I have done.
As I registered for the new (2010) year of the Bead Journal Project I started to consider what I wanted to set as goals and parameters for my next 12 blocks. I knew since we were getting ready to close on our new house and that I would have moving, painting, helping lay hardwood flooring, and have many other projects to accomplish in the next year that I could not take on something that was too big or time consuming. I had tried 8” x 10” individual blocks and 4” x 6” blocks on a larger format. I figured that I would not want to go much bigger that 4 x 6 blocks. So what would happen if I went square instead of rectangular for the individual blocks? Maybe joined blocks or tiles so that the individual blocks were part of a larger whole piece? Robin Atkins included a post about a bead quilt that individual beaders were each given a block of that had lines that were part of the whole picture and when the individual blocks were put back together they formed an over all picture even if the beaders used different colors, images, etc. MMMMMMMM.....