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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fractals - Paradox and More!

A friend was recently introduced to Zentangle. After seeing some of our tangles for the first time, he wrote:
Your tangles remind me of the simple rules that drive fractals. Amazing complexity emerges from simple strokes.

Fractals can be thought of as non-integer dimensions. Like 3.5D. Zentangles can be a path to bringing higher dimensional reality into 3D form.
Our friend included a link to a YouTube by Duncan Brinsmead from which this frame was taken:

In his video, Duncan uses computer scripts that create the same pattern we call paradox

Notice in the image above as the lines get shorter, the width of the step from line to the one next to it also shortens. This subtlety makes for a beautifully curving spiral. We named this pattern "paradox" because by drawing only straight lines in a certain sequence, you automatically get beautiful curves.

Duncan's YouTube, "Simplicity to Complexity" (below) is full of familiar tangles (like Carole Ohl's tink) and inspirations for new tangles. Many patterns in this video look like they would be fun to deconstruct and then reconstitute with pen and paper in a Zentangle way.

Duncan is a principal scientist with Autodesk and shares more beautiful computer generated patterns on his blog, Duncan's Corner. We look forward to setting aside some time to enjoy them all.

In exploring his blog, we learned a new word: Emergence. Duncan describes emergence as "a fascinating phenomenon where complexity can emerge through iteration of simple rules or processes." We think "emergence" is a good description of many Zentangle tangles and also the Zentangle process. Wikipedia's page on Emergence is an interesting read.


Thanks to our friend for sharing this inspiring resource and thanks to Duncan for creating these videos.

Click image for larger view and YouTube image for beautiful patterns. For more info on paradox, type "paradox" in the search field in the upper right on this page.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Ever get one of those ideas that seems like a good idea at the time, but when you try it on, you're left with "What were we thinking?"

We had this great idea for a blog (we thought). We took lots of pictures. But, it just didn't work.

However, we really loved Maria's Zentangle that she created for the blog. That was a keeper and definitely worth sharing.

This tile uses lots of Nzeppel. See how to do it here and here.

Have a great weekend!

Click image for a larger view.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two Cool!

Just in case you haven't seen them already, here are two gems that we want you to know about.

Congratulations to Laura Harms, CZT, for her always inspiring, and now nominated as an award-winning blog, I am the Diva!

You will be able to cast your vote from January 21 to January 26 here. (Hint!)

and . . .

What do you do when you don't have all the materials and tools you need to create your Zentangle art?

That's what Dilip Patel needed to figure out to complete Laura Harms' (see above :-) Challenge #54 while camping in the mountains of western India.

We'll give you a hint. Here's his string that he "drew" in the dirt:

We encourage you to go see how he "tangled" it in this blog entry. It's beautiful.

Congratulations Laura and Dilip!

Click images for larger views.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Once Again Reminder

I constantly think about good proportions in almost everything:
  • color
  • clothes
  • food
  • decor
  • bodies
  • work and play
  • and especially, art. 
A one-third to two-thirds proportion is a rough Fibonacci or Golden Ratio approximation.
I always knew about positioning parts of a drawing/painting using thirds, but recently learned how light and dark in those general proportions creates a most eye-pleasing design. (See this blog entry.)

So, one-third dark to two-thirds light . . .

or vice-versa one-third light to two-thirds dark, either way.

Naturally this is not an absolute! Much great art throughout all history does not follow this guideline. This is just an insight to occasionally ponder as you choose which tangle on your palette of patterns you will recreate with your pen.

And as always . . . Enjoy!

Click images for larger view.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ink, Red, Dead

That's Joanna Campbell Slan's title for her most recent novella.

In Ink, Red, Dead, heroine, sleuth and scrapbooker extraordinaire, Kiki Lowenstein, discovers Zentangle and has lots of fun with it. 

We like to think that by creating Zentangle art (see cover), Kiki is better able to help her friend and maybe solve a murder!

This is such a fun milestone - to see Zentangle as part of a book's plot line! Joanna Slan does an excellent job of weaving an accurate portrayal of Zentangle into her book.

Thanks, Joanna!

Click here for Kindle version.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Medicine Cabinet . . .

Or, what have you tangled lately?

A couple years ago,we found an old clock case at a yard sale that had glass shelves in it instead of a clock.

Maria said, "Let's get it."


When we got home, Maria cleaned it up and applied gesso to the border to create a white background. She used a black Sakura® Pigma™ Graphic 1 to tangle on the gesso.  After distressing it with some sandpaper and stain she topped it off with a couple coats of polyurethane.

A local glass store replaced the glass with a mirror and, Voilá, the medicine cabinet!

  • 1 antique clock case ($20 at yard sale)
  • Gesso
  • brush
  • Pigma™ Graphic 1 (black)
  • Stain 
  • Polyurethane
  • Mirror
Tell us some interesting things that you have tangled!

Click images for closer views.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Positive or Negative?

We had a phone meeting recently. At most meetings both of us usually take lots of notes and this time was no exception. Here's how Maria began hers:

Remember tripoli? That image above is one of tripoli's many possible iterations. Those soft three sided shapes play and interact with each other - forming and sharing groupings. A common interpretation is to see the triangles as "positive space" and the white outside the triangles as "negative space." (For a quick intro to "Positive and Negative Space" see this page.)

Then Maria did something she does often and effortlessly, she turned a negative, positive.

Extending that negative space between triangles turned it positive. Whenever paths wanted to cross, then in hollibaugh fashion, she drew one behind the other.

Here are Maria's complete and unaltered "notes" (I played with the first two images in Photoshop):

We had a great meeting. (It was with Arlene.)

Click images for larger views.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Bit of Bubbly . . .

. . . for your New Year's Celebration.

Maria Writes:

I never manage to stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve, even when I was younger. It just never seemed to have the appeal . . . watching the ball fall.

When we go to parties, we are the first to leave. I love to go home. (Ironically, I love to go out, too!)

But home is the bees knees . . . great food . . . warm fires . . . great company (even when I am alone) . . . the best rest . . . and comfort and joy. Always comfort and joy.

Here's a bit of Zentangle technique I'd like to share with you. Something really simple that you may have already figured out, but I'll say it anyway. (Sometimes the most obvious is the one we just do not see.)

When you are tangling your favorite tangle and you want to add dimension (depth), character, contrast, or just some fun; instead of darkening the background, play with tiny orbs.

Starting around the perimeter of a space, draw the tiniest row of "orbs" (our word for circles) all around. Then the next row, just a smidge bigger orbs, then the next, you guessed it, a little bigger . . . and depending on the size of the space just keep going until you reach the center with the largest orb. Then shade around the edge . . . maybe the first two rows of small orbs and VOILA!

You have filled in a space with a tangle without even breaking a sweat. You can also go from large circles to small ones, too.

This is a great way to "tone" an area and increase your focus at the same time. Focus on keeping the orbs the size you want, increasing or decreasing them ever so subtly. It will result in a shell-like texture, especially with shading.

So give your Zentangle tile some "froth" and see what happens!

A Year of Health, Wealth, Happiness and Love to all our Zentangle friends.

Rick and Maria

Click images for more froth.