Diva Weekly Challenge

Playing with Walnut Ink-Challenge #206 9

This week’s Diva Challenge was to explore Zentangle® through a different media. Yay!  What a great challenge as I have been exploring dip pen and ink this week.  Sketching with dip pen and even a stick – preparing for my upcoming trip and deciding which materials to take – those to leave behind (sadly).  My packing for trips usually focuses more on the art supplies, books and music than clothes, food and accommodation.  So a great opportunity to tangle with ink.

Walnut Ink & Dip pen with water to wash in the shading.

Walnut Ink & Dip pen with water to wash in the shading.

Such a fun way to work with tangles on the tile.  The beautiful paper with its subtle texture ensured slow mark making.  And timing the shading was an adventure in letting go of control.  Trying to time just the right moment while the ink was drying (but not too dry) to allow the wet brush and water puddles to melt the ink and create shading was very enjoyable.  I like the spontaneity of the finished piece.  I can see areas where I would like to go back and add more ink and play a little more but I want to maintain the freshness – so tools down!

Beautiful French Walnut Ink & Dip Pen

Beautiful French Walnut Ink & Dip Pen

I have been discussing with students the value of keeping a sketchbook and have been sharing pages from my own in class.  They offer the opportunity to practise with freedom.  It’s not the final piece, which can sometimes add a restrictive dimension to the art making process.  This is your private space and you only share should you feel comfortable.

I have so enjoyed peeking into other artist’s sketchbooks over the years and so in the spirit of sharing, I’m going to include pages from my sketchbooks at regular intervals.

Exploring walnut ink & dip pen... & a stick from a branch!

Exploring walnut ink & dip pen… & a stick from a branch!

Here’s a page where I had been exploring ink and the dip pen.  Holding the pen right at the far end and loosely pushing it around the paper.  Sometimes on its side or back.  Light and heavy strokes.  Not like holding a writing pen at all.  On the left you can just see a little where I used a stick (twig) from the garden – no shaping of the end.  Just dipped it straight into the ink bottle and pushed it around the page.

Exploring Zentangle with pen and ink

Exploring Zentangle with pen and ink

And then the challenge was announced.  So I played with some tangles.  Some worked with the pen easier than others.  And I particularly wanted some that I could shade with the ink and not graphite.  Just for fun.  In the top right you can see where I dripped ink and water onto the page and then pulled the ink out of the liquid pool.  Loved this.  I could get some very fine lines with this technique but wasn’t sure how it would work on the more textured surface of the tile.

More ink investigation!

More ink investigation!

Really enjoyed some of these effects.  Particularly the variation in the shading when water was applied to ink before it completely dried.  However, go in too early and it melts into a puddle.

Losing the freshness

Losing the freshness

And in keeping with we ‘Learn by our mistakes’, I’m including the first tile that I created.  While we all know that Zentangle® is all about the process not the results – I do enjoy a pleasing result!  And this was going so well until I added Nzepple under the Purk.  Too similar shapes and tones and I couldn’t see how to rescue it.  So abandoned this one.

So I hope that I’ve encouraged you to pick up a dip pen, or even a stick and dip it into some ink.  Lots of fun!  I’m voting to take the ink (love the effects) but not keen to open a bag and find that it’s spilt all through my belongings.  So the verdict is still out.


Diva Challenge #190 – Breast Cancer Awareness

190 - Breast CancerBreast cancer awareness and beautiful memories spent with those that have now left us are the themes of this week’s challenge.  Laura wrote of spending special times with her grandmother Ardath, who shared with her the joys of using watercolour crayons to create enchanting images.  You can see her beautiful tiles here…

Creativity is such a powerful gift to share.  I too have spent and continue to be fortunate enough to spend many hours of my most favourite times sharing art with my grand daughters.  And like Laura’s grandmother – I also share my ‘special’ and expensive art supplies with my girls who treasure being able to explore and play with beautiful materials.  I can think of no worthier recipients than these precious fresh curious minds.  Creating art and memories together – heavenly!

I learnt many creative skills from my grandmother too – sewing, cooking and other crafts.  This tradition of passing on our skills is such a valuable time honoured practice and I love the threads that link us in time – particularly between women – very powerful.

In honour of Ardath, I too used watercolour crayons (one of my favourite materials) and a gold gel pen to create my tile.  A garden of gold roses over a pink ribbon that is held in place by a woven Auraknot. A celebration of love, hope and courage.

And a tribute to all those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer… blessings to you!


Yuma Tangle for Challenge #189 4


Yuma BW Yuma on Black TileThis week’s Diva challenge is to use the pattern YUMA created by the wonderful Tina from Switzerland.  I had such fun meeting Tina at the CZT #15 in Providence this year and only wish it had been earlier in the session rather than the last days.  Such a kind-hearted spirit.  Her art is very individual, expressive and bold.  You can see more of her artwork at AKUA-ART.  Congratulations Tina on your beautiful pattern and for featuring in a Diva Challenge – I know how excited you are – so happy for you.

I’m not sure that I’ve done it justice and feel I still need more practice.  And couldn’t stop at one – wanted to see how it looked on a black tile with the charcoal and sandstone for highlights.  A fun exercise and I look forward to using this pattern more in my work.


Diva Challenge #188 National Coming Out Day 12

National Coming Out Day Support TileThe Diva Challenge this week is in response to a request that Laura received from 12 year old Daniel.  She writes:

Daniel told me that October 11th is National Coming Out Day.  Daniel’s friend is gay, and so he wanted me to help him support his friend and to issue a challenge with a LGBT theme.
Daniel says:

I think it would be a good way to further inspire tanglers and raise awareness if you considered a challenge to somehow put some aspect of LGBT in a tile. Perhaps using the colors of the rainbow, or using tangles that start with L, G, B, and T, or using those letters as a string?

So here’s my tangled tile of support in honour of this day.  And ‘hello to Daniel’ if you happen to be looking at the results of your ‘call to arms’.  Well done you!

I began by creating Gneiss as a symbolic cocoon which is also spelt similar to Genesis which I thought very fitting.  And then created a radiating rainbow with watercolour crayons to create texture and then lightness with a wash from a wet brush.  When dry I tangled over the top using patterns beginning with the letters LGB or T.

Locar turned out to be the only pattern beginning with L.  It felt rather harsh and severe to use in this tile until I placed it below Gneiss where I feel it represents prejudice and constraint – hence the radiating rainbow of freedom.

I tried to use as many patterns as I could to symbolise ‘unity with uniqueness’.

Pattern names: Gneiss, Locar, Gust, Tidings, Glace, Tipple, Twing, Betweed, Beelight, Bales, Tortuca, Tripoli.


X – DID is Yarn Bombed! Challenge #183 9


I found that the Tangle ‘X – DID’ was taking itself far too seriously on my tile – so I ‘Yarn Bombed’ it!  Much better.  Strange as I’ve never understood yarn bombing until just now.  I get it!  So much fun that I did it twice.  And the second time in colour – kind of a copper brown open weave look.  Now that loosened it up 🙂

This week’s Diva challenge #183 is to use a tangle pattern called X-DID – created by Annette Carlo. A strong geometric pattern that I found a challenge in the beginning. But once I got the hang of it I really enjoyed the rhythm and the mind space created from such concentrated focus.   You can find the step out here at Annette’s blog – ‘Call It What You Quill’. Nice one Annette.  I’ll be using it again – thank you!

X-DID Black and white

This is the first tile that I finished and put away to try again later as I felt that it was a bit busy and the X-DID got a little lost – it DID…:)  I hadn’t realised the second one was so similar until I brought it out to photograph.  Fun to take bend and push around a serious straight shape 🙂



Stripes and a Double Pencil String 8

Stripes using Double Pencil string

This week’s ‘Diva Challenge‘ # 182 was to use stripes.  A great opportunity to play with tangle designs that lend themselves to borders and well….stripes.  Thanks to Margaret at ‘The Enthusiastic Artist‘, I was reminded of the channel created when using two pencils to draw a line.  Some wonderful effects can be created this way.  And as others noted – a great way to explore calligraphy too – you can see the outline of the letters that would normally be created with a square nib.  So lots to play with.

Tangles used: xyp, Hollibaugh, punzel, ennies, diva dance, shattuck, crescent moon and mooka.

Tangles used: xyp, Hollibaugh, punzel, ennies, diva dance, shattuck, crescent moon and mooka.

Here’s a closer pic of the finished tile. I found myself automatically starting to fill in the lovely curved shapes that I had intended to leave empty.  Breathing room for the ribbons of stripes… with a cheeky ‘Mooka’ that snuck inside.