Sunday, July 7, 2013

Google Reader Bye Bye

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

If you're using Google Reader, it's going bye-bye in a few days. If you're looking for a great new feed reader to use, that will import your Google feeds nicely (even for people like me with dinosaur computers), try

The only reason this post exists is to allow me to claim my blog there. Laterz...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Diva Challenge #122 Grid (Un)locked

Golly, it feels like I haven't tangled (or wrangled) in days! We had some wicked storms come through, and for some reason all of last week was just hard on me sleep-wise so I didn't really do much art.

Well, I colored the Birds On A Wire alien pear thing, and I painted an abstract (not posted) with my watercolor pencils that I intended for a tangle background, but that's about it. Plus the b-o-s-s returned from his three-week overseas trip, meaning no more daytangling. (Phooey.) Plus, there is a full-time jay-oh-bee in another department that needed my resume. (Benefits? More $$? Hold me back!!!)

But tonight, I tangled. Whoo-hoo!

Here's my belated submission for Diva Challenge #122. I really love how this progressed. Maybe taking a few days off of tangling was good for me.

Grid seeds used: J3, I4, H4, A1, C3, B3, and a couple of A1's that
I kind of messed up, so they became something new.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Diva Challenge #121 WIP

Is this term used outside of the knitter/weaver/fiber world? WIP means Work In Progress. (UFO means UnFinished Object.) 

Well, this is my ZIA WIP. I'm posting it in its half-finished state to try to make it into the slideshow. (It's cool... I don't mind if it's not done. I still like what I have so far.) It kind of looks like an alien fruit pod.

The tangling was done first. But it's not done. I wanted to see if the color guided the rest of the tangles. So I added color, with my Derwent Inktense pencils. Given that I only have a small set of 12, my color options were limited and when water is applied they brighten considerably (which I love).

But my background is lost. (It's there. Very faint.) Ah, technique. I never was much for watercolors, preferring oils (they smell SOOOO much better). 

Anyway, here it is. I'll post updates as I go. And now I must get started on #122 before the storm hits and I have to change my name to Dorothy. (Cue Flying Monkeys.)

Be safe, y'all.

Tangles used so far: Birds on a Wire, Flux, Flukes, Florz, and Fescu.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Spotsadots/Orbyt, Diva Challenge Fail

I got so distracted this week that I totally forgot to do my Diva Challenge submission. Inspiration struck--I wanted to create a ZIA, a bit larger than the tiles are, and color it with my Inktense pencils.

Bigger = longer worktime. Given that I started it Saturday afternoon, it became obvious a couple of hours in that I wouldn't make the evening deadline for the Challenge. I set it aside. I don't want to rush this. Plus, I started in without having any idea how "waterproof" the Microns are, or how the inktense would work over top of it, yadda yadda. (I tend to dive in headlong then backpedal when I hit turbulence.)

So it's on hold, but here is what I have so far:

Tangles used so far: Birds On a Wire, Florz, Flux, Fescu, Flukes.

Today, I decided that experimenting with my media might be a good idea. On a scrap of Strathmore Wet Media paper, I made marks with all of my different Sakuras (Brushes in colors, greys, and Microns in Sepia/Black) along with the new water-soluble graphite pencil I got recently (never used one before). Then I washed Inktense over it.

Good news. Those suckers are water-tight. Not even a consideration of bleeding.

Then, I laid out a few different colors of Inktense, washed it with water, blended, dried with a hair dryer on low, washed a bit more, dried, then tangled randomly over top of it.

Then, as will happen, I started getting too "into it", and before you know it, I had a full-on tangle going. It's interesting to note that Micron on dry raw Wet Media paper is kind of rough and scratchy, but Micron over an Inktense wash is smooth as silk.

I tried shading with pencil--doesn't quite have the depth necessary over the ink wash, and the paper is too toothy for a nice application of pencil. Even going up to a 7B didn't help.

I pulled out my brand-new Pastel Pencils (another thing I've never used) with the idea of touching up Hollibaugh with white--and I loved the effect. The pastels also glide smoothly over the ink-washed sections as well as the raw parts.

Using the color theory I learned in my oil painting classes from Dennis Wojtkiewicz, a man who is an absolute genius when it comes to photorealistic renditions of things, I applied a little of the color opposite to the washes to give it pop, then laid over more white to lighten it up. (Sidenote: for the greens, a pink is the opposite--tint of red; and for blues, peach/flesh--tint of orange.) I also found the darker pastels used in shadow areas help it pop.

So here's the result of my experiment, which produced what I believe to be a new tangle pattern (below). (Note to self: try working not so close to the edge of the paper!)

Tangles used: Hollibaugh, Tipple, Amaze, Flux, Fescu,
Finery, a really bad attempt at Paradox, and what I hope
is my own tangle, Orbyt (Spotsadots).

Now for the pattern. I originally called it Spotsadots and submitted it as that, but I think I prefer to call it Orbyt. Too many "S" names already, and it reminds me of planets. (Thoughts?) I sent word to Linda at Tangle Patterns.

I've looked in as many references as I can find, and though it bears some resemblance to both Bubbles and Sooflowers, I think it's different enough to be its own tangle. (If you've seen this before, please let me know. It's important to me to be authentic and original.) So I submitted it to for review. Cross your fingers.

Orbyt Steps
Orbyt (Spotsadots), by me.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Diva Challenge #120: Bales of Bales

The bales I usually wrangle with are of hay, when I help out with feeding the horses at the boarding barn. This week, I've been wrangling Bales, the tangle pattern, for the Diva's 120th Challenge. (Is that only 120 this year, or 120 altogether? Must find out).

The premise is to create a monotangle using only variations on the Bales pattern. (Mono = one.) It's simple, but there it is. Bales within Bales.

Two Bales tangleations, dwelling within one iteration
of an aura-eated Bales.
And that's that. It's been a long, lonely week at work, what with only two professors teaching classes, and everyone else on vacation, and the boss (department chair) overseas for another week or so, plus it's summer session. So I try to stay occupied, handling what comes in, tangling or reading on the Kindle I borrowed from the university library.

I've finished two of the three Hunger Games Trilogy already and am 1/3rd through the final book. Yep. It's been THAT quiet. Thank goodness the thing came pre-loaded with 100 titles, of both classic and contemporary fiction/non-fiction with a whole bunch of "things I've been meaning to read".

All right. Posted, blogged, back to "Mockingjay".

Friday, May 24, 2013

And Zendalas, Too!

Thank you for all of the lovely comments. I am humbled.

Yes, I really am new to Zentangle. I should probably confess, I'm an artist with a BFA in Graphic Design and minors in Painting and Fibers. Coming from this background gives me a head start with regard to shading, coloring, and understanding the interplay of elements. But I still struggle with making nice neat lines; I mess up certain patterns, and I still sort of play by the "string" rather than going freeform and bleeding patterns all over the string boundaries and into each other. (Playing it safe, perhaps?)

I think I'm still approaching it with a good chunk of my left brain involved. This is supposed to be a right-brained process, right? I'm sure I'm over-thinking, overanalyzing, and focusing on the product more than the process. If this is anything like my ventures into Parelli Natural Horsemanship, I'm sure I'll learn more about myself than I expect to. (PNH: way more than riding. You just think it's about training and riding your horse. Then you get deeply into it, and find out it's really personal development packaged in a horse-shaped form.)

And I have learned to sketch quickly, which is counter to the idea of making slow, deliberate marks. It should be known, my late Mother was an artist (watercolors). She was very impatient and always insisted I learn to work more quickly. Zentangle would have "driven [her] to distraction", LOL, and it's one of the many artistic blocks I'm working to overcome.

It seems the trick would be to fall in love with the line. Just the line, and the making of the line. Perhaps if I think of caressing each stroke, rather than rushing to get it on the page, I will find the groove to fall into. Every now and then I hit that stride, then I catch myself "there", and jolt myself out of it.

So I've taken up the Zendala Dare now (as if a weekly Diva Challenge and One Zentangle A Day isn't enough to keep me busily tangling, LOL), beginning with Dare #1 from April  2012. (Erin says we can jump right in on the old ones, so I am.) Since there is an option to do a tile, a zendala tile (round) or a full sheet, I went with a tile of parchment-colored laser paper for my very first Zendala. (The initial thought was to combine the Zendala with today's OZAD assignment on mid-toned paper, but once I got into the tangle, I didn't really use the patterns the OZAD called for.)

Zendala Dare #1. Tangles: Kuke, Flux, Ynix, and a tangleation
of Flukes and Crescent Moon. Sepia Microns on parchment,
shaded with colored pencils in browns, cream and dark blue.

I learned that I probably should draw one element of a pattern, turn the tile, repeat, turn, repeat, turn and build that way rather than fill a quadrant, turn, fill a quadrant (darn it), turn, fill a quadrant (ARGH). It worked better building Flux in the center doing it one "leaf" at a time rather than working one quadrant's worth of Flux all at once.

I learned that the white gel pen gets really mad at you if you insist it color over the top of colored pencil. (It forgives you when you clean it off well.)

I learned that scanning parchment paper makes everything look yellower than it really is in real life. The finished product is a bit more antiquey than it appears, and my attempts to color correct didn't help so I posted the untouched scan.

I learned that Sepia pens and Sepia colored pencils are not the same color. Dark Brown colored pencil is closer to the pens. Sort of.

I learned that I really LOVE the challenge of a Zendala, while at the same time find the attempt to mirror my patterns in four quadrants (or more, as will be the case) to be equal parts fascinating AND irritating, LOL! But again, it's because I try to work too quickly. So my mantra for this weekend is,



And breaaaaaatttthhhhhhhheeeeeee...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Diva Challenge #119 and Some Wrangling


Of course I went to the barn on what was THE hottest day of the year so far. (Monday) Cheerios needed his hooves trimmed, so off I went. It was 92 degrees, 45% humidity, and thank goodness for the stiff breeze or I'd've been a goner.

After his hooficure, I gave him a spa treatment. (I hosed him off while he ate grass. Then he rolled in the dirt and coated himself like a fried chicken dinner. Helps keep the flies off.) He hasn't been trimmed in awhile, so I wanted to give him a couple of days to settle into the new trim before riding him; besides, in that heat?!? He's too much energy for me.

So I changed plans, and worked with my Summer Project. Her name is Sky, she's an off-track thoroughbred (OTTB), and it's my duty to acclimate her to the life of a riding partner. She's not mine; the short of it is, she was rescued by a previous boarder, who did some eventing with her, then moved out of state and sold her to someone elsewhere. Sky belonged to the someone elsewhere for about a year or so, and as fate would have it, wound up back at the boarding barn. 

Her basic issue is that she is what people call flighty, nervous, skittish. I understand that she's scared, uncertain, and just needs to gain confidence in herself and in humans. My own personal horse is LBI (Left-Brained Introvert), but for some reason I'm much better with RBI's and RBE's (Right-Brained Introvert/Extrovert) because they require a hundred saints' worth of patience, very soft requests, a confident leader, and a quiet energy.

There is a lot of "hurry up and wait" with RB's, because it's important for me to ask the question with infinite patience, let her find the answer, and the minute she does, I need to let her dwell. Like for a lot longer than I have to with my LBI (he likes machine-gun rapid-fire requests or he gets B-O-R-E-D and that's when he creates drama).

Hot, humid days are great for working with horses that require very little physical energy. I only lasted an hour with her, then I had to hose her and me both off. I'll be glad for the cooler temps this weekend.


Yay, the Diva's Challenge #119 was posted today. It's "Ebony and Ivory", balancing black and white in the piece. I'll let you read about it at her link. I'm psyched because I'm also working my way through OZAD, "One Zentangle A Day" (Beckah Krahula) and I'm on Lesson 14, and the tangle I did for OZAD also works for Diva Challenge.

So here it is.

Tangles used: Chainging (t), Keeko, Dyon (t), Hollibaugh (t), and something that started as Fescu (t) but is probably another pattern I haven't learned yet. (t) means the pattern has been tangleated, varied from the original. For instance, my Dyon in the center has been tangleated in a way reminiscent of Knightsbridge.

This weekend, I'll start posting my Tangles-To-Date. I'm just a beginner, so there are only about 20 but it seems apropo that they all be here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Diva's Weekly Zentangle Challenge #118

A preface: I only recently discovered Zentangle®, a meditative drawing method with which I have become obsessed. All it involves (once you learn a bit of the philosophy and methodology) is a tile (a 3.5"-square piece of high-quality drawing paper), a felt pen (Sakura Micron pens are the best), and some time.

It likely appeals to me for many reasons:
  • I have a BFA in Graphic Design with minors in Painting and Fibers
  • I have always had a thing for felt-tip pens
  • I love little picky detailed line work
  • I love abstraction
  • I'm very much into meditation, connecting with one's Source, tapping into the subconscious, and using relaxation tools to access and shift one's Consciousness
  • I'm a huge philosophy nut
  • Being part-way into the Artists' Way, I appreciate the life-changing quality of tangling
And so about a month ago, I stumbled onto it, got some pens, bought a book, took a Zentangle 101 class that popped up with remarkably auspicious timing, and started tangling.

This is my 16th tangle, my 13th "official" tangle (meaning I wasn't just doodling randomly trying to figure out what Zentangle is, I was following the methods), and my first submission to the Diva's Weekly Zentangle Challenge. (They're on #118, I have some catching up to do.)

So let's get to it. Participants are provided with a tangle (pattern) to use in their tile, and we are to learn how to draw it, then use it in combination with any other tangles of choice to create our tile. This week's tangle is Kuke, inspired by a shriveled-up cucumber, created by CZT® Katy Abbot (a CZT® is a Certified Zentangle Teacher).

I learned Kuke, then I used it and several other tangle patterns (Amaze, Opus, Flux, Flukes, and Tipple) to create this tile:

Amaze, Flux, Flukes, Opus, Kukes and Tipple. In addition to shading with pencil,
I added a bit of color with my new Sakura Brush pens in grays.

Sakura makes some awesome drawing tools. The Pigma Brushes just blow my mind--they're felt pens with a brush tip that work kind of like paint. And ZERO smell. I have a set of 8 colors which I've barely cracked open yet, and my set of six greys (3 warm, 3 cool) arrived today. No clue how to really get the most out of them yet, but they sure are fun to use and offer shading options beyond graphite.

Now, if I could just get my hand to be more steady. I have shaky lines. I know... SLOW DOWN. It's not fine-art sketching, it's meditative. I'm supposed to be deliberate and focused in how I create every mark. Sometimes I get ahead of myself, or I get impatient. (Which is probably why doing this is a good thing for me, eh?) It'll come. It's only my 16th tile.

In other news, if it cools down just slightly (it is TOO EARLY for all this heat and humidity), I may go out and participate in the wranglin' part of my moniker.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dear God, Another Blog?


KnittyBanter was getting kind of old. To be honest, I haven't been knitting as often. I'm not fiber-centric like I was. I've expanded my artistic horizons.

Savvy Horsewoman is still valid, but it isn't ALL I do.

Yarndeavors took a brief hiatus, though the Etsy shop is still intact (but in need of restocking).

Plus, I got a job. A real one. At the University. Secretary. Part-time, but pays so well it's like doing two minimum wage jobs in half the time. And I really like it. But being on The Schedule takes up my afternoons, which was prime dye time, so...

So let's start over. (I'm keeping all the other blogs, just putting a new page in the typewriter.)

I'm still wrasslin' horses, I still knit/weave/sew/dye on occasion, but recently, I discovered Zentangle®. I'll admit, at first, I thought it was just doodling, and seriously--who needs to learn to doodle? I mean, isn't that just innate?

The more I've looked into it, the more I've come to understand that Zentangle is more than doodling, just as Parelli is more than horse training. In fact, they share a common theme--focus, feel, timing, intention, mindfulness. Zentangle is to artists as Parelli is to horsemen. It's all about building confidence and seeking inward to understand the self so one can understand the world around oneself.

So although Facebook has taken over my social media life (hasn't it done that to everyone?), I intend to blog here as frequently as I can. At least several times a month. I'll keep you posted on my forays into Zentangle and art, as well as update you on my horse antics.

It should be interesting. Stay tuned.