Friday, 30 September 2011

Something Different

 Ice and Snow make ordinary things spectacularly beautiful.   These are some photos I took a few months ago now ... in the middle of winter. 

Enjoy ... I hope everyone has a great weekend ...  Jane x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Challenge to make someone's day.

I have been watching everyone's weekly Diva Challenges  - they are great, fantastic and very inspiring.  But ... I don't see much else on your blog sites anymore ...    I thought I would offer my own challenge to you all!

Create a Zentangle tile (you know the ones - lol) 
You don't have to sign the back if you don't want to ... but add the date~! Make sure you take a picture. 

Then the next time you are walking down the street, stop someone and give it to them with a smile and tell them it is for them and wish them a great day!  If you don't feel comfortable doing this, or it is not safe to do it where you live - give it to someone you know.

Create a Zentangle for no reason other than to make someone you don't know smile!

Post your picture to your blog ... you can link back here if you like and tell us what the reaction was and how it made "you" feel.

Make more than one if you like.

Jane x

Monday, 26 September 2011

An Update

The Macaw is finished....for now!

The Toucan has had some more done ... not there yet.

And I started a Lion's eye ... this will also give me some good practise at doing fur close up.  This one has a long long way to go yet!

Enjoy looking ... Jane x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I can if a Toucan

The next drawing is well underway .... this time I am using Faber-Castell Polychromos artists' colour pencils on Fabriano Artistico Hot Pressed Extra White Watercolour Paper - 300gsm. 

Once again my photo reference was taken by Tambako (you can look him up on Flickr).  His photographs are beautiful.

As you can see I am doing a few bird drawings.   I would love to do a series of Australian Birds, but need some reference photographs.

Can't wait until the weekend when I will be able to get back to this one ... Jane

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Almost done

 Been a productive weekend ... this is the Macaw ... nearly finished now.

I thought I would go through what I had done, but am too tired ... some of the steps are shown below.   I might come edit it in the next few days and put in more of the base layer photos.

I am really happy how he pops off the page.   You know, I really didn't know that I could draw like this - well I knew I could draw - but not like this with coloured pencils ... I really do love it a lot - very satisfying.
Enjoy.  Jane
 Beak finished, doing more layering on the feather areas.   The beak has maybe 10 layers of colour.
 More layering on the feathered areas ... I ended up putting about 12 layers down.
 The black chest feathers are done and I am starting to put the feather details in on the orange/green areas.  Also more on the face ... lots of wrinkles on that face.
 A close up of the nearly finished pic...forgot to turn the flash off so the beak/face looks a bit washed out.
My work space

Friday, 16 September 2011

I have a secret!

My secret is that I love books ... I have a whole library of them and have been buying books since I was a teenager - I learn really well from books (I even did my degree by way of Distance Education with lots of books).  I have to tell you that the Book Depositry has become my best friend!  My books cover a lot of different subjects that have caught my attention over the years ... but one book I have been waiting for ... and it arrived this week. "Masterful Color" by Arlene Steinberg ... it is all about coloured pencil painting (I have a few books on the subject - grin!).   This book talks about how to use complimentary colours as underpainting.  I mainly use graphite as my drawing medium and while I have done a few coloured pencil drawings and even some paintings, and had heard of the concept (especially in the old masters paintings) I had never used complimentary colour underpainting before.   Do you want to follow along?

 This is Arlene's book ... just released.  She has a website here ...  go check it out later!

These will be my friend over the course of this journey ... I am using Sanford Prismacolor pencils and Prismacolor Verithin pencils.  You could use any good quality coloured pencils though - there are pros and cons for each different brand.  Hmmm I have a few of those too ... Prismacolor, Derwent Artists, Derwent Watercolour, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils (one of my favourites) and I would love a set of Faber-Castell Abrecht Durer watercolour pencils - another year perhaps.  Pencils last a long time ... I have some still from when I was 15.  I used to buy one pencil at a time, $2.00 a pencil which was  a lot of money way back when I was 15 - OMG 30 years ago now - funny how you don't really feel different on the inside - it's all about gravity you know ;)

In this instance I will be using the Prismacolors.  I also use an Electric Pencil Sharpener to keep a nice fine point on my pencils ... sharpening your pencils become second habit and colouring feels wrong if the pencil is not sharp.

 This is my subject ... a beautiful Macaw.  This photo was taken by "Tambako", a fellow in Switzerland who is a wonderful photographer.  He has graciously given me permission to use his photo for my drawing. Thankyou :)

I have to tell you something ... when I print out my reference photos ... I use a gloss photo paper ... you get so much more depth than using just plain old printing paper.

 So I start by drawing my outlines and main features in with a 2B pencil very lightly.    Sorry the photos are not the best here ... I will try and take better ones as I progress.   You could use a lightbox and trace the outline if you like, or there are other methods of transferring a drawing onto your paper.

I am using Fabriano Artistico Extra White Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper in 300gsm.

I start the Underpainting ... I have used Indigo blue on the beak and have started a little on the eyes .. but back to them after.

In this photo you can see (just) that i have finished the underpainting of the beak and darker chest feather area with the Indigo Blue.  I have also underpainted the head - both the green and blue feather area with Clay Rose, as this colour is a complimentary colour for both of these main colours.
(am I making sense?)  I have also underpainted the orange feather area with Muted Turquoise.

I have used a very light touch with a very very sharp pencil, making very small circular overlapping movements - this helps to fill colour into all the paper and gives a nice smooth look. I leave white space where there are white areas in the picture.   I have also started to do the top of the beak where I was testing out using Black Cherry to give the Black beak some depth. (note to self .... use a piece of scrap paper the same as you are using for the portrait, to do the colour testing)   I will be adding more and more layers though.

So that is the start of my Macaw ... I will be spending more time during the weekend and hopefully will be able to show you something reasonably on its way by Sunday night.   Goodness now I had better put the computer and the pencils away and get off to work ... there is quilting to be done!

Cheers and have a good weekend everyone.   PS ... if there are any coloured pencil artists out there who wish to comment or add something more to my explanation, please feel free - the more the merrier!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

In the middle of the night ...

In the middle of the night ... now there is a song about that somewhere! 

...but  in the middle of last night, around 2am, I woke up and felt like Tangle Time.    Yesterday afternoon I had been making some journals from my beautiful Fabriano Artistico extra white hot pressed paper and had a few off cuts. I pulled out my trusty little pattern book and skipped the pages until a pattern caught my eye ... I love these patterns  -  did I tell you I only use official Zentangle patterns and my own patterns in my drawings - otherwise I would not remember where they came from. 
 What do you think .... a little snapshot about six inches long.  Zentangle love love love!
Jet says he likes it too - the getting up early business 'cause it is amazing what you can see out the windows in the dark!

Hope you get your tangle on today too ... Jane x

Edit:    just in case you want to hear Billy Joel sing "In the middle of the night" ... I do like this song!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A different kind of weekend

I spent the weekend doing this ...  also did a little coloured pencil work.

I also went fishing ... it snowed!  The fish must have known it was snowing because they all stayed home!

Hope everyone has a great week.

Happy tangling ... Jane x

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Zentangle Inspired Quilting

 Zentangle has been calling my name again!   I have done a little quilting on a wall hanging ... using Silver metallic thread (Superior) and black So Fine (Superior) ... So this is not the finished piece ... I will post more when I have done some more ... in a few weeks perhaps.   The Zentangle "tiles" will be quilted as if they are little drawings.    I was inspired by one of my drawings in my Journal in February.    Keeping a journal is a wonderful thing!
This is the whole piece still on my longarm machine - it is very nice to be enthused and excited by a project again.

Enjoy and happy tangling ... Jane x

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Other Things I do

 Crocheting ... I have been doing this since I taught myself (with the help of my big sister Anne)  in 1997.  I love lace crochet mostly and have made some really large pieces of cotton thread crochet (tablecloths).   These are two little bags I made while sitting in front of the Television last night - can't keep those hands still and if I do they will cease up!
 Crochet fingerless hand mitts - my own pattern - very warm and comfy (secretly my husband wants a pair).
 I also started spinning about two months ago and have been enjoying this ... I have found I love to spin laceweight yarn ... I guess that is because I love to crochet laceweight style.  I have an old Ashford Traditional spinning wheel which I got from a local market ... I am glad it has a nice home where it is appreciated and used a lot.
During July when the Tour de France was on ... Ravelry (an online fibre community) have their Tour de Fleece - everyone spins and challenges themselves on the tour challenges and gives themselves virtual yellow jersey's if they feel they deserve it - all a lot of fun.   This is a little bit of what I did - yes I also have learnt to spin on a spindle which I love.   My spinning has improved a lot - these pictures are of my first lot of spinning.   I am an insomniac and now love to spin in the middle of the night - that rhythmic whirr of the wheel can put me to sleep!

Usually during the weekdays I am a longarm machine quilter and quilt for other people (you can see more at my blog

I was working during the weekends but found this to be too difficult both physically and mentally - so now I only do around 4 days a week if I can.  One day a week is left for doing chores and things I have to do to keep the house running.  You know what I mean ... cleaning, shopping, washing etc etc.  The older we get, the longer these things take to do.  I am good at procrastination too!

But the weekends are mine to be with my family and play ... I choose between tangling (yes I still do this and will post some more soon);  drawing with coloured pencil and graphite (an old love of mine); crochet (very easy to put down and pick up where you left off even if it was months ago); spinning fibre (a very new love) and I still quilt for myself occasionally and am in the process of putting together some projects at the moment.

In the words of singer James Blunt "My life is brilliant".   Having SLE (lupus) makes me plan my time better (especially around the days I have the heavy drugs) and focus on what is important to me.     So I say make time for the little things that make you smile, even if it is just sharing a minute or two with someone special to you.

So for now I would like to show you one little blog that makes me smile everytime I go and read it ....  I almost guarantee it will make you smile too.  Have fun and tangle some too!   Jane x