Monday, March 13, 2017

Contour Lines

Diva Dance "Waltz" and variations
The Zentangle people came up with some variations on a theme that caught my attention back in December. Called "Diva Dance", the trio's first rendition, "Waltz", reminded me of mark making exercises I've seen that often end up looking like bark are water flowing. I've failed to get those kinds of images when I've tried it, so set the step-outs aside until I had more time to work with them. I have a tiny notebook where I copy in the step-outs for future reference, which gives me practice and a feel for the design before I use it elsewhere. I finally got around to doing that yesterday before sitting down with the newest of my sketchbooks and trying out different ways of working with the idea on a larger scale. Rick and Marie have started a video series of their working on a Zentangle with this one showing "Waltz" running under the rest of the design. I was amazed at how helpful it was to watch someone actually zentangling as he explains what he is doing.

Diva Dance variations "RockNRoll" & "Foxtrot"
Today I proceeded with the other two variations, "RockNRoll" and "Foxtrot". Zentangling is billed as a meditative practice and indeed, I found myself going into a meditative state, or at least a calmer state as I worked my way around each drawing. All of these are based on closely spaced parallel lines with the interest being the darkened "bumps" that forces the next line to curve out a different direction and creates holes and gaps. The more I drew, the more I was reminded of contour maps as well as the closely spaced parallel lines of background quilting and the echo quilting around applique motifs. No wonder I was drawn to these.

Normally one would use something like a Pigma Micron or Pitt pen to Zentangle but I wanted to use the Preppie fountain pen whose nib I usually find makes a thicker line than I want for sketching. But on this beautiful drawing paper in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook, it works like a dream, and I am starting to understand why so many sketchers use fountain pens. You'll also notice bits of red here and there, added with a Pigma Micron 01 pen. This is a little experiment triggered by seeing a succession of black and white "urban" sketches where the artist added a bit of red - maybe just one door in a group of houses, or the flowers in a window box, or in one case a brushstroke across the top and down one side which had nothing to do with the scene being sketched. That limited pop of unexpected red elevated the sketch from interesting to mysterious somehow. At the very least, it got my attention when I otherwise would have moved on to the next sketch. At any rate, I was looking for a theme for this sketchbook, and since its cover looks somewhat like a red brick wall, it seemed the perfect place to see what would happen if I sketch in black "and then add red..."  


The Inside Stori said...

I just love what you are doing…….the jolts of red are so right on!!

Charlton Stitcher said...

Ah zentangles! ... something I feel I might like (they're generally black and white) but have never quite got my head around. And those pops of red - a brilliant trick that always works - lovely!
Thank you for another prompt to try.The thought of having a special sketch book devoted to them - now that's something else!!

Michele Matucheski said...

Yes! Use that fancy Fountain Pen--any excuse to use that fountain pen. There was a fancy pen store in The Princess Mall in Glasgow (the mall with the peacock on top of the building entrance). I'd been there before, and was surprised the shop was still open. Glad of it, but surprised with the preponderance of computers and smart phones. There isn't all that much need to write long-hand anymore. And when you do--can you find that fancy fountain pen? Use it!

The Idaho Beauty said...

And on that note, Michele, I can add something I just ran across regarding fountain pens. Here's the link to the New York Times article that should gladden your heart ( but the pertinent quotation comes at the end:

"To attract the younger generations, Ms. Brown contends, stores like this one must convey the message that a pen is also a mark of style. When a person at a meeting “unscrews the top of a fountain pen,” she said, “everyone looks to see what he’s doing; that puts him one step above.”"

Can't you just envision that?