Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trying Newly -- Again!

I love blogs and Tumblrs. I subscribe to around thirty, so thank goodness most people don't post every day!
Several of my subscriptions are Tumblrs. For those of you who are not familiar with them they are mostly visual blogs - a place to post images that you like or are inspired by. I think of it as a virtual scrap book where I can pull from millions of other people's tear sheets.
MariĆ«t is one. She is a Zentangle fan, calligrapher and bookmaker. Much of the time her posts are written in a language I don't read, but her work is inspiring. Then yesterday I was really inspired. So inspired I downloaded a Zendala Dare string and did a tangle.
If you are wondering what a tangle or Zentangle is -- remember the doodling you did in school when you should have been paying attention to the teacher, (or yesterday in that meeting?)? A version of that is a tangle approached in a meditative manner. The string is the outline you begin with, like the ruled lines on the paper were. This is the string for the mandala below.
Mandala Dare #56

The challenge here was to create with only pencil.
I began with a 7H lead - that is a really hard lead that is easy to make a really light mark with and will not get very dark. I traced the outline (from a printed copy) and further delineated the spaces and began to add patterns.
I needed some dark so I grabbed another pencil with a 6B lead. This is a lead that is very soft and makes a really dark mark (the dark triangles). I filled in the middle with some 3B lead (nice mid softness)
Each lead has a different softness and will give you a different level of dark. The softer the lead the darker it will go. The harder the lead the lighter is can be. Word of warning though -- the hard leads almost inscribe the paper so erasing is not always possible. (Thankfully the marks can be so light that you can really plan ahead, change your mind and it will not show in the final result!) With the softer leads sometimes erasing will only lighten a certain amount off the paper leaving it a little hazy (which can be a nice effect if you wanted it).

I have been doing work on paper much more lately though with ink and coloured pencil and markers. Going back to the basics of graphite was nice. Amazing how fine or a pattern can be rendered in pencil!

PS! If you are thinking I am crazy to follow that many blogs perhaps you don't know about the RSS feed option. If you go to the bottom of this page you will see "Subscribe to Posts (Atom)" link. Click on that and then the link on lower right subscribe in mail. 
In my mail program, "Mail 4.6" that came with my Macintosh there is a folder where subscriptions automatically go. While my unread e-mails are currently 8 it is not counting my unread blogs (over a hundred). The thing I like about that is that it connects me with things I am interested (I don't have to bookmark and  remember to GO read... it just shows up in that folder, but not tallied up in my unread messages taunting me to urgently respond.

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