Musings and Amusings

Archive for the ‘Art Dabblings’ Category

Cherished Blogfest 2015

Thank you, Damyanti, Dan, Paul, Peter and Sharukh for co-hosting this Blogfest.

I apologize I can’t figure out how to link to the participants’ list, but you can find it by linking to one of the co-hosts above.

Did anyone else drive yourself crazy selecting a Cherished Object?


Mono a Mano

No, that’s not a typo in my title (although I don’t know how to put the accent mark on the ‘a’).

I’ve been tangling a little differently the past couple of weeks – practicing monotangles instead of multiples. Monotangle simply means I cover the entire tile with one pattern, either repeating a pattern in small multiples or using the entire tile to make a pattern once.

That explains ‘Mono“.

Where’s the ‘Mano‘ come in? (more…)

Snow Tangles

Here on the Front Range, we’re getting one of our two-day snowstorms. This is one of our few storms with measureable accumulation and blizzard-like winds of Winter 2015. Nothing like the Plains and Northeast states are suffering, but enough to use ‘hunkering in’ as an excuse to tangle.

I decided to try a snowflake template. My results are ‘ok’ (shushing my inner critic to post not-ready-for-prime-time results) because:

1). I’m being lazy with my brain and eyes today

2). I’m using twelve new (to me) tangle patterns with no practice

3). The shading technique still baffles me. I overdo, underdo or in-the-wrong-place-do

Meh … whatever.

I selected patterns beginning with S for Snow on the first tangle and ones with F for Flake on the second.

The six patterns here are Sandswirl, Showgirl, Spaanders, Slalom, Snowzags, and Seedings (they are spelled correctly).


By Sammy D.

The six patterns here are Facets, Fiore, Fandango, Fang, Fishnet, Footlites.


By Sammy D.

I like all twelve patterns well enough to practice and use them again, but I would use a design that provides larger tangle areas than my snowflake templates did.

If you’ve stuck with me this far, here’s your bonus …..

Mind-boggling, stop-in-your-tracks Snow Tangles by Simon Beck, an artist whose work was produced next to Mt. Blanc in Savoie, France. HOURS of meticulous design planning followed by stomping kilometers worth of footsteps in the snow to produce these fleeting works of art:

Art by Simon Beck

Art by Simon Beck

Art by Simon Beck

Art by Simon Beck

snow art 4

Art by Simon Beck

snow art 2

Simon Beck creating his snow art

Even as I marvel at his creativity, beauty and stamina – and strap on my snowshoes to mush around the neighborhood – I’m agreeing with myself this is one kind of tangle I won’t be attempting. But I sure enjoy his!

You can google Simon Beck or see more of his work here.

Thanks to my wing-woman, Coco, for introducing me to Simon!

Six Week Check-Up

Six weeks into 2015, I’m reviewing my list of Envisions:

  1. Music and Keyboard
  2. Mapping and Footprints
  3. Urban Sketching and Watercolors
  4. Word Origins – a self study course
  5. Writing Craft and Practice

If I don’t consciously allocate time and energy, I will stick with what I am already enjoying (Keyboard), and ignore what is more difficult or intimidating. Even as I created my list, I knew which one I’d be least likely to pursue, and why – Urban Sketching and Watercolors.


  • Homebody
  • Linear, sequential thinker
  • Boundaries, deliberate, precise, defined
  • Clarity, balance, predictability
  • Silence, alone, lack of commotion

My impression of Urban Sketching:

  • People, public places, parking, schlepping
  • Vibrant, active, constant movement
  • Sounds, noise, interaction
  • Quick capture, fast strokes, hurry

My impression of Watercolors:

  • Defy boundaries
  • Run, ooze, drip, overflow, blend
  • The paint is in charge
  • Require patience

imageMy incompatibility with these two choices is obvious. Yet taken together as one art form, Urban Sketching and Watercolors seem to rein each other in while simultaneously complementing each other.

I’ve been so stimulated by the art of bloggers who work in this arena, not to mention curious about how they immerse themselves in the very environments they chronicle. Light, shadows, details – I see them now in ways I’ve never noticed.

I don’t fear not doing this well. I fear not doing it at all.

Trying art of any kind is very intimidating. I feel like a kindergartner insisting, “I do it myself”, but I DO have to experiment my own way.

imageMy habit  – until now – with anything ‘artsy’ is to buy umpteen ‘how to’ books; study them ad nauseum while taking copious notes; then never actually begin a project. This time I allowed myself to quickly thumb through two books as long as I promised to pick up a pencil and Do Something!

I read that your first sketch should be a self-portrait. So I stood in front of the mirror and sketched what I saw. Sorry it’s so light – too timid with my strokes – but it’s a good likeness with a vertical wrinkle between my eyebrows and naturally downturned corners of my mouth when I’m not smiling.

By Sammy D

By Sammy D

Next, I sketched a body in motion using a ballet dancer on a postcard as my model. After drawing her likeness, I colored her using watercolor brush pens.


Finally I opened my watercolor tin; wet the colors; dipped the brush; held the brush to white paper. Then what? Paint a stroke on the paper? Then another? That went nowhere.

I like tangling because I define the shape and patterns. I like coloring with gel pens and sharpies because they are predictable.

Not so with watercolors.

Whether my perception is accurate or not, I have to figure out how to bridge the divide between my current comfort zone and watercolors.

imageI decided to start with a tangle form; add pieces of design tape; then color around the tape with sharpies. A collage of sorts, one where colors meet but don’t bleed. I like that result.

Now I’m ready to watch a watercolor demo video.

Then I’ll open a book. Study a chapter or two.

Sketch some more. Paint the sketches.

I might even leave my quiet home sanctuary to visit a café. Draw a hand holding a cup of coffee. Pay attention to shadows and light.

Dip my croissant in watercolors …

Words Don’t Flow But Spirit Shines

Ten lords a leaping; six geese a laying…

One Sammy tangling…

Christmas Tangle


If you’re tired of tangles, I understand!  That seems to be where my Santa spirit resides these days, and I enjoy the calming effect more than trying to harness words that elude my grasp. Plenty of time to crack the writing whip in the new year!








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