Monday, June 29, 2015

Dreaming in hexagons

King Me Boardgamery and Café is a new business in Saskatoon owned and operated by my better half. Having connections, I got involved in the decor!

The floors are diagonal black-and-white check (Knightsbridge!) with a deep red baseboard. A border resembling wainscotting, and matching the baseboard, was desired around the walls. Many contemporary games use hexagons for the game boards so I suggested a row of hexagons rather than a simple band of red.

I started with an 8" circle and made a hexagon inside that. I cut that shape out of a sheet of stencilling plastic intending to stamp the hexagons onto the wall. It leaked. Phooey. I think wall paint is too thin. Plan B: frog tape, which worked excellently.
First, a leaky stencil, then on to frog tape.
Many thanks to the Nice Young Man at the paint store who advised me that red doesn't cover well and I should start with dark primer. Good advice. Even with two coats of dark primer it took 4-5 coats of the red paint to get the coverage needed.
Five layers of red paint later... hexagons completed!
But wait! That's not all.

Of course, the hexagons didn't all fit neatly along the length of each wall. That would be way too easy, and not nearly as much fun. It was a good excuse for some funkiness. I added some offset, and some smaller, hexagons. I also color photocopied hexagon pieces from a few games and stuck them on the wall. There are only half a dozen of these scattered around the room, so they're a little surprise.
On the left: a large piece from the game Mage Knight.
In the middle: two announcements of the Catan World Championship in Berlin.
On the right: two planet hexagons from the game Star Trek Catan (yes, seriously).
On the left: the whole section of wall.
On the right: a close-up of tiny hexes from the game Castles of Burgundy.
One section is very short, bumping out around a post or something. It seemed to want a stop sign (octagon) and my husband suggested, "No, make it say 'Play.'" Brilliant. Wanting to get it right, research determined that the font on a stop sign is Highway Gothic. The wall beside it has smaller hexagons, oriented the other way.

And yes. I used some boards leftover from poking out game pieces for the smaller hexagons!

We had purchased a couple of interesting vinyl "paintings" at a yard sale thinking they might be useful. They're stretched on wood to look like canvas paintings.
They did fit quite nicely above a sofa in an alcove, but they really needed some hexagons, don't you think?

At the front, near the counter, is the unfinished back of a metal mailbox for the tenants upstairs. The wall is painted, but it looked quite rough and needed to be covered. I offered to do a painting. 24" square was a sliver too small so I worked on a 30" canvas. I planned a large red hexagon on a checked black-and-white background. I thought I'd tangle some patterns in the hexagon.

As you may know, one of my art mottos is "When in doubt, add more." The painting definitely became more. It almost took on a life of its own as I tangled away with some new paint pens I'd been wanting to try. Here are a few "in progress" shots:

Here are some detail shots of the red hexagon:
Hexagon friendly tangles: Afterglo, Beeline, Paradox, Phroz, Tripoli, Windfarm, Y-Not
And here it is, in situ near the front window. Well, that was fun!

And here are two photos of the business: the view from the front door, and the game library.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Twinchie. Two by two. And in the zentangle world: Bijou tiles.

I was recently asked by Cheryl Stocks if she could post an image of mine on her twinchie challenge blog for an upcoming challenge with the prompt 'flower of life'. You can see one of my zendala sized flower of life pieces there. I also did a couple of bijou tiles for the challenge.
 I began another flower of life pattern but got off on the wrong foot and ended up with this.
That got me into bijou mode and I did some beginning with a color wash.
I noticed that the twinchie challenge prompt back when Cheryl contacted me was 'amoeba', which sounded like fun so I did some for that too.
I posted some of my earlier bijou tiles here. I find it a bit of a challenge to work this small, but oddly somewhat liberating too. It's so quick to do, and I think I feel a little more experimental.

Cheryl has a list of upcoming prompts on the left on her blog, so if you want to participate you can plan ahead a little.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How "Palazzo" came to be

I was shopping for a frame for a piece I'd just completed (Ribbony), and the one I liked best came with glass, which I didn't need (but it can be saved). Because there was glass, there was a sheet of paper with a photo and frame information. The photo struck me for various reasons.
I like the large, Corinthian column capitals. The columns remind me of the tangle Romanancy. I like the sense of being drawn into the distance. I like the strong light, and that it's a black and white photo. I like the row of lamps and the pattern on the balcony railing.

I thought it would be an interesting picture to turn into a piece of zentangle-inspired art (ZIA), partly because so much of it is very plain surfaces. What would it look like crammed full of patterns?

I managed to trace the image reasonably well onto some art paper. It's 15"x13". I started with some masking fluid for the very white areas, and did some ink washes. The masking fluid was not one of my better ideas and I'll save it for canvas or another type of paper!

Here it is, partly done, pattern-cramming in full swing:

Next step, almost all the tangling done, but no shading yet. At this point I thought it looked like quite a jumble.

Oh the wonders of shading! I had to darken some areas and lighten others, then re-lighten and re-darken, trying for the right tone. Lots of darkening in the upper left; maybe more is needed? Here is the (almost?) finished "Palazzo".

Thursday, June 4, 2015

All Boxed Up

That's the name of Alice Hendon's tangle that the Diva wants us to use in this week's zentangle challenge. I hadn't seen this tangle before (yay challenges!) and it was fun to try it.
Tangles: All Boxed Up, Aquafleur, Beadlines, Palrevo, Printemps, Spinning
My next string had a passage that flowed through the middle, with a break in it. I did a more regular All Boxed Up and didn't shade it except where it curves.
Tangles: All Boxed Up, Crescent Moon, Not-a-knot, Paradox
Then I started really having fun with it! I had done something I didn't like on the right, so I blacked it all in and then drew in white. No mistakes, right?
Tangles: All Boxed Up, Beadlines, Pearlz

Friday, May 29, 2015

Many Moons Ago

I usually do buildings of some sort, or trees, but this wanted to be mountains. And multiple moons.
Many Moons Ago
(c) 2015 Margaret Bremner
Tangles: Aquafleur, Fassett, Finery, Flukes, Flux, Miranda,
Narwal, Palrevo, Pearlz, Sanibelle, Sindoo, Tipple
It's 6"x9" and began with a gray wash on parts of the paper. I really wanted something funky for some of the mountains but couldn't think of anything. Then along came Sam Taylor's Narwal tangle. Perfect! I tangled in black, and shaded in pencil. There is a bit of gray ink throughout for mid-tones and shadow.

For those interested, here's Sam Taylor demonstrating how to draw Narwal:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Night on the Canal

I'd seen pictures of these step-roofed buildings and wanted to try them on my houses.

I began with a random gray wash in a few places, and water-soluble color pencil in others (all light-fast materials). It's a little odd that I left a few places simply black-and-white, but I think it works. I also used colored ink on the houses, and color pencils for some shading.

The moon was a bit of an issue. It's quite large! Originally I used silver leaf but it just wasn't working. I scraped it off. The art sat around for a while as I wondered what it wanted. (I think part of inspiration is patience.)

Then it struck me: I've saved a few bits of holographic papers! I knew they would offer varying colors depending on the angle of view. I cut out the moon shape and glued it on. I liked it! But... it was a bit stark and too obvious. I thought of drawing a little on it, but the paper is very slick. Thank you Sakura microperm pens! I added wiggly lines and now I'm quite happy with it.
Night on the Canal
(c) 2015 Margaret Bremner
Tangles: Bunzo, Diva Dance variation, Flux, Nipa, Pearlz, Sanibelle, Seljuk,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Onion domes - two new pieces

If you follow me at all you'll know I love onion domes. They are lovely bulbous shapes, sort of like pears. Here are a couple of new pieces with onion domed buildings.

They measure 6"x9". Each began with a random gray wash over parts of the paper, then I tangled in black ink and shaded in pencil. Occasionally I used gray ink for mid-tones or shading. There is the odd bit of white ink: the stars and Msst in the top piece and in the clouds in the second.
"From Noon to Midnight"
(c) 2015 Margaret Bremner
tangles: Black Pearlz, Florz, Flukes, Flux, Keystone, Knightsbridge, Lamar, 
Msst, Pearlz, Printemps, Sanibelle, Seljuk, Sindoo, Sird, Spinning, Tipple, Warble
"Way Station"
(c) 2015 Margaret Bremner
tangles: Brix, Bunzo, Diva Dance, Flux, Keystone, Meringue, Msst, 
Palrevo, Pearlz, Printemps, Sanibelle, Sindoo, Sird, Tipple, Wud