A 30 Mile Ride

Maine is beautiful this time of year. Well, Maine is always beautiful but especially so right now. Yesterday, Mark and I took the side by side out for a thirty mile ride and we saw a whole bunch of God’s wonderful goodness along the way!

A lot of our ride looked like this. In case you don’t know what a side by side is – we have a 4-wheeler, an ATV, that has sides and a roof and doors and a front seat we can both sit on. We like to go for a ride on Sunday afternoons whenever we can. Yesterday was a great day for a ride.

Most of the time you don’t have any idea what is up ahead. We actually passed 5 or 6 groups of other ATVs out for the day. Not a lot of room on these trails to pass so you just pull to the side as far as you can and hope for the best.

We rode this trail when Kali was here a couple weeks ago. This area was a deep mud hole filled with water. Kali and I almost turned over here. It was scary for a while there. And we had to do it twice because we had to get back home afterwards. Mark saw on Facebook that someone had filled this area with rocks. It was a piece of cake riding yesterday.

Which is not to say we didn’t have mud holes. Because we did. A lot of them! But not deep so it was alright.

And a lot of the trail was beautiful like this area.

No, we didn’t have to drive down this. We were on a little bridge made of planks and stopped to take this photo.

I liked it so much I took two photos! Hahahaha!

There was one stretch where the woods were pretty much open and there were ferns everywhere! For probably a quarter mile.

We passed right under this nest. Pretty cool!

This little bridge actually had rails on the sides. Nice.

This was the reason for our ride. I meant to take a photo before I started devouring but forgot till I was about half way through this Moose Tracks Reece’s sundae. So good. The Dairy Bar – where they use local product – is a favorite destination for many ATV riders here.

And then we headed back home. Those fields to the left will be harvested for hay before long. And those are wild raspberry bushes you see along the right. Next time we will take a bowl with us. There were several places where we stopped to pick some berries and didn’t even get out of the side by side. The bushes were close enough to pick from inside the vehicle.

I keep hoping to see a moose out here one day, but so far no luck.

There are always flowers of some variety blooming here once the snow is gone. Beautiful Black-eyed Susans and some white flowery something. You have to shoot pictures fast when you ride with Mark. Hahahahaha! Just another beautiful day in Maine. Have a great one today! We are expecting some winds and rain from the tropical storm to reach us either today or tomorrow. I expect it will be like any other rainy day here. Nothing compared to spending hurricane seasons in Florida.

Smooshing With Acrylic Block

I showed you a smoosh technique for adding color to a tile a few days ago and someone mentioned I should try this with an acrylic block. So I did. And it worked great! Let me show you!

My project started with a new set of markers. Specifically some Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Artists’ Watercolor Markers that came in the mail yesterday. Perfect for this technique! I also grabbed some tiles cut from Hahnemühle‘s Bristol Illustration paper and an acrylic block about 4″ square.

If you use stamps you may already have an acrylic block on hand. They are used primarily for clear stamps but they work great in this smoosh technique as well. I started with these two colors of the markers and scribbled a bit of each straight onto my block. Those black marks you see on the block are permanent and won’t come off. They did not interfere with this process. Thankfully.

I was a little concerned because the color did not bead up like I am used to. The next step in the smoosh technique is to spray water – so I did. Sprayed water right onto the color and I relaxed. The color still did not bead up like it does when I do this on my craft mat, but I could at least tell the color was now fluid.

I took my first tile and placed it down into the color, totally forgetting about smooshing. I smoothed it down in place, then lifted the tile away.

I liked what I had so far, but this tile needed more color in that lower right section.

I still had some color on the block, so I smooshed it down onto my tile in that lower section and stamped color in place.

When I lifted the acrylic block I noticed all these bands of bubbles. Weird. But I liked them so I sat this tile to the side to dry and moved on.

For my next tile I scribbled just this one color onto the block and sprayed it with water. When I sat the block down onto my tile, I smooshed it firmly in place and imprinted this beautiful color into the tile.

Pretty but a bit bland for my tastes – hahahahaha! So I added some green and some pink. Smooshed and twisted the block to spread the color more. Then sat it aside to dry. Fun!

These colors aways look great together and remind me of spring! Bright and beautiful!

I added the colors to the block one at a time and smooshed each one separately. I got some really great dots and bubbles and squishiness!

This smooshing with the acrylic block was working super well so I continued. I love pink and purple together! Scribble, scribble, spray!

And smoosh! Don’t you love the feathers of color when I smoosh?

And I smooshed really well. When I lifted I had all these little dots of color! Fabulous!

Not loving this one but I thought I’d show it to you anyway. This will probably be the only time you ever see it. Hahahaha! This one will probably eventually get some acrylic color scraped over the top, some stamped dots, some scribbles of Sharpies and become a base for an ATC. Waste not, want not. Or some such.

Oh wait! See that same tile on the bottom row? The first one on the left? I added more color and I love it now! So, nope on the ATC future. Hahahahaha! Notice how the bubbles popped and left cool texture behind?

This was the very first one. Look at those bands of white dots!

I will be tangling each of these tiles because I love them that much! Smooshing using the acrylic block was easy! The thing I liked most was this. Since my block was clear I could actually see where the color was going and could place the color where it was needed. The texture bubbles was an extra surprise – a bonus, so to speak! I may make more of these this afternoon! So, grab an acrylic block, any size will work, some water-based markers and smoosh some awesome color onto your tiles! You know you want to!

Bristol Illustration paper and other Hahnemühle products with purchase links

Glamour Additions, Week 3

It is week three already in Glamour Additions! Unbelievable! A journey we are taking to improve our tangled art, to make it more polished, more finished, more complete. Here is what we are doing this week!

Let me begin by showing you my pages for this week. Not everyone will do this many pages, I just wanted to be sure a visual learner could look at my work and understand what to do. We are talking blocks and grids this week. Zentangle HQ calls them fragments and reticula, but honestly I have never been able to get those words to stick in my brain. But blocks and grids I can do all day long.

The book I am using is one I made myself. I used Bristol Illustrated paper from Hahnemühle and cut the pages to roughly 5.5″ tall x 8″ wide. Then I put a spiral on it with my Bind-It-All machine. A great tool to have!

The blocks are little bits of patterns that can be drawn in a repeating pattern, or by rotating the block inside the grid framework, or by mirroring the blocks or even alternating two different blocks.

Merryweather is one of my all-time favorite patterns. My friend Sandy Hunter designed it. Last year Sandy sent me this four-set of Bijou tiles and I promptly lost them. Sorry, Sandy. But they turned up recently – Sandy tangled two of the tiles and I tangled the remaining two using mostly her patterns. She has a lot of cool tangles!

We are working on this project in my Facebook group Tangle All Around. With the lesson each week, I also give them seven tangles to learn.

I took three blocks of patterns and placed them into the grid framework. That top one is Sandy’s Merryweather tangle – it worked great as a fragment or block!

Nemow is a brand new pattern that was just released last week. Perfect as a block to use in the grid framework!

Now let me walk you through the lesson. Fragments or blocks are merely little chunks of patterns that you can rotate, or mirror, or repeat within a grid framework to create a larger pattern.

Reticula or the grid framework should be drawn in ink. It becomes part of the pattern and inside that framework of either squares or circles or triangles – you place the blocks.

Stuck and need more direction? Zentangle HQ released this set of 50 blocks on their website. You can use any of these to fit into the grid framework. You can either repeat them, mirror them, rotate them or alternate two different blocks.

Here I took the I3 block and inserted it into my grid framework. I broke the framework down into four squares in each section and rotated my blocks in each section.

Same thing here. In each square section I drew the first block, then turned my paper – or rotated it – and drew the next block. Then turned and drew, then turned and drew.

I gave my group this string to work with. A square grid framework to fill with blocks. Blocks and grids OR fragments and reticula.

And here are the seven patterns for week 3.

Want to get involved? Come on over to Tangle All Around by clicking here and join us. I would love to see you there!

Smoosh Technique Watercolor

You have seen me demo markers as watercolors many times before. Recently I read about another way of using the same technique idea but delivering the color to your paper in a different manner. That is what I want to show you today. The Smoosh Technique. So much fun but unpredictable. And really – isn’t that part of the fun?

For my first experiment I started with four colors of the Letraset Neon Markers. I had not been as successful with these in the past as I’d like and wanted to see if smooshing would work any better. Underneath everything you see my craft mat to protect my desktop. You also see a piece of clear plastic. Something non-porous. It helps for this piece to have some stiffness to it. The only other things you need are a spray bottle of water and some paper.

I started with two colors and scribbled them onto the craft mat. Don’t worry about any kind of design or drawing technique here. Just scribble.

Take your bottle of water and spray it right onto the scribbled color. It should bead up like this. I should point out here that alcohol based markers will not work. Go with any water based marker and smooshing should work for you.

While the color is wet, take your piece of plastic and lay it right on top and smoosh it down. I tried laying it down flat and lifting and I tried laying it down flat and twisting back and forth and lifting. Either way, place – smoosh – and lift.

Then turn the plastic over and stamp the color onto your paper. Here I was working in my Glamour Additions book I made using Bristol Illustrated paper from Hahnemühle. I love my book! It’s perfect for this project and the bright white really shows off the colors!

First stamp.

Then I put the plastic back onto the color on my craft mat and lifted more, then stamped again.

I liked what I was getting but I thought these markers were a little light in color for my tastes – you know me and my color! So I went on to the pink. This time I just used one color at a time.

I noticed that by using just the one color, the pink didn’t get softened down as much in the smooshing process. It didn’t get blended with a second color because the second color wasn’t there. And I liked that better.

This was after using all the colors. And I learned along the way. Remember I told you your plastic should have some stiffness to it? It should also have a little flex to it. That bright yellow green section along the left was made by flexing my plastic so that just a line down the center touched my paper. Not the entire piece of plastic. That allowed me to place the color in specific locations.

Then I let it sit and dry naturally. No heat gun. I like the way the colors still merge and you get cool edges. And notice that even though my paper has a little ruffling when it was wet, it dried flat. I can’t show you yet what I did with this page because I used it in my week 3 or week 4 pages for Glamour Additions. You will see it before long.

While I was at it, I tried one more smoosh project using Tombow brush pens in the same four colors. Just not neons. And I used three different colors of Daler Rowney acrylic inks to add some splatters.

I don’t usually use a string when I tangle a page like this but I thought why not? So here is my string.

I took a few sections of that yellow and started with printemps – I usually always start with printemps – with no regard for my string. Then I used the string for the remainder of the drawing.

As far as enhancers you will notice I used rounding, perfs, sparkle, auras, coffering and line weight. And even though the background was beautifully colored, the whole piece just didn’t look finished.

So I ‘shaded’ using colored pencils. I love working like this! I hope you will try the smoosh technique. It was lots of fun and I learned a couple things. Like: 1) be flexible and 2) using one color at a time gave more predictable results. But I’ve never really been to follow the rules. Hahahaha!

Bristol Illustrated paper and other Hahnemühle products with purchase links