Time seems to fly when I get engrossed in a task. Today, that was exploring a simple Zentangle fragment – a circle in a square.
In Zentangle terms, a fragment is the basic unit of a repeating pattern, whether repeated as is or rotated/reflected.
It is always a lot of fun to see what kinds of fragments I can develop using the chosen one to spark some creativity.
It’s always lovely, too, to work on toned paper, in this case, it’s from Fabriano and is in the colour ‘Clay’. Whenever I use toned paper, I realise I’m drawing in shadow and light; the paper is the mid-tone. This is why I love to colour plain paper with Distress Inks or NeoColor II water-soluble wax crayons. The colour immediately becomes the backdrop for dark and light and a strong contrast ‘twixt the two extremes.
In art, chiaroscuro is the term used for the use of high contrast between light and dark in a composition. In drawing, this is affected by using a coloured background, and black and white ink or media are used to create the drawing.
As I was typing this, I realized I’ve long loved working in this way. Since my early days of exploring my artistic nature that started some 20 years ago, I discovered I loved to use coloured paper with white and a black or much darker tone of the paper to draw with. It was far more fascinating to me to draw in light and shade rather than tones of grey graphite on white paper. It was my chosen way to work when I did some life drawing. When I go out and about sketching, I will colour the pages in my sketchbook with Distress Inks and use black and white pens/pencils to draw on them. The shapes of shadows and highlights fascinate me; everything becomes very architectural.
I’ve often mentioned the only oil paintings I’ve ever done and how three-dimensional they appear. When people see them for the first time, they’ll touch them because they think they are dimensional and are always surprised to find out they are totally flat. The high contrast I favour in my work creates the illusion of volume.
This little journey down the pathways of memory has allowed me to make some connections. I’m smiling as some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is me fall into place, clicking together satisfyingly.
There are times when I have to work with black pen on white paper, but there are many times when I can choose what colour paper to use. And going forward, I think much of my entangled drawing that isn’t for colouring books will be done on toned paper.