Dance of the Petals & Leaves

Since I last talked to you, I’ve been up to my eyeballs learning techniques, making friends, and getting pushed out of my comfort zone at Sharla Hicks’s Dance of the Petals and Leaves retreat. I signed up for it months ago thinking it would be good for me to get away shortly after Alexa went to school so I could cope with the inevitable loneliness. I had no idea how much I would learn.

Beckah Krahula took us on a tour of watercolors from the 1800s to today. We made some a mini book using 3 kinds of watercolors for a lovely background to discover and tangle some of Sharla’s botanicals. (I am waiting for the notes because I’ve already forgotten what kind we used!) Later, we used similar techniques on black and tan tiles. We spent a lot of time talking about color relationships.

Sharla had us make a watercolor background and use plastic wrap to make random designs. Instead of tangling it, I kept working on my mini books, but some day, I will tangle this!


We did lots of backgrounds with alcohol inks:

I love how these turned out but was not feeling inspired to tangle them.

We also did mono-printing, which I had never done before, but I absolutely loved it. Here are  my favorite pieces.

I love this one, even if it didn’t speak botanicals much.
This one is for Alexa, but not sure if I should tangle it, or give it to her to do.


And the serendipitous piece that came with the above one. I don’t think this one even needs any tangling.


Where did winter come from? The “window” came from printing the tiles below.

I even did tiles. I was so surprised at what a difference the tile color made to the overall effect. I used the same palette for all of these tiles.


When printing on tiles, it is helpful to make sure you print on the correct side! Duh.
I even made ghost prints on some tiles that I’d already tangled on. It was a little scary, but I think the results are so fun.

Here are some of the botanicals that Sharla taught us. I had so much fun with the printing and working on the prints that I didn’t do as many flowery things as the rest of the class. (But Sharla lets people do ‘independent study’ in her class.)


With all of those flowers and leaves last week, I don’t think I drew a single straight line, so it felt good to do this week’s Diva Challenge: Straight to it.


Tangles used: Ahh, nekton, betweed, striping, Kathy’s dilemma, paradox, printemps (tangleation). And also lots of little lines which may or may not have a name.


Usually, this would be a challenge since I like the curvy ones, but I had so much fun using one of my alcohol ink backgrounds that I really enjoyed this challenge. Hope you do too.

16 thoughts on “Dance of the Petals & Leaves

  1. It was wonderful to take part in a retreat with people I admire so much
    Chris, it was a delight to meet you. The work you did was outstanding and I learned so much from not only Sharla but from observing you. I’m already plotting to do this again next year. Perfect class size!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Judging by your creations, it looks like it was a wonderful workshop you attended. Even without specifically using curved tangles, the colored tile background and the way you used your straight line tangles resulted in a very organic looking “floral” feeling tile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I wanted to see if I could take some of the organic tangle techniques and simulate them using straight lines. It was a really fun exercise. With short lines drawn close together, it is easy to disguise their geometric nature.


  3. That sounds like an amazing retreat! I’d love to learn and have the group inspiration to play more with colour! I love your tangles on the the alcohol ink background – especially because you left lots of space for the colour to show through!

    Liked by 1 person

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