I've Jumped on the Bandwagon but Didn't Drink the Kool-aid

Who knew being anal with a 01 size Micron pen could produce a zen state? Well, I'm here to tell you it can. Last summer while flipping through an art supply catalog, I saw some black and white artwork that made my eyes pop and started snooping around the internet to find out more about these cleverly marketed, Escher-esque, pattern filled eye-chocolates. Armed with the wrong size Micron pen, a vague understanding of how to lay out these so named Zentangles™, a belief that doing these not-doodles could actually lower my blood pressure, and a ridiculous idea that I had to invent all new patterns for myself if I'm really an "artist," I tried a couple and gave up. Fortunately, at the last calligraphy guild meeting (Friends of the Alphabet... lovely people... I didn't make up the name, btw) the wonderful program coordinators presented a mini Zentangle* workshop, and I discovered all that vital information I'd missed the first time around.

Feel the ink spread on the smooth paper... ah... Sensuality is highly underrated. Of course, I get those voices in my head. You know the ones. They creep up and tell me to be more productive, that real artists don't follow crafty trends. Given that said voices don't help with the mortgage or the groceries, and certainly are a disaster for parenting, I've done a better job in recent years of telling them to 'f' off. They're only as real as the rest of my imagination, except they don't produce good work. I draw curvy lines. I fill them in in ways that make them pop off the page. I get new ideas. it makes me happy.

From time to time, I write about the benefits of smearing color around on a surface just to experience the sheer joy of doing so, which gets the right brain engaged and the left to shut up, about as necessary to creativity as oxygen is to survival. I suppose it's part of my multifaceted personality (though I use mostly cabochons, ha ha) that I crave both Van Gogh like vibrant intensity and Edward Gorey style Gothic severity.

Really, it's all about depth. I can't get enough of it. My favorite art is an experience in mesmerization. I invite the viewer/wearer into celestial landscapes as deep as the galaxy around Orion's belt from the movie, Men in Black, and if I can't hammer/paint/draw/sculpt the whole cosmos, a tiny corner of a deep space Hubble telescope view will do. Something scaled to fit under the collar bones works well.

So depth, black Micron pens, and 40 Zentangle patterns generously posted on some amazing artists' blogs as a jumping off point, and I can now achieve a zen state even at the end of a long day. In fact, I've achieved the impossible. As long as there are yummy patterns emerging on the sketchbook in my lap, I can reach such states of peace with my son and husband arguing over the TV remote and the dog trying to snag someone's dinner off the coffee table. (Our dining table is a permanent Lego stop animation video set. You might have already guessed that our priorities run toward the artistic rather than the conventional.) Here's one of my recent Zentangle endeavors.


Kingfisher Designs Jewelry said...

Now this is fantastic - It looks as if you could have just picked them up and put them on your bracelets. Wow!

I have been doodling with little patterns similar for about 50 years (Lord I am getting old) but looking at my sketch books it seems as if my right hand was drawing while my left hand held on to it saying stop, stop. stop when there was so much further to push it - and it has a name!

Leslie Todd said...

I just started doing some zentangles. I'm not very good at it yet but it is both completely absorbing and relaxing. Eventually I hope to do some that will make good stamp patterns for etching.