June 27, 2011

I’m not sure where I had first run across Zentangle, but I’m sure that it was through one of the blogs on my RSS feed. Though I’m a “retired” 2D artist, I still really like to doodle, and appreciated the mindful doodling that Zentangle promoted.

Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity. Zentangle provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well being. Zentangle is enjoyed by a wide range of skills and ages and is used in many fields of interest.

I found a class being given at Vancura gallery over on my side of town in Middlefield, and decided to sign up.  I brought Charlie with me, being that he’s an art teacher and everything, and I figured he could pick up some things to take back to his kids in the fall.

The best part about Zentangle is that it is impossible to screw them up: they are meant to be sbstract forms based on repetitive patterns.  Most of the time, you work on “tiles” about 3″ square, so it’s not a daunting task to complete a Zentangle.  It’s also meant to be a meditative experience, every stroke is deliberate, but you can allow yourself to go into a focused, meditative state while “tangling.”

For me, this is awesome: my brain, whether I like it or not, is always on.  Seriously, I suck at yoga, too.

I also like that the “imperfect” tangles are the best tangles.  It calms me knowing that there’s no such thing as the best tangle, and I can incorporate mistakes into the finished piece.  I am completely unable to let go of my imperfections elsewhere in my life.

With no correct answer, Zentangle offers both a freedom and a challenge. Unlike crossword, jigsaw, or Sudoku puzzles, there is no predetermined right answer. You cannot fail to create a Zentangle. At first this freedom can be a bit unnerving. Soon it becomes a freeing and uplifting experience as you realize you can create never-ending, ever-changing “solutions.”

I enjoyed that I took a Zentangle class with a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) – if you couldn’t tell, I really enjoy my structured learning environments.  But, if you are unable to attend one, you can order a kit (not necessary, really), or you can go on a few of the unofficial Zentangle websites:

Happy Tangling!