In April I was introduced to the simple but fascinating art of Zentangle. I have always loved to draw-by-instruction, and there are plenty of patterns to choose from on the now favorited site I found, TanglePatterns.com, hosted by Linda Farmer.
After cutting a few cardstock squares, I grab a pen and go from there. Sometimes I am inspired to try the featured "tangle" from the free weekly email newsletter I signed up to receive, I'm not always impressed by my results, but often times, I am. My pen is not fancy, I've used everything from a blue Sound Credit Union handout to a pink Zig fine-tip marker to a red ball point, and the results are always the same... a small dose of creativity which requires me to flex my skills in a new direction.
I have found that the patience required to follow through with each step of the drawing can be challenging, as I generally prefer to spread my creativity over many projects simultaneously (I read more than 3 books at a time for the same reason- I get bored!)
I have found that I am more at peace with the possibility of a "mistake" than most. Score one point for the CraftWithAnna indoctrination table! For one thing, hardly anyone you present with a hand drawn item will notice, let alone comment on your boo-boo. Second, in a twisted mass of lines and shading, the distraction of an overdrawn line here or there is simply not relevant to the viewer. Heck, a lot of times, I can't believe I've drawn something so ethereal!
In a way, I don't really feel as though it is me that has done the drawing; I'm following the step-by-step patterns largely designed by others, my general array of tools are absent, and my mind sometimes successfully achieves the quiet and reflective mindlessness that Zentangle-ing should result in. Some cards, I can't wait to finish because I'm not enjoying the process, and other cards have to be extended as I just have to continue this adventurous form of doodling :-) So, it's kind of like the internal, more inclined to follow directions to the letter instead of taking an idea and making it my own ME is at work on these little pieces of art.
With the support of Two Waters Arts Alliance, earlier this month I was able to take teach a Meditative Doodling class at my favorite spot to hang with the teens, Key Center's Red Barn Youth Center. Over three one hour sessions, we explored umpteen designs and created some really cool keepsakes including a birdhouse, flower pot, and picture frame. I encouraged the students to give their intriguing doodle-scapes away, but we all laughed about the suggestion each time it was made because, it is kind of hard to do. The overlapping scenes, organic flow of designs worked, rigid encapsulation of each expressed element; well they are all part of the our internal mind-flow, made visible. Except instead of being a jumble of unexpressed turmoil, these tangibly tantalizing tangles hint at the greatest executioner of artistic possibility that lies within each of us.
So go ahead, grab a moment, something to draw on, and a pen and try your hand at Zentangle-ing awhile. I can almost promise you, the moment will expand and fill you with a quiet rest that will reside in the future viewing of that attempt. And of course, if you happen to tag a pic of your try with a #CraftWithAnna, I'll be able to applaud you from afar!