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Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Colorful Dare

This week's Bright Owl Zendala Dare (#40) template reminded me of a star with some maple leaf thrown in.  Erin (aka Bright Owl) had a hard time with this template because she didn't like it that much and started tangling with negativity in her mind.  It's so easy to do this when creating art, when driving to work, or when trying something new.  If we lead with negative thoughts or misconceptions, what kind of results are we likely to have?

I know that when I tangle, I sometimes create a string or part of a tile that I don't love.  If I find myself struggling to finish it, I put it aside immediately.  I never force myself to finish a piece if it's distressing me somehow because it defeats the relaxing and centering purpose of Zentangle® method for me.

I come back to the piece another time to see if I can do something else with it.  Before becoming a CZT, I would discount my work saying it wasn't that great and probably wouldn't complete it.  Sure, there are pieces I like more than others, but I try to look at each one as a learning opportunity.  A lesser piece, in my opinion, still allows me to try out new patterns, techniques, or colors in a safe environment.  It's not the Sistine Chapel, people!  After I became a CZT, I've learned to give myself permission to try again without having to worry about the end result.  So what if it's not perfect or that interesting to me?  I make sure I keep every piece (unless I'm giving it away as a gift) to help chronicle my artistic journey.

If my 2-year old daughter gave up when she first learned to walk, where would she be now?  Each bumbling step she took over a year ago was part of her learning process.  She practiced, tried, fell, and got back up.  It was all essential to learning how to take her own steps in this world.  If a 2-year old isn't intimidated by such a major milestone, who am I do be intimidated by a 3.5" piece of paper?

Knowing that Erin thought her Zendala Dare was trying this week, I made sure I just went with it.  I took Ronnie's suggestion last week (thanks!) and printed the pattern on paper, traced it, and transferred the pencil lines onto my work surface.  I immediately decided to try something new--my metallic Gelly Roll pens.  I tangled the entire thing this way without a black pen and had fun playing with color.  I love these pens although I wouldn't want to use them on a daily basis because they aren't as fine as working with the lovely Microns.  Nonetheless, it was a blast filling in patterns and watching this Zendala come to life.  I started with the Flux leaves, moved to the inner stars areas, added some Crescent Moon, and finished with the outer triangles.  Here is the colorful end result:

Here's another Zendala I created this week using a pre-strung tile.  I had a blast with parts of it, but I did not like how my center experiment came out merging Cadent and Huggins.  I kept going, finished the tile, and now when I look at it, I see the lovely Paradox, my new tangle friend Featherfall, and my tangleation of Crescent Moon.  This tile represents perseverance despite negativity or attitude.

We all have days where we don't feel our best or most optimistic.  I hope that when you're having one of those days that you can give yourself permission to not have to be perfect.  We're always much harder on ourselves on those days, with our artwork as well as other aspects of our lives.  Maybe instead of holding onto the angst, try letting go and accepting the outcome whatever it may be.


  1. I like both of your tangles, especially the second. It reminds me of pine needles and pine cones for some reason :)

  2. Your work is beautiful, but even more inspiring are your words. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much, Cathy. I got a bit chatty in this post, but it was really important to me. Being a reformed-perfectionist, I have learned to let go much more often thanks to the Zentangle method!

  3. Both your zendala's are great and I love the soft colours in the first. I also love your words, they are so true! And .... I can know myself, being a person that knew all her life that she could not draw.

  4. I like them both. The color one is cute, and the other one is just like an flower arrangement for christmas. Like it very much.

  5. It thrilled me to see you used a technique I mentioned on my Flickr page! Thanks for giving me credit. It's really great to know I made a difference in your artwork. Your words regarding zentangling are inspiring and so true. I never thought of myself as an "artist" but feel amazed sometimes when I look at all the Zentangles and ZIAs I've created. I posted them despite my thoughts about how they weren't as good as the others I've seen. I've come to realize we all have our own style and we should be proud of it and not criticize ourselves as much as we often do.

    Also, wanted you to know your two tiles are awesome! Love the addition of color!

  6. They both give me a christmasy feeling - I 'specially love the colors in the first one. Lovely, both.

  7. Great work on both, and the first one reminds me of sea somehow. It is great without the black ink. Very soothing colors and tangles. The second is deep woods... another of my favorite places. I agree also with your thoughts. We all would have missed out on so much fun and creativity if we weren't brave about our first zentangle post.