Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dear Zentangle


Dear Zentangle,

You are a beautiful art form that we had a fantastic opportunity to learn today.  I enjoyed it so much that I must share you so that more people would be able to experience all the wonderful attributes you encompass.

The kiddos' school art teacher holds Studio Saturday sessions to help families learn new ways to be creative with art forms with their children.  As a big fan of art myself, I signed us up and went to our session today.  The topic today was Zentangles.  It is a method of art that involves drawing structured patterns and promotes intuitive creativity.  In a very short period of time, the four of us created art that was so easy and exquisite that we even wowed ourselves.  I looked it up when we returned home, and not surprisingly, one of the characteristics of drawing Zentangles is internalizing artistic satisfaction with an increased sense of personal well being.  Truly, the process was a peaceful, serene, and rejuvenating feeling. 

The art teacher planned today's Zentangle drawings to revolve around scenic nature.  We began by looking at many different types of landscapes: rolling hills with trees; a moon on the bough of a tree; a winding path into the horizon; a setting sun on the hills.  We drew the basic lines of the landscape with simple pencil strokes, and then used thin Sharpie pens to trace those simple strokes.  Then we began to embellish all the white spaces with patterns.  These patterns could be practically anything--in all shapes, sizes, line densities, fills, etc.  We were given a packet that showed many examples, and we all just went to work.

Dear Son (age 5), with his perfectionistic tendencies, had a hard time with the pencil and paper part.  After he picked his favorite landscape, I helped him draw the pencil lines, and he traced them with a Sharpie pen.  Then he just started filling the spaces with patterns.  Once he got the hang of it, he just went to town with them.  His scenery was a winding path and a tree.  He started with swirlies inside the tree, and continued with triangles and zig zags in the path.  We added a sun and a cloud, and he embellished those, too.  He chose to color his picture with vertical colorful stripes.  And I think it turned out really well!  Definitely his own interpretation of his Zentangle project. 



Dear Daughter (age 9) completed her Zentangle independently.  She chose a landscape with trees and a large moon in the background.  She created squiggly lines on her hills, elongated patterns on the moon, and other filled shapes on the trees.  She was creative in the painting process in another way: she mixed colors in a gradient for the sky.  DD was not quite finished with painting, and will finish her piece at a later time at home.  I think she really captured the "rolling hills" aspect in her Zentangle. 



Dear Husband chose a waterfall scenery.  His black and white piece turned out quite spectacular just as is.  You can see the water fall into a pool that streams away.  The angular attributes in his drawing remind me of Miro's artistic style.  And what do you know?  We have two Miro paintings in our bedroom!  DH did not have time to paint his piece, but I think it stands really well on its own without colors. 



Finally, I chose a landscape with a lake, some tall trees, and a mountain in the distance.  Just like DS, I went to town with my patterning.  I filled the trees with angular shapes; I made large and small swirls in the lake to create a softer, flow-y, watery effect; I made parallel lines in the sky to show off its vast openness, and in the mountain to enhance its height.  I also made squiggly lines for grass on the field.  Lastly, I painted the scenery with atypical colors--cuz I used my artistic license (oh, the art teacher would be proud of my use of that term!)  Can you tell I enjoyed this project probably more than anyone in my own family? 



"Too awesome" was my thought after only a little over an hour's worth of time for this family art lesson.  We all came away from the class with a piece we were proud of, and are already talking about buying a frame with four windows to showcase our artwork.  DD asked if we can buy more Sharpie pens to draw more, and of course she got a big, fat, eager "yes" from me.  This project also reminded me of some of my own Sharpie artwork I drew back in college.  They are framed, but somewhere inside a box in our basement.  I hope to unearth those to show the kiddos.  

Cuz, hey--Mama used to draw a lot, once upon a time!

If this sparked your interest a little bit, please click here to find out more about Zentangles.  This website describes its characteristics as: intuitive, fun and relaxing, unexpected results, ceremonial, timeless, portable, quality, non-technical, and empowering.  Here are some sample Zentangle patterns.  Or, just Google Zentangle images and you will see the endless possibilities this art can bring onto a sheet of blank paper.  Won't you try it?  You'll see for yourself how tranquil and relaxing this project can be!

So, Dear Zentangles, am I ever glad to have tried you!  I cannot wait to see all the pictures that we will come up with once I get the supplies: watercolor paper, fine, extra fine, or ultra fine Sharpie pens, and watercolor paint.  Oh, a pencil to start, too.  Perhaps it will be a great activity on a rainy weekend to calm the cluttered and tired mind.

Zen.  It's what we seek for enlightenment and personal insight. 

Sincerely,
Me


12 comments:

  1. These are awesome. It reminds me of a drawing Middle daughter made in art last year. I have it hanging on the wall because I love it so much. :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I wonder if your daughter learned Zentangles at school... It's a real possibility, since I heard from a friend today that her State Association for Gift Children offered classes for Zentangles at the last two conferences, and she was not able to get into either one! I'm heading out to Michael's later this week to get my Sharpies! Thanks for dropping by, Susi!

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  2. Wow! Awesome. What a lovely result from your session. The stark black and white lines of your husband's painting is bold and striking. Your son's work reminds me of a batik print; your daughter's work is clean and elegant; and yours is like an impressionist painting. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon with family.

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    1. Thank you, Imelda! We really had a wonderful time--all four of us! I love to draw and DH has always been a doodler. And it seems as if the kiddos enjoyed the art as well. We'll definitely be making more Zentangles!

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  3. That is amazing girl!!!

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    1. Thanks, Helen! I loved, loved, loved this art lesson! Anyone can do it!

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  4. I've never heard of this, but it looks like it was a fun family activity. My eye is drawn to how your son colored his. I like that the colors are almost in stripes, not necessarily by object. I also think it's cool how you and your son seem to be on the same wavelength, and your husband and your daughter synced up well. I'd say this would definitely be worth buying sharpies for. You may end up with enough to wallpaper a room! (only teasing.)

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    1. That is very interesting observation, Janna! I hadn't thought about how our zentangles corresponded with each others' that way. And even if we don't fill up a wall, we may just fill up a notebook of deliberate, relaxing, and fun doodles. Thanks for reading!

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  5. I. LOVE. THIS! You all are quite the talented artists! I have never heard of this before, but I assure you that I will be trying this. I went to the website and I see how it can be so relaxing to do with a beautiful outcome! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Please, do try, Cassie! And tell me (or write about) your experience with it! I think all of our stockings will have a few Sharpie pens in them this year . I had never heard of this before, either, and am I glad to know it now! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  6. How awesome, a family art session! Sounds like great family time!!!! And I can't believe DS at age 5 did that! And the rest of you also did a wonderful graphic job! Nice framing too. Glad you framed and hung them! They really are pretty spectacular!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Lisa, I cheated with these pics. The teacher gave us the mats for framing, but I haven't bought the frames for them yet! I just took the pictures for posting them here. I am glad it looked as good as framed, though! We made some more Zentangles a few days ago. You will see them on Instagram! Thanks for reading and your sweet comments!

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