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.