When Rick and I were in NYC at the NAEA convention (National Art Education Association) and realized that we were speaking to ART TEACHERS (duh!), we took the opportunity to talk with them about the importance of maintaining their artistic passion. All of the people we spoke to started their careers passionate enough about art to go to school to learn how to teach art.
At the end of each workshop we acknowledged how easy it is for the daily demands of family and a school's administrative paperwork to leave little or no time for a teacher to work on their own art. (At which point everyone's head would nod in agreement.)
It's not easy to create the time to paint, sculpt, weave, etc. Left with no creative time, the artist within gets stunted from non-use. And when that happens it's easy to lose our inspiration. There sit all our art supplies, fading or drying up in their tubes. And when we do get some time, we find our passion has disappeared behind a wall of artists' block or, we don't have enough time to set up our easel and load our palette.
We stressed the importance of art teachers keeping their own individual joy of creative passion alive both for their own joy and to be able to continue to convey that passion for art to their students.
We suggested Zentangle's simple, short and creative minutes as an ideal way to hold onto the delight of feeling that creative flow, to keep it nourished and alive and to remember again the joy that inspired them to teach art.
There is nothing like learning from a passionate teacher - whatever they may teach. My favorite was my geometry teacher (no surprise there). He loved his work so much. He got so excited and put so much energy into explaining simple geometry, "See? See? How cool is this! It's magic!"
So follow your passion. Don't give it up for anyone or anything. No matter what people say, you are an artist.
The teaching part will be so easy . . . everyone wants to learn passion!
While at NAEA, Maria and I had an opportunity to visit the Museum of Modern Art. Here are some pictures we took as we "drew" inspiration from this feast of creative abundance.
Looking at a Keith Haring creation.
Although it might seem similar in appearance to a Zentangle creation, there are many fundamental uniqueness to each style. Nevertheless it was fascinating to look at this creation which wrapped around the entire room.
We found an architecture city design display that used some great patterns. Here's another iteration of ynot in red.
We saw this handbag on our elevator ride. Notice that curving meta-pattern formed by the interaction of varying widths of straight components. Definitely another tangle to explore. It's curved lines from assembling straight lines is resonant with paradox.
So much fun!
I inverted this layering of square mirrors. Sometimes it's easier to notice the pattern an object creates (or inspires) when you aren't distracted by what that object is.
Time to sit for a while and add discoveries to the field notes book.
We've already started using a tangle inspired by this creation. So much of what we saw that caught our eye was based on some version of aura.
I just had to go back to that architectural exhibit for some more pictures!
Love the patterns suggested by that grain in the wood floor.
As we were leaving, I noticed a description of a display created by Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944). Kandinsky used the expression "nonobjective painting" to describe his paintings that did not represent recognizable objects and were "free of descriptive devices."
This reminded me of how we describe Zentangle's method as "non-representational." It's also why (for the most part) we give our tangles names that have little relationship with what a tangle looks like.
After so many hours on our feet, we stopped for coffee in a nearby hotel. The waiter was kind enough to let us sit there for a couple hours. We nursed our coffee as we made notes and drew tangles to help us absorb and remember the visual feast we had just experienced.
As we left that hotel, we saw this mosaic in the lobby. What an awesome variation for cubine!
While in New York City for the NAEA Convention, we had some time to walk around the streets of midtown Manhattan. We played our tourist role well as we walked slowly, enjoyed the warm day and took pictures. The only difference between us and the other tourists is that we were photographing patterns.
Here's a look at some of what was in our camera. Descriptions/comments are placed below the image.
Couch upholstery in hotel lobby
Looks a bit like punzel!
It's from this sign
Carpet pattern in the hotel elevator. Hints of mooka and fengle with an echo below in hollibaugh fashion.
Here's something to play with.
Chair seat and back give another inspiration to play with hollibaugh.
We've hit "tangle gold"!
How many tangles (names please!) can you see in this image?
How about this one?
Or, this one?
Here's a close-up of that last one. What a great rendition of ynot!
This is interesting.
Here's a view from a different angle. This could be fun.
Patterns seem to be . . . well . . . everywhere.
Love those circles!
This might be interesting. Let's look closer . . .
Lot's of possibilities to explore here.
I left this image full size. Sometimes it's easy to miss the inspiration that's all around us . . . particularly if it's in familiar surroundings.
All of these images were taken within about a block from the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City.
One of our (local) fabulous CZTs stopped by yesterday morning. She is working with teachers to use Zentangle to help students relax and focus before taking tests.
One of the many profound stories she relayed was that students she had worked with were comforted merely knowing they had Zentangle to fall back on, to "have in their back pocket" when things went awry.
We've heard many stories about how comforting creating a Zentangle tile can be. For these students, just knowing it was there was a comfort, too.
Click image to see larger version of the tile Maria created in celebration of this story.
Here are some more images that will round out our time at February's teacher training.
Here is a mosaic of one of our workshop sets of tiles. The are mounted on a muslin coated foam-core display. We use straight pins to hold the tiles without putting holes in them.
At one point, Molly taught some of her tangles:
Here's Maria, during a break, showing how to do punzel:
We played with tangling on fabric. Here Maria is lettering some strings:
On the screen you can see one of the bar coasters from the hotel. We tangled a bunch of them and they are now framed and hanging in the hotel. Here's a look at some of them:
Everyone contributed to a group Zentangle which was framed and then this lucky student got to take home!
As you can see, we had a wonderful time. This was our third seminar in February and our weather luck continued. There was no snow on the ground and it was in the 50s . . . amazing weather for February in New England!
We open registration in about a week for our next two teacher certification seminars, August 12 - 15 and September 23 - 26. We'll announce it in our newsletter and in this blog.
We always look forward to seeing the Zentangle inspired creations that students bring to seminar. Our recent CZT seminar was awash with inspiring visual treats that students brought to share.
Here are eight images from our eighth seminar:
We encourage everyone to bring items to exhibit no matter how small or how new you are to Zentangle. This a custom that has spontaneously developed. It's not a requirement, but we all learn something from everyone's work.
There is always a wide range of Zentangle experience in our classes. There will be people who have been exploring Zentangle for years. Then, there will be people who literally heard about Zentangle a week earlier and just knew they had to be here. All have a wonderful time.
We're planning two more classes for this year (August and September) and we'll open registration in about a week.
is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.
We believe that life is an art form and that the Zentangle method is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life.