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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Turn up the volume!

Maria writes:
I have to say, I never had a thing for "Perfection."

Not that I am not tidy or conscientious or the least bit lazy . . . though I am learning not to work as many hours as I have in the past.

Perfection, to me, always had a "boringness" to it, like the perfect apple or the perfect Christmas tree. ( I'd choose the Charlie Brown tree every time.) And so, with art. The paintings that so attracted me were portraits of people who had something of a distinguishingness to them -- maybe a wart; or a crooked tooth; or a non-symmetrical face . . . something to remember (or admire).

So, what's this all about? I think "perfect" is over-rated and it would be best if it was banished from the vocabulary of the arts. Art, like nature, is most beautiful in its imperfections . . . always having that some little thing that caused a bit of tension . . . just a bit.

Just think, if DaVinci lived today . . . perhaps we'd be stuck with a face plumped with so much plastic surgery . . . instead of the Mona Lisa. But I digress . . . .

Let's remember this when we create our Zentangle tiles. Embrace their imperfections. Let them take us to a place unexpected. Admire our singularities. Learn from our every stroke. Have confidence in the fact there is always another tile, another tangle.

I read an article in the "Huffpost" that got me thinking about this.  I think the whole 3 1/2" format allows artists of all kinds to experience the luxury of experimenting with lots of works of art, instead of the excruciatingly painful large piece you never get to finish.

Have fun.

Do it again.

Do more.

Admire your efforts.

Take joy in what you have created.

Share your art with others. They will be impressed.

Give your art to others. They will be grateful.

When the day is done and you look at your art, always smile. This sounds silly, but it works every time. Your eyes will see it in a different light. And the smile will become real.

Rick adds:
Maria was out this week and saw an ad in a magazine, grabbed her blank book and . . .


That shape is so resonant with the fiddleheads coming up in our front yard:


I love the imperfection and volume of nature. Imagine if trees only decided to make as many seeds as they knew would become trees. There would be no trees! Imagine if artists only decided to create (perfect) masterpieces. There would likely be no art!

Imperfections themselves can be wonderful inspirations. Whether it's a tangle done "wrong" or a stain on a chopping board that perhaps otherwise would not have been tangled:


Although once Maria got started, she (naturally) tangled the other side, too. :-)


If you haven't already, do take a moment to read the article linked above as it will tie all this together.

 Click images for larger views.



40 comments:

Lily Moon said...

Wise thoughts... and a beautiful works as always :)

1 Art Lady Kate, Tangles and More said...

I agree, wise thoughts and beautiful work.... always look forward to seeing what is up.

Aimee P. Belair said...

Totally. Think, "Progress, not perfection." It's a great modus operandi.

ElizabethCan2Tangle said...

That article really hit the spot--thanks for recommending it. "Reps," is my new Mantra. Love the photo of those Fiddleheads, all the mail and all the tangles. Inspiring!

Angela Werner said...

As I read your entry, Maria, the Japanese art of Wabi-sabi came to mind. Wabi-sabi is a mind-set more than anything. It's an approach of appreciating yourself, others, and things, exactly as they are - imperfect! I LOVE your writing and ideas. Thank you.

Sara said...

Thank you so much for this post. I practice the method of Zentangle every day. I see little imperfections that don't bother me anymore. My friends don't understand and (most) haven't taken my classes yet because they are still afraid that they "aren't good enough." Now I can show them this post to urge them on. Process, not product. That's life, isn't it?
Sara McGregor, CZT12

Shelly Beauch said...

Little quirks and nifty bits add such splendid character! Thanks Maria for your beautiful insight.

Stephanie Thompson said...

As an artisan jeweler it IS the imperfections that make my art! I love them.

Jan Brandt said...

I read a quote once that said, "Perfectionism is a profound form of self-abuse." Having spent years striving for perfection (and never attaining it), that sentence hit hard. I now consider myself a "recovering perfectionist". And I'm MUCH happier!

Barb Gill, CZT 7 said...

I so appreciate the thoughts expressed here. So many of us think our work is not "good enough". It really doesn't matter how "good" it is. It is the process that matters, and the art that we will create will evolve. When I think a piece I've created isn't very good, others ooh and ahh over it. A lot of us just can't see our work as others see it. Thanks for the article and the permission to once again be imperfect.

laurasalas said...

Love this, and the article you linked to. Thank you! I'm not a perfectionist in any area of my life, but I spend too long on my zentangles and have kind of quit doing them (I am NOT an artist of any visual kind). I need to get back to doing my daily one and just do them more quickly! Thanks:>)

Molly said...

Ahhh ..perfectly imperfect in every way.

Jennifer Hohensteiner said...

Amen! Sometimes I catch myself getting all "precious" about a tile, especially if it is turning out well. It can happen that I will freeze up, scared I'm going to ruin it. Then I tell myself to get real. So what? I can just try again. And maybe it will turn out fine - maybe it will turn out great. And it is just plain no fun to sit and agonize over the next stroke or pattern. In fact, there is no bigger thrill for me (as far as Zentangle goes anyway ;-) than when I surprise myself by taking a risk that turns out. Sure, I take risks that don't work, either. But it's worth it.

Zentangle said...

Well said Jennifer!

We all need to take chances. . . . how else do we progress?

When we are children, we don't stop walking or running in case we would fall down. . . what would happen to us if we were not programmed to make many mistakes and get right up again?


Maria

Anonymous said...

Interesting that this is your latest blog topic. I have been doing mosaics and a month ago I came upon the Japanese term: "Wabi-sabi". Basically it means embrace the imperfections. Appreciate them as there is beauty in the imperfect. And in my opinion, imperfections in art make a creation truly unique and one-of-a-kind. Here is some more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi
Laura J. Larson

Carole Ohl said...

I've recently gotten back into quilting for my new grandbabies' quilts. As much as Zentangle has steeped itself into my life, old habits die hard. I found myself wanting to rip out a bunch of stitches because they weren't done 'correctly', and the thread color was 'wrong'. I walked away, came back a day later and realized my 'mistake' in thinking it should be perfect. It IS perfect: made with love and color and excitement. And diapers will most likely be changed on it, so there's that! Checking my perfectionist streak is a gift that Zentangle gives me day after day.

Sandra Chatelain said...

I realized I took a deep breath and smiled as I read this. Thank you

Genevieve said...

Thank you for sharing that great article. It confirms some things that had been percolating in the back of my mind.

Barb Burgess, CZT said...

I really appreciated this article. I have tried to be a perfectionist, most of my life. I have learned, since becoming a CZT, that I don't have to be perfect. It is much easier for me to exist in my own skin, now. It is like the saying "a neat desk is the sign of an idle mind". My desk is quite messy!! Thanks. ❤️

Sue Zanker said...

How right you are Maria. I have spent over 30 years as a Calligrapher always trying to do "perfect" lettering......Finding Zentangle, on the 12th February 2012 then your book and loving and breathing the spiritual principles behind it, I dived wholeheartedly into its forgiving pool!
Here in Australia, it's Mothers' Day today so happy Mother's Day to you!

Zentangle said...

And, to you too, Sue.

ANd thanks for saying such nice things. Rick and I talked about this at breakfast, and he felt that my being no. 6 of 7 kids enabled me to do things on my own, discovering things myself, how to do things differently than others and no one to tell me I was wrong. My loving parent simply did not have the time or energy to monitor my every movement. My Dad said it was our JOB to play amongst ourselves and figure out how to get along. And, I lovingly passed this on to my kids. Thanks Mom (and Dad) for giving me confidence to try whatever it was I wanted to try. And not criticize how I went about it. It is Mother's Day here as well and I can't think of a better way to spend it than to remember the best things Mom did for me to shape my life. Again, thanks. And Happy Mother's Day to all you who are mothers and mothers in spirit. . . aunties,friends and teachers.


ArtZest said...

I visited this site a few years back. It used to have patterns you could learn to do. I can't seem to find those now. Are they still available?

Zentangle said...

We often post step-outs of patterns in our free newsletters. You can go through the archives to see which ones you missed.

Zentangle.com


Maria

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been drawing things that way for ages and disliking the idea someone put a 'method' name on it, and capitalise on it, it's like as if your grandma and your grandma's friends used to bake a cake a certain way and then someone from younger generations came and named it after their own name, is it right? isn't it owning it too far, I'll keep on drawing things that way, but they will never be 'Zentagle' because they aren't.

SuBru said...

From a casual observation by Rick - to now. What an wonderful celebration for you two and for all of us whose lives have been touched by Zentangle.

Anonymous said...

A gift for your Zenth Anniversay:

Zenth Haiku

Zentangle magic
dances as summer grass grows
no time for mowing

Zentangle means so much to me. It saved me from hopelessness and despair. I owe you two my joy and my rediscovery of art in all it's forms. I can never ever thank you enough.


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