This morning at breakfast I heard Maria laugh. "You have to read this," she said. And with a big smile, she handed her computer to me. I began to read an email from Lesley Roberts, CZT, in UK:
. . . I have stopped teaching my Zentangle courses for July and August now, and they will begin again in September. At the last classes I showed my groups Opus tiles [10.5 inches, 27 cm square], to see if they might like to have a go at tangling on them, slowly, under no pressure, over the summer break. The reactions varied – from sheer excitement to anxiety.
At the first class I showed the blank Opus tile, someone admired the back of the tile and said it was a shame that the inspiring words were not on the front of the tile as they would make a great border around the tangle.
Well, that was all the inspiration I needed! I immediately began my tangle on the back of the tile. I wanted to show them that you can just begin with no plan. I tangled – spontaneously and happily for between 2 - 3 hours a day for 8 days until the tile was complete. I shaded as I went for while, then decided to leave it all till the end, so I did not lean across the shading and smudge it.
I took photos along the way of creating it, as I knew I’d want to share them with students later on, and I’d never otherwise have remembered how I did it.
The first photo attached is taken by Martin, and I thought you might like to see it.
I began to realise – from a teaching and learning perspective that all I’ve seen so far on the Internet are completed Opus tiles – lovely, amazing, awesome ones – but possibly very off-putting to those who have not worked that scale before, so I thought you might like to see all the stage by stage photos – for yourselves, and maybe to share them with a wider audience, if you think that might be valuable.
Sorry it’s such a long email, but I so, so enjoyed tangling the back of the Opus tile . . . and was very happy with the process and the end result. I limited the number of different tangles, and found that I kept creating variations of tripoli, on different scales – it seemed to bring it together for me.
I also liked the opportunity to tangle both on a very large and very small scale, it seems to add balance. Anyway, bye for now – have a lovely weekend. [. . .]
I said to Maria, "Let's do a blog post on this, today!"
Maria sent her an email and Lesley wrote back:
I would be very happy for Rick to do a blog about it – and very honoured.
I think that Opus tiles offer up so many opportunities to tangle in new ways, yet it is that bigger freedom and scale and possibilities which are so fearful for many people that they don’t know how to begin, so they don’t even go there.
In strange ways the Zentangle process – no mistakes, focus only on the one stroke you are drawing, no need to seek perfection – holds even more true than ever. I had thought it might be the opposite until I tried it out. If you were to look ahead at all the tangling to come, you might not do it! So you really have to be in the now.
We are so grateful to Lesley for taking the time to put her experience into words for us all.
To see someone take something so simple as a Zentangle tile and use it like this in a completely unexpected way is invigorating. I love the way Lesley used the flourishes of my calligraphy for her border and then began with some pretty large tangles and used them to establish an inherent string.
It just goes to show, there is always something new to learn on this Zentangle adventure.
Lesley sent more in-progress photos:
In this enlargement of the above photo you can see what Maria was describing about Lesley using her flourishing as border:
In this next enlargement of the same photo, notice how Lesley took inspiration from some of the printed elements, such as the horizontal lines, and totally ignored others, for instance, the typeset words:
Notice how Lesley continued to use the hollibaugh method of drawing behind to layer her tangles one behind another and how the text basically disappears under paradox:
This is also a great reminder for all of us to be receptive for new opportunities, whether a fleeting image or a casual comment such as Lesley heard.
In my life, it has always been my children that teach my most profound life-lessons. And now, our compassionate students join them to guide us through this world of Zentangle discoveries . . . through their comments and their art.
We listen, learn, and evolve.
So, dear Tanglers, have you learned something you'd care to share with us about Zentangle ideas that perhaps came from a student or friend, that enabled you to the see impossible/improbable/crazy/unthinkable ideas that shape your art?
We'd love to hear your stories.
We will randomly choose a name from our commenters and send you, of course, a set of our Opus tiles!
Please have some way we can recognize you by a name or email. We cannot do this with a comment from "anonymous".
We did not really announce that we would choose a name from our last blog post, Art, Method, Sales and a "J", but we had so many fabulous comments, we just had to pick one!
Pat Floerke, please send us your snail (Bijou?) mail address to maria (at) zentangle (dot) com and we will send you a little something!
Many thanks to all for this glorious journey.