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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Twilight [Zen]Zone

Maria writes:
My thoughts were wandering recently (actually they wander quite often, without my consent or direction). I was trying to figure out just why Zentangle immediately gets me into that mindfulness state, when other art forms I practice do not.

What's different about the Zentangle Method?

I was thinking about the abstract-ness of it all, and that when I'm actually tangling on a Zentangle tile, I do not distract myself by looking away from my artwork for reference, confirmation or even inspiration.

Earlier I may have been looking . . . here and there . . . this way and that . . . for inspiration. I frequently add to my Zentangle "field notes" journal as I explore new tangle and deconstruction possibilities. But while I'm tangling, I just look at my tile. I'm not looking back and forth between my art and model, or at a photograph I'm trying to imitate, or admiring and trying to capture the momentary magnificence of a changing landscape or seascape.

When I sit down with a blank tile, I like to have an idea of the tangles I might use. I usually start out with one of my "mac 'n cheese" tangles, you know . . . "comfort tangles." Some of mine are mooka, purk, tripoli, poke leaf and maybe a bit of bales . . . old standbys. When I get a rhythm going I might throw in something different, maybe a new one I have seen in passing or a tangleation of one of Rick's (making his straight lines a bit curvier! :-) or just some auras around to elaborate existing tangles. But while I'm tangling, I just look at my tile . . . I rarely ever look up. Perhaps this uninterrupted concentration/focus on one place is one of the ways Zentangle works its magic for me.

Rick writes:
Last week we were talking with visitors about when Maria and I had our a-ha moment that became Zentangle. Our motivation to develop and share the Zentangle Method was not that it enabled her to create beautiful art - that was expected.

It also wasn't the idea that it might enable almost anyone to create beautiful art. Although important, I don't think that would have been enough to convince us to begin a whole new adventure while maintaining our regular work.

No, what convinced us was the significance of how Maria felt. We thought that if others could feel that good and just as easily create beautiful art . . . that would be a worthwhile adventure!

While Zentangle art is usually abstract (nonrepresentational), it is not an abstraction (something that exists only as an idea). Its results are beautiful to see; its experience, beautiful to feel.

Maria continues:
So, what about you? How do you think Zentangle draws you into that Zen-Zone of mindfulness?

Share with us and we'll send one of these tiles to one of you. I use a random number generator to choose a winner, just so you know. And please! Give us a way to contact you. We love sending surprises out. Life is good.

Winner from "When's the last time?" is Lara Williams, CZT.

Winner from "Frame of mine(d)" is Anneke in Netherlands.

Congrats . . . they're on their way!

Click images for larger views.


Renata said...

Maria, your work is absolutely stunning; each tile more beautiful than the next.

I'm a relative newcomer to Zentangle, and, as happens with so many others, have become obsessed with it. I find that I am totally in the moment when I'm creating my small pieces of art. I think, partly, because it really is "one stroke at a time", that's all you can focus on -- that one stroke. And before you know it, the piece is finished (usually in a direction you had not anticipated), and you have no idea what went on around you during that time!


Margaret Bremner, Artist said...

Maria, your work is absolutely stunning; each tile more beautiful than the next.

Renata said it so well that I just copyandpasted. :)

I adore both round tiles. Love the idea of using other round tiles for string/edges. But I also love Rick's with the squares and triangles and cadents.

Oh yes, zen zone... the repetition of the elements of the tangle is probably the thing that most keeps me in the moment.

Unknown said...

Soooo interesting about what it is which takes us into the 'zen' part of Zentangles!

I love the absolute repetitiveness of the strokes I make, so I find I seem to unconsciously gravitate towards patterns which do it for me!

Thank you to you both for Zentangle!

Anne's tangle blog said...

Your tiles are (as always) very beautiful Maria!!!

When I sit and start drawing a zentangle I start somewhere with a tangle that fells well at that time. Not thingking of the next, just tangling that one. When it's finished I look at the tile and (most of the time) know what tangle has to come next.
Tangling is to only thing that makes me forget about time and for me that's zen!

And...All possible because you two came up with Zentangle!


Anneke (Merry-Go-Round) said...

Again breathtaking tiles!!

When I tangle, I'm counting the strokes: "one, two, three… one, two, three…" etc. Or the little voice in my head says something like "up, down, up, down…" Absolutely no place or time for thinking about anything else. This complete concentration gets me into a state of well being which I call "ZENsation" (don't know if someone has mentioned this word before)! So to speak: they can demolish the house around me, and I would not even notice….
Mostly it takes me (a lot) more time than 15 minutes to finish a zentangle, but who cares when you feel happy and relaxed all the time?!

Love & greetings, Anneke

Shelly Beauch said...

Maria, you have the best imagination and knack with your pen.
Last Sunday, while washing the car I was bitten by a wasp on my right hand so I went back inside to finish my ZIA, the funny thing was I forgot all about the bite until I stopped tangling, then the pain returned.

Wendy Long said...

I found Zentangle while browsing the Internet in March of 2012 and it has made such a difference in my life. It's the "me time" at the end of the day. Your work is beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this art form.

Susie Falkler said...

I find time flies by when doing Zentangle. I look at the clock when done and can't believe how much time has passed. I just get lost in it.

Carole Ohl said...

"It's not how it looks, it's how it feels."

This truly is, for me, the essence of Zentangle. I find myself going in phases of particular strokes and tangles. Right now it's stripes. I love the movement and the often unexpected things that happen when they follow or run into each other. I love being in the moment with them and then standing back to see what they have created by being together. By that time I am in the frame of mind to hear my intuition whisper the next step. It might be to stop, it may be to continue. The outcome can be really fun to look at, but it really doesn't matter... the real fun for me is immersing myself in the lines...one stroke at a time.

When I look at the tiles you posted, I feel like I can almost feel how it felt to do them! I've always thought that watching someone tangle, is almost as good as doing one. The energy of a tangler in the zone is really beautiful. Thank you!

ps: It is so wonderful to read everyone's comments/experiences. It's thrilling to know how many people are out there feeling these moments too.

Barb of the Tangles said...

I really liked what you said about not being distracted by looking for inspiration else where. I think that's what draws me into the "Zen Zone". The single concentration of only looking at the tile helps me to be in a mindful state. When I'm without my supplies, I can close my eyes and imagine doing a tile. It's not as good as doing the real thing, but it does help to clear my mind.

Anonyvox said...

Not only do I love being able to get into the zone, but I love how I actually feel like I have some artistic talent when I tangle. I have never been considered artistic (and come from a family of very talented painters and sketchers), but with tangling the steps are clear and repetitive, and I feel good about what I've made. caseyoconnell at gmail dot com

Carolyn Thomas said...

Yesterday I was waiting the results of a medical test and the decision to do more testing or not. I thought about tangling while I was waiting and retrieved my floppy disc case and pen from my purse. I had a couple of completed tiles in the case and paused to feel the energy of them for a while. Just viewing them again calmed the little flutters of concern that I had been feeling. I was just about to start tangling when the doctor came in and said the test results were good and no more testing was needed. My point is that tangling is meditative and calming and so is revisiting completed tiles. I often think of something Matthew Fox wrote about meditation. He described activities that were calming as "extrovert meditation", a different approach than sitting in the lotus position, etc. I love that term and share it with my mandala and Zentangle students.

Rick and Maria: thank you for the Zentangle method and for sharing it and your talents. The good vibes generated in those of us who tangle foster inner peace... and we then radiate a more peaceful energy to the world.


Bonnie McLain said...

Love your works of ART... both of you... you are fantastically loving and giving in all ways... So now when I see a pen and paper... I have to fill it with tangling... prior it was a doodle... now it is a beautiful tangle. I copy all and send them to my mother, who can see very limited amounts... but she loves looking at the TIA's... and shares them with all the other 90+ year old friends. What more could be so wonderful with just a LINE AT A TIME!!!!! Tangling takes me into another level of meditation... one that is active and at the same time calming. After the long days we put in around the studio and farm... I find tangle a real treasure prior to going to bed and relaxing for adventures in Dreamland. Where I also find that I am tangling in my dreams. How much fun is that... except that I have not seen any of the finished tangles at all... LOL... thanks again for all the love that you both pour into our directions. Love, Light and Peace...Bonnie

Filiaumbrae said...

Woooow, the last zendala is so beautiful. I'm also new to zendala for like four months or so and was hooked at instance. I was drawing and painting a lot when I was younger but lost the ambition for it because at a certain point I did't know what to draw next, were to find my motifs etc. So over the time I forgot how much fun and relaxation this kind of art can be.
When I first tried Zentangle I was really focused on doing the patterns right. But now I just tangle whats coming up in my mind. I mix up well known patterns with patterns that are just coming up while I'm drawing. That's were the fun was starting for me again, were I found what I've been missing during all those years.
When I'm tangling I'm calming down so easy. I stop thinking about all those daily things we all think about the whole day. It's just me and MY zentangle-moment. Until the tile is done, than I can come back to the other things that usually seem to be so important ;)

So thank you a lot for sharing your zentangle with all the people around. I really appreciate!

Love and greetings from Germany,


Anonymous said...

I am a stress transformation coach and I teach people how to smooth their heart rhythms to bring coherence to their systems. Well, guess what Zentangles do? When we are in our hearts, communing with our deep selves, not listening to the mind, but sensing that soft true voice of our heart we feel the most wonderful shift. When tangling, breathing, feeling, sighing I am in the clearest of Heart Spaces. The tangling serves to anchor the heartspace right there on the tile. When I look back over my tangles I feel so much LOVE. A change of Heart Changes Everything and I say we can change the world, one heartbeat at a time..and now One stroke at a time. Warmly, Sinda Wood

Linda said...

Rick and Maria!
What peacefulness overcomes me when creating and gazing at beautiful Zentangles! I have used tangling with my students and have been amazed at the transformation of their behavior~at least while Zentangling! Thanks for your continued uplifting ideas for all of us to enjoy!


Linda said...

I look forward to working on a Zentangle pattern. I am still learning the patterns and the steps, so I might look at a reference, but that's about it. I feel relaxed and happy to see whatever develops in front of me on the page. It really is a joyful process for me.

Lois Heinani Stokes said...

I must share with you a quote from The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lydon.

"Buddhists say that enlightenment may be achieved through the repetition of sutra, or prayer. Pattern also is formed by repetition; its beauty deepens and grows each time it is repeated."

What if...Tangles are prayers?

"The purpose of the craft is not so much to make beautiful things as it is to become beautiful inside while you are making those things"

This is the Zentangle Process as I share and practice it.

Francie said...

I love the quiet, peaceful feeling that comes over me when I am tangling. I have ADD, but, I have no trouble focusing when I am making one repetitive stroke at a time!

DonnaMarie said...

I think the focus. Drawing your mind in to focus on this particular task helps me to block everything else out and get the zen zone going. =)

Terrie said...

Some experiences are hard to express in words and the pleasure you receive from getting into the "zone" with Zentangle is one of them. I have done art all of my life and I'm 60, I can honestly say that this form of art is totally relaxing and addicting, something I will actually set aside time to do. Yes, I agree that looking at a picture and back at your work breaks concentration. The simple lines, repetitive action of laying those lines down and then looking back at the seemingly complex art that you've created at the end is amazing. Maria and Rick, your work is very inspiring and amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Terrie said...

oops. forgot my email.

Rosanne said...

I have never commented on a blog before so I hope I'm doing this right . . . .
What does Zentangle do for me and how does it do it?
I'm not really sure how Zentangle works it's magic and I'm not sure that the how is really that important to me. I'll try to explain.
In December 2011 my Mother passed away. She had been partially paralyzed by a stroke almost 10 years ago and I was her primary care giver. I don't remember much of the first few months following her death but I got to the point where I knew I had to do something. For years I was an obsessive beader and yet my beads no longer called to me. I had heard something about art journaling and was half heartedly looking into that when I saw something about Zentangle. It was the end of June 2012 and since then, well, I can tell you that it has helped lead me out of a very dark place and that every day I look forward to picking up my pen.
I would not go so far as to say that it is my reason for living because I have a loving husband and a wonderful daughter, plus 4 dogs, but Zentangle did help me get back to participating in my life.
I have also had Fibromyalgia for many years and at times it can be very painful. Zentangle is not some magical cure for that but most times when I am tangling, I can forget about the aches and I just feel better, and for me, that is Zen-enough.
Rosanne Taylor

Georgia Jensen said...

I love the floatiness of it...to be tangling along and then a renegade stroke inspires a new direction...i just keep on stroking and what evolves is new and fresh and fills me with joy....
I so enjoy your art... Georgia


Claire Warner said...

Whenever I get super stressed at work, I pull out a piece of paper, tangle for a few minutes and feel calmer. I think it's the deliberate action of carefully placing every stroke, and the repetitive movement that starts the process.
Then when I see the beautiful piece of art that has appeared before me, there's that feeling of personal satisfaction that sets me back up to tackle the problem in front of me... one stroke at a time.


Cindi said...

I love the calm that comes over me when I am in the midst of a tangle. The repetition of the strokes, the transfer of the ink to paper just calms my soul! I just started a few months ago and am still learning tangles every day. I search the internet and bookstores for new tangles all the time.

mwcahn@ptd.net said...

The way my tangling has evolved after four years of so I find myself with my own vocabulary of tangles and now I can relax into the process and let one tangle lead to another.

It is a completely dift. feeling from learning new tangles and trying to incorporate them. The former is so much more organic and the lines have a more spontaneous look.

Thanks for giving me a new outlook on tangling.

Mary said...

Hi Rick and Maria,
I would like to share with you how tangling has helped me cope with a distressing condition for the past 6 months. On November 1st 2012 I woke to find my bedroom spinning aroundme. when it finally stopped and I was able to get out of bed I found I had the most awful dizzynes and nausea. I was eventually diagnosed with BPPV or Vertigo, a condition of the inner ear. I am now almost back to normal after several treatments. But during these six months I found that tangling for an hour each evening meant I could get a reasonably restful sleep for a few hours. Concentrating on the tip of a pen doing one stroke at a time, I could escape the awful dizzyness for a while, and I was left feeling less anxious and more hopeful of getting better.
Thank you for this process which is not just art, but a meditative and healing process for both mind and body.
Mary (bryant@adam.com.au)

Tmbr said...

I'm just getting to the point where I don't have to look at TanglePatterns(dot)com or my pattern books for my next tangle. I'm very "left-brained" (more logical, analytical and objective) and a bit of a perfectionist which makes my creative side a bit frustrated :)So now that I've learned more tangles, I feel a bit more free with my art and am achieving "Zenspriation" (Joanne Fink). I love the way Zentangle has given me the ability to feel free of structure and form. Thank you Rick and Maria for this wonderful artform and methodology for life!
Traci Regner
P.O. Box 14515
Tumwater, WA 98511

Unknown said...

Zentangle has been a life-saver. As an active person and Occupational Therapist, I struggled after 2 injuries. My typical stress reliever" exercise made my pain worse. I learned Zentangle with a group of my clients. As a non artist I was skeptical but after my first tile I was hooked. For me, my brain cannot reach calm without a purpose. Each stroked, each tile, allows me to shut off the chatter of my stress and focus on the moment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm not writing about what we were asked to write about, and I do not normally comment, but felt that I had to this time.

Maria, that last tile is just so beautiful. I love anything to do with water and the sea and every time I look at that image... which has been many times... I think of sea urchins and undersea life. It's so calming and lovely.

Thank you so much for all you do and for sharing so much of yourself and your work.

Best wishes,
Laura in Quebec, CZT

gobarb26 said...

Hi Rick & Maria. Since I started tangling, a year ago, I have found that when I am tangling, I feel very open. I can tangle for hours, while sitting alone or even during my Sunday school class. I am able to concentrate on what is being taught as well as participating in the class. All the while, I am doing a Zentangle. Everyone at church loves to see what I did during class.

I started tangling last year through Arts in Medicine at Moffitt Cancer Center, after 2 stem cell transplants (3 months apart). I think it is wonderful that they offer this amazing art form there. Every month, when I go back, I try to go to the Arts in Medicine dept. and work on some tangles and do a couple of tangles in the large group tangle that they set out for people to give it a try. I am so glad I did!

Looking forward to my CZT class in Nov.!

Jason said...

I am new to Zentangle and tangling (is that the right word?). I have found it so relaxing, my brain seems to love the details and getting lost in a drawing. 30 minutes went by the other night while I was drawing and it only seemed like two minutes.

Janet said...

For me the Zen Zone comes from the quieting of my talkative brain. That moment when my brain makes the switch from all the chatter of things going on, to do lists, should have done, gotta do, when is there time, to the quietness and peace of one stroke at a time, one after the other and no mistakes. I love the feeling of the process and the bonus at the end is the small piece of art I made all by myself.