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Saturday, November 16, 2013


Rick writes:

We're just beginning to get back to our (ab)normal routine after another wonderful CZT training seminar. It's time to catch up on some blog posts.

This morning at breakfast, I said to Maria, "Babe, remember that special email we received from Josh? We should do a blog post on that. Let's find some tiles to post with it."

Maria replied, "Laura Harms' challenge this week is all about bugs. How 'bout we post some of my "bug" tiles?"


First, here's a bit of our conversation with Josh:

Josh writes:
Wow so we used to doodle this stuff late night in a Frisch's Big Boys in high school, and later on after I got out of the service I penned these. My best work was lost in an art book that was destroyed, but these surviving examples showcase this style. I haven't messed with my art in a long time, but now that I see you guys have turned this style into a discipline that can be taught in simple steps, I'm very very anxious to dive back into it again.

I realize Zentangle is just a breakdown of how to free flow tribal design, but its so refreshing that someone has finally put it into proper words, and done it in a way that promotes endless creativity. You know, the way it should have been promoted throughout the art world properly for that last thousand years, but only now has finally found voice in your teachings.

Highest regards,

I replied:

Hi Josh,

Thank you so much for writing that and sharing your images.

Josh, you've captured our intention more succinctly and elegantly than I've seen yet. Using music as an analogy, a friend of ours wrote similar thoughts:

"Yes, there are gifted artists who paint well without lessons, or gifted musicians who can write and play songs without reading music. But they have no method for teaching students their craft.

"My father grew up in an Amish home where musical instruments were forbidden. While I was yet in grade school, I would see him bring home from his monthly excursions to the local auction barn keyboard musical instruments: a bellows organ, an upright piano, or several accordions. I would marvel as in a few minutes he could teach himself to play familiar hymns as the family sang along. His method of teaching me to solve any problem was, "If you just look at it long enough, it will come to you." My brain was not wired like his. I never learned to play "by ear."

"For certain gifted people no lessons are necessary to create art; not so for the general population. We need a way of learning to make art we enjoy. The Zentangle Method makes that possible for us 'one stroke at a time.'"

Our intention is to inspire people to put pen to paper, whether for the first time (because they have come to believe they aren't "artists") or to dust off their pen and get to feel again that thrill of creativity flowing - without preconception or self-criticism.

And yes, as you say, "a breakdown of how to free flow tribal design." We take such inspiration from our collective human heritage of patterns and design. (Carl Jung would have enjoyed this "vocabulary"!)

Thanks again for writing.

Rick (and Maria)

Such a special letter deserves some special companion tiles for this blog post!

Maria loves to draw bugs. Whenever we encounter an interesting one, I'll take pictures. Or, if it's no longer alive . . . like a great big beetle . . . it finds its way to her desk.

She draws known bugs as well as yet-to-be-discovered bugs. Maria has discovered that when she looks closely, they are all covered in tangles!

Such fun!


Congrats to "REI MAR" who was our random chosen commenter on our blog post, "Crack!" Watch your mail box!

We welcome and invite your comments.

And be sure to go check out Laura Harms' iamthedivaCZT 144th weekly challenge.


Click images for larger views.