Join me....

I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pen to Zen

If you are current with art terms then no doubt you have encountered the word Zentangle which is floating around. Touted as an art form for all ages and abilities, it truly is. A simple description is a black and white line drawing consisting of repeated patterns and shapes within a contained area.

But what I just learned is that "Zentangle" is a word coined (and copyrighted) by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas when she described to him the mood her art form put her in as "feeling timeless, free, and engendering a sense of deep-well-being." Ahhhhhh. That wonderful feeling of zen?! In other words, it put her in a meditative state. Not a bad state to be in.

The couple has found a way to package and market this style of mark making (gotta admire that) but unless you want the full Monty there is no need to have anything more than a pencil, a pen and a sheet of paper. Remember, the goal is to reach a meditative state of relaxation NOT to produce a marketable, judge worthy, perfect drawing!

Start small. Give yourself a "contained area" with the pencil, outline a box. Now add a "string" - a line or swirl -  the mark you will work from. You may repeat this string or add a couple of basic shapes to break up your spaces. Now the fun begins as you add "enhancements" - repetitive marks or shapes that begin to fill up the design in your designated area. Borders, stripes, zig zags, circles of all sizes, triangles, get the idea...tap into your inner child or your inner M C Escher, just play with very simple shapes making them more complex as your meditative muse moves you.

Referring to a previous post on doodling, this is doodling with intent, your mind is engaged in a mindless pattern. Get it?

OK, get even simpler: take a letter and let that be your string to start. No one is looking to frame this. Your goal is to fill the box and let your entire consciousness be engaged while your subconsciousness gets to whirl around in never-never land, a free ride that needs to retain nothing. And this is portable therapy, you can use it while waiting on the doctor or killing time at the oil change place.

Try it. If you don't reach a meditative state of well-being, at least you will be conversant the next time you hear the word Zentangle!

"Zentangle Woodland"
purchase here or click to see larger
this is by my friend Carmen Beecher, 10 x 8, pen on paper


  1. So happy to see you enjoying this art form, too, Cindy! I swear it's changed my life!!!

  2. It's fun isn't it...kinda gives the brain a little rest while it works out some other problems!!


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