Monday, March 7, 2016

Marasu now and then

I've been a Zentangle devotee for about 3.5 years now. When I attended the workshop in Providence (CZT 15, summer 2014), one of the defining moments of the instruction (among many) was my recognition of how easily I became discouraged and was ready to give up when my drawing did not meet my own expectations. I recognized clearly that this way of framing a challenging situation was fairly typical of my thinking style, and that moment of clarity was followed, has been followed by many similar insights. I often tell students in workshops that one of the coolest things about Zentangle is that it is a mirror of the heart and mind. This is somewhat true of the actual forms that appear on the tiles. For example, when I'm feeling overworked and stressed, my drawing is often tight and crowded. When I feel more spacious and relaxed, the drawing often mirrors that frame of mind. But the mirror of Zentangle is clearest for me in what it tells me about my present moment state of mind and heart. If I feel shaky and uncertain, there is more wobble to my lines. If my mind and body are not in the same place -- in other words, if I am unfocused, I come into awareness of that right away as I begin to draw. It is this kind of connection with mind and heart during the drawing process that keeps me interested in Zentangle. It is a powerful and quietly amazing contemplative process.

In 2014, one example of my discouragement surfaced when I tried to draw Marasu. When I compared my rather sad-looking little snake to what I saw appearing on the screen as Maria guided us through the pattern, my heart sank. Lately, I've come back to Marasu, which happens with tangles. I go through phases where a certain pattern just becomes very interesting, sometimes for obvious reasons, sometimes not. As I look at Marasu now and then, I really do feel a juiciness in last night's drawing that is absent from my first try. I'm only beginning to explore the highlighting technique, which is really kind of fun.

Marasu on 3/6/16

Marasu in June 2014