the space before art

I’m wrestling to explain what I mean about the space before art. . . how it starts, its logic and importance, and I realize there is no logic to it. But I can see it happen in my mind. I can feel it. The space before art is separate and has nothing to do with art itself.

The space before art is Zentangle in its purest form. Zentangle isn’t about art. Zentangle is about the doing of the art. It's about the decisions, the interruptions, the pen stroke that won’t behave.

Zentangle is merely one or two patterns connecting, dancing with each other. Then another pattern joins in to interrupt logic and present something new. Or some curious soul peers over your shoulder and bumps you; your black line goes flying over the tile. And now what? You are up against choices. The mind busies itself and focuses on this one bit of interruption. Solving. Sorting possibilities. And something new appears as if by stroke of genius.

Zentangle is drawing patterns, not birds or flowers or faces. Zentangle doesn’t have to look like anything recognizable. The line simply goes where we ask it. But sometimes what we have in our head isn’t what appears on the paper. What matters is moving the pen around in order to get a sense of rhythm, of playfulness, and of surprise.

The more you tangle, the more you take risks. The more you tangle, the more interested you become in whimsy. You grab a tile and tangle simply because it’s fun.

Below you see the progression of my tangles and level of risk I was willing to take. I tangled in black and white for almost two years because I was scared to use color. Now I don’t worry about it. I just tangle and have fun.


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