Everything ebbs and flows. Interests wax and wane. Seasons change. Things are shaken up and settle down again for each of us in our brittle, safe, enclosed snow dome worlds.
While I wasn’t blogging for a while earlier this year, I poured my spare time and energy into drawing. It was a way to not think about a bunch of stuff I didn’t want to think about. And mostly it worked. I drew meaningless patterns to lose myself in them, and as they spread I began to direct them more, to strive to make what I drew beautiful.
And when I thought I had enough confidence I set myself a project.
The project was to use Zentangle to decorate an MDF box. It took a while.
- I relearned that mistakes are just a part of the process.
- I remembered the process is as important as the outcome.
- I relearned the naive beauty in patterns and repetition. This is doodling people, not rocket surgery.
- I learned that the tools must fit the medium being worked on. Drawing on MDF was not like drawing on paper or card stock. Different pens yielded better results under different pressures.
- The right pen and right pressure yielded more intense colours.
- I learned the more intense the colour, the better.
- I learned that not everything must possess symmetry.
- I learned bigger and bolder was better. Otherwise everything disappeared or looked messy.
- I learned the drawing must fit the space.
- Tiny timid patterns got lost in the vast expanse of the work.
- I learned a narrow palette is as effective as all the colours of the rainbow.
- I learned to enjoy the highlights and shading in the lowlights, for perspective.
- A lot of the time it felt like meditation, which was the original point of Zentangle.
- After so long writing stories, I relearned art and beauty can possess utility.
- Attempted art has ruined the MDF; however, as it’s still a box, I can put stuff in it.
- The more I did the more I learned what worked. I turned to repeating the same shapes, and filling the spaces between with smaller patterns for greater areas.
- I learned darkness is a useful contrast.
- Zentangle means learning that things don’t need to be difficult to be art, or to be beautiful.
- I learned not to be afraid of mistakes. It was a cheap MDF box after all.
- It might not be the most beautiful thing ever, or perfect, but I finished.
- That’s a lot of stuff I learned or remembered while decorating a box.
- I forgot about the stuff I didn’t want to think about.
- Learning wasn’t even the point. The point was doing something. And I did. Anything I learned was a bonus.
I recommend learning about Zentangle. It’s an official thing, with a website and even teachers, and a whole heap of inspiration can be found on Pinterest. It all adds up to look formidable, but if you can somehow hold a pen and pencil and draw lines, then line, by line, it’s entirely doable.