Last fall one of my eighth grade art students stopped to show me how she had decorated her tennis shoes with some lovely line art. I asked her about it, and she identified it as “Zentangle” and said that she’d been teaching herself to do it. I was very drawn to it and decided to do some research. Thank Heavens for Pinterest and Google.
While I respect the use of this expressive line art to promote the Zen Buddhist philosophy of finding balance, inner harmony, and serenity, my personal spiritual worldview is very anchored in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Coming from that perspective I find in the tangle-art movement a beautiful expression of God as the ultimate artist fused with God as the ultimate mathematician. I love that the lines and shapes require scrupulous precision while being arranged into elegant patterns and rhythm. The Zen approach tends to de-emphasize the precision and encourages the artist to just let it flow. From my perspective, as a servant of the Most High God, I must be mindful of the implied demands of space, pattern, and rhythm. I pray for God to give me eyes that see so that as I’m working on a piece I instinctively sense where and how each line is to be added.
Next week I’ll share with you a few results from the lesson plans I developed using tangle art, but first I decided I’d better wade in and experience it myself. Here are a couple pieces I did as I explored and discovered the genre.