When I finished filming my video for Project Pack No. 14, I was pleased with the finished piece of art (sorry about using white charcoal! I thought they were included in the project pack!), but I was left feeling like there was more I could have said about the message I was trying to convey, so I am sharing with you a companion blog to Zentangle Project Pack No. 14, Day 04.Theordore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy,” and this statement still holds true today, if not more than ever. In a world where we are sharing more than ever on social media, it is hard not to compare yourself to others. I feel like there is more pressure than ever to keep up with the jones’ and this constant comparison can have a serious effect on our mental health and overall self-esteem. This pressure is not limited to the car we drive or the promotions we get at work – it happens with our artwork as well.
I hear it all the time - people will call or email ZentangleHQ and share that they love seeing all of the beautiful Zentangle art that is shared on the Zentangle Mosaic app or other social media platforms, but theirs is not “good enough” yet to post. My heart breaks each time I hear this. Not only because I KNOW that their artwork is “good enough,” but because I also know what it is like to feel that way.
I have written in blogs before that until recent years, I did not consider myself an artist. In fact, I would go out of my way to be good at other things to compensate for the fact that I was not an artist.
Although I had tangled for many years in private, my practice really ramped up when I began working for Rick and Maria. Tangling is not required, but I am sure you can imagine it is hard not to be inspired by the beautiful artwork I was surrounded with. Unfortunately, that inspiration quickly turned into intimidation.
I would tangle in private, but going into the office, I kept my tiles to myself. They did not compare to Rick, Maria, Molly and Martha’s Zentangle art. Everywhere you look, there were tiles and mine were not “good enough” to be in the midst of theirs. I would tell myself I just needed to practice more.
For a while, I thought that this mindset would be motivating, but it was counterproductive. For starters, whether you are tangling or training for a marathon, I don’t think negative self-talk is constructive motivation. Secondly, this mindset was not motivating or inspiring, it was hindering. My artwork was never going to look like Rick or Maria’s, so striving for that was never going to be fruitful.
I am not sure when it was exactly, but there was a point when the switch flipped in my head. All of sudden I gave myself permission for my artwork to NOT look like anyone elses at ZentangleHQ. I gave myself permission to enjoy the process and not be concerned about the end result and that was the most freeing part of my Zentangle journey.
Once I focused on the process, I started to become more satisfied with the result. I found a style and rhythm that was all mine – that no one else at HQ could recreate, just as I could not recreate theirs. I started sharing my Zentangle art and wouldn’t you know it – it fit right in with all the other tiles hanging around. That intimidation the crept in so quickly in the beginning, evolved into inspiration. Now, when I see a tile of Maria’s that is beautiful (they all are!), instead of telling myself “I will never create a tile like that,” I will ask myself “how can this tile INSPIRE my art?” and the creativity begins to flow.. it becomes contagious.
I wanted to share a little more about my story, as I know it will resonate with many of you. I wanted to share, in hopes, that you may find inspiration where you once found intimidation, and I want to encourage YOU to share. Share your artwork with your friends and family. Share it with the Zentangle Community without hesitation Your art is more than good enough.
Creativity is contagious, pass it on! – A. Einstein