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Turn Up the Volume!... Again!

Turn Up the Volume!... Again!

In 2007, we started BLOG Zentangle and began our enjoyable series of conversations within our Zentangle community.

In reading through these blog posts with their insightful comments, we decided to bring a few of them to your attention from time to time. It is easy, for me anyway, to sometimes think of old information as stale information. But these insights and conversations are anything BUT stale!

We invite you to enjoy this post from 2014...

Begin previous post . . .

Maria writes:
I have to say, I never had a thing for "Perfection."

Not that I am not tidy or conscientious or the least bit lazy . . . though I am learning not to work as many hours as I have in the past.

Perfection, to me, always had a "boringness" to it, like the perfect apple or the perfect Christmas tree. ( I'd choose the Charlie Brown tree every time.) And so, with art. The paintings that so attracted me were portraits of people who had something of a distinguishingness to them -- maybe a wart; or a crooked tooth; or a non-symmetrical face . . . something to remember (or admire).

So, what's this all about? I think "perfect" is over-rated and it would be best if it was banished from the vocabulary of the arts. Art, like nature, is most beautiful in its imperfections . . . always having that some little thing that caused a bit of tension . . . just a bit.

Just think, if DaVinci lived today . . . perhaps we'd be stuck with a face plumped with so much plastic surgery . . . instead of the Mona Lisa. But I digress . . . .

Let's remember this when we create our Zentangle tiles. Embrace their imperfections. Let them take us to a place unexpected. Admire our singularities. Learn from our every stroke. Have confidence in the fact there is always another tile, another tangle.

I read an article in the "Huffpost" that got me thinking about this.  I think the whole 3 1/2" format allows artists of all kinds to experience the luxury of experimenting with lots of works of art, instead of the excruciatingly painful large piece you never get to finish.

Have fun.

Do it again.

Do more.

Admire your efforts.

Take joy in what you have created.

Share your art with others. They will be impressed.

Give your art to others. They will be grateful.

When the day is done and you look at your art, always smile. This sounds silly, but it works every time. Your eyes will see it in a different light. And the smile will become real.

Rick adds:
Maria was out this week and saw an ad in a magazine, grabbed her blank book and . . .

That shape is so resonant with the fiddleheads coming up in our front yard:

I love the imperfection and volume of nature. Imagine if trees only decided to make as many seeds as they knew would become trees. There would be no trees! Imagine if artists only decided to create (perfect) masterpieces. There would likely be no art!

Imperfections themselves can be wonderful inspirations. Whether it's a tangle done "wrong" or a stain on a chopping board that perhaps otherwise would not have been tangled:

Although once Maria got started, she (naturally) tangled the other side, too. :-)

If you haven't already, do take a moment to read the article linked above as it will tie all this together.



  • A perfect balance of wisdom and beauty as always. When I’m not tangling I write. And I mostly write small things, very very, small poems. But I’m also working on some longer projects, which I find tough going, almost torturous at times. Recently a friend, not a particularly close one, but perhaps that distance allowed for clearer perspective, suggested I shouldn’t worry so much about the big projects, but enjoy the area of my strength and pleasure, stick with the small. And a light went on. And then it flickered, as of course I already knew this from the wisdom of these little tiles. But then I think the point of life is relearning the same lessons until they eventually stick! Thanks for reminding us of what we might already know but easily forget!

    Jem on

  • I LOVE this post! I refer to myself as a “recovering perfectionist”. A few years ago, I came across the statement, “Perfectionism is a profound form of self-abuse.” That resonated with every cell in my body. I try to remember to tell every new batch of students this phrase. Most heads nod slowly as its truth sinks in …

    Jan Brandt, CZT on

  • as Salvador Dali, once in his blunt eloquence, phrases…’have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.’ love…

    midori, czt on

  • The biggest hurdle when teaching is to get my students past that need for their tile to be perfect and to relax and enjoy the process. For some the need is so strong for perfection and they keep comparing their tiles to others that I am very tempted to go to the teacher’s store and buy a few foldable private cardboard cubbies so that no one can see each other’s work until finished.

    For me the process is what gets me through most days…focusing on each stroke and letting pain recede to the background. For this I am forever grateful.

    Lesley Goldberg on

  • I have to live with imperfection, as my right hand has been aching and feeling terribly cold since I had an accident in my kitchen. Zentangle gives me the chance to do still wonderful art.

    Inge Frasch, #21 on

  • I love imperfections. I call them “Happy Accidents.”

    Quwatha Valentine on

  • I posted exactly the same thoughts on perfection just a couple of weeks ago, unknowingly echoing your blog.

    I, as do many, hear and see tanglers making self critical comments on their creations … not good enough, not right, not perfect.

    It has concerned me for some time that social media encourages us to look purely at the art and not at the essence of Zentangle – the moments of relaxation and pleasure we get from those repetative lines, the Zen.
    This seeking of perfection in the visual aspect of your Zentangle art will never be achieved or bring the joy that is possible.
    Why? Because perfection does not exist. The perfectionist will always seek to criticise themselves and in doing so will never free themselves to really appreciate the achievements, beauty and pleasure.
    The Curse of Perfectionism is well known (Google it !).
    In my teaching and coaching my constant theme is that you are good enough, right now. What you are and what you do is good enough and those imperfections make what we do and who we are beautiful, unique and special.
    Each and every imperfect tile is more than good enough….. it is imperfectly ‘perfect’.

    Joanna Quincey on

  • Oh how the words of Maria and Rick intertwine, much like Maria’s “Mooka” and ”Rixties” on the above piece! I so love when a new post is on Zentangle’s blog! It keeps me keeping on and I feed on their words and art like a hummingbird to nectar. Thank you again for Zentangle. ❤️❤️ (Progress, not perfection)

    Kellie May on

  • If i had not been obsessed with perfections, I would never have attempted Zentangle! Through Zentangle Art, I have withdrawn myself from that perfection and embraced my imperfections! I can see a Picasso happening in my tangled-students too!!! Its glorious, its exciting, its happening!

    Aishwarya Karthik Darbha on

  • So true, and always practicing and going forward is the whole focus of living a great life. Quantity adds up to a better outcome everytime. Just what I did after open heart surgery 4 years ago, one breath, one rep and one stroke at a time until I am now better and more confident then ever in my life.

    Sue Leslie on

  • During 2018 I chose to join a number of Facebook pages of various Zen-Tanglers..Some of the art posted out there is both mind-boggling and absolutely stunning !! THEN, I found myself feeling a little “jilted” with reference to my tiles and found it challenging to get that “first tangle” on the tile..I had to stop and re-think my goal with practicing Zentangle® …That was when I realized my tiles are unique and with continued practice my style will evolve in ways yet to be determined..I am so looking forward to looking back on my journey in the future and reviewing my work. It will improve, but I realize that doesn’t mean the tiles at the beginning of my practice are not “perfect”..In fact, I enjoy the little “funny stuff” that may not make a perfect tangle !!-Sharon Jerkovic-September 5, 2018

    Sharon Jerkovic on

  • Working as a registration specialist for my last 9 years of work, our yearly evaluations were based on number of patients registered and a monthly report of our insurance errors. Some coworkers worked to have a high amount of patients registered but there insurance errors did not make the 93% required. Thinking back, I thought it was better to not rush the patient and answer the questions or fears they faced depending on their health and ease their minds and fears. So now I apply myself to not rush with my Zentangle gifts that I create for friends and family but think back to the memories I shared with the person when I decide which tangles to use. Thanks so much for developing your gift to us CZTs. It truly is amazing and helps in so many ways and situations of life.

    Gloria V on

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