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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.

 Click images for larger views.

Maria Thomas


  • Wonderful “zenthoughts”! Your points are, I believe, true for all things in life. I love Zentangle and I love how, for me, it is an artistic microcosm of life itself. And I welcome being lovingly reminded of the perfection of imperfection. Thank you, Maria!!

    Cathy Kurvers on

  • Maria, many years ago when I was working professionally as a calligrapher, and constantly strove for perfection……i happened to do a workshop with Donald Jackson and one day he said to me, when I was bemoaning the fact that my lettering was not “perfect”……” no such thing as perfection, however, practice can make your work ‘better’, but it will never be perfect,”

    This also apples to tangling too, yes?

    Sue Zanker on

  • 매우 매우 감사합니다. 삶의 기쁨이자 희망이 생겼습니다.

    은희 김 on

  • Thank you – reading this helped me understand myself and others too. I’ll put in my reps.

    Nancy Needler on

  • Thank you⭐️⭐️💕

    Donna Rusher on

  • We had company and my husband insisted that I show my stash of Zentangles. I was very reluctant until I heard everyone asking how I could possibly have made these beautiful works of art. I kept hearing, “ I have no talent- I can’t draw!” I told them that they too could make these beautiful works of art—there are no mistakes! Now, I’m proud of all my tiles and have trouble picking my favorites! Perfection is NOT the goal—enjoying the process is my goal…..and I do!

    Zipporah Rosenblatt on

  • Thank you for this wonderful reminder. It reminds me of the project pack that you had with the quotes. . . “Don’t be afraid of perfection, you’ll never reach it!” I accepted a “Sketchbook Skool” challenge to draw daily for a year. I have been doing my best to draw daily. (I had an emergency appendectomy last Friday, and missed a couple of days.) I have seen an improvement in my art by working at it daily, just as the article said. Repetition is the key. . . Kindness helps, to yourself, and others. . . Being Grateful for what you can do is the icing on the cake! I love the fiddleheads!

    LLS on

  • Ugh! I struggle with wanting perfection in my tangles and tiles…especially orbs. I do small ones with ease and carefree, but I (guiltily) admit that I often use stencils for larger ones. I do work on it and know I need to free myself of that burden. I, by nature, am a self-doubter when it comes to everything I do. It really is a heavy weight.

    Clara A Brunk on

  • I found tangling in 2013 and after filling sketch books, tiles, and other objects I find there are no two pieces alike, no mistakes or imperfections on any of them. Only singular and beautiful art. Also, I love every minute of tangling and may even tangle until my last breath. CZT22

    Kathy Y. on

  • La imperfección induce a la perfección, pero ésta no se logra. La imperfección abre una ventana hacia la exploración, la creatividad, la búsqueda, el giro, la proyección, la sorpresa, el impulso a continuar, al resultado inesperado y feliz. Es el milagro del Zentangle!! Gracias Rick&María por recordar este capítulo. Elsa Dueñas, CZT26

    Elsa Dueñas on

  • Love this repost. And the creative possibilities of tangling! Cutting board is so cool. Imperfections are the beauty of becoming. Inspiration within itself. We all need to be reminded from time to to time. And today, for me, your reminder was well timed. Thank you, Maria

    Anna Vermillion-Hoss on

  • La imperfección induce a la perfección, pero ésta no se logra. Por el contrario, la imperfección abre una ventana a la exploración, a la creatividad, al recurso, al giro, a la invención a resultados geniales e inesperados. Es el milagro del Zentangle y sus posibilidades infinitas.

    Elsa Dueñas on

  • Mona Lisa with a nip & a tuck! 🤣 I used to draw hoping for (near) perfection until I read something Molly said a few years ago. “Perfection is overrated. Imperfection is art.” It definitely changed the way I tangle & I find myself repeating her quote (with credit) on FB tangle groups where someone is disappointed with the outcome of their work. And it always seems to be appreciated! 🤗

    Jan ~Sailandbejoyful~ on

  • One of the greatest pieces of wisdom I was ever given was from my flute teacher (and I use with my piano students all the time): “”practice don’t perfect”…and it’s so true…I made a discovery last night practicing paradox and wound up with a surprising, unexpected and neat design emerging. Perfection has its place…saving lives in the ER, performing with an orchestra…places where others are depending on me to be spot on…Art is my own personal journey that hopefully I can share my warts and discoveries in a connected community of similar minded artists and seekers.

    MaryEllen Langieri on

  • Oh, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree struck a chord! Our very first tree was spindly. I also had a cockeyed stuffed animal from a carnival prize because I thought no one else would have taken it. So charming and different.

    I was just working on a tile that was more complicated than usual, trying to push myself a bit… and then of course the pen “took a wrong turn.” But then that takes the pressure off, and gives freedom to explore more (IMHO). And putting it down for a while also gives a fresh outlook later, in case you think it can’t be saved.


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