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Soon after I discovered Zentangle, on Pinterest, I went looking for more information about it. I found Zentangle.com, Rick and Maria's (the originators and developers of Zentangle(c)) lovely site, and their very interesting and informative blog. Next, I found tanglepatterns.com, Linda's wonderful listing of patterns, both official and unofficial. Next came Laura Harms', The Diva's site.
Many patterns appealed to me, but the organic tangles, most of all... and the botanicals in particular.
Although I find my drawing skills are slowly improving, I had absolutely no idea how to compose a completely botanical piece. So, the botanicals, for the most part, were absent from my art.
Then, I had the good fortune to meet, on Facebook, Brenda Shaver-Shahin, CZT, who had just relocated to within about an hour's drive of me. I was so excited, and booked a lesson with her. She is warm and welcoming, and an excellent teacher. We made the decision to start from the beginning, and we did. We didn't stay there long, however, as it seems I had managed to come quite a long way with Zentangle, on my own. After that first lesson, I was totally inspired and created the first big ZIA that made me say "Wow, I did that?" For those of you who know me on Facebook (Elizabeth Cline Beveridge, there), a part of that piece is the header on my timeline page. The entire piece can be seen, here.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I asked Brenda if she would help me learn to use those lovely botanicals I had looked at with longing, from the start. What an amazing time we had. I was scared to death, which is silly, but I tend to react that way to anything new. Brenda had recognized that I was drawing really tightly and holding my breath... so, she presented me with a blank that was 8"x10", and told me we were going to "draw big" this time.
I am very slow and methodical, and Brenda was so patient with me. I'm sure she could have just screamed at times. lol. Drawing big was hard, and I needed the constant reassurance Brenda gave me... That looks great!... or Don't worry, you won't even see that, when it's done...
One of the most important changes for me, after only two lessons, is that I'm becoming ok with my own art. I can be very hard on myself, and we have so many incredibly talented artists in the Zentangle community. I was actually getting discouraged, and feeling like I should be able to make my art look like theirs. I'm finally learning to be patient with myself. I am only 7 months in, and I don't have much art background (more a crafter). I am beginning to just enjoy the process, which is the root of Zentangle (c), and not to worry so much about the outcome. It's funny how the result improves, when it stops mattering so much!
I know that not everyone has access to a CZT, and I know all CZT's are not the same. No two human beings are. I would truly encourage you, however, if you do have a CZT in your area, to take some lessons. I find I have learned so much, in only two lessons, but it's more than that. It's the fun of talking about something about which you are both passionate... sharing sources of supplies and equipment... such as paper and framing... ooo'ing and ahh'ing over each other's work. It's about learning, and it's about laughing. I come away so inspired and encouraged. I can hardly wait 'til Friday... my next lesson!
I found this botanical very, very challenging, and it's something I would never have tried on my own. I see all its faults, and yet, I see its beauty too. It's really exciting for me to finally complete this piece, and to be able to stand back and utter that infamous thought most of us have too often. "Did I really do that?" (grins).
Here is the piece I will always love, because it represents a real milestone for me. My first botanical ZIA... YAY! It won't be the last.
Thank you, Brenda Shaver-Shahin, CZT. You're awesome!
Til next time, tangle happy!
Beth (Elizabeth Cline Beveridge on Facebook)