Saturday, February 18, 2012

Zentangle and Visual Imagery

I am sitting here listening to my deaf bulldog bark incessantly this morning (and for the last few days), and I wondered how there are times that it seems like I completely tune his barking out and keep my blood pressure from sky rocketing as well as my temper. I started to reflect on this and realized I create Zentangles®

I have found that even if I'm in a situation where I cannot access pen or paper or anything else for that matter, I can still nearly achieve the same effect through visual imaging of creating tangles. I have created so many Zentangles that I can visualize in my mind's eye the feel of the paper, the scratching of the pen across the surface, seeing that moment when the ink flows from the pen, and of course the patterns for each tangle. My mind automatically allows me to go to that safe haven, if you will, and creates a very similar response. The key is to see every detail, smell, feeling... I think one of these days I will try visiting one of my Zentangles in an imagined 3-D world - really get to know the tangles from a different perspective :)

As a challenge and to help deepen your experience of the Zen I encourage you to sit for awhile with a Zentangle tile; run your fingers over it and get the feel of it; notice every indentation of the paper in it's mini mountain and valley depths; look at it from every angle and direction - spin it in your hands. Now close your eyes and try to see it in detail as you hold it in your hands. Can you see it clearly? Every nook and cranny? Wording? Shadows and highlights?

Now pick up your pencil and create a string - really be present. Visualize yourself as the graphite point. Taking a journey that you don't know where it will lead. You are climbing the peaks and valleys of the paper and leaving a light trail of your footsteps behind you.

Now pick up your pen. Notice the detail of the pen. How it feels, how it looks. As you take the cap off the pen imagine that your are lifting the caged doors to your creativity - your are about to be freed :)

As the pen tip hits the paper, again, imagine the new little world you are delving into, this time you are creating intricate trails in the mountains and valleys. Watch as the ink flows out of the pen - it's leaving a trail of the past and ahead is your future yet to be explored, you are in the moment.

As you practice this, try closing your eyes afterwards and recreate this in your mind's eye as detailed as possible. With practice you will be able to achieve the same state of relaxation by taking a deep breath, visualizing the details and the person or thing giving you difficulty will never even know how you are remaining as cool as a cucumber :)

Bee Zen


  1. What a thoughtful idea and essay...well-written and useful. You are onto something here! I have not seen the process of positive visualization offered to artists. Athletes, yes of course! Executives, perhaps...but in my experience, I have not witnessed nor heard reference to it being offered as a tool for artists. Has anyone else? (Perhaps my experience is too limited.)
    I do believe that artists should be coached and encouraged to visualize successful actions and outcomes, too! Thank you for providing a path for that.

    1. I am so happy you enjoyed this. I will have to do some research on it :)

  2. Denyse, this "visualization" is a fabulous idea. I think you're on to something big! Have you done this with a group of students? I can see how this would really be beneficial is so many applications. I will surely give it a go.

    I'm surprised this post (and visualization idea) is just now being celebrated.... as it was posted back in February. Keep us updated on your research.

    Has your dog's barking subsided? lol