Friday, June 17, 2011

art like a child

If you are in a room full of kindergartners and you ask, "Who in here is an artist?", most of the children will raise their hands. If you ask a room full of high school seniors, you might get a couple hands. 
   What if....
every child had a room full of paints and canvas, and each child got a hug and a kiss for the strokes they made? I wonder what the world would look like if that was our experience.
  A friend sent me this link about a 4-year old artist, Aelita Andre. You may have seen it, and if you did, it might have been in the context of how much money this child gets for her paintings. In this post, however, I'm just looking at what this child feels like to me as she is painting... with a beautiful intuitive and deliberate grace, she feels to me to be very connected in her moments at hand. 
   Does she appear to be thinking about form and light and composition? Not in my eyes. Of course, many of the grown-ups around her will chatter on about her abilities to use form, light, composition, etcetera etcetera etcetera. And many will make assessments about whether or not this is art, whether her parents are doing her a disservice, or are out for the money, or if she should be using grown-up paints, etcetera etcetera etcetera.
   I just want to look at her face as she paints and dances around, to see what pure joy in art-making could be like. That kind of joy and confidence comes from trusting one's own intuition. We are all artists, we all have intuition. But often we listen to the world's idea of what is good or bad, rather than trusting our own path and our own sense of joy.
   When I stumbled upon Zentangle®, I could feel the potential of this art form to help anyone, regardless of skill, get to that place of connection and joy. By letting the lines of a tangle engage us, such questions about what is art, is my line ok, is my composition a good one... can all fade away until we are left with just the joy of feeling pen on paper and the joy it can bring. The joy comes from letting all those other technical art aspects float away. It's the letting go that is so wonderful. Just look at Aelita's face.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Pablo Picasso


  1. Carole, I love this post! Would you mind if I reposted a link to it on our Casco Bay Scribes (Maine calligraphy guild) facebook page and blog? I recently taught a 10 minute quick zentangle demo at a local Cancer Society meeting, and the response from the audience was terrific -- they were all so surprised that they could create ART in 10 minutes, without any experience. Hearing these folks in their business clothes giggle and watching them concentrate was a thrill. Go, Zentangles!

  2. Thoughtprovoking blog post, Carole. Your first sentence raises questions about what our education system does to creativity. I can visualize a cartoon of an old wringer washer representing our schools squeezing creativity from students in order to have them sit still and memorize facts.
    I agree with your premise ( and of Maggie's above comment) on the contribution Zentangle makes in the lives of us ordinary people for whom art has not been our primary focus.


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