, Newburyport, MA


January 30, 2014

Untangling Zentangle

Salisbury instructor teaches a relaxing form of art

For those for whom doodling has always been an unconscious habit, Zentangle may be the perfect conscious art form.

“I work part time at Jabberwocky bookstore, and we had a couple of books on Zentangle in the art section,” said Salisbury resident and Methuen special needs teacher Robert Connolly. “I thought it looked interesting. I thought it might be something I could do. This is my first art experience, and it’s right here in Salisbury.”

Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, fun and relaxing way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns, according to Salisbury artist and certified Zentangle teacher Donna Scott.

“Zentangle is an art form and a practice similar to yoga,” she said. “It provides the opportunity to slow down, focus on the ink flowing down from the pen, and it gives your mind a place to relax. The mind-chatter watches the pen as doors to new ideas are given the chance to open. As this process takes over and patterns begin to appear on your drawing, the results are surprising and just beautiful.”

Begun in the hamlet of Whitinsville in central Massachusetts by well-known calligrapher Maria Thomas and former Zen Buddhist monk Rick Roberts, Zentangle was born from the meditative state that Thomas experiences when she illustrates text.

“He was the Zen, and she was the tangle,” Scott said. “There are no erasers in Zentangle because there are no erasers in life.”

A trained artist, Scott fell across Zentangle online and grew fascinated.

“I realized it was like the pen and ink drawings I did when I had my own small business when I lived in western Massachusetts,” she said. “That was years ago before computers came on the scene and everything was drawn by hand.”

Now living in Salisbury after 12 years in Newburyport, Scott and her husband, artist Bill Duke, have set up a teaching studio beside their home. He teaches burgeoning artists to paint with watercolors, and she handles the Zentangle lessons.

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