Obsessions, Zentangles, and Mandalas
As part of my online writing class, I have an assignment to think about my obsessions and whether they help or hinder my creative processes. I can think of lots of my obsessions: amazing music, sunny afternoon cat naps on the couch, the beautiful succession of notes on Here Comes the Sun, emotional, character driven movies and TV shows, great books, my new vegan lifestyle… and now I am worrying about how many obsessions, I was able to come up with in a few minutes.
One of the constants throughout my life has been art. I have the fondest memories of digging through boxes of Crayolas, delighting in the color names and making up my own, and of the excitement in smelling all the scents of a brand new box of Mr Sketch markers. For Christmas, my favorite gifts have always been the art sets, paints, special pens, and beautiful sketch pads. I can still get lost for hours in the aisles of an art supply store, picking out supplies and imagining what I can do with them.
When I apply paint to a page, I can imagine what it might turn into and then am always overwhelmed when it turns into something better that I never could have planned. This process gives me peace and distance from of the messier things in life. It gives me room to breathe and process. I believe it is why I’ve never lost my need and want to draw, paint, and imagine.
Last March, I tried a few Zentangles. I didn’t take a class or read a book; I just tried it. I love the concept that there are no mistakes, only creative bursts that lead you in unexpected directions. It is meditative, calming, and a bit addicting. I don’t do it right, and I wasn’t trained, but it doesn’t take away any of the enjoyment or benefit.
This process reminds me of drawing and coloring mandalas (beautiful, sacred art in Buddhist and Hindu religions). They are meditative and freeing. Apparently, Carl Jung (very famous psychoanalyst) was a fan of mandalas and likened them to a “representation of the unconscious self.” He used them to work and better himself, and I feel like I’ve been doing the same thing.
I spent my Sunday playing, and this is what I created: