We started out at our first session with kind of a warm up, doing a simple little variation on Crescent Moon, a tangle pattern always included in everybody's "Tile Number One." This is because it illustrates the important Zentangle concept of Aura. When you aura, you outline a shape that is already on the paper, such as the black half moon shapes you see below. And then the auras can be aura'd. I have heard it said, "When in doubt, Aura!" This is a Bijou tile, very small, maybe 2 inches square.
One of the themes of ZenAgain was deconstructing works by well-known artists who use patterns.We covered three artists, Gustav Klimt, Keith Haring, Ernst Haeckel, this last artist being new to me. In this blog post I will tell you just a little about each, and show a Zentangle I created, inspired by and giving homage to each.
Klimt painted mostly women, and his work is decorated with patterns. Here is his Woman in Gold.
You may have seen the film about this painting, starring Helen Mirren. The canvas had been placed in a gallery by the Austrian state, and was so beloved that it was known as the Austrian Mona Lisa. The only problem was that the Nazi's had stolen it from the subject's Jewish family, and the rightful heir to the family brought suit to get it back. After some courtroom battles, the Austrian courts did the right thing.They gave the painting back to her. We had fun at ZenAgain finding well-known tangles in Klimt, such as printemps, and making up other tangles after his patterns. Here's a Zentangle based on Klimt.I wish you could see teh beautiful metallic gold.
The second artist we looked at was Keith Haring. He was a gay New York Steet artist, during 1980's time of AIDS, from which he died. Here's a sample.
He used signs and symbols in a language all his own. Here's one I did, based on his earlier work where he was practically making his own alphabet out of shapes and well=known symbols like arrows and hearts and orbits.
The thrid artist we looked at was Ernst Haeckel. I had never heard of him. Not surprising because he was a biologist, not in any art history courses. I highly recommend the book of his prints, Art Forms in Nature. I simply could not believe that the creatures he drew were real. But they are. I had a similar experience at the Museum of Natural History in New York when I visited the fish room. You might think, ah fish. But think again. There were thousands upon thousands of fish, all stuffed, all pinned to the walls behind glass in a gymnasium-sized room with a 2nd story balcony to double the number of exhibits. I swear that I saw this: a shiny coal black fish who had, sticking out of the top of his square-ish coal black head, mounted on a kind of stem, a second shiny black fish head just like his own. And the second story fish head had a yet a third fish head just like the others sticking out of his head. A fish with a three story head. A true story. New respect for nature's diversity and magic that I still feel now, 30 years later. Haeckel's book is incredible. Here's my Haeckel-inspired jellyfish. Once again the Zentangle team led us through magic worlds.