After botching up several attempts at Day 18 in One Zentangle a Day, I decided to change my perspective. So, I started by turning my tile 45 degrees. Instantly, I got an idea to do something a little different with Day 18’s tangle. Instead of a random string, I decided to start with a fish. Why a fish? Probably because I can’t draw frogs.
The day’s patterns focused on Gneiss (the eye), Cadent (the upper body), and Huggins (the lower body). Just turning the tile gave me a new perspective on drawing and a way to put those three patterns together in a way that didn’t feel as contrived as my previous attempts, the best one of which is below.
In the lower photo, I messed up my intended perspective when I drew Finery (upper portion of tile) without receding the right side in the distance. Maybe it’s because I used too many patterns. Or maybe I lost perspective. Everything else came out as planned–sort of.
That I call a random string tile more contrived than a deliberately shaped string gives you an idea of just how much my perspective changed. For whatever reason, the fish feels more “natural” than the other tile. It’s that feeling of “naturalness” that I associated with contrivance, even though it is pretty clear that a random pattern is generally more natural, in that Nature seems free-flowing and without conscious reference to shape. But there it is: I turn the tile and my feelings about perspective change as well.
The idea for the fish came from a book I am reading, Charles Stross’ latest Laundry novel titled The Nightmare Stacks. At least, I think that’s where the idea came from. You see, in the book there’s this passage that deals with water-dwelling piranha-like alternate world creatures… Well, never mind; my fish hardly looks dangerous. Except for the eye, maybe…
Earlier in Stross’ book, there is a passage about how the way one perceives the world changes with the time of day–such as when you generally see a particular place only during the day, and suddenly you see it in the dark. It turned out that is not what was occurring in the book, but it made me stop to think about all the places that were familiar to me at one time of day but that seemed totally new when seen at another. For example, when we lived in Palo Alto, California, the noon time starkness of buildings I passed each day was such a contrast to the genial morning newness or the mellow evening patterns of shadows cast by the local businesses and homes. Or that first day in autumn in New Jersey after the trees turned to their brilliant yellows, golds, oranges and reds, virtually overnight. Or re-reading a book in my senior years that I last read forty years earlier… Time and perspective seem to change together. Maybe part of that is because we gain experience or fail to see the newness of a scene when we first come across it in a new light…
The same with writing and art. Our perspectives, our passions, our language–all change with time and experience, yet all are fresh in their own way.
Sometimes, all it takes to change the way one thinks or attack a problem is to step back, or perhaps to view the target from a different angle. Turning the Zentangle tile forty-five degrees gave my mind a new perspective on how to combine three patterns–only two of which seem to actually complement each other–in a way that I could find pleasing. Plus, the turn gave me a way to insert what I have been reading into the work, too. Unintentionally, of course.
Makes me wonder how many other things I can turn just 45 degrees…