There Are No Mistakes In Art

pen artThere are no mistakes in art is my motto whenever I teach an art class. Unless you’re in school and taking an art class for a grade, there are no mistakes in art.

Does that make you feel better? I hope it does!

Because I’m afraid the latest slew of projects and kits available are making people think art is a lot harder than it actually is. For instance, my favorite rant: the zentangle.

When the zentangle first came to my attention it was a square on a piece of paper and a pen. You started randomly drawing lines, curves; maybe you added some dots or dashes. That’s all. You could get really wild and start with a circle. You could get totally carried away and be the guy who sold his zentagles on styrofoam cups.

What it wasn’t supposed to be was an entire business line with specially trained zentangle masters (I don’t know what they are really called) with classes, special books, and special tools.

Someone took a very simple art form and turned it into something way too complicated. I’m sure more than one person looks at the books, magazines, and other supplies available for creating zentangles and thinks creating them is a complicated endeavor. But don’t be fooled. All you need is a pen, some paper, and a square.

As I wander the craft stores (and I wander them a lot) I am dismayed to see the many things companies have complicated. So many easy crafts have become corporate-fied. They’ve stripped away the creative part and left a little bit of the finishing so you have something to show. They walk away with the money, and what do you walk away with?

Maybe some people are happy doing things this way. If the clearance bins at the craft stores are any indication, I think many are not.

The fun of art lies in the entire process, not just the finished product. From the first idea, to the first errant paint blob, to the laughs and groans that go along with it, the piece at the end holds those memories. Perfect or disaster, looking back at it will make you happy because of the adventure. And none of the steps along the way were mistakes, they were lessons.

Do me a favor and pick up a pen, a piece of paper, and draw a square. Start doodling in that square. Draw a zentangle that way. Then repeat. Don’t buy a kit!

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Review: Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

tricky 22The first book I’ve completed in 2016 is Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich. I’m happy to report that Stephanie Plum is still up to her old tricks.

This time around she’s hunting down a frat boy who’s running her ragged. Sure, he’s king of the Zeta’s, but all the rumors can’t be true about the worst fraternity house at Kiltman College. The dead bodies are just a coincidence, right?

Her personal life is in disarray. Morelli calls of their relationship. Ranger steps in to fill his spot. Stephanie and Lula find a serial killer among a bed of snakes. Best of all? Lula manages to turn crafty to save them all from the fleas. Bedazzled flea collars anyone?

Evanovich manages to keep up the shenanigans in number 22 without becoming boring. There’s still magic in the best love triangle ever. Lula and Stephanie are the greatest bumbling detectives. All the supporting characters still know their places and how to keep us in pieces.

The only thing getting old: cars blowing up. Surely Stephanie can hold onto a car for an entire book. Having them self-destruct repeatedly every volume is getting tedious. It’s not even interesting nor entertaining any longer. Instead, I read it and think, “meh…another?”

Still, I cannot wait until number 23!