Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Zen Tangle Trees- The Art of Line

Zen doodles

It’s always an interesting and enriching experience teaching the elements of art to a class each year.  You find new lessons and projects, share ideas with colleagues or try out a new resource.  No matter what method you use to deliver the element, the students’ work is absolutely stunning. 

They take our puny ideas and turn them into magic, works of art, literally.  Hidden talents emerge and confidence soars, proud of a finished piece, all because you have broken down an element and demonstrated the steps to succeed.  I myself am not a talented artist; I follow the directions and make a sample that does not tend to deviate from the norm.  I leave the creativity to our kids.

Our class was experimenting with various lines and patterns (wavy, curvy, zig zag…) and played around with them by creating Zen tangles on small squares of paper.  We took time to show many, many types of lines and patterns.  It was an excellent way to practise, make mistakes and copy from the examples shown.

Then we began our larger project- Zen Tangle Trees, which involved many steps and took time.  Students studied trees, from the trunk to the branches taking note of the shape and detail.   We walked outside looking at trees around us and also observed pictures on the ipad.

The class began sketching a large tree on white paper and filled it with various Zen tangles, fine lining their work when done. The tree was given a thicker outline to accentuate the details.  A sun was added, either rising or setting in any space on the page. Their beginning steps were already amazing.  They worked with such care and concentration, wanting extra time in class to finish or to take it home to work on.

Sketching Trees
Zen tangles
Background grid of squares

Amazing detail
As the trees were nearing completion we showed the class how to divide the left over space into squares so that we could create a background of colour.   Each square had to be filled with a blend of 2-3 colours with the sun being a mixture of warm colours and the sky a mixture of cool colours.  Colour had been previously taught but they needed practise with the blending, some figured it out right away, others needed practise.  The colour added a whole new dimension to the tree and gave the art energy and an even more personal touch, a final sense of completion.  The children were proud of the work they had created, unique to themselves, the way I feel art should be.

Unique, breathtaking