perspective: /pəˈspɛktɪv/ – noun
1. a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
2. the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity
3. the theory or art of suggesting three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface, in order to recreate the appearance and spatial relationships of that objects or scene

Usually when you hear the word perspective thrown around in art circles, they are talking about definition 3. I want to talk to you about the first two. This week’s excellent guest post over at the iamthedivaczt is by Katie Cromett. She talks about simplicity in life and in Zentangle. If you haven’t read it, pop over and have a look. I’ll wait…

So, with the challenge of simplicity and using just 2 or 3 tangles, I thought I’d start without a string and use something organic. Lately, mock mooka is my go-to tangle. Since I wanted a simple background, I chose patena. I didn’t want a lot of extra ornamentation, but did want the mock mooka to stand out from the background, so I did a single aura with a bit of rounding and shading. It seemed like it would be simple, but the results, well, see for yourself.

Simple challenge - just mock mooka and patenna.
Simple challenge – just mock mooka and patenna.

So, is it simple or not?

At first, I thought, not so much. But, then I pulled out this thing from my bag.

Everything but the kitchen sink – plus watercolor

That certainly puts the first one into perspective. Yes, it is simple. At least in comparison.

Want to hear a funny story about tile 2? I wrestled with this tile last week at the beach. It seemed that no matter what I did, it was just too busy and too ugly. Even Sonya couldn’t offer any suggestions for improvement. In desperation, I took watercolor to it. That did enough to “rescue” it, but, I still had no plans to share it with the world. Or anyone. I tucked it into my bag and forgot about it. Or perhaps I blocked it out of my mind. This morning, reached into the bag to show my bubbles tile to a friend and it accidentally fell out.

Lo and behold, it is no longer hideous. When this happens, I tell my students that it is because the tangle fairy came. Often students are not quite happy with their first tile. I tell them to put it away and let the tangle fairy come and when they get home, show their family. Every one of them has told me that they liked it better when they got it back out again.

Why? Often when we are tangling, we are hyper focused and notice every tiny imperfection. When in this mindset, all you notice are the flaws (that are usually invisible to others.) It can be difficult to switch to a more objective perspective. Sometimes, these minute flaws can stop you from seeing the big picture. If this happens, here are a few tips to help:

  1. Put your work away. Let the tangle fairies come work their magic. Often, all you need is to see your work with “fresh eyes.”
  2. Share a tile with a friend. Hearing others’ perspectives can help. Note: be careful who you do this with. It works best with other tanglers.
  3. Rotate it and see if there is a side you like better.
  4. Hold it at arms length or even view it from across the room.
  5. Put it in a mosaic with other tiles. When seen in a larger context, most “mistakes” will disappear.

Do you have any tricks to help change your perspective? If so, please share in the comments below.

18 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. I tend to like my tiles the next day. There really is something about waiting and looking again with fresh eyes.


  2. Your tips are absolutely right, a “found” tangle piece is often much better on re-acquaintance than when first finished. Similarly, it may not be better when it reappears but you suddenly know just what to do with it and, hey presto, it works.
    As for your simple piece, I love it. I still struggle with any version of Mooka, getting a pleasing result about 40% of the time.
    The water colour one is complex but the flow from one colour to another and from one pattern to another is just fabulous.


  3. I haven’t heard of “mock” Mooka. Your simple tile is delightful and I love the perspective of the Mock Mooka over the background. Your second tile is really stunning too, but I’m quite enjoying all the simplicity of tiles I’m seeing in this challenge!


  4. I’m often surprised what a difference 180 degrees can make — — even days or weeks later. I have a number of tiles in my albums that have my name upside-down because of that! I wonder if that is why Maria’s chop is the same no matter what angle you view if from. . . Hmmm?


  5. You are so right about often appreciating a tangle with the perspective of a little time and distance. That applies to a lot of things in life I think.


  6. I think you tile is a good example of simplifying. The strokes of the tangles are simple strokes even though the composition covers a lot of the tile.


  7. Phew! For the topic of ‘simplicity’ there is a lot in this post that’s got me thinking! I absolutely love your ‘Simplicity’ tile – and agree, it is simple in its concept but the end result is anything but simple. And then I saw your second tile and went ‘wow’. I agree with everything you say about giving a tile time to grow on you. I finished a (fairly simple) tile for ‘A String Thing’ and thought it was awful yesterday. But this morning the tangle fairy had been and worked her magic and I can’t think why I didn’t like it before.


  8. I just discovered you on wordpress. I love what I’ve seen and read so far. I have been a tangle addict for four years. Lately the overly busy quality of my works has begun to annoy me. Your example is the perfect demo of the impact you can make with a simpler style.

    Boy are those tangle fairies busy. They fix my stuff all the time.


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