Starving Artist: success or failure? Zen demo part 2

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.”~Oscar Wilde, Irish poet

Again, be thankful for any chair, especially one with a padded seat.

I was more comfortable with this demo, especially at this location. The second store was more open, a larger entryway. Nice. I had a 6-foot rectangular table to tangle on, and I was set up at the front of the store next to the cute lavender-scented teddy bears. Bonus!

There was more foot traffic but many were window shoppers who didn’t leave with purchases. A pair of kids thought it would be fun to fill out about 15 raffle entry forms each. The best thing I can say about that is they were quite creative with the names they wrote. A few people stopped to watch. One person talked to me for 10 minutes. “This is wonderful,” she said.

“It’s easy, something you can do,” I replied. “This was drawn with one line repeated over and over.” When she smirked, I did a quick demo of Crescent Moon. “Can you draw a half-circle?” I asked, showing her that first step. “Can you draw a line around that?” She laughed and as I finished, I saw the transformation in her eyes from doubt to delight.

Then my phone alarm went off. Another two hours disappeared in what felt like 30 minutes.

After the demo, the store manager told me a man stopped by a few days ago asking about the class. Today, a few people apparently lingered over the signup sheet. Two store employees themselves were interested. Not a bad day.

This is the Zentangle I worked on. I didn’t finish it, but it feels complete. I’m still thinking about that.

I learn from my failures more than my successes, so these demos were more success than failure. I hope you can look at Life like that.

What did I take away from this day’s experience?
— Don’t start with a blank sheet; every piece should have some tangles completed beforehand.
— Have a few pre-strung tiles at hand for those quick demos. You can only do Crescent Moon so many times on one artwork.
— Be prepared to demonstrate shading techniques, even if it’s “out of order” before the completed Zentangle.
— Have a list of interesting tangles you are comfortable with nearby for reference, both borders and fillers, small and large patterns.
— Smile. A lot.
— Don’t even try to compete with cute lavender-scented teddy bears.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Lynn
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 12:39:13

    Hi Diana,
    I”m responding to your comments on my large ZIA over at my blogpost
    I read your post here on the demonstration, and my thought was how brave you were to do this. I would hate to work in public because I know I would unconsciously be sticking my tongue out the whole time I worked!

    I think your ZIA is really cool. It has a lot of contrast and movement. I love that you feel it’s complete as is. I wish I could leave more white space on mine. I feel this compulsion to fill in all the spaces. Next time I’m going to try leaving more space.

    You’re right about 2 hours not being enough to complete a large piece. I didn’t count, but I’d guess mine took about 8-10 hours for an 11×17.

    It felt good to have it done, and such a relief to do some small, relaxing zentangles, but I would like to try another large one because it does offer more opportunities to combine tangles and really feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s done.



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