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To Share My Heart

by A.M. Harte about a year ago in art
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From heart to art - My dream of bringing my creativity to the world

The Tree of Separation

My life has always been driven by creativity and imagination. These elements aren’t mere passions, interests, or hobbies for me. Creativity is the core of my being, my essence as a person. I need to express myself creatively like I need to breathe and drink water. If I go too long without any creative outlet, I begin to wilt.

One interesting theme in my life has been that I often discover my deepest creative passions through seemingly random means. I tend to follow any path that lights up my soul, and so often, what lights up my soul is something I didn’t even know existed until the universe handed it to me out of the blue.

An important example of this is the way in which I discovered my current favourite art form. I first discovered Zentangles when a complete stranger, someone I had never met before that encounter and have not seen again since, decided to tell me about this incredible art style.

I was in an early morning team meeting, and a Recreation Therapist had come to join the team for the day. She was a casual employee filling in for the regular RT at the Day Hospital where I worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I always doodled on my notes during meetings. It’s a habit I’ve had since my school days and I’ve just never stopped doing it.

I focus better when I’m doing something with my hands. I’ve always loved to draw, so drawing tiny designs around my handwritten notes was an unconscious habit that filled my need for activity and movement.

The guest therapist took notice of my doodling. I kind of saw her eyeing me out of the corner of my eye. I felt a little self conscious but I kept doing my thing. After the meeting, she smiled at me and asked, “Have you ever heard of Zentangles?”

”No, I don’t think so,” I replied, curious where she was going with this.

”Oh! Well I noticed your doodling and I think you would really enjoy it,” she said. She explained that it was a meditative art form where you use repeated patterns to create art.

I made her write down the spelling so I could Google it later. I told her it sounded intriguing and I thanked her and we went our separate ways.

Genuinely intrigued, I did a quick internet search for the topic right on my earliest coffee break. I found a book about how to create Zentangles and ordered it on Amazon. It was called, “One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun”. I went back to work and tried to forget about the topic for the rest of the day while I saw my clients.

As soon as I got that book, I leapt into it. I followed the 6 week program and drew one new pattern a day, practicing the traditional form of Zentangles described in the book. I loved it! It was like I had been searching my whole life for the right style and medium of art to truly express myself, and I had finally discovered it!

Pattern practice along with some of the Zentangle inspired creations I‘ve made for others

The discovery was all the more surprising and unexpected because it came to me from a stranger who had only mentioned it to me in passing. What if I had never followed up on her suggestion? What if I had never written it down or been open to hearing the opinion of someone I had only just met? I mean, I can‘t even remember this wonderful human’s name now, and yet a couple of sentences changed my artistic expression forever. I often think about how close I came to missing out on something that I truly felt I needed to be doing. I hadn’t realized this was something I needed to do until someone came along to show me.

Ever since I was a child, I had drawn, painted, and told stories. I loved every form of creative expression, and always would. However, I had never been settled on any medium. Nothing felt quite right to me, nothing matched the vision in my head until I learned about Zentangles.

Now, Zentangles is a trademarked style. I can’t teach it to anyone without becoming a certified teacher. However, my art moved away from the strict Zentangle style towards what is referred to as “Zentangle Inspired Art.” Most of my art pieces after 2014 have turned into Zentangle Inspired Art.

What that means is, I think about some of the repetitive pattern elements that I learned through the book, but I take them outside the typical form and create other shapes and images. Sometimes there are more repetitive elements included than others.

In my “Tree of Separation” drawing, you can see a lot of the Zentangle elements included. But the drawing itself is symbolic and doesn’t follow the strict format rules of the original style.

I drew the Tree of Separation for a friend of mine. I won’t share his story here as it is not my story to tell. However, the elements in the drawing speak of family bonds across a distance, and of how some ties can never fully be severed. It’s also about healing, letting go, and forgiveness. I like to leave the full message up to the viewer. Everyone can take away something a little different from the image, and that’s completely valid.

Very occasionally, I share my art on my Facebook page called theheartofangela. I actually started using this name for a blog in order to share the story of my first pregnancy. It morphed into being a moniker I used for sharing my writing and my art together. Sharing anything creative, for me, is the same as sharing my heart with the world.

I first started out making letters and initials into gifts for family and friends

Since starting the page, I closed the blog. Through challenging life circumstances, I no longer had the energy to share my heart with the world. I was so bogged down in emotional darkness for years that I neglected this part of myself. I did myself a disservice in abandoning my dream.

Now, circumstances have changed, and I am once again ready to share my heart, and my art, with the world. I’m steadily expanding my efforts on my social media page, sitting down to create more often, and setting my creative sights a little higher.

I’m looking forward to sharing a regular blog again, with regular creative inspirations and ideas. A Memberful subscription would be an amazing opportunity to open up my heart to the world. I would finally have the monetary backing to actually move forward with everything I want to do.

It would help free up my time to write more poetry, blogs, and stories, as well as to create more art which I could additionally put up for sale. Financially, being an artist is not always the easiest way to live. Too often, life obligations get in the way and I lose focus on sharing my true passions. But I know deep down in my soul that the way I can live my most authentic passions is by writing, drawing, and in general being successful through my creativity.

So often in my life, opportunities have come to me in the most unexpected ways. I will forever be grateful to that Recreation Therapist for noticing my morning meeting habits and suggesting something that ended up opening up a new, fulfilling world to me.

This is not the only time I have experienced a seemingly random event that took me on a brilliant new course and adventure. It has happened to me over and over again. Sometimes the tiniest suggestion can spark a whole creative fire in my life.

It will always be important for me to follow the trails that light me up, and I want to share that with others as well. Life is filled with the unexpected, and anything can be an opportunity under the right conditions, if you’re open to possibilities.

Money may not buy happiness, but it sure could help me follow those passions and embrace one more opportunity to dance with my dreams and change my life forever. In doing so, I would also share my heart with the world, through regular writing, creative prompts, inspirations, sharing works in progress, blogging, drawings, and more. I would even start working on publishing a book, which is something I’ve always intended to do.

No matter what, I’m ready to follow all the new opportunities to fulfill my creative purpose and share my light and my heart with the world.

Early drawings from my notebook

art

About the author

A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte has dreamed of being a published author ever since she was a little girl. She lives on the Canadian prairies and writes poems and stories inspired by life's struggles, always with a hint of optimism.

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