Monday, March 19, 2012


So the other day I was in a meeting, and there was a series of ideas that were being tossed out in a sort of logical sequence. But what I found as I was listening was that each of those ideas was spinning off several other ideas in my head, which I was trying to follow as well, to the degree that that was possible each off into its own little rabbit hole into which it would disappear before I had fully grasped where it was going. While I sat there trying to keep one part of my mind aligned with the main thread of the discussion and more or less noting the other ideas popping up and skittering away, I was also doodling in my notebook, and what I was drawing on the page was actually more or less a loose schematic of the way my brain was processing the meeting. I put a series of little boxes representing the ideas, and then some zigzaggy lines coming off of each one representing the spinoffs. Then I colored in the background black so that the boxes and lines would be white on a black field:

That night, at home, I decided to put together a somewhat more composed and stylized version of the drawing. I've been working for several months on a series of small-format black and white abstract drawings (roughly 3"x5" on a 5" x 7" piece of paper). The challenge has been to try to invent a new geometry in each piece. Often I get the ideas for these more formal studies from things that spring up more or less at random when I'm in meetings, and that's what happened here. The resulting piece:

Then on Friday I was at a TEDx event at my school and a friend of mine was sitting behind me and looked over my shoulder and noticed another geometrical study taking shape on my notebook page. "Oh, do you do Zentangles?" she asked? I had no idea what she was talking about, but it turns out there's a whole subculture of obsessive geometrical doodlers of which I was unaware. In addition to the Zentangle web site there are about a bazillion videos on various techniques to create interesting-looking geometrical abstractions, including this one which illustrates the making of a circular "Zendala" or Zen mandala:

Cool stuff. Who knew?

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