lefty, loosie!

It never hurts to try drawing or writing with that poor, maimed and shriveled appendage that never does anything but hold things in place and go “OW!” when you hit it with the hammer. This week, the diva challenge is to do just that, with the tangle called bales. She (Laura Harms) calls it a non-domonotangle (non-dominant monotangle, get it?) and invites us to increase creativity by firing up our brains in new and different ways. So, I set out to draw a Zentangle with my left hand. And yes, it is my visibly smaller hand and is totally weaker than my dominant right.

As I drew, I first found myself reflecting about my parents. Both are very artistic, and in their 80s. My mom was the person who taught me to draw human proportions when I was in the third grade. I wanted to draw more realistic-looking people.

Mom’s frustrated by how shaky her drawing hand is, now, at age 81. I can empathize, with this exercise. The pen felt weird in my left hand, as though I couldn’t grasp it correctly. And I had to use a lot, lot, lot of will and determination just to draw a curve, or have edges meet up at a center point. My dad uses paint, and as a result, more big-motor arm muscles: maybe my Zentangle tile should have been three feet square instead of 3.5 inches!

Then, I started thinking about drawing as a child. Or, how it might be to learn to draw again if I ever suffered a brain injury or stroke… or lost my right hand. I would have to start from the beginning, first with the big motions, learning control. Eventually, a small pen wouldn’t feel as though it could slip from my fingers at any moment. Remember some of the first ABC letters you tried? Things could go backwards or sideways very easily, and precision was not the name of the game.

And then, I started getting into drawing with my left hand. It was wobbly, of course. But the design— the idea I wanted to express— was still there. Maybe, in its wiggly wobble, it is a little more delicate than my always-sure right hand might convey. The shading is scribbly, yet still expressive. But the idea is still whole.


Thank you, diva Laura. I did get to visit another side of creativity and think some new ideas, just by using my other hand.


8 thoughts on “lefty, loosie!

  1. I like it! As you know, I feel Zen tangle challenged because I’m not big on precision and I’m physically shaky anyway. So this seems freeing. BTW I’m fairly ambidexterous, having trained myself to use a left-hand mouse to cut down on shoulder overuse pain.

    • Chris, I never detected shakiness in your tiles, to tell you the truth. I remember they were wonderful expressions. My brother said recently that we have a familial tremor… he has always had shaky hands. After that, I started noticing that my lines are not perfect swoops or curves, but have a certain wobbliness, even with the right hand. Just like learning a mouse on the left, I think some good, solid repetition helps smooth anything out.

  2. I think we all experienced the process of “learning again” and that was the most important thing in the challenge! That was amazing for me and I can see you had fun doing your Bales, which I find really nice!

    • Hehe, Cecilia… I definitely have a lot of fun drawing Zentangles, but this one was much more about what I thought about as a result of feeling clumsy and uncoordinated. Very much a learning and thinking experience.

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