Morinville artist certified to teach meditative art

Above: One of Zentangle artist Dolly Bolen’s original works. Titled Mother Earth, the piece demonstrates what is possible with the art form.

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Describe by its practitioners as “an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images,” Zentangle is an art form that is growing in popularity throughout the world. Combining a focused creativity, the art form can be said to be almost meditative (Zen) in its workings, laying down structured patterns (tangles) on paper tiles to create uniquely detailed works.

Morinville resident Dolly Bolen is now one of only six certified Zentangle instructors in the province, and one of only 60 in the country. A student of the Zentangle art form for some time, she recently travelled to Providence, Rhode Island to join 110 other Zentangle artists to become a certified teacher under the direction of Zentangle founders Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. “It is important to understand how they started it, where they came from, so that you can pass that on,” Bolen explained. “It’s so stress relieving and relaxing.”

zentangle-2Now that she is back, she is already teaching classes in her home, mostly to women from St. Albert. Although her personal schedule is quite busy at present, she is hoping to expand the art form by teaching it to larger groups in Morinville and Bon Accord. “I’m always looking for opportunities to teach – whether it be team building for companies or a school, anything like that,” she said.

A different art style – a different style of artist

Bolen says Zentangle is different from almost every other art style in that it can be done by anyone regardless of his or her artistic abilities.

“The basics of Zentangle is you don’t have to be an artist to do it,” she said. “It’s art for everyone, which is why Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts started it. There are certain roadblocks that people have to doing art. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have the right materials.”

By contrast, Bolen says Zentangle requires neither expensive materials nor large amounts of time. “You need paper, a pen and a pencil. No eraser. There is no erasing in Zentangle, just like there is no erasing in life. Once the line is drawn; it’s there. There are no mistakes in Zentangle. You let it unfold in front of you.”

The tangles are created with dots, circles, S and C shapes, and any line canb make up the elements of a pattern. Beyond that the artistic door is open. Bolen said Zentangle’s lack of specific rules makes it a freeing art form, one she hopes people will give a try.

For more information on Zentangle contact Dolly Bolen at 780-572-2603 or

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