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Artist Glenda Thomas

Updated: Apr 15

Glenda Thomas is a survivor of brain aneurysm surgery 2015. She is 1 in 50 to survive. Married 43 years. During her recuperation she started learning to do Zentangle (r). She internalized their mantra, “There are no mistakes” and opened herself up to become an artist. We have conducted an interview with her.

Artist Glenda Thomas

How would you describe the process that allows you to be an artist?

As children we are artists. We embraced every piece that we drew. We wanted to share it instantly. We loved what we drew or painted. I have been blessed through the quiet time I had after my brain aneurysm surgery to rediscover that joy and let it flow and to let it be. God is creator. He is my inspiration. Nature, people, places, things experiences are my inspiration. Inspiration is from spirit.

Artist Glenda Thomas

How do you see art in itself? How does it connect to your personal empowerment?

I see art as a way we express ourselves naturally. As children we lived coloring and drawing and showing our masterpieces. “Look Mommy. Look Daddy. Look Teacher.” But somehow along the way through adolescence, we develop a lack of joy about what we draw and begin saying things like, “I can’t even draw a stickman.” There is no truth in that statement. But “when we say we can or say we can’t we are right” (Henry Ford) Truth is- we were all artists as kids, therefore we still are. Our joy was killed, that buried our natural ability. The gift to me is Rediscovering my natural artistic ability Natural artistic ability can be rediscovered. I believe everyone is an artist.

Art connects to my self-empowerment is such a way that might surprise the readers. If I scribble for a few minutes without judging the result and I can continue that non- judging mindset even after I am done scribbling. First, I stop judging the outcome of the image that I drew. I exchange judging for acceptance. Continuing to do this scribbling exercise increases my ability to accept whatever comes out. Then I can become more accepting of other people. As I get use to scribbles, I can move on to drawing a stickman. I draw stick people over and over. I learn to see the value in the image.

Replacing a judgmental stance for acceptance opens me up to the wonders in myself and the wonders in others. Being an accepting person makes me attractive. Being attractive is empowering. Moving on to drawing Zentangle images helped me gain confidence as I replay the mantra, “There are no mistakes".

To try something I was fearful about, takes courage. It’s empowering to overcome something I was convinced that I couldn’t do. To produce something that impacts me, and others is an amazing experience.

Artist Glenda Thomas

Which was your first artistic experience? When did it happen?

My first artistic experience was I used to doodle out of habit, but I never showed anyone. I had a deeply held belief that I could make beautiful things. In May 6,2015 I underwent brain aneurysm surgery. The aneurysm didn’t rupture. I was blessed to have survived. As a part of my self-generated recuperation plan, I began creating Zentangle images. They are typically drawn onto small squares. Zentangle is used for relaxation.

One of the mantras embedded in this practice is, “There are no mistakes”. I began to repeat this statement over and over especially when I thought the stray mark on the paper, I was drawing on was a mistake. I drew many images. I began I gradually see the beauty in these images. My brain became hungry for more drawing. I wanted an even larger surface to create on. I looked around a found a rolled up drawing I had sent to a printer a couple of years before. I decided to open it and take another look. Now I looked at the “ugly” image with fresh eyes and with the new mantra I had come to know. I opened the 4’x4’ paper and rubbed my hands across the mistakes and began to see what would become of this monstrosity. I looked at the gray splotches and decided to take these marks and make them into something else. I colored and layered my color pencils. After a few days it was Beautiful! I fell in love with this work of art. There is a video of this story on my blog. I began to draw freehand. I drew on large sheets of paper! I had never done this before! I was surprised at what was flowing out of me. I began to create beautiful things that impacted those who saw these image, even me. This incident happened about 1 year after my surgery. Age 61.

Artist Glenda Thomas

In what ways does your art combine with what you already did (or have done)?

As a Life Coach I have begun to add having my clients express how they feel by drawing.

As a speaker I now use art to create an image that impacts the listeners, so they remember the concepts I’m sharing. For example, I painted a butterfly beginning with the caterpillar stage. The metamorphosis of the butterfly has much I can use to teach the inner workings of change, pain, discomfort that grows people from struggle to strength.

I use my art to connect and minister to people who are ill. Several recipients have expressed some level of healing from receiving my artwork or being moved emotionally.

I also have created wearable art that I sell online. I have an amazing mentor/coach who works with me by brainstorming and exploring possibilities of how to use my art. His name is Art Jones of The Art of Standing Out.

Artist Glenda Thomas

How do you internalize Zentangle's mantra?

One of the mantras of Zentangle is “there are no mistakes”.

I began internalizing this mantra in drying the first images. I was looking at the image I was drawing and disliking it or disliking a certain Mark that I made. I thought that the market was wrong because it was not what I had in mind. I envisioned something completely different. When I found myself disliking or being critical, I have remark or an image I would repeat to myself over and over again there are no mistakes. When we make a mark that is not expected or desired, we simply are to turn it into something else. It is amazing how the repetition of this exercise began to settle in my mind, and I begin to look over my life past and present and see how this mantra could help me. I began to look at Bible verses that held up this concept and that, “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.”Romans 8:28. And I could see, how in my life, there are decisions that I made that did not give me the outcome I had in mind but how God made it all work together to make me stronger and better.

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