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Emotion-inspired artist Rose Wambsganss reimagines the ancient art of creative meditation

By Chelsi Lasater - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jan 20, 2022
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Artwork by multimedia artist Rose Wambsganss.
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Artwork by multimedia artist Rose Wambsganss.
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Artwork by multimedia artist Rose Wambsganss.
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Artwork by multimedia artist Rose Wambsganss.
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Artwork by multimedia artist Rose Wambsganss.
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Artwork by multimedia artist Rose Wambsganss.

Rose Wambsganss is an award-winning artist of the Local Artisan Collective who specializes in black-and-white ink drawings that utilize an ancient, creative meditation technique called Zentangle.

Originally from Colorado, the Ogden-based multimedia artist has been creating for most of her life. Her grade school teachers took a special interest in developing her skills as an artist and would enter her into competitions. Wambsganss won her first Best of Show award at the age of 12.

“I’m the type of artist that needs creativity in my life to help keep balanced,” she said.

However, life as a full-time artist felt scary and Wambsganss didn’t know if she could handle being so vulnerable. It wasn’t until just before the pandemic that she took the plunge into a full-time artist career and she’s been going strong ever since.

“I decided to go full time because I felt like it was now or never,” she said. Her two children are healthy and getting more independent. The arts community in Ogden was also a big motivating factor. Wambsganss found inspiration from other artists at the First Friday Art Strolls, art shows and other community events.

“There’s such a vibrant community of artists here,” she said. “Here, more than anywhere I’ve lived, an artist can be successful. It takes so much hard work.”

“For every one gallery I’ve been accepted to, there were 10 rejections,” she said, but with a smile.

As multimedia artist, Wambsganss creates with anything she thinks she might be successful with, frequently changing mediums and experimenting with whatever she can find. “I love learning new things. Sometimes the techniques and I click and sometimes it turns out horrible. Either way, it’s fun learning,” she said.

And learn she has. While living in Canada, Wambsganss took a class and fell in love with stained glass. “My father, now retired, was a welder/tool and dye maker turned creative welder and silversmith as a hobby. He sparked my interest in creating something beautiful with metal and it’s an addictive feeling to cut glass or draw a pattern and bring it to life with glass,” she said.

A trend for Wambsganss is using her art to channel and overcome fear and other emotions. “Both stained glass and silversmithing come with an element of danger or fear. I like overcoming that. There are fire and gasses, cut glass and soldering irons used. Without complete focus, you can really get hurt,” she said, warningly.

Her Zentangle pieces, featured at Art Box a few months ago, call on emotion for creation as well. “Stress and pain are the two most frequently expressed in my black-and-white ink pieces. I utilize a process called Zentangle. The process is an ancient, creative meditation technique that has evolved through me and other artists as a unique art form. When I clear my mind, I can tap into my subconscious and amazing things pour out onto the paper.”

Most pieces take between 40-80 hours and multiple sessions to produce. The Zentangle pieces feature a series of complex shapes and swirls that look like magic on paper. Wambsganns’ pieces are mostly black and white.

“My favorite medium is black ink. I draw on ultra-white artist paper. The contrast between the two is so visually appealing to me. Occasionally, I will add colored ink but prefer the simplicity of black-and-white art,” she said.

Faster mediums, like alcohol ink, enable Wambsganss to create more completed pieces when time is more limited. But no matter what the medium, it’s the process of creating that counts. “To keep art in the forefront, I have to keep working to support it every day,” she said.

Wambsganss teaches classes, including Zentangle, at The Local Artisan Collective and her work can be seen on Facebook @ArtbyRoseWambsganss, on Instagram @art_by_rose_w and at rosewambsganss.com.

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