Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Unveiling... And the winner is...

History by Donna Watson,  oil and cold wax, collage and Japanese string

Every seed grows in darkness and silence.

Story by Donna Watson, oil and cold wax, collage and scroll

For the first 6 months of 2013, I faced a serious creative block in my studio.  I wanted some sort of change, but did not know why or what.  I did not know how to move forward, nor what to experiment with or what to try that would result in some sort of change that I would like.

Mapping by Donna Watson, oil and cold wax, collage bundle

I finally decided to try a new medium.  For the past 6 monte or so, I have been experimenting with cold wax and oil paints.  It took me awhile to get used to the slower drying time.  With a lot of experimenting and layering... I ended up with many layers which I scratched, rubbed, pressed, brayered... and I have finally ended with some new finished pieces.

Old Scroll by Donna Watson, oil and cold wax, old collage papers and old scroll

I also decided to change and add to my collage.  Everyone has a story to tell.  Stories become our compass by which we navigate through our memories and discover our core being.  We use stories to build our sanctuaries.  These stories (memories) become our history.

Riverbed by Donna Watson, oil and cold wax, paper bundle, rock, string

Because our memories are intertwined with language, I like to explore the importance of words, phrases, sentences... snatches of memory lingering in and out of consciousness.  My collage became
layers of old letters, book pages, and old maps wrapped into bundles.  Scrolls, which can hide stories and histories, have also been included.  These remains of the past represent our memories in the present.

Every human life has its seeds, whether building a sand castle, cooking, painting a canvas, walking through the woods.

And now, for the drawing for my book:  THE BEAUTY OF NOTHINGNESS.  Thank you to all those who left comments at my blog and those who sent email comments.  There were 65 names.
I wrote down all the names, cut them into pieces that were folded and put into a bowl... and the one name I drew out is.....  Barry!

Thank you again, and if any of you are still interested in my book you can go to
here and take a look at the whole book. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stuff... and a Give Away

 REMINDERS,  Donna Watson, acrylic and collage

NOTE:  I will be teaching 2 two day workshops in Portland, Oregon in April.  The first workshop is titled:
Journal to Book:  A Zen approach.  On the first day, artists will explore their interests, passions, heritage, hobbies, or relationships AND create collage papers, either hand painted or found for their journal.  On the second day, artists will take their story or history or interest and use collage papers and/or text to begin their book in a blank journal.  (April 8-9, 2014)

The second workshop is titled:  Boro/Wabi sabi The spirit of collage.   On the first day, artists will hand paint rice papers using paints, stamps, stencils, whatever.  There will be in introduction to Zen tenets, composition, design elements and principles.  On the second day, artists will create their collages using journals, canvas, wood supports.. whatever they want.  (April 10-11, 2014)

For more information on these workshops go to:   

Zen Nature 2, Donna Watson, collage

NEWS:  My paintings have been included in the book 100 ARTISTS OF THE NORTHWEST.
My painting REMINDERS at the top of this blog is one of the paintings included in the book.
There are 50 artists from Washington and 50 artists from Oregon.  The book is filled with 
contemporary artists of all mediums both 2-D and 3-D, and is available from

There will be a reception and book signing on March 1, at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park on Camano Island, WA.  I will have 6 painting included in the show and there will  be 25 artists from the book there in the gallery for book signing.  

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!  This is my first ever giveaway after - wow, how many years since I started my blog?  4 or 5 years.   Just leave a comment (make sure I know how to contact you) at this blog post and I will have a drawing and send someone a copy of my own hand created book THE BEAUTY OF NOTHINGNESS.  The book is available at  here   but I have one signed copy ready for my first ever give away.

Here are some sample pages from the book.  You can view the whole  
book at the link above.

"Learning to be creative within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves..."  Phil Hansen

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Zen Paths

Zen   collage, 8"x8",  by Donna Watson

Note:  I will be teaching two 2-day workshops in Portland Oregon for Art and Soul.  The first workshop on April 8-9 is Journal to Book:  A Zen Approach.  The second workshop on April 10-11 is
Boro/Wabi Sabi:  The Spirit of Collage.  For more information and to register for one or both go to
the Art and Soul website here.   

"It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey."
--- Wendell Berry

Zen Nature 2, 8"x8" collage by Donna Watson

I have been lost for awhile.  I forgot that "art is a journey into the most unknown thing of all -
oneself" (Louis Kahan).  It took me awhile to figure out I was lost.  I thought I had just wandered off of the 'path' and I would easily get back on the right path.  I finally realized that I had fallen so far off of the path that I had to begin a new journey.  I found that reading books on Zen helped me begin to find my way again.

 Zen 4, 8"x8" collage by Donna Watson

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears. -- Rumi

Zen 3, 8"x8" collage by Donna Watson

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
-- Wendell Berry

Zen 2,  12"x12" collage by Donna Watson

"The path isn't a straight line; it's a spiral.  You continually come back to things you 
thought you understood and see deeper truths."  
---- Unknown

Zen 1, 12"x12" collage by Donna Watson

Your pilgrimage brings you to and from your homes,
here and there, and always inside you ---
will you re-walk that path with the stone lanterns
over and over again in dreams?
and wake to walk
the path you've created in your own temple.
--- Nancy Neva Gagliano

Zen Nature 3,  6"x6" collage by Donna Watson

Note:  Most of these collage are available for purchase at my Etsy account here. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Peace. Hope. Joy. Love. 2014

paper balls, image by Donna Watson

image by Donna Watson

Mini wrapped boxes under bare branch tree, image by
Donna Watson

Mini wrapped boxes with basket of naturals
by Donna Watson

my 10 foot tree decorated with Santas and naturals
by Donna Watson

Father Christmas, by Donna Watson

Centerpiece on dining table, by Donna Watson

Father Christmas with reindeer

another centerpiece with small santa

3 small candles decorated with birch and naturals
by Donna Watson

Another Father Christmas, by Donna Watson
(a bit bug eyed I think!)

On my fireplace mantel, by Donna Watson

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some good books, and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't
forget to make some art---or write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
 Neil Gaiman

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Fallen Leaf

Water feature near my Zen House (greenhouse)
In English, a haiku is considered to be three-line poems.  In Japan, having exactly 17 syllables and the inclusion of a seasonal word, are strictly adhered to in order for the poem to be considered a haiku.
The gingko bush is turning yellow and the Japanese maple is turning red.
By ensuring the inclusion of the seasonal reference and limiting to the 5-7-5 syllabic format, the final poem becomes a snapshot of nature, void of the poet's own emotions.  Each person reading the poem can draw their own interpretations.
A red cedar 'enso' with bamboo posts, near a small Japanese maple, small garden temple and moss pot.
Zen elements, such as simplicity, minimalism, and nature... are all felt in haiku poems.
The beginning of my new moss garden.
A Zen monk, Ryokan, recited the following haiku on his deathbed.
Showing the back,
Now showing the front
The Japanese maple tree leaves are
falling down
   A new section of my Zen garden with a water feature.
Wind... rustling leaves
the inseparable
by John McDonald
 Red Japanese maple, water feature, smiling Buddha and cement lantern.
If the sun were a tree
Its leaves would be this shining color
And they would drop 
Over my boots
Ankle deep.
When I step
There would be the sound
of light breaking.
Tom Hennen, closing lines to "Wild Aspen Leaves, October"
In my back facing the view of the water, my husband built the torii gate.  The Japanese character is the symbol for truth, trust, belief.  It is one of the 5 basic tenets of Confucius.

Rocks from the 'round rock' beach
2 Japanese maples turning with the Autumn air
My new bell.  My husband built a small torii gate.  When I go outside I face the water and ring it 3 times.
The temple bell stops.
But the sound keeps coming 
out of the flowers.
--- Basho 

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Art of Being

My husband has been very busy this summer.  This torii gate has become the entrance to my Zen house.

The effect of building a space within a space is very powerful.

This is the path of stones to the entrance of my Zen house.
Line becoming object becoming space.
My husband built this Zen house (green house) several years ago.  Graced with bonsai outside and bird cages,
bird nests, buddha, rabbit vane, rocks fill the space within.
The effect of the Zen house is to give form to the surrounding gardens.  Within are
sweeping gestures of light and space.
Small pots of bonsai, help fill the space like a coloring book.
Here I am making boundaries, defining a space just to be.
Simply creating a space, enclosed and separate from the wild: a niche to feel safe inside of.
A moss ball I made earlier this summer with a rabbit fern.  It is sitting on white rocks in a lovely flat pot.
Some of my nest and rock collections.
More nests.

Another moss ball I made earlier this summer.  It is a rabbit fern and is attached to a piece of bamboo.
Back outside the Zen house...  at the entrance.  
My husband built 3 bamboo gates this summer.
Closing the gate, building the wall, we shut out the wild but still maintain the wild within.
The intent is to be at one with our environment.
The Art of Being
The fern in the rain breathes the silver message.
Stay, lie low.  Play your dark reeds
and relearn the beauty of absorption.
There is nothing beyond the rotten log
covered with leaves and needles.
Forget the light emerging with its golden wick.
Raise your face to the water-laden frond.
A thousand blossoms will fall into your arms.
-- Anne Corey, from A Measure's Hush