Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A New Year and a Workshop

Collage by Donna Watson

UP COMING WORKSHOP:  Wabi Sabi and the Spirit of Collage
Location:  Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, Camano Island WA
When:  February 7-8, 2015,  9-4pm
Cost:  $290 for the 2 days, includes lunch

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic.  This Japanese aesthetic is a beauty of things imperfect, incomplete and impermanent... rustic, earthy, simple, textured, and organic.  We will use hand painted washi or Japanese papers to create wabi sabi collages.  On the first day I will demonstrate how to hand paint these papers and everyone will create their papers.  On the second day, artists will then learn simple compositions and design elements based on Zen tenets like balance and harmony.  Everyone will then use their own hand painted papers to create whatever type of collages they want.  Matzke Fine Art Gallery is a spacious open space surrounded by a beautiful sculpture park.  Camano Island has beautiful beaches to explore.

For more information on how to register, location, lodging, etc.  contact Karla Matzke:  at 360-387-2759 or email her at:  matzke@camano.net.  Also, check out her website:  www.matzkefineart.com 

"may my mind come alive today
to the invisible geography
that invites me to new frontiers, 
to break the dead shell of yesterdays,
to risk being disturbed and changed."
John O-Donohue, from 'a morning offering'

hand painted papers by Donna Watson

So a new year is here.  What is it about the concept of a "new year"?  Some of us set new goals, some of us set the same goals we had a year ago, some of us look back at the year that has passed and rejoice in the accomplishments, the new friends, the new learnings, the goals met.  Some of us look back and think "Where did the year go?"  How fast did it pass?  What did I really accomplish?  What will I do now?  What makes Dec. 31st different from Jan. 1st?

"Our purpose in life isn't to arrive at a destination where we find inspiration, just as the purpose of dancing isn't to end up at a particular spot on the floor.  The purpose of dancing -- and of life --
is to enjoy every moment and every step, regardless of where we are when the music ends."
-- Wayne Dyer

hand painted papers by Donna Watson

"Don't think about what can happen in a month.  Don't think about what can happen in a year.  Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be."
--- Eric Thomas

hand painted papers by Donna Watson

"It is in the thousands of days of trying, failing, sitting, thinking, resisting, dreaming, raveling, unraveling that we are at our most engaged, alert and alive."
-- Dani Shapiro

hand painted papers by Donna Watson

"The timelessness in you is aware of life's timelessness and knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream."
-- Kahlil Gibran

"When you put your hand in the flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come."
-- Leonardo da Vinci

And here is my favorite Quote that I think I use every January of my new year:
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world.  You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself.  Make New Mistakes.  Make mistakes nobody's ever made before.  Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect,  whatever it is:  art, life, or love, or work or family life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, DO IT.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever."
--- Neil Gaimen



Sunday, December 21, 2014

Peace, Hope and Wonder in 2015

Father Christmas hand made by Donna Watson

"Don't think about what can happen in a month.  Don't think about what can happen in a year.  Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be."
----  Eric Thomas

hand made wrapped boxes by Donna Watson.  a few of the boxes were decorated by my good friend Leslie Avon Miller

"A tiny bud of a smile on your lips nourishes awareness and calms you.  It returns you to the peace you had lost.  A smile is the most basic kind of peace work."  -- Thich Nhat Hahn

more hand made boxes with naturals, see the hand made box at top right by Leslie Avon Miller

a bare branch tree in the corner with icicles and red cardinal birds

"Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world."  --- Thich Nhat Hanh

hand painted balls in front of fire place

"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly.  In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is the burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-more wonders."  -- Andrew Harvey, The Return of the Mother

hand made birch wrapped candle holder

"The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness and knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream." -- Kahlil Gibran


"To be creative means to be in love with life.  You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it."  -- Osho


"It is in the thousands of days, trying, failing, sitting, thinking, resisting, dreaming, raveling, unraveling that we are at our most engaged, alert, and alive."  -- Dani Shapiro

New additions this Christmas, a bird skull Father Christmas with a Rabbit Father Christmas both hand made by
Donna Watson

"I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can."  Neil Gaiman

PEACE, HOPE AND WONDER IN 2015


Saturday, November 22, 2014

When Empty becomes Full

Zen Garden, Folded accordion book, by Donna Watson


Here are some of the books I have on Zen and Wabi-sabi.  Wabi-Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.  Actually, Wabi-sabi also encompasses life, nature and the cycles of life and death, the changing seasons, and feelings.


My most recent book acquisition is Wabi Inspirations by Axel Vervoordt.  Wabi is a Japanese concept
that derives from simplicity and authenticity.  It values the beauty in imperfection.  Elegance in natural materials, timelessness within tradition:  these are the principles that define Axel Vervoordt's personal take on the concept.  In this book, he reveals the interiors that are inspired by Wabi.  He shows how to create calm, peaceful spaces in which beauty is distilled to its purest form.  Photos are by Laziz Hamani and all the images in this blog post come from the book.


Within this void we can explore the very essence of time itself:  the pregnant possibility of everything.

"Every something is an echo of nothing."  John Cage


"Leaving something incomplete makes it interesting and gives one the feeling that there is room for growth."  Yoshida Kenko, (1283-1350), Essays in Idleness 


The intrinsic beauty found in peeling paint, bare concrete, exposed plaster, rusty metal pillars, battered floors, and weathered stone reveres the beauty of imperfections and honors the passage of time.  Patinas and textures in their primal state become even more expressive.


"The emptiness is the space where the essential unfolds and then it becomes full/empty."
Jef Veheyen


The spirit of Wabi deepens the profound experience of this immense space, and provides an insight that leads to an inner sense of peace.  The vast emptiness resounds with silence.


"I am seeking to represent the void.  Humanity, in accepting the idea of infinity, has already accepted the idea of Nothingness."  Lucio Fontana, Self Portrait, 1969


The untouched and the unrestored has a character and warmth that is one of the underlying concepts of Wabi.  The result of benign neglect works its subtle magic.

This image is from the blog Mundo Japon

"Ichi-go, ichi- e" was first used by Sen Riikyu, the monk who first created the traditional Wabi tea ceremony.  It translates to 'meeting with people' and today is used to express
'for this time only' or 'this is the moment'.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Long Journey

Haven, assemblage by Donna Watson  SOLD

Autumn is a paradox:  Summer is trying to linger as growing cycles for many living plants are coming to an end.  The Japanese have a word for this - aware - which means "beauty tinged with sadness."  

Eternal Truth, Assemblage by Donna Watson  

There is a crisp edge of coolness in the air as the light of summer becomes grayer and rain appears in the distance.  Even on the sunny days there is a coolness in the air softly singing.

Narrative, Assemblage by Donna Watson

As the silence of autumn creeped up on my lingering summer lights,  I worked on 5 assemblages.
I found this silence calming as I worked in my studio.

Reverie, Assemblage by Donna Watson   SOLD

The push and pull.  What do I add here?  Put there?  It takes time with so many choices, so many small decisions.  How do I translate what I am thinking... feeling.. into the small bundles and compartments?

Closeup, of Eternal Truth, assemblage by Donna Watson

The boat shape represents the long journey.  The short journey is from summer to autumn.  The long journey is a mystery, couched in the cycle of life.   

"Only nothingness can hold everything.  Something can never hold everything.  Be in the moment."

Closeup of Assemblage, by Donna Watson

"All through autumn we hear a double voice:  one says everything is ripe; the other says everything is dying.  The paradox is exquisite."  Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces


"Rain on roof outside window, gray light, deep covers and warm blankets.  Rain and nip of autumn in the air; nostalgia, itch to work better and bigger.  That crisp edge of autumn."
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 26 August 1956 Paris


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

lingering light Part 2



Clarity, cold wax and oil painting by Donna Watson

I decided to divide up my blog posts on my gardens and green house into 3 parts.  My last blog post showed images of my green house or Zen House as I like to call it.  These images here are outside around the the Zen House.

Pots of plants, including a bonsai gingko and a weeping Japanese maple tree near my front porch.

"Silence is essential for deep transformation.  It allows the practice of conscious breathing to become 
deep and effective.  Like still water that reflects things as they are, the calming silence helps us to 
see things more clearly; to be in deeper contact with ourselves and those around us."  
                                                                 -----  Thich Nhat Hanh

Small pond with gold fish


"I walk into a poem and walk out someone else."  Nayyirah Waheed

Large stone water basin

Bamboo water feature with stone lantern and laughing Buddha with Japanese maples and
deer ferns

"The only people who ever get anyplace interesting are the people who get lost."  
Henry David Thoreau

Large water basin with stone Carp, stone temple, stone rabbit with Japanese maple and gingko bush

Large sitting Buddha, natural stone temple, moss garden

Near my Meditation Path,  with tall Honeysuckle bush

Shade garden with bird bath, shade plants, ferns, wisteria on Torii Gate

Wisteria blooming in August

Sit and be still
until in the time 
of no rain you hear
beneath the dry wind's 
commotion in the trees
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is a prayer.
Wendell Berry




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

lingering summer light pt. 1

Reflections, cold wax and oil paints, Donna Watson

September... a pause for summer to say an awkward and lingering good-by and for autumn, sitting on a hill top, a jug of cider in one hand and a bunch of wild purple asters in the other, waiting to say hello.  (NYTimes)  As summer comes to an end, it is that time of year for me to post images of my Zen gardens and my Zen greenhouse.  I have decided to divide my images into 3 posts because I have so many to share.  This first post is all about my Zen house... what I call my outdoor decor.

Torii gate entrance to my Zen House

"...to walk without destination and to see only to see..." 
--- Uta Barth

Follow the stone path

"Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again."
--- Joseph Campbell

Some of my bonsai in front of my Zen House

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes"
--- Marcel Proust

One of the shelves inside my Zen House

"May my mind come alive today
to the invisible geography 
that invites me to new frontiers,
to break the dead shell of yesterdays, 
to risk being disturbed and changed."
---John O'Donohue, from a morning offer

A new birdcage, inside is a Japanese kokedama or moss ball with a Rabbit Fern

"Landscape consists in the multiple, overlapping intricacies and forms that exist in a given space at a moment in time."  Annie Dillard, Pilgrims at Tinker Creek

Kokedama or Japanese moss ball with Rabbit Fern

"Landscape is the texture of intricacy, and texture is my present subject... What do I make of all this texture?"  Annie Dillard

Another Kokedama, or moss ball with large wooden paddle

"The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is the possibility for beauty here, a beauty as inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek."  Annie Dillard, Pilgrims at Tinker Creek

This is a Rose de Jericho, a type of desert moss,  which dries up into a tight ball without water.  When water is added, it will open up and burst into life, until the water dries up again.  

A water feature inside my Zen House

A corner of the Zen House

A round beach rock with a bee who passed away and has been sitting on this rock all summer

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just 
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't 
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which 
another voice may speak.  
Mary Oliver