Friday, September 11, 2009

How to Read a Stone


Title: ZEN, acrylic, Japanese scroll, rice papers, metal





"Another fact of prime importance to remember is that, in order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to understand---or at least to learn to understand---the beauty of stones. Not of stones quarried by the hand of man, but of stones shaped by nature only. Until you can feel, and keenly feel, that stones have character, that stones have tones and values, the whole artistic meaning of a Japanese garden cannot be revealed to you."
--------------------Lafcadio Hearn, Writings from Japan



"When stones are moved and rearranged, they speak to other worlds."
-------------- Ellen Meloy, The Anthology of Turquoise

My aesthetics---what I like---extends beyond my studio. I don't think artists can separate themselves from their surroundings. In my search for my identity in my work, I look inside my closet. I look at my home decor, the books I read, and outside at my gardens. Like the elements in my paintings and assemblages, the stones, plants, and Buddha outside are planned and arranged until they are pleasing to my eye. The smooth stones may be stacked or flat, but they are an integral part of my gardens. A rock garden next to the pond creates harmony. Balance. Peace. Tranquility. Meditation.
Can you hear the waterfall splashing against the rocks above the koi? Your outer world reflects your inner world. My studio is where I do my work, but my gardens become my sanctuary and my inspiration. Where do you get your inspiration?





26 comments:

linda said...

oh wow.. ce collage est magnifique

Margaret Ryall said...

Stones are very important in my life and I have always felt they have individual personalities and can offer inspiration and peace. There is nothing as soothing as caressing a stone picked up on a beach walk.

I get my inspiration in many different ways. Sometimes the hum of the car when we drive to our summer house lulls me into an other world place where ideas come flowing with the force of a rushing river. Sometimes an object or an experience prompts thoughts of new work. Sometimes seeing the work of other artists causes a collision of ideas out of which come my own unique work. The list goes on.

Kim Hambric said...

Mmmmmmmm. What beautiful garden photos. What lovely artwork.

I've heard of stopping to smell the flowers, but it is important to look at the stones.

Several years ago I stopped to look at some small stones used for landscaping around the local museum. To my surprise someone had written a poem on one of the stones. I don't remember the poem, but I do remember the thrill of being rewarded for looking.

Liza said...

"When stones are moved and rearranged, they speak to other worlds." I love that, and the shadows that the stones cast in the first pic have really captivated me. I thought of the phases of the moon when I saw it. Inspiration (or the potential for it) is in all things, and I find so much of it depends on my perspective in the moment.
Thank you for this post.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

I find my bliss in nature. I strongly identify with nests,birds, trees, eggs, leaves...much the same things as you. Sometimes my nests represent society, a well woven nest (community) raises healthy birds...but a nest that is not well woven fails to nurture the birds/eggs within. I was interested to read your post below about the nest representing a never-ending circle/cycle and a passage of time. I am also interested to read about the rocks here...I think I will pay them more attention from now on. Rocks have many layers those which nature made and those which nature takes away...
Oh man my mind is ticking now!

Ribbon said...

Beautiful post... I too love stones.

Inspiration for me can come at anytime anywhere...

best wishes
Ribbon :)

ArtPropelled said...

Zen feels so peaceful and sacred, Donna. Great stone quotes too. (I'm also a stone person).
So many things inspire me .... from nature to tribal art, old worn bits and pieces that clearly have a history, archeology, the work of other artists, books, solitude, Autumn ....I could ramble on for a while.

india said...

i invariably come home from travels with a pocket stone or two...which will doubtless confuse the geologists of the future because they'll be in completely the wrong place....

m. heart said...

Your garden is so beautiful and restful.

It's funny you should have posted this yesterday, as I was out for a long walk along the road and picked up a smooth stone to carry in my hand — definitely as a "worry stone." I'm hoping to post about it later today and will link to this post if I do.

Last January I photographed some of my stone collection for a post on stone soup...http://secretnotebookswildpages.blogspot.com/2009/01/inspire-me-thursday-soup.html

John said...

You have a beautiful garden and the serenity must impact your work just as noise and grime play into my artistic bonsai..the passage about stones is eloquent.

Stones bring even more permanence to a garden than do evergreens. My garden has too many perennials that disappear in winter - I ramble. I love hostas. And I have never thought enough about the difference between quarry stones and those form a stream. Thank you.

I am inspired by beauty, hidden beauty more than the obviously “pretty,” although the obvious is so much easier…I am inspired by truth and by learning and most learning for me comes from experimenting – learning more from errors than miracles. But I welcome miracles. Daily.

Great post – my best.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

These views of your garden are inspiring – the colors and textures and objects are all appealing. I have spent time in Alaska – out in the bush, and always I come back with rocks in my pockets – usually green with lines of darker colors. But most of all I think I am inspired by people; artists like you who share their process and their work; words in books, on blogs and in poetry; thinking; old things and memories. Always I am inspired by nature – always. Beautiful thoughtful post Donna. Thank you. I am so glad you joined in the blogging community.

And my word verification? – stonater

Alicia Tormey said...

You have such a keen eye for selecting lovely stones and beautiful elements for you assemblages. I have always enjoyed the feeling of stones softened and smoothed by the passage of time and I have marveled at their density. For me they represent pure stillness and a concentrated piece of time and energy. Your garden photos look amazing - at first I wondered if this was a public garden or one of your own creation - it’s so stunning – I have enjoyed exploring your Blog and all the links – I was delighted to discover your link to Ron Pippin – I saw his show in Sun Valley way back in 1990. Jaw dropping work. Thank you for commenting on my Blog – I appreciate your thoughts!

alteredbits said...

your new artwork and your garden are all soooo gorgeous! thank you so much for sharing! i also fell instantly in love with that amazing rock in the top row, center, of the first image. wow!

i can't wait to show your amazing photos to my husby. we are working hard on getting our yard and gardens in order and wished to have a corner for our own zen garden. how very inspirational yours is!

layers said...

thank you thank you for the wonderful poetic thoughtful comments and compliments on my gardens and on your inspirations. I also bring home rocks from wherever I travel-- I imagine the suitcase checkers at the airports get a laugh sometimes.

Bob Cornelis said...

I recently spent an hour or so looking for rocks naturally formed in the shape of a heart on the shores of Lake Tahoe. An interesting exercise in observation. I was amazed at how many heart shaped designs were to be found. Nature is certainly munificent - I suspect we can find just about anything in it...

layers said...

I have had a harder time finding heart shaped rocks. I have 7 to be exact and one was given to me and one you have to really use your imagination to call it heart shaped but I am counting it anyway!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Your garden is easily one of your inspirations...so beautiful. This piece speaks of the weight of rocks and stones and also the delicate qualities...a joy to see!
My inspiration? memories, dreams, a snippet of conversation, a piece of history...the key is to take the inspiration into myself and then create from that point.
Great to read about other artist's inspiration...thank you.

Judy said...

Wow what a lovely post. Makes me feel so tranquil when i view Japanese gardens, everything Zen. Thanks. Inspiration comes from all manner of life and those experiences especially from the elderly for me.

jgy said...

Your post is like a garden, so much to ponder through it and so many
'layers'---very beautiful to read in this morning after listening to sounds of crickets, watching the moon set and the sun rise...( I love how even in the midst of the city there is so much nature)
I can hear a tiny stream in the distance, maybe the faint echo of your waterfall!!!
enjoy today's reflections wherever you come across them...

Seth said...

I love that quote from Meloy. And I totally agree about the reflection of self on the outside and in the surrounding environment.

Annie said...

Hi Donna. This is my first visit to your blog and I can't believe that I just posted about stones today as well! Thanks for following my blog. I will look forward to reading about your adventures. With best wishes, Ax

Eva said...

Hi Donna, Thank you for leaving a comment on my my. I love your gardens and rocks. I too have collected rocks and shells from all over the world. As a young "military brat" I lived in Japan for 2 years so I resonate with your aesthetics.

Wild Somerset Child said...

Hello Donna, this is my first visit to your blog. I too love rocks - and gardens, mine inspires much of my work. As for rocks, I collect at least one from wherever I visit, and like another of your commenters, once wrote on one when a poem 'came upon me' and I had no paper in my pocket. Wrecked the pen! Have a wonderful trip to Japan. Ann from UK.

Stoneweaver said...

I adore stones - every single one is unique. I love crystals, especially when in their natural form. I love the Ellen Meloy quote too! Your blog looks very interesting!

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

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