Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Enso Revisited

For many years, I have been including circles and dots in my paintings and collages. I don't try to analyze where my attraction to circles comes from. I wear polka dot socks and scarves. There are circles and dots all over my home decor. Even my dish towels have polka dots or circles. I think I like the feeling of infinity and continuity. As I walk around my zen gardens, I see the circle everywhere.

This is one of my water basins. Inside the basin, I have placed bamboo charcoal, a symbol of purity.

This is a large carved rock that we have placed in front of our greenhouse, as the step into the greenhouse.

I collect beach rocks and pebbles that have circle veins in them.

I found these large round rocks at a Washington beach. Some of them are the size of a melon.

And then there is the Zen enso. The enso (circle) is the most common symbol of Zen calligraphy. It symbolizes enlightenment, power and the universe itself. It is a direct expression of "this-moment-as-it-is". The above book by Audrey Yoshiko Seo brings together a collection of the best enso art to show the variety of form, from the seventeenth century to present.

My blog friend, Coffee Messiah, sent me this book (above). The title is INSTRUCTIONS TO THE COOK by Bernard Glassman and Rick Fields. No, it is not a cookbook. The subtitle is A Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life That Matters. I love the rocks on the book cover. Coffee Messiah's collages are clever, topical and sometimes tongue in cheek humorous, and they can be found at his blog here.
I am also attracted to art work that includes circles. Check out the following 2 artists:

Dick Allowatt combines collage with found objects, discovering relationships for incongruous materials and images. You can find his creative website here.

Wen Redmond combines digital prints collaged with textiles, stitching and paint to create one of a kind, unique art pieces. You can find her website here. And you can find her wonderful blog here.


"Round and perfect like vast space, nothing lacking, nothing in excess." -- Chien-chih Seng Ts'an

40 comments:

iNdi@ said...

the enso gesture has begun to wander into my stitchwork lately
so all these links are perfectly timed, thank you

Liza said...

I love the awareness you have of your surroundings, and the way you convey it.
What a feast for the senses.
Thanks for sharing.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I love your collage on this post Donna. You do have a way with circles. I am such a Wen Redmond fan! Nice to see her work here.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Donna,

THe circle is an element I was first attracted to when I saw da Vinci's drawing of a man with in a circle in high school and since then I use the circle as a composition in all my work, especially when I was using a Hasselblat camera, which has a square format and works great when I used to shot fashion.

Trying to figure out why we are attracted to something or an element may just rob us of our mystery once we discover our answer. So it is best to keep it a mystery.

Your work as ever is must beautiful.

Your blog revision is very elegant and I love the calm colour of your background that ties everything together.

Wishing you a wonderful hump day,
Egmont

Renee Howell said...

Goodness! Thank you for the circle sharing. I already loved circles and dots - after reading your thoughts - I love them more. Well-done post!

Back and around. They come again. Circle dots.

Lisa said...

Lovely photographs and enlightening post on circles..such a simple form..yet so strong both in art and architecture.
I alway enjoy seeing snippets of your garden.
Your collage at the top is beautiful..the way you've worked in the red is so perfect.

zendotstudio said...

Love your new banner! And I do love ensos. These are both great books. I especially love the Bernie Glassman one. Looking forward to checking out the 3 "new to me" blogs you mention. I am always find new inspiration visiting your blog.

Do you know Kaz Tanahashi's ensos? I love the colour in them.

Sophie Munns said...

Lovely to read this post Donna... enjoyed the meditation on circles which I also find myself very attracted to.
Sophie

SusuPetal said...

A circle tells about balance, to me. You have a lot of balance in yourself and in your surroundings.

I wish you, wit the sun, the perfect circle of warmth, a nice summer.

lyle baxter said...

donna, what is it about circles? life, I guess. its all one big circle! and we keep going round and round!I suppose thats why history repeats itself! enjoyed your post this am and was happy to see some new artists! thanks once again . every time I put a circle atop my artwork I will think good thoughts of you!

ArtPropelled said...

On arriving on your blog I took in all the beauty .... your collage at the top of the page .... your wonderful water basin and rocks .... new artists.... and inevitably I followed the links, got lost and now several hours later I'm back to thank you for another lovely post. Thanks Donna.

annell Livingston said...

Yes this is a beautiful post! I love every images, and I love dots, and circles, although I have not used circles as much in my work. The circle is a universal symbol of women, and it is said, we use symbols and we know at a very deep level, even when we think we do not know.

Especially poppies.

Wen Redmond said...

Beautiful Blog and Post- of course I love seeing my work here. It was one of a spontaneous series of 6x6 called Pages. I stitched into each with a form of a circle, as drawing lines. Thank you for including me!

Julia said...

Hi Donna,
Thank you for your visit to my blog.
I love circles too and the kind that are not perfect but off centre a little kind of like the enso work...Would love to read the book someday...I am in the midst of doing a slowcloth piece and will be adding the word enso now and some more circles...love all the art you have posted here...xx..julia

Frivolitea said...

Hello! What an interesting post. The circle reminds me of mandalas, which I just spent 6 days studying with Susanne Fincher in Atlanta. Susanne says that the circle is a primeval shape - woven into our experience of life. No wonder it appeals to so many.

Seth said...

"this-moment-as-it-is". I really like that concept. I have also been fascinated by circles, although they are somewhat rarer in my artwork than in yours. Thanks for the new links...I am off to check them out.

dosfishes said...

Hi Donna,
Thanks for sharing your way of making. I always love reading your blog, and seeing your new collages. I like circles and scribbles of circles, there must be something universal that draws us all the the marks we make. xox Corrine

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Wonderful treat landing here at 'layers'! The circle is well loved here and personally I feel joyful with polka dots. I too have traveled to these artist's sites...thank you for the introduction and as always for sharing your most beautiful garden!

La Dolce Vita said...

great post on a subject we are all seemingly enamored with. your piece is just wonderful as always.

Cynthia said...

I am just mesmerized by your work...it is so calming to view.
Interesting post and wonderful work!

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

You know I love this post..great collection of circles.
I have my polka dot sox on today, circles and dots seem to find there way into my home and art too.
I love the rocks, the veins and the way they are assembled. Great shots.

Coffee Messiah said...

Great looking header you've come up with.

Always an interesting post here from you and hope you enjoyed the book. I did.

Thanks for the mention, although you shouldn't have..........

Cheers from heat stroked indy-anna.

Makes me miss the ocean breezes of the bay area even more on days like these.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

A circle open an circle closed. Thanks for the links... -j

Hannah said...

After reading your post this morning, my sister arrived with her new kitten. With your images in mind, I found myself intrigued with the circles inscribed in her fur, the marvelous art of nature. And I'm fascinated too by this word "enso"--I've long worked with the mandala, the Sanskrit word for circle. Now to ponder the connection between them. Thanks for this wonderfully circular post!

merci33 said...

Your work is such a balm...always such a calm and quiet oasis.

I've wandered this marvelous circular path that you've spread before us and I can only imagine the beauty that is going to filter through into my dreamtime...I consider how we artists are each visiting one another from one part of the globe to another as we all ride upon this glorious circle of the earth.

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna,

What a lovely post! Your work is beautiful, as always. Thank you for the links to Coffee and Wen's sites, and thanks very much for your recent visit to my blog!

Tonya Vollertsen said...

Donna, another lovely piece of work and such an interesting post. I always enjoy coming here. It always makes me want to go get out all my collage papers and make something with them.

Deborah said...

Reading your blog is like visiting a calm place filled with images and ideas and bits of information. I think I will try to locate copies of the books you mentioned.

smarcoux said...

Indeed some very very nice work .. I will be following what your up to indeed.
Sandy
dangling by a thread

rivergardenstudio said...

I love the way you surround yourself with beauty, and that you appreciate nature, in all of her shapes and textures... and that your love for the circle is everywhere... roxanne

grrl + dog said...

the coffee messiah is very cool, he has sent me some stuff too..

lyle baxter said...

donna lyle baxter here! cant email you- keeps coming back! must not be seeing it correctly! our blog is almostheavengifts.wordpress.com my daughter and the shopowner is alheave and I am namsmams! clear as mud? thanks for your mail!

Gaby Bee said...

Your art work is gorgeous as usual. Love your collage at the top of the page and your new header! I'm also fascinated by circles and the rocks you have collected are fantastic!

Delwyn said...

Hi Donna

The circle has an inbuilt attraction that we gravitate towards, it is familiar, soulful and healing...reassuring and imbues us with a feeling of completeness, it echoes the sun and the moon and the earth...and our own life cycle...we are all inextricably woven into and a part of the circle... I also love the small red and rust elements that you include in your work....
I went to visit Dick's gallery and enjoyed his work greatly. Thanks Donna for this post that has circled the world...

Happy days

oneartistjournal said...

Great coverage of circles Donna..I love circles too...they ARE a 'world initself', they posses a whimsical quality and they are spirited when they enter a canvas. They are there 'playing nicely' but still 'opinionated' and individualistic. I do prefer them standing alone, floating in the canvas space unexpectedly.
I saw your contributions to the Collage book yesteday, just stunning work you do...I sooooooo love your art.
XOXOrly

Jeanne said...

Donna, this the perfect post for me today. I read an article about Zen habits yesterday and have been thinking about it ever since. I am with you on collecting rocks, much to my families dismay when we are travelling and I start stuffing them into their suitcases. This reminds me of a Henry Moore exhibit I went to see at the Tate Britain last week. You would love it!!

Jeanne :)

Sharmon Davidson said...

We can never have too many circles, can we? I was getting ready to do a post on circle symbolism, myself. (I guess great minds think alike!) Thanks for sharing this; you've enhanced my understanding of the circle tremendously. Thanks also for introducing me to more wonderful artists, as usual!

ntexas99 (nancy) said...

Donna - today I happened to go on one of those exploratory adventures, where I followed a link from one blog to another, without paying too much attention to how far away I went from my original beginning point. It was a lovely surprise to find your blog at the end of my adventure, and I can't wait to return again to absorb more of the delicousness found therein!

Eva said...

Donna, I can relate to your love of circles and dots. When I was a young girl I had a polka dot dress made for me. I wore it out! I use circles a lot in my work, often to the dismay of one of former my agents who claimed she couldn't sell works with circles. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was something personal with her.

Jala Pfaff said...

Nice work.
I often wonder what it means that certain artists are attracted to certain shapes. I, for example, am pretty much obsessive about the square, and also the rectangle. Strange.