Friday, July 16, 2010

Japanese Elements of Design

new painting: acrylic and collage title: Rhythms

NAGARE: Flowing. Flowing water is a symbol of movements, dynamism and change. Its only constant quality is its mutability. The ebb and flow of water is a manifestation of the transforming power of nature.

Waterfall and pond near my deck of my home.

Wooden gate entrance to a shrine.

In Japanese gardens, sand is raked to look like water currents.

MARU: Circle. Extending a point into a line begins a journey that ends only when the line comes 'full circle' to return to its starting point. The circle thus symbolizes completion. A circle is harmonious and tranquil, yet it represents the cycle that is life. The circle is an opening, a window on the whole of being that it also represents, the eye that sees itself.

A banner outside a small restaurant, Kyoto.

A paper fan.

KATADORI: Sign. Calligraphy is a combination of kanji (a picture of a thing, or a diagram, or the essential form or spirit), and native syllables. There is a close link between reality and representation.

Shop curtain featuring kanji for 'day', Kyoto.

Store front in Kyoto.

SEI: Nature. Nature is the source of all art and design in Japan. The materials of art and architecture are rendered in forms that evoke their natural origins, and artifacts are decorated with images from the natural world.

Dragon flies and flower patterns on fabric.

Dragon pattern on door outside a temple, Kyoto.

KATA: Pattern. Repetition of line and form create serenity and harmony inside and outside the home.

Circle patterns on a door outside a temple, Kyoto.

Lattice window of a house.

Store fronts on small cobbled street, Kyoto

SEI: Sanctity. Rocks and trees, waterfalls and streams, animals and plants can possess sanctity. The sacred is announced with braided rope and twisted paper, with torii gateways and guardian statues.

Buddhist saints in a mountain cave at Rakanji Temple, Kyushu.

The Inari Fox at the entrance to the Fushimi Inari temple in Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari torii gates


ATSUMARU: Collections. Collections can excite and charm, but they can also comfort and calm.


Some of my sumi and Japanese brushes.

Some game pieces and carved jade pieces.

A few Japanese dolls from my collection.


Some of the images in this post came from the above book: A Collection: JAPANESE DESIGN by Kenneth Straiton.

58 comments:

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I l.o.v.e your new painting Donna! What size is it?
What a rich post with all of these images and meaning. When I got to Kata, I was taken back in time to when I practiced Judo. We did Kata, especially the women. Kata was judged on grace and precision and elegance of execution. I see the Kata in your new painting, Rhythm.

Annie said...

Lovely set of photos. I particularly like your first collage piece with those narrow vertical bands. I also like the new one in your sidebar.Thanks for the link to the collage exchange - so much to browse there.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Donna,

There is so very much to absorb here. One cannot take it all in and give it its due justice,so I shall return and select a single item and contemplate upon it.

Water is powerful. It can be pleasing, it can be destructive and yet we are nothing without.

I also love your new painting.

Thank you for sharing.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,
Egmont

Jo Archer said...

I love visiting your blog Donna, it's like a meditation class. I always leave feeling a little more tranquil and inspired.

SusuPetal said...

Your painting is beautiful and so inspiring, I want to grab my brushes and start to work.

Japanese design in fabrics and such, are quite similar to Finnish design. Nature means a lot, and it's seen in patterns.
We have a lot of Japanese designers and architects visiting in Finland all through the year, they find the similarity in the sense of beauty also.

Gloria Freshley said...

Thanks for the beautiful post. You new painting is lovely!

jgy said...

I love the word "nagare". And "maru"...
Beautiful new header, photos and your new "saku-hin" (artwork).
happy, flowing days to you!

Noela Mills said...

Wonderful work and inspiring information, Donna. I especially like the raked sand and the studs on the temple door - such simple and powerful images.
N xoxox

Lisa said...

your new collage is stunning...this post has given me a new appreciation of circles...I've always loved grids but now i'm a confirmed circle fan too. raked sand has a wonderful simplicity yet sense of organization that i find so appealing.
The Layers poem by Stanley Kunitz is one of my favorites.
As always, your garden is perfection.

Frivolitea said...

Fascinating post. And I love your new artwork.

ArtPropelled said...

Such a rich post, Donna. I am drinking in the beauty of these wonderful images ..... your new collage, the Japanese brushes, the perfectly raked sand and the striking shop curtain.

mano said...

hello donna, thank you for this very informative post with fascinated and inspiring images. love your collages!!! have a creative weekend, mano

Kim Hambric said...

What a wonderful way to spend my Saturday morning. I hope I can keep the calmness I feel now throughout the day.

Your new piece is one of my favorites (of course, I'll probably say that about your next new piece). I love the markings and the balance.

annell said...

My first response, today and each time I see your work for the first time, is a tiny moment of suspension. I drawn my breath in, it is a moment of recognition and wonder. A moment of magic. Thank you for this, it does not happen often. It makes my body respond with a tingle. Something so quiet, and yet so powerful.

Deborah said...

I love your new collage and inspiring photos. I'll be looking for this book.

annell said...

Donna My first response was to your new work. Now I have gone back to look at and to read your new post. I am glad to know of this book by Kenneth Straiton, the images from the book are very beautiful and give much to think about. I was in Japan a few years ago, it was my second trip and I hope to return again. I found it very beautiful, I didn't take enough pics. I want to look again at the pics I did take. I have wonderful memories.

Zappha said...

What a fabulous post. I love your painting. I have truly enjoyed this informative post Donna.

paula said...

i like your new painting too. it blends in perfectly with everything posted below. natural and organic. love that door close up photo too!

Anna said...

Beautiful in every sense and in all senses.
Thank you for every and all parts involved in it;
thank you for giving/sharing so generously all this knowledge, sensitivity and beauty.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Thank you for the great ride...I feel I have taken a small tour of all things beautiful about Japanese design...lovely.
Your new piece speaks of all this beauty and serenity...I especially like the small gathering of lines created by your hand.

George said...

I loved this posting, Donna!!! The symbols are beautiful and thought-provoking, as are your descriptions of them. You have convinced me that I must go to Japan, something that I've wanted to do for some time, but have always put off in favor of a European destination.

Eva said...

A wonderful post! I so love all of your Asian references. It's such a pleasant reminder of the years I lived there. As usual, your painting is great.

Diane Wright said...

For someone who loves Japanese design this post has been a feast. Thank you.

Jo Reimer said...

What a wonderful painting, Donna. Your work has a serenity that draws me in and cradles my eyes, making me want to linger a long while in order to take it all in. The new collage is just as wonderful. Your garden must give you lots of inspiration for your work. It reminds me of how Monet created his Giverny gardens in order to have living inspiration for his paintings.

A rambling rose said...

This made my wish to visit Japan even stronger - wonderful and inspiring -so much to take in I'll have to come back again very soon- thank you Donna

Don said...

Another glorious post! I always enjoy visiting here.

iNdi@ said...

i found both the painting and the posting calming and meditative
[would quite happily live with that lovely image...]
thank you

grrl + dog said...

I can imagine your house is an extension of your
art..
in turns

exciting, calming
restive and sacred.

Seth said...

A fascinating post and such a wonderful new painting, which seems to include some of the elements described in the post.

dosfishes said...

Thanks for the education as always. Your new painting makes me want to explore the circles further.

Julia said...

Hi Donna, Thank you for your kind words re my new collages. Yes I am so drawn and always have been since childhood, to asian elements of art, mostly Japanese, and feel a real affinity to Zen culture, though I don't know why?.. I even wrote and produces a play full of Japanese costumes, songs and fables...and didnt know where it sprung from, perhaps a past life?..
I love your art and the way you surround yourself with these elements as well..xx..julia

Delwyn said...

Hi Donna

with my daughter here from Tokyo and your shots of Kyoto I am feeling a longing to return to Japan...and this I will be doing in November...I love your new collage and the new one below with crow or raven at the top.

thank you for an informative and beautiful post

Happy days

Barry said...

D Thanks for sharting these design elements. They really help me to understand why the Japanese asthetic resonates with me; and they also help me in my own design choices. B

Coffee Messiah said...

Nature is everything........

An excellent post! Cheers!

collage whirl said...

The raked sand photo is gorgeous, as is your newest painting. I love the collage you have in the Collage Exhibition.

And thank you for the wonderful post--lots to come back to here for contemplation!

Hannah said...

Donna, I like how you offer us your new work in the beginning of the post and then very slowly, with more images and words, break down each of the elements which make up the work. I end with a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the history hidden within. Thanks!

Max the Lobster said...

some years ago on a trip to Japan I went to the Fushimi Inari temple. it was amazing walking up the hill through all those almost flourescent coloured tori gates, i took a long lingering time of it absorbing the wonderful experience!

oneartistjournal said...

My son (14) just came back from Japan..I've been so jealous of him, now even more when I see these amazing images and your beautiful art.
XOXOrly

merci33 said...

Donna~ Your work is so exquisite...your colors sooth my soul. The comment by Jo Archer says it all for me...you are a visual meditation master...leading me to a deep peace each time I visit.
Thank you

merci33 said...

that would be soothe my soul ;-)

zendotstudio said...

#41 on the list of I love your new work! And thanks for the whirlwind tour of Japanese design. Now wouldn't it be fun if you did an art class in Japan??

Fiona Dempster said...

Thanks Donna - your work is beautiful and I just had to smile when I read the part about the circle - so much like my returning home work at the moment. Its wonderful to explore the elements of Japanese design with you - from the other side of the world! As ever, a delight...

Cynnie said...

Wonderful new collage...your work is so inspirational. I love reading your posts too...so enlightening and a great read.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Thank you for the inspiring post .. the true quiet profound kind. -J

ELFI said...

j'aime le rythme du blog et spécialement le tableau..'rythme'! elfi

Svetlana said...

Your paintings are stunning. I love visiting you blog, it is full of inspiration.

Liza said...

Stunning collage. I love the hard vertical lines, compared to the circles, and the ticks.
I had the thought of counting days, musical notes, or numbers. Rhythms!


On Maru...
I must confess, that the next furry family member that we adopt will have that for a name.

Thanks for sharing this.

Pam said...

So soothing and contemplative here Donna. I felt a spark of recognition in your words "rocks and trees, waterfalls and streams, animals and plants can possess sanctity". In my recent escape into nature and nurture away from the city I looked for and found what I termed 'magic' in our ancient Australian landforms and yet, the word did not sit comfortably with me- sanctity is exactly what I was looking for.Thank you. It is a joy visiting here.

mansuetude said...

You carry old waters
up to my lips

it sings yes yes yes

Stan Kurth said...

Donna your blog is amazing! And I love the header.

Sharmon Davidson said...

Hi Donna- First of all, I like your new collage very much; it embodies, I think, many of the elements you explain in the post. Second, thanks for the 'primer' on Japanese design. The photos you used to illustrate them are absolutely luscious! And third, can I come to your house and look at all your stuff? :)

Ben Judson said...

Donna-
I just noticed your comment on Scattered Work asking for permission to use the poem "back to its exposed Root." Feel free to use it however you wish, if you still have use for it. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner; I don't check that blog very often.
thanks-
Ben

Gaby Bee said...

What a delightful post! It's always fun visiting you, Donna.
These photos are inspiring as always.
Love especially the raked sand photo.
Have a wonderful upcoming weekend!
Gaby xo

JonesMoore Studios said...

Donna--I just bought the book "Masters: Collage". Your work looks so delicious! I am savoring every page. I put a little post about the book (and you) in my blog.

BALI said...

hello! how are you?
warm greeting from Bali island 0_0

I hope you gain success all the time.

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

You deserve all these lovely comments. Wonderful post and your new artwork is even more so. I especially like the group of marks at the bottom right corner. Simple yet solid and each line relevant in it's place.

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