Saturday, July 31, 2010

Outside In

I created this painting several years ago. An image of bird eggs is embedded in textured pastes.
Above the image is a rusty hinge and above that is a weathered piece of wood.

I love to bring nature's gifts inside my home. This is a new addition to my dining room table.
I have arranged rocks, driftwood, balls woven with tree bark, and small Japanese boxes that I have collected over the years.
Nature has innate beauty that makes an artist of the viewer.

These are sacred lingam rocks from a river in India. I have arranged them in a bowl on a table.
"One of the most important aspects of design is integration: not only the relationship of design to the process of manufacture, but to life itself and the creation of an environment." --- George Nakashima

The above is two collections of rocks. The first collection includes agates and crystals and quartz. The larger collection includes round beach rocks and grape vines.

The above fossils (ammonites and sand dollars) are arranged on top of a desk in my library. You can also see my favorite weathered balls and my love of rabbits.

The above are the former nests of gila woodpeckers in Arizona. They form their nests in the cavities of saguaro cacti. The sap from the cactus hardens the nest so these birds can use them more than once.

The saguaro boot nests have been added to my collection of bird nest, eggs, rocks, and drift wood in a container placed in my greenhouse.

A bird's nest and beach rocks and drift wood in a container

A fellow artist and master gardener, Betty Dorotik, has renamed my green house ZEN House which I like very much. The above arrangement is in a container in my zen house. To see pictures of my zen house (green house) go to my previous blog post here.
"The quality that we call beauty must always grow from the realities of life..."
--- Jun'Ichiro Tanizuki, In Praise of Shadows

Bonsai are Japanese dwarf trees. These miniature landscapes help convey simplicity, naturalism and harmony. These are a few of my bonsai that I have on my back decks and around my zen (green) house.

"One thing that was new to me in creating a Japanese-inspired garden was using many colors and textures of leaves, from light gray green to dark red, rather than using flowers for colors. The contrast adds depth and interest to the landscape, and the use of evergreens adds a timeless quality that is calming." Sakina von Briesen, Chado New Mexico

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.

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