Saturday, October 15, 2011

Connecting the Dots in Kyoto

Boro, hand painted rice papers, acrylic, 2009

I am leaving for another visit to Kyoto very soon. My first visit was 2 years ago, in 2009. When I returned I began a new series of collages. The above collage was my first one completed after my visit. I know I have posted it before but I decided to include it here, because my first visit to Kyoto had a huge influence on my current body of work. I now approach my collage work like I work in my Zen gardens... like placing stones in the rock gardens.. with an eye towards balance and unity and rhythm and simplicity. Now I am going to Kyoto again.

I call my greenhouse my Zen house. It is part of me-- an extension of my art, my interests, my collections, my aesthetics.

In front of the Zen house is my collection of bonsai.

Inside the Zen House, is a corner with no plants, but some of my bird nests and rocks ...and containers that I love.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. --- Steve Jobs

The above bird nests are new additions to my greenhouse this summer. The round rocks are from a beach near Port Angeles, Washington.

The above weather vane is a new addition. It is a metal rabbit that has moss for "feet".

There is a door. It opens. Then it is closed. But a slip of light stays, like a scrap of unreadable paper left on the floor, or the one red leaf the snow released in March. --Jane Hirshfield

I love to collect bird nests, and bird cages... but empty bird cages. And rocks....

"We work in the dark. We do what we can. We give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our doubt. All the rest is the madness of art. -- Henry James

I am going to Kyoto with an open mind. I have no idea what to look for, or what I am looking for but I know that important journeys begin that way.

And you wait, await the one thing
that will infinitely increase your life;
the gigantic, the stupendous,
the awakening of stones,
depths turned round toward you.
-- Rilke, The Book of Images

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The World is a Book

This past summer I acquired a number of books. Some of them I read from cover to cover.
Some of them are half way there.

The Gary Snyder Reader is a collection of prose, essays, letters, poetry, and translations by Gary Snyder between 1952 and 1998. Gary Snyder is a prize-winning poet, environmental activist, Zen Buddhist, and earth-householder.
No end to the sky---
but his poems,
like wild geese,
fly off the edge. - GS

LIVING ZEN by Michael Paul is a beautiful picture book. This book places the ancient wisdom of Zen Buddhism in a modern, everyday context, showing how Zen can influence every aspect of lifestyle from home interiors to garden design.

"Open yourself to the light, images and reality around you." The idea that life is here and now and not something we should postpone to a future date-- means IN THE MOMENT.

No matter what medium you choose--- photography, poetry, dance, music, painting, acting--
you will, by virtue of being in the moment, improve the quality of your art.

BUDDHA MIND IN CONTEMPORARY ART (edited by Jacquelynn Baas and Mary Jane Jacob) is a series of essays and interviews that explores the relationships between Buddhist practice and the contemporary arts. Finding the common ground between the creative mind, the perceiving mind, and the meditative mind, this book tackles the relationship between life and art.
Look deeply: I arrive in every second.... Thich Nhat Hanh

THE CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHER by Catherine Anderson is an instruction book with a focus on the creative, rather than the technical, side of photography. Using your camera, image-processing software (like Photoshop Elements), and art supplies-- this book will transform a favorite photo into something more personal and unique. Express yourself.

The above image is from a chapter on ALL THINGS OLD AND BEAUTIFUL. Wabi-sabi is introduced: "Wabi-sabi is akin to the inherent beauty within, something you can't put your finger open your senses to every detail..." -- Daisuke Utagawe

Zen and the Magic of Photography: Learning to See and to Be through Photography by Wayne Rowe also helps one discover, create, and capture the points of intersection and merging between photography and Zen, between camera and "real moments".

Above is an image from the book. A summer mistral: Sun and shadows dance; A door slams; the cat hisses.

THOUGHTFUL GESTURES: The Calligraphic Art of Yves Leterme includes more than a 100 images that showcase his work as a commercial calligrapher and a lettering artist. He discusses his use of gestural writing in his experimental artwork. You can find out more information on how to order this wonderful book at Leterme's blog Animal Scribax here.

"In my latest work, I have often tried to capture that spirit of Wabi-sabi... a true Wabi-sabi piece derives its quiet authority from subtle details, small doses, a limited palette and simplicity." YL

TEA IN THE EAST by Carole Manchester was sent to me as a surprise gift from my BLOG friend
Che'usa Sienna Wend. Her wonderful blog/website Bricolage can be found here. This is a beautiful picture book that includes the history of tea in China, Japan, India and Sri Lanka.
There are wonderful images along with recipes and poetry and quotes.

Not a color to disturb the tone of the room, not a sound to mar the rhythm of things, not a gesture to obtrude the harmony, not a word to break the unity of the surroundings, all movements to be performed simply and naturally----such were the aims of the tea ceremony. ---Kakuzo Okakura The Book of Tea