Shibui 1, collage by Donna Watson
Shibui (or Shibusa) is an enriched, subdued appearance or experience with economy of form, line and effort, producing a timeless tranquility. Shibui objects appear to be simple overall but they include subtle details, such as textures, that balance simplicity with complexity.
The aspects of things that are most important
for us are hidden because of their
simplicity and familiarity.
--- Ludwig Wittgenstein
Shibui 2, collage by Donna Watson
This balance of simplicity and complexity ensures that one does not tire of a shibui object but constantly finds new meanings and enriched beauty that cause its aesthetic value to grow over the years. Shibui should not be confused with wabi sabi. Shibui objects are not necessarily imperfect or
asymmetrical, though they can include those qualities.
If one's life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is
extremely important for happiness.
--- The Dalai Lama
Shibui 3, collage by Donna Watson
The colors of shibui are 'muddy' colors. For example, in painting, gray is added to primary colors to
create a silvery effect that ties the different colors together into a coordinated scheme. Depending on how much gray is added, shibui colors range from pastels to dark. Occasionally, a patch of brighter
color is added as a highlight.
Shibui 4, collage by Donna Watson
The seven elements of shibui are simplicity, implicity, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness and imperfection. The simplicity is the expression of the essence of the elements. Implicity allows depth of feeling to be visible through a spare surface. The person of modesty exalts excellence by taking time to learn, watch, understand that merges into silence. Naturalness conveys spontaneity in growth, unforced. Everydayness raises ordinary things to a place of honor. Imperfection suggests
imagination at work, instead of a finished picture that provides all the answers.
small collage by Donna Watson, with various objects, image taken by Donna Watson
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the LIGHT gets in.
--- Leonard Cohen, RIP, 2016