Monday, August 17, 2009
Enso, Zen circles of Enlightenment
Actually, the letter 'o' in the Japanese word 'enso' has a short line above it. The enso is a circle and is one of the most prevalent images of Zen art. As a symbol, the circle expresses the totality of our being. The Zen enso symbolizes enlightenment, power, and the universe itself. It can also mean 'empty' or 'void'. Some artists practice drawing an enso daily as a spiritual exercise. I have not figured out why I am so attracted to circles. I just know I love circles and dots and have been putting them in my paintings for years. When I see a polka dot scarf or a pair of socks in the store I can't NOT buy them. I have tote bags and towels with dots and circles. I even get excited when I see dashes, spots, and splatters on walls, sidewalks, cloth, wallpaper, artwork and so on, which is probably why I am dashing and splattering my paintings as well. To me the circle represents a continuing action through all time. It is never ending, and recurring through eternity. It is circular, repeating itself over and over. It also can have no meaning or cause outside itself. It can just be texture to me with no more meaning than that I love drawing and painting circles, dots and dashes in my work.
This might also explain why I love to sit on the beach and watch the waves come in over and over. The never ending action is soothing, calming and meditative to me. Is there a symbol or color or object that keeps showing up in your work?