Wabi Sabi: Imperfection

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

WS1

Inks and gesso on 10 X 10″ w/c paper

Today I immersed myself in a contemplation of the Japanese esthetic of wabi sabi. In particular, the beauty of imperfect things, like cracked pottery and gnarled old trees.

My instructions to myself read something like: Strive for simplicity. Get in and out of the painting in 15-30 minutes. Allow the murky and undefined, the random and the clunky. Breathe deep and try not to overthink it.

WS2

I had fun dripping inks on this gesso textured surface.

WS3

and scraping out and toweling off and rolling on, with a bit of charcoal line suggestion. The title of this one will be “What is that growing on your roof?”

WS4

And when I was done, I had such a lovely torn piece of paper towel. In celebration of imperfect beauty I glued it onto another piece of paper for another start. I might break the 15 minute rule and play with this one some more. These “cracks” are letting a lot of light in!

If you’d like to join me in this pursuit of wabi sabi, on June 25 and 26 I’ll be teaching a weekend painting workshop at Sebastopol Center for the Arts in Sebastopol, California titled “The Visual Poetry of Wabi Sabi”.  For more information and to contact me, visit my website.

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2 comments

  1. Susan – I reall admire your works but especially these groupings…the pieces resemble cold wax and oil that I enjoy working with. Thx for your blogging with such
    variety.

    Like

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