on art, painting stripes, and wabi sabi

two small abstract(ed) paintings on paper from the 100 paintings on paper experiment (now known informally as the ‘chromatids’) there are one hundred of these small paintings but i do not think these two paintings have made an appearance here before.

small textured abstract painting on deckled paper by jazz greensmall striated abstract painting on deckled paper by jazz green
LXIII and XLVII, painting on paper, 15cm x 15cm

these two small paintings can be viewed larger on my art for sale from the studio page

simple stripes or striations, as it turned out, were the most direct, uncomplicated means of exploring elemental, rustic colours and textures on a very small scale – they also began to be about exploring a quiet narrative within the process, of texture & surface and how simple stripes or colours interacted within the ragged, irregular edge or boundary of the paper – this simple pattern of stripes and striations echoed what i had seen and observed in the rural environment where i live – from barns and sheds, the rustic juxtapositions of colour and texture in weathered, worn surfaces or agricultural structures – all the things which appealed to me visually and aesthetically.

these close-up, ‘abstract’ photographs were taken in early 2008, shortly after i was given a new camera to play with…

down on the farm…

recalling again how this experimental series of one hundred paintings first came about (a dull, drizzly grey day in early november 2008) has caused me once more to muse upon the japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi, an appreciation of the understated, the transient, ephemeral or imperfect.

for myself, understanding the aesthetic or philosophy of wabi sabi, it seems to first arise within, in a quiet sensing, a feeling, an intuition or an awareness, that momentarily surrenders up the ego in reverence for the humble beauty of the object or scene, that acknowledges the relevance of time, use or location upon it, and that it can be experienced any time or anywhere if one is mindful enough to see it…

there is definitely something in wabi sabi that speaks very much about my own artistic inspiration, something that i can trace right back to my mixed media collages, but i am not sure one can faithfully make an artform out of it, for wabi sabi is what it is

in early 2005 i sketched out a rough mindmap about my perception of the local landscape and the rural environment, in which transience, imperfection and the effects of time surfaced as factors or keywords. later, in september 2007, i contemplated where i was headed within the environmental nature of my art, and i was reminded again of things that are overlooked, discarded or rejected, that situations change, that nothing is permanent, or perfect. i had also briefly referred to solitude a couple of months earlier and the relevance of time in the making of my art.

i didn’t write anything in this journal (blog) for many months, except for the posting of some photographs of a painting i had finished, a painting appropriately entitled shrede (an archaic spelling of ’shred’), implying a slow scraping back or paring down of layers, and what remains, tattered, torn and fragmented.

the outward signs of time passing, transience and imperfection, and an inner sense of solitude, eventually led on to a slow meandering, philosophical path eastwards, towards all things quiet, gentle, calm and a little bit zen, one that made me realise that an awareness of situations or things could mean something more than the sum of their parts. it did not need a name, but it offered up some new interpretations…


  1. charles
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful, perceptive and insightful description of your work! My little painting is most treasured. There is so much to , it is beautiful in a white box frame which i primed and then re-painted satin white . Keep it coming Jazz!

  2. Jazz
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    thank you charles, am most pleased it is treasured – especially in the box frame as you have described; it sounds just perfect…