Tag Archives: zen

not a painting, not a sculpture

Wednesday 7 December 2011

more pictures from the artist’s studio. it’s not a painting, not a sculpture…

wood, bark, abstract art on panel

it’s quite dark in the cave and things dry quite slowly…

wood bark, trees, abstract art on panel

the remains of the day (a previous day, with a knife and fork)…

wood, trees, bark, abstract art sculpture


wood, bark, textural abstract sculptural art


wood, trees, bark, abstract art sculptural


things are not perfect. i won’t waste time with too many focused words today, people like to look at the pictures…

nature, reclaim, change, transience, decay, disintegrate, rot, renewal, trees, garden, prune, cut, lop, fell, fall, crack, axe, sort, stack, season, slumber, lumber, weather, time, rain, cold, drizzling, damp, heat, sun, haze, light, shadows, dark, layers, edges, shifting, shapes, scrapes, textures, crackling, fire, warmth, habitat, shelter, wood, bark, out of the woods, into the cave, art, no landscapes, no people…

i have been working in the evenings, mostly (in the dark cave, away from images of reality). i have enjoyed working on these new pieces although perhaps enjoy is not the most appropriate word in this context. the process of making feels very focused, methodical, mindful, intimate, quiet, intense, as the work begins to take on subtleties of surface and there is some excitement in them coming to a considered conclusion.

i can’t recall a famous artist ever saying that they love what they do. they may speak of passion, determination, a sense of enquiry or curiosity, about scenes & situations, the issues & incidents of life. to simply love art implies unconditional acceptance that everything is perfect (or at least, it feels right), but making art is always a struggle of the will to make meaningful new things, to make them in a way that makes sense (and purpose). however, like the wabi sabi phrase, ‘nothing is ever finished’, making art also feels like a thoughtful, ongoing conversation, the memory of which lingers strongly in the mind long after the event, to be resumed again on another day…

see also the previous post, on making art again

in other news… i have acquired a new book to read, which you might have deciphered from a previous post. i have only read the first few pages, my ears and eyes are very tired…

on art, painting stripes, and wabi sabi

Friday 15 October 2010

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…

art straight out of the box

Wednesday 6 January 2010

a couple more of the intaglio collagraphs on canvas artworks, tastefully photographed (read more about the intaglio collagraphs)…

[bali, 2010]

[sumatra, 2010]

have decided to have a bit of a special new year art sale of some of my small abstracts on paper… twelve for the preceding twelve days of christmas and the next twelve months of the year.. after twelfth night comes the feast of epiphany, another day of holy celebration in the giving of gifts (of the three wise men or magi offering gifts to the baby jesus).

having an art sale is a little bit commercial i know, it’s always a difficult one, exhibiting/selling/promoting artwork. i have undervalued my work in the past but i have begun to reflect more on my experience as an artist – the motivation, the recognition, how much i value what i do, and why i do it. there’s the professional integrity of the artist and then there’s the business of the artist – the philosophy and the product.

i started young on this creative path, probably inspired by a how-to-make-art tv programme (thank you tony hart – but why did your researchers reject my russian constructivist sugar paper collage for the studio gallery? i was only eight; i drew sharks and dinosaurs after that).

what a wonderfully democratic profession art is, in that it enables the self-taught (who often attend art classes) to achieve the same status as someone who has a recognised qualification. i went to art school, but you learn even more out of art school. the difference is that in art education there is (usually) a minimum entry requirement (such as being able to draw quite well), so there are required standards of work. the tutors will question and challenge your thinking along the way and not show-you-how-to-make-art-this-way (there’s the rub), and if you impress the judges, there is that little recognition of your achievement at the end of the course.

i keep getting spam emails offering me american degrees and doctorates by the dollar, so it’s probably safer to say you’re a naive, outsider or self-taught artist, even if you once went to an art class and got a certificate of attendance [sic].

i digress; in art you mean it, you make it.. i really like these three small abstracts together – my wabi-sabi zen.. not framed alas, but are protected in cellophane sleeves with card backing..

winter abstract paintings on paper
[three small abstracts on paper – currently in my little winter art sale]

abstract textured painting - art for sale
[xxiii – mixed media on paper, 15cm x15cm]

abstract painting for sale
[xviii – mixed media on paper, 15cm x15cm]

abstract art for sale on etsy
[xxxiii – mixed media on paper, 15cm x15cm]

all one hundred of the small abstracts on paper once fitted neatly into this little box… a series or collection stored or presented in this way is something to think about.. when i was at the royal college of art it was a tradition to create a boxed set of limited edition prints each graduating year.. they become quite valuable after a time…

footnote: according to the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary twelfth night is either 1. 6 January, the feast of the Epiphany or 2. the evening of 5 January, formerly the twelfth and last day of Christmas festivities… it is supposed to be bad luck if you still have your christmas decorations up today, but it is tempting to take a bit of a pagan perspective here – the fir cones, the winter berries, the holly, the ivy, when fashioned into winter displays or christmas wreaths, also signify the universal cycle of life and the seasons – so maybe i’ll continue the winter decor right up until the spring equinox