The Art of impermanence

I used to daydream a lot. Have time to meditate on certain subjects and turn them over in my head, sometimes even bringing this to my work. Nowadays, my daydreaming window is the few minutes in bed before I fall asleep and actually, its just then. Before my days of daydreaming and meditation were cut short by the arrival of my kids, I once pondered how destruction can also be a creative process and have its own beauty. Astounded with my revelation (I had come to all by myself...) I went off to read more and discovered that the Japanese had beaten me to it, by about 900 years. Humph. They even had a name for it - Wabi Sabi, the Art of Impermanence. 


To try to summarise Wabi Sabi is pretty difficult and all the books say, impossible. It doesn't really have a definition, just a sort of feeling to it and can apply to almost anything. but, in a tiny, basic nutshell, Its finding beauty in stuff that gets old and/or broken (and yes, I think this should probably be applied to my face / body as its going down the old/broken route...!). 


I got to thinking about destruction and creation on a huge scale - like, earth's crust scale. The formation of mountains and valleys and volcanoes etc... Ok, I admit, it got away from me a bit and I had to reign it in a wee bit... I wanted to bring some of this to my work and not be encumbered by an object or scene so I felt like some abstract expressionism using some of the wabi sabi thinking was the way to go.


So a lot of the work involved painting colours in various levels of transparency, letting it dry, sanding it away and destroying it, before re-applying paint, colours, translucent layers etc. There was a lot of sanding. At first, by hand (ouch on SO many levels) and then I bought an electric sander which changed my life. I also bought some dust masks because, Hello?! Occupational exposure to dust. I do not want lungs of solid paint thank you. 

Im so glad I explored this as it allowed me to play and push the paint media to its limits and see what it was capable of. I also learned a lot about where my head went when I wasn't painting or drawing an object or a scene, which was interesting for me. I of course used places I had been  and experiences as a source for colours and ideas for the paintings and a lot are inspired by water and pools in India as well as snow and my more familiar sources of inspiration - the mountains. 

You can view my abstract paintings here.  Some are still available for sale and there is currently a 20% off everything sale over on my artfinder page!