2013/11/11

Wabi-sabi, the beauty of imperfection.

It's Japanese ink painting again. (Actually, it's acrylic for me since I've still not found a vegan ink! Or rather, I did manage to track this one shellac-free liquid ink, but all the shops either charge $45 to ship it, or they don't even ship to Spain at all. I did find one seller on eBay that had no shipping restrictions but I thought that if the "proper" shops do, maybe there's a reason for it and I'll just end up paying even more for customs etc. So anyway, this is not proper ink painting. But fun nonetheless ;)

But it's a very particular kind of ink painting, wabi-sabi style. If you're not familiar with the idea of wabi-sabi, it's (very simplified) the art of seeing beauty and value in all that is life, which is imperfect, intimate and unfinished. 
It's rather hard to explain precisely what wabi-sabi is (especially since I'm not exactly sure of it myself!) but I think that one version of it might have something to do with seing the beauty in, say, an old worn kitchen table, not because it fits the style of faux country home, but because it's the same table you sat at as a child and used to play under with your sister and you can still see the dent from a plate dropped during a pancake eating contest.
Shabby chic would be the manufactured, self-aware version of it.

"Subtle", is also a word that comes to mind.
For the mini exhibition based on this expression, i chose this very quiet painting of a spring summer rain. I made it without plan, and as I realised once it was over, I did it without self-awareness - I wasn't seeking to create an effect, I just felt the rain. And the result is very subtle and soft, definitely not something that stands out, it's instead something you might notice after having looked at it for a while.
It's just unfortunate it proved impossible to get a good shot of it behind the glass.

My next project is to make a wabi-sabi object. This way I won't have the "gratis" aspect of patina, that will instead be something for the future. But it will be handmade, it will become used and I will leave it raw and simple, no polishing or adjustments, it will be one of a kind.
I've already started on it - it'll be a concrete tealight holder. I want to paint some part of it but we'll see how I feel about it when it's done. It's still in the cupboard, curing:
Maybe it'll turn out a happy accident, like a watercolour painting where you spilled a blob of colour where you hadn't intended to but it turned out in the end to be the detail that made the painting!

4 comments:

  1. I love the first photo even if it is not the finished one...love how you explore x

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    1. thank you, exploring is what's fun about anything in life, isn't it? ;)

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  2. Sabes una cosa Nancy? yo tendría que practicar un poco esto del Wabi Sabi (perdón pero cuando leí Wabi Sabi pensé en el condimento picante you know Wasabi)
    Yo tendría que probar esta pintura tan suelta, porque yo soy muy estructurado, dependo de la línea, y esto es muy suelto, me gustó, creo que intentaré manchar algunos papeles, Obviously without the Japanese Philosophy.
    Buena semana Nancy!!!

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    1. Wasabi, lol! interesante que te ves estrucorado cuando tu arte a mi me parece existir en un mundo sin limites, sin bordes. Perso, í, creo que entiendo lo que dices - la linea es mi gran amor tambien y dejarlo de vez en cuando puede ser bastante dificil! Esperaré tus manchas! :)

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