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  • Wabi Sabi is a Japanese phrase that hints at the process of impermanence, imperfection, and incompleteness. There is a tender beauty in the roughness of textures and colors, and in the subtle contrasts and smooth transitions between rough and smooth, dark and light, warm and cool. The small details and simplicity become important in the ordered chaos and chaotic order of Mother Nature who makes no excuses for the imperfections, impermanence, and incompleteness of the elegance and grace that she presents to us moment by moment.

    This particular journal began when I cut up a box to form pages, painted them with gesso, either clear gesso so the cardboard brown would show, or with black or white gesso. We can think of gesso as being the foundation, that primes the cardboard to accept paints, pencils, pens, crayons and other media, on the cardboard (or paper) surface.

    When the gesso was dry, I began the layering of the pages with various media and then bound them together with the pages in various stages of incompleteness. This will be my Art Journal storybook of my creative journey.

    I will frequently begin by writing with my left hand, whatever I'm thinking about or need to get out of my head, and I purge the negative thoughts on one page and the positive on the facing page so that the pages of gratitude are kissing the pages of purging when the book is closed, meeting in the middle and dissolving the unpleasant thoughts and incidents into joy and grace to reflect the happenings in life and the world.
  • It might look like this, 'I feel crabby today, my back hurts….. and the sun is shining and I hear the birds singing…..what a wonderful world! (It's like that old Louie Armstrong song, and I'm so darned old, I heard him sing it in person when I was in high school and Ella Fitzgerald was part of the concert too, what a blessing!).
  • What a Wonderful World

    I see trees of green, red roses too
    I see them bloom for me and you
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
    I see skies of blue and clouds of white
    The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
    The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
    Are also on the faces of people going by
    I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
    They're really saying I love you.
    I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
    They'll learn much more than I'll never know
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world
    Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

    Slowly the magic begins to happen as layers of paint are added over the scribbles and gesso foundation, along with stenciling, papers and florist's ribbon, ending with the addition of the words that were calling to me, and a finish of clear glaze with gold glitter.
  • It's challenging to know when to stop and decide it is incompletely complete, and I wonder if anything is ever really complete. That fits into Wabi Sabi where nothing is ever completely finished and yet, there comes a time when we are done working on it, we and the artwork have nothing more to say to each other.

    Sometimes we will adjust it after we have had some distance from our first dance with the paint and media on the canvas. However, we must always be mindful that too much adjusting can result in an overworked look, and we lose that spontaneity of the dance and dialogue of story between artist and the artwork and the earthiness and ease of Wabi Sabi.
  • There are pages in my cardboard art journal that are still unfinished, including the back cover with its boo boo imperfection. My story is that I wanted that blue area of the background, where I rubbed the photo copy of the woman a little too hard as I was gluing her down, so that the layer below would show the previous step, (but it's really a secret portal to the past).

    The photo was in some of my mother's papers, and my sister and I have no idea who she was, but she was probably a friend of hers and she would be from the era of my mother's youth of the early 1920's or so. We have similar pictures of her dressed in the 'flapper' garb with her 'bobbed' haircut.
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