Archive for September 6th, 2011

Zen Garden

I’ve been working on a series of  paintings of interior scene, many of which I have featured here recently.  They have a limited number of elements and there is an almost formal order in the way they go together, with only so many available options.  But even with this limited visual vocabulary and subtle, muted tones in the colors used, these scenes seem to have great emotional depth that transcends the apparent limitations.

It reminds me of a zen garden, those minimalist meditative spaces consisting of sand and stone and a small bit of vegetation where the sand is raked each day.  There is little there.  Pure simplicity.  Yet there is great depth in its expression.

Zen Garden at Ryoan-ji , Kyoto

One of the most famous zen gardens is Ryoan-ji near Kyoto, Japan.  It is 30 meters long and 10 meters wide and consists of 15 stones, a bit of moss and sand.  It seems so simple yet so complex at the same time. 

 The emptiness, the lack of the non-elemental, allows room for the expanse of thought.  There is a great power that occupies the stillness of this space, a concept that I hope carries through in these small paintings of sparse interiors with simple scenes outside their windows.


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